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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Staying Connected

 I think one of the most difficult things about moving abroad is feeling completely disconnected from my "real" life.  I feel like I'm missing out on friends, memories and experiences, especially when it seems like they need me.  I wish I could be there for my friends when they are having an amazing day, want to go shopping, ask which shoes to buy or vent about whoever they're dating.  Thank goodness for the internet, because without it, I would be miserable!

However, now is one of those times I wish I could be more easily accessible...I have a friend who will be going in for an operation tomorrow and while I have high hopes and great optimism, there is always a bit of nervousness behind it all.  Please have warm thoughts!

Speaking of friends and my life back home, I ran into someone this past weekend!  Yes, a totally random run-in in Singapore!  It was like one of those movie moments.  I was sitting around the pool on Sentosa at Tanjong Beach Club when I see this guy walking past me.  I think to myself, "There is no way that is Jordan...there is nooooo efffing wayyyy..."  But as he made eye contact, he did a double take and that, to me, was the signal to freak out, jump up and give him the biggest hug ever!  Imagine, running into an old friend you haven't seen in over 2 years in another country without even planning it?!  Those are slim odds, my friend!

Anyways, if you're like me, so far I find the internet essential in keeping in touch with friends. Facebook, Gchat, calling on gchat and skype...you name it!  I wish I had a Blackberry so that I could use BBM, too!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

California RSVP Me

I've mentally decided to make my visit to California in March!  Please reserve the weekends of March 18th and March 25th as one of those will be a trip to Vegas and the other is undecided.  Is anyone even left in San Diego or has everyone migrated up North?  I can't wait!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Retail Therapy

I forgot to mention that I got my first paycheck this week (woo!) and along with paying for my room I splurged yesterday and today.  I bought myself:

1.  A pink jersey dress
2.  A grey jersey cardigan
3.  A shirt (for work...had to justify a third item lol)
4.  A new fragrance: Versace Bright Crystal
5.  Concealer: Diorskin Sculpt

I know, it doesn't seem like much but I've been holding off and I just had to celebrate a bit.  I was pretty upset this morning because it seems that Singapore's post lost my package that my mom lovingly sent to me.  I was/am seriously bummed out about it.  My go-to red dress, my trusty curler, new and expensive makeup...and so much more!  It hurts!  Sigh.

Anyways, as a review, I'm really loving the perfume.  I've always wanted to try and find a new scent, but it's just so overwhelming with all the different options competing against each other. The fact that they have a limited selection and that they're so overpriced compared to that in the States just makes me want to cringe.  However, I had a day off and lots of time to kill today so I went to Sephora (which does NOT have the same return policy) and literally smelled every perfume they had until the very patient guy, Louise, help me decide on Versace Bright Crystal.  There was this other perfume that smelled perfect, exactly what I wanted, but it was something ridiculous like $388 SGD, which is almost $300 USD.  God.  I have expensive taste I guess.  But Versace is nice; I wanted something everyday, clean, soft, and non-offensive.  It smells like roses, to me, but not overbearingly floral.  The bottle is also sweet...I can't decide if its cute and simple or a bit tacky.  Hm.

Dior Skin Sculpt is a pretty good concealer from what I've seen so far.  It matches me perfectly (I dislike having to figure out my match) and comes in a wand-format...while convenient, I prefer something more sanitary like a tube. I think its a bit drier as a formula and am actually thinking about extending my splurge and getting Shu Uemura's tube of creamy somethingness (good one, right?).  It felt too thick on me at the time but maybe that was because I applied it in the middle of the day.

