St. James' Park

Wake up to new perspectives

It’s my birthday today. I’m typing this while sitting on the bed of my Airbnb, a place I’m staying at temporarily until my new flatshare is ready for me to move in.

It’s been a hectic couple of months. It feels like a lot has happened.

I got a new supervisor at work, so there’s been some adjustment around there. I finally moved out of my terrible houseshare, so I feel like I can finally breathe now. I also found a consistent group of friends I could rely on for chill times. It’s getting better.

The important point though is that today has been the first day I’ve had off from work since January. I don’t know how full-time salaried workers in London do it. Especially those who work in far more stressful occupations than I do. I don’t know how they can survive from the beginning of January until the Easter bank holiday long weekend without taking a single full-day off from work. That just sounds unhealthy to me.

Speaking of work culture, I had a nice chat the other day with a guy who used to live in Toronto about the differences between the job markets in Toronto and London. The summary of that conversation is that it’sΒ way more difficult to find a job in Toronto than in London. In London, there are more jobs than there are people. You’re paid a bit less in London, but it’s easier to find a job; in Toronto, it’s the opposite. Salary aside though, company cultures in London are a tad better than in Toronto. It’s not uncommon to find someone working at the headquarters of a major company, so because of this, these companies actually treat their employees pretty well; their HR departments care more than just filling in the next hole.

So anyway. I feel like I’ve finally settled in London. The first six or seven months were actually really difficult; it wasn’t until I looked back did I realize that it really was a challenging time for me. There were so many things I needed to adjust to, so many things I needed to realize that “that’s just how things work around here”, so many cultural things I needed to peacefully acknowledge… Some things you just can’t argue or fight over, because that’s how things always were. I just needed to stop and realize there is a difference between “peacefully acknowledging” and “accepting”.

Now that I’ve settled in London, I finally want to take the time to open up my mind to start on what I came here to do – to learn about different perspectives.

Toronto is arguably the most multicultural city in the world. Over 50% of the city population identify themselves as a visible minority. But if you grew up in theΒ city, unless you really push yourself to immerse yourself in other cultures, you’re kinda just stuck in the culture you grew up in. And by that, I mean that personally, I limited my own thinking by not making a more conscious effort to learn more about people outside of the East Asian ethnicities. I was comfortable, and I knew it. So I made the decision to physically move out of the city and to move outside of my comfort zone. I was tired of hanging around East Asian people all the time. If we, as East Asian people, want more people to see us as regular human beings, we have to make a conscious effort to expand our networks too. To show that we’re all just regular joe’s, and we deserve to be seen as humans and not some sort of exotic being.

All that said though, I don’t know if I’m only saying all of this because I’m on my day off from work, and my mind is finally relaxed enough to think about life, or because I actually mean it.

I guess we’ll see. I’ll check in with myself a month from now to see if I really did mean what I said.

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Instagram

  • Seth Rogen and business partner Evan Goldberg at #CollisionConf to talk about their cannabis start-up, @houseplant, and bringing it to the Ontario market. Seth is as every bit smart, charming, and quick-witted as he appears to be on television talk shows. πŸ‘πŸ»β£
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Also got to listen to @justinpjtrudeau speak about diversity in Toronto. He really is a handsome and charismatic world leader... 🀩
  • Lovely afternoon with the #YorkRegion ladies: @yunyeee, @k7cheung, and @phoebeymyu. I've missed congee so much! 😩 I was basically scarfing down the whole bowl. Also went to get bubble tea at @onezotapioca – stressful stuff, there are so many options! Finally ended up deciding on a brown sugar dirty oolong latte though. πŸ˜‹
  • Old neighbourhood. (Photoshopped out so many pieces of garbage on the grass, smh. And you can still see some left there on the grass. I will never miss how dirty London is as a city. So much littering. Gross.) 🏠
  • Cousins, reunited. #KwanaGetMarried19
  • It's been an entire week since I landed in Toronto, and I haven't updated my little Instagram photo blog gallery. Lots of wedding preparation stuff have happened so far – my brother's, of course, not me, #SingleLady – but none of them relate to the photo I'm posting today.⁣
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I did an epic journey via Uber and train from Canary Wharf, London to Gatwick Airport with three massive luggages and one carry-on on my last morning in the UK. It took me three hours because I had to somehow get all three bags – two of them were overweight, one of which was 31kg – from the second floor of my apartment building to the @AirTransat airline counter. An airline counter that wasn't even in the same terminal as the train station I would be arriving in.⁣
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So, from second floor flat, to a 30+ minute Uber to Blackfriars, to the second floor of the Blackfriars train station (by lugging two bags 20 metres, then the other two 40 metres, repeat), to the Gatwick Airport train station, to getting an airport employee to find a trolley for me (by asking him nicely as I stood there waiting by my four bags because lol I'm not going to drag four bags across a busy airport terminal), to somehow pushing my trolley cart onto the inter-terminal train, to finally, reaching the airline counter of #AirTransat.⁣
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For three hours, from 6:30 AM, to when I finally had all my bags checked in at 9:15 AM, I was running on pure adrenaline. I don't even know how I was able to do it. I was like a bull on a mission, to get from point A to point B to point C etc. But what I also remember, was my body basically crashing into a damn near anxiety attack while at the counter. I was gulping for air, taking deep breaths, and trying to calm myself down. When I finally walked away from the airline counter, I nearly forgot my carry-on on the trolley, and when I finally had the chance to sit down, my hands were actually shaking. For all the times I've solo travelled around the world in the past year and a half, this has never happened to me before. That morning, I finally understood why airports need therapy dogs.⁣
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(Continued below...)
  • Not the most aesthetic of Instagram photos, but tonight will be my last (out-of-home) dinner in London, so I thought I would make it a very British one: Fish and chips, and a pint of cider on tap. 🍟

Photo taken while at a Reddit meet-up for the season premier of "Game of Thrones"! (The UK plays a rerun of it the night after.)