An Endless Tug-of-War: Being a Diasporic Asian

My Neighbour Totoro. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Char siu bao. Maple syrup pancakes.

Red pockets. Christmas trees.

As a child, I never questioned why my life was a mix of Canadian and Chinese culture. It had always seemed natural to participate in each culture’s respective traditions and indulge in its entertainment and food. I didn’t realize that this was partially due to the fact that I was a diasporic Asian.

An assortment of Totoro merchandise.
Any self-proclaimed Totoro enthusiasts here? (Hand shoots up.)

Warm Tea, Warm Company: Unplugging at Hart House’s Tea Social

Step aside, Ms. Trelawney.  Disney is the new fortune teller of the future. Didn’t they create “It’s a Small World,” the infamous ride where dolls sing about how small the world is, years ago? Their prediction came true. Now I can talk to all my friends—from someone living a couple of doors down from me to someone in the Philippines—with the power of one device: my phone. However, with every blessing comes a curse, and I didn’t realize the curse of constantly using social media as a means to talk to people until I decided to try out the #unplugUofT trend—where students try to ‘unplug’ from their devices and social media accounts for a little while—and met up with some friends not through a social media platform, for once.

Where did I go? Well, I’m sure some of you know by now I have an intense obsession with tea. So of course I asked one of my friends to go to the Tea Social with me—a weekly event hosted at Hart House’s Reading Room every Tuesday.

As promised by the title, there was glorious tea. Two big teapots filled with black tea, plus some granola bars set up on a side table.

Two pots of black tea.
Tea – the ultimate form of temptation.

The Newbies and The Wise Ones: The Merits of Mentorship

We have all been newbies at some point or another. Fresh-faced and naive in comparison to The Wise Ones, a.k.a. the students experienced in the subject or activity. For most of us first-years, we are the literal definition of newbies in the face of the mysterious and ever-intimidating UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO.

The Trinity College red Frosh t-shirt
Just like how you can spot a Weasley by their red hair and hand-me-down robe (Malfoy’s words, not mine), you can spot a university newbie by their Frosh t-shirt.

Back in September, I was surfing Facebook when I came upon the English Students’ Union’s post advertising their Peer Mentorship program. It caught my interest, but I hesitated to apply for it because I wasn’t sure what the benefits of having an English mentor were. However, after getting a positive, “Take whatever help you can get,” from my English course TA, I decided to go for it.

The Yellow Brick Road: Tips for First-generation Students

Follow the yellow brick road. Follow the yellow brick road. Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow (follow, follow?) the yellow brick road, the munchkins of Oz sing. For Dorothy, the yellow brick road is the path she needs to take to get to her destination—the Emerald City. Without the road, her journey would have been a bit more difficult.

 

A forest trail covered in leaves.
Imagine my disappointment when this yellow road didn’t lead to an emerald city, just a clearing filled with . . . dirt.