Okay, what a dull post, but it's my day off, gimme a break.  And really, boys just don't understand:  retail therapy works.  It makes us feel spoiled, accomplished, and above all: happy!  I'm going to end the day with a glass of wine because I can't imagine anything more perfect.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Weekend Report

I decided that despite my weak attempts to avoid mundane posts, I do miss blogging on a meandering basis.  I feel like I have to justify blogging by making it a quality post, which is pressure I avoid by not blogging at all.  I don't blog to impress people (though I do want to avoid any sort of negative impressions) as much as I do to mainly have an outlet that is quick, easy, accessible, while proving to my family back home that I'm still alive.  So with that, I decided that I would try and condense my personal updates and reports into weekly posts so that its easier to skip if you're bored. =)

With that, I'm excited to update with the fact that I will officially be renting out my own room starting December 1st!  Until now, I've never had to sign any contracts or feel legally bound in any way, even in college.  I definitely felt a lot of doubt and apprehension as I feel it's such a big commitment, but at the same time felt that it was time I bit the bullet and finally did what so many others have already done by now:  start being a grown-up.  (ew)

Work has been good...I like teaching and it's flexible, though it's a bit tricky with scheduling; FYI, I don't know my day's work schedule until the evening before.  I know, it's weird, you may not understand, but I can't schedule or plan ahead really...oh, and I work on weekends.  =/  It's tricky to organize any of my social activities, but I'm still in it, so text me.  =)

I had a really frustrating week of Thanksgiving apprehension only to have all my (hopeful) Thanksgiving plans fall through (as I can't plan ahead due to work, remember?).  However, I was able to eat a great steak on Saturday with mashed potatoes and even ordered grilled onions.  YES.  It actually satiated my Thanksgiving meal craving.  That's all I really wanted!  A good steak, mashed potatoes and grilled onions.  It was funny because when I asked for grilled onions, they were puzzled but brought out a big dish of grilled onions.  And I ate them ALL!  Muahahahaaa...I felt a bit ill afterwards, actually, but can you blame me?  It was my first steak in over 7 months!

Anyways, I'm sleepy now, so I'll cease typing.  Good night!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving, to fellow Americans!

Embarassingly enough, it took me all day to remind myself what to be thankful for.  I was in a pretty down mood as several attempts to make Thanksgiving dinner plans Thursday (today), Friday or Sunday all fell through due to work scheduling and conflicts.  Along with a terrible work schedule this week, the sky decided to dump buckets of water and get me uncomfortably damp for work.  Just little things that accumulated throughout the day made me bummed out and I felt like I had no one to support me or vent to, especially when it is a holiday you're supposed to be with family and friends.

Anyways, I gotta snap out of it.  Today was just "one of those days."

So, my list of what I'm thankful for:

1.  Health.  I still have the immune system like I'm the runt of the litter, but I'm still here!
2.  Family and Friends.  They may be thousands of miles away, but regardless, I have them in the first place.  I also have some wonderful friends in Singapore.
3.  I'm in Singapore.  How many people can say they are taking a risk and staying abroad?
4.  I've been able to travel.

I'll try to focus on the good right now.  The holidays seem to be a rough time for me being away from home.  I think I might just have to accept that I won't have a festive holiday season this year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving in Singapore 2010

I've been doing research on where to find Thanksgiving dinners in Singapore and thought I'd just do a quick post on my findings for those who are also craving some holiday zest:

Marriott Hotel
4 Seasons Hotel
($75 per person, only on the 25th)
Dan Ryan's Chicago Grill
($52 per person for a 4-course meal, only on the 25th)
Fullerton Hotel
($58 per person, on the 25th. $158 per person with alcohol for Sunday Brunch)
Brewerkz

And that's as far as I've gotten on my search!  Does anyone else have more tips??  I know some of these places have Sunday Brunch as well...you'll have to call to check it out!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bali Bound

I went to Bali for the first time in November 2006 and wasn't impressed.  I was on Kuta Beach, a this nice little place (I say "place" because it wasn't a hotel, motel, inn or villa...what are they called?) but was generally uninspired by the griminess of Bali.

However, I had no idea how amazing Bali could be until I went this past weekend.  We stayed at this amazing villa called Saba Villa, which had different options in regards to how large your party was (you could link up several villas together...cool!).


We were picked up from the airport, driven to the villas, and given these lovely lei's the moment we got out...they smelled so amazing!  The welcome drink they gave us was lovely, as well.  It was some concoction of honeydew, lemon juice and...honey?  I forget, but it was rimmed with pink sugar!  I was already smitten!

