swim. love. travel.

my life daily

Archive for July, 2010

sacrifice now, luxury later

Does anyone ever notice how juice boxes come in a pack wrapped in plastic? The kind of plastic that’s very difficult to remove without the help of scissors? Does anyone ever notice how soda pop cans are packaged on a floor of cardboard and canopied with plastic? Well, I noticed.

In fact, the reason why I noticed this is because my job after grocery shopping is placing all the newly-purchased items where they belong – be it in pantries, cupboards, the fridge, or the freezer. It’s my job to organize all of that. Some items are easy. Frozen food? I throw ’em into the freezer. Chips? I throw ’em into the cupboards. Fruit? I throw ’em into the fridge. Other items are slightly more difficult. Yoghurt? I have to take off the packaging before I put ’em into the fridge. It’s not that much of a hassle. But a select few of the items are downright annoying. And that includes the juice boxes and soda pop cans.

You see, I could throw ’em right into the pantry packaged and all. But the first time I did that, it didn’t work out so well because later on in the week, I was in desperate need of an ice-cold drink. Too bad I had to struggle with removing the packaging for two entire minutes. When I finally removed the packaging, the drink was lukewarm and at room temperature. Wow. Time-consuming and unsatisfying.

But the benefit of throwing the juice boxes and soda pop cans straight into the pantry without removing the packaging is simple. You see, when I put away the groceries, I put away the juice boxes and soda pop cans last. By that time, I’m already tired of putting away all the other grocery items. I’m lazy and impatient so I want to finish up fast and watch T.V. or read. So I leave everything packaged and put them in the pantry. That’s how the incident with the lukewarm drinks occurs.

So I’ve learned to force myself to unwrap everything on the spot and line the juice boxes and soda pop cans up in the pantry. I put exactly 5 juice boxes and 5 soda pop cans into the fridge at once. Once those are consumed, another 5 of each follow. It kind of works like an army. One line of soldiers after the other. But the result is – I get my ice-cold drinks when I want them. It’s true that I have to spend literally 10 minutes unwrapping everything (we buy a lot of drinks) but that small sacrifice turns into a luxury later on.

And that’s one of my philosophies in life. You must sacrifice now in order to have any type of luxury later on in life. And that’s exactly what I tell myself every single time I have to turn down an offer to go out with my friends so that I can study. Or when I have to spend my summer self-learning calculus rather than going to the beach or partying. Or when I have to miss family dinners, birthday parties, concerts, or any type of get-together so that I can focus on school.

And I’ve learned to deal with it. In fact, I don’t care as much as I used to. I’ve learned to unwrap the plastic around the juice boxes and soda pop cans in order to get that ice-cold drink when I need it the most. Sacrifice now. Luxury later.

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prom would be amazing with that boy (2/2)

Dear Prom Date,

I can’t believe it but you did it. You asked me out to prom. I never thought you would after that embarrassing episode at work a couple of days back. But you did it anyway.

Hey,” you said. “How would you feel about…me taking you to prom?

And that was it.

No balloons, no roses, no graffiti-like writing on walls or banners, no special paintings, no surprises. But I didn’t need all those things. I didn’t even need a prom date in the first place. I was perfectly content with going alone. But when I thought about it, prom would be absolutely amazing with you. I just ruled you out because I never thought it could happen.

What? Really?” I was totally taken aback. “But why would you want to go to a high school prom? You’re in university!

I know you think prom is overrated but I want you to look back and say that it was the ‘best time of my life.’

And so we went to prom.

First, I need to apologize for a couple of things that happened at prom though.

I’m sorry that the pre-prom party wasn’t really a party but rather, a gathering of my two best friends and one of their dates.

I’m sorry that I don’t have a lot of friends but these are my closest friends and to me, two best friends are all I need.

I’m sorry that the backdrop for all of our pictures wasn’t the greatest. I saw your prom pictures and you had about 20 people surrounding that beautiful, blue pool of your friend’s.

I’m sorry that my friend’s house didn’t have a pool nor a huge, green garden.

I’m sorry that we got mostly pavement, yellow lawns, the sidewalk, and old houses in our prom pictures.

I’m sorry that my old digital camera didn’t help make the pictures seem ‘larger than life‘. Most people’s cameras do that. They have those complicated, high-tech colour and lighting settings. I’m sorry that my camera made the pictures seem worse than it actually did in real life. If that’s even possible.

