03 May 2013

Better, Not Older - 31 Things I Did While I Was 31

 Better late than never, little Dear.

1. After many years and a few hiatuses, I completed my Honours BA in Communication - finally- with a 4.0 GPA and a minor in Dialogue.

2. I wrote a lot, and I was published in the Tyee, xoJane, the Under 35 Project, Huffington Post, The Vancouver Courier, Whistler Traveler and Vancouver is Awesome.

3. I was hired as a pro-bono Ethical Tourism Advisor by Next Generation Nepal after I read a book called Little Princes and it inspired me to do something about child trafficking in Nepal.

4. I told a story at Rain City Chronicles (the Vancouver version of the Moth) about accidentally moving into a crack house. (You can listen here - I'm the first storyteller of "Under the Influence.")

Oh, how I wish this was ironic. BUT IT REALLY ISN'T.

5. I saw Neil Diamond in concert with my mum and her pals - we're the "Oh, Neil!" girls. I am a Diamond Head - I love Neil, like, an unhealthy amount, and the concert nearly had me in tears.

6. I hosted couchsurfers - 6 in Vancouver and 5 in Kathmandu - and I feel more and more dialed into its international community of vagabonds, travelers and engaged citizens.

Interestingly, also what I do with men.

7. I marched in the Gay Pride Parade with the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA) for whom I have fostered kittens in the past. We won the People's Choice Award for best float, and only about half of the attendees thought we were furries

8. I spent one perfect day in Singapore visiting my friends Tanya and Peter. I took a Chinatown Walking Tour, ate some amazing chicken rice, visited a hawker centre for frogs legs, char kway teow and wontons, drank fresh beers and won a pub quiz at a huge brewery pub at Clarke Quay. Whew!

9. I spent the next (perfect) day in Kuala Lumpur, taking a food tour, going to see the Petronas Towers and spending an evening alone on a verandah in a thunder storm, listening to music, writing and drinking Tiger Beer.

10. I stored my belongings, said some difficult goodbyes, made some hard choices about my beloved cats and moved to Kathmandu for 7 months.

11. I took the one-month Introduction to Buddhism course at Kopan Monastery, followed by the one week silent Lam Rim retreat.

Me and Ani Drolma moments after my refuge ceremony. I became "Thubten Tsultrim."

12. I formally took refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and officially became a Buddhist.

13. I applied to University College of London and York, and was accepted to both! I accepted UCL's offer to do my MA in Cultural Heritage Studies.

14. I consumed entrails on the streets of Bangkok on Christmas morning with my girl Jess and spent Christmas Dinner in Columbo eating gluttonous amounts of crab with my Mum and Tim.

15. I took a cooking class and learned to make rice n' curry, pol sambol and egg hoppers in Galle, Sri Lanka.

16. I spent New Year's Eve 2013 on a stunning beach in Tangalla, Sri Lanka with my Mum, Tim, Jess and a bartender who looked like Bruno Mars.

17. I began volunteering at the Kopan Dog Rescue and fell deeply, madly in love with the dogs there. 

The next hill over is called  Pubic Mound.

18. I trekked through the Annapurnas in a snow storm with my pal Vilija. Our Poon Hill trek was stunningly beautiful - and incredibly treacherous due to a freak storm that meant we had to descend the steep mountain trails by sliding on our bums/crawling on our hands and knees. 

19. I began Nepali lessons and learned how to speak ali ali (a little bit) of Nepali. Ramro!

20. I purchased my first sari and wore it to a glamourous birthday event.

21. I booked a 9 day vacation to Thailand with my gal Jess (again - she's my soul mate) and learned how to dive on Koh Tao. I am now officially SSI certified to scuba dive anywhere in the world.

Two of the many good friends I made this year, Cass and Jess.

22. I added over 100 new friends on Facebook, which means I met over 100 awesome new people who have added richness, humour, art, compassion, wisdom and sass to my life.

23. I discovered (much) younger men and realized that age really doesn't matter when two people have a lot in common. I also heard, "you look so good for your age!" quite often this year, to which I replied, "hunty, this is what 31 looks like!"

24. I had a blast getting covered in coloured powder on Holiand then had less of a blast when a gang of teenaged boys surrounded me and a friend and groped us. This is common in Nepal, and made me feel vulnerable and ashamed. It was my first sexual assault, and it made me have even more compassion for victims of sexual violence.

25. I learned to love dal bhat, the Nepali national dish that consists of a mountain of rice, lentil soup, vegetable curry and spicy pickle. A bad dal bhat is bland, mushy and boring, but a good one is yummy comfort food. (But to be honest, I ate more pho than anything.)

26. I fell into a giant open sewer hole and was rescued by the Nepali army.

I'm saying, "have you ever tried to help, but accidentally made things a whole lot worse?"

27. I wrote and gave a Pecha Kucha presentation on my research into orphanage voluntourism in Nepal at the 9th Kathmandu Pecha Kucha Night, and I hope to give a similar presentation in London and Vancouver.

28. I co-wrote and presented a pub quiz (that benefits the Umbrella Foundation) at Pub Maya in Thamel. My rounds included questions on Lynch, Bowie, Joy Division, Rocky Horror, Voodoo, Wayne's World, Edith Piaf and Tom Waits.

29. I got a tattoo of a Matryoshka doll in honour of my grandmother. Thar's right: I got a tattoo of a Ukrainian stacking doll by a Swiss artist in Nepal. 

30. I learned to open a beer with any available implement. Physics confuses me, but I finally met a boy who taught me the basic principles of levers, so look out science! You're my bitch now.

31. Finally, on my last day of 31 I learned to ride a motorcycle at Hearts and Tears Motorcycle Club in Pokhara. I was surrounded by great teachers, fun friends and a boy who is riding his bike from here back to the UK. At long last, I'll actually be able to put the word "biker" before "babe"(or "bitch").

That's all, pals. Now to get started on a list of 32 equally amazing things for this coming year: bungy jumping, getting back on my skateboard, surf lessons, Greek island sailing, warehouse parties, finding a flat in Brixton and a lot of writing.


Hey. 32. Bring it. This goth bitch is going to OWN you.


Amanda said...

You continue to inspire...rock on biker pho BA crab(by) cat loving young man dater Woman Chick Girl Bitch. Love ya

Alaska Metropolitan said...

Love your look in the last photo... looks more "silent film era starlet" than "goth" to me. Happy birthday!

Tonia said...

Wow. That's a helluva lot of awesome bravery. Any chance you could bottle some and send it this way?
For the record - your 30s will rock far more than your 20s. Happy birthday!