Catching up with my Train of Thoughts



We all need friends – it’s part of who we are. Some are the kind to make you laugh, to get you to change your mind, all the while making you feel less along in this big world

You are the fruit that I hope to grow

Ever have someone who has these hopes and/or dreams of which they want you to achieve?

For a lot of people, the first two people to come to mind might be their parents. I’m not sure to say that I’m lucky in that my parents never had a specific plan for what I was to do.

Funny enough, that wasn’t who said the quote in the title. I had just joined a club that was close to being shut down. I had recently started to get involved, talking about ideas that I had for the future to promote the club and that’s when I started to attract the club president’s attention (he was graduating next semester). He started frequently telling me all of these hopes for the new members to grow the club and make it bigger than it had ever been, for it to flourish.

In any other situation, I might be excited because it did sound interesting. Yet, I had that feeling of dread, as though I know that I wouldn’t be able to achieve those big dreams of his.

When I say “join”, I meant that I had recently become one of their executive members, which meant that I had gotten my very first managing position. Upon reading the bylaws, which was required when running to be an executive, I found that there was a lot that I needed to do:

  • Social media advertising (don’t know means),
  • Updating members electronically (can’t type a normal email), and
  • Manage the club’s website (this is the only thing I can improvise on)

… Can I do this?! Will I be able to grow a tree successfully? Or will it wither back into the whole I buried it in?

Those were the questions that popped in my head when I got the position (and they like to come back every once in a while). Several months later, I find myself taking an online marketing course and occasionally updating the website, slowly adapting to the drastic changes in my life.

Many of my friends who’ve heard about it are always eager to hear how it’s going and always seem more than happy to lend a hand or another head every once in a while. As a result, I’m finding ways and people to help me grow the tree and even spread its roots a little further.

That’s not to say that I’m perfectly adapted – I’m finding myself using it as a means of distraction from homework (get away from me, monkey!) – but I’m getting better at it. Sorry, ex-prez. It might be a while before you see my tree blossom, but with everyone’s help


To help yourself is to help others

Ever feel good after helping others? Know anyone who is almost always volunteering to help others in need? Ever help a friend in need? 

From Psychology and Anthropology, I learned that humans are social creatures, learning our survival skills from those around us. From experience, I often felt good after helping others, regardless of how small the act is. 

Something I hear a lot is that to help others is to help yourself. However, recently, I’ve started to think otherwise. 

In an environment like that of a university, they always encourage that students focus on helping themselves before helping others, hence why there’s so many resources to help students do well in their classes. 

I’ve started looking at creative alternatives to break my destructive habits. I started writing again, bought a colouring book (Doctor Who, of course), I got a stress ball (like Sherlock’s skull), and… I painted my nails blue (almost TARDIS-like). 

For every alternative that I’ve tried, I was already becoming scared before even starting, which made me hesitate in starting, but I went ahead. 

As a result, I’m not as afraid of not being perfect, I’m better able to manage my stress, I become aware of what I do I’m stress, and I don’t suppress my artistic side as much. 

Just like many of the articles said, the colouring book did help, just as every other method works. I still get stressed, as any other person, but I understand it better. By doing so, I’m better able to help others, which is what I always love to do. When people ask why I chose that method, I tell them that it allows for me to understand myself and, by extension, others around me. 

One day to a week to a month…

How long has it been since I lasted posted here? A month, I would think.

Why would I stop writing? I might tell you that I didn’t have the time.

During the summer, I didn’t feel like writing anything. Then, it went from a day to a week, then to several months before I posted anything. While I had nothing but time, I lost interest in taking part in it, thinking that I no longer need it..

One thing that I’ve learned is that if you can come up with more excuses than reason, you probably shouldn’t go through with the decision and if you can come up with more reasons than excuses, than you probably should.

Of course, it’s always different depending on the individual. I’m not the kind of person who would actually write down the pros and cons of a decision, but rather focus on the cons instead of looking at everything. Since I was only looking at one side, I somehow started to think that I no longer have the time to commit to doing this.

And yet here I am, typing once more and reflecting on the number of reasons why I stopped in the first place. They are small in numbers, but it was enough to convince me to stop looking for the rewards for doing so.

Why stop a habit that has proven to be beneficial? That’s a question that I’d like find the answer to one day. Maybe because it requires a lot of time as a commitment, or maybe because it’s something else entirely. I said in an earlier post that I would try to post regularly once more, but, as Ana Jarvis said: “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

My pile of good and bad things

The way I see it, life is a pile of Good Things & Bad Things.

The Good Things don’t necessarily make the Bad Things unimportant, but vice versa, the Bad Things don’t necessarily spoil the Good Things

~The Doctor & Van Gogh

Ever have a string of bad things happen? Ever wonder why it is that it is almost always bad and never good? What about the opposite?

A lot happened, I won a mini-speakers, I lost a precious scarf, I nearly failed a class, I was promoted while volunteering, I took down my customized desk… The list goes on. As the Doctor told Amy after finding out that nothing could be done to save Van Gogh, “Life is a pile of good things & bad things.”

