Showing posts with label musings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label musings. Show all posts
Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Weekend Colour Palette: Blue

I spend a lot of my life on public transport; commuting to and from work and also to meet up with my boyfriend. I suppose that sounds a little depressing however, as I don't have a car, it is the cheapest form of transportation. The blue seats on the bus are so familiar to me.


I must admit, there are moments when I find Sydney to be quite dull; the urban sprawl and the rat race starts to feel a little claustrophobic. However, the weekend is the time when I reconnect, see and appreciate the beauty in this wonderful city.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Monthly Recap: June

  • The months of June and July are always a bit of an odd period for me. I am usually susceptible to having low and existential moments but it is always a little harder to shake off at this time. I think it is largely because it is the halfway mark of the year and I question if I have achieved anything for the year. It is also exacerbated by the fact it is the anniversary of my mother's death and then I wonder about my own life and my own existence. Death doesn't scare me but what scares me is thinking that I will be on my death bed and realising that my life has amounted to nothing. That I have done nothing and I haven't lived life to the fullest. In comparison to last year, that fear hasn't controlled me as much. As mentioned in my resolutions, I wanted to slow down in 2017 and to accept that every activity that I do doesn't need to be productive and valuable
  • I have been finding it a little hard to do work at work. I am doing enough to get by. But the motivation has been a little hard to come by. My only work friend / colleague resigned earlier this month. Well, she was pushed out effectively. I worry about my own future at the company and if I will pass probation.
  • My trip to Canberra over the long weekend was lovely. I really enjoyed Canberra and think it is actually a beautiful city. Canberra definitely isn't as bad as people say it is. Sure, it may not have as much happening as Sydney, but the things that happen in Sydney aren't exactly up my alley. I would actually love to move out of Sydney at some point to somewhere quieter. But alas, jobs.
  • I am going on a shopping ban for the rest of the year. The only exception to this ban are necessities such as socks, underwear, shampoo, etc. I am not very spend-y overall however I would like to be at a point where I am saving approximately 75% of my pay.
  • As of 2 weeks ago, I've uninstalled my Instagram and would like to maintain this ban for the month of July. I deactivated Facebook a few months ago to curb my mindless scrolling. This was relatively easy as I wasn't an active user. However I really felt that I needed to curb my time on Instagram. I got sucked into and spent so much time scrolling mindlessly / stalking and really want to do something more productive with my time.
How was your June? 
Monday, 8 May 2017


Tasmania 2017

Between jobs I took one week off to resume my roadtrip in Tasmania. At the end of last year, my trip to Tasmania was cut short due to a car accident. I knew that this would the only opportunity to take some time off this year (apart from the mandated Christmas closure). I had originally written another post to sum up my trip but decided to scrap it as it was a tad negative. I am quite a negative person naturally which, if I am being quite honest, doesn't bother me too much most of the time. But there are moments (like the present) where I want to work on it a little more.

Tasmania 2017

My trip to Tasmania did not go to plan. This time round, I did manage to complete the entire trip without any major mishaps. But it felt that there was a lot of bad luck. I am not a big believer of things happening for a reason, but I do believe that everything that happens has a place. Whether that is because of timing (similar to the idea of fate) or whether it is to teach and develop me into someone more capable for events in the future. Is the latter still fate? I don't believe so as it involves a conscious effort to view everything as a ~learning~. Even if that learning sucks. If I was to view the trip objectively, it would be a lesson in being flexible and more laissez faire. It also reaffirmed that I am capable of looking after myself by myself.

On a slightly more positive note, this post contains some stunning panoramas I captured on my phone since my camera was chucking a tantrum (it randomly stopped working halfway through my Tassie trip but now magically works again back in Sydney).

Tasmania 2017

Thank you for all your comments / advice on my previous post. I sometimes think I am a little crazy as I am often in two minds when it comes to the mental side of things. It is sometimes challenging to reconcile between what I am feeling and the rational side of things, where I try to tell / comfort myself that I shouldn't really be feeling whatever it is that I am feeling.

On a side note, I cringe when I hear the word 'learning'. My former boss was incompetent in one of our projects and then tried to pin all the shortcomings on me and claimed it would be a learning. For. Me. Hmm.
Friday, 5 May 2017


One of my most annoying traits is believing that people actually mean what they say. I suppose it is because I am quite selective in my words, only make promises that I know I can keep and I try to be as genuine as possible. If I have an interaction with someone I don't particularly like the conversation usually goes as follows: They: "We should hang out again", Me: "Yeah sure maybe". What this usually results in is that I say a lot of vague words and sentences. But something I have realised a long time ago is that people say things, simply to say things. You would think that this is something I would have concreted in my mind by now and yet it hasn't. It slightly* upsets / hurts me a lot when I discover that people were just saying empty words.

