Category Archives: Chronicles of Life Activity

Stay Flexible!


This week was almost a week from hell, but not really. It was more like a week from one of the upper regions of Tartarus that the Book of Enoch describes. It was neither bad, nor good, just hectic. I hesitate to call it a bad week because I find that when we sift our experiences through the filters of bad or good, we end up with a black and white, archaic, and just plain cartoony view of reality. This week, every academic deadline came of age and threw a bat mitzvah party; I had my midterm exams, presentations, concert reports and all the other assignments which make you want to question your life philosophy.

My philosophy in life is actually pretty simple: when life hands you limes – demand vodka and make a margarita. If life wont give you vodka, slip gunpowder into your limes and throw them back at life.

Having mentioned that, aside from being put in the academic pressure cooker, I was also run through the ringer washer of relationship possibilities. Opportunities have arisen for me to break my flawless track record of blissful singlehood. I hesitate to call him a cute boy when a significant gap in age is staring at me in the face. He’s an opera singer – with a face that makes you want to believe in a few more Greek deities. You would reach out to touch him, except for the fear of being electrocuted. So instead, you stand there and play it cool. Or try. Keep trying as you sit in a little cafe swapping stories from your travels in Europe. Keep trying as he asks for your number – and you plan out the next few days of time to be spent together. Keep trying as the days pass and he tells you things about himself that confuse you.

It’s like being moments away from launching a shuttle to the moon. You can feel the fire. You can feel the exhilaration pushing you forward against the forces which have held you in the same place for so long. But you have this feeling that somewhere, in some minute place, there will be a washer missing, and that will make all the difference to the success of the expedition. I don’t believe in overriding hesitations when something just doesn’t feel quite right.

In the midst of this uncertainty, I was given one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten. Two of my best friends told me I should write novels. They were sitting there in the sunshine reading a few pages of my journal, two pretty girls giggling shamelessly, saying, “I can’t believe how well you describe an apple core, sitting between two people on a bench, then being thrown into a nearby bush by the person who didn’t eat it – this is such a page turner!”

My whole life is a page turner. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I can make plans – but I haven’t been spoiled by the luxury of having my plans work out too well. As I’m mining for gold in the day to day rubble, I am in no danger of believing that life is pre-determined. Yes, things happen for a reason – yes, but fate happens to you so that you have the opportunity to push the limits of your influence over it. Dear life, you can keep shitting on me, but I will continue to reinvent the feeble umbrella of Wile E. Coyote until I find ways to protect myself from the damage. My life is a real page turner. And while the pen is in my hand, I will write my way as close to a happy ending as is possible, but there’s nothing I can do to prevent the obstacles the protagonist must face if this is going to be a good literature. As for me, in the here and now, I’m choosing to stay flexible.

Dirge of the Homeless


As many of you know, my living situation has been very uncertain for a while. I’ve been one step away from homeless, but taken in by relatives and those with extra goodness in their hearts. My most recent caregiver told me that there was no difference between homeless people and us in God’s eyes. To be honest, I too would rather pretend I wasn’t related. This has been an invaluable experience and I have learned a lot.

But now I announce to you that my homeless days are over! 😀 I’m happy to be moving (up in the world). With this new environment, I will need to put extra effort into making up what I’m going to be doing without.

I’m going to have to find something to replace the exciting stream of job opportunities such as playing piano every Sunday at a local chapel, or caring for expiring humans and keeping them company in the final stretches of their lives, or driving people back and forth from the hospital with hopes of attaining a medical profession.

I will have to find a way to cope with the absence of career advice, that I ought to pursue a noble profession such a morticianship. After all, when times get tough, (and we all KNOW we’re living in the last days), people will stop paying for art, but they will still pay to have their dead taken care of.

I will have to survive without the constant questioning: what are you planning on doing with a music degree anyway? (ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I’M GOING TO GO FUCKING DEPOSIT IT IN AN ATTRACTIVE TRASH CAN, SAYING “THANKS FOR IMPOVERSHING MY DAD” AND I WILL GO BECOME A MERCENARY. AND IF I CAN’T GET HIRED AS A MERCENARY, I’LL BE A SELF-EMPLOYED MERCENARY. OR I’LL JOIN A CONVENT. OR I’LL BECOME A GOLDDIGGER. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!). I would like to express my most heartfelt gratitude to those who have shown their concern about my future.

Another thing I won’t miss is reading Proverbs under duress every day. And as that pithy book mentions on three different occasions, it’s better to dwell on the corner of a housetop than in a house with a contentious woman.

But it’s been a good ride. Thanks for the memories. I will be glad to be moving into my own space. The prospect of organizing my stuff is an exciting one. I’m really going to enjoy running my life as sensibly as possible. 😀

I must close with this (modest) proposal. If anyone is still interested in putting my picture on their fridge and sending me $30 a month, I will most certainly be willing to write you letters in a foreign language telling you how my schooling is going.

