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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Overdue catching up

Come on blog, let's do this. OK, maybe not juuuust now. CtThumbe is calling and a catch up with her is due too. 

Catch-up is over. The one with CtThumbe, that is. She's still lovely, and easy to relate to. And, would you believe it?, she pointed out LesMisGuy was at least a little overweight. How did I not see that? To think he said such things about BMI indices and what not! I flustered a tiny bit at the mention of him, and melted a bit inside, but regained my senses quickly upon this realisation. Still not over LesMisGuy, but it helps to see him through other eyes.

Anyway... enough of that. Do you know who's also lovely? Who is always lovely? Of course you do! It's SmTn! He wrote me an e-mail today and he's sweet as ever. I adore that man. Adore him. I don't know how he does it, but every time he writes I end up wanting to hug him. While it's true there's always that minuscule fear that he will suddenly drop off the face of the Earth or *gasp* end up asking for naked pictures of myself, I do believe he's as lovely as he seems. 


I submit a daydream. Of the kind where I'm falling asleep but ooonly just awake enough to realise it. I was having a bit of a moment with SmTn. But I told him to stop, that I wanted my crown. I clarified something I thought at the beginning of this paragraph would not escape my mind quite so quickly but now you see it has. The crown had something to do with me being me, if that makes any sense at all. 


Sorry, this post is all over the place. I had to pause up there to talk to mum and my sister (read: leave a Skype window open and refrain from YouTube until they hung up). And I almost fell asleep there listening to Debussy's "Arabesque #1" (or should it be "First Arabesque"? I'll never know...). New favourite classical piece. 




I'm a little embarrassed to admit I'd never heard it before (or didn't remember hearing it before... to be honest, I still haven't quite got the hang of it). I have Jason Simone to thank for that. S/he's smart, nerdy, witty, funny, not afraid to speak his/her mind (sorry JS! I'm not sure what the politically correct pronoun is!) and has the most beautiful point of view. And... have I mentioned fabulous? Fabulous. Add that to the list. Twice. Back to what I was saying, it's the point of view that lets you make a statue out of paper, water and glue; the vision that turns wool into fabric; it's the magic that literature is made of. A bus ride turned into a story, a look out the window turned into a story, a sofa turned into an essay. S/he's got a writer's heart and an attention to detail that I can relate to (like attention to what people or places smell like). At any rate, Jason Simone is impossibly cool and s/he introduced "First Arabesque" as the sound of observing people in a big, busy city. It's beautiful and I love it. If I had the money to spare, I'd send him/her a pair of sky high Alexander McQueen shoes. I really would. And the concrete would love them, I'm sure.


Back to where I was, though... SmTn is lovely. CtThumbe is lovely. And the kind stranger who cares is lovely. If I'm to go over the last few days in chronological order, I have to start with therapy. So therapy:

I'd sort of forgotten what time the appointment was. I know I'd lost my head by then because I honest to goodness had no idea what day of the week I was in and whether the appointment was that day (Thursday) or the next (I knew it was Thursday, it just felt like Wednesday until I realised I was in a Thursday class). I half-remembered we'd maybe agreed on a 2 o'clock appointment, so that's when I showed up. And I was right. And I could only verify the time of the appointment a fair bit later, when I saw the card she'd given me and I had not been able to find until it was completely unnecessary (the e-mail reminder just specified a date, not the time). Be that as it may, therapy. Therapy. I'm glad I didn't let her inexperience

Oh, sweet dear, the dog is crying. Has been crying for a while now. I could get her to stop by petting her a while ago, but her pain is not going away. Why don't they believe in taking pets to the vet around here? Why?

get to me. She upped her game this time. I'm sure she was told about the eye contact and she made a point of talking to me and being a great deal more empathetic. I daresay she must be a good student (with problems of her own, still not completely resolved, but that's not the issue at hand), a smart person. She must have just been nervous the first time. I may have well been her first appointment. And that's okay, because I didn't let the prejudice get to me and she may actually be very helpful. I liked that she established goals (very protocol-ey, but quite necessary and practical, I find) and I liked that she made a note to write down aunt MT's name because she could tell, just from the way I talked about her, that she's very dear to me. I appreciated the fact that she explained some of her questions (I didn't dare ask about the relationships one, though) and that she wanted me to understand how this works, sort of. We agreed she'd be helping me cope with living here through the use of reason to either avoid frustration altogether or better deal with it when it's inevitable. She may even help me prepare for job interviews and the like, though we agreed the workshop to "get out of my shell" may be the best alternative for that. It's fine. I'm writing down the advice she gave me both to better remember it and for my records:

