English really is my first language

English is my first and only (fluent) language. You wouldn’t know it if you listened to me speak sometimes. Here’s a few things I’ve eff’d up lately:

– I called my toes “feet fingers”

– I told someone I was going to punch them with my foot…. aka “kick”


I googled “foot punch” and this is what came up

– your ankle is apparently your “foot wrist”

– I ran for my ringing phone after painting my toenails and yelled “crap! I wrecked my toe makeup!” (apparently I have problems with feet related things)

– “build a cake” which I believe is the complicated way to “bake a cake”

– I’ve completely forgotten my left and right. This hasn’t happened while giving someone directions in a car (recently, at least)

– Couldn’t remember the word candle so I called it a “burny thing”

It may be important to know that while I’m not an ESL student (although my parents were… hmmm), I used to teach ESL. It’s probably good that I got out of the business.


6 weeks down… or is it 7?

Time is going by so fast. So. Fast.

It seems like yesterday I started my PR program and was nervous about what we were supposed to accomplish in the next 9 weeks. It seems like a lot, but that’s probably because it is. We’re learning an entire field of work in 9 weeks.

It’s intense, but here I am. Classroom portion done, now finished my first week of practicum.

I’m really happy that I chose to do this program. It’s incredibly interesting and has already changed a lot of the ways that I’ve looked at the media and communications.

PR isn’t just about being a spokesperson for a company. One of the first things people would ask me about when I told them I was doing this course was if I was going to be on the news like all the media people for different police and RCMP departments.

Probably not.

But it’s a vast field to be involved in. Crisis communications, which is my new current obsession in the media (Penn State?!?), would be fun. As would company communications (which I’m currently doing in my practicum). Social media is one of the loves of my life, it’s a huge part of my practicum and something I would love to keep working with.

And then there’s writing. I get to write all the time. This makes me so happy. So very happy.

I wrote blog post after blog post after blog post for the company website this week. They’re witty, awesome and lovely. Unfortunately it’s internal so no one but employees of the company (which if you haven’t noticed, I’m not mentioning here) will get the pleasure of reading them. But I was in heaven writing these things, because you know what… I love to write. No secret, but this course has solidified it for me.

The course has also made me into more of a grammar nazi. I’m pretty sure at this point if you can’t properly use there/their/they’re or your/you’re I can’t be friends with you. Or we can still be friends but you may stop after I send back your emails with links to proper grammar usage (I only ask that you tell me to my face why you’re no longer my friend, it’s the proper thing to do).

I’ve also met some pretty fabulous people, both fellow students and the teachers we’ve had. The PR scene is pretty small here, so to have great networking connections has been one of the best thing to come out this course. Second best to making great friendships with my classmates, of course. Seeing everyone 5 days a week, 7 hours a day as your energy and motivations dwindle to levels no coffee will cure (but glow stick hats will always make better) will bond a group pretty fast.

Two more weeks and I’ll be finished. It’s all going by so fast and I’m nervous to rejoin the 99% and get a job (although the -0.5 student/unpaid intern % kinda sucks for my bank account).

If anyone knows of companies hiring people for PR or communications positions let me know, I’ll be needing work soon!

And if you’re on Linked-In, link me in.

Ten years on…

Wow, so I graduated from high school ten years ago this month. Oh how things have changed.

I recently (re)joined a group on Facebook for my grad class, it seems like the latest discussions on there are revolving around 10 year reunions. Nobody seems to want to plan it, but everyone wants to ask for others to do something about it. I argue that in this day and age, the reunion is out of style. With things like Facebook and Twitter or other social media outlets, we’re able to keep up-to-date with those that we graduated with. I also feel that it’s forcing people to get together to wax poetically about the horrors of teenage years as if it were some wonderful time in our lives, when it’s more likely that we’re akin to war buddies, merely people who were placed together merely by circumstance. Nothing in common except being in a place where none of us wanted to be and just trying to make it out alive.

Classes before mine haven’t really had a reunion, I think my brother’s class tried to put one together but I believe it ended up being a group of students (about 20) getting together at a bar for dinner. Most of them saw each other pretty often anyways so seemed to be friends getting together and inviting their grad class to join in on the drinking. In other words it’s doing exactly what we were doing in high school, except this time the drinking is done legally.

My point is that every person I want to keep in touch with, I do. Some on a regular basis others have become mere acquaintances.  Facebook has helped us with these relationships, whereas people in our parents generation lost touch with those friends after school ended. Quick notes here and there, updates about each others jobs, schooling, marriages and babies, this is enough some of these relationships need. We’ve grown too much apart to actually need to get together to see each other or celebrate these things… I get it, I’m not upset about how far we’ve drifted apart, it’s just that we’ve evolved in our lives.

Maybe I wasn’t such a big fan of the high school experience, I wasn’t popular but I wasn’t uncool, I was merely just wanting to get it over with and start my “real” life. I like to think my wit, sarcasm and cynicism was formulated during those years, I also met my best friend there (through our matched wit, sarcasm and cynicism).  But there’s nothing that I haven’t taken with me that makes me want to go back and reminisce over those years with people who I probably didn’t talk to that much than anyways.

Thoughts? Have you had a reunion? Are you looking forward to yours (if you’re having one) or wishing someone would get together and arrange yours?

