dal niente

Month: October, 2012

Lol

From the profs:

 

Dear Property Students,

Could we please ask that students stop emailing us to ask questions about the exam.  We are being inundated by them. It is an exam. We cannot help you answer it.

More importantly, as always, you need to learn the skills that you will need in the work place. They include

a) knowing when to ask a question – because something serious and irremediable might happen if you do something wrong, and

b) knowing when to just get on with the task and use your own judgement; that is what you will be paid for as a lawyer. 

This is a situation b).  No one is going to go to jail; no one is going to lose money.  You have been given instructions, so just have a go at it, without asking for clarification.   

If you judge correctly, you will be rewarded with good marks; if you judge some things incorrectly, you may not do as well, but that is exactly what happens at work and it will be OK. No one gets everything correct at work.  There are no HDs.  You make mistakes and you learn.

But, as always, we are not trying to trick you or trip you up.  We will be assessing the substance of your work.

Advertisements

Soul Sucking

The game I’m currently playing (as a break from exam studies) is Demon’s Souls, and as I mentioned, it’s reputed to be the hardest game ever created.  Personally, I think Prinny: Can I be the Hero? is harder, but the difference is that Prinny was hard because of shitty controls and bad game design.  DS is… I don’t know.  It’s very rewarding when you actually get through stages, and the game is designed pretty well.  It’s just… fucking hard.

 

It plays like a third person action-RPG.  Think of a cross between Mass Effect or Borderlands with  Arkham Asylum/City, minus guns, and set in a medieval fantasy world with knights, wizards and dragons.

 

To illustrate how hard the game is– I just fought a boss and died, but I died so bad, it’s like I went back in time.

 

In this game, like in other RPGs, you can “level up” and build your stats up so that your character is stronger, smarter, better at magic, etc.  The boss that I just fought, Old King Allant, has a special move where he literally sucks the level out of your character– meaning, not only can he kill you (that’s the least of your worries), if he catches you with his special attack, he actually makes you DROP experience levels! As in… yes, it took me half at least half an hour of  grinding to gain one level.  And in the span of 2 seconds because I couldn’t dodge the special attack, I’m going to lose half a level.

 

I’ve lost 5 levels on this boss.  The first time, he did his special attack and I thought to myself… “Soul drained? What the hell does that mean?”  It’s not often I can beat a boss in this game on the first try so I didn’t think too much about it.  The second time I ran into him, he caught me with that attack 4 times.  After the first one, I noticed that my character was getting a bit sluggish– and it was then that I realised that my character was acting encumbered!  I have a pretty specific balance of stats– just enough so that my character is strong enough to wear all his armor while still being able to run.  So suddenly, the fact that I couldn’t run, and that my dodges were getting really laboured– it could only mean that somehow, my stamina stats had dropped.

 

To lighten the load, I took off a helmet and gloves.  This boss doesn’t leave you along for more than a second or two so going through the menus to de-quip things is really not safe (the game hates humans so much, it doesn’t even have a pause button).  So I take off the stuff, but now with reduced armor I’m just eating damage… he catches me with the special attack a few more times, and eventually, I die.

 

When I reload– I find that I’ve lost a total of FIVE levels of EXP.  I mean…. PERMANENTLY.  This game is soooo unforgiving…

Basically, a boss fight that I laboured at for maybe 20 minutes cause me to lose the experience that took me something like a whole afternoon to gain.  THIS GAME IS ACTUALLY CANCELLING OUT PROGRESS IN MY LIFE.

 

Formal Writting

“Finally, Part 5 will present a number of positive recommendations for reform which will alleviate the conflict issues in Australia’s guardianship system for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum, and will ensure better care and protection of this vulnerable group in future.”

 

Bleeeeeeeeeeeeh.

Blogging is one thing.  I don’t use a spell checker when I blog, and  I don’t even proof what I write before posting.  However, when I’m editing other peoples’ work, especially submissions or discussion papers to government, there are rules and stylistic issues that people ought to observe.

