vendredi, septembre 28, 2007

Another happy thought.

One of my favourite magazines is called Spacing. Spacing is a magazine which promotes the understanding and public ownership of Toronto's urban landscape. It covers hot political, social and cultural issues that people in the public realm face. Anyways, the photography in Spacing is always beautiful, and the fact that it is a magazine primarily devoted to present day Toronto zeitgeist makes me almost delirious. Yes, I love Toronto.

At any rate, this really isn't the happy thought, although, it is a pretty happy thought. What IS making me happy, is that Spacing Montreal recently launched. Although not a magazine, but an online blog, this really makes me happy. What good timing! As I prepare to move to Montreal, I am so thankful that something like this exists to help me understand the city more and how I can embrace it to the full.

Yay for new life adventures to come!

jeudi, septembre 27, 2007


this makes me happy.

vendredi, septembre 21, 2007

a day of weird dreams.

I figure, when there's a case of writer's block, the best way to deal with this is just to press through. Maybe this comes from my Chinese upbringing. As a child, growing up, I was never allowed to miss school. Throughout high school I must've had an almost perfect track record. I even went into an exam once, only to be forced home because I was vomiting too much.

Thus, I have decided that I am going to press through this writer's block and write about a dream I had last night. But before that, a short description of what I was up to before heading to bed.

Last night, I was visiting my friend Dave in Fort Saskatchewan. He was busy barbecuing outside, and I was inside, frying the mushrooms. UFC was on, so I was sporadically keeping my eye on the telly. The fight was over, the champion announced, and I noticed the winner wearing a t-shirt proudly displaying the words "" I chuckle and mention this to Dave, who says that it must be one of the fighter's sponsors.

Fastforward to nighttime. I get home around 11:15 and climb into bed shortly thereafter. Sleep washes over me. I fall asleep very fast and deeply. Suddenly, I find myself standing next to my friend Shelly. I realize I have a feminine emergency, and after rifling through my purse, I ask her if I can borrow a tampon. She says yes, and pulls out what appears to be a set of condoms in tiny square packages. I think to myself, "That is weird." I ask Shelly why her tampons look like condoms. She shoots me a piercing glare and declares in a very Shelly voice, "They're not condoms. They're what I use instead of tampons!"

I take the condom-looking-feminine-product and head to a bathroom stall. There, I rip it open, and just like I predicted, it IS a condom! But I trust Shelly, and proceed to try to figure out how to use the err...non-condom. I unfold it, and it becomes bigger and bigger and suddenly is no longer the off-white latex colour, but rather very maroon. Not only has the colour changed, but so has the shape! It has now morphed into....a pair of maroon rain pants with a diagonal silver stripe across the knee! You know, the kind you once wore when you were in elementary school in the 90s with a matching track jacket (or the kind that your present-day-susan powter-jane fonda look alike-physed teacher wears). I look at the once-non-condom-feminine-product-turned-maroon-trackpants and stand puzzled. How am I supposed to use this?

I wake up.

I blame my friend Dave and his UFC watching habits for this bizarre dream.

(If you started reading this half-way through, PLEASE note that this was a dream, and that my friend Shelly does not walk around with a string of unused "condom" packs in her purse.)

jeudi, septembre 20, 2007

inspired by peter bjorn and john.

I'm suffering from a bit of writer's block. I had a fantastic four days in Toronto. I have some seriously amazing friends and a seriously amazing church family.

I wish I had something groundbreaking to write. But there really is nothing. So instead of submitting the reader to half-baked drivel, I present you with an article that cracked me up...and yet was filled with truth.

click here.

mardi, septembre 18, 2007

Being in Edmonton.

(and yes, i totally broke the rule of thirds.)

mardi, septembre 11, 2007

Women's MMA

I was sitting and waiting at a dentist office today, waiting for the dentist to finish so that I could do a support appointment with her. I picked up a copy of TIME magazine and read THIS article. (click here too).

Two lines that have gotten me thinking:

"I don't want to see two women beatin' on each other. I don't like it." ~ Dana White

"To be able to potentially break somebody's arm is pretty cool for me."~ Jessica Pene

Is it a double standard to say that I identify with what White is saying? In the eyes of the secularized public, does it make me just as "chauvinist"? That I'd watch, or at least condone men beating on each other, but that hearing about women beating on each other makes me cringe is probably making many feminists...or many WOMEN cringe.
Is this an inborn thing or is it a conservative traditionalist perspective? A realization that as a woman, I want the knight in shining armour who fights, but wouldn't want to be the knight myself? Or is it a socialized thing?
If I see men fighting men as a sport, akin to karate or running, then why am I cringing when it's women fighting women?
What is Biblical femininity and masculinity in this case?
Whereas most males would say the goal isn't to necessarily maim one's opponent but to get them to tap out, many females in this sport, seem to have a different desire.
The desire to break one's arm is different from a desire to win.

