22/ 05/ 16
Summer is nearly here! I’m not one for scorching temperatures, or even really the sun, for the matter–I’d rather be sitting in the shade with plenty of SPF on–and while the beach isn’t my favourite place to be in the world, I do really love the ocean. Maybe it has something to do with all its poetic connotations, of how intrinsically wild it is but how it brings an unmistakable feeling of tranquility.
Like as in this excerpt from one of my favourite novels, All the Light We Cannot See (by Anthony Doerr)…
I’ve always found the ocean to be really calming in a way. When you’re standing on the shore watching the waves come in and out, it really creates a nice feeling. You become very given to contemplating life, haha. The playlist I’m sharing today kind of encapsulates that feeling, but more than anything it’s for a chilled-out kind of vibe. I really do like that kind of laid-back vibe that comes with summer.
10/ 05/ 16
“Someone tells me: this kind of love is not viable. But how can you evaluate viability? Why is the viable a Good Thing? Why is it better to last than to burn?”
― Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments
It seems I’ve been a bit caught up with the concept of ‘love’ lately–love of another person (be it platonic, romantic, or somewhere in between), love of self, love of a situation or environment, love for what I’m doing, career- or life-wise. This is in part thanks to the usual reflections that waver between the lines of hopeless romantic and unrelenting pragmatic, and also in part thanks to 3LAU’s new song, linked at the end of this post, which I’ve been semi-obsessed with. Also Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments, which in some sense reaffirms my love for literary criticism and the written word in general.
About these photos–they were taken on a day trip with a friend to Lamma Island, one of the outlying islands around Hong Kong. I’ve always really liked the notion of wearing white dresses in summer, despite my nearly-all-black wardrobe. This particular one is from Hollister, in a very pretty eyelet pattern with a strappy back and slim-to-flared silhouette. I love it because it’s the kind of item that you can dress up or down depending on what you wear with it.
06/ 05/ 16
This is a blog post. Wait, what?
I’m back (again)! It borders on ridiculous that over half of the posts on my blog preface themselves with blah-blah-I-haven’t-blogged-in-so-long-blah-blah, so let’s just get over it. As of late, I’ve been finding myself rather uninspired and even worse, at a loss for words. That’s probably problematic for someone who brands herself as a “writer”, but to be honest, my very simple motive for blogging is just really to put myself out there again.
I first started this blog as an experiment (all the way back in 2012, can you believe it), and saw it evolve into my own platform of self-expression. The past four years have come with numerous ups and downs and really, I’m still somewhat in awe that I’ve managed to keep “I.E. Jessie” up for so long. Consistency doesn’t rank itself within my topmost strengths, but I guess for me, having this space validates itself enough for me to want to sustain it.
Recently, I’ve had some time to reflect about my current state of mind. To be honest, I’ve been frustrated about a lot of things–about where I am in life, about my present situation, the people around me, or simply just about myself. Part of it, I believe, is the natural frustration that comes with ambition; it results from dissatisfaction of not being or having “enough”. (Obviously there is a fine line between wanting to improve to fulfill one’s own potential and improving for the sake of improving or temporarily relieving an unrelenting self-doubt, but I digress.)
10/ 01/ 16
Spent NY at Canada’s National Congress.
Wrote an article for AI’s blog that got many, many hits.
Acted as facilitator for the first time at the SouthON conference with Daphne.
House party with the roommates & Many good times with Holly and Win.
Applied for MCVP in Hong Kong.
Handed in last essay of English undergrad degree.
Had our final girls’ night out as university students.
Got the position.
Family vacation to the States.
Flew to Hong Kong.
09/ 11/ 15
Striking a balance between melancholy and wistfulness with this playlist, which basically sums up the emotional spectrum of autumn for me. It’s finally the penultimate month of the year.
Typing this up on a Monday morning and all I can say for myself is I’m damn tired haha. I’ve got a mountain of things to do as per usual, but taking the time out to blog just because. Something to do with retaining my sense of sanity. My English ability is leaving me, wtf.
November is actually my favourite month of the year, not least because it’s the month I was born in, haha. I’ve been impatient to wear layers since two months ago, but sweater weather just doesn’t seem to exist in Hong Kong–at least not yet. By the looks of it, I’ll be wearing shorts until December.