The following photos are of the general villa, though I didn't take any photos of the bedroom.  Isn't it beautiful?   We had a private pool, an open-air living room and bathroom, and an ipod deck that was perfect to play our music.  They actually had fully loaded ipods for us to use but I used my own.




Friday night we went to this restaurant called Metis.  It's pretty new, I hear, and completely romantic.  I felt like a peasant being treated like a princess this weekend!  The photos don't do it justice, I was just too embarrassed to go all out with my giant SLR.  



We had the steak tartare, some sort of deep fried flower stuffed with goat cheese, crispy pork, shrimp and scallops, and lots of wine.  The food was delicious!  How could it not be?  We didn't even have room for dessert.

During the day, Saturday, we had a great breakfast at the villa (omlette, pancakes, sausage and eggs...I haven't really had a proper breakfast like this since I left the States!).  The customer service here is absolutely perfect, everyone was super nice.  We lounged around the pool swimming, tanning, napping, watching movies, more swimming, etc. until dinnertime.  Here are a few more photos of the villa during the day.


You can see the ipod deck here!  Super nice to have, I'll consider getting one one day.


This statue is so quirky on its own, but with the whole decor, it's really nice! I would never think of putting it all together like this.


I'd love to have my own place like this one day...

We were so lucky to have sun this weekend, especially with it being rainy season and all.  Last time we went to Railay Beach it was, unfortunately, rainy and overcast for most of the weekend.  This time we traded the rain in Singapore for the sun in Bali!

In the evening, we went to the famous restaurant, Ku De Ta.  If you remember, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel opened up a Ku De Ta at the top of their hotel right next to the infinity pool.  


This year is their 10 year anniversary, so they had these adorable red lanterns hanging outside of the place with the theme of "Celebrating 10 Years of Love."


Compared to Metis, Ku De Ta is much more trendy and upbeat.  It's an amazing place and totally blows the KDT at the Sands Hotel out of the water.  Maybe the food is similar, but the venue itself is incredible.  They have several different bars and even a rooftop bar (pictured below).



Again, didn't take great photos but you get the jist.  These lounges, actually, are facing the ocean where turtles lay their eggs.  I'm not joking when I say this place is impressive!  We had drinks on the lounges until our reservation: White Russian for me, Berry Bellinis, and too much white wine. 

For dinner we had pork belly (appetizer, omg), duck confit, beef tenderloin and cheek, 4 types of creme brulee and even more wine.  It was my first piece of steak since I'd left California so it was just pure heaven for me.  

We went to Hu'u Bar after but I didn't take any photos.  It was also very pretty with its twinkling lights and mellow music.  It was actually pouring in the evening.  I swear, I've seen it rain in several parts of Asia, but I've never heard rain pour like it does in Bali.  This time and the first time I came 4 years ago both had just straight downpours that soak you in half a second.  It was nice to listen to, though.  We went back to the villa and swam in the pool while it was raining for a bit, too!  

The next morning, we had another great breakfast (eggs benedict this time...yum!), swam and sunned and then had to sadly pack up and head to the airport.  I tried taking a few last second photos of the surrounding areas since we never left the villa during the day time prior.




A shot of the entrance through the rear window...good bye Saba!

So I guess the real reason people come to Bali is for the resorts, the villas, the restaurants and lifestyle at a bargain price (I say "bargain" because I still can't afford it, but people with real jobs can).  It was seriously one of the best weekends/trips/experiences I've had so far, definitely amongst my Top 3 (the other two include driving through Bohol, Philippines, and going caving in Sagada, Philippines).

Overall, the weekend was surprising, fun, exciting, indulgent, relaxing, and completely romantic.  Absolutely perfect.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

British-Speak

As into travel and culture that I am, I am surprised to realize that I know almost nothing about the other English-speaking cultures like the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  I love language and the linguistics, and it's been fun and fascinating to learn "new" words that use the same English language.  These are my three most notable for different reasons:

"Pants" is apparently underwear in the UK.  I sound inappropriately intimate when talking about someone's "pants" when I really intend to focus on their "trousers."  #1 spot because it comes up in conversations more often than not and so I actually say "trousers" now.

