Saturday, September 6, 2014

Goodbye post

Dear readers, it is finally time for me to move on. The seasons have been changing rapidly and winter has long departed. 

You can catch me on my new adventures (read: introverted musings) at

But before that- a trip down memory lane, plus some fun facts you probably didn't know.

1. I have been recording my thoughts for as long as I can remember.
I have had a journal since 1998. My first diary was a pink tweety bird lockable journal. There is a pile of old journals that I hope nobody ever discovers or reads because they'll judge me for how selfish and unforgiving I am. I kept a journal while blogging throughout university (one of many reasons I don't post that frequently).

2. This blog first began at the insistence of my high school friends. 
Well, the first incarnation of this blog, which was actually called A Rainbow's Dream (2004). My friends would instant message me (remember MSN??) and insist I update my blog daily. We somehow managed to keep this up for two years, even though life when I was fifteen was basically school-homework-dinner-homework-sleep-repeat.

3. Winter's star began as a decoy. And then a travel update. Then morphed into my own thought catalog.
When I started university, I wanted to continue blogging but I didn't want to be a target for gossip. You know what I mean. Word gets out about so-and-so's blog and suddenly you have friends/acquaintances visiting to stickybeak about your life and gossip about what you have written. I have seen different groups of friends do this to different people, so it can't be that uncommon. But of course this is expected- a blog is public, after all. Which is why I kept a journal. And took my original blog offline.
And then set up a decoy blog.
Yep, that's right- Winter's star began as a place for me to write pseudo-personal superficial fluff as a sort of red herring. A place to amuse myself and laugh back at the people who thought they were laughing about my intimate thoughts. Note my blogging ID- "genuinely superficial". I soon realised that was quite immature. A lot of those posts were deleted.
Winter's star returned as a sort of travel blog when I started taking overseas trips without my parents. Some people said to keep them updated with how I was going but I wasn't sure if they were just being polite. I didn't want to bombard people with emails and photos if they weren't that interested. So I started blogging here as a place for people to read updates if they were interested.

The idea for Orange Juice City was born 6 months ago. My boyfriend James wanted us to do something creative together. It was the perfect opportunity for an overdue move. There will be a different focus. Less abstract, more presence. What we did, where we went, where we are in life. It will still be a personal blog, but with more pictures. Although I don't promise I'll be able to stop myself posting long, introverted musings. 

See you there.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


it may seem a little ironic that i am posting about friendships when in fact i have in fact erected a two month fence between myself and anybody outside of my immediate family and boyfriend.
but think on it for another few seconds and it becomes so obvious that the importance of friendships, like all things, becomes clearer once you step back.

it's like the idiom "you can't see the wood (forest) for the trees".

it is also one reason some people give when they recommend not moving in with a significant other/boyfriend/girlfriend before marriage. but that's another topic for another day.

in school and university, and maybe even to some extent at work, friendships are largely a matter of circumstance. i've said this before on many occasions. some of my friends even remember me telling them in second year of university that we probably wouldn't remain friends after graduation. i'll admit that's not exactly the best way to establish a friendship, even if i was trying to express my theory.

but here's the situation now. i haven't seen any of my friends for nearly two months. my exams are in a couple of weeks' time, and then after that i have a (short) list of friends that i have promised to catch up with. "catching up", in this case, is an intentional act. it is born of the mutual appreciation between two or more people for each other's company.

and here's another thing- you would expect the short list of post-graduation intentional friendships to be a subset of your university friends. but it isn't, or at least mine isn't. it is an eclectic mix of individuals with whom i have formed deeper connections. whether or not we met in high school, at a conference, on an internet forum, or at university. we could have met only a few times, or gone on multiple holidays together. there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason, except that we made the mutual effort to keep in touch.

that's all very nice, but what about the rest of the university friendship group? my university days were by far the most social years of my life. hardly a day went by when i didn't bump into someone i knew, be it in the library or the rare occasion I'm buying groceries. i think these are a few of the commoner reasons:

1. You don't have enough time
let's face it, there's a lot less free time in the post-graduation world. especially if you work well and truly over 40 hours a week and many of these hours include working on the weekend. and then life takes over, and in addition to work, you have to cook, take your car to the mechanic, schedule appointments with your accountant and financial advisor... that's all before kids come into the picture.
so we get it- we're all too busy. and there is not enough time in the world to have meaningful relationships with all 800 of your Facebook friends. but perhaps a subset of friendships that have fallen prey to this group actually falls under the next topic - you didn't care enough.

2. You don't care enough
the difference between friendships of circumstance and intentional friendships is that the latter comes with an opportunity cost. you don't catch up just because you're actually doing a group assignment, or have coffee while planning the year group video. you were at home, in between washing the dishes and hanging the laundry out to dry, and you're madly dashing to some hip new cafe with no parking bays because you want to connect with someone you care about. and for those whom you don't care enough about... well you can still like them, but not catching up you have simply decided that they aren't worth the opportunity cost.

3. They were toxic friendships
another example of not seeing the wood for the trees. looking back now, i can see that there are more than a few examples where i was not the best friend that i could be. and i can see the same of other people, even those to whom i spent the majority of six years confiding my deepest insecurities. it hurts to let go, but sometimes that's what's best for everyone.

one thing that i am ashamed of is not defending others enough. there were many occasions when person A would complain about person B behind their back. i have seen or been involved in all of the following:
- listening to person A and keeping my own thoughts on the matter private
- agreeing with person A
- remaining silent and then telling person B that person A doesn't like them
- telling persons C, D, E about person B's flaws
what about option E, telling person A that I know person B is having a hard time and didn't mean to hurt them. encouraging person A to forgive person B.
It seems to me that option E would be the most Christian response, yet I can only think of very limited situations where this has occurred. More often we just get caught up in wanting to know exactly what person B did that was so dodgy so that we can join person A in judging them (and perhaps thus feel better about ourselves).

4. Drifted apart
i don't know about this one. it's a funny topic- can you really drift apart if you value someone that much? sure, musical tastes and hobbies can change over time. but if you valued someone, would that not make you want to learn more about them, their thoughts, their preferences?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

i used to be normal, like you

i think i'm pretty desensitised to death and dying. it's what happens when you work in a hospital. certifying deaths on the wards during night shift. family meetings with relatives.

most of the time i just switch it off, but there are a few times when death doesn't just pass you in the corridor like a distant acquaintance. sometimes in passing, it stares right at you- through you, for a brief moment.

a wife of 50 years stroking her husband's hemiparetic face. a boy, aged by grief as he watches his 20 year old girlfriend die of cancer. being consoled by her parents. an angry patient shouting and cursing in my department, bursting into tears before managing to utter these words - "i used to be normal, like you".

The world is littered with unfinished visions, and is not life such a vision? And is not the finishing of any thing a little death?