Thursday, November 25, 2010

United State of Monopoly

I recently found a free online version of Monopoly and I am ashamed to say that I have been addicted to it. I can't remember last time I play it physically. I have kinda forgotten how to play it. But it's lots of fun, especially when I win. I also realized that there are several collectors' edition of Monopoly, and I want them! Just look how cool they coul be! I just wanted to see all of these:






HELLO KITTY EDITION (Don't really want it, but it's a funny one)

NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS EDITION (I saw this at Spencer's and I almost bought it)

I Heart Me!

Yesterday I was reading the campus newspaper The Excalibur and I ran into an article that talkes about a psychology professor at York Myriam Mongrain and a graduate student who made a study about feeling down and fixing it by writing love letters to self to be happier. They found out that people who wrote love letters to themselves frequently, compared to those who don't, have a big difference on how they see themselves and they rate pretty high on happiness. Mongrain explained "Some people, they can be good to others, but it's hard for them to treat themselves kindly. This excercise helped people develop this kind of attitude towards themselvces, making themselves feel more comforted and feeling soothed". I believe it's true that no one knows you better than yourself. So obviously you know the right words to comfort yourself and help you feel better. You could be your own therapist and this excercise is a cheap kind of therapy with great results. So I going to try that here. I'll write a love note to myself today, and maybe I will continue doing so, see how this will affect me. I would recommend you to do the same. I know it sounds kinda silly, writing a love letter to yourself, writing to yourself and no one is going to read it. Love letters are cheese. But I think it's worth the try.

Dearest Katie,
Hope you are doing well these days. I heard you got a new job at the mall. Congratulations! I hope you are having a good time greeting and helping customers. You are so kind, sweet and cute, customers must love you! And that you speak four languages? Damn! You are on the ROLL! Hope you're making lots of friends there. Have you helped any customers who speak Spanish yet? French? Oui ou non? You're so talented. Wish I could speak all those languages. I'm sure you'll do a great job there, even during the sressful holidays. You sure know how to put a smile on people's faces :) I know you do that to me :)

How is apartment hunting? If you can't find anything yet, don't worry. You know that things will work out for you in one way or another. Just gotta be patient. I know it's hard to find an apartment when one is so specific and picky about it. I mean, you are going to live there for a while, so it better be a great place, right?

How's Jacob? Hope he's treating you very well. You are lucky to find such a hunk for yourself! He's really good looking and he's always so sweet to you. I want my own Jacob. I find it funny because he's warm as Jacob from Twilight and has fangs like Edward. Best of two worlds, right? And he's more handsome than them both together ;) He's a very hard working man, you should be proud of him.
I just want to let you know that you are an amazing person. You are always so kind to people, even though people take advantage of your kindness. You never hesitate to help someone when they need it. You're so nice. You are always there to listen to people, when no one really listens to you. But you know what? I am here to listen you when you need it. I am sure lots of people underestimate your friendship. People never help you, yet you are always up to help them anyways. People should be nicer to you, because they never know when you can help them. I am sure that anyone will like a friend like you, compared to all those fake friends out there. It takes lots of courage to you other people before you. But don't underestimate yourself. You are very valuable. So much better than other people. One day you will be rich and famous, THEN everyone will want to be your friend. But I am your only true friend who understand you better than anybody else. You gotta stay true to yourself, let other people know that you are a person too who has feelings and need for love. I tell you, while you are giving so much, life awaits great surprises for you in return. You will succeed in life and you will be happy with everything you have.

Keep being awesome. Soon you'll get what you want in life. You are a wonderful woman. So pretty and cute. And I love your positive attitude. Keep it up. You rock!

Much much much love,

What will your love letter to yourself say? Give it a try! =]

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hi, how can I help you today?

I finally got a job as a customer service at a mall. Hurray!

It's not a full-time job, it's a seasonal part-time job, but that's totally fine. At least I am working, gaining experience, getting to know people, and learning new things that could help me for the future.

I am currently working at the customer service front desk at a mall. So my duties include giving directions to stores, answering the phone, gift-wrapping, offering photocopying and faxing services, and other duties. I like it very much so far. The people I work with are really nice, and since day 1 they have been helping me a lot; telling me how things work, how to do something properly, how to talk to customers, etc. They are really nice and have some sense of humour. Very generous. The girls are great, they know a lot, and although some are kinda competitive, a lot of times they are really nice and they try to get to know me. The guys I have worked with are hilarious, very funny guys. Very helpful, yet always have some time to joke around.

My managers are nice too. They have been very helpful and I respect them a lot. They also have a sense of humour. I find that so important regarded to the personality of a manager. That you feel at ease with them, and not feel threatened or scared. And because of that, the person hired will have a stronger sense of connection and communication with the manager, and enjoy work.

The most difficult part of my job is to learn ALL and Every Single store in the mall. Locate them and give the simplest directions to customers. I have gone through three phases:

Phase 1: only know the stores you go to, and have no idea where the heck the other stores are or how to get there.
Phase 2: know the majority of the stores, but get them all confused. Danger: giving false directions to customers.
Phase 3: know the most popular stores and biggest stores.

So, I'm on it. I porbably know how to get to most stores, but small stores or stores that people don't usually ask for, I get stuck and I need to double-check with my co-workers. Thankfully I made a SUPER map that I created myself, with the floor of the mall with every single store. I have gotten lots of praises for it and have been told that that's called dedication.

Even more, today, this lady came up to me and said:
Lady: where could you go for big sizes clothing?
Me: Hm, I'm thinking of Laura Plus, which is straight ahead and then turn left.
Lady: where is the Apple store?
Me: straight down the hallway, on your right side.
Lady: could I get a coffee nearby there?
Me: yes, there is a Second Cup on your way there too.
Lady: you're good!!
(and then she pointed that I was good to my other co-workers. I felt so proud!)

