Things That I Never Able to Understand

…which I encountered during my part time job.

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Since 2014, I have been working part-time in my university’s library. There I sit in the information desk near the entrance and my main duty is to answer questions, lend inventories as well as making sure people can come in and out through the gate smoothly without bringing food with them.

First thing first: The gate that can be seen above. 
So this gate is ‘special’ as in super moody but it really required no skill just patience to go through it. The mechanism is simple, make sure to stand behind the censor, tap your id card to the identifier, wait a second or half then walk in smoothly. There is an instruction on the identifier and if something blocked the censor, it will lit up red light and make a long beep sound. Super clear and easy, however, amazingly this gate always probe problems. More than many people failed to come inside and it is not rare to hear loud crash sound when people tried to barge in. Well, another reason why they can’t come in because their card is expired or not authorized to access the library due to lag in system information update. This too however, shown in the display of the identifier. Whenever I approached them and asked what was wrong with the card they just say ‘expired’ or ‘not authorized’ with angry or confused face which I really don’t get. They should know better than trying to come in without authorization, right?
Sad to remind you that this is a university library door and it required NO skill to come in. I really don’t understand why people still failed so miserably.

Second: No food or drink in library.
To me, this is very obvious. Library is a public area to study, enjoy books and maybe do school work. How can I concentrate if while I am reading there is a smell big mac and munching sound from one beside me? In addition, this five floors library has only two entrances, not much ventilation. Imagine if ten people eat Subway sandwich in the area everyday, can we smell fresh air ever again? Yet another issue with drinks. We do allow sealed container beverages but not those that could spill. This is a preventive measure such that no water will be spilled on to the devices and broke any of library’s property. Not only that, apparently these people are not very responsible of their rubbish. Often me and the security found empty cans and snack packages around the study area, which really downgraded the hygiene of the place. If one really in need to refresh themselves, the library offer this place where you can eat snacks and drink called the refreshment zone, still people will secretly eat inside the library premise without feeling guilty. Well, a lot of this library users, who are pursuing degree or universities staffs and professors, don’t care and some even scolded us for having the policy. Very ironic and I cannot understand why.

Third: Discussion volumedsc_0018.jpg
Remember what your mom used to say when visiting a public library? “Shhh, keep your voice down” or something with similar caliber. On the left is a picture of the learning commons area. Despite being still part of the library, here we could tolerate a little bit of noise. However, some group of people just cannot get how little is a little and just started chatting as if they are in the canteen. Laughing pretty disgracefully and worse of all, seems like have no understanding of public space respect. I have a very legit reason behind this claim. As a good employee I had approached these groups more than dozen times to ask them (from politely to not so politely) but they never fix their behavior and we received numerous complains from other users. I tried to reason with them and it quickly escalated to argument. Despite wining the argument (and successfully kick them out), they still come back again the next day with the same behavior. This actually cost their nationals a bad name within the library cycle where we label this national as troublemaker (lead to stereotyping other people of the same national). And they claimed to be university students. Ummm, I don’t understand.

Three is a golden number so let me just stop here for the moment. Maybe after reading those problematic points you came to a conclusion that I hate this job. Well luckily, I am not. This job is very petty that some people underestimated it but I learned a lot of my experience here and I made some very good friends along the way. Due to the nature of the job, I constantly have to face confused or angry or ignorant people that have various way of communicating, which required me to actually adapt with their style and try not to be too irritated with anything. I also was able to practice my language by pretending to be Chinese or Hong Kongnese as appropriate, then revert back to “English please” if I don’t understand their question haha. I have been here for nearly three years that contract end seems so unreal to me. But it is coming and I guess I am ready. I hold no grudge to anyone but I think the stereotype will still lasted for some time; the things I learned will always stay similarly to all the friends I made during the period. This includes two generations of student helpers, my supervisors, reference librarians, thank you Eunice for the graduation gift, Xiaolei for the morning and evening ride from/to Choi Hung, Susan for nice homemade bread, technicians, also cleaning service jiejie and beloved Ming Jie and A jie, thank you for various snacks and dinner you shared with me!

The perks of working in library? Your own fast PC, self-made locker and ability to enter library when no one has been welcomed yet!
DSC_0075**All pictures were taken by and copyrighted to @random.walk_ (me!)**

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random.walk_

“Life is too short to not be creative”

Featuring canva.com

This is an amazing online tool to create amateur art.
Recently I created an Instagram account ( @random.walk_ ). This account contains my original work, photography as well as the quotes. I utilized Canva to make most of the work and it really helpful and it made me addicted. Quotes did not just come to me, most of them came due to the circumstances and thus there are stories behind my work. These are some work that I had posted (or will)

This is rare but all rights reserved to me! yes!

