Monday, January 31, 2011

Job, Work, Life

The HR Generalist gave me a positive evaluation. She said she's been asking around the office and received a terrific response with regards to my performance. I didn't immediately tell my dad about this, so being the worrywart that he is, interrogated his friend about the "meaning" of the probation period. He frantically called my cell and left a harried message: "Lily! It's baba. Call me!"

So I pull up to my garage and dial his number without bothering to exit the vehicle. "What's going on?" I ask him.

He proceeds to give me a 15-minute long lecture about how his friend ("who's worked in corporate environments for 9 years!") told him that by month's end, someone from human resources will approach me to discuss my progress (or lack thereof) and if they're happy with me, then it is implied that the candidate should stop sending out resumes.

"Uh," I respond. "Why are you so anxious for me? Someone already spoke to me about it last week. I thought I told you. I know I told mom."

He peppers me with questions: What did HR tell you? What were their exact words? What did they mean by that?!

O-M-G, dad! He is clearly terrified that I will end up as a freelancer again. You'd think he'd be used to the ups and downs after seven years, the pattern acting as a vaccine for his heart attacks (of child-rearing origin).


Paul and I have been discussing the possibility of marriage. The situation is surprisingly not dire. He is graduating in April and if all goes as planned, I will have my own place soon. My parents and I are in search of a condo downtown. Housing prices are ridiculous and don't even bring up the TTC (hint: I loathe it).

There are, happily, some new offerings on the market that don't demand diamonds for a cubby hole. We'll see where that goes.

Paul has been receptive to the idea of being a House Husband. I mean, he already cooks, cleans, and does the laundry (sort of. I believe Dr. King said, "[We] will be able to speed up that day when all of God's sartorial choices, darks, whites, delicates and wool, denim and silk, will be able to tumble to the words of the old Tide jingle: 'Now that's my kind of clean!'").

"I don't mind being a House Husband," he's been telling people recently. A friend of ours thought he was kidding, but due to his insistence on pursuing cinematography, the heart might really have to be where the hearth is. Gender roles aside, Paul knows that, whether famine or feast, he'll end up being the main caretaker of the home and that's all right by me. Strangely enough, both sets of parents are supportive of our planned co-habitation. "Strange" because of the uproar it set off the first time I did it (granted, on strictly pragmatic terms in a relationship of convenience) and "strange" because both our parents simply accept that we'll be exchanging vows. If not now, then in the definite future.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


What am I going to do with my roommates? I hardly spend any substantial time at home, yet I have gripes that won't go away. Maybe it's because I don't have prior experience, but that hardly qualifies me as a miserable twit. Here's a list of their bothersome habits:

1. Both girls have their boyfriends over on a regular basis. To the point where they might as well be full-time tenants. If I wanted strange men sleeping over daily, I would've advertised thusly.

I hear their sweet nothings through my bedroom wall and heating vent when I'm trying to sleep. It's torture. Not to mention the house parties and the snappy attitude I get when I gently remind them to clean up the booze bottles and muddy lobby afterwards: "Of course we'll clean it up; we had people over!"

Well, excuuuuuse me, but I'm your damn landlord and you girls are naaaaasty.

2. Both my sister and I would take out their trash when they first moved in to help them transition into the new schedule. It's been three months now and they've simply come to expect that their garbage will be thrown out in time. But neither of them lift a finger and don't like me reminding them that, Oh hey, the truck is around the corner, do you mind putting your stuff on the curb?

3. Four people live in the house, yet the roommates' belongings outnumber ours (myself and my sister's) 3:1. There are still unpacked boxes in the living room and furniture in our backyard. They take up the entire fridge, they don't throw out their rotten food, and even after my sister designated our shelves, they migrate to our area when convenient. This means, I've been buying food at work for the past month because I have no room in the fridge to put my groceries. The cupboards are also full of their shit because they've monopolized that too. Did I mention dirty dishes for days?

4. The roommates never turn off the lights and washroom fan. I'm not talking about the porch light, but nearly every light in the house. They pay rent inclusive of utilities, which means my sister and I have to pay for unexpected increases in the bill and I already pay an equal amount of rent to live here.

