There is always more to the story

In this day and age it has become so easy to see into a peephole into the lives of others, be it your friends, family or just acquaintances. Social media such as Facebook and Instagram have permitted us to see what our ‘friends’ are up to, where they are, who they’re with and other trivial aspects. While there definitely are perks to how social media has transformed our modern lives I think a large issue remains on the fact that people now form immediate judgements and assumptions on what they see on these social platforms.

Within seconds of looking at someone’s online profile, we tend arrive at an opinion on what social circle a person is in, their relationship status, how many ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ they have, how popular they are judging from the number of likes on a certain photo. It is so easy to have this image and reputation of a person from a cursory gander at their profile regardless of how well we actually know them in reality. But I believe in many cases, we are mistaken. Or certainly what we think we know is not the entire book. We see a page or two but never the full chapter and definitely not the whole story.

Recently, a few conversations I’ve had with friends have proved to me that we are often very wrong in our superficial judgements of others. Or at least, I have been. I am sure I am not alone when I say that I can name at least a few other people who seem to lead the ‘perfect’ life. Of course this isn’t the case. No one’s life is perfect no matter how close to perfection it seems. Yes, some people may appear to have the good life, some people are veiled by facades and some people just seem to always get the short end of the stick. But circumstances are so much more complicated than one -word summaries. 

Someone surrounded by countless friends can be incredibly lonely. Someone sitting by themself in a public place can be perfectly content. That person who always gets the most likes on Facebook can be especially insecure. The person who is showered with gifts can feel strangely empty. My point is, to really understand another person you have to go much deeper than the surface layer in social media. We often forget that Facebook or instagram is just a highlight reel. We put what we want others to see but in fact there are infinitely more moments and often not very pretty ones than the single snap shared.

I guess my point to this ramble is that there are very few people on this planet that truly understand and know us for who we really are.Things and people are very rarely as what they seem to be. Heck, many people don’t even know who they are until much later in life. Although, you could be reading this and thinking I’m completely wrong. I am just an 18-year-old girl who spends way too much time over analysing everything right? Right. 

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Movie Bucket List

I am a self- professed movie junkie. Although, I seem to know about many films but I haven’t actually watched many.

 

Around the end of 2013, I created a movies bucket list as the end of a hectic and stressful year coming to a close meant I could finally binge into the realm of film.  

 

  1. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind
  2. Lost in translation ✔
  3. Into the wild
  4. Liberal arts ✔
  5. Somewhere
  6. Little miss sunshine
  7. Ginger and Rosa ✔
  8. Inception
  9. The butterfly effect
  10. The fight club
  11. The breakfast club
  12. Sixteen candles
  13. Fireproof
  14. Letters to God
  15. Facing the giants
  16. It’s kind of a funny story
  17. Ruby sparks
  18. A beautiful mind
  19. The help  ✔
  20. Extremely loud and incredibly close
  21. Intouchables   ✔
  22. Amelie   ✔
  23. Pursuit of happiness
  24. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  25. American beauty ✔
  26. Keith
  27. It’s a wonderful life
  28. Finding Mr Right
  29. Godfather
  30. V for vendetta
  31. Romeo and Juliet (Baz lurhman)
  32. Moulin Rouge
  33. The Pianist
  34. The art of getting by   ✔
  35. Midnight in Paris
  36. Love and other Drugs   ✔
  37. Silver Linings Playbook ✔
  38. Kings Speech  ✔
  39. Les Miserables
  40. Emma ✔
  41. An Education ✔
  42. New York, I love You
  43. Atonement
  44. Iron Man 1,2,3
  45. Spider man  ✔
  46. Nick and Norah’s infinite playlist
  47. Life is Beautiful
  48. Casablanca
  49. The illusionist
  50. Blood diamond
  51. Silence of the lambs
  52. Crazy/beautiful
  53. Stuck in love  ✔
  54. Casanova
  55. Short Term 12

 

As you can see I still have a long way to go before I even get close to checking everything off.

 

Currently watching: Midnight in Paris

Next up: (Most likely) Finding Mr Right. After seeing Tang Wei in Late Autumn (which is now one of my favourite movies of all time!) with Hyun Bin (K drama fans should appreciate this) I wanted to watch some of Wei’s other works.

 

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the movies I’ve watched so far on my list but here are some gems I’d like to highlight. Note: In brackets I’ve included words that come to mind associated with each film)

 

-Lost in Translation (indie, artsy vibes, drama, culture differences, isolation, friendship)

-Ginger and Rosa (friendship, drama, history, cold war, coming of age)

-Intouchables (drama, comedy, inspirational, French, class differences)

-American beauty (drama, satire, love, conformity, identity, materialism) 

To learn list

Recently I started reading the book ‘Hacking Your Education’. I’m halfway through the book and I can safely say this is a valuable read to any high school graduate. No scratch that- this books offers invaluable ideas and advice to anyone.

 

In a nutshell ‘Hacking your Education’ challenges the traditional notion of formal education and advocates for students to embrace self- directed learning as opposed to blindly accepting education from higher institutions that often take antiquated and rigid approaches to learning.

