Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dear Kingston, I Move Out In 2 Days - Goodbye Queen's!

I can't believe I'm leaving.

My life as a graduate student is almost over.

For all my complaints and worries (and blog posts dictating my complaints and worries) throughout the year, I have to admit that I'm quite sad to be leaving this place. I remember moving in last September, scared out of my mind that attempting a Masters degree was the worst decision I'd ever made.

It wasn't. This year at Queen's was more than I imagined it would be. And now, in about 48 hours, it'll be over.

My parents are heading here on Saturday to help me move out, so I woke up early this morning to start the daunting task of packing up my room. Can someone remind me why I brought so much stuff? I'm actually starting to panic. I have no idea how I'm going to fit all this stuff into my parents' car. It took two trips to bring my things to Kingston - and somehow, we're supposed to bring all this stuff back home in one trip. This is going to be... interesting. Books, clothes, shoes, books, books (why are there so many?!), some random furniture, and other miscellaneous items. Not to mention the fact that I haven't cleaned out my office yet.

UM. Why do I have so much stuff?! Good thing I didn't decide to pack the night before I moved out.

My closet now looks empty, with most of my clothing packed away. My walls look bare, with all my posters and pictures taken down. My desk is empty, with all my study items packed away in boxes.

Oh, this is bittersweet.

And, to top it off, amid all this packing hoopla, I'm also editing my MRP.

Too much stress! Not enough time!

And, to top that off, I've come down with the flu. Packing and editing my MRP with this cold hasn't been easy, when all I want to do is hibernate under the covers and sleep away my cold.

Kingston, I've grown pretty attached to you. You were the first city I moved to where I knew absolutely nobody, leaving behind the life I knew, the people I loved, and the family I've never left. People complain that Kingston is a dump - a small town where you have absolutely nothing to do. Well, you know, I'd beg to differ. I actually quite like this city - I've grown to love it, actually. Kingston, you've been everything I would have wanted in a university experience away from home. Queen's provided something UofT didn't: a wonderful, close-knit student community (grad students included) who I've had the pleasure of getting to know, and I greatly enjoyed every moment of my time here.

I'm not going to pretend that life in Kingston was perfect. That this grad life was stress free, that the workload was easily manageable. There were inevitably bouts of homesickness, Skype dates confessing how much I missed home, late nights working away on papers, hours and hours spent at the library and the office, hours spent slaving away over essays that needed to be marked.

But, you know, if I could go back and re-live the moment I decided to come to Queen's, I'd still make the same decision.

We're too smart to be overly cynical. And so, while some moments of this grad life were more stressful than others, I will say that this whole year has been an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. I've learned so much and experienced more than I thought I would, more than I bargained for.

As for the friends and people that I've met and grown to know this year, I will say that you have all made this year a wonderful experience - and a lot more bearable, given the stress and workload we were all under. It will probably be a very long time before I see you all again. And so, I will say that I've been so very blessed to have met each of you, and that I consider myself lucky to have befriended each of you, even if it was just for a year. And, wherever we all end up next year, always remember that I'm just a phone call or a message away, should any of you need anything! :)

Kingston, I will remember my time here fondly. I'll probably never have the chance to live here again. But, rest assured, I will always have a special place in my heart for this charming city.

Goodbye, Kingston!

"Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time."
— Maya Angelou

"All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time."
— Mitch Albom (The Five People You Meet in Heaven)

"The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof."
— Barbara Kingsolver

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Back To Kingston - One Last Time!

Oh, this is bittersweet.

So, I hadn`t planned on spending this much time in Toronto. I came back on May 19 to be around for a family reunion over the Victoria Day long weekend, and then, of course, I stuck around for my New York trip at the end of May. I had intended to go back to Kingston a few days after I arrived back from New York. But, of course, things didn`t end up that way. One event was planned after another - another family reunion (on a smaller scale), my uncle`s birthday, events with friends. And.... I ended up staying in Toronto for the first couple of weeks of June.

So, basically, I`ve been home for almost a month. It almost feels like I`ve already moved out of Kingston. But, I haven`t. Yet. I need to keep reminding myself that I`m still a resident of Kingston, Ontario - for about two more weeks.

So, here I go again. One last time. Running around, packing my bags, stuffing my suitcase with shoes and clothing I`ve lugged back and forth from city to city. I`ve done this a number of times this past year - going back and forth from Kingston to Mississauga, from Mississauga to Kingston, on Thanksgiving, Christmas Break, Reading Week, Easter Weekend, and various weekends in between.