 - Stop expecting so much from aunt A and uncle A. Yes, even expecting them to be reasonable is too much. I pointed out this means I'll expect more of the strangers on the bus than I will of aunt A and she didn't disagree with me. I realise it's sort of what I've been telling myself for a while now, but I needed to set my expectations even lower. And actually lower them. The only reason I still get hurt is because I haven't completely lost faith in them and it's sort of what I need to do. If you can't beat them, join them. I have to join in their pessimism to deal with living with their pessimism. Imagine that...

 - Control what I can and realise exactly what's under my control. Aunt A will be aunt A. Uncle A will be uncle A. They will invariably get into stupid arguments, make morbid observations, get into arguments, be opinionated about rubbish statements and be quite selfish (more so aunt A, I guess). Nothing I can do about that. If aunt A wants to get mad at me for the way I say hello, then that's too fucking bad. It's out of my control and I should give up on trying to figure out what to do to make her understand. I have to try a bit harder not to lose control. Not just on the rare occasions when everything just piles up on me and breaks me. I have to make sure I'm in control always. See the above point.

 - When stuck in a conversation going sour, make blanket statements, reflect the last thing that was said and focus hard on finding the nugget of truth in what is being said so I can at least rest in peace knowing I either just bounced their ideas back at them or just stated something that was true. No lying, but no speaking my mind either. See the above points.

I've found myself trying to apply these and I can even say, with some degree of confidence, that I might just master these. I feel like I owe the kind online stranger an update, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm a bit too tired today.


The other thing going on on Thursday was the selling marketing myself career fair. I wore a dress because it's the only thing I had suitable for such an event and because I'd asked the academic counsellor if it was a proper enough attire. She insisted I should get a suit jacket/blazer but, alas!, none were to be bought and I couldn't find any at the place where you're supposed to borrow them (not that I would have been too keen on the idea of a borrowed jacket). I walked in, saw the stand for the company I was interested in, saw people there, and walked past it, pretending not to see the stand. I then walked back, still saw it "busy" and walked out. 

I considered looking for advice online but chose to ask one of the people working there instead and she led me to a room where two people were there for the sole purpose of helping poor sods like me out. I left that room still feeling quite stupid but at least sort of knowing what could be asked of me and having a better grasp of the speech I had read about but not really rehearsed up to that point. I not-so-confidently made my way over to the stand and proceeded to stand there quite awkwardly until one of the people there (there were four of them) started talking to me and showing me the devices they'd brought for display. The protocol conversation ensued after that. I'd made sure to have copies of my résumé ready, in nice, heavier paper (okay, the only I could find in the house, which just so happened to be of the nicer kind). When the time came for him to ask for my résumé I had it ready. He started reading through it and said "So, you're graduating this year." What?! Would you believe it: I did my homework reading about this company, about what they do, about what to wear and what to say, about what to bring, what to expect. I'd had my résumé looked at twice by the people at the career centre and I'd made the corrections the last counsellor suggested, including adding a "Degree expected" line next to my current studies. The line where I fucked up and wrote 2013 instead of 2015. I was mortified. He assured me it was quite all right, jotted down the real date with his pen and left it alone. I went on to feel stupid about it all day (and even now) but made up my mind to print a new copy with the correct date before I met them again later that afternoon. And I would, too, meet them that afternoon. 

I had therapy and lunch (yet another reason to feel stupid: I ordered too much food, took too long to eat it, and it turned out they had pizza over at the conference so I shouldn't have wasted the money). I then made my way to the conference and walked in a full 5min late, but not quite that late, as it turned out. I left after everyone else, at any rate, because I'd suddenly realised that I hadn't fulfilled my mission in the career fair. The whole point I was there was not so much to find a job as to figure out how to get one, and I was supposed to ask for that specific piece of advice from the people giving the jobs. Which is why I promptly wrote down a few questions about things I should or shouldn't worry about and proceeded to ask every one of the four people from the company about it. Starting with the  man I talked to first and giving him a fresh copy of my résumé with the "correct" graduation date (it's also not correct because it may turn out to be a couple of months earlier, but I'd rather just go down for a typo than the indelicacy of not finding out when I graduate). It went well, I'd say. They remembered me, they were friendly and kind and helpful. And I felt clever and important until I closed my notebook after the last conversation was over and inadvertently let out a somewhat loud (but short, and thank goodness odourless!) fart. I proceeded to say goodbye and thank you and leave the room, knowing I'd scheduled an appointment for an interview I had no clothes to wear to.

