Which isn’t something I often say. Sometimes I have good moments, maybe a good day, but seldom more than that. So goes the life of the clinically depressed. Granted, this week wasn’t perfect. But the good parts were so mind-bogglingly good, that it actually overshadows the bad parts (again, not something I can often say). There’s no deeper meaning to this post (I’m working on deep stuff somewhere else) this is just me being happy and wanting to share.
This Navroz, Australia celebrated Harmony Day, a day that celebrates the growingly scarce commodity of pluralism. To celebrate, the Australian Jamat (a considerable amount of time later) hosted a Harmony Day walk, to bring together people from all walks of life for fun, food, and exercise. Note for Canadian/American readers: they tried to Partnership Walk.
However, it wasn’t the walk that got me excited; I didn’t even go on the walk. But, while I was there amongst the auxiliary festivities, I played volleyball. Those who know me well may need to sit down. Yes, I actively participated in a sporting activity. Yes, it was of my own free will. I know: I’m just as confused as you are. But that’s not even the coolest part. I played volleyball with people I don’t know. Granted, I’ve seen them around (we go to the same Jamatkhana, obviously), but I don’t know their names (I can guess that at least two of them have the first or last name Ali; no particular reason behind that guess) or anything else about them. Even more, I legitimately did not understand a single word they said. They were speaking in Hindi (I think it was Hindi) the whole time and making jokes and shouting at each other and I just played along like a guy playing volleyball with people he doesn’t share a language with. But it didn’t matter. I still had fun and I’m assuming they did too.
Afterwards, I did play volleyball with my (English speaking) friends. There were a few volleys (I get why it’s called that now!) until the rain started, forcing most people to run for cover. But that didn’t rain on my parade. On top of the playing with strangers and the playing with friends, the best part of volleyball on Sunday was playing one-on-one in the pouring rain with my friend, Rumi (she’s the only one that stayed behind). The grass was slippery, I could barely see the ball, but we weren’t playing to win and all was right in the world.
On Monday, I went back to work. [At this point,] It’s not my favourite thing in the world, but it’s necessary. It’s also not the worst job I’ve had. I mean, it’s no LEGO Store, but it’s no Express Ltd either. However, it’s what happened after work that made Monday special. At 5, I checked out, got on a bus to downtown, missed my stop, got lost, found my way to a train, rode it across town, got hit in the face by a $200 duffle bag (on said train), and waited in a closed shopping mall for almost an hour, and then it got special.
I’m gonna start with the food because while I was eating it, I thought it would be the best part of the night. Now, I’m trying to eat healthier (I ate kale today), but sacrifices must be made once in a while. It’s also been a while since I’ve had a hardy, American-style burger. Now, I love me a good burger.
Whether it’s Gordon Ramsay’s in Las Vegas, 22 Pine in Orlando, or even Fuddruckers in one of America’s various armpits, if you put a burger in front of me: we’re friends. And that’s exactly what my friends (let’s call them Jem and Rumi, because I’m bad at coming up with fake names) did on Monday. At Royal Stacks (the one here) Rumi and I indulge in a King burger each, featuring a Mac n Cheese croquette (my arteries just squealed in fear) while Jem suffered through a Double Stack. It was, by far, the best burger I’ve ever had in this hemisphere: the perfect amount of greasy with a surplus of cheese, tender meat in a buttery bun.
Then peeling ourselves off the seats, dripping with Nutella/TimTam milkshake, we stumbled our way into the street and up to a nearby coffee shop. There, with chai in hand, our lives turned into a Norwegian Bollywood radio station going through theLærdalstunnelen. Which is to say we commenced singing Indian songs loudly, incompletely, and for a very long time. We sang [at least a chorus of] every song we could think of. At one point, Jem pulled out her phone just to check if there were any songs we missed. At this point, I’ll remind the audience that the three of us are sitting on the patio of a not-empty coffee shop, near a busy train station. There are people walking by constantly. There are people who came to enjoy their coffee awkwardly moving tables. There are Indian people walking by with their white girlfriends pretending that we don’t exist while we sit at an all-too-tiny table singing bits and pieces of our childhood at the top of our lungs, off key, and without most of the words.
On Tuesday, I got a promotion (kind of). I still have the same title (and the same pay), but my position and responsibilities have changed. When I started working at this company in January, I was basically an intern, but with a paycheck. But, thanks to a special request from the brand manager, I’m now his assistant. And while it doesn’t come with a pay bump, it means that the work that I’m doing now is more meaningful; it has more of an impact on the company and on what everyone else is doing. Instead of sitting back and waiting for people to dump something on my desk (usually intern-stuff), I actually get to be proactive and, more importantly, be creative.
Then came the real perks of getting the promotion. I got a new desk in my own “office”. The brand manager and I got to move out of the cramped top floor of our building and set up shop on the now-empty main floor. My new desk is twice the size of my old one and wraps around. I have a window, and a white board. We set up our own sound system that plays the sultry sounds of Nelly and are even grabbing the foosball table from the old tenants (if the workflow slows down enough to use it). I feel so relaxed in my new space. I can spread out, get up and walk around (and refill my tea six times a day), and we created a space to think dynamically, which is always good when it comes to being creative. I feel like I’m in a sitcom written by people that don’t understand corporate life because I have a low level job (literally the lowest in the office) but I’ve been given this awesome space and whole sorts of autonomy.
The work started picking up, which is great. I actually feel motivated, like my stuff isn’t going into the literal garbage (more on that on Friday). But moreso on Thursday, I was riding the high from the rest of the week.
I had my first “adult” meeting. I called a meeting with a person who (up until Tuesday) totally bossed me around all the time and sat him down. And, like an adult, instead of getting mad for him breaking all my email templates I explained things calmly and had a conversation. Granted, things didn’t go the way I wanted but our boss took my side. I felt so grown up with that whole situation. I called a meeting! I’m not even supposed to do that, but it worked!
Then, things got even better. I met up with Jem again after work. (This time I didn’t get lost on the way) After eating (“enjoying” is a strong word) some very cheesy Italian food, we had those kinds of deep talks that you have with your friends at 2am, except it was like 8:30. And it was during that time that I really appreciated all the friends that I have. But moreso the fact that friends exist at all (like, as a concept). And I’m super thankful that Jem’s in my life, that Rumi’s in my life, that Tanu’s in my life, that all my friends are a part of my life, that we share their stories and go on feels trips, and mostly that they tolerate me at all.
Saturdays are always fun because that’s when REC happens (BUI for my Canadians). I had my first official day as HOI (Rumi told me that means “Head of Instruction”; no one else told me that. Ismailis and their initialisms, eh?) and what a day it was. Due to a last minute snafu, the substitute substitute grade one teacher landed herself in the classroom for the first time with absolutely no preparation for the lesson. So, the principal put me in her classroom to help out (read: to teach the class). But because Jasmine (again: bad at names) is actually an amazing person, she totally killed it. On her first try, she had classroom management almost completely down (I learned later that grade one is one of the worst-behaved class in the centre) and her delivery left very little to be desired. I went into REC thinking that I was going to be down people’s throats (as is the job of HOIs), especially with a brand new teacher, but Jasmine actually made it a more enjoyable experience than I expected. After break, she even took the class on her own (not by her own choice, though. The students insisted on keeping it an “all-girls classroom” and banished me to the hellscape that is grade 4). But overall, that was a pleasant surprise and a great start to a few months of telling teachers how to do their jobs.