For context, this is about work. Thinking that I did have some friends from my old work but now discovering who my actual friends are. Ah... life. I quite often feel like people just result in disappointment, but then at the same time I also don't particularly care.

This sounds like something I would write about during my highschool days, but hey, I think life is a lot like highschool at times. * I use the word slightly because it is those situations where it bothers me and it also doesn't (since I know it always happens). 
Monday, 17 April 2017

Thoughts from a Law Graduate Who is Not Working in Law

In the professional world, the most common question I have been asked is: why do you not work in law? For readers who do not know, I attained a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws from university. This question is soon becoming the bane of my existence. It is the question that I get asked at job interviews (this is 100% guaranteed right after "so tell me about yourself") and when I introduce myself to colleagues. There are moments where I am bored of the question and then there are moments where I am frustrated to the point where I have seriously contemplated about tattooing my reasons of 'why not' on my forehead. Yno, to make life a little simpler.

In this day and age, I really do not understand why people are so concerned / interested as to why I haven't followed the traditional path of my university degree/s. I thought people loved to encourage others to stray from the beaten path! Why do people not question that I am not an accountant; in my business degree, I majored in accounting. I suppose the question also bothers me as it apparently is the most interesting thing about me! My work experience is not interesting nor the fact that I studied abroad! (I think it is also important to note that those who claimed that studying abroad would boost any CV is a liar. It is such a dime a dozen thing these days and definitely not unique). Or perhaps they (specifically interviewers) think they are asking me a tricky question that will throw me off guard. Ha, keep dreaming.

This post was inspired by my interview recently where, yet again, the question was asked. I have fine tuned my highly rehearsed and almost robotic response now! I am 2 years post graduation, have been in my first 'big girl' job and am applying for similar roles based on my experience from that job and YET people still ask me. Relevance?

P.S For those who are interested, I did not pursue law simply due to lack of opportunities and for the sake of my mental health (read: I was receiving far too many rejections, to the point where my self worth couldn't handle it anymore). But that is not my official reason, I have a better spin-doctor-y answer instead. Do I have regrets that I don't work in law? None at all. I look forward to the day where this insignificant fact is not the most interesting thing about me!
Wednesday, 24 August 2016


The journey back home is usually quite bittersweet. I am generally happy to return for the simple luxuries such as my amazing shower and my bed; I did invest in 1000 TC and linen sheets for a reason. This time round, I am quite excited to be heading back home. I have been missing home a lot on this trip which is an unusual feeling. In fact, I don't think I have ever experienced it before this strongly. I started feeling it on my last days in Mongolia and moreso during my stint in Hong Kong.

I have a overnight flight where I am hoping that I will be able to doze and will land in Sydney at 11am. I am somewhat ready to get back to that life, to sort out things and to catch up with a few people that I have missed dearly.

Being the person that I am, 95% of my photos from my trip have been edited and uploaded to my Flickr. All I need to do is write the posts . If you are interested in my photos please follow me on Instagram at natpkho as I will be uploading my photos there in the coming few days.
Friday, 19 August 2016

Ramblings on a Plane

Disclaimer: I am writing this on a flight and this is chattier and more rambl-y than normal.

Hi, I am Natalie and I love to travel. However, something that most people don't know about me is that I experence quite bad plane anxiety. Except for budget airlines - read: European airlines like Ryanair - I will be one of the last to board the plane. Not the very last one but I really don't see the need to be on a plane any longer than what I need to. Now, why am I in the beginning for those budget airlines, purely because I need to carry my large-ish backpack onboard and need to stealthily stow my luggage in the overhead compartments. It starts the moment I walk onto the tunnel and I start to smell the airplane smell which grosses me out a lot. It really annoys me that the smell permeates into all my clothing and into every pore.

Living in Australia definitely has its perks and appeals but the most annoying thing is that it takes a trek and a half to get anywhere. As at the time I am writing this, I am 3 hours into a 9 hour flight to Hong Kong and I am still flying over the Northern Territory in Australia. Hello! But I will shortly be saying adios to Australia and welcoming hours and hours of ocean!

I know that some people use the plane to catch up on movies and things of that nature, but with my anxiety I find it really uncomfortable to be watching a movie. From the numerous flights I have caught since 2012, I honestly cannot recall a single movie that I have watched.

What Does Natalie Do on a Flight?