Oh, have I mentioned on here that this is the first autumn in eighteen (?) years that I haven’t gone “back to school”? I remember being quite annoying about it in September. The life of a working adult isn’t quite as glamourous as I’d hoped, but seeing as I’ve still got decades of it before, I figure there’s no point in having a mid-life crisis just yet, ahha.
04/ 10/ 15
I’m sure there’s a good excuse reason as to why my blog posts occur a good month after whatever it is I’m writing about has happened, but since I’m currently typing this out at 3AM, I’m just going to pat myself on the back for finally picking up the blog again, haha.
Of course, the simple answer is “life happened”. I really don’t know where the time has gone, seriously. My days seem to just get sucked up by work or people; mundane things, extraordinary things; and finally, the need for proper rest and/or sustenance, be it physical or emotional. But whatever. That’s not the story I was planning for this post to tell, and I’m getting ahead of myself again.
Let’s start at the beginning. Or at least, the beginning of this story–my journey to India. If you want the boring details, (or the necessary ones for context, whatever), I flew to India mid-August to attend an international youth conference. I was there for nearly two weeks, and it was my first time travelling to India–a place that, to be honest, I probably would not have the occasion to visit in my life were it not for this one.
To be honest, I don’t have much to say about my Indian experience–at least no huge life-changing moments or insights. It was an experience that I am grateful for, however. Although whether that can be attributed to my time in India itself or throughout the conference, is harder to say. Perhaps I will just be vague and say both, haha.
We arrived in India two days before the conference to explore the ‘true, local India’ before being tucked away in a grand hotel for the conference for the remainder of the trip. Unfortunately, I was taken out on the first day by a violent food allergy reaction, (one that left me rather scarred for the rest of the trip to eat anything remotely local, sadly). The second day proved to be a bit better, where we got the chance to visit and marvel at the wonders of India, namely, the Taj Mahal, and Agra Fort!
I can’t really talk about these two places without mentioning how it felt to be India in general–namely, overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the heat, by the amount of people, by the sheer feeling of foreign-ness, by the chaos, by the magnificence, and on it went.
I hadn’t been rendered a true foreigner through travel for a very long time. Back in home in Canada, the diversity of the population coupled by the fact that I grew up there meant I had no qualms about belonging there. Even in Hong Kong, or Seoul, my appearance fit into the norm, I still blended in, and by default, fit in somehow.
In India, however, I was without a doubt a foreigner just by default of being myself. Walking down the street we would get numerous glances, not only because of our ethnic origins, but I assume to some small extent, also because the majority of our group was female. It was a sort of disembodying experience.
But to add to that, despite feeling like a stranger, we were in no way treated as outsiders. India is famously diverse in itself–a whirling, vibrant, and astounding chaos of beautiful culture, both opulent and humble. And in that diversity, we were greeted with a welcome that was unassuming as it was bold, an invitation to enjoy the fullest of India, while simultaneously mingling with people hailing from literally all around the world–126 countries and territories, to be exact.
What I gained from this experience of having gone to India as a whole, was a refreshed perspective, a reminder to look outside of myself and to strive for the bigger picture.
Also, the knowledge that I am not alone! At first I thought, how funny that I came to such a conclusion in a place where I felt so alienated. But in India, at least I expected it. I expected the jolt of culture shock, the utter unfamiliarity and the inevitable fear that followed. I hadn’t, however, expected to feel some semblance of alienishness in HK. I guess this whole loneliness thing has been more of a struggle for me than expected. But in India, of all places, I met my ‘group’–those who were in the same boat as I was, in the same job title. I guess what I’m trying to say is I finally sort of felt in my element.
In the end, it is as much about you being open to the world as it is about the world coming at you. Within those two weeks spent in India, I found my sense of belonging, or the beginning of it, I guess. And it was thanks in part to the ubiquity of the experience as a whole, but more so thanks to those people who I met–those people that made the unfamiliar familiar again for me. (So to those people, thanks. <3)
Until next time!
03/ 07/ 15
It’s taken me over a month to write this blog post, when really, all I just wanted to say were four simple words.
I’m in Hong Kong.
