A special day

It’s getting busier and busier. I need to leave a trace for today because it is special – four year a time!

I hope there would be no new email though I check it often. I don’t want to receive a Thank you letter from the organization I just had the written test. Never would Thank you sound like so cruel.

A phone call would be a good sign, as it is for the next round arrangement. Now more and more friends know I applied that place. I felt more anxious.

 

Futures contracts

People always tell lies to make you feel better.

The lies I have been told and I kept tell others is that the result does not matter, as long as you learned something from the process.

That is not true. The result really matters.

I went to a written test that followed by the interview I blogged last time. The test style  is exactly as I Googled, though I thought they might change something. The first part is to match some CEOs to some companies, as well as the leaders of certain organizations and countries like Thailand, Australia, Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury. I know some but had to take some guess as well. Who cares the head of Bank of Japan, I had to judge from the strange name. I remember the Australian leader was a red-haired woman so I matched with a female name.

The second part took my breath away. I don’t really know what is futures contracts. I wish my brain had the volume of Wikipedia.

Even now I know it is an agreement  two parties made for future trading of commodities or financial products, but I’ve missed the chance to get the right answer on the test. I learned, but everything fades away as the opportunity has gone. It is just  once.

I like that place I wish i knew the term earlier.

I read a very handy book that teaches basic finance. I could calculate profit margin, return on equity but that was far from enough.

I not the kind of Machiavellian believing in the end justify the means. However, the fact is, when I get older and older, I don’t get many opportunities for just learning, the expense is too high that I regret so much.

 

Annoying morning call

My Saturday morning starts with a call of interrogation.

After the call, I had no interests lying in the bed any more, though I hit my pillow late last night.

The call came from a friend I want to stay a distance but always find myself bombarded by her calls, text messages, online chatting. She is not gay, either am I.

That’s the problem. No one wanted to hang out with her. I did in the past few months. Then I know everything has a reason.

I emailed a journalist almost two weeks ago whose stories I always read in a newspaper I like. I got his reply a week later. I was quite happy about it so I kept telling the emails to some friends ever since.

Somehow, this special friend knows the email thing. She came to me on Thursday when I was editing some photos from RAW mode to JPEG.

“You emailed him, didn’t you?” She looked into my eyes as if I should be guilty.

It took me a while to make it clear who she is talking about.

In the past few months, this special friend had been talking of her painstaking romance to me over lunch, on the way to somewhere, any time when we came across. I don’t want to go too specific because I felt bad blogging other’s secrets. Somehow, the story was about her crush on a journalist. The journalist told her that he has a girlfriend and my special friend doubted that as she believes the journalist liked her right back but wanted to escape from his own feeling.

She has been complaining the journalist seldom replies her emails, text messages and sometimes hangs up her call. I could say nothing to a broken heart but encourage her that she deserves better.

I’ve been asking her where does the man work, did he work for a newspaper, a website or a TV station. She tells me I should not concern that. So I had to give up. I do admit I was very curious as I am always curious on certain unimportant things.

“But you never told me about his name and the place he works for,” I felt a bit unhappy about her chasing.

She kept her eyes on my computer screen and I felt she was such a jerk for that moment.

I told her I’m on deadline and had to finish editing those photo before 6. p.m. but she never showed a sign that she would leave me alone.

I had to speak out the journalist’s name I emailed, what did I write in my email and what he replied, even though at that moment I had no clue  if the man was the one in her mind.

“Why did you email he? why he, there are so many other journalists out there?” I suddenly understand why people always say it is a small world.

Wait, how she know I emailed a journalist at first place, how she would know it is this one that she never mentioned the name to me.

She was never in a mood to answer my questions. She just stood there asking why I promoted my blog to the journalist, did I email because I wanted an internship in that newspaper.

Well, well, well. I told her I like my blog(of course not this one) being seen by others I always force friends reading it and giving feedbacks.

I said I could show her the email. And I asked her to turn back while I open my email box because I don’t want her to see my other emails. She said why I don’t want her to see others, even the title.  That is the moment I started to regret the decision to let her see the email, but too late.  I just told her that my email box is like my diaries. No one want show their own diaries to others.

When she finished reading, I told her I will talk with her on this other time as I was meeting the deadline and ten minutes has been wasted.

The evening I waited her showing up online. But she stopped talking when she got some internship information from me.

I thought perhaps she didn’t want to talk about it until I got her long message this morning.

I hated texting so I called back.

“You replied him, didn’t you?”

“You are going to meet him, are you?”

“I’ve tried very hard to forget him. Why you drag me into this again?”

I told her again and again that I did not know the person could be THAT one so all those questions seemed senseless.

I felt what she wanted is my promise not to get in touch with the journalist ever again.But why would I, even there is no chance at all to meet this man as my admired writer? what is her position to force me to do this.

I just wish I never made her acquaintance.

