28 August 2014

Thank you, Universe!

I guess my previous post was magic of some sort, because 10 hours after that post was published, we found the perfect place! It's been a day but we are still in disbelief at how quick we got it. Hardwood floors? Check. Awesome kitchen with awesome backsplash? Check. Triple pane insulated windows to save me from winter? ...Checccck. Dumpling hasn't taken very kindly to moving, though. The moment we hopped out of the car to take him in to the new place he let out a scream to make his hatred of sunlight, car rides and new places apparent. I'm sorry baby, but in a month you'll love rustling amongst leaves outside here, I promise!


Thanks universe! We're sure to cook up a storm.

26 August 2014

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS: Vancity of late

Hi guys! We're back in Vancouver and already very, very busy. We've been viewing many apartments, and lesson learned: guys, never, ever househunt in August here. You essentially face a LOT of competition, it's tough finding a pet-friendly building, and well, it's utterly depressing when you think you're definitely getting a unit you like and then you don't. Plus your old landlord may be busy with his new rentals, so he doesn't have time to call your new landlord back, so you're left with like, no references and a big fat NO from a housing agent you have grown to love.

Anyway problems aside, Vancouver's been greaaat and I am so happy I'm back. Every day skies are azure blue and white fluffy clouds line the skies and the air!!! I could go on for days about clean air. I'm down with another sinus infection, whats new, but here's a couple of pictures from the past few days. WARNING: A LOT OF SUNSHINE AHEAD. I love this city, I really do.


  
 Flying in to BC is always something, and okay I'll admit this: I picked the window seat and an afternoon flight so I could look out at the mountains while flying in. Unfortunately I forgot that snow melts in the summer, so I didn't really get my show of snowy ice-caps, but I did get to see fluffy clouds and rivers so I guess that's close enough. 


 We've been looking at Yaletown apartments and we love this neighbourhood! It's quiet and surrounded by parks, plus it's close to the heart of downtown and the view is lovely. I love walking down Richards / Seymour because almost everyone walks a dog, it's so fun saying hi and making new fur friends.  Speaking of fur friends... 

Dumpling!! Back in mommy's arms. He's still grumpy as ever, and he really, really needs a girlfriend. I can't believe I'm saying this but he's been making mating calls a lot and having a lot (and i mean A LOT) of 'boy time', so if there is a lovely lady hog out there who seeks a single M, Dumpling's your man! He's been learning how to climb stairs all summer and exploring grassy terrain, he's quite the ladykiller you know ;) 


 We sat by Canada place enjoying the view of, well, Vancouver, and watched seaplanes land and take off all afternoon!!

The waves rolling in were a bonus I guess.




Came across this beautiful building near Coal Harbour. 

Poutine at Smokes Poutinerie! I had poutine with spaghetti and meatballs and the meatballs were divine and soft and tasty. You have no idea. Plus their gravy was nice and easy on the stomach, so I'm guessing they don't use MSG in their gravy. MSG makes me bloat and unfortunately, many places that sell poutine use that, and it's always a battle between my head and my tummy, but usually my tummy wins and I walk around with what seems to be a soccer ball under my shirt after.

Brand New is coming and I don't have tickets: an autobiography 

My favourite road stretches in Vancouver are Granville (pictured) and W Broadway. There's always something that catches my eye, be it bagels or fresh fruit or a typewriter...

IT'S SUMMER!!! Which means we get to eat froyo at night because nights are now warm!!!! When fall comes we'll have giant slices of pizza in place of the froyo to warm our hands instead :)

On Sunday we stumbled upon a Thai food festival downtown, and I got my fix of Thai tea. Jw tried it for the first time and he loved it!

Found a hedgehog stuffed toy and I was so happy. 

We've been looking for a dog and when we were at a pet shop getting some stuff for Dumpling we saw a ton of puppies in their display cages looking so sad. I'll admit it, for a couple of seconds I was really excited about the corgi because we've wanted one for two years, but I don't want to support pet stores or puppy mills. Please get your dogs from shelters of breeders! Puppy mills are horrible and the puppies in pet stores don't deserve to be stuck in tiny cages. I think the one thing that disgusted me most was the way they priced their puppies. We saw a couple of puppies on discount because they had gotten so sick from being locked in cages like that with barely enough food and water, and other puppies cost 5x more than what they could cost if you got them from a proper breeder because they were deemed to be "trendier" dogs. It's terrible.

I haven't been cooking much because I don't have my own kitchen at the moment.. I really hope we find a place fast. On our first night here I missed my laksa so in the wee hours of the morning, I made that and we had kimbab and all was good. Then we went into jetlag slumber and woke up at *insert atrocious time*


Anyway, that's what my week has been like. I am still kind of jetlagged and really stressed out so my sinuses have gone into  full blown green slime mode, if that's an overshare I'm sorry... hope everyone's been having a great week so far!

19 August 2014

Wrapping up Singapore

Back to Vancouver tomorrow! (I think it's pretty clear how badly I've been wanting to go back). Here are a couple of photos, taken today and the day before to remember Singapore the way I want to. Waves of nostalgia ahead. You have been warned.