“Success is a measure of self-satisfaction”
I believe that success is a very subjective term. One can be a billionaire but if he thinks that he is not successful enough and that he needs more; the public can believe he had succeeded but for him: success still not around the corner. Other people might feel successful when they reached a level, for example, married to a higher status husband. Society might redeem this is not even an achievement to be proud of, but she is happy and she thinks that she had succeeded so she is. Hope this is logical enough.

“Observe beyond what the eyes saw”
Most of the time people failed to see the beauty, the positive half of the truth and focused deeply on the sad facts. It is easy for the eyes to deceive the brain and made our lives seems to be more miserable. Take a deep breath and think about what you saw, switch your perspective and do not let your eyes failed you.

“Professionals are experienced amateur”
It is not a secret that everyone starts someone. There are prodigies but they still born only able to cry. From the book Outliers, I had known that talent is a thing but most of the successful people just trained. trained and trained for 10,000 hours. That means they just stacking knowledge and experiences. So while NOT every amateur can be professional, professionals undoubtedly were cultivated from an amateur.

“Fail thousand times, succeed life once”
We heard a lot about how falling does not matter, what matters is if we can get up again. This has a similar idea, in life, we will encounter numerous failures, rejections that will make us down. Even if we did succeed, it might come with a risk of failing more in the future. Whilst this could be very nerve-wracking, just remember two things; one, a success is determined by oneself and second, we do not need much success anyway, once successful life should wrap everything up.

“Life full of lies”
We live in a world of paradoxes. Truths are never 100% true and there is truth behind lies. No one living a life without ever lied, whether they realized it or not. This is what I believed. Featuring book by Philip Zimbardo, “The Time Paradox”.

“Learn to spend, earn a friend” and “Friends sound so fake”
I really do not want to say it but I remembered my discussion with a friend couple years ago. Having friends means we exchange benefits, either socially, financially, or other needs. Sad but do not be too pessimistic, scientists are still looking into altruism that might support the concept of unconditional friendship.

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Have not posted this but I really like it. As you might have felt from previous posts; currently I am in a hard situation, I face an extreme challenge in which prevented me to move forward. I am unsure of where to go and what to aim. The pressure behind me say the road behind is not an option but I am stuck. Eventually, I started to believe that sometimes taking one or two steps back is not a shameful decision.

 

In Summer

This summer, I am not doing any internship due to my obligatory summer course. I thought it will be such a relaxing, boring and unproductive holiday. Little that I know, one can be busier and learn so much more during the period of freedom. While the learning was not necessarily academic related but they are certainly valuable.

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Retrieved 24 July 2017 from Google. All tights reserved..

So, within this period of time, I am extremely occupied with job seeking, as I had previously mentioned. But apart from that I try to satisfy my interest in various fields; in economic research, in Japanese language and random reading. I said economic research but basically I am trying to see if my believe of how things work is true or not, especially about economic growth and insurance industry. I read papers and news which interest me, mostly about the topic but not always. I developed my own understanding of this issue and then I search for data. Pretty hard honestly, but I go around and select countries that I believe have more complete data such as US and UK. This is proven true and I managed to find minimal data I need through online databanks from World Bank, OECD, WHO, etc. Since my theory is pretty random and the data was not tailored to the purpose thus no real conclusion was made after analysis but I had a lot of fun trying to find things out. This also gave me motivation to apply to World Bank as a junior researcher (to one of related topic) but the hurdle was high and I don’t think they even consider me.

Japanese language is another self enrichment I did. I utilize an online platform called memrise.com which I like because I can learn offline and it goes straight to words. Sadly, no grammar included in the course I took so despite knowing the words, I was not able to make good sentence. Lately I have abandoned this method and took a more conventional way of learning through textbooks. Now that I started to understand the grammar better, I feel more confident to start a conversation ( I made several Japanese speaking friends ). Third thing I am doing is random reading. Just find seemingly interesting book and gulp it down, after I finished it then I find another victim. This also applicable to online articles. This activity is truly beneficial. Not only I got to know more interesting (and not so interesting) information, I also feel that I understand my interest better. I tried to read a wide range of books and articles; from fiction, autobiography, academic, logical, mind-blowing, recipes, history, managerial as well as motivational and self help.

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Retrieved from Google 24 July 2017. All rights reserved.