The thing I have learned so far is that people come up to you with all sorts of inquiries, and you just try to do your best to help them, even if that means you have to go an extra mile. Might not mean much to you, but could mean a lot to them. It feels really nice to help other people, even though some appreciate it more than others.

I like this job. Maybe I could stay after the holidays.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh ya, my children will be doctors

I just read an interesting article on the Toronto Star about how asian parents almost push their kids to go into university to take high standard programs such as medicine, pharmacy, law, engineering and accounting, even thought some kids don't even have the talent or interest in them. And the consequence of that are children dropping out of school, failing, getting suspended, cheating or even break down to depression.

I totally feel and get what they are saying because I come from very traditional parents, and they obviously want the best for me. Thankfully, my parents let me fully take Communications and French and let my sister take her International Development Studies. However, I do recall them trying to convince me to get into Computer Science (since "I love computers so much") and trying to convince my sister to get into law (because "she's too good at arguing"). I also remember when I was choosing my university career I had to consult them several times. They rarely asked me questions like "do you really like that program?", "are you very interested in that program?", or "take whatever you are passionate about". They were more like "yes, that career can get you jobs" and "no, that's a useless program and you cannot find a job after". I mean, I understand that they want me to succeed after graduation. But one thing is taking something that I want to get a job with and another thing is to take something I am passionate about. Remember the time when I told my dad I wanted to go to cooking school and he told me "if you want to be a chef start by doing the dishes in the sink", or my mom telling me "yeah, right". Because that is something I am REALLY interested and passionate about learning! Besides doing art design, web design, and graphic design. Maybe theatre. Although Communications (or advertising) was certainly an option because of my interest in ads in high school.

The thing is that I feel (by noticing my parents and other chinese parents), that the chinese culture is very much focused in study and woring hard, but not so much on the social life (generally speaking, there are of course exceptions). Like the article said, "the Confucian tradition of respect for hard work and obedience “often overlooks creative skills and leadership and social skills". At least for the case of my parents, they usually don't allow me or are very restricted about me going to social gatherings, extra-curricular activities, and having a social life. So I went to school and went back directly home, everyday. This in turn has shaped the personality I used to have and maybe still have today: the shy, quiet, naive, anti-social type of girl. Maybe not so much now, but I am still bit shy and quiet because I have learned from other people (mostly non-asian), and not from my parents.

Since my first year at university I wanted to get a part-time job, so that I can gain experience and network with other people, and maybe earn some dollars. But I remember clearly that my parents told me to forget about part-time jobs, and that I needed to concentrate on my studies. Four years after, I have graduated and barely got a job. Why? Because I don't have much experience because I was too busy studying. I mean, it is not a bad thing concentrating on studies, but it's not like my grades were super high. Maybe because the rebellious me didn't listen to my parents and still got a social life at university with frosh week, volunteering, joining clubs, etc. which thankfully gave me a little bit of experience I can put on my resume. Of course, I did all these without asking my parents about it. They would have probably said no. But for me, experience is a lot more valuable than my grades. Because when you come out to work, it is the experience that counts. Employers won't care if you got an A or a C+ (well, it would be nice to get an A). But say, you have an A+ but no experience, contacts, or anything; where can that get you? And what if you got a C+ but your resume is filled with lots of different experiences that are valuable to the job you are applying for? Getting out of the classroom to meet other people, will help students get connections, who might hook you up with a job, right?

But I understand where chinese parents come from. China's economic situation wasn't the best about 25 years ago. And now with the technology, globalisation, immigration to first world countries, and the amount of freedom compared to those years, there is a huge gap of difference. Maybe that is why they want their kids to have the best education in order to have the best job, and therefore make lots of money. It is understandable and it is fair to say that. However, it is still unfair to make children take something they don't feel interested or have the passion about. A low interest will reflect on a low grade, which in turn will make the children miserable about their lives. I think it is important for asian parents to understand the many ways to success, that is not written on the books, but it is all around living the daily life and experiencing and learning.

And it is crazy that 72% of Toronto's Chinese-Canadian students are applying for universities while only 42% of Canadian students apply to universities. It is funny how the article says that some universities are becoming "too Asian" *cough Uot cough*. My sister who studies at UoT in Scarborough tells me that students, mostly asians, are very studious and very serious about their university careers. She even tells me that people go to the library past 12am, and maybe some even might as well pull a tent there and sleep overnight. Not saying that there is no social life there, but I do notice however, that most chinese students mingle with their own kind and don't usually go beyond. I find this also true at York. Maybe it's just the culture clash, the way people are raised. Thankfully I was encouraged to mingle with non-asians in costa rica (because I had mostly no choice since there aren't many chinese people there) and I feel totally comfortable socializing with non-asian people. My parents asked me in my first year if I made any chinese friends, I told them that I didn't because no chinese will come up to me and say hi, it was mostly canadians who did that. Needless to say they were disappointed. But you know what, this is another story...

The point is that I am glad that I found the article, because it is something I am concerned about. I believe in freedom of choice, that the person can choose either to go or not to university and choose what program they want to get in according to their interests or talents. People shouldn't be forced to take something parents want them to take, because it is their career and their life after all. I find it great that there are programs that speak to the chinese communities about the many ways of success besides the books, and to encourage their children to get to know other backgrounds, to socialize, and have more life experiences rather than locking themselves in a box in front of a book that can only tell you so much.

I am also glad and thankful that my parents at least give me 'some' freedom about my life and mostly agree with what I want to do in life.