  • Listen to the music on the flight. I am currently a little disappointed with the selection on Cathay Pacific; Virgin Atlantic has had the best! However they do have Maddie & Tae which I am loving.
  • Reading - I just finished a novel however I find it hard to immediately jump to another novel. I have to be listening to music as I am reading, more for background noise than anything.
  • I take off my shoes. Controversial! Of course, I have clean socks. I like to sit on my feet and for night flights, I do a half assed feotal curl sleeping position. On the topic of feet, the person sitting next to me also has her shoes off and sits on her feet more than I do which is impressive! For a while she was doing this squat on her chair which I believe would feel amazing.
  • I always have my backpack / bag at my feet to elevate. Being short does have its perks on a flight, namely legroom and ability to curl! However it does mean it isn't super comfortable to have my feet on the ground.
  • I try to not pee often / at all / maybe once only. The toilet freaks me out and I try to mentally forget that I am on a plane; I try to stay in my window seat and forget that I am only a few thousand of kms up in the air. Told ya, I have anxiety and my coping mechanism has been music and trying to pretend that I am not on a plane.
  • Think about everything in my life
  • On the topic of my last dot point, I have realised that for almost all my overseas / domestic trips since 2012 - truth be told, I only started travelling in 2012 - I have always had a partner. Each occassion has been a different partner, but there has always been someone waiting at home. Isn't that weird!

I am now off to write a few blog posts, namely Tinder dates.

Ah - I see the ocean now. Almost to Hong Kong now! Not. It kind of concerns me that I want to go to South America and Africa in the next 10 years. How will I survive the flight/s? I do not know.
Wednesday, 11 November 2015

My Biggest Pet Peeve: Lack of Accountability

There is a quote by C.S. Lewis:

'Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.'

I think it describes adulthood perfectly. More often than not, I think that I am the same person that I have always been. But in reality, I am remarkably different to 14 year old Natalie who first started blogging or in fact even 21 year old Natalie. If there is one thing I can say about myself is that I am more sure and confident of who I am, what I want in life and what I want out of the people who are in my life.

People may say that I am quite demanding and aggressive at times. I am largely a very easy going person. However there is one thing that irks me and that is the lack of accountability from people. Over the years, I have cut ties with quite a few people predominately due to their narcissism and their lack of accountability for their own actions. I shall illustrate this in four examples just from this year:

1) Sunbear
I believe that life is a series of choices and it is important to know that. I don't eat out at the trendiest food places in Sydney because I would much rather save that money for travelling. I would much rather spend that $25 for a bus ticket overseas. And that is my choice. This individual has consistently asserted his poor financial situation, which is not the problem. The problem arises when money is spent on studying in Switzerland (a super expensive country), visiting Cambodia, London and roadtrip-ing in Europe and is currently completing a 6 month internship in Atlanta, Georgia. But then claiming that there is no money and that is why 'I would love to visit Australia but I have no money'. That is a poor, poor excuse. Money is not the issue and that excuse always irked me.

I guess the final straw that broke the camel's back happened last night. Sunbear has been absent from my life for the past 3 months due to starting a new life in Atlanta. That was fine. My problem arose when he started messaging me (after a lack of communication when I tried to reach out) and his irritation when I didn't respond promptly. Ridiculous. Absurd. Infuriating.

Now where does the lack of accountability step in? The fact that I was the one who was allegedly overreacting, that it was my incorrect interpretation of the situation and using my feelings and not facts (have you heard of a more sexist comment?). I accept that I may have slightly overreacted but I stand by my principle and to not have accountability for one's actions and rather blame other people. Now that is absurd. It takes two to tango.

2) Fellow Grad
As hinted before, I had a recent issue with my fellow graduate. This person has always irked me but it was fine. Different personality; I find it hard to respect people who have no backbone. Recently for selfish reasons, he extended his defined rotation cycle and only informed me after the fact. Why does this impact me? It means that my rotation cycle is now affected as I was meant to move into the place he is currently at. At a high level, this was only a slight annoyance.

Now where does the lack of accountability step in? This happened when I asked why he didn't inform me when he was seeking the approval rather than telling me after the fact. Excuses. Excuses by the boatload started pouring in, also insinuating that I was overreacting (which I was not as I asked the one question) and in reality, he claims that his actions didn't have an impact. Bull. Shit. I would much rather he have taken ownership and accountability and stated that he did it and 'I thought it was best to tell you after the approval'. Rather, the 'blame' was shifted to his manager, his team blah blah blah and in reality, he had no part to play in the whole thing. Of course, this was consistent with his personality but unfuriating nonetheless.

As it is a colleague I will of course remain cordial and professional. Prior to this, we were half casual friends (the kinda but not really category). I have since cut out the friend component of the equation and we are purely work.

3) Ex
If there are three words to describe my ex it would be: lack of accountability. Lack of accountability for his finances, his education, his studies and everything else under the sun. Not much to elaborate except that is the epitome of someone who has no ownership or accountability for their own life.

4) V
I don't know him at all. Whatsoever. Perhaps it is his own insecurity but when I called him out on being promiscuous he got so offended and upset. Angry even. Why? To me it is as simple as this: you've made your bed, now lie in it. If you don't want people to know that you sleep around? Then don't tell people. Or better yet, don't sleep around. If you do sleep around, then embrace it! Own it!