One of the book I would like to recommend is ‘Outlier: the story of success’ by Malcolm Gladwell (2008). It is not a new groundbreaking book but I found the facts inside are entertaining and logical. It outlined general understanding of why some of us ended up more successful so-called upper outlier, and it is more than just talent. It is the opportunities in our lives which we could choose to take/not that shape our future. Of course to some extend it is about talent but mostly it is about 10,000 hours training. The book gave data proofs of its claims and I found it interestingly mind-blowing. I cannot wait to finish reading it 🙂

The three things above are just some activities that kept me busy other than job seeking. Doing all of them really gave me an insight of what kind of person I am and where my interest lies. I did learn some technical skill and academic materials but on the top of that I gained more knowledge about myself, about what I might want to do. Since I did so much filtered reading, little by little I found what topic most interest me and what are the most boring subjects. This also trigger some thinking and reflection on my own life so far and where I want to go later on to achieve my long term life goal. Following this I applied for related jobs and I hope that sometime soon I will get a good news from one or two of them. So this is how my summer holiday end up to be more fruitful in a way than any other summer I ever had.

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Retrieved 24 July 2107 from Google. All rights reserved.

Now listening: In the End – Linkin Park. Tribute for Chester Bennington that passed away last week. One of my favorite band whose songs had accompanied me since junior high school. Rest in peace.

Nostalgic Memories – Year 1

Now that I have graduated, apart from feeling scared of being potentially unemployed, I feel a strong sense of nostalgia.

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Retrieved from Google on 19 July 2017. All rights reserved.

I can’t really remember what I was doing four years ago today but I know what kind of person I was. Shy girl that never dare to speak what was inside my mind, who was scared of strangers that I felt like crying if I need to ask for information in a theme park. A girl who just know how to study and do my homework, who strive for perfect score in each and every exam (except Indonesian class definitely). Never really speak English outside English speaking exam and kitchen was a different planet my mom live in. As I think about me that time, I can’t help to smile to myself, I was young ~

Now, here is the older me. Beside still stubbornly ambitious, I think I have changed remarkably. Four years of independent living in different countries really transformed me, in the way I live, I think and how I behave. A lot of stories were created and experiences shared with numerous people I met. In my first year, I made a biggest step in my life; on my way to the dorm I said hello to a random European looking girl who I saw sat alone in a seat in front of me in the orientation session. That was how I got my first friend who was apparently also my neighbor (what a nice coincidence!). I never dream of sharing a room with a Mexican, I mean I don’t even know they speak Spanish there (I thought they speak Mexican. Duh, pardon my stupidity). I took a course on fashion design which count two credits but have ridiculous amount of work. In the second semester, I went through my first roll of interview-ever- to be an executive committee of a society which I fail miserably. Second interview similarly failed, third so on and so forth. The sad truth was in the end, I failed all but one which is to be an ex-co of my school’s committee, simply speaking responsible for freshmen activities.

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Retrieved from Google on 19 July 2017. All rights reserved.

My first year was the only year where I have a lot of time to play. My success in making my first friend helped me in making more friend (actually also because this girl is a natural friend makers since she is SO NICE, I just tagged along). I stayed up late at night to watch movies with my hallmates, attend various functions and forced to have speed dating style ice breaking session, etc. In summary, my first year was when my time was invested in making friends and connections, adapting in the new life style. I had my first winter, got to know what was heater looked like, first spring with 101% humidity and introduced to humidifier. Looking back, I feel so dumb for not knowing those simple things but that was the reality.

One biggest decision in my university life also happened in my first year; which is choosing my major. I always known that I want to have a bachelor of science degree so I only have two choices in my plate. I remembered that time I was desperately wanting to get into quantitative finance major because I thought I like finance (I was in Science major so I never took a finance course ever, but I like counting money). Another reason was also because of my arrogance, it was one of the top major thus my pride told me to strive for it. I passed the screening but upon interview, I told you earlier, everything failed except one so yes, I was rejected. Honestly, I never encountered this many failures up until that time, so it was really discouraging. I spent nights thinking to myself what did I do wrong? Why my smooth life got so bumpy and harsh. Anyway, I made a lot of friends but I was also mentally hurt, and unknowingly my first year went by.

~ to be continue

Three Days and Two Nights in Taipei

It started because I need to go to Taipei to take a test but I have problem financially. I addressed my concern to friends in the hostel so they told me why not try hitchhike? I questioned the safety of it but I did my research anyway. I found a Facebook group of hitchhikers in Taiwan and thus I posted this on the wall and waited for response.