That's pretty much it. This can't just be me sounding petty, right? When my sister mentioned to them about bringing guys home, they had the audacity to say, "If we had known we weren't allowed to bring people home, we wouldn't have moved here."

My sister said it was okay to have friends over, but their boyfriends are around way too much. "Besides," she told me later, "they never told us they even had boyfriends."

It makes me wonder if people feel shame anymore? I mean, don't they get ashamed when they know other people are picking up after them? Don't they get embarrassed that other people have to parent them? Don't people take responsibility for themselves anymore?

I remember growing up, my mom used to tell me not to do anything that would embarrass her. And putting your feet up while those around you cooked and cleaned was definitely something she'd be mortified by.

If they do decide to move out after we've discussed the issues, my sister is going to advertise the rooms for urban professionals only. Students are the scum of the earth. At least this whole experience has taught my sister how grating her bad habits make me feel. Who knew she'd meet her match and lose?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Operation Emma

Ooh! I emailed him and he expressed interest in meeting her too. Told me my request was totally random, but he's up for it. Nice! I'm the best motherfucking amateur matchmaker in the WORLD! (Don't ruin it for me, I need this, okay?!)


A couple of months ago, I went on a casting run with a guy from an ad agency. (The company subsequently hired my baby cousin on a handful of TV spots, thanks to yours truly.) We had terrific chemistry and he was photogenically handsome. A former radio DJ back in Hong Kong, he'd come to Canada to further his studies.

Last week, I had breakfast with an old friend. She hasn't had a decent date (or relationship) in years even though she's pretty as all get out. So I'm watching her poke at her yogurt-granola-monster parfait and an idea hit me.

"Let me set you up," I said. "I worked with this guy. He lives nearby, really cute, and close to our age."

She was intrigued. "Hook me up, hook me up!" she said, beaming, startlingly even me with her enthusiasm. (I must've underestimated her dryspell; it was the Serengeti.)

Now here I am, at my work station, calling up contacts to find a potential lead beacause he likely doesn't work there anymore. (Did I mention I have a verifiable waiting list of potential matches I hope to get through?)

In other words: I have become the Yenta of the East (or Northern Hempisphere, but that doesn't exactly roll off the tongue). It feels nice to spread the love around.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


On my sister
"You have book smart, you no have road smart."

On Hilary Duff's pregnancy
"Who pregnant? Dog pregnant?"

On white people who act Asian
"You're so egg!"

On the song Lady Marmalade
"Who is this, Lady Mama?"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Treasure or trash?

I just stumbled onto all my correspondences with my ex-boyfriend during the period when we were dating. It's weird reading how much someone misses you and loves you and longs for you with a name that is not Paul's. (Not to mention the dirty sex descriptions; it's like being molested by Father Time.)

I can speak now about my former relationship with a clarity I didn't used to possess, but I've also forgotten that I'd actually had a different life altogether with someone else. In a different city. Under different circumstances. With a social circle now disbanded.

We'd lived together, spent two years together, bickered, fought, and broke each other's belongings together. And yet, I can't recall the visceral force of the near-daily rage that passed between us. Like the River Styx, crossing it meant death and ironically, the only escape. So then, what's there to reclaim by reading them?

But read them I did.

A few passages in and I could already feel the discomfort creep up on me. Like the skin that develops when you boil milk, it appears when you momentarily stop paying attention to what you had intended to do. What scares me is how similar my ex's frequent romantic proclamations are to Paul's (at least on paper) and that parallel blows my mind, knowing how different this relationship is compared to the last. (The difference, of course, is that this time, I return those feelings.)

But I suppose we can only dissect the veridity of love in hindsight.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dinner at Paul's house

Paul's parents recently celebrated their 20th-anniversary as immigrants in Canada. They invited a couple who generously supported them until they settled in, months after emigrating from Russia. The woman, L, was old and very brusque:

"When you two getting married?" she asked. Paul's mom told her to stop embarrassing us.

Earlier in the evening, Paul sat beside me at the corner of the table. His mother shooed him to the side: "Sitting in corner means six years you don't get married."

Paul rolled his eyes and held my hand. I laughed and asked him if he'd sit there if the saying was true.