I can`t believe this is the last time I`m doing this. It seems just like yesterday that I was moving in, scared out of my wits that my year at Queen`s would seem like an eternity.

But it didn`t feel that way at all. And now, I`m moving out of my Kingston home in exactly two weeks. It went by so fast. Unbelievable.

So, time to make my last days in Kingston count, right? Exploring places I didn`t get to during the school year? Plus, I`ll be spending my birthday in Kingston on Saturday, so it should be fun times, celebrating with Kingston friends!

So, I board my bus tomorrow morning. Here we go, two more weeks, Kingston. Let`s make it memorable.

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
— Albert Einstein

"What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."
— Jack Kerouac

"And by the way, Monsieur Marius, I believe that I was a little bit in love with you."
— Victor Hugo (Les MisĂ©rables)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Credential Inflator - The (Worst?) Way To Someone's Heart

Okay, funny story time! Actually, I should say stories, plural. But, they're funny stories with a moral. Aesop would be proud of me, no? By the way, these are all true stories.

First, the side stories.


This is a story about a friend, but I won't use her real name on this post. Let's call her Jenny for the sake of anonymity from the rest of our friends out there reading this. One afternoon, Jenny was pumping gas at the gas station, texting me while she was doing so (WHICH IS NOT SAFE, JENNY, BEE TEE DOUBLE YEW). Yet, while she did so, a man dressed in carpenter overalls pumped gas beside her - blatantly checking her out. Rolling her eyes, she headed in to pay, grabbed a chocolate bar (upon contemplation), and walked out. Yet, as she headed out, Man In The Overalls walked up to her, grinned conversationally, and winked "Hey, Beautiful. What's up?"

Jenny rolled her eyes, grabbed her keys, and walked past him. As she did, she heard him chuckle behind her. He called after her, "Hey, I noticed the UofT keychain on your keys. So, you're one of those educated types, eh? Is that why you won't talk to me? 'Cause I'm a carpenter? What if I was wearing a suit? Would you talk to me then?"

Uncomfortable, Jenny jumped into her car, and booked the heck out of the gas station. She called me later that day to relay the story.

The nerve, right?

No, Overalls. She won't talk to you because you're weird.


So, one autumn afternoon last October, coming home from Queen's for the Thanksgiving long weekend, I sat at Union Station waiting for my Dad to pick me up. Seated beside my suitcases, I played Sudoku (because I'm a nerd) and constantly checked my watch for the time.

Then, a relatively good-looking guy in a security uniform sat beside me. Thinking I was in his way, I moved over to give him more room.

Except, ugh, this happened. Security Uniform smiled, nodded at my Sudoku book, and tried to make conversation. "So, cool game, eh?"

Oh, for the love of all that is holy.

I was a little sketched out. It was late at night, I was by myself. Safety first, right? And plus, I know I watch too many movies, but what if his security uniform was FAKE?! No one hits on customers on the job! Uncomfortable, I stood, I smiled, nodded yes, grabbed my suitcases, and began to roll them towards the Exit.

"Hey," yelled Security Uniform, "You're wearing a Queen's University sweatshirt. Just because you go to Queen's, you think you're too good to talk to me?! Huh? Because you're more educated?!"

Good call on running away, Barb.


So, Jenny and I, along with a bunch of other friends, had a fantastic weekend. Movies, outings, went out in Toronto, breakfasts, etc. It was a wonderful (yet obviously unproductive) weekend.

But, so, here's the scenario for you. We're at a club/a restaurant. It's fun times, right? (Actually, so much fun!). And, of course. My friends are gorgeous, so situations like the ones to follow happen more often than not. And so, the traditional ritual of mating dance begins with introductions ensuing between prospective admirers and my friends, among those invited to the party. Mutual friends are a good way to meet people, right?

Yet, hilariously (and actually kind of interestingly) the following conversations happen. Note: I'm not using real names here.


My friend, Sarah: So, what do you do?
Guy #1: I actually work at a call centre in Toronto. You?
My friend, Sarah: Oh, I just graduated from UofT. I'll be going to med school in September.
Guy #1: Oh... you're one of those.
My friend, Sarah: ......