Good for me, sort of, is the fact that my sister left behind a pair of pants. The only pair of pants in my closet that is not made of a stretchy material and looks half decent. Half decent, at most, because it had two bleached specks in the front (mea culpa) and two tiny holes in the bum area. And a dark grey streak down the left leg. And it was wrinkled, which I only sort of succeeded in fixing. I had a somewhat-too-jovial but still elegant-enough looking shirt (if it had no print, or simple polka dots, it would have been just sober enough, but it had a colourful print of birds all over it). I opted for heels this time, just to dress up the outfit. I straightened my hair again (even though the air conditioning was not working and it was torture and I pulled my hair out from the root and it ended up frizzy. Just because I had to at least put in the effort. I applied my perfume the Legally Blonde way (spritz in the air, then walking over to meet it). I did my make up just like on Thursday (maybe switching the brown smudged eyeliner for M.A.C's "Quite natural" paintpot all over the  lid). I showed up a full hour early because instead of e-mailing us with the place where the interviews would be held they sent nothing and relied on us remembering they mentioned it was at the career centre. I walked over there to corroborate this information and upon hearing I had a full hour to myself (not quite enough to run errands in heels, I figured, and my phone was running low on battery), I headed over to the bookstore. I got my sister a book about designs with origami. It shows origami techniques on paper, fabric, plastic and jewellery. The price seemed like a good one, too. I couldn't justify sticking around longer, so I went back and read the book while I waited until I was called in.

The one conducting the interview was the man I first talked to, the one who realised my mistake and kindly offered more corrections to be made to my résumé. He was nice. The interview wasn't as stiff as I remember my last job interview and I felt good being able to be myself and nerd out and be passionate about maths. It seemed to me (key word: seemed, in case you missed it) like it was all adding up in my favour. I even showed my phone pouch as an example of me solving problems with the tools I had available and he said it was certainly a memorable thing that would make me stand out. He did get to say "Yes, I know you're smart. That's clear. But what are you bringing to the table?" and I'm not 100% confident I answered that correctly. He offered time out of his 30min break to finish the interview, which consisted of me asking him questions. I had not prepared any and I'm not sure I did the most stellar job then either. He said to wait for them to contact me via e-mail, which could be anytime after the first business day (Monday). Or never. Take your pick. When asked, I told people I thought it had gone well and that I was just waiting to hear back from them. That I appreciated the experience nonetheless and was glad for what I'd gotten so far out of the process even if I got nothing more. And it's true. But it would be wonderful to have a well paying job next summer, wouldn't it? And the working experience, and the better chances to land a good job later on and what have you. But I'm already thankful and I think I'll stick to that state of mind for a while, if you don't mind. The reason I didn't mention anything specific (which likely enough led some/all to believe I did horribly and was lying) is that I don't want to jinx it. I believe in such things as jinxing something good by getting in ahead of yourself. It may have been one of the things that went wrong with LesMisGuy (A talked of him as my future boyfriend). Anyway, now we wait.

Before now, we wrote questions for the exam. Questions I took a somewhat different approach at. I nerded out. I did well (but not great) with the last set, having to text the professor a correction to one of the answers. It had been bothering me since I woke up: even though you can order names in alphabetical order, they're not really ordinal variables. They're nominal. The order doesn't mean anything and shouldn't, in any reasonable context, be used to rank people. I included xkcd.com comics and did my best to use funny or relevant examples. I may have chosen too-easy questions just to be sure I got the answers right this time, but I'm not really ashamed of that. I felt I may have come across as pretentious last time. I don't mind calling myself out on my mistakes, but it's a bit embarrassing when I contradict a figure of authority while being on the wrong side of the statement. 

So there's that. Now, we watch YouTube videos until we can fall asleep and hope and cross our fingers that no one will think of throwing way our sleeping cools because there's not even a hint of cooler weather coming any time soon and it's going to kill us if we can't sleep. 

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