"Rude Boy."  Now I know what Rihanna's song is talking about.  Apparently this is a slang name for gangster bad boys in the UK.  #2 because it was like a revelation for me.  Yes, I focus on the important things in life.

"Bird."  I was the most thrown off by this one, actually!  It's slang for a female, of all things!  As in, "Who's that bird?"  I asked if it was meant in a derogatory manner and my British friends gave a negative on that. #3 because I had never, ever heard of this term before and it made me laugh.  I'm a bird?!

Can I take your picture?

As an amateur photographer, I really like macro settings, short focal points and people portraits.  My problem is, how do you ask someone to take their photo and then have them look natural again for your photos?  Fashion blogs or photoblogs like The Sartorialist take great photos of people who look so natural. Is it just that his targets WANT to be photographed?  That they're prepared?  Can someone offer advice on how to go about this?

Holiday Cravings

I'd really like to:

wear a sweater
wear a scarf
wear thigh-high boots (in the most non-hookerish way...ok or maybe just a classy hooker.  It's possible, people!)
drink peppermint mochas
take photos of people without looking like a stalker
dance and sing to holiday songs
cook a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner
bake cookies and give them away
figure out how to appreciate wine
have a kitten or puppy I could tie a red ribbon on
wear a red ribbon myself
wear leg warmers
make a snowman
build a snow fort
make snow angels

Yup!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Wish List

With Christmas coming up and my initiation of gift shopping, I thought about what I want this year.  I don't usually have things I want, but this year, I actually want too much!  I guess it's just things in general that I want to be able to earn eventually:

A new camera lens.  My poor lens has never been the same on my Rebel T2i.  It's really discouraging me from wanting to take more photos and improve my skill with its handling if the camera can't focus!  I hope it's just the lens and not the actual camera with the problem...

A Kindle.  Amazon has apparently released the new Kindle and it looks pretty cool.  I really like reading but books are so darn expensive these days that a Kindle just makes more sense.  I could read on the MRT, the bus, while waiting...all in my purse.  Sounds nice!

Wacom Tablet.  Wacom makes the best tablets and I want to learn how to use one!  I remember I almost bought one for myself when I had saved up enough but then had to use the money for something else. Bummer.

New Phone.  Okay, as much as I love my True Blue, I think it's time for me to upgrade.  I've never had a "cool" phone, or even a current one, really.  I've always had hand-me-downs, or whatever free phone they gave out.  Blackberry, I'm looking at you!

Lynda.com subscription.  Okay, with my Wacom tablet, I will need to learn how to use all the various products like Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.  Especially since I can't afford to go back to school to learn all this!

Those are my main things...as always, I also want a new bag, shoes, dress, etc.  Typical girl, aren't I?

I guess a lot of it stems from being abroad now...I usually wouldn't crave a Kindle or new lense so much except for the fact that I'm often in mid-transit. 

Actually, for this Christmas, I would love to be in California with my family.  I'd love to be cooking delicious dinners, baking yummy cookies and cakes, eating gluttonous meals, drinking peppermint mochas, seeing my friends, playing with my dogs in the leaves, wearing colorful scarves, and throwing an ugly sweater holiday party.  I'd like to be somewhere cooler than 80 degrees Farenheit! 

Anyways, I shouldn't complain, I'm in Singapore, living a different life, with different friends, different climate and different travel opportunities.  Life is good and I'm thankful for that. 

But I still miss California Christmases! =)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloweekend

I do the same thing every year for Halloween:  think and ponder about costumes, forget how quickly it comes up, scramble at the last minute, end up with a lame half-assed attempt at my original idea.

Last year, I was Lady Gaga:


Despite having a plan to be her, I didn't really put the necessary effort into replicating one of her notorious outfits because I know it would be cold in San Francisco, and I can't handle the cold at all.


This year was no different despite being in another country.


Apparently, Hello Kitty wears jeggings and a tshirt.  

I orginally had a whole other outfit that came complete with a red skirt, red suspenders and big yellow buttons, but due to several reasons, it didn't work out as I wanted to dress up Friday night since I thought I wouldn't be able to do so on Saturday.  Apparently, no one dresses up Friday  night, only Saturday.


