Thought #34 – Canadian Standoff

I had standoff today, a stare down, and contest of glares and and a tense atmosphere daring someone to move. Yet, unlike any standoffs, mine was exempt of hostilities or ill  intent. Mine was a Canadian Standoff. That’s right. I’m writing about the “niceness” we Canadians are known so well for. And you know the most messed up part about it? None of the participants were of the same race. That’s right. I had a standoff with an Indian guy, a black lady, and a blonde. How’s that for diversity?

So on my way home from work, I came to the four-way that’s near my house. That’s where it all started, because everybody arrived and stopped at the same time. Then it begins. At first, nobody moved. All I could hear was the humming of my car engine and the howling wind outside. Who was going to move first? Well, someone does. Someone is bound to go first, we’re always in such a rush… especially in the snow (It’s like 25cm+ right now in Vancouver). I gestured to the car across from me to go ahead, but the black lady does the same. Hrmm. I gestured again, and she returned it. I  frowned slightly, and she chuckled. Then we both glanced left and right – maybe someone else will move! Lo and behold, they’re doing the same thing. Oh what the heck is going on here. We’re all freezing, the road conditions are atrocious, and well… nobody seems to be in a hurry to go to where they gotta go. Uh… okay.

At least another 10 seconds pass (we’ve been there for a total of 40 seconds, none of us with cars behind us, and there’s no pedestrians on the streets), and the blonde crosses her arms, said something to her husband, and proceeded to switch the ignition off. I saw the Indian guy lean forward to really take a look at what had just happened. The black lady looked at me, and I shrugged.

Finally, the Indian guy rolled his vehicle forward. And get this part: despite the chilling cold and the snow blowing everywhere, he had all the windows rolled down, and his family (wife in front seat, 2 kids in the back) waved to all sides. I laughed my ass off, as did everyone else. The black lady went next, who I air-fived when she passed me. It was my turn, and as I passed in front of the blonde and her husband, I gave them a salute, and received a beaming smile in return.

Gosh I tell you, that was an entire minute of waiting in -2 degrees Celsius (yes I know we were in cars but still…) with road conditions getting worse every second, and everyone was just patient, courteous, and… well… Canadian. O_o. I mean, an occurrence like this, you can only call a Canadian Standoff. In terms of our behavior and diversity… it’s hard to be any more Canadian than this. And I’m proud that I got to experience it. xD

A view from my house :3

snow-21

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Thought #34 – Not Really A Thought

In shameless and pitiful sadness at 11:59 PM because my existence appears to have been neglected and forgotten by most: ♪Haaaaappy Birthday to Meeeeee~♪

I do thank those who remembered (and not because Facebook or whatever else has reminded them) and sent the nice blessings and wishes.

I promise no more miserable posts. (For now at least)

Thought #33 – Disappointment

There are times in life where a nasty, icky feeling takes hold of you, the feeling of disappointment. How does one describe this feeling? Why does it happen? Well, in general it’s that feeling where you didn’t get quite what you expected, if at all. Coupled with frustration, disappointment is one of those things that can quickly spiral your emotions out of control, turning you into one with malice and contempt. In turn, disappointment eventually leads to the loss of hope, the loss of optimism.

A science test was to be administered today at work, and as I hurried into class, almost late, I thought about how I should go over all the material again so the students can have a quick review, as they are not the best students when considering their grades and studying habits. To my extreme disappointment, the students were on their phones, giggling about some video. My heart sank. I had told them that the test was difficult, and they should review as much as possible. Anger flared, my temper rose, and I struggled to not let it show on my face. I looked at my students, mustered what strength I can to hold my voice from roaring by clenching my teeth together, and whispered: “So you all have the extreme confidence that you’ll ace the test, do you?”

What’s worse than my leniency being taken for granted was how didn’t even try to put in any effort. I think that’s what it really is all about, what disappointment centers around – lack of effort and sincerity. Even you lose, with enough effort your struggles can still be acknowledged. But if you didn’t even attempt to be the center of change for yourself, how can you ask others to assist you?

Is it wrong to have expectations? I don’t know. Hopes and expectations seem to a double-edged sword, simultaneously humanity’s greatest driving force and greatest bane. Society has formed these ideas in our head, that we should celebrate holidays, birthdays, special events, especially with friend and family. We have been conditioned with the compelling whisper in our heads, nudging us to believe that there can be more, that we can be happy. This voice is like the devil’s, but is in reality our own ambitions and expectations, pushing us forward. But so many of us do not get to enjoy these occasions as we should. What should we expect then? Nothing? Why should we expect nothing, or possibly even pain and suffering, when others receive the joy and happiness they expected? What are we to do then, when we have had our expectations are let down, when our feelings have been disappointed, emotions abandoned, sincerity lost, trust broken, and ultimately, left in a solitude of hopelessness?

Thought #32 – Effort and Perseverance

I went to work out with a close friend of mine today, and in all truth, I got rekt. It’s been a while since I’ve worked out, and my body’s still recovering from some ultimate games I played a few days ago. Even so, I went to the gym, slightly motivated by the thoughts of having someone to chat to whilst lifting those weights.

On observation (I haven’t seen her since a while back), this friend of mine has noticeably cut down on some belly girth, and as well as well-toned muscles on her arms. I sadly thought about my own ever-expanding belly, and pushed myself to run a little bit more, and more, until I was going for full sprints on the treadmill, with each step trembling the floors. We then went for the bench press, where I spent every moment crying inside, demanding answers to why I willingly came to bring such pain to my arms. Chin-ups were equally depressing, and the suffering came to its climax when we did a core workout for our abs. Despite all the agony, I pushed through, not willing to give up – what a wuss would I seem, not by my friend’s views, but my own?

