22:57

Being bi-lingual is such a blessing. From birth I have had two languages: Cantonese and English.

Living in the UK has allowed me to learn English all throughout play-school, primary school, middle school, and high school. I grew up speaking English to my friends and Cantonese to my older relatives. My parents speak fluent English and Cantonese thus I am able to converse in both languages to them.

While I learnt Cantonese from young, this was mostly at a speak-only level. I heard phrases and picked them up, and also learned to understand and speak it myself. The short period of time that I did attend Cantonese classes, I found it difficult to memorise the characters. Reading it was a nightmare, and writing it was basically all copy work. Where I blossomed in my English classes; I fell short in my Cantonese ones.

In present day I get by speaking my little and broken Cantonese to my relatives, and I can understand more than people give me credit for. Recently I have been trying to converse with my aunt more in Cantonese as she speaks it 98% of the time. I take my time thinking through each sentence in my head so my pronunciation and tone comes out correctly.

While English is my main language I am always thankful to have this mother tongue. Sometimes Cantonese phrases will slip out in English conversations with my friends and I apologise because they do not understand. Now I may think twice about apologising, for this language is a part of who I am.

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23:21

The end of my first ever working week has come to a close!

Thoughts :-

  • Having a defined routine and sleeping pattern is actually quite nice. Getting up at 06:30 every morning is not exactly fun but the mornings are bright and the days are spent being productive.
  • I like planning out my lunch for the next day and preparing and making food when I go home.
  • A wide variety of people work in an office environment. Different ages, different educational and work backgrounds, different countries of origin. It is really interesting to learn about other people and also to teach others about my own culture and livelihood.
  • Having a goal to work towards makes me feel very driven and important. Throughout university the motivation to finish my degree was never really that high, however in my job I get encouraged by colleagues as well as having targets set by my managers. Working with a team of like-minded individuals is very helpful.
  • It is a steep learning curve.

21:35

Today was my first day at my new job!

06:30 alarm, 08:30 start time, 16:00 finish time.

This week I will be starting and finishing early due to the training nature of this time period but I can work more flexible hours in coming weeks.

I had my first taste of an office environment, as well as meeting and developing bonds with colleagues. The early starts I will eventually get used to and the routine will become much easier as time goes on. My first experience of a working life has started and I look forward to actually beginning the work next week!

21:55

Train journeys always give me time to reflect and although travelling makes me physically tired, I am recharged mentally.

After some reflection I came up with a list of things that I truly give thanks for:-

  • Arriving safely in Edinburgh with all my luggage! I have had a train journey in the past where my suitcase was stolen, so it always makes me very paranoid!
  • All my references from university and previous jobs have cleared so I have a fuss-free start to my new job on Monday.
  • Getting a job after my first interview. It has taken a little while to sink in but I know now that it really is a blessing and a fantastic opportunity.
  • My granddad’s bravery in his battle against ill health. He will be undergoing keyhole surgery on Monday but he has not been experiencing any pain, and remains his usual happy self.
  • The short 10 days that I had to relax at home before starting my new job. I caught up with friends and spent precious time with family.
  • This good weather. Sunny days and warm nights!

23:37

Today I accompanied my granddad and mother to the hospital to hear the results of my granddad’s biopsy. The surgeon called us into a room with two nurses, and spoke to us regarding the results and their decision. Unfortunately their discussion of the results had led to a negative outcome: my granddad has a high possibility of gastric cancer.

My parents had prepared for this notion in advance, and had also told me and my brothers of this possibility. However, hearing it from a surgeon made it all the more real. People often call cancer the big ‘C’. Whether this is to avoid the reality of calling it ‘cancer’ or to lessen the blow, I am not really sure.

What does this mean? My granddad will have keyhole surgery in a few weeks time to confirm the presence of cancerous cells, and to ensure it has not spread elsewhere. After that, if it does prove to be cancer, he will undergo chemotherapy. Following that will be an open surgery to remove part of his stomach.

There was a lot to take in and process today. I think the not knowing is the hardest part. It could be cancer, but it could also be a benign condition. The surgeon told us that they would treat it as cancer and do their utmost to help my granddad through it.

At more than 70 years old, my granddad has faced numerous health problems in the past, and this adds to the ever-growing number. He is brave and has always gotten through his troubles with a smile on his face. Even during the meeting he smiled and kept his spirits up. Sometimes I wonder about the way we age. When we are younger we cannot wait to grow up, to get out of school and explore the world. When it comes to being older we may face many problems and we may yearn for our younger lives which were so carefree. I hope that whatever steps come next will be the best ones for my granddad. I ask my readers to keep him in your prayers.

23:02

Today I travelled back to my home town on the train. Having time to be with my own thoughts for a few hours is soothing. Due to refusing to pay for wi-fi and dodgy phone/3G signal I also had a chance to catch up on some reading.

When I take public transport I like to people watch. I like constructing stories and backgrounds in my head, where people have come from, and where they are going. I like seeing the books that other people are reading, and looking at the way people dress. As the train coursed through the countryside and the different cities, it made me wonder about the lives of the people who live there.

The train pulled into each station, let people off and on, and swiftly moved down the tracks towards another city. We go through life constantly rushing from here and there, getting from A to B as quickly as possible, looking for the easiest and most efficient way. However if we stop to look at the world, we may find something more enriching.