A few of the most common mistakes:

  • People often write:
    • “It is obvious that…”
    • “It is interesting to note that…”
    • “It is clear that…”
      • NO!  Stop that! If it’s obvious, then stop being a prick and repeating the obvious.  If you’re writing it, it’s because it’s not obvious, so cut out that kind of pretentious sentence-lengthening shit.
  • Learn to use punctuation. Nobody wants to read a sentence that’s got 100 words in it.
  • First rule of punctuation: don’t use commas (or even worse, “and”) when a period and and a capital will do.  Yes, that means: shorter sentences!
  • One idea per sentence please.
  • If you really must put more than one idea per sentence, learn to use commas properly.  Better yet, learn to use colons and semi-colons.  Especially with really technical writing, semicolons will make the difference between someone understanding what they’ve read on the first try, and having to try 5 more times.  (By the 3rd time, they don’t give a damn what you’re writing about anymore.)
  • Use an active voice.  “The allegations of the Minister were that…” is much better off as  “The Minister alleged…” because it cuts down words.  Cutting down words is one of the key goals in making writing understandable.  People who are receiving formal writing form you don’t want you to be Virginia Woolf.
  • You probably want to avoid exclamation marks.
  • Who cares who you are and what your opinion is? Get your damn footnotes and references right!
  • Don’t be redundant.  True story: “Part 2 […] will be specifically focusing…” srsly?  Because… there’s a way to focus, without being specific? “Specifically dealing” is better, or reword the whole thing to “Part 2[…] will focus…” and BOOM.  You don’t sound like a wordy asshole.
  • Do not use the same buzzword in the same sentence.
  • Try and avoid using the same buzzword in the same paragraph. It makes you sound like a nag.

Are you kidding me??

  • it’s 2012, and Microsoft Word just froze on me and ate up 30 minutes of work, despite automatic saving set at 5 minute intervals.
  • some asshole on a bike passed me at a light because he cut off a car, and then he occupied just enough space so that when we got to the hill, he slowed down, blocking me and 6 cars behind us.
    • don’t pass people if you’re a fucking tortoise, asshat!
    • learn to use your fucking GEARS, or otherwise, take some goddamn performance enhancing drugs before you leave in the morning so you can climb that goddamn hill!

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRrrr

The Beat Goes On

I was briefly at some Wentworth Park community thing earlier.  It’s some sorta family day out sorta thing– there’ll be tug of war, some games, hot dogs, there’s a band, and there will even be dog races.

 

The band caught my eye, because it reminded me a lot of being in band myself.  The kids there were about the same age as when I started playing drums too.

There was a junior band and a senior band.  They had a good sound.  You could tell from the way they played that they lacked confidence and real fighting spirit when they were doing their solos, but when they were playing in unison, you could sense that there was a full bodied regality to it.  I was paying attention mostly to the drummer.  He was getting bullied by the bass player I think, the bass player kept on trying to attack make the tempo more aggressive.  But all in all? They were pretty good.

 

Before I left, I paid my compliments to some adults in charge of the band, telling them that they had lots of potential and that I was really impressed at their technical skill, given their age.

 

I hope they get the chance to take their music further.

White and Black

I’m less banged up the morning after a night of judo.  I dont’ know if I’m getting better at judo yet, but, I am getting tougher from all the beatings.

 

-=-=-=-=-=-

Just to see how some people do it, I was watching replays of 2012 Judo at the olympics.  Two things.  That doesn’t look anything like the judo we do.  And second thing– why can’t they ever get announcers for martial arts events who know what the fuck they’re talking about??  And third, when they actually have commentators who sound like they do know what they’re talking about– get some that have some appeal as  MCs!  A lot of the time, they don’t say enough, or don’t say it in an interesting way.

 

-=-=-=-=-=-

 

The training sessions only last 2 hours, but I have yet to do the full warmup routine.  Actually… when I look around the room, pretty much nobody does all of it, because there’s just too many push-ups and sit-ups.  But I intend to be able to do it at some point.

 

[CM] has been going to play badminton with her classmates recently.  Usually I join her, but my schedule doesn’t match theirs so I haven’t been able to for the past couple of weeks.  I tell her, it’s a good time to be playing badminton.  They’re all beginners, you see.  I think that’s a great stage to be at.