I’m sorry that the limo was pretty empty. I could tell even the limo driver was taken aback. Why did we order a limo for five people, again?

I’m sorry that I’m not the most popular of people. The meet-and-greet with the entire graduating class – most of whom don’t even pay attention to me – was the part I was scared of the most.

I’m sorry about what happened before we went into the actual banquet hall. I noticed you tried to hold my hand. I’m sorry that I pulled away but I suffer from excessive sweating – particularly my hands, feet, and underarms. I’m sorry I just said that. Did I gross you out? I probably did. I know I sound like an idiot. No other girl has this sweating problem. I want to let you know that I really did want to hold your hand. You were charming, as always. After a few seconds of taking in what I said, you put your hand on my waist instead and walked me in. I’m sorry that you had to do that.

But enough with the apologies. I know you hate it when I say “I’m sorry” all the time. You always tell me that I have nothing to worry about. In fact, you kept on saying how you were having a great time that night. That’s nice to know.

As we walked into the banquet hall, people’s heads turned – including all of my teachers – which is surprising. I never thought they’d notice me. I knew they were wondering how I could possibly get myself a date to prom – especially with someone like you. I was asking myself the same question.

I was always the quiet one at my school. I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’ve never had a first kiss. I didn’t mind.

But people came up to me, alright. I could tell they didn’t really want to talk to me. They were asking these short, generic questions. “Oh, how are you?” I could tell by the way they were looking at you that they’d rather be talking to you.

I could hear whispers all around me. The same question over again, “Who is she with? He’s cute!

But more importantly, “How did she get someone like that to be her date?

Other people came up to take pictures. No small talk. Just, “Take a picture with me!” They wanted a picture of you.

You handled yourself like a prince. This sounds cheesy but I have never felt so proud. Simply put, you’re every girl’s dream. You were courteous, handsome, well-mannered, and hilarious – just like I knew you’d be. You were polite to everyone that night – trying to get to know the people in my life. I think you thought that they were my friends or something and that you had to make a good first impression. All night, you made everyone laugh like little crazy and when they made you laugh, you laughed the laugh I love the most – the adorable chuckle I fell in love with. And I didn’t fall for you because you were “hot” or “sexy.” I actually don’t think you’re either of those things. No offense to you or anything. I really can’t find another word to describe you but handsome – or dashing.

And that was one of my biggest fears. That someone else would see how amazing you were and that you’d be gone. But I also realized how strong our friendship was that night. I saw a glimmer of hope about how you felt about me. You’ve been hinting at it ever since we first met.

Some of the most popular girls came up to us and they were absolutely gorgeous. You smiled politely but I could tell you weren’t interested.

So how do you two know each other?” they’d ask.

Oh, we work together,” I’d explain quickly.

And then you’d share some stories about our adventures at work – about my adventures at work. And you’d always end off with saying something like, “Isn’t she amazing?” You really made me feel special that night. You also made the rest of the girls feel completely jealous. In some weird, sadistic way, I kind of enjoy that.

I felt so lucky to be with you. That night, I learned to let things go. I started not to care about what other people thought of me. I knew what you thought of me and that was all that mattered. I stopped apologizing because I realized you were having a great time. And your opinion was the only thing worrying me that night.

And when we slow-danced that night, I was too embarrassed to say that you were my first dance ever. Well – if you can count that boy in grade eight who asked me to dance. Except I was too taken aback so I jokingly suggested that I dance on his feet like how they did in movies. Either I was too heavy or he was too weak because it didn’t work out and he actually left me on the dance floor. So that hardly counts as my first slow dance. That counts as my first embarrassing moment with the opposite sex though.

I just wanted to tell you that I had a great night and it was all because of you. Thank you for teaching me the lessons you did that night.

Thank you for driving me home. I’m sorry that there was no after-party. I wasn’t exactly invited. You gave me a kiss on the forehead and told me, “Hey, no more apologies, okay?

Okay, that was the last one. I promise.

Good,” you said with a small, handsome smile. “I had a blast tonight.

You were closer to me than ever before. Our foreheads were pressed together and I couldn’t stop smiling while looking into your bright, chocolate brown eyes.

Thank you for coming to prom with me.

Anything for you.

I felt my heart soar. I was flying into the sky. Cloud 9. Straight up, cloud 9! Although my tomato-red face could use some help.

