Category Archive: social animal

Un-gellin’

It’s a few days after the fact, but I might as well mention what happened on Saturday. A buddy of mine from university invited me to his birthday party way over yonder in Kitchener-Waterloo. Despite it being a fair drive from Toronto I decided to go. The party was interesting. It took me a while to come out of my shell, but I eventually got around to mingling. I ended up running into a few people from my old class. Catching up with each of them was fascinating. At this point, we’re all now years removed from our last university experiences, and yet upon reconnecting it’s like not much changed.

For a good chunk of the party I ended up talking to a classmate who was once the class rep. Back then I didn’t really talk to him all that much. If I think about it the number of words I spoke to him at the party outweigh those I spoke to him during the six years I was there at UW. That’s crazy. Now, we got around to lamenting the fact that on the whole our class didn’t really gel. And really, how could it? On the whole, there was hardly any time for us to breathe. How could I have known that the class rep dude is actually a really fascinating conversationalist? We really only ended up connecting well with people that were pretty much in our immediate circles. What else could we do? And now it’s only through chance that some of the looser connections are reappearing. People come and go. I get that. As much as it was interesting hearing updates about other classmates not there, I felt that it was better to focus on the one connection and start building that up. Why spread the net wide to capture many people?

No, that’s all me

On Saturday I was downtown celebrating a friend’s birthday. She had decided that as part of her celebration we would all go for swing dance lessons. Hoo boy. Well, I gamely joined in. The room was large, and attendance was heavy. We we split into leaders and followers. Eventually we were paired up. For each move we shown were asked to practice that move with our partner. They moved through each move way too fast. I was stumbling through some of them, and as the person leading that often prove disastrous. After every move the followers shifted down so we all got new partners frequently. With things moving quickly, even if I hadn’t picked up a move we had to move on. Unfortunately, the following movements built on the previous ones. The ballroom was also rather hot meaning that I was sweating like mad. Between movements I had to wipe myself down to get back to a presentable state. Wow. In terms of first impressions that’s pretty bad. Think: bad sweaty dancer. Blargh.

When all movements were shown we were expected to pull it all together. I was able to eke something out, but it wasn’t great. It seemed like most partners I got had at least some experience, making me feel like more and more of an idiot. Well, after the lesson, finally the lights came down and the jazz band started. The band came from New York City. They were wonderful. We were told that there were a few people among the dancers who were more experienced and would be able for partnering for practice. I eventually had a chance to practice with the music. I clumsily pulled the routine out. It wasn’t graceful at all. The partner innocently asked me “Were you partner with people that didn’t know what they were doing?” I replied “No, that’s all me.” Thanks. I’m willing to take the blame for me own lack of skill. And from that…I stopped dancing for the night.

Slammed.

Jason’s 2011

I really should have started writing this post a few days ago, but I didn’t feel like forcing myself to do it. The words weren’t flowing. Well, here I am on the final day of the year and I really need to get these words out. This year, 2011, was a bit of a harder one than the last. I remember declaring somewhere that it would be a year of buckling down and riding out tougher times. I was right. That’s not to say that this was a bad year for me. I’m just likely to label it as a challenging one. Did I rise to the challenges thrown at me? I think I did.

Anyway, enough blabber. In depth text follows…after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

New venue for thanks

About a year ago I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d be invited over to a friend’s place to celebrate Thanksgiving. I know, I know it seems like an odd thing to get all reflective about but it’s sort of new to me. Thanksgiving has always been a family thing for me, and even then it’s more of a case of “Oh…I guess we should do something, right?” Over the past year I’ve met so many people through my improv classes and through my running activities. There have been a lot of new valuable connections made. It just so happens that one of the people that I met holds a big Thanksgiving bash at her place for a lot of friends. What am I thankful for this year? I am thankful for the fact that I am expanding my social circle. I am thankful that my presence is wanted. I am thankful that I have a chance to be thankful in a different venue.

There’s a lot of good going on. I have to stay honest and keep working hard, or else who knows?

I trust my skills

Everyone’s got a drive to make other people happy. In my head, this is because everyone’s got a strong desire for connection. For me, I’ve tied this up with some of my baking adventures. It’s sort of a natural fit, right? Good baked goods make people happy. That’s all well and good, but I have to be cautious. I don’t want to put so much stress on myself such that I’m driving myself into the ground when I not sure whether what I made is good. This is especially true for stuff that I haven’t tried before. Will it turn out right? Is it actually tasty? Will people eat it? Will people like it? Why did I promise something that isn’t a sure bet??? All of these questions are enough to make me nutty. And yet, I continue to do what I do. Why? I trust my skills. I know that more often than not I’ll end up with something great. So here I am, continuing to plug away.