"No" came the emphatic answer.

Now here we were, the entire table watching, as I earnestly pondered L's question. I spoke slowly: "I think it would be prudent once Paul and I are settled in our careers." Then quickly added, "... so we can have healthy, stable lives."

L scoffed. "Everyone want healthy, stable life. Why not get engaged now?"

"Because we don't have any money," Paul interjected. The guests chuckled.

L was unmoved:

"Why you need money? For wedding? How much?"

"As much as you want," I said.

Listen, I continued, money will help us build a healthy, stable life together. I don't want a wedding, I don't need a dress, and I don't care for rings. But I want our finances to be in order before jumping into anything.

Paul's father said it was a good answer and settled the matter. The guests clinked wine glasses and the discussion slid back into the comfortable tides of the Slavic language.

Updates from the job and other thoughts

I am ploughing through my second week of work. So far, so good. Very busy. I really enjoy the flexible hours and the challenging atmosphere. It's not a very orthodox position, which is partly why it fits my personality.

Unfortunately, as much as I would love to divulge secrets from the inner sanctum of the global entertainment and financial industries, I am bound to a confidentiality contract. (Literally.)

I will say that I've been blessed with a patient and undemanding boss, who has given me a lot of rope to discover the most efficient way to achieve various goals. He has neither nagged nor prodded me and so far, it's been working out fine (with some minor adjustments here and there).

One of the highlights of last week was the moment I received my newly-printed box of business cards. I checked out the colour and font (eggshell, Helvetica) and a thought occurred to me: "Fuck freelance, corporate rocks!"

Okay, clearly, it was in jest. But wow, after seven (7!) years of working gig to gig, paycheque to no-cheque, it's nice to take a break from scouring job listings for awhile.

Scanning my resume, you could easily mistake me for someone older, a seasoned flake:

Retail sales associate
TV and newspaper reporter
Magazine contributor
Editor-in-Chief of a business publication
Piano teacher
TV News Producer
Photography Assistant
Assistant Director

(I think that's it. I might be missing a couple.)

Anyway, overall, if I had to assess my experiences up to this point, I think I've lived a pretty fulfilling life at the ripe old age of 24.

My mom says I've always got along with old(er) people, even as a kid. I enjoyed hanging out with grandmas and grandpas (my own and other people's), had conversations with chemistry professors at buffet lines, and even now, I have a hard time retaining friendships that don't stimulate me intellectually. I don't know how this fits into what I was saying, but maybe the meandering way my life has gone is a reflection of my curiosity and appetite for the novel and unknown. Or maybe they are choices I've made because I've stopped giving a shit about where I'd wind up as long as it got my mom off my back about being unemployed. Yeah, that sounds more like it.

So here's to another 7 years of hopes, anxieties, and professional suicide. All in a year's work =)

Friday, January 07, 2011

My parents will probably stop hinting at grad school

I was just offered a full-time job as the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of the largest independent media distribution company in North America. Naturally, I accepted.

I went in for the initial interview Tuesday, was called back to speak with The Boss Thursday, and by Friday, I was given the good news. Work starts Monday.

The online ad had been intentionally vague for, I suppose, discretionary reasons. However, once I arrived for the interview, HR personnel revealed who I would actually be supporting. Crazy!

The Boss asked me about my ambitions and I told him I'd like to eventually be a film producer. He told me this would be a wonderful place to meet potential contacts since the company has offices all over the world with plans to acquire more businesses in Eastern Europe this year.

Paul says we should go to City Hall to get a marriage license so he can take advantage of the provided spousal benefits. He's kidding, I think. ("Or until I need those benefits," he added.)

Must go celebrate ...

Monday, January 03, 2011

Paulisms: Music Edition

Paul, like me, came to Canada at a young age. We made do learning the songs of the natives by ear. The results were not always consistent in his case.

In the car
"Boo-yah Lady Marmalade ..."

After a holiday party
"On the first day of Christmas, Marsula gave to me ..."

In the shower
"If you want a happy life/ You should marry an ugly wife."

Before sex
"OP-EN THE KINGDOOOOM!" [Philip Glass would not approve.]