For those of you who don’t know, many martial arts, generally the Japanese based ones, use color coded belt system.  You start off at white, usually work your way up to yellow, orange, green, blue, brown, then black.  Most people know about black belts because of popular culture.  In reality, there’s a huge difference between the grade of black belt you have as well– once you get to black, there’s levels of black belt (though they all still wear a black belt, it might just be indicated by stripes or some symbols, if at all).

In theory, a white belt is basically an absolute beginner.  A first grade black belt is advanced.  But on the other hand– the way I like to think of it is that a first grade black belt means that you’re now prepared to learn.

 

At the moment, I’m a white belt in judo.  This pretty much reflects my ability– there’s so many things about the very basis of balance that just make no sense to me.  It’s great though– because every day that I go in there, I find I’m a little bit harder for the others to toss around. I feel like my body has to work a little bit less hard to do the same thing.  Actually, I even managed to submit a more senior white belt like 6 times in a row, but to be fair, that’s because that was ground work, not throwing.  I did manage to throw an orange belt a couple of times, but it was a girl who was something like 10 kilograms lighter than me.  The rest of the night, now that I’m more on the ball with break falls, the orange, blue and brown I went with were pretty nonstop in tossing me around. Anyway– baby steps. 

 

It is nice to be in a position where everything you do is an experiment that yields some sort of result if you’re paying attention for them.

 

This is different from my experience in stand-up striking.  The highest official rank I ever got was a first dan in taekwondo.  At that point, it feels like every little thing you want to improve requires a phenomenal amount of work.  A basic kick is no longer a simple thing– improving it means a degree more of twist here, a milisecond of timing here… Not only that, but there was a lot of heirarchical responsibilities to the people of ranks lower than you.  In a sense, a lot of being a black belt was the training to be an example for others, which demands a much stricter scrutiny.

 

wheras, at a white belt level, there’s a lot more room for experimentation and exaggeration.  Things and more easily quantifyiable.  As a result, you can see and recognise improvement much easier. Assuming that you’ve developed a good eye for it, that’s  what gives you that sense of constant acheivement that makes learning a thing so wonderful.  Everything is fresh.  The emotions are more raw– you more easily feel success as well as dissapointment.  It’s the honeymoon period.

Pata pata pata pon!

I think I’m a bit more on track now.  Thank you everyone for your comments over the past few days.

When I was taking a Teaching English as  Second Language (TESL) certification something like 5 years ago, I remember that the instructor pointed out that when you were out travelling on your own and bound to a place, you might find at some point that you were simply isolated.  Which could be a huge surprise, because, being a foreign land, you’d be surrounded by nothing but opportunities—opportunities for new food, new people, new things to do—just, really, adventure.

However, the loss of something familiar will be something that could, at some point, turn that situation into something poisonous.

 

I’ve lived through that firsthand when I was in South Korea.  I remembered an important bit of advice from that instructor though: you need something to anchor yourself in who you were before this all happened.

For me, when stuff in South Korea started going south (sorry, bad pun) when I broke up with [ThePines], and the culture shock was really starting to set in, it was martial arts.   I never liked Taekwondo, as an outsider who was already firmly rooted in mindset of “anything goes.”  But the advice was sound.  While everything else in life was uncertain, my spirit and my body were familiar with the process of training. It helped get my mind back on track by stepping away from the shittiness of the situation, and really giving myself a chance to do something that I was familiar with.  Someting that gave me a sense of control and achievement.

 

The last week has been very similar to that.

 

Writing about it definitely helps.  I looked over what I wrote and I think I understand myself a bit better as a result.  I was tempted to correct the typos, but decided that, in line with my general policy to “write first, ask questions later,” I’d leave it as is.  The typos probably speak of my state of mind anyway, and that’s what the writing is supposed to reflect, isn’t it?

 

I think the problem with loss and a sense of loss is that it’s simply irreversible.  It is important, I think, to really give into it.  That sounds strange I suppose. 

 

Nobody ever wishes for bad things to happen.  But when they do? You might as well take advantage of it.  Soak up the feeling.  See how low and miserable you can truly be.

 

And then, when you get back on track, ordinary life just seems so much better in comparison.