The Last Lecture

The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.
~Randy Pausch

It’s graduation time. University and high school students across the nation will be finishing their years and years of studying to cross the stage to accept their diplomas. I’ve often said that the day of my university graduation was the happiest day of my life, and I still believe it to be true 2 years later.

Growing up in Surrey in my high school we weren’t necessarily encouraged to go to universities like UBC or SFU. I think the highest dream a lot of our teachers and guidance counselors had for us was Kwantlen, not a bad dream at all, but looking back at those years I wonder what so many of us could have aspired to if we were only told we could dream of university in “the big city.”

I truly value education. I’m the first person in my immediate family to attend and graduate from university and I understand all the doors it can open for me. Sure, I joke a lot about my arts degree and that it’s hard to find a real career with it, but it’s my education. I paid a lot for it and took out a lot of student loans, but I believe in my investment. Because while I know a lot of people taking out loans for cars, homes or travel, what I learned in my four years in university can never, ever, be taken away from me.

I recently read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Last lectures in university are usually given by notable former professors or famous people (mine was given by Douglas Coupland, Canadian author, sadly I missed it) and they impart the wisdom they’ve learned to the graduating class. Mr. Pausch was asked to give his last lecture and it was indeed, his last lecture as he died from cancer a short while later. My personal favorite quote is noted above, another is below…

When you’re screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they’ve given up on you.

I definitely recommend the book to everyone.

And so I congratulate those who made it through their 4+ years of university. Hell, I congratulate you for just finishing one year. It’s not easy for anyone, but trust me it’s completely worth it. If I were impart the wisdom I learned from university and life it would be this: You can do this. It is worth every late night study session, every single midnight coffee run and every celebration for every 25 page paper completed. Because while the only thing you may gain from your degree is the ability to talk about random people and subjects at cocktail parties (I cannot tell you how many people I have confused by name dropping Franz Boas or Clifford Geertz and his important study of wink vs. blinks) you find this all very fascinating. And you will meet like-minded people while studying this and those people will become some of your best friends. All this will be worth every dime. Every tear. And every single moment of sleep sacrificed to attaining your dream.

Somethings changed…I can’t put my finger… side-tracked

New Year, New Look.

Also, New Year, New Improvements (and may I add, for someone who generally refrains from capital letters in titles, status updates and tweets, I’ve used a lot so far in this post).

I started school again today. And may I say, I love school. It felt so good to be back. Even if the subject I was learning was the dreaded evil math. Actually it’s stats, but that’s not the point. The point is that I’m an Arithmophobic (real word) and only numbers were being thrown at me for 3 hours straight, but guess what, I took ’em. I put those numbers right into my new calculator and I actually understood them. I understood formulas people. FORMULAS!  For the first two hours I understood math! ME! MATH!  (good golly I’m screechy today)

Then the third hour rolled around and they brought up algebra. I’d like to state right now that the requirements for this course clearly state you need to have grade 11 math, which I have, but I left that behind with grade 11 Jen, circa 1999.  Needless to say I’m kinda rusty, luckily for me the algebra equations today were simple and I could basically do some simple (brain hurting) math to figure out (aka guess) the correct answer. I feel as if this wont work in the forthcoming weeks.

You know what Jen did? The new and improved Jen who is back in school for the first time since teaching students? She asked questions. Because if teaching taught me anything it’s that the teachers are there to help. They also like questions. They’re also pretty keen on you answering questions when they ask them, so I did that too.

What’s the point in all this, well initially it was to welcome in the new appearance we got going on here at The Surrian Life but then I got on side-tracked about my new-found non-fear of math, dare I say I actually liked it a little. No, I haven’t gone crazy, but as an art student who never really had to give quantitative answers on essays and could basically argue points for grades, I kind of like having definitive answers. Who’d of thunk it?

Dammit, side-tracked again.

Ok, summary of points in order to get this all figured out and me off to bed:

  1. New look for the blog. You like? It’s a new year and I want to switch it up a little bit. I like it so you saying you don’t probably wont change much, unless you argue it really well in the comments. In that case, comment away (because really people, I want more comments around here… I know you read, but I only see one of you commenting!)
  2. Math isn’t as scary as I always imagined. But then again this is the first day, it’s all new and probably easy (the teacher actually remarked that it’s easy) and I’m on a back to school, hooray I’m a student again high.
  3. I only brought a pen, pencil and book to class today (also the text- only $19, you hear that UBC they sell texts for only $19!- and calculator bought on campus), old Jen, the one who carted around a whole Staples Store in her bag at University felt very naked without highlighters, sticky notes and tabs. This will be remedied on Wednesday.
  4. It’s not a stereotype if it’s true: How many of you carry around box cutters in their pencil cases/bags/whatever? If you’re Asian, your hand may be up. I swear to whatever, Asian students have these with them at all times in school situations. My students used to have them and today a girl in my class pulled one out to open a calculator package. It gives them a more precise cut when cutting things out of books, magazines, whatever instead of scissors. Try it, they are so much better.
  5. Another new point, but let’s keep it point form or else I’ll sidetrack again- I got accepted into the course that I really wanted to take but is usually only open to Forensic Studies program students, it’s all about internet investigation and very useful in my future plans as something I’ve talked to some of you about and for the rest of you I’ll blog about it eventually.
  6. Wait, if I’m getting over the fear I have of math and numbers does this mean I could quite possibly get over my fear of spiders if I allow myself to get near them? What about guns? But those two fears define my very essence…