7:00 Friday night? I’ll pick you up.

It’s a date. Oh boy, it’s a date.

Except this will probably never happen in real life. Because that “thing” you had with another girl? Well, apparently it’s back on. I found out today…after I had imagined this entire story in my head. Thanks for putting up all those pictures on Facebook. Both of you. I can’t even describe how much they hurt. My heart sank. It fell into a pile of knots and shreds. I would love to hate her but I can’t. I don’t even know her. But I sure hate the fact that she’s the girl who managed to steal your heart away from me. Because I know I’m right for you. I just know it. You belong with me. I want you to be happy though…and if she makes you happy then you should be with her. But I can’t help but think that she isn’t right for you. I wish you would just give me a chance. And then I look at the big picture – the fact that I’ve never had a boyfriend, the fact that I’ve never had a first kiss, the fact that I don’t really belong anywhere – I can’t help but think that there’s something wrong with me.

prom would be amazing with that boy (1/2)

Oh, I almost forgot. Your prom is coming up. Excited?” he asked. He was leaning over my chair, making it rock back and forth gently, and I had to turn around to face him.

I don’t know. I think prom is a little bit overrated,” I answered. Oh God, he was close. I could feel his warm breath on my cheek. I had to back up a little. Not that I wanted to but because I was afraid my supervisor would walk in on us and think that there was something going on. Not that my supervisor would care. I was one of his favourite staff members.

A little bit. I mean, my prom was pretty amazing but it wasn’t, you know, ‘the best time of my life.'”

I chuckled and turned away. Oh boy, he really had a hold on me. Our story isn’t anything special, really. We work together and when we started talking, we just…clicked. Or at least I thought we clicked pretty well. He was absolutely hysterical. And the best part? He thought I was pretty hilarious as well. I always thought something could happen between us, before I found out he had a “thing” going on with another girl – the girl he went to his prom with. Story of my life.

Are you going with anyone?” he asked, his chocolate brown eyes curious and playful. They were so welcoming and bright.

No…” I laughed nervously, my face turning red. As usual.

Really?” he smiled, amused. He was either genuinely surprised or acting shocked. I hoped it was the former. He had this sly, mischievous smile on his face and his eyes appeared even more playful than before.

Great. I was so embarrassed. First, because he knew I was going alone. And second, I always turn tomato-red whenever he smiles at me like that.

I tried defending myself, “I mean…there’s nobody at my school I want to go with. I don’t really click with any of the guys and besides, there are only 5 couples in the entire school. Honestly! Almost everyone is going alone. I know it sounds bad but there’s nobody at my school worth going with. There aren’t a lot of options. Okay, that sounds really bad. I mean, there just isn’t anyone at my school I want to go with.

Shoot. I can’t believe I said those horrible things about the people at my school. That’s not who I am. I wanted to disappear. But he laughed softly, got off my chair, and sat on the desk in front of me. He leaned back on his hands.

Would you go with me if I went to your school?

I always thought he could never like me because of his situation. Then he says things like this and I can’t help but fill up with hope. His perfect, white teeth, his soft laughter, and his kind eyes just make me melt. Was it possible to turn even more red than I already was? Humiliating.

And at the time, I couldn’t help but blush, taking in his words. I tried to think of something witty to say. And the creative person I am, said this, “If you asked me, yes. But too bad you don’t go to my school.” That’s the best you could come up with? Nice going, you imp.

He grinned his perfect smile, as he always does, before he said, “Oh, my rotation just ended. Gotta go guard the pool!

I hate how short 15-minute intervals are.

critical reading

I was studying for the SAT today. I was working on the Critical Reading section and passed by an interesting passage, quoted below:

Readers who believe that literature provides a memorable experience, who take the printed page seriously as an opportunity to enjoy a significant experience, are sometimes regarded with suspicion, as if they had lost their touch with reality and become escapists victimized by the unrealities of the imagined world of fiction. Such suspicions are groundless, for the very world of reality in which we live our daily lives is filled with imagined experience.

the introverted traveller

I’m quite scared to start travelling, which is ironic considering it’s the only thing I’m thinking about these days. Escaping, I mean. I want to travel for the sights but I also want to travel to meet new people. This is a rather daunting task as I’m not the type of person to strike up conversation with random strangers – especially in a large, foreign city. I don’t feel comfortable. Part of me wants nothing more than to be one of the extroverted people I see roaming the streets of Toronto – fearless, bold, and fun. Everyone wants to be around an extroverted person. Most of them are naturally hilarious. You sort of feed off of their energy.

