More embarrassing stories

Within the past two days, I have had two rather embarrassing and very typical ‘me’ moments.

The first, which happened on Wednesday, took place at my work. I work at a café and after I had just taken a customers order for coffees at the till, I was about to ask the usual ‘Do you need your receipt?’ Instead, what my ditzy self blurted out was ‘Do you need salt and pepper?’ “DO YOU NEED SALT AND PEPPER?” Are you kidding me…. Of all things… THAT rolled of my tongue.

Now, let me assure you that normally I am quite onto it while serving at the till (touch wood). I have no idea where my mind was prancing off at that moment, and thankfully rather than causing any awkward silence the customer and my boss who happened to be standing right by me laughed hysterically. Glad my nonsense can bring about a little laughter…

The second very embarrassing incident was my very rushed and awkward experience in the changing room today. I was at a clothing store called Kookai with my mum and we were rushed for time. Consequently, mum and I decided she would go do her errand while I tried on a few clothing pieces so we could leave in due time. When I was about to take off a top I had just tried, I realised I should probably never have put it on in the first place. It. Was. Too. Tight. At this point, I am totally aware of the bare time I have until we need to leave and the fact that I was alone in the store. It wasn’t like I could just ask the sales assistant ‘Excuse me but do you think you could help undress me?’ So there I was standing half naked in the dressing room sweaty and panicked. I even have a bruise near my armpit area as a battle scar of that unfortunate dressing room experience. Moral of the story: Do not be over confident in your dress size.

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Sunsets (2013-2014)

While I was sorting through some of my photographs on my laptop today I came across a folder of sunsets I had taken in 2013. I have combined some of my photos from 2013 with a few of the ones I recently took in 2014.

All photos are raw.

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The sunset faded and blended from pink to peach to mango in a smoothie in the sky…

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The sky, at sunset, looked like a carnivorous flower.

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Sunset is still my favourite colour, and the rainbow is second.

~Mattie Stepanek

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The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness

~Psalm 18:28

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Let there be light…

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“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”
-Jo Walton

Creativity for the soul

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As I was cutting out my photographs and choosing which sticker font to use while being surrounded by patterned paper, glue and bits and bobs of craft I felt perfectly content and calm. I know what you’re thinking; ‘This girl is out of control.’ Okay, so it may not sound like a pumping time but I can honestly say this creative therapeutic pastime is my ideal Sunday evening.

 

In the past two weeks, I’ve been doing quite a bit of scrapbooking. Scrapbooking is one of those hobbies I claim to love, but rarely have I actually scrapbooked. I went through an intense but short lived phase of scrapbooking and card making mania a couple of years back but have long lost touch with my inner ‘DIY’ self. I am a sentimental person bordering on being maudlin at times who dwells in nostalgia too much for my own good. What better way to channel this aspect of myself than in scrapbooking?

 

Photographs and photography are thoroughly precious and fascinating for me. My first project was getting those world challenge photographs printed (two years late!!). When I was looking through the printed photos I catched details I had never noticed before. I was living vicariously through these photographs of a much treasured and amazing trip in South East Asia.

 

Now, some people may think it’s completely pointless to scrapbook. You may be right. Yes, this scrapbook is probably not going to be seen by many and nor will I get any tangible return from it. Creating art for the fun of it seems to be less popular today. But what makes it so satisfying is that I am doing this solely for personal value.

 

Through the process of scrapbooking, I learned how invaluable creativity is. Sometimes in our lives, with the pressure and stress from school and work, taking the time out to do something purely for ourselves can be so liberating. Something creative. Something that gets the art juices flowing. Some form of self-expression. 

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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. 

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.