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Saturday, 21 February 2015

"The heart is not so easily changed"

My head is in a really really weird space. Time is going super slow these days. If I am not at work, I am just lying in bed. For a week I was reading J.D Robb's "... in Death" series, 11 novels back to back. That is very indicative of the person that I am; I tend to do something in excess until I am sick of it. And I am now sick of the novels, far too formulaic. A twist happens at the 95% mark when I read on my Kindle (oh yeh I have a Kindle now). And reading about the intense relationship between Roarke and Eve just makes me sad. Ha.

I have this crazy urge to move overseas. To the point where I was researching working holiday visas. Although I'm naturally restricted by the language barrier which cuts my potential places significantly. The horrible thing is knowing what I want, but not being able to have it. Or having it just crushed by others. "The heart wants what it wants". Which is, crudely put, annoying as fuck.

I am in this slump that I cannot get out of.
Tuesday, 28 October 2014


I have this tendency to flit in and out of the present moment. Sometimes it will only be for a few seconds, other times my mind wanders for a few minutes. With the end of semester drawing to a close, I have been hit with a wave of nostalgia. Becoming sentimental about things that I probably shouldn't be sentimental about. Over the weekend, my family had a vote about whether or not two trees on our property should be cut down. I can see both of the trees from my bedroom, in fact, I can see both of them when I am lying in bed.

I have two special memories associated with those trees. Many years ago, I saw a parent Myna bird teaching its chicks how to fly. They were all lined up on one branch, which was very close to a gutter, and one by one, each chick flapped their wings for a second or two before landing on the gutter. The other time, I saw two kookaburras fighting over a worm akin to a game of tug-o-war.

& life goes on.
Thursday, 9 October 2014


I am sick. This is a tad inconvenient since I have a 100% weighted exam mid next week and my energy levels are at an all time low. Marathoning tv shows - namely Ugly Betty at the moment -aren't as fun when that is the only viable option. I guess it is less satisfying as I am not procrastinating from doing work.

I sometimes feel as though I mentally prepare for the wrong season, which I believe is largely attributable to the fact that I spend so much time on Tumblr or reading blogs from the northern hemisphere. When I am approaching summer, I am longing for winter and when it is winter, I am longing for summer. Seeing all the autumn photos and the changing leaves from deciduous leaves are making me nostalgic. Of course though, for a winter that never happens in Sydney. Seeing all these pumpkin spiced recipes and all the seasonal Starbucks drinks stimulates my cravings. Although when I was overseas, I did try the fall seasonal drinks - such as the pumpkin spiced latte and salted caramel mocha- and actually disliked them, so I'm not really sure where these 'cravings' are coming from. 

Throwback to me trying to awkwardly capture the moment when I threw leaves in the air. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Natalie's Ramblings

For the past few months, I've been sticking to a routine of posting one entry a week. That was going quite well until recently. I am glad that July is over. July is a terrible month for me since there are so many anniversaries of things that make me feel sad. It seems that over the years, "bad" things just seem to occur in the 7th month of the year. A break up, a death and 2012 Ski Trip. I guess the latter is a weird one. It is one of the best memories that I have but the memories are laced with sadness as I am not friends with any of them anymore. It is weird how fast time goes by, especially when you are like me and have the inability to not stalk people on social media or even lovely Google. Graduation of a old best friend which I didn't get invited to, my other former best friend going back to the snow with her new bffs and much much more. I guess this is a sad post. I miss the people that I used to know online, my group of Live journal pals who knew more about me than most people in the real world. I miss those connections and I miss that intimacy. I miss how honest people used to be online and now it's just about putting the best foot forward (I'm guilty of it too).

Ever since I got back from exchange a very long time ago, August has been another sad month. It has been nearly 2 years since I left for the US to embark on exchange. That's weird. I think July - October are just bad months for me.

Don't be mistaken, I try to be thankful and blessed for all that I have. But there are times where all I can think is of all the things that I have lost.

But life goes on.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

A Bit of Everything

"Why don't you look for a job that is interesting?"

I have worked at my current place of employment for just over 2.5 years now. I do enjoy working there, not so much the actual work but more the people. I love the group of people I have met and working there feels like home. Of course, the steady flow of income and something to do every week (I work on average, 15 hours a week) is welcomed. The question at the beginning of this post was asked by an acquaintance yesterday. It does astound me that people ask such idiotic questions, especially when they come from someone who has never worked in their life. I am always so reluctant to share to people at university where I work. Somewhere over the years it became frowned upon to work at a place that wasn't a law firm or in a legal environment in some shape or form. I noticed it this year when asked where I work, I would respond with "just at ___". Why 'just'? Somewhere along the lines, I ended up beliving that working where I work was almost embarrassing. It reminds me of a story. Two years ago, a uni guy was talking about his work and told everyone that he worked at a small law firm. Bragging almost. We were Facebook friends and lo behold, he had listed his place of employment and his position. The place was not a law firm nor was his position related to the legal profession by any connection, tenuous or not. I guess it ultimately comes down to the mentality of the faculty.