I would describe myself to be an introvert and an extrovert – although I would land a little closer to the introvert side.

People have long noticed this about me. I remember I had a conference with my English teacher once. She said, “You’re so quiet. You need to speak up more because I know you have opinions and I think it would be nice for the rest of the class to hear them.” She then proceeded to tell me that she used to be “just like me” before she broke out of her shell. I, at that point, was too tired of people coming up to me and telling me that they thought I was quiet. So I went along with what she was saying.

Yeah, I guess I’m just too shy. I’m afraid of what people will think.

Yeah, right. As if. I’m not shy at all. I’m quite the public speaker if asked to give a speech. And I’m not afraid of what other people will think. If you’ve read my previous entries, I’m tired of caring about what other people think. I’m living my life for myself, aren’t I?

My English teacher then said, “But I see you with your friends and you’re very talkative.”

Entirely different story.

The truth is…I like being alone. Being around a group of outgoing, extroverted people just sucks all the energy out of me. They’re too much to handle – especially all at once. I need time to be with my thoughts and revitalize. It’s an important cleansing experience and process. It’s healthy to reflect on life daily. As I always say – in life, the only person you spend the longest amount of time with is yourself. You need to learn to become your own best friend. Learn to love yourself for who you are.

So I spend time with a large group of people. I socialize. I laugh. I am completely outgoing. After a while, I need to back off and be by myself.

It’s not like I haven’t tried to become an extrovert. As mentioned before, I wanted nothing more than to become one. It’s long been ingrained in my head that leaders are all extroverts. In order to be successful in life, you need to become an extrovert. So that’s exactly what I did my freshman and sophomore years. I joined everything I could – clubs, councils, and activities. It sucked all the energy out of me. It was tiring – just being around all your other fellow extroverts. I barely had time for myself. It was frustrating to say the least.

Now that I’ve quit all of those things, I feel much more comfortable. I feel healthier. I realized that joining all those clubs, councils, and activities? Not me. Not who I am.

And I’m tired of people saying there’s something wrong with me just because I’m an introvert – like my English teacher.

I read this article on the Matador Network. It was titled, “In Defense Of The Introverted Traveller” and I loved it.

I think one quote that directly sums up my feelings is said by a woman named Sophia Dembling:

This is not something I confess easily. I have long been shamed out of owning my introversion by the extroverts who dominate American culture. Extroversion has long been considered healthier than introversion, and introverts often try to push against our natural tendencies in order to fit in, to seem “normal” so people will stop scolding us. Extroverts are unintentional bullies, demanding that everyone join their party or be considered queer, sad or stunted.

oh where, oh where?

One thing I miss about my friends is the fact that they made me feel as if I belonged. I belonged in their group. I think that one of my biggest problems with losing my friends (or feeling as if I’m losing all my friends) is the fact that I don’t belong anywhere. I really don’t. In fact, I really don’t belong with the group of friends I have now but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to stay in their group because I’d have nowhere else to go.

I don’t have a talent. I’m not good at any sports so I can’t look into joining any sports teams to try to find a group of people I belong with. I’m not musically inclined. I’m not good at drama or any form of improvisation. I don’t belong anywhere. I’m not exceptionally funny. I’m rather introverted actually.

I’ve said before that I’m a lifeguard. Well, I made it seem better than it really is. When I was working, I felt as if I belonged with my fellow lifeguards. I had passed staff training and was on par with everyone else on staff. Now that I took two sessions off and am in danger of failing staff training (and by the way – if you fail staff training, you are not allowed to work) I don’t feel as if I belong anymore. I’m not an exceptional swimmer. I mean, I could be but I’m lazy. I don’t swim every week like I used to. Everyone I work with swims quite often and they’re pretty amazing swimmers. The thing is…I would go swimming every week. The only thing holding me back is the fact that I know everyone who works at the pool. There are only four pools in my town and I know people from every single pool. With the state of my swimming abilities right now, I cannot let them see me swim. It would be too embarrassing.