Expanded social circles

Today, after work, I decided that I wanted pho for dinner. I hadn’t been to the Vietnamese restaurant down the street from my place in a few months so I decided that it’d be a good time to head back. In my yearning to be social I ended asking an improv friend whether she wanted to join. I’m glad that she agreed. After we ate we decided to carry on our conversations at a bar nearby. So, really, that was my evening. I kind of find it interesting that I knew that there was someone close by that I could call up just to hang out. I mean, I haven’t had such close access to social fulfillment since maybe university. For now visiting my closest friends take a bit of time and coordination because they live a bit of a distance away. So knowing someone that’s in the area is a bit of a bonus. I guess it’s a matter of me having expanded my social circles. I need a good variety of people in my life with varying degrees of closeness. I think having this range is helping me realize what one of my friend told me long ago. She told me that despite what I say about me being introverted I’m actually quite outgoing. I never understood that before, or why she seemed so emphatic when she insisted so. Well…I get it. I see what it means to need other people to draw energy from them. Heh. Go figure. After all this time I’m still discovering things about myself.

Functioning socially

I have to make a small admission here. Yesterday’s wedding was the first one I’ve been to as an adult. Seems like some people are always going to weddings every other weekend during the summer. It’s just not the case for me. Most of my friends are unmarried. Some got married at some far-flung destination. Hmm…or maybe I’m just not that popular. Heh. No matter. I was more than happy to have been invited yesterday. As you read yesterday, I arrived a bit late. When I arrived at the venue I had to run around the basement looking for the room in question. The place is known for weddings because it’s so beautiful, and at the time there were two other ceremonies going on. By chance I ran into the bride. I was glad to see her! So beautiful. I realized that things had already started. I was about to rush in, but was stopped. That’s when I realized…DUH. I waited for the bride to enter, and that’s when I was let in. Can you imagine that faux pas? Geez. The ceremony was beautiful. I could feel the presence of a lot of warmth and love in the room. I was on the verge of having an emo breakdown; I had to keep myself in check.

When it ended we all filed out. I was looking at the crowd and immediately my introverted instincts started kicking in. I decided to duck right out and head for the hotel. From there, I had about an hour to myself to prep for the reception. I had to make a decision. The couple had chartered a double decker bus as a shuttle from the hotel to the reception venue. If I took it, I would be “trapped” at the venue until about midnight. If I drove in, I’d be able to leave at will, but wouldn’t be able to enjoy the open bar. In the end I took the shuttle to prove to myself that I’m capable of being social. When we arrived at the venue, wow, I was awed at how beautiful the place was. I was able to link up with one other person that I went to university with. From him, I was able to meet some of his and the groom’s soccer teammates and their wives. Conversation flowed easily. I know very well that I’m a social animal. I just need to get over my fear of not being accepted. Over dinner I sat with some other people and again my friendly nature made conversing easy. Although…honestly…I’m sure the alcohol helped make things a little easier. I drank a fair number of gin and tonics. There wasn’t any point where I felt out of place. Compare and contrast that with my experience at my graduation ball. It could be an effect of my maturing. It might also be the case that at the wedding we all had a common interest in celebrating the new couple. Whatever the case, despite worrying about it I was able to function awesomely. Progress, this is!

Ride to church

At around noon I was about to leave my place to head for church. A peeked out of my door’s peephole and spotted someone waiting by the elevator. I decided to wait until she got on before I headed out. When I closed my door, I was surprised to see that the elevator door was malfunctioning. I had experienced something similar earlier in the day when I left for run club. The elevator door had closed, then reopened on its own. It was silly, but I figured it was just a one time thing. Apparently not. The door was opening and closing for the woman several times. I got on hit the close button. The door finally closed. Turns out the woman was an older Filipino mother. She had grey hair and was pretty innocuous. I guess she recognized that I was Filipino as well so she asked if I was headed for church. I responded in Filipino in polite language. I guess she sensed that I was a good guy with the polite language, and with the missal in hand. She asked if I was headed for the nearby church. I said that I was. Out of the blue she asked if she could get a ride over. She was planning on walking, but she decided to ask. It all happened so fast, and I figured that she was harmless, so I agreed. As we walked over to my car she asked about my family and what provinces they were from. Apparently she had two kids that were about my age. Just like me, they could understand Filipino but weren’t adept at speaking it. Anyway, by the time I parked at the church I felt that I trusted her. She was too much like my own mother. In the end, I made a new acquaintance. She was very thankful for me helping her.

I know. I have a trusting nature. It’s the type of thing that can get taken advantage of. All the same, I feel like I can trust my judgement. I would like to think that I can tell if someone’s up to no good, you know? Besides, she was making as much of a judgement call on me as I was about her. Maybe it indicates that I have a general sense of faith that not everyone is out to destroy me. This is a good thing.

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