When I was still studying my other degree, that faculty didn't have a sense of cohesiveness, purely because of the sheer number of students. I used to classify the whole group into two groups of students: (1) international students who would return home after 3 years or (2) local students who derived their sense of self through electing their group of friends to the executive board of the society. Perhaps I was cynical, but I was always curious if they were pre-existing friends or they became friends because they wanted to become an executive in the society.

There are considerably less students who study law, and by default, there is more of a sense of 'collectiveness'. Though, after 4 years, I still haven't found my group of people. And truth be told, I don't believe that I will. Similarly, I think there are generally two types of people: (1) those who excel and are so secretive and (2) those who complain and whine about every little thing, as though they are  forced to study law at gun point. Most of the people that I know fall into the latter category. But I guess my biggest problem with the law school is the secrecy that is rampant. The worst is when I catch them in a lie or their lie is so blatant that I am astounded that they even bother.

Over time, I have realised that there is a decline in sincerity. People just aren't sincere anymore and I can't understand why. Is it just that I never noticed it before or are people changing? Something that is of great importance to me is to be able to take someone at their word. And I feel that the people that I know, they all seem to have the same problem. There is someone who, for years, has always mentioned the idea of going somewhere. To USA, to Europe and to areas relatively nearby and nothing comes from it. It's to the point now that whenever something is suggested, I don't even believe them because I know that it will just be "forgotten" and never be mentioned again. Being invited to someone's birthday gathering and then later told, "sorry I am busy as I am out with dinner with friends celebrating my birthday". To being forgotten that I was the only person interested in roller derby and not get asked if I was going and yet promising previously that we should go together. To agreeing to go to the Law Ball and then getting bailed on. There are so many people and so many instances just from the last 3 months that all I can do is laugh. I honestly don't understand. I am by no means perfect; that is not what I intend to convey. But I do try so hard to be the sort of person that I don't despise.

I see it at work too. I get treated as though I am a robot by customers which doesn't particularly bother me, probably because I am used to it by now. But, it is usually world's apart compared to people from older generations. They are -on the whole- kinder, more understanding and more patient. There are times where I am led to believe that I single-handedly ruined someone's day simply because we didn't have their size in the store. An amusing story was when I once got told that I would get sued; that I, personally, would get sued by the customer. Not suing the company that I work at. But me. I mean really? Good luck, I wish you the best of luck. Or perhaps it is not the world and the people within that are changing in nature, but perhaps it is that people from older generations have lived and reached a stage in their life where they understand what is important and what is not. Perhaps.

I have been told on many occasions that I am an old soul. Now, I just need to understand how to thrive in a world filled with new-souls.
Friday, 28 June 2013

Thoughts on People

Friends. They are all so complicated. I didn't plan on writing anything about my friends on this blog simply for the fact that it is public unlike my previous blogs. And who knows who will be reading this. But, what the heck.

I am hanging out with a mutual friend for the first time since I left for my overseas trip. Truth be told, it is giving me butterflies. Trying to uphold my image of "I'm great!" and that nothing phases me is a little tiring at times. Especially when I had a teensy breakdown when I accidentally ran into said friend earlier this year.

I have another person who I reached out to recently because there is so much that needs to be said and yet I do not know where to begin. A letter that I might read out to her might help. (Edit: Nope. I wrote it and it literally makes me sick. I can't even imagine reading it out loud.) There are moments when I think I know what I should do. It is normally after I read an article on Tiny Buddha, one of my favourite sites. I know myself well enough to know that I do not let things go easily, especially when there is an absence of closure. Though, I am unsure if this will even provide me with any closure.

This article resonated with me.
When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link into freedom.

I sent a letter to another friend 3 weeks ago and although I sent it with the intention of not receiving a response, I have to admit it does bother me that there is no response. In many ways, it does reflect upon the situation and their honest opinion of me. Though, the fact that there is no response does make me feel as though 9 years of friendship was all a lie. It bothers me, it really does.

People are confusing. I went to dinner with a few university people as I felt that I needed to be more proactive in making friends. Honestly, the dinner wasn't the best. I do not know how to overcome the feeling that I am a mere outsider peering into a group of friends. Inside jokes and common knowledge about certain events. Perhaps it is just the people that I was with, but it was as though I was in their shoes years ago. The degree of immaturity and their lack of political correctedness (I do not think that is a term).

It all started to go downhill when we first met. The original plan was to go to korean BBQ however most of the group was against the idea. As this girl oh so succinctly put it, "I didn't come to the city to eat Asian food. I want to eat White-people food". I cringed. Somehow, everyone agreed on this bizarre notion and off we went to, yep, Pancakes on the Rocks. Again. Oh dear. 