My friend, Jenny: So, what do you do?
Guy #2: I work at a gym. I'm a personal trainer. What about you?
My friend, Jenny: Oh, I'm about to start my pharmaceuticals Masters program this Fall.
Guy #2: Oh.... you're one of those educated types.
My friend, Jenny: Um, okay....

Guy #3: So, Sally, what do you do?
My friend, Sally: I'm in Pharmacy at UofT, I'll be done in a year. Pretty pumped!
Guy #3: Oh, yeah?
My friend, Sally: What about yourself?
Guy #3: Um..... well, you see, I'm actually a co-owner of a major, huge, large corporation here in Toronto.
My friend, Sally: Oh, which one?
Guy #3: Well, it's a major corporation that deals with investments and banks and such. I get to fly all over the world. I have my own private jet since I'm an assets manager, you see. And I handle all the private accounts.
My friend, Sally (skeptical): Oh, yea? And you're pretty young, that sounds awesome. Where did you go to school?
Guy #3: Yes, it is. And, I attended McMaster University's Rotman School of Business.
My friend, Sally (rolls her eyes): You mean UOFT's Rotman School? McMaster doesn't have a business school.
Guy #3 (nervously): Oh... crap, yeah.

Guy #4: So, what are you up to for the summer now that you're done your Masters?
Me: Just taking it easy, before I go to school in September.
Guy #4: What are you doing in September?
Me: I'm going to law school! Pretty excited. What about you? What do you do?
Guy #4: Oh.. law school, eh? Um... I'm, um, I'm actually the new owner of a business set to gain about a million dollars next year.
Me: What?!
Guy #4: Yes, I'm starting a new business that should be bought over by Amazon.
Me: Oh.... (*thinks to myself* this doesn't make any sense)
Guy #4: I'll be working for a Fortune 500 company soon. And plus, I'll be heading to medical school in September, so I'm planning to be a neurosurgeon. I'll be going to Princeton Medical School.
Me (Ivy League spidey senses on alert): Um, Princeton doesn't have a medical school. Or any professional school, for that matter.
Guy #4: *silence*

Do we see a pattern starting to emerge? After our night at Rockwood, Jenny and I have come up with a new term: Credential Inflators.

We laugh about it all the time (incessantly, almost). But, it's true, no? We've seen this happen so often - to our friends, to us. It's almost a common occurrence, in fact. That learning about a prospective love interest's education is a topic that can make someone back off, to even feel angry or insecure, or lead someone to lie blithely about their own education or occupation. Like the last two guys above. Hence, the term Credential Inflator.

You know what I'm talking about.


"Hi Sarah, my name is Bob. Oh, you're in Pharmacy at UofT? Well, I'm a cardiovascularmortologist at the Toronto Medical Centre Hospital. I'm a doctor of brains and hearts and legs. I'm the bestest best doctor. And I went to Harvard Medical School. I have lots of credentials. Please like me."

Oh. *face palm*


We've noticed this happen a lot. Men or women back off from a potential love interest once education comes into play. Really? Really.

But, here's the thing.

As my dear friend Mary (again, fake name!) puts it, "You can be a jerk with one degree. And you can be a jerk with five degrees. There's more to a love interest than credentials."

So true, M. So true.

Obviously, from the above stories and scenarios, a couple of themes reveal themselves. Scenarios where my friends were called out for being "too good" for certain men because of their education OR my friends being subjected to men inflating their credentials in order to look like a valuable suitor/potential significant other.

Oh, boy. If there's anything that annoys me more, it's the above two scenarios. Really? Picking on someone for not responding to your lame pickup line by accusing them of being elitist because of their education? What if she just doesn't like you? Like, what if she just genuinely doesn't hit it off with you? And, secondly, really? Inflating your job position or education to look good for a girl? I understand you're doing so because you like her, but that's not cool either. Not cool. Especially WHEN YOU'RE BLATANTLY LYING! Like the last two guys in the scenarios above.

But, I'll be the first to admit it. We can be guilty of looking at credentials all too carefully, if you know what I mean. School? Profession? Education? Income? Family? There's that infamous list. Don't scoff, you know these have crossed your mind.

And in this grad life of ours, going through life as 20-somethings, with the reality of "settling down" closer than when it was when we were teenagers, you tend to think of these things, no?

