The child that needed hobbies

It’s supposed to be a warm spring day, but I don’t feel it yet in my office. I will feel it soon enough by the time afternoon hits.

There is also not much for me to do since my boss is taking forever to give me feedback on the Expression of Interest document. I’ve been doing grant writing, helping the company apply for funding. There is only so much that I can do.

I’ve also been assisting the new accountant who has trouble tracking the previous accountant’s footsteps. While working here, the previous accountant didn’t set up a good system for anyone new that would jump straight in. She was Chinese. I guess Chinese people like things complicated or have things structured and organized their way. I’ve witnessed that many times before. Anyway, I’m not knowledgeable enough to help out with accounting. (And honestly, it’s the last thing I want to do.)

I was googling China’s map because I wanted to see where exactly my dad was born. Hong-Chow showed me the very east of China, south of Shanghai. My mum is a full-on Hong Kongese; my dad migrated there when he was younger. My grandfather was the family leader who tried to save his family from Mao. I still like to say that both my parents are from Hong Kong. I think I feel some pride along with them.

People from Hong Kong don’t usually like to be compared to mainland China. It’s like Hong Kong gives them privilege because of the British colony. It’s the same with Cantonese, which I personally find sounds much better than Mandarin. The origin of Cantonese is not 100% known. Apparently, there aren’t enough historical records, except that it leads back to the Tang Dynasty.

People like to call it a dialect, but it’s, in fact, a language. If it were a dialect (which literally means: ‘words used’), I would understand Mandarin perfectly, but I don’t, except that now and then, I spot a word that sounds the same except it’s in a different tonality. The tone and structure are different.

I remember when my mum sent me to a Chinese School in Hamburg to learn Mandarin and write in Chinese. During that time, she befriended a lady whose kids I was also friends with. That lady advised my mum to find me hobbies, or leisure activities outside school, saying that it would be good for me to socialize and discover things that I might like. I appreciate it in hindsight, but I wasn’t made for Chinese school, piano lessons, or tennis. Therefore, I didn’t last six months at either activity. These activities improved my socializing skills, but I didn’t identify any talents (nor did I have any interest in them).

My brain just never had the switch on for anything. Absolutely nothing interested me or caught my attention. I’m trying hard to remember, and when I go back in time and visualize the past through my childhood eyes, I feel like I’m watching it through thick glass. All I can sense is numbness in my body, a complete lack of focus as if I weren’t there. And this is how I remember my childhood–a paralyzing sight of the world with no escape.

In my report cards, the teacher would say I was attentive but quiet. I almost want to say, ‘daydreaming and apathetic.’ There was absolutely nothing in my childhood that grabbed my attention. I’m sad to admit this because there was so much I could’ve learned well as a child if I had just made an effort and forced myself. My writing proves that I’m not a talent but a hard worker. I’m not saying I regret things, but I used to care more back then than I do now. Yet, I still find myself trying to understand why I was the way I was.

There were five planets in retrograde when I was born. They say that these people are often misunderstood like they’re from different dimensions. And this is exactly how I felt as a child. Whenever I spoke a word, nobody really listened, or no one could respond to me. Nobody wanted to explore deep and complicated nonsense. So, I kept my mouth shut throughout elementary school.

Imperceptible. Numb.

And later, I realized that it’s terribly difficult for me to express myself verbally – there are either no words for these thoughts, or my choice of words isn’t in accord with other people’s perception. Then they become frustrated and mad at me, and I wish I’d never spoken.


I ponder about all sorts of stuff when work is slow. I feel bad for the company. It has great ideas and potential, but the municipality and its bylaws are stopping it from progressing. There is not much that I can do, though, which is why I always feel like landing jobs that are doing my ego no good.

It’s hard to find the energy to motivate yourself to do what makes you happy; it’s not just many steps but also a bit of a gamble. And then again, this numbness, lack of focus, different dimension.

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