 

 

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

In that light, I feel like I’m on a bit of a rebound right now.  I’m feeling good.  I feel motivated for finals.  I feel motivated in martial arts again.  I’ve been re-elected as President of the Go Club for 2013.  I’m waiting on results for the Faculty Student Rep election, and have an interview on Sunday for a position with Law Society for Editor of the Law Soc newsletter.  I also got the marks back from a moot that I performed, as well as a review which I wrote (which I thought I would get a terrible mark on) and I actually got my first good grade this semester.

Also, the 13of October was my 3 year anniversary with [CM].  It’s hard to believe that that much time has passed—but we had a good date day where we went to a breakfast buffet at the Hilton, and we had dinner at a pretty good Vietnamese Pho joint (to commemorate our very first date at a Viet restaurant).  Also, on the 14th, it was a bit late, but we cooked up a turkey for a Tanksgiving, and it was delicious.  I also recently found out that “The World Ends with You,” one of the best RPGs of all time, was rereleased on mobile platforms.  The only thing that kinda sucked about that game was that it was on Nintendo DS, which almost nobody I know owns, so I could never get anyone else to play it.  I promptly bought the game so that CM could play it and share in it.

 

Oh, and I played a KGS game of Go on my phone against another human– despite making a few boo boos, I won the game by over 80 points, even while handicapped.  (The game is adjusted to make the games more or less equal– a win by more than 10 points or so usually indicates something very severe happened!)  That was good for morale.

 

I’ve discovered that one of the things that makes me feel better about myself is comparing myself to others in ways that reveal that I’m better than others.  I’m not sure if that makes me insecure (I usually am quite selective of what matters to me) and egotistical, or awesome.

 

Anyway.  Things are looking up.  There’s a huge uphill exam season battle in front of me… but at least I’m looking forward.

New Note 2

“I thought this was going to be some sorta thing where you had a checklist, and I had to be certain amounts of quantifiable unhealthy before you could sign my paper.”

“Do you feel quantifiably unhealthy?”

“Well, not to level that you were talking about…”

“Then that’s that.”

The counsellor  at CAPS (Counselling and Psychological Services) at UNSW was really quite frank, up front and… well, normal about things, which was a relief.  

I botched a few final papers last week because I was so out of it, and at least for one of them, I applied for “Special Consideration.”  It’s basically a form that you fill out that says that “illness or misadventure” has happened to you.  At first, I was pretty angry about the process.  The standard is that I usually have to get a certified death certificate before I can use a death in the family as a reason to hand in a late assignment.

I mean, I guess on some level, I understand that people abuse the system, but telling me how high and how many times to jump at a time like this?  I don’t really appreciate taking on more headaches than necessary, thank you very much.

Regardless, I need those marks, so I talked to family back home.  A death certificate hasn’t been issued yet, and the school needs one within 3 days of the event (which is more bullshit) so they sent a funeral receipt instead as a temporary document.

By the time I got the document, it was Sunday.

I was feeling better about things after that.

The day or two after Gramma passed away, I was mostly a mess.  I skipped the afternoon of classes at the suggestion of my Litigation group mates.  Somehow I thought I should still do a group presentation with them, which was ridiculous– because when I got home, I just broke down.

It doesn’t really help that I knew, months ago, that she was sick.  They tell you that if you have time to prepare, then you can do everything you can to make sure all those loose ends in your head are tied up.  In my case, none of that applied.  

The day Gramma died, I still thought I’d have some more time to chat with her.  Actually, I was talking to her over the internet that exact day that she died– she didn’t seem like she was in a good mood so I just, rather casually, thought that I’d call back in a couple of days.  And she died a few hours after that.

So do I feel robbed?

In a sense, I guess I do.  Should I though?  

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about all this, and my reaction to it.   I feel angry about the situation because I’m so far from back home.  But the truth is, I don’t want to be there. I don’t want to be there for the funeral and all that.  I don’t want to see my grandmother truly tired and weak, or resting.  Maybe it’s for the best that it happened this way, where there’s just this sudden disconnect.

Out of necessity, I’ve been moving on.  My Mom sent me an email saying that nobody from back home expected me to come home and that they all thought I should just concentrate on exams, try not to get too stressed out about anything.  It felt like lipservice, but she had a point– that’s all I can do right now.