As I watch my fellow gym-goers lift their own weights and push their own boundaries, I often contemplate how much of an idiot these people are (myself included, of course) – why the heck would anyone go through such pains and soreness to achieve a 6-pack? Surely such things are not so important? But then, the answer comes to me – working out isn’t just about physical exercise – it’s the physical manifestation of effort and perseverance. Not only are we training our muscles, we’re also building our own character, disciplining our minds and strengthening our souls. It’s a way of life, a type of drive that drives us to expand ourselves beyond what we thought we could do.

Even when we’re out of breath, even when the pain shoots through our body, even when our mind tell us that we couldn’t possibly go any further, we stay put and finish each set. Despite being sweaty and tired afterwards, these people still go to the gym. Perhaps some people are working out because of a bet, or to get healthy, or to achieve a more desirable body shape. Regardless of their motivations, I truly admire such people.

Thought #31 – Reciprocity

So, near the institution where I tutor, there’s an H-Mart (Korean grocery store chain), where I regularly visit this lady in the bakery. She’s always very nice to me – she helps polish up (and compliments xD) my Korean, and always give me the largest pieces of bread and noms :3

I affectionately call her “이모” (imo), which means “auntie”, and whenever I arrived at the bakery I’d go “이모~!!” and she’d turn around with a smile – she knew it was me, because… well, I was the only one who did that. Sometime during Xmas, she commented on the cute color and design of the toque I was wearing, to which I proudly proclaimed that I made it myself, much to her surprise. I immediately asked her if she’d like one, and she said nodded her head excitedly and said “Yes!” It’s kind of cute to see a… er… 40-50 year old lady get excited about being made a toque, teehee. xD

So a few weeks later (today), I visited her and gave her the toque that was promised. I was met with a bolt of surprise and a widespread smile from her. Much to my relief, the color I selected for her was warmly received. WHEW! She told me they were wonderful, and asked how much they were, and wanted to pay. My reaction was: “NO WAY JOSE~ I like 이모 la, so just keep being nice to me and teach me more Korean!” She finally backed down after another few seconds of bickering (and her muttering in Korean). I proceeded to order these yummy Korean donuts as I usually do, thanked her, and walked away (we kept bowing to each other, with “thank you” being exchanged repeatedly from both sides). What I didn’t notice until I got to the cash register was that the auntie had marked the donuts as already paid. I was slightly flustered, and went back to thank her again. Hehehehehehe :3

Without any intention of bragging, a floats into my head: this exchange, what I witnessed today, what occurred to me today, how much more pure can it be? Donuts for a toque – this wasn’t quid pro quo, it was the reciprocation of feelings, the expression of two strangers simply being nice to one another. I got two yummy donuts in exchange for a toque – something I did not expect or anticipate. Something like this is what gives me hope that the world we live in isn’t all that bad. I don’t know anything about the lady, and she doesn’t know anything about me. The only connection we have is when I visit her at the bakery, and even that habit just came at a random whim. I don’t think either of us desired anything out of these small exchanges of politeness – we were simply being good people.

So for all of you out there, it’s not about gaining and returning favors or because it’s rewarding. Sometimes, the stuff we do, along with the many things we ought to do, we should do, simply because it’s the right thing to do. Have a good day 🙂

Thought #30 – Appreciation

Appreciation is a very interesting thing. It gives meaning to what we do in our daily lives. Everything we do is a sort of service, whether you’re a doctor, parent, plumber, CEO, student or mechanic, everything you do is a service to yourself, others, and life as a whole. Being appreciated for what we do and have done not only provides justification for our actions, but in turn gives value to our very own existence.

Perhaps before we can truly begin a new  year or a new chapter in our lives, we must first come to some sort of closure with the past. Do you understand what people have done for you, the sacrifices they’ve made? Can you see what choices are made so that your existence continues? When’s the last time you’ve said “thanks” not to be polite, but from the depths of your heart?

2016 wasn’t a really great year for me. Lots of crap happened, filled with sad, painful moments. But as I continue to trace my steps, I come to where I am right now, typing up this very post. Oh. I’m still here. I’m still alive. I still have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food in my belly (and on a platter in front of me! :3). Despite all the shit that’s happened in the past, I appreciate the events that have transpired and how they turned me into the individual I am right now. I appreciate my friends for continuing to be my friends (a tall task to commit to, I have been told – I wholeheartedly agree). I appreciate my family for being my family, and the opportunities I have in life.

Working as a tutor, I often make sure students understand what they need to do and learn, and I do my earnest to help them. If they do something wrong, I correct them. If they do something well, I reward them. I often fold little things for my students, such as flowers and animals. One girl, 7-year old Lily, loved the flowers I folded her so much that one day, right before the end of class, she dug carefully into her lunch bag and produced a flower for me, before running off. Her mother told me that Lily had carefully spent hours picking out the best flower in the garden, at took the utmost care to make sure the flower was in good condition throughout the day before she met me for class. This small gesture warmed my heart, and at the moment, I felt truly appreciated – this was proof that someone was thankful for my existence, and what I’ve done for them! For this, for all that I have, I thank the Heavens, and accept my lot.

Lily later gave me another flower the following class, for the one I folded her. 🙂

Poem #34 ~Your Side~

~Your Side~
The night darkens and I see your fright
As your worries spiral out of control.
Tears stream as hope shimmers out of sight,
Plummeting deep and far to depths below.

But you see: I haven’t yet given in.
So neither should you – let us now begin.
Never again in shadows do you need hide,
Just know I’ll always be here, right by your side.