If there’s one thing I learned about being a lifeguard, it’s that you’re supposed to watch every single patron hard and carefully. One of your duties is to judge where their swimming abilities are at to see if you need to scan that zone or area more often. So the main point is that you’re supposed to judge people. I cannot let my fellow lifeguards judge me while I’m swimming and while they have the upper-hand in authority sitting high up in that lifeguard chair.

But ignoring the whole swimming situation (I have grown so tired of thinking about staff training) I have come to yet, another realization. My whole entry titled Queen St. West? I am so ashamed of it. It’s another indication of the extent I would go to in order to fit in and belong with my current group of friends. Seriously? Trying to become more fashionable just because my friends are fashion-conscious and care about their looks more than I do? Humiliating. I have never felt so angry at myself. Shopping is not the kind of person I am. I’m not the kind of person who likes to show off all the expensive things I buy. I’ve grown tired of trying to fit in with people I don’t fit in with but I know sometime in life, I will find somewhere I belong.

realization and escape

I was feeling rather helpless last night. It was 1:00 a.m. and I decided to turn off the T.V. to do some…thinking. That’s right. Thinking.

I’ve never done this before but I felt like I needed it. I sat on my bed, stared at the wall, and just reflected on what my life has become. I’m not going to lie. Despite being surrounded by people every single day, I can’t help but feel lonely – especially when I realized my best friends aren’t who I thought they were anymore. I realized that I simply don’t connect with them anymore. We’re not into the same things. They’re into drugs, alcohol, and partying. I’m not really that type of girl. Is that such a bad thing?

One thing I don’t like about Facebook is how isolated it makes you feel. Everyday, you are bombarded with photo albums of parties, events, and social outings you weren’t invited to. When you are invited to them, you make a point of commenting everywhere just to prove to the Facebook world and to all your Facebook friends that you were there and that you belonged there. You were invited…unlike all your other Facebook friends. Losers.

I am constantly attacked by notifications or pictures that pop up on my newsfeed every single time I log on to Facebook. It’s annoying. It really is. Facebook makes me feel even worse about myself because everyday, I find out that I wasn’t invited to some party…just because I don’t drink. Because, of course, everyone that goes drinks and shows up high. Is not drinking and doing drugs that bad?

I just feel frustrated with the fact that I can’t hang out with my friends unless I go to some party drunk. It’s not like I haven’t tried reaching out to them. I’ve hung out with them several times but there has been some obvious tension to indicate that things have changed. We’ve both moved on. I have a nauseating feeling that they look down upon me because I don’t drink. They think that I’m some child.

Then I start to question myself. Is there something wrong with me? Not drinking has always seemed, in my mind at least, to be the right thing to do. It makes me feel clean and pure. But everyone else does it. It seems as if the whole world does it – even on T.V. Then I ask myself, “Should I do it just because everyone else does it?” Then I begin to scold myself for letting high school get to me and letting go of my beliefs. I can’t let high school get into my head or get the best of me. It’s only 4 years of your life, right? Well…one more year for me. Thank heavens.

Senior year is going to be one heck of a nightmare but I can’t wait until it’s over and I can move on with life. Oh, and clearly, as you can tell, I don’t swear. Or I try not to. Even if I do, it’s probably written or typed out. I would never say anything bad out loud. If I do, it’s when I’m by myself and under my breath.

So what’s my method of escape?

I find solace in dreaming. I start thinking about what my future will be like. The answer to all my problems? It lies in Europe. Oh, Europe! I want to backpack across Europe and meet new people! I want to find people just like me – trying to find their escape through travelling. Because travelling is my drug – not marijuana, cocaine, or crack. Whenever I’m dealing with pressures in life, I stop and think of Europe. It makes me feel better. You know when you’re mad and people tell you to stop and think of  your happy place? Mine is Europe. It’s cliché, I know, but I can’t help myself. I want adventure. I want to learn about different cultures and try new food! I want to learn a new language and bask in what has become of history.

Europe is the answer to all my problems. I made Europe the answer to all my problems. I’ve developed such high expectations of Europe that it scares me. What if Europe is not what it’s cracked up to be? What if it falls below my expectations and turns out to be one of the worst experiences of my life? Even more lonelier than high school? After all, I don’t drink so I wouldn’t go to some random pub in London, U.K. and drink with the locals. I don’t do random hook-ups so all those stories you hear that go on in youth hostels? Not going to happen to me. What if all the people I meet in Europe are exactly like my friends back at home? It can’t be…right?