093: this is a blog post about growing (or something, hey)

  • Okay so I literally just had some of the best ice cream ever and I’m kind of conflicted about it.

A new ice cream place opened up down the street from me called Wong’s Ice Cream & Store. I popped in today on my day off and was keen to try their Vietnamese coffee flavour (I love coffee ice creams) but they were sold out. I tried their sesame and salted duck flavour (amazing) as well as their ube (also amazing) before getting the coconut mango sticky rice after trying it.

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(Tbh I could have kept on going trying all of the flavours but I’m probably going to be back like… every day.)

It was delicious, I never would have known it was vegan ice cream until I was told. It’s cute how instead of actual cups the scoops get put into these little boxes and you can also buy their flavours in bigger tubs (which are also boxes).

Anyways, I was talking to the girl behind the counter and we were just making small talk and I told her I lived in the neighbourhood and she told me I was really lucky because she was really liking the East end and how it’s like starting to really boom and how we’re getting a “fancy” pho place, a chocolate shop and a cheese and wine shop and in my mind there was just this loud klaxon “NO” blaring.

Maybe I’m a little sensitive as like 3 familiar places have closed within the past few months, I just saw another place be put up for sale and every night when I try to walk home the two hipster bars on the corner have their patrons just spilling all over the side walk. All these new places are optimistically calling this the “revival” of East Chinatown but it feels a hell of a lot like gentrification to me.

The influx of customers that come into my family’s restaurant and ask about zucchini noodles, vegan/gluten free pho, telling me about the ~authenticity that they experience during their vacation to Vietnam increases every week it feels like. Just last week this couple stopped and were staring at the grandma that does this whole ritual every day and they dead ass said, “Wow… this is the most authentic Chinatown in Toronto! I wonder what incense she’s using? We should get some for our new place!”

They are fucking JOSS STICKS AND IT’S NOT AROMATHERAPY.

They’re slowly taking over all these old stores that the original residents here converted into homes, jacking up the rent, giving it a slick new make over and labeling “Loft 1” and “Loft 2” on the mailboxes. They walk by my neighbours shop window and look at all his plants and coo over “those cute yogurt planters” … which are actual recycled yogurt cups and not something he bought on Etsy. The galaxy donut shop where all the old Chinese men used to hang out and play checkers just vanished one day, a piece of paper with the word “closed” written hurriedly taped to the door and now all I’ve been thinking about is where those men are going.

The stupid paint cafe people across the street sometimes rush into our restaurant and demand for something “quick” because they’re ~busy and asking us for Chinese fast food when it literally says “Vietnamese and Thai Food” on the sign.

I shudder at the thought of the inevitable rising rents that will push out people who have lived here for YEARS, making a home out of anywhere and having it being taken over and co-opted for ~aesthetic purposes. It all just makes me so sad you know? Like a September-sad, where you feel every thing start to die and all the vibrancy and warmth from the summer is just being leeched away. I love my street, I love my neighbourhood, I don’t care if it looks “run down”, or if every other bulb on the store front signs work. This is the magic of it. All of these “empty” store fronts aren’t empty. They’re homes that people have made. The bridal store hasn’t been open in years but there is a family that lives there and now they have three kids and they don’t care about the sign over head.

I love that electronics store sign under my window, I love that every one thinks I live in a really dingy place but when they come up they see how spacious my room actually is, I have a goddamn fire place and I don’t know why!! But I love it, I love it so much. I love how the some of the residences have filled those big shop windows with all manners of plant life that they grew themselves, I love that pink house up the street that always feeds the birds and now they actually nest on top of their door way. I worry about where every one is going to have to go when we are inundated with artisinal bakeries and “concept” bars. Because, let’s be real, none of this new stuff is really for the residents that already live here, it’s for the ones that are trying to move in.

  • I’ve been listening to Lorde’s Melodrama and SZA’s Ctrl non-stop. If summer ’17 had a sound/mood for me this would be it.

I read a comment on ONTD yesterday about how Lorde read 50,000 books before the age of 12. (I know the number is kind of a throwaway but ANYWAYS!!) She is so articulate and I love how she expresses herself. I mean, I could totally believe she did… her mom is a poet and to grow up around surrounded by language and how to use it, definitely helped her with her song writing, obvs. This got me thinking about myself and my current reading slump (y’all I don’t know how to shake this, but I’m trying.) This also got me thinking about writing in general as well. To write well and beautifully is definitely a talent that I truly believe some people have and some people don’t. But the thing is, you definitely have to nurture it, you have to work at it every day and some people have talent but don’t nurture it, and some people work at it every day and it’s still great. I would count myself so fortunate if I could work at it every day lol but I have the attention span of a goldfish and I honest to goodness feel that my grasp on language is slipping every day.

Sometimes I re-read random passages of Sylvia Plath’s journal or The Bell Jar and I am just blown away by how she describes every thing. Every little interaction she has and she retells it and suddenly it’s just so much more. Nothing ever seemed boring. The sky wasn’t just blue or an ocean with fluffy white ships. The sky becomes a character, the blue is the personality and the clouds are ornaments.

She and Lorde just seem so fearless in the way they describe things. They never worry about it being “too much” or an over exaggeration. Their words don’t just paint a picture, it gives you a feeling too.

  • minimalism

I have purged my closet and dresser of clothes to be donated and to be recycled and I have never felt so free. I still have *so* much stuff left to wear. My goal this summer is to not buy any new clothes. In fact, the only things I do need to purchase are a new pair of sneakers (mine are getting holes) and a pair of sandals which I broke.

Next I’m going to do an inventory of knick knacks and other stuff I don’t need in my room.

I have to say, “owning less” really feels nice. Paring every thing down to the necessities (for me) makes me feel more calm.

  • i want to miss people again

I got to spend the whole day by myself. (Well, pretty much. Daniel stayed in his room and my mom came home to rest briefly before the dinner rush for a few hours.) It’s so nice, I luxuriated it in it, but now it’s 19:30 and I have to sleep soon because I open tomorrow.

I’ve been craving time to myself more and more, not just a few hours… I think I need a few days of it. Where I can do what I want, and listen to my own thoughts and deal with my own emotions, instead of constantly having to deal with a stream of every one else’s.

I don’t know, I am craving some people’s company over others though. Probably because I haven’t seen them in ages, but mainly because they’re who I think about when I spend these hours alone.

  • goals/needs

I need to research something and become devoted to it for a bit and see how that influences my thinking. I’m enjoying going to barre and look forward to it and I refuse to step on a scale until September comes. I’m just going to be kind to myself, eat when I’m hungry, and find other things to occupy my time than endless calorie counting. Think more deeply about going to Iceland by the end of the summer.

Today's featured image is by: Segerius Bruce
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