Hotel life

I am staying the night in a hotel room. It is 17 C and I am snuggling with too many jumbo pillows while still wearing my hotel bath robe. I brought my computer to prepare for my job interview in the morning, but I think I will do that in the morning. I have never been called back for a second interview before. All of the jobs I have had required only one interview. I have no idea what to expect. Will they quiz me about archival description standards? Test my reference skills?

I always said I wasn’t that interested in this position; however, I decided not to turn down chances and to do my best. I have no idea where I’m supposed to be. I was thinking about that today, about if things were meant to be or if we always had choices.

This week will be better

I have had a headache since Saturday morning, but this week, I promise, will be better. Last week was stressful and exciting and disappointing. It was a rollercoaster. I slept and ate poorly. I need to be kinder to myself.

I did my job interview for the job I really want last Monday. I was disappointed in myself after, but I got invited to an in-person interview in Massachusetts! I spilled coffee on myself on the bus Thursday morning when I read the email. The plane tickets are purchased and now I await my schedule. It sounds so exhausting… to be flown to the opposite side of the continent and meet with community members and stakeholders for a maybe job. But this is my chance! I think I might organize a mini presentation despite not being told to. If people are asking me questions, I need to be prepared?

I also did my photoshoot. Modeling is hard work. I wanted to fulfill a silly dream of mine, and I wanted to prove that short Asian girls that don’t look like models can dress up and partake if they want! The photographers are lovely people. I dread the final product, not because of my lack of trust in their skills, but because of me. We will see.


A big week, maybe

Today might be a big week. I have an interview tomorrow morning for a job that I really really want. I researched more for it than for any position I have ever applied to. While reading, I realized I wasn’t sure if I was reading for the job or because I was indulging in my own interests. The subject matter is really interesting. The difference between static traditional archives and more dynamic participatory digital archives is interesting. The idea of working on a digital archive that would, in theory, promote the records of people whose heritage I share is exciting.

I also wonder what will become of x and I if I don’t get this job or the other job I applied to. Long distance relationships are difficult. He thinks I’m doing this for him and ignoring my own dreams. But where he is… this is the work I want and there is not as many opportunities here.

I also find out about job #2 this week, whether or not I made it to round #2. Everything is scary.

All the things I said running through my head

Once a year or so I say something really embarrassing that I will remember forever with a sick feeling in my gut. The memory of this very very trivial and forgettable utterance will play again and again. I had a job interview via Skype this morning and said things I wish I hadn’t. I hate remembering the way the interviewer hesitated and said “close enough” when I tried to show that I had done my research.

I know the interviewer will not remember. Most people cringe and then stop thinking about it after a day or a week. But I won’t; the memory will just replay.

Edit: I am invited to do a second interview. The cringeworthy interviews always mean second interview/job offer. A reminder that I am not as deplorable as I think I am.

Verbal Abuse

This is not an easy blog post to write. I was thinking about this question last night: At what point do words become verbal abuse? I think I saw a sponsored feature on Facebook about “How to recognize signs of abuse” or something. So I did a Google search and read a few short articles and took a quiz. Was I verbally/emotionally abused growing up? According to the Internet, I act like it.

I love my dad, but he is mean and (seemingly)  unaffectionate. My sister-in-law recently told me that she disliked how he always teased my sister and me. His favourite thing to say is “who cares?” and his favourite pastime is criticizing his family. Still, “abusive” has a connotation I wouldn’t associate with my dad. 

My parents did their best and I think I turned out to be a decent human being because of them. My dad will do anything for someone who truly needs him. Yesterday he remarked that he was glad to see me healthy and “with a zest for doing things.” As Philip Larkin wrote, “They fuck you up, your mom and dad/They don’t mean to but they do.”

However, realizing this, and calling it what it is, is extremely helpful. I recognize its affects on my relationships with others. I am extremely sensitive to others’ anger, for example, and avoid conflict so much that I miss opportunities to resolve problems before they become unfixable. Next I learn how to loudly set a glass on the counter without flinching. 

Bounce bounce back

Before I swallow my valerian capsule and sleepily watch more Handmaid’s Tale, I wanted to reflect and remind myself to be proud of the job interviews I’ve scheduled this summer so far. I have a new contract with my previous job that I start next week, so these interviews are either practice or bonus. So, me, stop being self-deprecating. Go ahead and be smug.

This week I snagged interviews with the museum/archives in Kamloops, as well as with the University of Massachusetts. The second position has to do with creating an archives for underrepresented communities within an academic institution. The “questions to think about” that were emailed to me make me feel like this is the next stop in my quest to combat racial injustices through my work. I am not a social justice warrior or activist, but I want to help bring overlooked stories to the surface. I recently read an thought piece about an archivist quitting the profession because archivists (the implication was this, anyway) were complicit in the erasure of the histories of marginalized communities. I disagree, though—mostly. I acknowledge the role of record keeping in these terrible histories (and that certain narratives are favoured over others), but there is room in the profession to stray from convention and do professional archival work that brings other voices forward. History is history, and there is no one definitive version of it. I find historical context interesting to think about and don’t consider it “racist” to make accessible records as they were. I’m not articulating my thoughts clearly. More reflection time is needed. It’s not a topic I feel comfortable discussing in the open with my peers because I’m afraid of the “racist” label destroying my baby career.


Last week I purchased a Fitbit. I wanted to motivate myself to move more, especially after surgery. Competing with my friends and family is really fun. My sister got herself a Fitbit after I wouldn’t stop talking about steps and sleep quality tracking for a week. My older sister also has a Fitbit and the three of us are challenging one another to see who gets the most steps in a day, week, and so on. Sister/sibling rivalry is brutal. I resorted to mind games, waiting until 11:50 pm to sync and log my total steps for the day. I texted my sister and grumbled about losing badly after I went for a long long walk.

I also joined a Librarians on the Move group. I am #36 for July steps. My competitiveness is a distraction.

I am moving back to the city this weekend and will really really miss going for my walks in my parents’ neighbourhood in the evening. I will miss the beautiful scenery and the quiet. Exercise is doing wonders for my anxiety. I am tired in the evening and only moderately jittery.


Welcome to my new blog. My nickname is Sarks and my real name is secret—for now. I ordered an iced tea from Starbucks recently and the barista misheard and wrote “Serena” on my cup, which always happens (and, honestly, it doesn’t bother me). So “Not Serena” is the online alias I have chosen for my blog.

The story behind my blog is this: June was simultaneously awful and amazing. I bypassed a long summer wait and had my gallbladder laparoscopically removed (sixteen days ago and after a year and a half of misery). I had an almost breakup. I am in the running for jobs on the opposite side of the continent, and I was offered another contract at my last job. Things were/are hectic and monotonous, all at once. There are possibilities and maybes and I am (finally) almost well enough to tackle them if they come. My apologies for the vagueness.

I am also on a mission to try things that scare me. I know for sure I wouldn’t enjoy bungee jumping or sky diving, but I might enjoy dance classes and photoshoots and doing work I love in a new city. I want to be healthier. I want to make my relationship better. I want to be be more confident, creative, assertive, and so on. So, if you want to follow along, welcome to my blog. Share your stories and thoughts too.