Mostly everyone (ie girls) wear a cute outfit and animal ears of some sort.  Yup, creativity goes international.


We went to the popular expat club, Attica, at Clarke Quay and it was massively packed to insanity.  Luckily, the guys were able to sneak a table by saying they had reserved it and put their Magnums on the table to claim the spot.  Otherwise, I would have left in an instant as it was a big sweaty room.

Hopefully next year I'll find something more creative...!

Workin' it

I rarely weigh myself because I don't own a scale, but I do know that I generally fluctuate between 108 lbs and 115 lbs.  When I left the States in mid-April, I weighed a record low of 105 pounds.  I haven't been that light since high school and I blame it on the stress and schedule of working retail management (the ultimate diet: stress).  Upon leaving in April, I indulged myself in the amazing and wonderful foods of Hong Kong, the MSG-ridden crap of Manila, the healthy and fresh veggies of Vietnam, the heavy grease of China, and the various yummy items of Singapore (that also have lots and lots of MSG).  I weighed myself a couple weeks ago (just because my friend happened to have a scale in her restroom) and saw that I weighed 54.1 kg.

I thought to myself, "Okay, I think you just double the number to get pounds...so that's like 110 lbs, right?  That's about right..."

WRONG.

I googled the conversion and thats 119.2 lbs!  This may not sound like much, and no, I'm not saying I'm fat, but 10 pounds on my frame makes a big difference! Not that I want to start obsessing about my weight, but I'm determined to get back down to 113 lbs, ideally 110.

I started running.  I know, it's hard to believe, but I did!  I've gone running at least 3-4 times a week in the past 2 weeks and that's amazing for me because I don't run unless its to save my life.

Today, I weighed myself and I'm ::drumroll::  115 lbs (after a breakfast).  Woo!  A small victory for someone who has never really been able to maintain an exercise regimen.  In the end, it's not really about how much I weight, but how I fit into my clothes...don't get me wrong, I like that my boobs got an extra layer in fat, but most of it went to my stomach and thighs.  Ick!

You're Ma Boy, Blue!

Oh dear...another phone bites the dust!  Going from the snazzy Razr back to ma true blue.


Apparently, I used the screen as leverage when I was trying to hoist myself out of bed.  Oh, dear Razr, you lasted me...2 months?  This is why I can't get an iPhone...it would just be a wasted investment for me.  A Blackberry, however, would be nice...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Extended

I officially extended my flight back home on Friday and it's a relief to finally come to a decision about it.  I was half set on leaving Singapore for Vietnam tomorrow and then fly back to LA on Thursday (with a few days to buffer my travel) but as I got closer to my leave date, the more anxious I got.  It's bizarre to think that I am supposed to be leaving tomorrow because I'm sitting here watching my friends play virtual golf after going out for a big bowl of Ramen.  Despite my disappointment of not seeing my friends and family in beautiful California, I'm happy with my decision.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Salad in Singapore

It seems that salad falls on my list of foods that are difficult to find (along with tacos, burritos, In N Out, and good Italian).  So when I came across a salad bar today, I got super excited despite the high price tag for veggies.  It reminded me of Sixth College at UCSD, where you could mix your own salad and they tossed it for you with dressing.  So, my craving combined with nostalgia made me buy a compulsive salad that I ended up carrying around with me for the rest of the day.  However, when it came to actually deciding what to put in it, I got a bit overwhelmed and just added everything that I liked:

Edamame
Red Beets
Onions
Mangos
Grapes
Tomatoes
Extra tomatoes
Raisins
Cranberries
Cucumbers

And probably more.  Unfortunately, it didnt end up tasting very good.  I guess there is such thing as too much of a good thing...or maybe its too many good things (at once) for me.

Questions and Answers

I hear a lot of the same phrases time and time again:
"You are crazy."
"Your'e so lucky."
"How are you able to travel for so long?"
"How do you have the money?"
"Where do you stay?"
"What do you do?"
"I wish I could do what you're doing."