But, here's the thing. Credentials can be part of the picture if you want it to be. But, you know. When you get right down to it, it isn't the ENTIRE picture. You don't have to bank chiefly on credentials or being a certain profession to be appealing. Education is one thing - but being a good person that someone genuinely wants to get to know, that someone would want to pursue a relationship with, is completely another.

And, so, back to stories of my friends and I's experiences up. Guys, really? Backing off from getting to know a girl because she has more degrees than you do? You can call her educated, but she isn't stupid enough to let go of a great guy if he doesn't have the education she does. It isn't all about the education. And, on the flip side. Guys, really? Lying or inflating your education and/or career to look good for a girl? Really? Have more self-respect than that. What happened to being honest?

The lessons here? Let me go a little Aesop on you, friends.

Be yourselves.

To the MEN reading this post: Don't let your credentials, her credentials (or lack thereof) make you hesitate from getting to know a girl you're interested in. If you feel insecure about not having the "education" she does, or if you feel like she doesn't have the "education" you think you'd want in a girl, just take a chance anyway. Throw those insecurities aside. Get to know her first. And go ahead and get to know her beyond those typical "requirements" you have in a partner. You may be surprised at what you find.

To the WOMEN reading this post: Girls, I know there's that saying where we shouldn't "settle." And, of course, if you aren't completely into your prospective admirer, then, fine, backing off is totally understandable. But, what if you actually meet a really, really awesome prospective partner? Someone you'd actually love to get to know? Are you really going to let them go because they aren't a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, etc? Don't regret it and let them get away. Take a chance. It's as easy as agreeing to a coffee date. And if it doesn't work out, then, hey, at least you tried. But, I feel like we need to be more open-minded (myself included), beyond those strict superficial "requirements" we usually have in a partner.

Love is more than just someone's profession. Love is more than where someone went to school. Love is more than just someone's income bracket. When you look for a partner, you don't engage in a relationship just because of their education or income (unless you're a, well, gold digger, obviously), right?

You want to love the actual person, not where their diploma came from.
Because at the end of the day, you come home to someone you love. You don't come home to a credential.

So, be yourselves. Be your wonderful, kind, normal, thoughtful selves. Education is one thing - but in a prospective love interest, boyfriend/girlfriend, life partner, it isn't the only issue on the table. Showing yourself to be genuine, interesting, and nice person matters more than your profession.

Your heart, your personality, and your actions, speak more about you than a university degree ever will.

Remember that the next time someone catches your eye, yea?

"I think if I've learned anything about friendship, it's to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don't walk away, don't be distracted, don't be too busy or tired, don't take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff."
— Jon Katz

"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain."
— Emily Dickinson

"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."
— Oscar Wilde

Tough Life Decisions - You Know You're Growing Up When...

This blog post is going to be a bit somber. Probably because this weekend was full of decisions I struggled making and also because I literally haven't slept in the last two days (uh, it was a busy but super fun weekend, doot doo doo doooo...). See: bags under my eyes.

Side Note: Just to throw a wrench into this melancholy blog post, here's a super sad story that was so heartbreaking I just had to share it:

Last night, after a night at Rockwood with Esther, walking to a Vietnamese restaurant on Spadina and Dundas, we encountered an older gentleman on his knees, asking us for change. Automatically reaching for our wallets, we forked over what we could. While my friends walked away, I lingered back for a few seconds. Because, well, I felt so bad for him. Dropping my change into his hands, I asked him if he had a place to stay for the night, whether he had a job, and what he did for a living. Confused, he shook his head to all my questions. I wasn't sure if he understood me. Backing off, and walking away towards my friends, I glanced over my shoulder and saw him crawling under a blanket strewn on the sidewalk. It was actually quite heartbreaking. And I know scenes like this are a common occurrence in Toronto, but it's still so sad to witness it when you do, you know?

Anyway, back to my post. Sad story over, yet moving on to an equally unsettling topic.

I know many of us are going through a phase in life where pretty crucial decisions need to be made in the next few months. Be it where to go to grad school or med school in September, what job to apply for, when to start our own businesses, whether to accept a marriage proposal (please, I know several going through this!), are just some of the crucial decisions my friends are going through. And it's a big deal. Plus, like most of you know, my own life changing choice at the moment is the decision of where to go to law school in September.

Allow me to try explaining this decision making crisis in words.

