personal

10 things you didn’t know about me

Tasmania Bay of Fires Coast Beach 1

I realise I’ve been blogging for a while now but haven’t ever done an introductory post or write about myself! A lot of you guys have said you wanted more personal posts so I thought we’d start 2018 off with this one! Here’s 10 things you probably didn’t know about me. Because I’m pretty private online, I think.

Featuring, some unpublished photos from our time at Bay of Fires in Tasmania, this time last year. Actually this post has been in the making for some time now, but I just haven’t had the time to publish it.

Tasmania Bay of Fires Coast Beach 2a

1) My family comes from Shanghai, China

My parents migrated from Shanghai, China to Melbourne some many years ago. My parents, my sister (and recently, a 2nd cousin) are the only family we have in Australia so it’s pretty interesting living here isolated from all our other family who reside in Shanghai & Singapore.

Although I was born in Australia, my first language was actually the dialect of Shanghainese and so during my earlier years, I was extremely fluent in Shanghainese and Mandarin, but didn’t speak a word of English. It wasn’t until I started kindergarten that I started learning English! Now, I’m finally fluent in all three languages – though my Chinese feels rusty if I don’t speak it often enough.

Tasmania Bay of Fires Coast Beach 2b

2) When I was at school, I absolutely hated English and PE class.

I was never good at English as it wasn’t my first language and as my parents were also learning English at the time, I learnt English by trudging along at primary school and trying to decode what everyone was saying. It was a tough time, I didn’t even know how to make friends as I couldn’t speak my potential friends’ language (haha). As a result, I didn’t enjoy anything English related and never scored well in any English tests or exams, even all the way up to VCE where English was by far the worst mark I got. From an early age, I had the same negative relationship with PE classes, I hated balls and team sports and being a small person also didn’t help.

Anyway, as a result of both these experiences, I one day vowed I would never pursue anything English related and oh, I totally didn’t have to exercise again once PE classes stopped (how intelligent).

Fast forward to now, I just graduated from law and marketing (two very language based courses), write a blog (I turned something I hate into my career, what?!) and love yoga, walking, pilates and hiking.

Tom was the one who got me into being active as he is a very sports-obsessed person. But still, no team sports please LOL. That time someone casually kicked a footy at me but kicked with such energy that it winded me and made me fall over has scarred me forever.

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3) I’m pretty introverted

I don’t know what kind of impression I give online, but I’m a pretty intense introvert. In Chinese culture, describing yourself on the extrovert/introvert continuum was always a common way to describe someone (内向/外向) – I learnt these words in Chinese before I learnt them in English but only recently understood the meaning of this. I used to always get confused because I like talking to people, so does that make me more extroverted? But I’m not really an extrovert, I hate large groups and gatherings? Anyway I totally get it now and I’m definitely one of those people who can get drained simply from being in a crowd of people and learning this about myself has been such an interesting experience because in a society that’s favours extroversion, I know why certain things drain me and how to handle my energy and look after myself better. 

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4) I’m always up in my head

Speaking of introversion, I don’t know if the two are related (actually I’m sure they are) but I am always, always up in my head. There are times where I will just phase out of a conversation someone is having with me because I am daydreaming or suddenly off thinking about something. I’m capable of literally sitting there and staring into space for an hour plus just critically thinking about life, culture, society and other things. I am also capable of daydreaming up extremely comprehensive and well thought out scenarios of how things might play out in a given situation, or imagining up or designing things in my head in extreme detail. In my brain, I can have completely whole conversations between myself and another that go on forever. How weird is that? If you ever catch me looking completely out of it, I’m probably doing one of the above.

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5) I’m obsessed with growing my own food

I absolutely LOVE growing my own food and have always been inspired by CERES, a community environment park in Brunswick East which I used to visit every year as part of a school excursion. There were 12 full sized veggie patches at my parents home and we’d constantly be growing a variety of veggies including cucumber, eggplant, capsicum, garlic, spring onion, jerusalem artichoke, red potato, garlic chives, broccolini, rocket leaves, baby spinach, red carrot, radish, tomato, long beans and more. And then there’s the herb garden too overflowing with sage, oregano, coriander, parsley (gosh that thing grows like a weed), mint, rosemary, basil.. I feel like growing food is such a fabulous and productive use of land and brings you closer to understanding and appreciating things we often take for granted.

Tasmania Bay of Fires Coast Beach 6a

6) I’m a sushi obsessed, part time vegetarian trying to eliminate dairy

When it comes to eating, I try my best to consciously incorporate more vegetarian meals into my diet. I’ve always grown up eating meat and love making pasta, sushi, dumplings and all. Currently I try my best to reduce the amount of beef I eat due to the environmental impacts of cattle farming. When prepping meals during the week, I generally prep one set of normal meals, with my second set being vegetarian – so it’s kind of like being a part time vegetarian. I feel like for those who are concerned about the environmental impacts or ethical impacts of eating meat, a really simple alternative solution is to simply eat less of it rather than try to eliminate it out of your diet completely. Not everyone agrees, but I really like the idea of part-time vegetarianism though really, there’s no need to have a label for things. Some people suggest ‘Meat Free Mondays’ or going 1-2 days a week meat free, but I feel like it’s easier to do it according to the dishes I am prepping.