I always find it odd when 'Westies' band together for the mere fact that they live in Western Sydney. The same girl was so irritated by the fact that a 'Westie' was hanging out with people from North Shore, as though he was betraying his true identity. When people hear that I am from northern parts of Sydney, quite a few people go, 'oh', as it is meant to signal something. Signal what? I have no idea. The same girl asked me if I had visited Cabramatta, which I have, although it was years ago. To this, she simply retorted with, 'well then you wouldn't understand what it's like there'. And same applies for you; you have no idea how life is like where I live. Carry on. However usually, once they know that I lived in the west for 11 years of my life, somehow I magically transform into one of 'them'. Whatever that means. It does baffle me.

And one of my favourite quotes.
So what would Stan Marsh say in a situation like this? I think we all learned a valuable lesson about faith. You give it to the people you love. But the people who really deserve it, are the ones who come through even when you don't love them enough. 
Veronica Mars

This too will pass.


26th August 2012
As I flew from Chicago and into Georgia my first thought was: it's so green. The green that I am used to in Sydney/ Australia (though possibly not  Tasmania) is a green that is somewhat muted and more yellow. The green in Georgia was more of a true green. As I flew over cul-de-sac streets, it just seemed so American. And it reminded me of the houses in the Monopoly game; each house was identical to the other, evenly spaced out and then surrounded by green.

Atlanta is the state capital and the most populous city in Georgia and yet compared to LA and Chicago, it seemed so dead. The Hartsfield–Jackson airport is the world's busiest airport and I believe that it is because so many flights fly out from Atlanta (I will comment more on Atlanta itself at a later stage), which in hindsight was great for travelling.

I was picked up by the exchange coordinator, Valerie Molyneaux, who is the loveliest, kindest and funniest person I have met. She commented that I would win the award for the exchange student to have brought the least amount of luggage (my hiking bag and my daypack) which I later realised was true. Everyone seemed to have brought everything but the kitchen sink; I am talking at least 35kg in total. 







All the exchange students weren't living on campus which I was a little bummed about originally, but it was for the best. The school had organised off campus housing in a gated community. In hindsight it was a great idea. I only paid $1900 for accommodation + utilities + internet from August to December whereas I would have needed to pay at least $3600 + $2500 for a meal plan (a meal plan where you eat junk food all day every day!) and wouldn't have had access to a kitchen or laundry facilities easily. The apartment I was staying in was a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 bathrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 living room, 1 dining room and a balcony, shared between 4 girls in total. I shared a bedroom with a girl from Czech Republic. The other two girls were from: Spain and Italy.

When I was still in Sydney, I was so excited about the idea of having roommates and the like. In the end, I barely spent anytime with them and I didn't know them at all. I guess it didn't really help that I moved out (effectively) into Sunbear's apartment. His roommates became my roommates. It was a very sweet moment when his Swiss roommate was introducing us to his girlfriend and he introduced me and said, "she's also my roommate. Sort of".

Living with other people was an interesting experience. That being said, maybe it is because we are girls but the system of chores was better than the guys apartment. I normally ended up vacumming (mainly because I couldn't stand my roommate's hair near the mirror as she brushed her hair there). Though little things bothered me. I guess I am very conscious of the amount of water I use. Perhaps it's because of the drought and the water shortages previously or maybe just my family, but it irritated me immensely when someone would turn on a tap to full, walk away to get something/ do something and then return to the sink. This wasn't annoying but more amusing, but I also thought that my roommate used enough water to irrigate a small community. Every morning, she would take a bath and after her bath she would shower. Though in the end, I ended up moving out so it wasn't of my concern anymore.

On the topic of my roommate (who was lovely! Make no mistake) I loved how she 'forced' me to make my bed every day. I never make my bed, but she made her bed and ergo I had to (I didn't want to seem as though I was a total slob). Our bed attire was world's apart; I wore an oversized tee and shorts/ sweatpants whilst she wore a sheer-ish black baby doll top and black underwear. There was a sweet moment where we had washed our sheets and I wasn't home all day and when I finally came back at 11pm she had made my bed for me.
Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Pancakes on the Rocks (again) + Film Cameras





I went for lunch with two of my co-workers to Pancakes on the Rocks.It was a pretty great day in terms of weather; blues skies though it was chilly in the shadows.

Despite having visited the place numerous times before, I had never tried The Ultimate and it is my favourite now. I am not the biggest fan of pancakes, and, after eating pancakes for 9 days in a row when I was in Toronto, I can't really stomach pancakes anymore. Though I do love crepes and strawberries and cream cheese, so it was the perfect combination.

Chicken and Bacon Pizza

The Ultimate
The Ultimate



It was a good day; I haven't had a girly chat in ... months. Actually, the last chat that I remember was back in September 2012. Also tried out a new colouring, though I am not entirely sure if I like it.