I'll address a few of these:


"You are crazy."  
Maybe.  I think, to be more descriptive, I'm being adventurous, risky, and a bit reckless.  Why?  Because life hasn't been going according to plan, so I can't find justification in trying to stick with it.

"You're so lucky."
Yes, I really am.  I am a very lucky lucky girl to be able to have supportive friends, family and amazing opportunities (ie: traveling to Hong Kong, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, China, etc).  To be fair, I've also come across some bad luck.  Examples would be messing up my knee, being sick more often than normal, chipping my tooth, missing two flights, having cancelled flights, etc etc...it's easy to get caught up in the bad luck, but I have to remember all the good, too!

"How are you able to travel for so long?"
"How do you have the money?"
"Where do you stay?"
I'm just bunching these three together because I can answer all in one go.  Unlike some speculations, I actually saved up my own money for the past year.  I also had a savings account I never touched but kept for several years and inevitably had to tap into when I made the big decision to stay abroad longer.  So savings combined with generous friends who let me stay at their places = stretched budgeting.  Yes, it's scary and risky, especially for someone like me who likes having a solid plan, but money is money and it's something I can make back (I hope).

"What do you do?"
These days, a lot of job hunting.  I also like to aggressively keep in touch with friends back home aka Facebook stalk people.  I also like to eat a lot; I gained weight in Asia.  I take photos, though not enough.  I go out on weekends mostly and try to recruit girls for our group.  I should really do more.

"I wish I could do what you're doing."
You know, I hear this allll the time...and the annoying truth is, you CAN.  I did it; I am doing it, so can anyone else. However, I understand that unlike me, most people have jobs and responsibilities.  I'm just saying that many of these responsible adults hate their jobs and live with a slight regret of never traveling.  If you really wanted to, you could.  As for accommodation, check out www.couchsurfing.org.  It's a great site that is dedicated to connecting people all over the world and safe about it.


I'm trying to stay young and grow up at the same time.


Anyways, the real purpose of this post was to cover this past weekend.  Saturday was pretty important to me because I wanted to take my generous and gracious hosts out as a small thank you for letting me stay with them for so long.  Singapore was actually more of a last minute escape plan, but they have been so good to me to let me stay for such a ridiculous amount of time and help me get back on my feet.

As a quick recap, we went to Lantern, which is this lovely lounge bar a the top of the Fullerton Bay Hotel that has a great view of Marina Bay.  Of course, I didn't take any photos of the actual lounge itself, so I'll have to do that next time.  I reserved a couple bay couches for us and ordered a Rose to chill out before heading to Ku De Ta (again).  Adam has been awesome at getting us in and so I really wanted to take my friends up there before I left Singapore since it's so difficult otherwise.

A different angle of the Sands.

After, we headed to Stereolab and supper at Netwon Hawker Center.  Aaand now I'm too tired to keep typing.  The end.  For now.

F1 Weekend

I've been procrastinating my post on the Grand Prix weekend because...well, I didn't really partake much in it.  I think know why its done at night though; it would be way too hot if done during the day!


There were just massive amounts of people walking around.  It was actually a very pleasant night...probably equal to a warm summer's night in California, but all the bodies created this gross too-close-for-comfort heat.  So we decided to escape to a hotel bar for a couple hours before the preliminaries began.  

Passed a very enthusiastic dude along the way...

We ended up at the Mandarin Oriental...or was it the Mandarin Hotel?  Something like that, there are 3 Mandarin hotels in Singapore.  Turns out there is a sweet lounge that is located right above one of the race track's turns:

So we didn't see Adam Lambert perform (not a huge loss on my end) and ended up watching F1 from an air conditioned lounge with wine, music and soft couches.  Why did we even bother to buy tickets?

We were given these beautiful complimentary h'orderves but I was disappointed to say that they were downright awful!  =( 

Leaving the hotel to catch a taxi to the Sands Hotel was the challenging part.  Since the weekend attracted a huge influx of tourists and most of the area was blocked off and rerouted, finding a taxi to get to where you wanted to go was a hassle.  We waited over a half hour for a taxi at the hotel and even then, it took us ages to get to the Sands (which we could see in plain sight from where we stood!).  

