New Baby!

Not mine. Obviously. My parents would kill me. As I’m unmarried. And studying. And for not having told them it was on the way.

P’s best mates have had their second child by C-section. They took my name suggestion! I’m so chuffed! And feel slightly responsible for the baby now. It briefly crossed my mind whether they’d ask me to be a godparent, but surely not… P is the godfather to their first child, but really, they don’t know me that well… I hope they don’t, I feel unprepared for the responsibility!

Even so, CHUFFED!!

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Hindsight

They say hindsight is 20/20, perfect vision. Sometimes, I reflect on where my life could have gone differently. If I had gotten that hospital job like I wanted to badly, I might not have learned as much as I have about different pharmacy business models or seen the types of leadership approaches in action. This year, I debated whether to stay with my current course or to cut my losses (financially, time-wise, emotionally), apply to a different dental school, and start again. But despite the many daydreams and fan-fiction stories I’ve read, you can’t go back in time.

Really, if you could go back and change how you responded, you wouldn’t be the same person. You wouldn’t have learned the lessons you did, and the people around you would be shaped differently.

I went back to visit my old high school when I first came back home. It was great. A lot of the teachers recognised me. I got a hug from my old mentor. Maybe he’s getting soft in his old age, he was always a bit gruff and scary in high school. Before then, I’d always felt such mortification at recalling my high school experience and actions. It was impossible to give myself any slack. But going back this year, I finally gained some perspective when I saw those students and my teachers. As teachers, they were limited in what they could say and do. They had certain roles to play. I must have been painfully awkward.

But it’s ok now. It’s a bit pathetic, but I think I can finally stop beating myself up over some of the unbelievably stupid things I said and did.

~

And then today, a week later, I saw J. We went to elementary school together. We were good mates then, I suppose. I remember one year, there was a mime club. I had so much fun doing that with him. Then we both left for different private schools in Year 7. He went to an elitist school for the academically bright. I went to a French immersion school, elitist because they spoke French for nearly everything and all its students thought themselves the shit, myself included. We met sporadically over the years, and it wasn’t unpleasant or anything.

Now, J’s dad is an optician and owns a glasses shop. Our family has gone there for years to get our glasses, contacts and sunglasses. Today, J was in the shop. I knew that he’d applied to med school, hadn’t been accepted and had taken it hard. In my mind, I presumed he’d re-applied and gotten in. He was always so intelligent from all reports.

At first, I thought he was hanging around, visiting his Dad. Then it clicked that he was working. I pulled off my hat and was straightening my hair when he came out from the back. I didn’t recognise him. I dare say he’s become quite attractive. Mum said hello. He was rather stand-offish, to the point where I wasn’t even sure it was him. I waited till he left the front of the shop and asked Mum if that was, in fact, J. She replied in the affirmative. My first reaction was, “How rude.” But on some consideration, I thought it was a bit weird and sad actually, that he couldn’t interact normally with someone from his childhood.

When I was attending the French immersion school, I had my head up my ass and acted like I didn’t know friends from elementary school. But I like to think I pulled it out at some point.

On the drive home, Mum explained that there was tension in the family. The grandmother only likes J and blatantly favours him. She doesn’t get on with J’s father, and vice versa. J’s sister resents the favouritism, and said, “That’s why J didn’t get into med school.” (?too coddled, so no competitive edge?) Anyway, lots of friction. Oh, and the grandmother talks crazy shit to family friends. Hilarious and sad at the same time.

It sucks that he has such a massive chip on his shoulder. I’ll cut J some slack when I go pick up my new glasses. It’s Christmas. And he’s an old childhood friend. Besides, he’s really easy on the eyes now, so it’s not too hard. Poor J.

Travel Lucky

Ok, blurb first. I don’t believe in coincidences. Things happen for a reason. (cliché, I know. whatever.) I want to believe in luck, but experience with lotto tickets says no. Even so, I will use the word lucky and its synonyms because to write blessed or privileged here makes me sounds like a pretentious twit. Preamble over, let’s go ahead.

I’m travelling and recognise that I’ve been very lucky to be on such a nice trip. I recognise that not everyone can afford the time or money to travel. I toured Beijing for a week with my parents, then Malaysia for an old workmate’s wedding, and then Singapore for fun. Now I’m home in North America for two weeks and Christmas.

But not only that, I’ve been surprisingly lucky in terms of timing. Since Cathay Pacific is based in Hong Kong, I’ve been there 4 times just flying home.

  1. Flight from Beijing to Hong Kong. The parents were scheduled to fly at 10am. I was scheduled to fly out at 630pm, but on standby for an earlier flight at 12pm. By original flight plans, I would have arrived in HK at 10pm and would be flying out the next morning for Singapore at 8am = barely any sleep. Beijing being what it is, rush hour starts at 630am. That meant 515am wake up, leaving the hotel at 6am and aiming to arrive by 8am. We arrived at 715am. Mum offered to take my luggage so I wouldn’t be so burdened. At the counter, Mum asked about earlier flights. The woman said, “I can fit all 3 of you for the 8am flight.” but because the luggage would never make it on time, Mum suggested I take it by myself. I ran for security, jumped 8 people in the queue after explaining, got through an individual scanning and ran for the gate. I made it and was so chuffed. Sweaty and moist, but chuffed.
  2. Shuttle from Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). I’d missed it before, and it only leaves hourly at 45 minutes past the hour. This time, in line at immigration, I noticed it was 11:39am. There was no hope of jumping the queue here. But cheers to Asian efficiency, I made it out in 4 minutes with 5 people ahead of me. I trotted quickly to the bus bay, and saw that it was there! I ran for it and made it on the bus. It was 11:47am. And they’re usually quite punctual with arrival/departure times. I made it to the hotel, got a room upgrade (sweet as!), had a shower, connected to the wifi and felt so much better. By the time I had a leisurely sushi lunch, I was literally walking in the door with Mum and Dad.
  3. Shuttle from Singapore to Malaysia. Based on original projections, I would miss the bus with the other wedding guests, so there were other normal busses available for the ride across the border. I arrived at Singapore and after a bit of figuring things out, walked to the bus bay. According to the online schedule, the bus wasn’t due to arrive for another 45 minutes. A man walked towards me and said, “Where are you going?” I named my destination and he said urgently, “Come! Come! That’s the bus pulling away!” I thought, “Yeah right, as if you can make the bus stop.” and rolled my eyes internally. But he did manage to get it to stop, and I got on. Later, the groom said I was lucky to get the bus since it’s can be difficult to catch, he’s never gotten it.

I do feel very lucky and like someone’s watching out for me. I don’t mind travel. I don’t get anxious over flying. I hate everyone else’s response, especially crying babies on flights. But without catching these forms of transport when I did, it would’ve been a very bad trip, for which I am thankful.