I also brought out my SLR with Kodak Tri-x 400 film which I had loaded over 12 months ago. I actually have another 10 rolls of the same film and it's been struggle bringing myself to use it. The biggest issue is that I haven't found a cheap place to develop my black and white film. Most places are around $25-30 per roll which equates to a lot of money. I did manage to develop and print out one roll when I was living in Atlanta as there was a photography store down the road from where I was staying. It was $15 to print and develop (which is a bargain!) and I loved the shots that came out. I had taken the shots over 12 months prior and had completely forgotten what I had even taken. There is something beautiful about black and white images, especially the shadows. When I get around to it, I will scan and upload my favourite images. I digress. I have been tossing up the idea of developing my own film. I believe it will be around $100 as start up (all equipment and chemicals required). However, I still need to figure out a way to scan the negatives onto the computer. Then again, I am worried that I will ruin all my film. Not only that, I don't know if it's merely a fleeting interest and I will be left with chemicals and equipment that I no longer need.

On a similar vein, I am annoyed at the cost of scanning negatives to film. When I was overseas, I had also developed colour film however the store was too slow and didn't print out the negatives. Back here, it costs the same amount to scan the negatives onto a CD as it does to actually get it developed and scanned. Which baffles me because the hardest part (developing the film) is already done. Baffles me, it really does.
Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Future

I have lost my way.

Though it is arguable if I ever had a way to begin with. I am at the period of my life where I am looking and applying for jobs for the summer, my door for graduate employment. A real job. That is incredibly daunting especially as I do not know what I am doing with my life. When I was younger, I always imagined that I would have figured it all out by now. I would have found my passion, my desire and the path that I wished to pursue. I have to admit that I am no better off than I was as a young 17 year old. When I was a senior at highschool, I always thought to myself, "just two more years and then I will finish the HSC and I will work out what happens next at a later point". During my first 3 years of university, I had the same mentality although I knew that the future was looming in the far horizon. That horizon is here now and I am still as clueless as I ever was. I am studying a degree that is 'safe' and yet I do not enjoy it. I dislike university and I dislike all that I have done.

So what comes next? If I get hired or offered a graduate role, do I then do a job that I am not sure about and is that what the rest of my life will be? The thought of living a life where I am not living but merely existing frightens me.
Saturday, 16 June 2012

Maria Kochetkova

My final exams are finally over and now I have time to finalise all my requisite paperwork for my exchange next semester. During the past week, I stumbled upon an intriguing article in Dance Magazine concerning Maria Kochetkova. I first discovered this San Francisco principal dancer from a video from Anaheim Ballet's YouTube account. From this video she said something that stuck with me:
It's not so much about talent but how much you want to do it and how smart you work. How smart you accept all the difficulties that come on your way because there will be many, but they are there to make you stronger not to push you away from what you love.'
I think that what she said is so inspiring and is not restricted to dance (ballet). The article in question was this one and the quotes that were memorable included:
“Since I was 10, I had to work hard to get everything,” she says. “Nothing came easy to me. I knew there would be no help from other people.”
Kochetkova left the Bolshoi’s school at 18 without an offer from the company, and, in the new post-Soviet world, she looked West for opportunity.
Kochetkova’s contract was not renewed when Monica Mason succeeded Stretton. But, then, Matz Skoog invited her to join ENB.
The article made me reflect. So often in life, we only ever hear about someone's achievements and this is because people end up embellishing and refrain from disclosing certain information. When I am preparing for interviews and I read the partner's resume I feel so intimidated. These people seem to have accomplished so much in such a short period of time and I end up feeling as though I will never be able to achieve even a fraction of what they have achieved. Yet, it was only when I read that article concerning Maria that it made me realise that people present their lives in the best light possible, which of course is understandable. I guess it was eye-opening because I had read a lot of other interviews with Maria and they had all stated 'she left and went to XX' rather than stating that she did not get offered a contract. Hopefully I will be able to remember this when I am applying for clerkships this time next year which seems to be a 'dog-eat-dog' world, a situation where hundreds of applicants apply for 5-15 positions.
Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Annual Day of Reflection and Introspection


Queen Victoria Building

Mango Pancake

It is that time of the year again where reflection and introspection is often undertaken by a lot of individuals. In many respects, New Years Eve celebrations are a bit overrated and yet I do believe that they have a place in life. The presence of a definite cut-off does provide benefits as I feel it almost forces an individual to reflect upon the year in its entirety. Per usual there are a list of questions that I strive to answer this time each year. However rather than asnwering it question by question, I shall try to merge it into paragraphs, elaborating where I see fit.