The thing about death is that it robs you of all control.  There is nothing you can do to reverse it.  And you always wonder if you could have done things differently, if you could have had a different outcome if you’d lived your life differently with that person.

In reality, the answer is, no.  You can’t do anything about these sorts of things.  Granma was old, really old, and she’d live a really full life– this wasn’t sudden, and there isn’t much that could have been done to really help her live longer without making it a miserable existence.

This is for the best.

It has been one week since Gramma passed away.

I’ve been making efforts to get back in my own body, instead of mentally drifting around as if my brain was in space.

The control aspect is a big thing.  I don’t like feeling out of control, and I don’t like being uncertain.  Even when it comes to things in life that I don’t know about, there’s always this sense that I have tools to take on these challenges.

A death in the family?  That’s different.  I don’t have tools to reverse time.

But I guess part of the issue isn’t just trying to bring Granma back.  The other part is me moving on, and trying to get back on track with my life, and learning from this experience somehow.

I’ve figured out that the loss of control is what hits me worse.  I know I miss her– but I don’t know how much of this emotion is the missing, and how much of it is my own pride at not being able to do anything about it.  I’m always the sort of person who fights for what he wants… and here I am, faced with a situation where no amount of fighting anyone or anything will change what has happened.

On thursday night, I went to judo.  I was reluctant to at first, but I figured that, knowing myself, it might be what I needed.  It’s funny how when I’m really depressed, it’s like I have a split personality– there’s a me that knows me, and a me that is trying everything to be someone different.  The first me was saying, “You’ve got too much negative energy.  You need to work it out of your body.”  THe second me was saying “It wouldn’t do anything.  It’s pointless.”

Thankfully, routine kicked in, and for this, I guess I’m thankful of being a creature of habit.  I went to judo, and… well, it was fun.  It was challenging.

I got the shit kicked out of me.  I almost hurt my ankle, I did get hurt in the knee (but I’m fine as of today) and at one point, I almost landed on my head.  But it was good.

See, the thing is, in Judo, I just feel that I can start something over.  I feel that no matter what mistakes I make, I can see that there’s a direction to all this– I’m getting better, and I’m going forward.

That’s what I needed, and that’s what I still need.  It’s probably what I’ll need all my life– reminders that I’m still growing.

The thing is, psychologically, I enjoy judo.  But my body doesn’t (you try spending 2 hours getting literally thrown around), and judo doesn’t like me.

ANd that’s exactly why I’m doing it.

Being able to learn and grow is the kind of privilege that I have because of people like Granma.  Instead of dwelling too much on what I’ve lost, what I can’t do, and what I can’t change, I just need to keep going forward.  Looking back is fine– but you can’t live there, back there I mean.

It’s kinda like a building– you don’t stare at the foundations of it every time you walk up to it.  You could and should appreciate all the work that went in there, underneath everything you can see– but what’s important is what goes on and comes out of it.

After the counselling session, it’s not that I feel like I have everything off my chest.  I’m not going back there either– it was just a mandatory requirement that I needed to go through for the Special Consideration.  I think… that counselling could be useful, but it’s not for me, at least, not about this.  And I wonder if that’s a problem with the way I think, and maybe that’s why so few people actually take advantage of psychological support services.

I think that everyone should try seeing a shrink at some point.  The problem is that when I went there this morning, I was feeling much “better” already, so there wasn’t really much to talk about.  I couldn’t gush, I just couldn’t get into it, because I was already in that time in my head where this is too late, and my initial reactions are already over with.

But in general? I Think a lot of people could probably benefit from a shrink.

And I don’t look down on anyone who does go to see someone for professional help.  THe truth is, we don’t all have people who are supportive enough to get us through things.  And even if we do have supportive people, we don’t necessarily have people around us who know how to help us– indeed, some of the people we most closely regard might actually be part of the problem!

You should take these thoughts with a grain of salt of course– because this is me, and the way I think my brain works.  I’m naturally cynical and untrusting of other people in the things that I think are important.

Maybe that’s partly what makes this so difficult.  I’ve always been someone to really value a few, really strong relationships with select people.  Granmma was one of them.  