High heels, skyscraper and resume

I don’t know how you would connect the three words in the title. I would easily assume a scene: A young woman on high heels went to a cloud-penetrating building with her resume. Yes, she went there for an interview which may lead to some career opportunities, if lucky.

This was how I spent my morning. Though I got plenty of other significant errands to run as this moment, I felt urgent to blog the interview I got up at 6 a.m. for.

Let’s start with the most important part, the interview. The interviewer looked easygoing. The greeting was his fact-check on my hometown by asking”So, you are from (which I don’t want you to know as this blog is half anonymous. Sorry)?” Then he told me he has been there before, and maybe before I was even born. That was right. The first time he went there was one year ahead my birth. Now you see the status of the two parties:  veteran versus novice.

We probably spent five minutes on my hometown, which I felt uneasily easy. I don’t think I was nervous. Probably the interviewer wanted to make me more comfortable with the one-on-one interview in the cozy petite office with a scene of the Victoria Harbour through the window. The more we talk about his memory in my hometown like what he had for lunch on a certain day twenty something years ago, or about how many stages did the locals develop a tourism site, the more I felt inappropriate. I knew the hometown thing was just some greetings, but when I talk, I have the tendency to mention all the trivia while leaving the outline. I was worried that did I talk too much, but no response would seem too impolite.

The light five minutes was followed by his questions based on my resume. First, My education and internships. Why I did journalism. The answer may have started with my obsession with soccer games, blablabla, I could talk for a while probably mentioning names like Paolo Maldini, Filippo Inzaghi. Or it could have gone a bit cliché, like all the journalists in Hollywood driven by some noble ideals. I said something in between which now I could not recall precisely.

A follow-up question is what is my proudest piece.

Then he mentioned a specific newspaper I interned with. I admired his knowledge in my country as a foreigner. Still chat like communication, no questions.

He asked what I know about his organization, and then he explained even more of it through the computer screen ahead of us, which is a sign that he was not satisfied with my answer.

The same goes with questions on the project I applied.

Then naturally, he told me the schedule of their recruit plan. If I were not the one they want, they would inform me shortly. No news is good news and if I was OK, a three-hour writing test and a meet with the bureau chief will be arranged.

I asked a few questions. That was the end.

The most impressive part I felt was this organization’s human interest. My interview time was 10 a.m. As I said earlier, I got up at 6.

When I arrived at their place at 9 a.m, I realized there was a missed call at 8 a.m, when I just stepped out my home. I called back and traced it was this organization’s service line. I thought there must be some urgent rearrangement for them to call at that early, but could only held the hope on the service line to contact human resources by leaving my name.

While I was sitting in the waiting room reading Financial Times, the HR approached me and said the interviewer planned to cancel the interview but he was in office now, and he would see me as planned, but earlier, immediately.

I took sometime exchanging my sneakers to high heels.

The interviewer said he caught a cold, which is the reason he wanted to cancel the interview. He felt it was not good talking to people when he was sick. Later I learned he got the cold from India though the random talk about his Asian career.

Then it went all the way to the topic of my hometown.

He walked me a long way from the elude office to the lobby and pressed elevator bottom after saying goodbye. I thought it was a bit too nice, and I started to worry. Bosses are extremely nice when they want to fire you.

Well, I invested a bit for this interview. An eyeliner.

Confession on homesick

I enjoy every minute away from home. When I was in school or at work, I never go back to home, though I went to a college 40 minutes bus drive from home. When I was on holidays, I travelled around, to a different city or just in a park two stops from home.

After five month away, in a different city with different climate and different language and different level of living expenses, I never found myself so homesick as now.

people write when they are sad. I can’t say I am sad now. I had my luck today, which makes me so homesick.

I called my mother yesterday for the sort of talk she talks the same thing all the time. She always asks the same questions I’ve answered millions times.

“Can you get used to the food there?”

“Well, I told you I like Cantonese food.”

After all the already-answered inquiries, I started to complain the mundaneness in my life. I said things in a negative tone, though I never tell her I am not happy with my roommate because she uses my microwave boxes but never wash them when she finishes, nor will I tell her I am taking a dissertation project which the department head describes as “a journey to the hell”.

She simply says she has been praying for me all the time. She wish I could get a good job and get a good boyfriend.

“You know, you were reading a book all day at home last Valentine. My poor kid, You didn’t even receive a flower!”

To be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing for last Valentine. It must be sad for her to see her daughter was not invited out.

She always asks me to hang up first. So I did.

Today I was in a daze as I slept late last night and got up early this morning. When I was buying dinner, the cashier told me that I was selected by the machine as a lucky guest for a free dessert. I got some very profound suggestions on my dissertation project from two nice professors. I formed a group with two friends with similar interests for another painstaking project. When I got home, an email was received telling me I got a scholarship I applied so long ago that I almost forgot.

I attribute the luck to my mother, who is in a different city praying for me. At this moment, I wish I could see her. I wish I was home.