I don't know what to think...I obviously have more questions than answers.

This blog will definitely be polarizing in terms of an audience...and I'm being very careful (but probably not enough) about what I say....

Because 6 years ago, the feminist me would have wanted to break my arm..right about now.

samedi, septembre 08, 2007

a different kind of life.

Four years ago, I had just arrived in Toronto. The February prior, I had completed all my university applications. I watched as letters streamed in.

University of Alberta.
University of Toronto.

The last one was the one I had been waiting for. The one I had dreamed of receiving ever since I had decided to be a pediatric cardiologist when I was five.
In high school, when I finished Calculus at some ridiculous age like 13, I thought I'd become an engineer. Math and Physics were always my favourite subjects. Ninety seven throughout high school. A seven on my IB exam. My physics teacher STILL loves me. We talk once in awhile. Engineering seemed like the right option. When I got a full scholarship into the Engineering programme at the U of A, I toyed with the idea of staying in Edmonton for about five seconds.
But the U of T package came. A decision had to be made. Engineering? Arts? Science?

I chose Arts, because I couldn't see myself sitting in an office or out on a site, and as a way to rebel against the Asian destiny. I was going to become a lawyer.

Instead, in May I convocated with a B.Sc (Hon).

I still chuckle, because until October of this year, I did not know I was graduating with a science degree. Way to rebel against my Asian roots.

Recently, I was telling a friend about how i could've turned out to be Lydia the Engineer. I'm not quite sure if he believed me. It's funny. When I was in high school, math and "smarts" were all people remembered me for. I was a hollow shell of a person. Now, most people don't know me as the math lover. The words Lydia and math hardly ever occur in a sentence together.

The new school year is starting. People are heading back to school.

I am not.

I'm headed into the working world. But I'm not sitting in an office, nor am I on a site. I'm not in law school and I'm not going for a masters.

Instead, I get paid to tell people about Jesus.

When David Naylor shook my hand and asked me what my future plans were, up on the stage in convocation hall, I told him I was going to be a missionary.

It's almost surreal. Almost ridiculous. It's not prestigious.

At times, I lose focus. I forget that this is what I want to do. I want to become a photographer. Go into graphic design. Apply for law school. Go into journalism and have my name in the byline.

But then I see my 15 year old neighbour who tells me I have "street cred" because I've watched UFC. Just once, but apparently it's enough. He tells me that he'll listen to me talk about that "Jesus sh*t" because he thinks i'm a cool twenty-one year old.

And my heart feels happy I did not become a pediatric cardiologist, an engineer or a lawyer.

jeudi, septembre 06, 2007

twenty one.

I turned 21 yesterday. To me, 21 isn't that big of a deal. The older I get, the more I realize how young I am. The majority of my close friends are approaching their mid-twenties, so the fact that I am merely 21, doesn't require that much celebration. It's simply a marker of how much I do not yet know.

A birthday with little fanfare. Yet, it may have been greater than, or at least on par with my last four birthdays. I thought I would have been bitter, because I'm still in Edmonton, when I never anticipated I'd be here beyond August. But, when you're away from friends, you feel their love even more, and smaller things become so much more meaningful.

A parcel in the mail (Jenbo) and a birthday card arriving on the same day the sender was leaving the country (Aban) made me smile ten times more. Phone calls bringing the familiar cacophony of voices to my ears were also so lovely (Janette, Brad, Wynja, Jess Farq). Friends in Ontario who stayed up till midnight MST to say "hello and happy birthday" are crazy, but maybe that's why I love them (Frank). Dinner with a good friend (Dave) from Toronto, which included sweet potato fries, mac and cheese, apple crumble and a sea breeze that made my cheeks burn(with a waiter that reminded us of pee-wee herman) at my favourite restaurant made it all the more fun.

When I got home, people had dropped off birthday cards for me (Mel, Terence, Mich, Stephen&ShuYee). Some were really unexpected.

I don't know, I felt really loved. Maybe it's because when you're so far away and people STILL take the effort to love you, it feels nice.

Sending a parcel in the midst of moving is no small task. Remembering a birthday when one is embarking on a year in North Africa is also worthy of praise. Taking time to make phone calls during FROSH week when you're a campus staff, or a student leader and all you've been doing for the past week is calling and meeting people and calling some more, requires sacrifice. Calling for the second time when the person shafted you the first time and it's past 1am in Guelph, means that you MUST want to talk to the person. Staying awake until 2am EST...well that's just crazy. Dinner when long hours have been worked and the drive into town takes at least 30-45 minutes, and you have to pick the person up and drop them off AND be coherent for dinner also requires sacrifice.