I’m also lactose intolerant and so cook a lot of vegan recipes too. Cooking vegan food has made me realise that so many of the same foods are still accessible and able to be created without dairy (or meat) and it has made me realise that you don’t always have to have meat to make a meal more tasty, feeling or nutritious. So I really enjoy incorporating vegan food into my diet.

 

Tasmania Bay of Fires Coast Beach 6b

7) I’m trying my best to consume fashion more meaningfully

I love blogging and fashion but I totally believe in conscious consumption. I’m not so much persuaded by sales as I was when I was younger and less informed. You either need it or you don’t. If you don’t, there’s no point buying it even if it’s on sale. These days, I no longer attend the Boxing Day rush or mid-year sales unless there is something I specifically need. Behind every consumer purchase for me, there is an intense decision making process. I try my best not to clutter my world and am always, always re-selling, re-purposing or if it can’t be helped, re-cycling my things.

When purchasing, I try to find items that are good quality and is wearable season after season so that they can be worn again and again, even if I eventually sell it onto its next owner. If I have to, I’ll donate items to charity shops but I am conscious of the fact that 90% of the things donated unfortunately just get thrown out as all that bad quality stuff simply can’t be resold. So the best way to shop is not to think ‘oh I can just donate it and have someone else buy it’, it’s simply eliminating these purchases because chances are if it’s a really obscure and odd item, someone else won’t want to buy it second hand in an op shop either.

Lastly, clothing in the rubbish bin makes me hurt so much. Clothing takes so much more effort than you think to make and we need to cherish them for what they’re worth.

Anyway, this is the reason why I don’t enjoy or do ‘hauls’, ‘shopping sprees’ and the like on my blog, or images of owning excessive amounts of stuff.

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8) I’m trying my best to live sustainably

As you can gather, one of the things I am really passionate about is environmental conservation. I’m not perfect and of course I use energy, electricity and water like everyone else but I am always trying to find and learn new ways to keep the world as beautiful and natural as it always was. So if I’m buying a light bulb, I’m prefer to pay double the price for an energy saving one (hi, 4 watts globes, yes they exist!). If something comes in a re-fillable version, then I’ll buy that instead. I hate buying disposable things and try my best to avoid these. When watering the garden, I relish in the fact that we have collected this water from our two massive rainwater tanks. Clean water that goes down the drain is wasted water. If I have an old drink bottle with stagnant water, I’ll bring it into the garden instead of emptying down the drain. Every little act helps!

Climate change and the depletion of environmental resources freaks me out like no tomorrow and I can sit there for ages thinking about what I can do to help.

Tasmania Bay of Fires Coast Beach 8

9) I was born with ‘amblyopia’, also known as a lazy eye

Amblyopia is an issue with vision development where (for me) one eye has worse vision than the other, so the brain simply ‘tunes out’ the vision data it receives from the blurry eye and processes the data from the perfect vision eye instead. So I then end up with vision that’s kind of like mono vision. Which means I find it more difficult than others to judge distances. This manifests in situations like when I can’t tell I’m getting closer to a car in front of me until after my passenger has noticed, walking into furniture and doors all the time and looking at things from a slight angle because one eye is better than the other. Sadly and recently, my perfection vision eye has also deteriorated a little so now I sometimes wear glasses when I’m driving – but I’m so not used to the feeling.

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10) I’m obsessed with everything creative

On art, design and the creative industry, I honestly don’t know where my interest in creative things came from. Nobody in my family does anything remotely art related however I remember when was younger, I absolutely loved art class in primary school and my favourite hobby or after-school activity was drawing. I’d invite friends over to play and then the activity of the day would be sitting opposite each other with a paper and pencil and just drawing for hours.

In high school, I didn’t pursue art until my final year where I felt like I needed to honour that childhood dream and see where it could take me and so I impulsively decided to pick up Visual Communication & Design without knowing anything about the unit. I ended up scoring a perfect score in it and had my work exhibited as part of Melbourne Museum. Suddenly, I felt like six year old me knew something about myself that even I, aged 16 had no idea about and I vowed to continue exploring this avenue.

I feel like it’s just magical how children know themselves better than when they are adults, because they are so pure and authentic, without having been bombarded by other people’s expectations or external influences.

***

I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you can relate to anything I’ve written! I know my About Me page is quite vague so I’ll look into updating that in the mean time. As I personally love checking out people’s ‘About Me’ pages – it’s such a good way to get to know each other!

 

Location: Bay of Fires, Tasmania

Wearing: Steele dress 

Photography: Rowena Cao 

 

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    Rena
    January 15, 2018 at 6:39 PM

    You are so wonderful conscious and also very beautiful!
    xx Rena
    http://www.dressedwithsoul.com

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      January 16, 2018 at 12:39 PM

      thanks for the sweet comment!

