After school

by Jinryu

[CM] was translating a term for me from Japanese which I came across a few months ago.  The word is “nakama,” and it sums up what I miss about Montreal.


Lately, I feel like I’ve been living things healthier than I had been in the past few months.  There’s more of a balance to things.  This probably has to do with the fact that my degree is almost over, so there is significantly less paper-writing drama going on.

CM has also been out of town for a about a month now doing her electives in Canada.

When she first left, I was in a pretty depressing situation.  Having just returned to our Sydney apartment from a month of madness in Hong Kong doing  the internship, I was suddenly left with a week of vacation before staring summer school.

I lived like a recluse.  I was depressed about not having CM to rely on for many simple things– someone to eat with, someone to chat with, someone to sleep with.  I spent the entire week with my eyes glued to a screen, playing and finishing video games.  I did very little aside from eat, game, and sleep– I even ordered learned how to order my groceries online and have them delivered, so I wouldn’t need to expose myself to the world outside.


Now things have significantly improved.  My brain has been recalibrated.  I’ve finished one of the summer classes (except for the writing of the final paper).  I’ve lost about 6 kilograms of fat and am now as lean as I’ve ever been, cranking out about 60 km of cycling per week and 8 to  10 hours of judo per week.

I feel fit.  I think a lot of the stress of hong kong was because I could feel my body getting fat.   I didn’t do any exercise while I was there, it was a planned physical vacation to give my injuries time to heal uninterrupted.  But at the same time– just putting away calories?  I think my mind was used to me eating food in certain quantities.  It didnt take into account that I wasn’t burning even a quarter of the energy that I did when I was training.

Anyway, so I’m back in shape.  No recent injuries.  The old injuries are healing, very slowly, but gradually.

Perhaps the big difference though is that I’ve been hanging out with the judo people outside of judo.  I’ve been to a coupe of dinners now, and it’ss been really good to just sit down and talk with people.


It might sound ridiculous to you.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that I had become a recluse.  It was easy, actually: even when CM and I were in Sydney up until November, I interacted very little with anyone aside from CM.  I was always focused on work and school.  I might get to socialise a bit with [DilligentB], but otherwise, that’s it.

My other studymate, [TheCaptain], has gone completely AWOL.  He’s the type of guy who is as “nice” as they come, but he’s totally unreliable and not particularly loyal.

I know there are a lot of people in my cohort who are interesting and amazing people in many ways– but I never had time for friends.  I spent very little time in the past 3 years making or maintaining close friends because I got here for business– it was a conscious decision to put studies ahead of everything else.  It paid off– I’m more or less lined up for First Class Honours upon graduation.  I have no regrets about trying to be serious about work and studies, even if it meant missing out on almost all the parties, drinks, and bonding time.


Things have changed a bit now though– and my life is becoming more similar to when I got back to Montreal 2.0 when finishing the sting in South Korea.

I’m in a position now where my responsibilities are starting to diminish.  With school almost out of the way, it’s just a matter of maintaining the dilligence for job applications, which is relatively easier than going to class every day.  I have a lot more flex time and a lot more control over my day to day affairs.

It also means that I’ve had more time for people.  I’ve spent it on people, too.  I’ve been hosting weekly dinner parties at the apartment in an effort not just to make some memories, but also to get better at cooking.  I’ve been hanging out with the judo folks.  I’ve been talking to people I haven’t talked to in years– just the other night, I sat down with a couple of colleagues who I haven’t really worked with in over  a year.

Where does the time all go?

It’s so easy to be focused and effective and to gun after what we want in life– it’s also easy to forget that at the end of the day, we don’t want to lose sight of the opportunities for human connection and happiness that those sorts of professional endeavours were originally supposed to get us.