BUT, it was totally worth it because while we were waiting, guess who came out of the hotel and strolled into a waiting taxi that was right in front of me?  Ron Weasley!  Okay, I forget his actual name (I'm awful, I know) but the actor from the Harry Potter movies walked by and I was like, "Hey, it's Ron Weasley!"  I'm not that smooth, what can I say.  At least I didn't ask for a photo.  I have a little bit of pride, somewhat.  The other guys didn't believe me at first but they looked and were like, "Oh hey, it is..."  Obviously, I was the only one impressed.  What can I say, I'm a big fan.

Afterwards, we were able to get up to Ku De Ta (the new venue on top of the Sands Hotel) and see the racetracks from there as well...we probably should have watched it from there if we had known we could have gotten in!


I have to say that I've been pretty lucky to be able to go up to the top of Sands so many times already.





Thursday, September 30, 2010

Valentine - Kina Grannis

I still adore this song and I'm sure you will, too, if you're a bit of a romantic like me.


So won't you be my honey bee?
Giving me sweet kisses all the time
Be mine, be my Valentine

31 Pieces of Advice

This is a great link to some cool advice from a newly-turned 31-year-old.  All of it makes total sense!

My among my favorites are 6, 23, 28 and working on 10.

6. Uncomfortable underwear can ruin your day.
At least they can ruin mine. So don't wear your sexy-times underwear on the day you have to walk ten blocks to work.

I'm working on a post for my Formula One weekend...I'm just procrastinating!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Did you get yours?

Yeee, we picked up our F1 tickets today!  In its own case and err-thang!  I love how it's one of those tickets you can keep as a souvenir, too!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Life by Weekends

Like everyone else, I feel like I've been living life by the weekends.  As I've been living in Singapore (for the most part) for over 3 months, I've been getting into a routine while still discovering new things. 

Friday was fun because we got to go up to the top of the new Sands Hotel and check out the new (and only) bar/lounge up there, Ku De Ta.  Apparently there is a Ku De Ta in Bali, Indonesia that is just absolutely stunning, so we got to check out this new one that had its soft opening this past week.

View of the infinity pool and Ku De Ta.

Interior of Ku De Ta.

View of the pool and city from Ku De Ta.

It was slightly drizzly, hence the clouds and interesting lighting in the photos (and why no one is sitting on those comfy looking couches on the terrace).  It was really amazing to see the top without all the tourists and hotel guests in the pool.  It's the best view of the city, by far.

Continuing my taste for new things, I've concluded that I've seriously lived through life as the worst excuse for a Japanese person.  I've never had this dish, photographed below, which seemed to consist of various vegetables, fish eggs, mochi, etc.  You poured it onto the hot plate and mashed it up until it was cooked and soaked in with the juices.  It was really tasty along with some of the other dishes we had.  Pretty cool, it was owned by Japanese and obviously had great food.  I will get back to what this dish was called as well as the restaurant.




Saturday was with a more familiar feel: China One.  It's a bar in Clarke Quay that has a bunch of pool tables, a dance floor and good music that makes it easy to just stay in the whole night.  It kind of reminds me of Busby's in LA where it has a bit of everything for everyone, has a good location and is just an overall good bet for the night.  



If you can't tell, I made the extra effort this weekend to lug around my SLR so that I can practice my photography.  Low light photography is something I want to master because it's usually my favorite setting.

Despite everyone's doubts, I woke up Sunday (today) DETERMINED to go kayaking.  I think I've been craving to go for over a month now and so me and Ky went out in search of this fabled activity at the MacRitchie Reservoir, which is this huge piece of beautiful jungle right in the middle of Singapore that I was never aware of!  We went kayaking and I did a short hike before my body started shutting down (4 hours of sleep, that's a little impressive, right?).  They have all these really cool (and intense) hiking trails that you can go on including the Treetop Hike, which is this huge suspended bridge that goes over the tops of all the trees.  It looks incredible!  Definitely on my to-do list before leaving Singapore.