  • Reply
    magdalena
    January 15, 2018 at 9:20 PM

    Hi Kani! I’ve been following your blog for several years now, I love scrolling down your travel posts and packing guides and I adore your photography style. I’m happy you decided to share this post because suddenly I feel like we have so much more in common than I ever thought (in terms of introversion and trying to be more sustainable)! I appreciate your approach to consumerism and I hope you’ll dedicate more posts to that topic in the future. Hope you have a great day! x

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      January 16, 2018 at 12:41 PM

      Hi Magdalena! That’s so cool to hear! Yes I don’t really like writing about myself haha (as you can see, taken me so many years to write even one post) but I’m so glad you like it and can connect with it :-) Hooray for introverts haha, life can be tough as one sometimes! And yes, it’s always a work in progress trying to live more sustainably and meaningfully! All the best, hope to share more posts like these soon.

  • Reply
    Annie
    January 15, 2018 at 9:32 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Your creativity is so inspiring.
    x
    http://www.latteandluxe.com

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      January 16, 2018 at 12:42 PM

      aw thanks annie! happy you enjoyed the post

  • Reply
    Julie
    January 16, 2018 at 8:45 AM

    Love this new post! I’ve been following your blog and instagram for a while now but have always been a silent reader, too shy to comment ^^”
    Can definitely relate to many things like my hate for English haha. My AIMs results (or NAPLAN as they call it these days) for English were atrocious! And not something I’d like to relive again… Introversion has always been a part of my life, and something I’m learning to accept about myself. My first year of uni was daunting (Monash graduate here too :P), and yet somehow I managed to charm my current group of friends into liking and hanging out with me haha. No, 4 and 10 is also basically me. I love making things (sewing, knitting, reusing packages/containers for something else like decorative purposes) and love trying out new crafts (a recent one being polymer clay modelling). I also love what you wrote in #7, about consuming fashion meaningfully and it’s definitely got me thinking about my own shopping habits.
    Anyway, sorry somehow this comment ended up being super long, so I’ll end it here :D looking forward to your future posts as always :)

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      January 16, 2018 at 12:45 PM

      Hey Julie! So nice to hear from you. Haha me too, it’s not like I can’t speak or write English, I just literally could not perform in any of the exams to much success. Haha hi5 to Monash grads :) Nice to see another one around! Uni is definitely hard since it’s such a social place, I was so lucky to have made the friends I did in first year cause I totally suck at making friends too! It sounds like we totally have a lot in common, how cool. Thanks for following my blog and Instagram here, so nice to meet you!

  • Reply
    Mani
    January 16, 2018 at 11:26 AM

    I really enjoyed this post! Even though I’ve been following your blog for years now, I feel like I got to know you a little better :) I can totally relate to hating PE class as a kid by the way, haha!

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      January 16, 2018 at 12:46 PM

      Hey Mani! Haha so nice to hear from you. I can’t explain how much I hated PE…. but I totally get and understand and appreciate how important moving and exercise is to your wellbeing now. PE was totally not my type of intro to the matter though!

  • Reply
    Isabelle
    January 16, 2018 at 12:34 PM

    I’ve been following you since 2011 and have never commented on the blog but this is actually my favourite post from you by far. It was really nice to get to know more about the personality behind the blog.

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      January 16, 2018 at 12:47 PM

      Hey Isabelle! So nice to hear from you :-) Thanks so much for following for so long! Hope to put together more posts like these in the future.

  • Reply
    April
    January 16, 2018 at 12:59 PM

    I can super relate with #4 and #6 as well!! I dont know if you remember people that regularly comment but been following your stuff since lookbook days and have seen your style evolve. Looking forward to reading/seeing more of your work as they are always so refreshing! 🍃

  • Reply
    Laura
    January 17, 2018 at 8:19 PM

    what a great post, i loved learning more about you! xx

  • Reply
    Rachel Lim
    January 24, 2018 at 11:54 PM

    Love it! Particularly the parts about being more sustainable in diet and fashion! Would love to see you championing some Aussie and ethically made brands! Also nod to the sentiment about returning to our childhood dreams. I thought I would be a psychologist or a florist when I was younger or a charity worker overseas) and now I’m a mental health nurse, do floristry on the side, and make ethical choices on a daily basis with global human rights in mind. Also I also get the thing where I drift off in conversations haha..! I feel like we’re so similar in many ways, and you haven’t changed at heart, funny how we grew apart from being besties all those years ago!

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      January 27, 2018 at 6:48 PM

      Thanks Rachel you’re so sweet :) It’s so great to see you’re doing all the things you always wanted to do. Funny how children are, I think they’re so much smarter than our adult selves at times! I think it’s so important to listen to kids, sometimes they know what’s best for them after all. All the best with everything, hope to always keep in touch!!

  • Reply
    April | April Everyday
    February 3, 2018 at 8:29 PM

    I love posts like this! I always love getting to know other bloggers more! I’m trying to become a part-time veggie too – I really want to cut down my meat intake and it actually makes me feel a whole lot better in myself too!
    Do you plan on doing any posts about your garden/recipes/ways to be more sustainable? I’d love to know more!
    xo April | April Everyday

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