2011 has been an unusual year for me as I feel as though my emotional maturity has increased and yet at the same time it is almost as though I have not changed since 2010 or any other earlier year. Perhaps that is what it is meant to be however; growth is subtle and yet is obvious when examined over a longer period of time. This year I have become more self aware and comfortable with myself and have finally passed the stage where I felt the need to conform to the majority's perceived normality. Consequently I have spent a lot of time alone intentionally and explored new places that I had always wanted to visit by myself. This is not necessarily different to any other year, however what is different is my perspective towards such outings. This year a lot has happened: I went to Hong Kong and saw it as an adult, truly appreciating the differences with my homeland; someone close to me died; and I have become well adjusted into university life. Without consulting with my diary, I cannot remember all of the memorable dates of 2011, however one of them would be Christmas Eve when my friend surprised me at my house with a gift. The gift was not something that I would have necessarily wanted but the thought and effort was all that mattered in the end. New Year's resolutions are made every year, however for the past 3 years they have been the same 3 resolutions: lose X kg and two other personal goals. I do not feel as though I have made any progress in two of the resolutions however indirectly I am satisfying one due to my gaining maturity. Being the cynical person that I am (although I prefer to refer to myself as a realist) my personal achievements are something that I can never identify; I am definitely my worst critic. I could name internships or gaining job opportunities as my biggest achievement, however I feel more comfortable in naming my increased self contentness as my greatest achievement of the year. As I am so critical on myself, I have multiple biggest failures such as: exchange application, job application, university result for one subject and one other personal issue.

The biggest pet peeve of this year has definitely been people's opinions, or more correctly, people's reaction to conflicting opinions. There are so many examples that I can think of one of which I shall blog about at a later date, but namely feminism, politics and the creationism. This was recently brought to my attention with the Kelly Clarkson and the Ron Paul tweet a few days ago. Disclaimer: I know nothing about Ron Paul and even more broadly, I know nothing about American politics, hence I have taken each opinion as 'fact'. The 'fact' is that Ron Paul is a homophobe and racist. I personally find it somewhat irrelevant if someone else's view clashes with my own. It is unsettling without a doubt however, I feel that people tend to forget that people are allowed to have opinions and ultimately right and wrong is all subjective, especially when it comes to politics, and it is incredibly childish to send so much hate and insult people for merely having an opinion. Why should the person with the conflicting view conform with what the majority's/ the other person's view? What I believe is that people need to respect other's opinions, no matter how ill-informed, ignorant, stupid or conflicting it may seem because ultimately, it isn't black and white and it is incredibly ignorant to assume otherwise.

Onto lighter matters. The song that will remind me of 2011 would probably be Jewel's What you Are, Adele's Someone Like You and Pink's Who Knew. I wish I'd done less planning and analysing potential activities and actually gone out to do them instead. I did not fall in love per se, but I grew to love myself more. My favourite tv show would definitely be Once Upon a Time and my favourite novel of 2011 is Emma by Jane Austen. I am not a Jane Austen fan; the grammar and writing makes it very difficult for me to fully immerse myself into that world. I first read the book back in 2009 right before my HSC exams and after I watched the BBC miniseries with the beautiful and talented Romola Garai. With book to movie adaptations, I tend to refrain from making too many comparisons as I feel that the movie should be able to stand on it's own without the help of the novel. As it is the visual medium of television, naturally the story moves a lot faster than the novel and I tend to read the novel before watching the miniseries or movie. However Emma was an exception as I had previously failed to appreciate the story beforehand. There is something quite charming about the novel that appeals to me and it would probably be the Emma character herself.

If the year could have been 'immeasurably more satisfying' it would have been completing one, if not all, of my 2011 resolutions. The most valuable life lesson I have learnt in 2011 is to love yourself and be content with yourself (which is not the same as happy) because at the end of the day you are all you have. Also, Ingrid Michaelson's quote is something I try to live by: '
As long as you feel like you are doing the right thing then in the long run that’s all that’s gonna matter because, yno, you’re the one lying awake at night alone in bed and thinking about your life. And if you have compromised your life you’ll know.

So here is to the last few fours of 2011 and I shall be sitting on the couch watching the fireworks on the television, hoping that 2012 will be an even greater year.
Saturday, 24 December 2011


Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.
~ Paul Strand


Electronic rubik cube

I am in the process of defragmention; arguably it may be a futile attempt to better the performance of my laptop. I do not like to edit my photos that are more than a week old and yet, the internet is temperamental and my computer is cluttered with mess that I have accummulated over the course of 2.5 years. A few years ago, it seemed I was very dedicated in keeping my photos ordered by year, month and date and scanning through the folders of images I have, memories come flooding back. I have forgotten so many things and yet seeing those images reminded me of the situation, firstly the good moments as photos nearly always capture that and then the not-as-lovely memories.

Hand Quote

I cannot remember what quote I wrote on my hand and Google did not bring forth any useful searches. Nevertheless, the quote still maintains relevance four years down the track.