94

Careful perseverance
in pursuit of more
and more.

I once was comfortable
in the everyday monotony of
succeeding
but lately there’s a flame in me
to burn brighter than I’m used to
to fall asleep because of exhaustion
not inertia

These dreams of becoming
all I can be
sometimes keep me up at night.

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Gen Z: The New Globetrotters

With the summer in full swing, I wanted to share a piece with you about following your own pace and doing what works for you. I’m honing my blogging skills and will be sharing more articles like these in the future!

As the youngest sibling, I’ve seen generations of youth grow into their cohort-stereotypes. My oldest brother, classified within the “older millennial” range of 1988 or earlier, always wanted the best tech there was. He was one of the first in town to have a PalmPilot or iPhone 3G because, just like his friends, he wanted to stay connected to this new innovation—the internet. My middle brother, classified as the classic millennial age range of early 1990s, loves to go to the best restaurants and most artisan breweries. He’s willing to pay anything as long as there’s great quality ingredients, no matter the price.

And me? I’m Generation Z, born in the mid 1990s to early 2000s. Even though we’re frugal, we’re obsessed with travelling. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sat at a dinner table with friends and shared stories of countries we’ve been to. We flip through our passport stamps like prized photo albums as 79% of Gen Zs got their first passport stamp before they even applied for their driver’s license.

Why is this? First, Gen Z is one of the most ethnically diverse cohorts anyone has ever seen, with 48% identifying as nonwhite. Generation Z have roots that span further than the country we reside, and we are itching to find out more of our heritage and ultimately, how we got here. I got my first passport stamp when I was 9 to visit Vietnam and meet my aging grandmother. We saw my mom’s childhood home, my dad’s surviving family and on top of that, tasted authentic Vietnamese food my parents desperately tried to incorporate into our daily meals back in Canada. I learned at the age of 9 that my story didn’t begin in Canada, and instead covered the stories of my parents in Vietnam, uncles in France, cousins in Australia and grandmothers in Hong Kong. It was a humbling experience and grew a love of learning new histories wherever I visit.

Second, Gen Z can’t afford the traditional purchases that millennials saw as ‘milestones’ in their lives like a down payment. I can’t even realistically dream of homeownership, because I had to have started saving up when I was 4 years old to afford one today. Older millennials and baby boomers lecture us again and again that they purchased their first condo when they were in their early 20s, and why can’t we? Well, tuition costs are higher than ever, wages have stagnated, and in general, things are harder for Gen Zs than our predecessors. I opened my first GIC when I was 15. I had $20,000 in liquid assets by 21. When I realized that I could never afford a home in Toronto, I invested some money into retirement and then invested in myself: a bachelor’s degree and travelling the world. I’m not financially illiterate, I’m just a realist. If I can’t purchase the big-ticket items that mean I’m ‘adulting’ correctly, then I’m spending my money on plane tickets and hauling outta here.

As peak travelling season is upon us, if you have the privilege and financial freedom to take an adventure, go for it! Where are some places you’ve been? What about where you want to go next? Sound off below and let’s share stories! And for all you fellow Canadian bloggers, have a great long weekend ahead 🙂

Love,
ELLE

87

spring cleaning
what am I meant to do
with all this love I have for you?
tucked away in scribbled journals
pressed old flowers
I know what clean looks like –
maybe that’s why
scrubbing you off my skin
feel so dirty.

This summer, I swear I’ll…

Dedicate time to be a better me!

As the weather gets warmer, I’m feeling productive. I’ve created a summer bucket list of things I’d like to accomplish by September to keep myself continuously improving, creating and being me, more often, and I wanted to share it with you all. Feel free to take it for your own!

  1. Write and compose a song (This one terrifies me because I know I can write lyrics but I’m not sure I can compose. Any advice, PLEASE sound off below!)
  2. Write for Medium
  3. Write for Globe and Mail
  4. Go swimming!
  5. Write for ten minutes about the Word Of The Day, everyday
  6. Buy a bike
  7. Go to two concerts
  8. Learn how to and bake macrons
  9. Go to Canada’s Wonderland (I haven’t been in years, and I LOVE roller coasters)
  10. Have three picnics (High Park, Toronto islands, Trinity Bellwoods)
  11. Go to a kickboxing class
  12. Save $4,000 (not including tuition)

aaron-burden-292599-unsplash.jpg

What are some things on your list? Do you have any advice for songwriting? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Love,
ELLE

86

I spent a lot of time trying
to fit into another skin tone –
dyeing my hair lighter
wearing muted clothing
pretending to dread the lunches my mother packed
that my friends always made fun of

Today, my jet-black hair requires no comb
I pack delicate, complex meals
speak three languages and
languish, knowing
what an honour it is
to just be asian.

Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! I’m dedicating a few poems to my family this May. Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below.

Love,
ELLE

85

I used to bastardize my name
so it’d fit more conveniently
in a western mouth.

I’m convinced that cultural names
are uttered like spells
magic only we possess –
why bother making it easy on others, when
they should be grateful we’ve
blessed them in the first place?

I’ve heard the music in
a tonal language,
tasted the sweetness of coconuts
that ripen in the Vietnamese sun
how dare I leave a bitter taste on
the surname that surpassed
generations

 

Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! I’m dedicating a few poems to my family this May. Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below.

Love,
ELLE

 

84

My mother cleaned the houses of
retired rich white women
so she could put food on the table.
My father worked 30 years at a company
that let him go in a blink
2008 collateral damage

I sit in lecture halls and
learn about the placement of stars
the French Revolution, the
abolition of slavery and yet I’ve never
learned to live with this guilt.

My mother has never seen
the inside of a lecture hall
(I skip tutorials all the time)
I sit behind a desk and craft ideas
while my mother is elbows-deep in citrus soap

The thing I’ve learned the most is
that maybe being an immigrant’s daughter is
to live a life of guilt
because I know
that this future of success ahead
is nothing short of
the plan my parents so carefully
and lovingly
worked so tirelessly for me to achieve.

 

Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. I’m dedicating a few poems to my family this May. Please feel free to share your immigrant stories in the comments below.

Love,
ELLE