ANyway, I actually feel a surge of energy lately.  I feel that I’ve been lazy and slacking off… and it’s time now to really go out there and kick those exams’ fucking asses.  And to all those people in judo who are throwing me around like a sack of potatoes?  I’ll show them.  Give me a few more months, and they’ll be the ones belly up.

Just need to… channel.

 

 

I filled out several applications over the past few weeks, all trying to do new things.  I had a choice between taking two classes with one of my favourite teachers, [Lord Harley], and accepting a special employment law internship at the Kingsford Legal Centre.  The centre sounds like it’d be more work.  Having had several classes with Lord Harley before, I know that I always get great marks in that class because his expectations and my writing style sync really well.  But I decided, it was time to do something new, lets do a bit more growing… KLC will be more work, but it’ll also be work at the things that I don’t like.  Dealing with new people, for example, and networking.   So I took KLC over the familiar and easy path.

 

I also submitted a few applications to Law Soc for a couple of executive positions– going to see if I can get a job as the editor for the LawSoc’s publications, or as the secretary.  ALso applied to be a faculty student representative again– elections were last friday, and I did minimal campaigning, but we’ll see how that turns out. I also filled out an application to be a Law School mentor, who will take care of first year students in adapting to the program.

 

I’m not going to do all these things, mind you– we’ll see if any of these applications return positives, and then take it from there.

I also took another term as president of the Go Club, so that’s an ongoing thing- I have more people on my exec team this year, so it should be interesting to see what I can do with that.

 

Bah– anyways… enough procrastinating… time to get back to real work.  One thing at a time.

Plenty

I remember when I was young, and used to come to their house after school or at lunch, she’d always make me instant noodles or something to eat.  Even if I wasn’t hungry, she always made sure I was fed.  Even if I said I wasn’t hungry, next thing I knew, there would be food next to me and I’d get in trouble if I didn’t eat it.  In her own way, she was always trying to insist on things for other people before herself.

I remember when my sister and I were young and we’d stay over, we’d fight with Gramma over some things.  She’d put sugar on our cereal to make it sweeter.  She’d cut holes on both sides of the milk bags.  She’d clean up our things and then we wouldn’t be able to find them anymore, because it turns out that she threw them out.

Whether it was insisting that you ate more food, bought a new stove fan, got married, or that you had to take her to the mall so she could buy something,  if she decided that somewhere along the line it was going to be good for you, there’s no way you could talk her out of it.  Once she made up her mind about the way something should be, that was it.

As long as I can remember, Gramma has always been stubborn.  It is the thing about her that almost always got her what she wanted.  Even though she was a little old lady who couldn’t actually hurt a fly, she could be a mean, fiery person that you just didn’t want to mess with.

But I’ve never known her to be anything but honest, and self-sacrificing.  I’ve never known her to be capable of doing anything except exactly what she felt like doing, or saying anything aside from what she exactly felt like saying.  And that’s probably why everyone in the family always tried to do good by her– because when she was in a good mood, it was a genuine reward for everything.   All the cousins know they’ve scored a big award to be called “good boy” or “good girl.” If she was smiling, it was because there was something to smile about.  If she was laughing, there was something to laugh about.  (If there was no laughing and no smiling, then it just wasn’t funny.  She could be a very harsh judge.)

She lived to be 84 years old, and has always been super lucky– but part of her being lucky has always been not asking for too much, and recognising good things when they were in front of her.   I think that if we can learn to be as happy as Gramma knew how, then we’ll all be very happy.

We will miss you, Gramma.

not ready yet.

The Go Club Annual General Meeting was held on Monday the 8th.

I was there giving the President’s Report.  After the President’s report came the Treasurer’s Report and the Secretary’s Report, and we proceeded to elections of the new year’s executive team.

One of the people in attendance at the meeting was, it turns out, one of the founding members of the club from over 5 years ago.  We played an even game, and he completely destroyed me.

He told me that to get from about 20kyu level to 10kyu level, you had to learn to fight.  But when  you wanted to really work your way down the single digit kyus, all the way to finally becoming a dan grade player, you would first have to learn to let go.  You would need to learn the meaning of moving on, and not throwing too much into what was already lost.