Two days before designated day, just when I was about to give up hoping, someone dropped me a message and offered to go hitchhike together. But on the day the day decided to cry hard and she decide to not go to Taipei anymore. I thought I got no choice but to go by bus but then she told me she could accompany me until I got a ride, even under the rain. I am so touched and so I decided to give it a try. Luckily, when we arrived on the spot, the rain has settled down and so we stood in front of the highway entrance. Holding this sign:

I know I know this is incorrect, should put the chinese upper and larger but anyway it is already better than my first try:

Anyway, we talked quite a lot about her travel experience and mine, half an hour passed and no car stopped, we were quite tired and thinking to change spot but then a car honked at us. Sadly he was not heading to taipei but halfway to miaoli, since I am stupid and has no money, I decided to not take the offer cause I might get lost in miaoli and ended up using more money. But this car gave me energy to keep waiting. Around minute 60, yes an hour, a car with couple inside honked on us and told us they can drop mw off in outskirt taipei since they are going to Taoyuan for Coldplay concert. YEAH finally!

The ride lasted for nearly two hours and we talked a lot about travel experience and a little bit of personal life, work and study also of course Coldplay songs. Well long story short I arrived in Yong Ning and I need to go to Sun Yat Shen memorial station = 45 TWD. I thought since I arrived early let me just walk station to station for sightseeing and maybe could reduce the cost. So I walked from there to Far Eastern Hospital. Though it was a long walk, I did not regret because I got to see these cherry trees and cherry blossoms, so pretty!

Then I took the MRT to Shandao temple and walk to my Couchsurfing host home. It was also my first Couchsurfing experience so I kind of nervous. My host turned out to be super nice and friendly. Her house also very cozy and spacious. I just realized how tired I was (oh yes I went to class in the morning before hitchhiking) so not long after I just collapsed. The next day she brought me to university and couple tourist spots while telling me some cultural and historical information with scooter! That was my first time riding one and I am lovin’ it~ The weather was not clear thus we cannot hike the mountain to see all Taipei but it is OK, maybe next time. After dinner in the night market we just go back and talk till midnight. Since I have to go back for class I can only stay those short period so the third day morning my host drop me off in front of the highway to let me find my hitchhike ride. This time I was alone so it is quite boring but since it is near a market some people come by and asked me stuff, gave me advice and even scolded me. First person – grandpa : “Miss, if you stand here with this sign, will anyone really stop by?”

Me: “Well I don’t know but I am trying.”

Second person – another grandpa : “Miss, if you just hold the sign like that the people who drive can’t see, you have to wave your hand like this” he waved his hand energetically

LOL, my response: “Oh yea? Should I do it like this” I waved too and laughed hard “quite embarrassing”

Then more serious one, taxi driver: “You crazy girl, it’s so dangerous to hitchhike, the bus ticket from Taipei to Taichung cost just around 100 (actually it is 290 to be precise), if you hitchhike, bad thing might happened to you and that will be the end for you, you might die!” a bit harshly and then he started to tell the people around me that I am out of my mind in Taiwanese. Well I decided to let it go and due to his shouting another person told me to change to another spot, maybe easier to get a good host. I took the advise and started walking. Then a car honked at me, a couple popped out from the car windows and ask if I am going to Taichung or not and ask if I need money, why don’t I take the bus or train, so on and so forth. I answered them honestly and then they offered to buy me a bus ticket and drive me to the bus station. Of course I didn’t take the offer initially because that would be like I am asking them money and I don’t think it is a good thing so I told them maybe I will just wait a little bit more. But they insisted that it is too dangerous for me to hitchhike and since they have reached out to me so they going to make sure I go to Taichung in the safest way. Long story short again, they bought me ticket and gave me pocket money for lunch and I arrived safely in Taichung.

I cannot believed that all these new experiences happened in just three days.

And yeah, my journey these days hasn’t been easy so internet access also limited. I would love it if I can write some more but these experience is not bad, not bad at all~

Now playing: Kiss the Rain – Yiruma, just because it is raining outside and it feels melancholic~

About Pumpkin Soup and Some Love

“Kitchen is the most dangerous place in the house,”  said my mom always when I was younger. I never hold a knife, use rice cooker or anything. Until high school, the fanciest thing I have ever cook is simple fried rice (rice+egg+sausage+soy sauce+salt+pepper+oil), or if you consider instant noodle is fancy then I can do that too. As mentioned, I went abroad to pursue my university study, during the time, I became the master of microwave cooking, I can cook a lot of different food with microwave but normally without needing knife skill and seasoning.

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Original picture: Pumpkin soup with pumpkin seeds. All rights reserved.