Simple, not quite poignant. Just words. Maybe it should be stylized as follows.
I’m in Hong Kong!
The exclamation mark is not entirely unwarranted. Barely a month after finishing university, I packed up and flew to a city all the way across the world—ohyeah, I’m working here, now by the way. Well, long story short, I am now relocated to the vibrant, bustling city of Hong Kong.
Why exactly, requires more… words.
I remember publishing a blog post in a similar vein after having arrived in Korea nearly two years ago. A month in, I also wrote something reflective and blah blah blah about having been in a new country was a brand new experience and I’ve learned so much, etc, etc, etc.
I’ve had to explain this to so many people since coming here.
How my roots are in Hong Kong, how I’ve been born and raised in Canada, how I’ve visited the city numerous times, how I can speak and understand Cantonese but cannot read or write it, how I stand squarely in the middle of both my Canadian and Hong Kong cultures.
I’ve had numerous people ask me how I’m doing, how I’m feeling, what I’ve been up to, and so on. How’s working going, how is living here, am I learning lots, am I eating well?
How does it feel to have picked up everything and have left to a place… hmm, where are the words. A place that holds warm connections and conversely, overwhelming anonymity. Here I can be someone, I can be anyone, I can be no one. I alternate between any and all of the three all day.
They say travel is one of the best ways to find yourself. They say writing is the purest form of self-expression in words. Well, here I am, in a place I now call home, very far away from home, sending my words out into the world.
There’s not really a point to this post, actually. I just really wanted to say something about… anything. Myself, I suppose. Kind of disoriented. Kind of lost. But excited. Hopeful.
And life goes on.
15/ 05/ 15
This is a sponsored post.
About a month ago, I was kindly contacted by Cynthia, the maker of BEING, a handcrafted organic and vegan bath/body shop, about trying some of their products. (You can check out their website here.) I’ve never really had the opportunity to get into organic beauty, but it’s always sounded pretty interesting–y’know, the benefits of nature transformed into benefits for your skin and all that–so I jumped at the chance.
29/ 04/ 15
You’d think for someone who’s spent the past four years immersed in books and essays, writing a blog post like this would be super easy… but, alas. Apparently I’ve been missed, however, in my last four months of unintended hiatus, so here I am, back again on the blog, after having finished the final term of my undergraduate career/degree/what-have-you. *throws confetti*
I’ve just realized that since I started this blog in my first year, it’s been that long for “i.e.Jessie” as well. Actually, I think I missed the fourth-year anniversary. How strange! I’m kind of proud of myself for having stuck with something for so long. I know I always make mention of “new things” coming up on the blog, or such-and-so improvements or projects, or whatever, and now that I no longer have school as an excuse to fall back on, we’ll see how it goes.
This blog post was meant to just be a sort of “catching up on life” sort of deal, what I’ve been in to or up to lately, and so on. Let’s just focus on the past and present for now, because at the moment, my future is kind of blurry. Now that I’m finished with school (for now, anyway), I’ve had to field multiple queries that run along the lines of “so, what are you doing now?”, but really, it’s anyone’s guess. I’ve made do with the simple reply of “oh, just job-hunting…” because how am I supposed to detail my life plan to you, really. Even if I can’t properly say that I have no idea (because happily, I do, or at least some semblance of one), it’s hard to describe my life aspirations to well-meaning adults, you know?
>Anyway, in the vein of “monthly favourite” edits, I thought I’d just share what I’ve been enjoying in the time I’ve been away…
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26/ 04/ 15
Click ^ for link to 8tracks.
James Bay / When We Were On Fire
CHVRCHES / Team (Lorde Cover on BBC Radio1)
Finis Mundi / From Cold
CHVRCHES / Cry Me A River (Justin Timberlake Cover on BBC Radio1)
Go yama / Humble Brag
Melvv / Glide
James Bay / Hold Back The River
Sam Willows / Nightlight
Seoul / Stay With Us
Project SH / Lost Stars (Begin Again Cover by Project SH, JuNCurryAhn, StimMarvel)
Making an understated herald for my return to the blog with a list of my current life soundtracks. Hope you guys like it! New things are in store for the blog, coming soon. 🙂