This evening I stumbled upon an old Word document I wrote back in June 2009 – a couple of years before this blog was birthed. In it was a short list of eight things I’d learned so far that year. It’s interesting thinking about the circumstances that led me to these conclusions. Naturally this got me pondering whether I have learned these lessons – or … Continue reading 8 learnings from my younger self
Growing up, my dad’s cousin, his wife and their daughter were the only family we had in Canberra. We only caught up with them once or twice a year, typically at a restaurant for Chinese New Year. I cherished those occasions﹣and not only because they were bookended by two of my favourite pancakes, commencing with Peking duck pancakes and concluding with red bean paste pancakes. … Continue reading Miscellaneous shades of grief
The best smoothie I ever had also happens to be the most thought-provoking. Smoothies and indecision In a scene oft-repeated through the course of my life, I was at a cafe, unable to decide between three equally delicious sounding options. And in a tactic oft-deployed to deal with my indecision, I asked the guy taking my order which he recommended. Little did I know that … Continue reading What my gut knows
Me and punctuality When my boss said to me, “You are not a late person. Let’s change the narrative on that,” it seemed an overdramatic way to talk about my tendency to arrive a few minutes after a meeting starts. Narrative is a word we use to talk about how we include or exclude Indigenous Australian perspectives from our country’s history. Or the shift from … Continue reading Changing my narrative
My first name begins with a silent letter so alliteration exercises in primary school weren’t fun. “Happy Hsu-Ann” doesn’t alliterate and “super Hsu-Ann” looks like it doesn’t alliterate even though it does. Yet the silent H is a familiar and essential part of who I am. (So is the awkward pause and ensuing mispronunciation every time someone realises they’re going to have to read my … Continue reading The H is silent
In thinking about the year just past, my first thought was that it was a boring year. Not bad as such, but I felt like I went through the whole year without a satisfactory answer to the perennial question: “How have you been?” In other words, I constantly had nothing new to report. Whenever I responded that I’d been “good”, I meant it literally rather than as a polite non-answer.
2018 provided plenty of change in significant areas of my life so 2019 was certainly dull in comparison. And really in comparison to the whole previous decade of my life, which barely saw me doing the same thing for more than a year.
But I don’t want to be ungrateful. If I pause to ponder the last 12 months a little more, I’m able to find a few highlights. They may seem simple, but they have nonetheless enriched my life and I am thankful for these little things. Continue reading 2019: Highlights from a humdrum year
The highest point in all of Australia sits at about the same altitude as the average for the whole province of Loja, Ecuador. It doesn’t even come close to the lowest point in the entire city of La Paz, Bolivia, let alone the altitude of any of the surrounding mountains. I like to tout these little trivia tidbits but am increasingly conscious of coming off as … Continue reading It’s not your fault, Australia
How do you like the idea of spending an entire workday alone to chill, pray, meditate, read, and generally just be on your own? One of the many cool things about IJM as an organisation is that all staff, interns and fellows get a Day of Solitude. It’s pretty much compulsory. Busy people fear it – but they’re probably the ones who need it the most. I … Continue reading An attempt at solitude