Catching up with my Train of Thoughts



Differences in Age Difference

Ever notice that someone might look different? Ever notice that someone learns the material in a different way? Or that someone is somehow able to remember everything they read? 

On a daily basis, one might say that others look different because they have a different background. Maybe they are born in another region, with different parents, and who speak another language. Simple, right? 

Not to everyone. 

Among kids, I notice that they don’t think as we do (not yet, anyways). When they see someone who’s taller, wider, skinnier, darker, paler, speaks another language – anyone who’s different, a lot of them will start to ask questions. 

As someone in Sociology, it might be exciting to see kids wanting to understand more of the diversity in the small world around them. But from their point of view, they might not have seen anyone who was that different from them. 

When they do ask such questions, sometimes the adult tells them to take it back & apologize, as though they meant an insult in asking that. 

When I was asked why I was Chinese, I told the child that the answer would be a very long one. However, it is indeed a good question – for someone of whom that doesn’t have any relatives who are actually from China, why am I Chinese? It would make for an interesting sociological study, but for the child, he was told that it’s because my relatives from long ago are from China (close enough, I would think). 

Back in the adult world, those kind of questions are rarely asked, maybe because we’ve all had similar experiences as the child mentioned before. Maybe we don’t ask those questions because we’re afraid to be taken the wrong way or that we would be seen as rude. 

By reflecting, I start to think that a lot of us are expected to know society’s norms and morals by the time we reach adulthood. However, as I quickly learn in University, everybody has different norms and values that they brought from home. What seems normal to one person from China might seem awkward and uncomfortable to another person who was born and raised here in Canada (and the same vice versa). 

To say that we grow to ignore differences is to say that we grow to become blind. Maybe instead, it might be better to say that we accept or overlook the differences to make connections with people of whom have stories that, to us, are dreams that we hope to one day achieve or experience. 


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.

Happy 2016! +2016 Resolution

Is it possible to stick to a resolution following New Year’s? Can the resolution change?

Happy 2016, people of the internet. Around this time of the year, maybe even earlier, people make resolutions, which always fascinates me. Most of the time, it’s something along the lines of a certain weight goal (hence why studies have shown a spike in Gym Memberships around this time).

As usual, I wanted to expand my network, so I volunteered for an annual event called the MBA ICC, which is where students from all over the world (Finland, Singapore, US, Sweden, France, are among the many) come in to compete in front of judges who are CEOs of companies with an actual case. It started on January 3rd (yesterday), and it’s been… mind blowing!

On day one, I was with many lead volunteers, learning the ropes of the hotel and testing out the equipments for the evening party (turned out that the karaoke machine needed fixing :C). Day two, I was again doing preparations for future events, whether it was for the volunteers or for the party in the evening.

One thing that I realized today that may have taken a while to notice was that I was given a lot of responsibilities, considering it was my first time volunteering at such an event. On day one, I was grouped with the lead volunteers when I myself was given the label of simply a “volunteer”. Whenever there was a problem, I had to make a decision, and the volunteer coordinator (Miguel) had a lot of confidence in me. IMG_0361

Obviously, being careful with this new boost in confidence, it may mean that I might want to look at myself in a positive light, rather than constantly or frequently critical of everything (bad habit of Social Scientists).

So, my resolution of 2016? Make a more honest self-portrait. Instead of taking other people’s opinions as facts, get those facts myself. Find my passion and strive in this leap year. Today’s day 3 of a 366 journal – let’s make it a good story.


Studying for what you like Versus what you’re good at?

Ever hear that one should pursue a career with passion and motivation? Or that the field of study should be something that has peaked one’s curiosity? Ever hear that if you’re interested in something, you’ll be motivated to continue it?

As the first half of my second year comes closer to an end, I slowly realized so many things that are wrong with my way of thinking (in terms of what program I wanted to go into).

I realized that my interests in things like psychology, sociology/anthropology were just interests, noting more. I mean, a job like a detective’s or like Bones’ sounds like so much fun… If I knew what I was doing and if I was good at it.

Things like psych/soci/anth are mostly theory based, where the application is only in research papers or in everyday life. However, because it’s theory, it can be modified or rejected by individual cases.

In Concordia University, they offer a few tests of which can indicate which careers would suit certain personalities – that are the MBTI and Strong Interest Inventory. I won’t go too much into details, but they can give ideas only and are not to tell you that you have to go into it.

Anyways, both tests didn’t have Psych in the top twenty, let alone any other Social Science field… but they did point towards more science-orientated fields, like engineer, science teacher, and even a nurse!

So what am I aiming for now? Computer Science. Why? It can be science related, but first requires some math background (Cal I & II, Linear Algebra). I know, big difference between Sociology and Computer Science, plus I know almost nothing when it comes to programming. However, I tend to pick up quickly on patterns, which is a core part of programming. Plus, math is something that I’m usually good at. Because of these two, I’m confident that I can do well in it (just got a shot of dopamine in my head 😀 ).

Running, never stopping

Ever try to create a new habit? Ever have a series of success? Ever find that the new habit fades away, to the point of which it’s gone?

Somehow, it feels as though I haven’t written anything for the entire semester (even though it’s only been a month and a half), and I actually became stressed on not writing anything.

Finals just finished for me this semester, and next semester starts as early as January 6th (I think), and so, I have a lot of… residual stress? The finals are always a stressful time, but I never took the time, during the second half of the semester, to calm down or to relieve some of that stress.

As a result, it accumulates. Nail-biting, lip biting, irregular sleep patterns, high levels of alertness, massive bad cold (again) – classical stress symptoms from Psych Class. Moreover, the number of distractions that my imagination made? It was on overdrive – I made a story of Virtual Reality crossing Fictional Doctor Who and Reality, I made a story of Alice in Wonderland and Criminal Minds – the list goes on (none are completed as they were forgotten over time).

