Monday, December 30, 2013

2014

That should about do it for 2013, minutes are slowly passing until 2014 presents us with a number of unknown future stories, events, tragedies and probably babies. 2013 was a solid year, have no major issues with it. Started out on a rooftop bar in Indonesia, finished up my time in Thailand, a one-way ticket to New Zealand that eventually led me to Hong Kong. I am not in a position to complain. I'm sort of into the whole New Year's resolution thing so let's quickly look back at 2013's resolutions and see how I did:


-Stay out of the hospital. Unsuccessful. I now know that roofs and active volcanoes are dangerous. Noted.

-No sunburns. Unsuccessful. New Zealand winters will actually get you. 

-Eating fresh fruit four times a week in Thailand. Unsuccessful but close.

-Write down everything I spend money on. Successful up until December because I stopped caring.

-Read a book for at least 30 minutes everyday. Again, unsuccessful. I am not in love with this post so far.

-Find an incredible job in or outside of Canada. I'd say successful. The dream was to work on a mountain in New Zealand and I made it happen.

Well, I didn't do great on those so let's try to improve in 2014

Stay out of the hospital

Visit at least one new country

I still don't know how to play chess so I will need someone to help me with this one.

Learn to tie a bow-tie


I don't actually know how to dive; I'm sure my dad is angry somewhere, probably on a lake, not catching fish.


Some of these have been taken from my Bucket List post, convenient that I already had a list made. The priority is staying out of the hospital. I hope that you had an amazing holiday season and have a life altering 2014. We are closing in on 3 years of writing here so thanks for putting up with me for this long. 
HAPPY NEW YEAR!



"The thing I like most about time is that it's not real. It's all in the head. Sure, it's a useful trick to use if you want to meet someone at a specific place in the universe and have tea or coffee- but that's all it is- a trick. There is no such thing as the past. It exists only in the memory. There is no such thing as the future. It exists only in our imagination. If our watches were truly accurate, the only thing they would ever say is "Now". That's what time it is. It's "Now". 
Damien Echols








Saturday, December 21, 2013

Falling in love on a chairlift


Imagine one day during the Christmas break you and a group of friends decide to go snowboarding. You decide to go snowboarding because skiing is for the elderly. You are all bundled up nice and warm, you have all the necessary gear, and you are all just having a memorable day as the snow falls down and creates softer landings for you inevitable falls. The last of your friends get on the chair in front of you so you patiently wait for the next chair to sweep you up and they place you next to another person. You sit back into your chair, safely put the safety bar down and exhale. You are on a beautiful mountain, snowboarding with all of your friends, life is good. You then look to your right and you notice the person next to you also snowboards because they are hip and into cool things. You make a comment about the weather, "cold out today eh?" Ask them where they are from, what they do and you start to think that maybe this person is pretty cool. You invite them to join you for a run down the mountain. They have some decent riding skills so you decide to invite that person to lunch, you share a delicious poutine, exchange numbers, and slowly start to think this might be the last person you want to "snowboard" with. Boom, you have just fallen in love and your life now is very different all because of a chance encounter on a chair lift.




What if you had come down the hill 1 minute later or earlier? What if your friends decided they wanted to go to the mountain on a Tuesday instead of the Wednesday? You never would have met them and would have no idea what you missed out on. Now, some people are of the opinion that that encounter was fate and if they didn't meet that day, they surely would have fallen in love another day. I tend to disagree in most cases and feel that in general, and way more than we like to think, our lives are a series of random events that we have little to no control over.

 (There is a website called wemetonaplane.com where people who met during a flight and didn't have the nerve to say something in person, describe the event and their flight details on this site and hope the other person reads it. If you like someone people, just get their number, you can do it)

While we love to think we are completely in control but we really don't know what is going to happen tomorrow, next week or next year. Try to think about events that have happened in 2013 that you would not have guessed this time last year from losing a job to changing cities and friends, our lives are unpredictable. For example, a one-night stand turns into a baby that turns into a marriage that might turn into 2 more babies and all because you both had too many jager bombs one Saturday night. 


Last year I read a book called The Click Moment by Frans Johannson that talks about how our lives and our success is largely outside of our control. Yes working hard is important, but there are lots of people who work hard that catch a few bad breaks and aren't in the best position. Frans writes how spending 10, 000 hours practicing a certain skill is only a real advantage when dealing with environments that don't change much like tennis or playing the piano. Business, trends and people are constantly evolving which means rules and ways to succeed are also expanding. That's a big reason why Richard Branson can start an airline without spending years in the aviation industry or how Mark Zuckerberg can become a billionaire by starting a website. He demonstrates how rules can change with the story of Nokia. At one point it was the dominant cellphone maker. When the iPhone hit the market in 2007 and Google soon followed with its Android operating system, Nokia saw smart phones as niche products and paid a heavy price. Another story features the Google founders who tried to sell their search engine for a measly $1 million only to be told no deal by Yahoo and others. In both cases all their experience with cellphones and search engines did not help them see how things were going to change.


