Lenny’s Oranges

This is a true story from when I was a little girl. Although the details have blurred over the years, the feeling of regret that comes along with this recollection has not changed. 

Oranges – Dan Petrov

When I was just five years old, my family migrated from China to New Zealand. We lived in a unit house, because that was the best that my parents could afford. I thought of it as a quirky little place. It was like living in the middle of an evenly sliced chocolate-log-house, everything was so much fun! Thinking back, it must have been a difficult time for my parents, leaving their white-collar jobs behind to become a waitress and butcher in a country where they barely spoke the language. I was too young to understand all they went through, instead, I became enamoured by the orange tree in our backyard.

It was, admittedly, a rather ugly thing. Wrangled limbs reaching for, but not quite touching the sky as droopy leaves clung onto peeling bark. That didn’t matter though, because it bore fruit that tasted like sunshine kisses. I remember being upset during summer when there were far too many oranges to eat and stuffing myself full so they would not be wasted. I loved how my mother carefully peeled back the lumpy, freckled skin and a faint citrus perfume would fill the air. If you concentrated hard enough, you could still smell the remnants of happiness hours later, clinging to the space under her nail bed, my teeth, our hair as the summer fruit stained our hearts with joy as tangy jewels of succulent juice burst on our tongue before fading to a uniform sweetness… Continue reading “Lenny’s Oranges”

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The Girl Who Spoke 5 Languages

How many languages can you speak?

I can only speak two, a rather common feat in such a globalised world. I have never consciously learnt another language, I’ve just grown up in a bilingual environment. I remember meeting a girl last year who was fluent five different languages: German, English, French, Japanese and Latin.

She told me that she wants to be a translator in the future and she’s on an exchange to improve her English. I was so happy for her because it seemed like she was on the right track to achieving her dreams. At the same time, I couldn’t help being a little envious. This envy was not just for her fluency in multiple languages, but more for the absolute certainty she held to her dream and the effort she put in to make it happen.

The story she told me about finding her niche went something like this:

“You know those Lets Play videos on youtube? Yeah. Those ones where gamers play all sorts of different games for entertainment. One of those guys was playing what was originally a Japanese game translated into English. The gamer was complaining about how bad the translations were and I agreed, they were absolutely terrible! It was then and there that I thought, you know what, I can do better.Continue reading “The Girl Who Spoke 5 Languages”

brave the world

[trigger warning for self harm]

I remember many times in my life where I have felt negative emotions intensely.

This is one of those times. Instead of me trying to paint you a picture of the people and events that led to this point, let’s talk about these crappy feelings in general terms.

Usually, my anger results from dissatisfaction with myself or something silly and trivial blown way out of proportion. That is the ultimate price I pay for being ‘sensitive,’  ‘an idealist,’ and forever ‘romanticising life.’ These labels all hint at, but not quite explain, the intensity I put into merely existing.

You understand me, right? In fact, you’re a little bit like me, I’m sure. After all, there’s a little bit of crazy within the best of us. We are not spectators of life – we are life and life consists of more than new beginnings and happy endings.

The critics (which are oftentimes from within) will tell us that we’re being overdramatic, illogical and crazy – this isn’t a situation where I’d tell you to ignore them, instead, I wonder if maybe they’re right.

Just like how horror movies aren’t scary if you don’t imagine yourself in the characters’ shoes, maybe life will be easier if we took a more objective standpoint every so often…if we just paused for a moment and breathed.

When I was a lot younger, I just cried and cried when I felt negative emotions. Then as I grew up, I resorted to punching walls; I liked that sting that blossoms on your knuckles upon impact that fades out into a low hum of pain. Eventually, due to morbid curiosity – it was inevitable really – I experimented with other practises of relieving anger that society typically frowns upon.

Continue reading “brave the world”