Yes, monkeys!  In the middle of the city, there are monkeys!  They are really used to humans, naturally, so they just ignored me as I snapped away at them. 

So that's a recap of most of my weekend, which felt good-tired in the end.  I'll reiterate, again, how people claim that there is nothing to do in Singapore just aren't looking in the right places.  The country is changing so fast, there is always something new or different to check out.  I'm not saying that you're going to like all of it (I'm not a fan of intense hiking or jogging) but I think you can gain an appreciation for trying new things as well as the familiar (Hello, Ku De Ta and China One.).  

Overall, it's come to the point where I'll be pretty disappointed if I leave Singapore next month.  I'm emotionally attached and feel like I've put a lot in.  Returning to California is definitely not a depressing idea, I love the place (duh) and the people; I have everything to gain going back.  But I definitely feel like I've passed a point where I'll be broken hearted if I have to leave this place.  I never expected to find myself in this situation, but then again, who ever does?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jia You

I'm having a hard time feeling accomplished these days.  It's getting tougher and tougher to stay motivated and positive when nothing seems to go to plan or make change to my current situation.  I especially miss feeling grounded and having emotional support.  I can't seem to find that in anyone anymore, especially when most are so far away.

I'm trying to remind myself to feel grateful for what I have:

Good health (except for my knee, which could always be worse)
Family
Friends
Being abroad
Being young

I shouldn't complain, I know, but I want more.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Singapore Grand Prix 2010

Just moments ago did I find out that:

I'M GOING TO THE FORMULA ONE RACE!

I had really wanted to purchase tickets earlier, but when I saw the prices, I just accepted that I would have to make the sacrifice so that I could stretch my funds a bit longer.  However, this morning I was surprised with my very own ticket!  I am so excited!  

The Singapore Grand Prix is Formula One's first night race...and yes, it's in Singapore of all places!  I saw the lineup for music performances and it looks sick.  I have a Saturday ticket so I'll see Adam Lambert, but Missy Elliot (love her) is performing Friday and Mariah Carey and Sean Kingston are performing Sunday (LOVE THEM).  I heard it's super loud and festive throughout all of Singapore during this time so I'm PUMPED.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Festive Weekend

Singapore is a host to a very diverse population that actually caters to mainly Chinese, Malays and Indians; they officially recognize three languages, three religions and therefore have...several public holidays!  

This past Friday was actually the start of Hari Raya, the end of Ramadan for Muslims.  I loved seeing all family together; apparently, the entire family will dress in the same color scheme together.  I had no idea this was popular and so I asked a vibrant family if I could take their photo.  As usual, I was a bit afraid they would think I was some crazy tourist, but they were actually super enthusiastic by gathering and posing their family, "No, no!  This is the second time we've been asked!"  They also said that since the first day fell on a Friday, they would also dress in different colors on Saturday and Sunday, "Maybe pink tomorrow and then green the day after."


I'm bummed that I didn't have my big camera around to take a better photo, but you get the idea...

I snuck this photo because I felt too embarrassed to ask yet another family.

It is/was also the Mid-Autumn Festival (AKA Moon Festival, Mooncake Festival, Lantern Festival), which is just such a whimsical holiday to me.  I always imagine the holiday how I read about it in a childhood story which was filled with sticky mooncakes, glittering dragonflies, amazing food and charming dance performances.  Instead, Clarke Quay set up all these brightly colored shapes and figures that make references to stories or figures.  One of my favorites was a display of the Monkey King along with the Monk, the Pig, etc.  They're made of soldered, wiry, metal frames and covered in some sort of opaque material that is very waterproof.  





They has these huge floats all along the river and the bridge (which was also swarmed over with a Taiwanese food festival!).  Again, I apologize for the terrible photos but I've been too lazy to lug around the SLR.  Also, I think my lens is acting a bit wonky...

Anyways, there is always something to do here...I often hear people complain that there is "nothing to do in Singapore...it's boring..."  Well, I say that you're not looking hard enough!  I think it's key to have a great group of friends, though.  That, I will admit.  We should always aim to maintain our child-like curiosity in experiencing life.  Otherwise, we'll just end up as old and boring as we fear.