Last November, I was scrolling on Facebook, as 99% of my generation do, I saw a post by a local radio group/page/host (a.k.a. The Beat 92.5) that made a brief mention of a project of sorts that reminded me of what the Doctor told Amy on that day.

The project starts with a jar, paper and a pen. Over the course of a year, you would fill that jar of all of the good things that happened. At the end of the year, the jar would be filled with little bits of paper of moments when good things happened. The last part of this project would be to empty it and look at all the little pieces, reading them once more about how awesome the day was over the year.

Since it was close to the end of 2015, I wanted to run a bit of a trial run, so I bought a jar, some paper and a pen and did exactly what the project described. Around New Year’s I opened it up… and found myself with a lot of pride, laughter and happiness with every little piece that I read.

But then, shortly after New Year’s, I lost my scarf. That day, I kind of spent a while moping  in my room. I wanted to get it back, for sure, but I also felt like this wasn’t something I should brush aside and forget it. It was then that I decided to tweak the project that I had going on.

Now, the jar is still filled with bits of paper, but the content of the papers are written in Green and Red. Green was for the moments when something good happened and Red was for something bad happened. The reason why was that, when it gets the end of the year, it’s no longer a pile of red and green, but looks more like the colours of Christmas, which always made me happy.

Everyday, things happen to us. They can be good and they can be bad, but that’s not to say that we should forget that it happened in the first place. When they do happen, we often reflect, thinking of the reason why and what to do for the next time (to prevent or to make it happen again). I felt that by having a jar with all of these things in it, I become more aware of what happens every year and become just a little bit more appreciative of all the things that happened to me, whether good or bad.

Searching for THE ONE… or onesssss

Ever hear of the term “the Chosen One”? Or spend hours looking for that one special thing? Or read a story that talks about two individuals being the perfect match for each other? Ever hear that kids should know what they want to do in the future?

In a time where novels are published almost on a daily basis, we seem to have an idea planted into our heads that we need to find the one. Now, it could be the one true love, the one perfect house, the number one purpose, or the one next specialty in University. To make matters even worse, some of the people in our lives insist that we know what that special one (person, job, place…) at an early point of our lives!

But do we really need to? Characters like The Doctor from Doctor Who or Flynn Carson from The Librarians are individuals of whom have a loooong and wide background, having a bit of experience in many fields. Surely, it takes a long time to obtain all of those degrees, but they could never decide on one field. The Doctor could be a teacher or a general (an actual doctor is questionable) while Flynn was a Professor and an enthusiastic searcher for relics before he became The Librarian.

In real life, I’ve met people who have several bachelors and are in a completely different profession. For example, one has a background in Fine Arts & Psychology… she’s working at the University! Another example is someone of whom spent a lot of his time in the business field (accountancy, I believe) and is now happily working as an academic adviser. I have yet another third friend of whom is pursuing a second degree while successfully shuffling two teaching jobs!

If you’re the kind to read/watch manga/anime, you might be familiar with the scene where characters within a high school are asked what it is that they want to do in life as a career. Sometimes, I wish that schools in my area had that so we didn’t have to face the same decision later on in life, being forced to spend a lot of hard-earned time and money… but at the same time, making that decision at a later point is a moment where we would have more life experience and maybe more knowledge of the many jobs in the surrounding area.

So, what to do with the quest to find THE ONE? Your choice – you could choose one and go for it; you could do a little of everything like The Doctor or Flynn – the possibilities are endless. Finding the one soul mate is another story, which for some is as complicated as River and The Doctor or as simple as love at first sight. Don’t limit it to one, try two or three – just one is too hard, whereas three is something of which can be worked on and merged together… just needs a little ingenuity

With Power Comes Responsibility

Ever wish that the right person would hear the whispers of the world? Ever find that, when it suddenly becomes a loud voice, that there’s a sudden desire for it to quiet down again?

As cliche as it may be, the saying “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” from Spiderman might hold some truth to it.

IMG_0422The MBA ICC came to a close last Friday, which brought some sadness and happiness since it was fast-paced, but very enjoyable. I heard many times that I might be promoted the next time I volunteer for the event (hopefully next year), meaning that I would be a Lead Volunteer next time.

Truth be told, I’ve no idea what that title means, but I would assume that it comes with more responsibilities and more tasks. I’ve always worked in the background & was never promoted so quickly. As quickly as my excitement came, so did dread… that I couldn’t keep up with their expectations, whatever they would be.

No matter the environment, when it comes to a change in position, especially upwards in the hierarchy, it can be terrifying because it may mean different environment and different rules. It could mean that more reliability and more publicity, and less leeway. All of those can lead the despair of meeting the future expectation, even when they aren’t even known yet. When in that new position, you could find yourself overwhelmed… or maybe it’s not as hard as you imagined it to be. Maybe, with time, it’ll become easier and comfortable.

With power comes responsibility, regardless if it’s with Peter becoming Spiderman or another Peter becoming an Honour Student, it can be nerve-wracking. While it might seem terrifying in our heads, we don’t know for sure until we try it. As a friend told me, “If you don’t try, you won’t know.”