It's like you've been given multiple forks on the road. It's like you've been given several options for your life, and you're scared to death that you'll choose the wrong one. What if I choose and I turn out to be completely, utterly wrong? What if my life is screwed up as a result? And again... what if I'm wrong? What if I choose and end up completely hating it? What if I shouldn't even be doing this?

I actually have a sinking feeling in my stomach every time I think about having to choose a law school.

I can't even count how many people have asked me which school I've picked, in this weekend alone, in the last two days. And, each time, the moment someone asked, I could feel the rising bubbles of panic in my tummy. And, as always, I end up laughing uncomfortably for a few seconds, give a them a quick vague answer, and walk away feeling like an idiot.

I know we're all welling up with uncertainty. We're at the point in life where drastic changes happen regularly. We aren't just choosing which schools to go to in September (although I know many of us are), we're choosing where to live as we move out on our own, we're choosing which jobs would best fit our career paths. We're choosing who to date, who to avoid like the plagueeeee (oh, the stories). We're deciding how to let go of friends, how to reconnect with friends. This life, especially this 20-something age bracket we're in right now - it's full of decisions that boggle and hurt my mind.

Sometimes, it's just so much easier to curl up in a ball and cry, no? Or does that make us wimps? Because then I'd definitely have to call myself a wimp.

I have no advice to offer you guys today. I'm in a state of crisis myself, if you couldn't tell. I'll just end here with yet another rhetorical question before going back to my work, and perhaps a small dose of optimism.

When did life get so hard?

But, let's be optimistic, friends.

Decision time is almost near. It'll be over soon. And, when all else fails, go with your gut instinct - go with your heart.

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love."
— Dr. Seuss

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."
— Mother Teresa

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Ripe Old Age of 20-Something - "Why Aren't You Married Yet?!?!"

Hi, friends! I've been MIA the last couple of weeks, especially since my New York trip. I'm sorry! I've been holed up at home trying to finish this thesis, with no room to blog, to eat, to blog, to breathe. But, thank God, it's almost done. I'm so glad it's almost done. I hand in my draft this week. And not a minute too soon, since I'm starting to lose grip on my sanity, I'm telling you.

Anyway. I'm taking a break from editing my thesis to mention something that happened over the weekend. It was an.... interesting encounter.

So, my parents and I were at a social function. It was fun, it was great, the food was good (that's always important. Who else makes a beeline for the canapés? Anyone?). And, as per usual, as my parents and I mingled, I was asked what I was doing in school, where I go to school, etcetera.

And, as I did, the following conversation occurred between myself and a middle-aged couple - with a number of people within earshot. Mr. A and Mrs. A are in their mid-40s, with a couple of teenage children.

Mr. A: So, Barbara, are you almost done your Masters?
Me: Yes, I'll be done in 2 weeks!
Mr. A: Oh, I see. But... how old are you now?
Me: I'm 23 years old.
Mr. A: Don't you turn 24 years old soon?
Me: Well... yes. In a few weeks.
Mr. A: So, you're 24 years old. And you're still going to law school after?
Me: Well... yes.
Mr. A: So how old will you be when you're done?
Me: I'll be 27 years old.
Mr. A: (a little condescendingly, a little knowingly, a little concerned): Oh.. I see.
Me: Why do you ask?
Mr. A: Well.... you know... you're getting old. Shouldn't you be getting married soon? Why waste another 3 years in school? In the Philippines, girls your age are already married with kids.
Me (looking for an exit, trying to be polite): Oh... okay.
Mrs. A: Don't you even have a boyfriend yet?
Me (desperately trying to find my way out of the convo): Um... no. I've been busy with school.
Mr. A: Well, you know. You're getting old. It's something to consider.
Me: *splashes water on his face*

Haha. Kidding. Okay. That last line didn't happen. I eventually spotted my parents and excused myself from the conversation, more baffled than anything. And a little irritated, I'll admit. Am I really, really that old? In this grad life of ours, are we really at that age where we're already hounded about marriage? Hello, the 19th century called. It wants its life back.

Because. Wow. Way to make a 23-year old feel like a spinster, no? As I stood, listening to Mr. A's rant above, the following thoughts immediately crossed my mind: Mr. A, this should not be happening. Comments implying that something is wrong with a woman if they're not married by their mid-20's should not be happening. And most importantly, belittling someone's pursuit of education in favour of marriage isn't very tactful, bee tee double yew.