Sometime last week, I was asked to be a translator in a discussion about fine dining plan for 13 people. My friend was asked to cook some French/Italian cuisines for the event and I gladly offered her my assistance in anyway she would find me helpful. Since I thought she knew my extra limited cooking skill, I was expecting to be asked to help in serving, table preparation, translation and washing dishes. But amazingly, she actually trusted me to help her in cooking (of course with her guidance but this does not mean supervision). I kinda cooked the risotto (including one strike of salt and another strike of pepper to the plate!), tasted the pork belly (I think it is belly) and pumpkin soup for flavoring, and I half made meringue… Even though I failed to give the best comments on the flavoring, I was quite proud of the meringue and risotto, (again, actually the meringue kinda failed too). Anyway, it was my first try ever, to actually doing things and made something edible (HAHA). She also taught me about meringue, I made the French type, with raw (powdered) sugar and egg white, the others are Italian (with boiled sugar but not caramel and raw egg white) and Swiss meringue (with sugar and egg white cook to around 50 degrees) 🙂 *she told me yesterday so please feel free to correct me in case my memory decided to play a trick on me*

I stood for super long hours, translated a lot of words and washed countless dishes as expected. Some unexpected such as the emotional tension. Not only in the kitchen, it was about the whole thing, most of the time. The stress is combination of continuous function within two days time interval (if this phrase make sense to you) and problem kept arising like crazy. The physical strength needed, the procedures, the cooking, the everything also beyond my expectation, remember that I never cook for anyone, including myself. All home chefs in the world, you have my respect! So as dish cleaners… it was a very tough job.

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Original picture: Mushroom risotto. All rights reserved.

From this experience, yes I learnt about the cooking, French style fine dining and the harsh time in the kitchen. One thing that I really want to share however, is the importance of INNER PEACE, SELF CONTROL, EMOTION CONTROL, the art of LETTING GO, and most importantly APPRECIATION and RESPECT. My friend was amazing, I screwed up badly on the tasting but she thanked me, I was scared of doing my first meringue but she told me “I teach you and you will be able to do it”, I have no idea about how to serve, how to do plating, and a lot of small and big things but she told me “thank you so much for your help and everything”. Honestly, I felt so touched, respected, supported and positive such that even though it was an extremely exhausting day but I had fun and was still smiling and kind of “happy-drunk” (not because of alcohol cause I did not drink any) that night.

To close the day should I quote myself…
Living a live halfhearted is like eating pumpkin soup cooked without love 

Now watching: Moana ~ nice original soundtracks!

Advice from a Friend

Every person was born as a complete being, one whole person, no more and no less. When we got into relationship, often people will give part of them away to our partner, expecting him/her to give us back part of them to make us feel complete. This kind of relationship is very fragile; when the other party decided to quit the game of love, we will be left with part of us missing and thus make us upset and unhappy a.k.a broken heart-ed. But how can we play it right? No one goes into a relationship expecting to be left behind right, so which is why we give part of us as a symbol of trust. While this was a common thought, I received a very nice saying from a dear friend; this is my interpretation on what she said:
When we are in a relationship, we should not give a part of us away to the other guy. We should keep ourselves whole hence we stay as independent person in relationship. Sound a little bit self-centered and contradicting the relationship idea, but here is my favorite part;
Exact wordings: when we are in relationship we should share part of us, not give it away and thus we stayed as a whole (translated from French)
My interpretation: when we are in relationship, we need to combine ourselves to make value, and share that value together, we  should make ourselves more than a whole such that when the relationship fall apart, we become no less than we were before, actually we should have more due to the value added from the relationship.

I have never been in a relationship before but when I heard my friend told me about this, I really think that this is worth sharing. Relationship failure is one of the major reason of depression (see Wikipedia) and often lead to psychological disease or even suicide cases. Of course one might say that just talk is easy, but to the action which count; how to do it? My friend answered it like this: take a step back, look at your relationship case from third person point of view, try to give yourself advice as a spectator because it is all about perspective. If you can draw yourself away from emotional attachment to your problem, you will know the wisest way to encounter the problem and solve it. I found this is useful not only in relationship context but in generally every problem. Hard but not impossible, practice makes perfect.

Last but not least, though she mentioned it at the very beginning. Your happiness should come from yourself internally, you should not expect external factor to help you to be happy.

Dear Mélyssaa, if you ever read this, I hope I get your meaning correctly. Nevertheless, as I told you, this is a very nice advice and I really hope that this will help someone out there. I would like to elaborate longer but I think that should wait until I experienced it first handed. Thank you so much tho!

Featuring: Mint na Bokura manga by Wataru Yoshizumi. Love and learn :3