Wanting and Needing – Different Things

Ever see how erratic people can be during this time of the year? Ever see the parking lots of shopping malls just minutes after it had opened? Ever see people arguing with the employees for a sale or for the purchase of a particular item?

Whether you’re eight years, eighteen or even 68, the week of Christmas is crazy in almost every aspect – there are sales in every store and thousands (if not millions) of items are being bought online. Kids are impatient while waiting for Christmas and for Santa to drop by their homes to shower them with gifts.

But.. do we really need all of these things that we’re buying? On the TV, there are frequent commercials that indicate using debit over credit to avoid debt in the following year. People are lining up hours in advanced to catch a sale and looking in all directions for a spot to park.

I’ve heard recently that as we grow older, our Christmas lists grow shorter and the things that we really want are not things that can be bought. Things like an overdue Family Reunion, A break from work, Karaoke with Friends, to catch up with favourite TV shows, reading those books that you always wanted to read – they’re not things that can easily be bought, and even if they were, it wouldn’t feel the same.

Wanting is a desire from the mind – something that is interesting to have as a possession, not necessarily as a tool of sorts. Needing is a necessity – something of which is required.

Those moments with family, friends or even with a favourite book – they’re all things that many of us need as a way to get back in touch with others and with ourselves. The other things – toys, electronics, clothes – they’re just one of the many ways to invite people to connect with others (or to reconnect).

Just remember, not every one can afford the items of the highest value – maybe that’s why people say that it’s the thought that counts. And those items? There are other ways to buy them without fighting or waiting in a long line.

Translation n’est pas always easy (English et Français) (Possibly Chinese)

Ever learn more than one language? Ever find that the second language might have (or probably has) too many grammar rules to remember? Ever been told that fluency means being able to speak to anyone about anything in that language? Ever hear of people who translate word by word, only to find that it actually doesn’t make any sense?

Chances are that, if you live in Quebec (and possibly Ontario), You might have been exposed to two or more languages. Here in Quebec, we learn English and French, and yet some of us can barely introduce ourselves in the other languages while sounding fluent.

Quand j’étais jeune, mon m’a corrigée les centaines de fois pendant l’école primaire et secondaire. C’était seulement depuis 4 ans que j’suis appréciative de ce qu’il m’avais dit en corrigeant mes amis internationaux qui veulent apprendre la langue. 

However, even with an educational background of both English and French, I still find it hard to translate between the languages, maybe because of all of des règles de grammaire. De plus, as I start to learn Mandarin and its rules of grammar, I start to quickly and frequently be reminded how translating n’est pas la même chose quand on le traduire mot-par-mot (That’s Google Translate… not the most accurate) and asking 中国朋友 are not as helpful since they suggest words a beginner wouldn’t know or recognize.

Funny thing is, while I might be considered as fluent in French, si tu me parles de la domaine de compatbilité, je ne te comprendrais pas un mot (If you were to talk to me about Accounting, I wouldn’t understand one word from you). It’s the same in English, where I wouldn’t understand anything in relation to physics.

When it comes to translation, word by word doesn’t mean that the context stays the same between languages. The closest is getting the equivalent from one language to the next with the least amount of context lost. And to be fluent? Practice in both familiar and new/foreign environments.

Learning Mandarin and then some of Montreal

Every take courses late in the night? Ever find that, as life starts to settle down into the homes, class might be just starting, as though day and night seem to have switched? That, going home at such odd hours, the night view might start to look like the daylight? And, in that odd daylight, a new city life emerges, one maybe not many would see?
During this semester, I started taking a Mandarin course that took place during 6 and 8pm. At first, I was unsure if I would be able to stay up until then, given that I would have a full day of classes up until then. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my other classes because of how late I might go to sleep.

But then, I started to go through living with a night course and I found that I was wrong on many counts – I was almost never tired (large break before), but I was hungry a lot; and I could keep up with the other classes because they in the afternoon or had a day with no classes. Moreover, I had the chance to see something of which I thought I would never get to see – the Montreal Night Life.

It was busy. It was noisy. It was bright in the night sky. It was energetic with dancers and performers at many corners. It was as though I had stepped into another city. My friends who lived nearby wondered why I was fascinated, but I couldn’t help but want them to see what I see – something new about the old city.

Taking the Mandarin course provides me with a refreshing view of the language along with the challenge of staying atop of the speaking abilities, which makes me more alert rather than tired. I get the chance to practice with many Chinese friends (中国朋友), improving slowly, but surely.

Going home, I have to take a train, which I have almost never taken beforehand. I found it to be noisy, a little rocky, and crowded, but the places we passed by were breath-taking, especially at night. There’s a place near Bois-Franc that resembles to a place that would generate electricity- the lights connected to the poles light up like a Christmas tree (it’s mesmerizing). There are multiple graffiti signs, each unique, and each fascinating in their own way.

However, as the days pass, and the midterms approach, I focus less on this new environment and more on school. As someone once reminded me, to relieve stress, it helps to ground oneself. To do so, take a moment and stop. Look around, hear, smell, touch, and appreciate that moment. Maybe I’ll take a few pictures and post them here some time.

Sunset at Train Station Montreal Downtown Gare Centrale Lane 12-13

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