The Good Ol’ Days

I miss the old days of blogging when people would share about their lives, fears, thoughts, the things they did every day, what made them happy, sad or angry.  It could be anything from family, friendships, relationships, school and work.  I miss coming home to check on the many people I followed to see what was going on in their lives.  Whether they made it up, exaggerated it or wrote it with startling honesty – I’ll never know.  It was just the feeling of feeling connected.  I didn’t feel alone with my fears and aspirations.  Somehow I felt more normal.  Most people didn’t care who read their entries and unlike me, didn’t write anonymously.

Now I blog a lot less and am more guarded by what I say.  It does take time to write something coherent and to follow other blogs.  There are stalkers who prey on snatching tidbits of identity.  There are companies who scour social media to check on prospective job applicants.  Would I want my future company to know that much about my personal life?

So to those that are still blogging and sharing what’s going on in their lives, I raise my glass to you and thank you.  (in this case, it’s a bowl of cereal as I’m writing this first thing in the morning).

Morning Walks

I’m going to try walking in the morning instead of the evenings. If I can incorporate an evening walk or any type of workout, it’ll be a bonus.  So far I’ve walked twice this week and had a short walk to the coffee shop yesterday.  My body is still on Asia time.  In fact, I only slept for about 30 minutes last night.  But I dozed off from 5:30 PM to about 10:30 PM.  I heated up some food around midnight and pretty well did nothing.

As always, every week starts with our team call.  We were told that more job cuts are coming.  Frankly I don’t understand how companies can cut their way to prosperity.  But I guess that’s why I’m not a C level executive.  I did have a quick chat with my manager to let him know I need to focus on my health.  He understood but it’ll be a struggle to figure out how to accommodate the heavy and unpredictable workload.

I like the morning walks.  I’ve reduced my caffeine (no more 2 to 3 cups of coffee every morning) so the walk wakes me up.  I used to be a morning person so maybe this will help reset my routine.  It’s a nice change of pace to see the city waking up instead of going to sleep when I walked in the evenings.  We’ll see if I can keep this up when the snow starts falling.

Reality

I flew back yesterday to a considerably colder Toronto.  Hong Kong and Taipei was warm but comfortable.  Most of the folks we saw on the street wore sweaters, jackets or hoodies for the low 20s weather.  I didn’t have insomnia when I was on vacation.  It could be the amount of walking we did everyday.  I still woke up at least once a night, usually around 4:00AM.  The trip was a good break after a long hiatus from traveling.  I worked right up to the day I traveled.  I overpacked and had extra undies, tshirts and socks that I never used.  I did some planning but not extensively.  We only booked hotels for the first few nights in Taipei and in Hong Kong.  The remainder of the hotel bookings for Taiwan was done in Taipei.

It felt strange to travel again although I wasn’t backpacking it or roughing it.  Taiwan was very enjoyable and J did all the talking.  I was like a deaf mute that tagged along.  The subway or MTR in Taipei was wonderful.  It’s efficient, it works well and 99% of the people abide by the rules.  The trains stopped where they should, people lined up where they should, people stood right and passed on the left on escalators, people did not rush the trains when the doors were closing.  They just stood in front of the open doors.  I saw people rushed to give up seats for the elderly.  On the streets, cars rarely honked unless it was to alert others.  Taipei just seemed like a clean and efficient city.

The only first world problem I had was in Kaohsiung.  The hotel I picked wasn’t a 5 star hotel and since we were there for only 2 nights, it didn’t seem like a big deal.  It was more comfortable than other hotels I stayed at.  In the toilet, there was a sign that toilet paper shouldn’t be flushed.  I’ve seen them before but that was years ago.  But I survived (although I contemplated buying an air freshener for the toilet).

If you do get a chance to travel in Asia, I would recommend visiting Taiwan.

Hong Kong on the other hand felt even more crowded than I remembered.  We didn’t do a lot of serious sightseeing during this brief visit.  I was there mostly to visit my relatives.  I also paid respects to my grandparents at a cemetery and I was surprised to remember where they were after all these years.  But it also felt like someone was guiding me.

I’ll probably do another blog entry on the 2 countries.

But now, it’s back to the real world.  On my first day, I made a quick visit to my doctor as I have some health issues to take care off.  That’s a bit worrisome but I think things will work out.  I think I’ve let the stress of my job overwhelmed my perspective on health and looking after myself.  After this weekend, it’s back to work on Monday.  My body is still on Hong Kong / Taiwan time.  And I really miss that sign on the hotel that says, “Please Make Up the Room”.  To a messy person like me, that’s better than sex.

Taipei

Wow – what an interesting city with so many small lanes and small restaurants to explore. We arrived early morning, checked in and left our bags with the front desk while we explored a bit. The subway system is incredibly well organized and efficient. The people are polite.

We got back to the hotel late afternoon. My feet are tired. J is napping. I did encounter a squat toilet this morning. I didn’t even try as I knew I would probably fall in. I still can’t do the Asian squat.

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No Mas

I went to a Roman Catholic mass recently.  Some of the prayers have changed but I was able remember others.  The Lord’s Prayer still remained the same.  But I couldn’t remember when to stand, sit or kneel.   It felt a bit strange being at church again.  The statues, the altar, tabernacle, crucifixes, Holy water …. all those symbols that I grew up with.   I didn’t feel at home but I didn’t feel too out of place.  The Jesuit priests would hvae been disappointed with how I turned out.  While I’m spiritual, I disagree with my church on a lot of social issues especially on gay rights.  In the next few days, I found myself looking for some songs I remembered when I used to go to Mass.

Unfortunately it was a funeral mass for an ex colleague of mine who succumbed to cancer.  It’s another reminder that life is fleeting and we should not waste our time here on earth.  I wonder how many of these reminders I need to face before I can do something better with my life.

My flight leaves late tonight.  I still have a few more things to get before I can finish packing.  I’m finally starting to think about the trip instead of work.  I packed about a month’s worth of clothes on my first round.  I’ll reduce it later on.  I joked to J that I even packed my rice cooker.

It’s strange how work has such a solid grip on me.  It sucks my soul and tears away my dreams.  Yet I remain loyal to it.  Is it fear?  Is it because I know how tough unemployment was for my dad?  The constant worry about how to feed his family ate on him.  I think I was born to worry.  Or is it the fear of change?

Courage takes small steps.

P.S. To Prince – I don’t know what my nomenclature is.