I shouldn't be introducing you all to my ten cats and twenty parakeets until I'm at least done law school with a job to throw myself into. (Although, when I do acquire said animals, I promise to upload pictures to this blog. Wink wink). Anyway, sarcasm aside, I'm not an old maid, folks. Please get a grip. At least, by my standards anyway.

After that conversation, I had to take a step back and remind myself that I'm not a minority. That I'm one among many friends who want to finish their education (multiple degrees, if desired), who want to travel, to work abroad, to start their own businesses, to experience life ---- before even considering settling down the way Mr. A implied above.

And, from my perspective anyway, there's nothing wrong with wanting to experience life as a 23-year old without the worries of a family to support and a mortgage pay, right? That's for a few years down the road. Not now. And, if we don't feel led to, if we don't desire to, we shouldn't be in such a hurry. Age shouldn't dictate when we want to "settle down."

Is that really so wrong?

That's my own mantra, anyway.

But, after a few days, and a more stable blood pressure rate later, I have to admit something.

Because, okay. Though the conversation irritated me, I understand where Mr. and Mrs. A were coming from, and I respect what they have to say. And I'm not talking about being a good little Asian girl and respecting my elders' opinions (although there's probably some of that thrown in there, let's be real). I respect that, while their opinions aren't in line with my own, I know many people think differently from me. And I accept that.

Taking a step back from my annoyance, I completely respect what they have to say.

Because, like. On some level, I understand where they're coming from. I know that sounds ridiculous, a little crazy. I'm spewing out all these ideas about choice, and experiencing life, but in other cultures and contexts, I accept that I actually am an old maid.

Because, let me put this into context. Mr. and Mrs. A, along with their teenage children, only arrived to Canada a few months ago. From the Philippines. Where, like he says above, it's true - a number of girls my age already have families, married for several years. I don't think they've been in Canada long enough to absorb or understand how different North American approaches to "settling down" are.

I was talking to Mr. and Mrs. A's 16-year old daughter later that evening, and the following conversation ensued:

Me: Are you excited for high school in Canada?
The A's Daughter: Yes, I am. I really like science.
Me: Oh, do you have an idea of what you'd like to do in university?
The A's Daughter: Yes, I want to be a doctor. To go into medicine.
Me: Oh, I see! That's great!
The A's Daughter (glancing at me significantly): But, Ate Barbara (Filipino endearing term for older sister), unlike you, I want to be married when I'm 24 years old.

Ohh, snap! Daughter taking after Daddy, no? Bless your heart, sweetheart. Thanks for your concern. Oh, and medical school and marriage by the time you're 24 years old? Erm. Speaking on behalf of a number of friends in medical school right now.... well, no comment. Good luck with that. Keep me posted.

I always wondered why Asian families pushed their daughters to be married so early, particularly in the Philippines, China, Korea, Japan, etc. But, the thing is... 20-something isn't early. It can also be considered late. Very late. Getting married at 18 years old isn't uncommon in other parts of the world. And while conversations like the one above may irritate us, we should probably put ourselves in check before we judge. We might think they're way off base - but they're acting on what they think is common sense too, you know?

I don't think my conversation with Mr. and Mrs. A is just an example of different generations clashing, or a random difference in opinion regarding that oh-so-sensitive topic of marriage. I think it's also a clash of cultural expectations. And I don't think such cultural expectations are wrong, per say. Just different from what we're used to. And, growing up in Canada, we might think what they say is wrong, debasing, and even insulting. But they're acting on what they think is common sense. And cultural common sense isn't necessarily wrong, right?

I guess I'm saying - before getting offended by these kinds of comments (and, let's face it, in this grad life, as we continue life as 20-somethings, we're sure to get these kinds of comments as we get older, especially from older crowds who think we should get married ASAP), take a step back and see where these people are coming from.

Don't get offended right away - understand them instead. And politely decline and turn down their hints to "settle down" or, uh, their requests for you to "meet their sons" (*face palm*). There's nothing wrong with saying no, saying you'd rather concentrate on school for now, doing it without irritation.

So, Mr. A., lay off calling me an old maid, and I'll help your daughter buy her MCAT study guides when the time comes, deal?

Life would be so much easier if we just understood each other a little better.

"Accept who you are; and revel in it."
— Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)

"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same."
— Carlos Castaneda

"I wouldn't describe myself as lacking in confidence, but I would just say that - the ghosts you chase, you never catch."
— John Malkovich