So, what to do after the finals? Take a breather. I’m the kind of person who calms doing simple things, so I got myself an art-therapy book (wish list – DOCTOR WHO colouring book) and started turning scrap paper into little boxes to be used later for stuff (very useful). I also got a new camera and took the liberty of discovering the Montreal-equivalent of Diagon Alley (Keeping my word to two folks I met, I’ll leave it to you to find out where it is)DSCN2934.jpg

Oh, and of course, get back to blogging! As I mentioned before, I tend to calm myself doing simple tasks and writing these posts actually do calm me a bit (or distract me). I hope to continue it into the 2016 and find new ways to manage this accumulation of stress (suggestions? Comment!)

Levels of Stress as a Volunteer (#CUopenhouse)

This Saturday (Nov. 7th) was Concordia’s Open House, where the university invited potential students from all over to come and learn everything there is to learn about the university.

As I’ve volunteered for the orientation, I was pretty familiar with the general idea of interacting with people and sharing stories. What I was not prepared for was the chaos that came with a public event – students of all ages coming in, speaking different languages (not limited to French or English) and coming from all parts of the world.

I had never seen that level of chaos before and, as a volunteer, had to quickly adapt. I found myself switching between languages (lots of stuttering) and momentarily meeting people of different backgrounds.

I was assigned to Loyola, the second campus in St-Laurent (if memory serves), where they were having free beaver tails. I don’t know if it’s a Canadian-exclusive pastry snack, but it’s a simple pastry that can a variety of toppings (cinnamon, nutella, banana, maple…) and it tastes amazing (all the while being messy). It felt so warming for a morning that ranged between 5 &10 degrees celsius (probably ~4 in the shade). Because it was so cold, We were given a bigger t-shirt to accommodate a Jacket being put under, which felt silly, but was needed.

While volunteering,  I started to appreciate my being fluent but also realized how lacking my vocabulary was in French (Mandarin might be a little bit obvious). I also appreciated looking at the university at a different angle (a volunteer introducing the university) rather than as someone who was guiding new students.

The other campus (Sir George Williams), as I quickly found out, was an entire different level of chaos. Being in downtown, people (students, parents & children alike) were coming from all directions, and questions of all sorts were asked. Similar to Loyola, volunteers were up and about, answering questions and guiding newcomers.

While both campuses had their own reasonable level of stress, I became somewhat appreciative the amount of patience that everyone had in trying to manage most, if not all, of the individuals who came by the booths. Some had very specific questions, while were unsure of what it is that they were looking for. Among us volunteers, many came to ask where to find a specific department’s booth as well as what our experience has been in the university thus far.

Packing up the day, I looked back at the t-shirt that we given as part of the Welcome Centre. Although the same shade as that of a minion, it was enough to shine a new light on the university I thought I knew.

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

Creativity strikes as the clock chimes once more in the dark room… (Slight Rant)

Why? Out of all of the times to be creative, why?? Out of all of the hours of the day, afternoon, and evening, why??? Why on earth am I getting all of these ideas now?!?!?!! (It’s near 1am… I usually asleep by now)

I remember hearing that reading could ease into sleeping mode, but I also remember hearing that light encourages the mind to be awake. Moreover, I remember hearing that everything should be done an hour before going to sleep

… *tick tick tick*

….. *throws clock away*

*(mumbled) tick tick tick* *groans*

Well, you learn something everyday… Even if it implies to ungodly hours.

(Should have taken out the batteries)

Even in the world of Pokemon, time still ticks by… (Spoilers) (FEELS)

Recently, I got Pokemon X (Fangirl squeal), and pretty much spend a large majority of my recent time solving every puzzle that presented itself in the game as I came closer to beating the Champion, Diantha.

Among the many puzzles, there was one that was so curious. In Anistar City was an old man residing in a small home, asking for a young Pokemon to take care of, as a companion of sorts. Being naive, I was wondering why he was there – was there a significance of giving him a young Pokemon?

So, what did I do? I gave him a level 3 Pikachu and was quickly back to running into the snow cave to save an Abomasnow from Team Flare. I saw him once or twice after that, seeing that he seemed to enjoy the company and I got the impression that he became sad when he asked if I wanted the Pikachu back.

I left it with him, running back and between places, beating one Gym after another, finally completing the within 3 weeks. It was only recently that I thought about checking on him and the Pikachu that I left with him.

This is what I found (not my character, but the letter’s content was the same): 

No one was there. No old man in sight. Just a Pokeball in the middle of the room. I was running around, catching Pokemon of all sorts, battling anyone who came my way and… it never occurred to me that there would be a day in which he was no longer there.

Reading that letter brought reality back. With every new version of a Pokemon game, the developers try to make it more realistically.

In Pokemon X, similar to the previous generations, there would be different colours in the sky for different days. There would be snow for days of which would be consistent with winter times and orange leaves consistent with fall.

And, of course, days would be counted where it was needed. For this one, his days were fading, fast.

It’s like that in the real world. No matter how much fun you might be having, you’re  still sacrificing time. Time that could be spent with treasuring moments with people of whom you may never see again. Time that could seem unlimited for some, but obviously limited for others.

This man, we never found out his name. He was a character among the thousand of others. With research, it can be found that his wife had recently passed and that he had become depressed.

Having a Pokemon as company made him happy. In his letter, he expressed his happiness and sadness.

It struck so many chords. It reminded me of relatives of whom I haven’t seen in so long. It reminded me of the older generations, many of whom you could count the days or months they had left on your hands.

It reminded me of friends that I had heard were not in the best shape. It reminded me that, in the darkest times, sometimes a friend is all we need to brighten up the world, even if that world is crumbling right in front of us.

RIP Old Man.

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