We consider ourselves lucky for having the pleasure of collaborating and working alongside such talented and dynamic interns at the Centre for Stories. Over the course of 2019, a number of interns made their mark at the Centre in some way—so let’s celebrate them!
Meet Tiffany Ko. Tiffany is a vibrant and colourful person with ambition to match. Over the past couple of months, Tiffany has dedicated her time to collecting eclectic stories from wonderfully eclectic people. Her contagious smile lights up the room and we’ve been incredibly #blessed to have her.
Tell the readers about yourself.
My name is Tiffany and I’ve just recently graduated from UWA doing English and Cultural Studies & Chinese – I know, it’s a mouthful! I moved to Perth from Hong Kong when I was six years old and have been here ever since, with a few visits back sprinkled in here and there. I think growing up I’ve always loved Australia, and Perth in particular, but I never fully appreciated it until I spent a year away. Actually, at the time I thought I’d never come back, but then my responsible side kicked in and took me on a last minute (and very expensive!) flight home to finish my degree. Being back made me realise just how lucky I was to call this unique city my home – and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In your time interning at the Centre for Stories you collected a series of stories called, A Few of My Favourite Things. Tell us about the series and what has surprised you.
The idea came to me because I’ve always been intrigued by people who have a collection, and have always wanted to be that someone who collected interesting things. Sadly, I’ve never owned anything remotely noteworthy – and trust me, I’ve tried many, many times. So I thought instead, why not find people who actually have something quirky, and hear the fun stories they have to tell? I really didn’t know what to expect when I first started searching for these stories, but one thing for sure is that they have definitely blown me away. Every person I’ve met through this project has inspired me by their pure passion, and I’m just so happy to have had the opportunity to bring them all together in this series.
You are an ambitious worker with a number of projects and experiences under your belt. What is it like navigating between Centre for Stories, Freo Press, and your other commitments? Do you find they intertwine?
Honestly, I love it! Working with the Centre for Stories and Fremantle Press intertwines in the best of ways. I’ve been able to explore different facets of writing, publishing and production that I’ve never tried or even known about before. I’ve also been helping out with the family business as well as teaching English part time, and it’s been a really rewarding experience – not to mention that the kids are crazy adorable! It’s definitely been keeping me busy, and I’m so incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work for places I have a genuine interest for.
Why did you decide to intern at the Centre for Stories, and was it what you expected?
The Centre had been on my radar for quite some time, and when I finally attended their events last year, I knew it was a place I’d love to be involved with. It’s definitely been what I expected and more – everyone is so warm and welcoming, and no day is ever the same. Some days I’m recording interviews, other days I’m learning the tips and tricks to a good social media post, and most recently I’ve been transcribing and testing out my TypeQuick skills (shout out to anyone who played it during primary school!) It’s just such a wonderful place to grow, and they have so many things on all the time so you’re never bored. It’s been really exciting seeing it thrive, and I can’t wait to see where it goes as it continues to expand!
We love a good story. Tell us a short story about a time when you encountered something remarkable.
A few years ago, my friend and I travelled up the Finnish Lapland in search of the Northern Lights. It was in the middle of winter, so you can probably guess what the weather was like – cold enough to turn your hair into icicles, but so crispy fresh that you didn’t really mind your lungs feeling like they were being cut into shreds if you inhaled too deeply. I still remember the first day we arrived. We’d taken a bus from Helsinki and the moment we left, we were surrounded by trees caked in snow as thick as icing sugar – it was magical. We were there 6 days, and every night we would go out, wrapped up like a snowball, ready to take on a winter storm. One thing we had in our favour was that ‘daytime’ only lasted about two hours. The rest of the day was spent in a transition between twilight and night time, when the stars would come out in a billion dazzling points in the sky.
Our first night was full of excitement and hope. We were going to see the Northern Lights! We’d mapped out the perfect spot – at the top of the ski slope, away from artificial lights. This would’ve been a flawless plan except for one small detail – we didn’t have any skis. Let’s just say, trudging up a gigantic slope on foot with no end in sight probably wasn’t a good idea. Finally after an hour or so, we got there. And waited. And waited. And waited…by that time it was past 1am and we felt like our fingers were going to fall out of their sockets. Still no Northern Lights. So we trudged our way back home, which was another adventure in itself. Going downhill is ten times harder than going up, and when we finally neared the bottom with that nice powdery snow…I got stuck in waist deep. Suffice to say, our first night was not a successful one, but at least it was full of tears from laughter.
In the nights that followed, we stayed out even later, trying out a different part of the area in hopes that we would catch a glimpse of the dancing Aurora. Maybe we needed to be higher? Stay out later! Or just give up…
And then our last night rolled around. Our bus was already booked to take us back to Helsinki the next morning, but we were determined to see the lights before we left. After all, we’d made this trip out solely in search of them. So we packed on eight layers, brought out the trusty snow saucers, and a sneaky bottle to keep us warm. Well that night was our lucky night. Within an hour (and it wasn’t even past midnight!) I saw them from the corner of my eye. At first, I thought I was hallucinating out of desperation, but they became more vibrant by the second, and right in front of us were the Northern Lights, dancing in all its pink and green glory. I don’t know if that extra juice had anything to do with it, but to this day, I still can’t find the words to describe its beauty. It was just such a surreal experience.
What’s on the horizon for you?
Hopefully a little bit more writing and a little bit more reading. I think I’ve been putting those things on the backburner, but I’ve finally realised that you should always make time for things that matter to you. It’s about time that I took that seriously!