Yesterday, I met a friend (ok it's msracherawr if you must know) for more discount lunch, ha ha, at La Nonna.  And this was dessert– tiramisu for me, and panna cotta for her. My main was vongole and they gave me lots of clams, so that was dandy. They were really small though but I guess I shouldn't complain too much because I got it at half price, hurrah!

Dressed for tropical weather one last time. I'll miss the tank / short / flip-flops get up. My favourite. 
 




#chasinglight at my grandmother's house. I really like that gate. When we were little, my brother and I would always listen around for either the sound of footsteps and that rickety sound of the gate sliding open, because that would mean that someone had come to visit, or that my mom had come to pick us up. A lot of things in her house were DIY, and thats what I love about it because every imperfect thing in that little house gives it character. Behind that door you see in the picture is where my late grandfather hammered in two nails so that they could hang their keys there. They aren't even hammered in properly, and they're crooked, and I never noticed that he had put them in until yesterday.. but its little things like this that make a house a home.

 

Went back to Starbucks at Holland Village to read for a bit. Am I basic yet?? No but really I used to frequent that place a lot (read: every day) when I was in high school, and I'm quite glad that I have managed to kind of cut Starbucks out of my diet. In Canada, Starbucks was right beside us so I went there all the time and I always got free stuff from the nice baristas. Sometimes I'd get free drinks and other times, if i went during closing hour they'd give me lots of study snacks and muffins! Thank you baristas. You made bad days good with your kindness :) 


Went to the chinese medical hall for some good old traditional medicine. It kind of looks like forest fairy food, don't you think. 

 My grandmother cooking. She's so good at it and I love everything she cooks. She's made so many dishes I love since May and saying goodbye to her today was so so sad. I love this woman so so so much.

 I got this top from a street stall in Bangkok 5 years ago for eight dollars. I found it in my closet this morning and I'm surprised it still looks reasonably new– I used to wear it a lot.

.... And for my last lunch here: (very good) fried carrot cake at Kopitiam in Swissotel. I guess this picture wraps up the eating in Singapore series that I've been blogging about.  P/s: remember what I said about their bad lighting for instagram? I went in the afternoon today so it was natural light all over, you feel? 

I guess that's all of Singapore for now! This is the first time in two years that I've been back properly (the last time I stayed for about two and a half weeks, and that was a year and a half ago). It was good being here and accomplishing so much in such a short amount of time. On another note, two years was enough to show me that my parents aren't getting any younger... oh, life.   
I don't mean this in a dramatic manner but I really don't know when I'll be back again, and it's a little scary thinking about that but there are places and people out there I have yet to meet! To new beginnings.

I'm really excited to go back and start looking at the apartments we've shortlisted (they look great and if we get any one of them i'd be pleased. Also, isn't it weird seeing things in real life?). I also have to argue with damn Bell because they really like getting on my nerves. A lot. There's also a ton of laundry we have to do... So yeah. I guess new adventures for the time being include dealing with things like that. I'm sure they're compelling in their own ways.. ha ha.


17 August 2014

What I've been up to: Bangkok Day 2 / Last few eats in Singapore..

Hey guys! It's been a really (and I mean REALLY) busy week. I've been trying to tie things up with a big nice bow since I returned from Bangkok, clear my room, and pack my suitcases, and it is no easy feat considering the fact that there are 24 hours in a day and I spend half of it sleeping.  Here are a couple of pictures and words where I left off.

BANGKOK 



Bangkok was perfect– three days of perpetual food coma and it was good food everywhere. We stayed around the Ploenchit area (kind of like downtown) so we got around mostly by foot thanks to their skywalk which links up a good chunk of downtown Bangkok! I also mentioned that I hoped to get a foot massage in my previous post and I did. My mom had already been on the lookout for Lek's foot massage the day we arrived because she had gone to them the last time she was there, and on our last day there, we found them, conveniently located opposite Siam Paragon on the skywalk.  You don't know relaxing until you are aching all over from walking miles and you get a foot massage. It was heaven!!! We got a one-hour massage but ended up asking them to extend the time because it was that stress-relieving. Also, I'm not sure if people know about this, but you know how animals have that nerve/knot at the back of their neck that makes them fall asleep? I'm prettyyy sure people have it too, because when the lady started working on my neck I fell asleep immediately– the kind of sleep where you're semi-aware of your surroundings but your eyelids just won't stay open and you can't move. So perfect.

  
Fried pork trotters / pig skin at Mango Tree Bistro in Centralworld. Delish! (We had tom yum soup at every meal) 
  
Fuji Japanese Restaurant is a restaurant chain in Thailand. I first discovered it when I went to Huahin a couple of years ago. They are pretty inexpensive and the quality of sashimi and sushi you get for their pricing is really something! I think they're a lot better (and cheaper) than Sushi Tei (another restaurant chain) in Singapore. This place is always a must go whenever we are in Thailand.  These pictures don't capture half of what we ordered. We were really starving that day, and apart from the sashimi set / bacon wrapped enoki / salmon sashimi, there was also dobunmushi, chawanmushi, tempura, and other kinds of sushi (i think a dragonroll?). Also, a very happy me. 