He also notes that you can’t follow trends and expect success. For example, the relative success of lawyers in the past has lead to an over supply that has reduced the chances of success for new graduates. Anything exposed to market forces needs to be different in order to rise above the competition. Success in the future defies logic and prediction and is therefore somewhat random. He cites the success of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Vampire series as an example that defies logic. The author was inexperienced and not a talented writer. None the less, her work broke the Hairy Potter best seller longevity record. When she started writing she knew little about vampires and broke all the rules, no fangs, no coffins. We also hear the story of best selling author Stephen King who tried to publish under a pseudonym to pump out books faster. What he found out is that his initial success caused his other Stephen Kings books to sell well thanks to the brand identification of his name rather than his writing skill.


Should the news that our lives are what they have become due to a series of events that are largely out of our control scare us? It might give some people comfort that if things haven't really turned out, it isn't entirely their fault. What I think we should get out of this is a sense of excitement that the world is an incredible place and that if you are open to opportunities, change, people and new experiences, you literally have no idea what might end up happening to you. 

No one remembers these nights


“There are patterns because we try to find them. A desperate

 attempt at order because we can't face the terror that it 

might all be random.” Lauren Beukes


A song that might do a better job of explaining this:
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNU3k_poj_Q

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Life in Hong Kong

















I'm just about to hit the one month mark living in Hong Kong. I haven't been writing much because I doubt that posts about me applying for jobs, eating kebabs and sleeping in would have much value to you. I'm living with two of my best friends in the world, Jake and Emma. Without them living here, I for sure would not have considered moving here, mainly due to how expensive living is here. So I'm staying with them in their incredibly convenient apartment near Central Hong Kong until I figure out my life. I went on an interview, got the job and now I am waiting for the paperwork to get processed so I can start working. The last post I wrote about how much I loved Thailand and how I wanted to stay. Well, while I was in Nakhon, I interviewed for a job teaching Math to grades 4-6 as a backup plan. While at the interview, I knew I was going to be offered the job once one of the Thai teachers met me and told me I was handsome. Handsome=job in Nakhon. So while I was looking for jobs in Hong Kong, I was also waiting to hear back from Thailand. I slowly started leaning towards Thailand. While I ended up getting offered both jobs, I think that we must embrace change and try new things. Nakhon will always be there, Seth will always be desperate for me to stay at his crib, I can always go back. 2014 is about moving forward, so let's do that. 


















Hong Kong is great. Tons of people, things to do, restaurants, bars, beaches, hiking and cheap flights to other amazing countries. I did an incredible job of having no expectations for Hong Kong. Just before I left Thailand I was asked if I was excited to go. My honest answer was no because my heart was still in Nakhon. While my heart still might be there, it is slowly making its way by cargo ship to the ports of HK. The amount of English spoken here is fairly high, the weather is warm but a nice break that it isn't as incredibly hot as Thailand. The air pollution is for sure a major problem due to all of the cars, boats and airplanes. And the taxis! Guess for a moment how many taxis and taxi drivers there are here. Think about it. According to the very nice Chinese man who drove me somewhere last week, there are over 18 000 cabs and around 40 000 cab drivers. SO MANY TAXIS! But like most things here, you need to form a queue. 




One very convenient aspect of living here is having an octopus card. This card pays for your subway and ferry rides, bus and mini-van rides, 7-11 purchases, restaurants and rumour has it that you pay for your hospital bill when you have a baby with your octopus card. What an amazing place. I arrived on November 14th and my mom came to visit on the 17th for two weeks. Had been almost two years since I saw her so it was great seeing her for such an extended visit. We did a bunch of tourist things like going to see the Big Buddha, going to beaches and islands, watching the Symphony of Lights Show, went to a music festival, got lost a few times and other general mother and son things. Seeing your family is certainly good for your soul and I should be doing more of it. We also went to Macau, the gambling capital of the world and I turned $100 HKD ($13CDN) into $500 HKD ($60 CDN). No big deal, only high limit tables for this guy.




People in Hong Kong love horse racing like people in Canada love hockey. Every Wednesday night there are horse races at this gorgeous facility. The amount of money that people have that gamble there is disgusting. They have done a good job marketing horse racing as a party to the general public but also still appealing to the hardcore gamblers. I was there for two hours and you could easily not watch a horse race and just drink and eat as much as you want. Any sort of event that is outside, watching some sort of event with your friends, food and drinks is a winning combination. And people dress up when they go out places, wearing suits and beautiful dresses. It is nice living somewhere with so many different fashion styles and trends. Makes me think I need new clothes...





The picture about is of LKF, a main party district where there are pubs and clubs but it is just as much fun to grab a cheap beer from 7-11 and walk amongst the crowd and people watch. Hong Kong very well could be my home for the next year or two so if you would like to come visit, there are more than enough hotels around that would be more than happy to accommodate you. Hope everyone has a great holiday season and I plan on getting a few more posts in by the end of the year.





"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." –Maya Angelou

"Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart." – Ancient Indian Proverb


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bomkgXeDkE