Reading Newspapers

I have a confession to make. I tell lies. Not to you, not to the world, but to myself that I like reading newspapers.

It is probably a way to convince myself that one day I would also be able to write for one of the reputable newspapers just as the other well-paid staff writers.

But the fact is simply the very contrary. I don’t read newspaper everyday. Instead, I seldom hold a newspaper. I just read occasionally on the metro station when I was handed a free dispatch.

From today on, probably I will read newspapers the way I declared. I read several today for two hours. Among them were The Wall Street Journal Asian Edition, The South China Morning Post (I will soon blog for this paper, not being paid I guess) and a free newspaper I got when I went to the metro station.

Articles were so well written. Time is the biggest enemy, not just for women, but also for the reporters. I admire those reporters for such fine writings in such short time. I browsed into, read through almost words I saw. Now I still remember some of the articles: IMF evaluating the Chinese currency, Morgan Staley will lead Facebook’s IPO, Hong Kong jockie(horse rider) banned from racing.

I saw the International Herald Tribune, Financial Times and other local papers but I didn’t have the time to browse into every of them. Not surprisingly, all the front page pictures except the Financial Times were Novak Djokovic, the newly Australian Open Champion.

Right now, I had piles of Financial Times stacking in the corner of my very limited space. I took one from somewhere everyday for free but never read them the way today I read The Wall Street Journal, for this I felt deeply remorseful for those who contributed making the newspaper possible in front of me: the reporters, editors, commentators, copy editors, chief editors, printing workers, delivering men. I felt so bad because I even did never unfold some of them. I felt even worse because I used them mopping the floors (I hate it when my roommate makes the room gritty with fallen long hairs and never cleans it), padding the microwave oven and a very bad way I would never tell in even this anonymous blog.

I don’t want spend more time on newspapers because besides papers, I do like reading other things, not lying. I just started a new fiction, great but not greater than the one I read previously about a man obsessed with plants. This time, it is a man drove a long way seeking suicide and had three relationships along the way, one by choice, one by chance and one by exhaust.

I just started, with this book as well as my declared hobby on newspapers.

Sending gifts home

For two weeks, the sun hides behinds all kinds of gloomily expression of the sky: cloudy, gray, raining, smoggy. It was extraordinarily cold in the tropical island when the sun turns its back on you. Cold wind comes with humid air that you can feel the wetness in the folded clothes, bed sheets and even in the chair cushion, so wet that the if you twist it, water would drip.

I woke up earlier today as I had to live up to the good weather. Opening all the windows does not help to catch a glimpse of the smiling sunshine. I had to take a walk and say hello to the warm air.

After thinking for two minutes for a reason to wander on the street while eating my best cooking: spicy noodles, I finally took out the gifts I bought randomly for my family at different times, and deemed it was time to send them to the ones who should have them.

There are some stuff occupying my very limited space, and all those annoying stuff were not mine. I bought them because I liked them, and thought it was a waste for me to own them, so I would send them to my close friends. Closet of all is my family.

A toy rabbit I bought for my niece. (Illustrated by M.F. Draw)

The officer at the post office helped me stuff the articles to a medium-sized box which cost me HK$18. I answered without being asked what those were as they were all wrapped by certain bags: A toy rabbit in a black hat. If the rabbit head is pulled out of the black hat, it would start making some noise, or music, as other people would call it. I liked the rabbit when I was fooling around with a friend in Ikea and decided it should be a toy for my then five-month niece. She is almost seven-month now.

The heaviest of all is a wooden dog that plays with a drum. If you pull the string and get the dog walking, it would play with the drum, making some rhythm. It was also for my niece. I doubted if a baby would like the color of wood, but I bought it anyway as I like stuff made from wood and keeps a wooden look. The dog was still in the green paper bag that was wrapped in Prague two weeks ago. I brought it with me on board as I didn’t trust the luggage check of any airline companies, not mentioning the notorious Air-somecountry I was taking.

My mother is the sort of woman with a lovely character, but can get angry easily. She told me she would send me a postcard for the new year and I said thanks for that. Then she said I might send her one as well. So I did. I thought she would expect something from me if she gets the parcel of toys, so at the Paris airport, I bought some chocolate in a Eiffel Tower shaped box. That would be a gift for my father as well.

I use various social networks. On one of the page my family is on I posted that I finally sent the gifts home. My mother replied within an hour that they were waiting happily for the parcel to arrive.

I spent the afternoon reading a fiction in a park near home. (Illustrated by M.F. Draw)

I spent the rest of the day reading a fiction about a brilliant man obsessed with plants especially orchid in a park. There were all sorts trees, plants around me in the park. Sunshine trickled down through the thick leaves of the tropical tree. After my concentration went off smacking mosquitos similar as the author did in the book, I closed the book with a namecard of a reporter in some radio station as a bookmark and left the park for home.

For dinner, I ate some chocolate that I intended to send to a friend. I guess I will buy her a new bar.