Earlier today, while I was at university, I found out by email that on October 7th, Gramma passed away.  I don’t know what I was doing at that time– I was probably at school either working on a paper due for Litigation, or I was at the Go Club.  There was some delay in family back in Montreal letting me know, because, well, who knows really– it’s understandable, right?

I’m told that she passed away peacefully and without pain, and surrounded by family.  That day that she died, it was the day that I got to videoconference with her for a few minutes.  She was having a lot of time concentrating at that point, and when I asked her how she was doing, all she could really tell me was that her stomach hurt.

When I found out today,  nothing happened at first.  I must’ve been in shock. I read the email over, and it didn’t sink in.  I managed to finish my Litigation paper, run through a mock run of a presentation that [DilligentB], [CaptainK] and I were going to do in the 6pm class.  I even even sat through 2 hours of a Criminal Law class where I think people were talking about murder with accomplices or something– I dunno.  I didn’t really hear anything.  I emailed [CM] to tell her what had happened, but I wasn’t even sure what was going on.

After class had finished, I DilligentB asked me how my legal research paper was going.  Not so great, I said. I intended to skip property to work on it.  Oh, and yeah– I just found out my grandmother passed away.  I mumbled some stuff after that, and just kept walking towards the next class as if I intended to go there… CaptainK ran into me in the hall and outside of the building said something about “Take the afternoon off, call your Grandma” or something and I pointed out that it was too late for that or something.  “Yeah, that’s awkward now, isn’t it?” I think I said.  “Just don’t think about it,” I said out loud.  It sounds absurd that i was telling this to him, when really, I think I was trying to tell myself.

I ran into the Property teacher while I was in the Law Building, and I told him I wouldn’t be coming to class.  I didn’t realise, i guess, until I had to form the words how much it simply hurt.  I almost broke down right there in front of him I think, so I gave my apologies and quickly excused myself.

It has been not even 8 hours since I found out.  I have this incredible headache that no amount of panadol (the Aussie equivalent of Tylenol) is getting rid of.

I skipped 5 hours of classes and just went home.

CM tried to console me, and she did her best.  I just wasn’t in the mood, so I took a nap, lay around a bit.

The photos of Gramma that I took while I was back in Montreal are still on my smartphone.  These photos are less than a month old.  I just stared.  And I couldn’t understand.

I felt, and I still feel, so empty, which on a figurative level would make no sense, because it seems I’m so good at producing tears right now.

And this headache– GOD this headache!!!

I kind of feel it, coming up– this deep sense of frustration and anger, and I don’t know who or what to point it at.  And letting it wash over me feels good, because, I don’t know.  Pain? I’ve always understood pain.  It’s great filler– it helps to make you not notice the emptiness.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I honestly thought that I’d get another chance to talk to her before she passed on.  The last conversation I had with her then wasn’t even really a conversation at all– it was me trying to make small talk as we always do, except that she wasn’t in the mood for it.

Does it matter, really, what her last words were to me?  I guess not.  I told her “joi-geen la, gamma!” (“See you later, Grandma!”) and she said “Okay la.” And that was it.

When I was a kid, I was a real hell raiser, and she took really good care of my sister and I.  In the last decade, Gramma had been increasingly becoming more disconnected with reality.    But despite it, she was always super kind to my sister and I in ways that she wasn’t towards other people in the family.  She always made fun of us and was always in as good a mood as possible with us.

I feel bad that I wasn’t there when she passed.  But maybe this is for the best… or maybe it just is what it is.  Maybe this way I’ll just remember her as oblivious to the world and as good natured as she always was.

I don’t think you understand how incredibly angry I am right now.  I know that her suffering is finally over, so this is actually a good thing.  And I know it’s nobody’s fault.

I just want to break something, and I don’t even know why.

And this headache, it just won’t go away.

Gramma… I know I haven’t been around, so it’s hipocritical of me to say that I miss you.  But right here, I don’t know what’s wrong… I know if you saw me right now, you wouldn’t understand what was wrong, and you’d ask me, and I wouldn’t be able to explain… but give me some time, and I’ll make sure I make the most of all of this.

I’ll talk to you later, Gramma.