I have a lot of friends who love me. Which is pretty insane, because I am not a naturally lovable person.

Tonight, there's a chocolate mousse cake awaiting me (mom and dad).

It's not where I would have chosen to be, but for today (JUST FOR TODAY), it's not all that bad.

mardi, septembre 04, 2007

The making of a tennis player does not begin the first time he or she steps onto Centre Court at Wimbledon; nor does the making of a concert violinist begin on stage at Carnegie Hall. Such careers begin much earlier than that, often in childhood. Making it to the top demands sacrificing much that others take for granted; while others play, they must work--on lobs and smashes, serves and backhands, scales and arpeggios, bowing and fingering. Without those years of preparation, they would never be ready for their big moment in the public eye, the goal to which their whole life has been heading. Indeed, it would be unfair to expect a top performance at the highest level from a beginner. Only those who have matured through long and sometimes tedious years of preparation are equipped to take such a searching test.

The same principle holds true in God's service. Like an astute coach or a gifted teacher, God prepares his saints for the tasks to which he has appointed them before he uses them. Moses, for example, spent forty years in the desert, herding sheep, before God called him to lead his people out of Egypt. What better preparation in patience could there have been for his assignment of leading an equally stubborn flock of people through wilderness for forty years? Similarly, David learned courage from his own experience as a shepherd. Later the one who had learned how to take on wild animals in the defense of his flock would be called upon to take on the biggest wild animal of all, mighty Goliath, in the defense of God's flock. God knows how to prepare his people for the tasks to which they are assigned.

~Living in the Gap Between Promise and Reality by Iain M. Duiguid

lundi, septembre 03, 2007


Today, I woke up and I was angry. I haven't felt angry like that in awhile. My head was full of profanity, but there was nowhere to use it. I was angry because in two days, I will turn twenty one, and will spend it with no one since I have no friends here. Angry because it had been almost two weeks and I was still stuck at the same percentage. Angry at sunday school answers that have been thrown at me, like "God is sovereign." Angry because He brought me to a place of drought. Angry because certain people won't even give me a chance to show I am different, after four years of being away. Angry because my spirit was convicted by the gospel (yet again), and I did not want to be. Angry because anger fuels anger, and I wanted to be angry.

So, i sat out on our deck in the sunlight, and felt angry that it was sunny out. I pulled out the Bible and started reading. I felt angry that the words were swimming in my head and meaning nothing. I was angry that I do not know the Word as I should, and angry that everyone else seems to know the Word so well.

I pulled out my journal. And I prayed. Well, actually, a better description would be that I threw a tantrum. For the first time since high school, I actually swore when I was praying. In my anger, I figured that since God sees my thoughts anyways, I may as well write it out in my journal.

I'm not gonna lie. It felt good to get it all out.

And my heart ceased to be angry, and I was left broken.
I didn't know what to pray. So, I apologized and told Him I was just tired of being here and wondering where He was in all of this. I told Him I gave up. I closed my journal and went to take a nap. Sleeping has been such a refuge lately.

The phone rang. A woman across the street called and asked if I could do a support presentation for her. I went. She and her sons decided to support me. Her ten year old son asked her if he could support me. I wanted to cry.
I came home. The phone rang again. Someone I had met up with last week called to tell me they would be joining my support team.
The phone rang again. Someone gave me a referral. I called the woman and she said she'd be praying about it.

In one day, without doing anything, He launched me up ten percent.

Even in the midst of my anger, frustration and bitterness, He is still taking care of me.

It reminded me of a story one of the staff members told this summer. Sean is a staff member with a SUPER cute daughter. He told us a story about how one night his daughter threw a tantrum because she wanted to watch another episode of Dora the Explorer. He knew it was her bedtime, and when he told her this, she started crying and yelling "Dora!!". Sean said it broke his heart to see her crying like that, and really desired to let her watch Dora, and yet he knew what she needed was sleep. So he picked her up, let her cry, and took her to bed.

I think, this story has really kept me going, while I've been in Edmonton. I've wanted to give up. I've thrown many tantrums. Yet, He continues to take care of me. His heart breaks, just like mine does, but He sweeps up the pieces of my heart and painstakingly glues them back together.

I won't lie. I'm an Israelite at heart, straight out of the book of Judges. In two days, on my birthday, I'll probably have forgotten this lesson, and I'll probably throw another tantrum, because I'll be tired of being alone and tired of support raising, and tired of anything and everything.

But, tonight, I'll sit and ponder at the God I serve. That He would deign to care about my solitary soul is pretty amazing.