My Tribe


I’m getting ready to be back in my tribe –Overachievers who understand my general makeup.

There’s a few things I want extremely badly right now:

1) a substantial Dad to hug. Marathon runners are great and all. but. I need my teddy bear dad again. I have not succeeded in finding a decent translation of the word squishy, which is probably just as well, because when I told my host family’s dad that he wasn’t marshmellow-like, he took it as a compliment. “I would hope not…”

2) I’m looking forward to being in a family that knows me, knows where I come from, and why I am the way I am. I’m looking forward to that sense of not needing to explain myself the same way. It’ll also be nice to ditch the little things like the shock of “WHAT? YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF THE TV SERIES ASTERISKS AND OBELISKS? WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?”

3) Peanut butter. I’ve gone almost three months without. #rehabsucks

I wore shorts today! Yes, my funny ones with the tulips… I realise that there’s nothing like it in Canada, and when I get back I’m going to look like a freak without the standby excuse of ‘I’m from a different country’. It was 27 degrees. Beautiful.

Side comment: The Chinese food in Canada is better, I find. Direct explanation: we actually have Chinese people.

I realise that I say things in French which I wouldn’t necessarily say in English. I have this sense of ‘hey I know how to say it, Imma gonna say it!‘ which isn’t always checked by reason. Today, it was particularly notable. Outside my English class, while we were all savoring the moments of freedom before the bell rings and we pour in, and the class clown chants the usual “ello mistur ray!” I say to the guy beside me, “tu sais quoi? J’aime tes yeux. Ils sont beaux, fort et clair.”
Then in afterthought, sitting in my chair, I thought to myself. What are the chances of me telling that to a random guy in English. Picture it, out of the blue. No ‘hi, hello, how’s your day’, nothing… Just ex nihilo:
“You know what? I like your eyes. They’re beautiful, strong and clear!”
Yeah… it was amusing. Exchange students. We can do almost anything.

I couldn’t resist whizzing out my camera in the library today, even though it felt morally unsound because no one in the library was making any nose. It was silent. But this was just too funny to not go uncaptured.

Le Meilleur Jour


I had an awesome day today. Recap:

I woke up to the sound of my Pops waking me up, with some time in advance to get ready. I ate hazelnut yogurt with crunchy chocolate cereal. I looked out the open window over the misty vineyards, with two castles rising through the fog. Does life get any better than this?

When I got to school, I had a German class for the first 45 minutes of the day. German class for me means no class, because I’m not allowed to go to them. I read Hamlet in the cafeteria instead.

After that I had one class of Geography. Then we saw a play for the last 2 classes of the morning. It was entirely in English, about Shakespeare. It was so cool to see how effectively they introduced so much about Shakespeare to ESL people. They acted out Hamlet, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Titus Andronicus, and others whose titles escape me right now. It was awesome! 😀 It left me feeling like I should read the entire works of Shakespeare over the next four years. I’m aiming a little high. The chances of me sticking it through all the works of Shakespeare are slim. I would need to gain a lot of literary stamina before that.

Wednesday afternoons I have no school. It’s a beautiful thing here. Wednesday afternoons free! It’s the time when people do most of their extra-curricular jobs. Some students take this afternoon for work. The day which you have off depends on the stream or grade you happen to be in. I spent this afternoon in town with two other Canadian girls. We had a good time, buying chocolate for our families, and stuff like that. It was especially amusing being in stores, speaking in French to the cashier, explaining a little bit about how we’re Canadians and all our friends want chocolate. There’s something specious about being three girls jabbering in another language, each checking out 60-70 Francs worth of chocolate. Besides, this is Switzerland, it’s normal to make small talk with people. Legit – you say bonjour to everyone, except if you’re in the city and there are tons of people. Then my buddies asked me, with a tone of disdain, “why are you talking in French? You know you don’t have to right?” PARCE QUE J’AI LA CAPACITÉ! ET PARCE QUE JE SUIS EN SUISSE! POURQUOI AUTREMENT ? Vous n’avez aucune raison. Let’s get this straight, you two have been in French immersion for how many years of your lives, and I started learning French just over a year ago. You both feel happy when agreeing with each other that your accents are worse than mine.

For the life of me, I will never understand why people can get together into groups and collectively make themselves feel better about the failure which they have talked themselves into. How is it possible to sink to the lowest common denominator just for the sake of harmony with the other person? Especially when your perception of the lowest common denominator is much lower than the actual? Ok. So fail. Go out there, and screw up ALL your sentences, grammar, pronunciation. Let it be horrible. But for goodness sakes! TRY!

I got home, then went for a little walk around the lake two minutes away from my house! This is a really beautiful part of the world I’ve been living in. I love to walk here whenever I need to clear my head.

This is the reflection in the lake.