  
I got a clip-on fish eye lens for my phone! Here is my beautiful mom and me. It was nice spending time with my mom. It's never easy being away from momma (and family of course), I hope my family visits soon! 


SINGAPORE

Yesterday we paid a visit to Tampopo at Liang Court. We meant to go to Marutama ramen upstairs, but it turns out that their ramen base is chicken and my dad and I are kind of allergic to chicken and egg here (it's really strange, but we highly suspect that it's the hormones in the chicken here that cause this allergy, especially because we don't have this problem overseas / in Vancouver.) We eventually found Tampopo, and I ordered their pork bone ramen with a salmon onigiri. Their ramen noodles weren't the best, but that pork soup base sure was. And by 'sure was' i mean, like. souperporkalisticaspiadelicious. If any of you guys are from Singapore–my blog stats tell me most of you aren't, you seriously have to go here just for the soup. Another ramen place that I really like, noodles, eggs, soup and all is Yoshimaru Ramen Bar in Holland Village.  Unfortunately because of my recently developed egg allergy, no ramen eggs were had yesterday and that was sad.


 On Saturday I went to Serangoon Gardens Market to have hawker fare for the last time. It was especially nice because I grew up in that estate, and I guess I won't be seeing it for a long time. I had a lotttt of food there, like roast poultry (pictured above:  Poh Poh chicken and duck stall), fried carrot cake, beancurd and my beloved bak chor mee. The stalls I used to get food from as a kid are Rollina, Botanic Gardens bcm and laksa, the carrot cake stall beside the botanic gardens stall (haha), Selegie Soya Milk, and that one prawn noodle stall that up til today I still forget the name of. 

Blanco Prawn Noodles! I've never tried it before, and today my mom and I stumbled upon it so we HAD to try. (In case you haven't already guessed, histamines in egg = histamines in prawn so I got my noodles without prawns.. womp womp) I guess we were really lucky we found it, because it lives up to the hype! I guess one thing I'll miss about Singapore is the fact that good food is everywhere around and you are always likely to discover something great, like this. 

Other than eating, I haven't really been doing anything productive, so when I head back to the couv i'm definitely spending a lot of alone / outdoor time. The other day I met a friend and we paid a visit to Kino where I kind of sort of just fell into the whole quarterly magazine thing again, if you know what I mean ^^ so now there are places I have to visit, things I have to cook, and mountains I have to climb. Also, an empty space out there that I will turn into a home.  And I'm looking forward to that ;)

12 August 2014

Greetings from Bangkok!

No guesses where I am right now! Bangkok is an oven as usual, but it's nice to be back, especially because I used to travel here quite a fair bit a few years ago. Bangkok is obviously a food fest and shopping is great. Today my mom and I stumbled upon a Kate Spade / Jack Spade sale – everything was 60-80% off! Can you believe it.

As mentioned on Instagram, today we went allllll out and had a lot of food, having as many meals as possible and keeping our tummies nice and filled. We haven't really ventured out of the usual Siam / Central paradigm unfortunately, and I don't think we will because there's so much of that that we've missed.
Some photos....

Bangkok greeted us with showers. I snapped this picture while we were in the car from the airport to the hotel, caught in a typical Bangkok jam. In half an hour, we literally moved an inch from where this photo was taken.


Looking out from the Skywalk.  

I guess this is what people mean when they say that their eyebags are the size of Africa. 



Pillow talk ;) ha ha 

We went to the shops in Siam Square today and they are still as unique (read: CHEAP SHOPPING) as ever. I thought this picture would turn out ~artistic~ but I was wrong. If I were putting this up on Instagram, my caption would be 'Trouser print details', or something.  


The basement at Siam Paragon is foodie heaven (so is the food hall in Central World!!) Two years ago they served the BEST (I don't use this word sparingly, huh) roast pork in the food court at Siam Paragon. It was too crowded today so I didn't get to go, but hopefully it's still around and I get to have some tomorrow. Today we had one of our many meals in Kloset Cafe @ Paragon. The decor was so charming, I think I got a couple of ideas for the new place from them.



Mommy ^_^ 

Lunch at Cafe 93  run by Jim Thompson. We visited their factory outlet in the morning and it's amazing how much the price difference can be! That aside, can I now rave about Tom Yum soup. How is it so yummy??? I feel like I need to have a bowl of it whenever I can, and the same goes for Thai tea.

A place we went to today that I found really interesting was Siam Square One, which is new I think (?) I've never seen it around before, and most of the shops there carry things made by local designers, so it was nice looking at things that weren't typically designed for mass markets, ha. My feet hurt so much from walking around all day, I hope I get to go for a foot massage tomorrow.. *moon emoji* Until next time!