 

Dale J. Stephens offers many ‘hacks’ as good starting steps to help cultivate a rich and well-meaning education. In one chapter, the author suggests writing a ‘to learn list’ as often we aren’t free to learn what we truly want in the classroom. An effective ‘to learn list’ offers precise learning goals that are related to our interests. Given my current ‘gap year’ status, I thought it would be a good idea to write one out myself. I think in the past couple of months I’ve been doing it mentally…

 

Without further ado, this is my (current) To- learn list: 

  • Learn enough economics so I can read papers and articles on the subject. (I have started Principles in Microeconomics on MIT’s open courseware already)
  • Learn how to make good coffees in a café  (If all goes well, work should cover this)
  • Learn the basics to psychology (Watch crash course on psychology on YouTube)
  • Learn how a mock trial works (Google would be a good starting point)
  • Learn how to create star trials in photography (same as above)
  • Learn the art of mastering a topspin serve in tennis (continue with weekly coaching)

 

Talks with Strangers

Today I was reminded to not be afraid or reluctant to talk to strangers.

 

While I was waiting in line at the US embassy to get through security (that place is not joke), the man in front of me asked me whether I had a job visa interview. My first impression was he is eloquent, well dressed and has a professional yet not over bearing demeanour. Within minutes, I learnt that this was his fourth time at the US embassy here in Auckland (it never stops being a serious hassle), as he has to come in every time to renew his working visa. Most people that come in for interviews are students and he’s seen the same security guard here for the last 10 years. He works as a member of the cabin crew, which mostly flies to San Francisco and before that he was based in Japan for several years. He studied law at Auckland University but despite enjoying the course he knew he would never practice law. He enjoys his itinerant lifestyle which was a mid life change. In turn, I told him of my study plans in the US. He left before me after his visa appointment and on his way out he kindly wished me luck with my future studies.

 

This occurrence was reminiscent of another experience a couple of months ago when I was sitting at a McCafé in Zhuhai, China. I was writing in my journal and as a western looking man walked past he stopped and simply stated ‘You’re writing English’. I explained why I was in China and he told me that he is working in the Chimelong ocean kingdom as a jet boat performer for the next 6 months. Coincidentally that weekend I was actually going to the Chimelong theme park. Turns out he is originally from Australia and of course I had to let him know I’m from the neighbour country!

 

Although nothing ground-breaking came out of either conversation, it was strangely pleasant to talk to a stranger. I think its because there’s no baggage. You converse for a few minutes, your paths cross for a brief moment and that’s it. There is neither build up nor follow up.

 

These encounters remind me that the next time I’m alone in a public place, I’ll tell myself to find that small bit of courage to talk to someone new. Striking a casual conversation with a stranger might allow you to learn something new albeit trivial, it could be an interesting time filler or just through a brief shared moment with someone new you can be left in a good mood. 

What Students Really Need to Hear

Though I graduated from High School last year and could have really done with these wise words at several times in my high school epoch, this still remains highly relevant as I embark on university. Heck, this is applicable to life- period

AFFECTIVE LIVING

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

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My attachment to useless inanimate things

I am a hoarder. I have this intense attachment to inanimate objects.

A few days ago I finally did what needed to be done in a very long time; I cleaned out my room. And boy do I have a lot of junk. But at the time, I’m sure I had a very good reason for keeping each trinket.

My room at a glance does not seem to hold too much clutter. But upon close examination and rummage, one could say that there is excessive clutter hidden in the corners of my room. De-cluttering your room is an amusing and nostalgic activity. For me, it was certainly a trip down memory lane…

When I came across my sticker collection, the 8 year old inside of me jumped with excitement. Although now rationally questioning what use comes of a sticker album, I do not know. I also found my spy undercover toy sets. I was reminded of my short-lived epoch where I was obsessed with becoming a spy. I think the cartoon series ‘Totally Spies’ strongly fuelled this obsession. These gadgets consisted of a headset satellite thing, which ‘supposed’ allows one to eavesdrop from a distance and a safe disguised as a book. Real cool toys you have there, Shirin…

I was also unfortunately reminded of my ‘Bielieber’ phase. Several posters (Yes, plural) were found in the corner of my closet. What made me laugh was when I stumbled across an old letter from high school informing parents of Justin’s visit to our school. This happened around four years ago when someone from my school won a Radio competition to have him perform at our school for a private concert. At the time, you could imagine my teen girl self was just over the moon. The phrases ‘International pop star’ and ‘making music that parents are happy for their kids to listen to’ are just too ironic.

A few of the many items that are now sitting in rubbish bags..

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LOL

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This is a skirt I made in 2010. At the time I was rather proud and even had the audacity to wear this to an Adam Lambert concert.

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The pants that I made with a friend for our wearable arts costume 2011. The theme was the circus I’m guessing judging from the wacky aesthetic…

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I had a booklet of all the lyrics to High School Musical. Gosh I was a cool kid. Any 90’s child that tells you they were not a HSM fan is lying.