Sunday, December 21, 2008

travel update - london, paris & hong kong

I know I haven't updated in a while. After Toronto, I was in London for 3 1/2 days, then Paris for 2 days and Hong Kong for 14 days. I'm currently writing from Singapore's Changi Airport... I'm heading off to Kuala Lumpur to spend time with my family and relatives for Christmas and New Years.

On a side note, I will have been stuck in this airport for over 6 hours... sadly I wasn't able to check-in early for my connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur (not too impressed with Air Asia who had guaranteed I was able to check in 6 hours prior to the departure time) so I had been stuck in the public area of the airport for the past three hours doing not much... FYI all the happening shops, internet access etc are in the transit malls and there isn't all that much in the departures and arrivals halls. I did manage to find a familiar icon - McDonalds where I was able to veg out for a while!

Anyway back to my travelling... the photos will have to be uploaded another time. Due to my time with the internet access here, I won't be able to go into great details... but here are my highlights for London:
- Tate Modern... wow what an amazing museum, and I was able to check out the Mark Rothko exhibition... the printed calendars don't do the paintings any justice.
- Regent Street... fabulous shops
- Catching up with Kate, Wendy, Shak, Vicky and Pete... some of these people I hadn't seen since we finished high school!
- Sightseeing London at night... courtesy of Wendy hiring a Street Car and driving Kate and I around town at night so I could have a look at all the touristy landmarks.

My Paris highlight:
- Walking around Paris city with Pete... this guy insisted on walking everywhere... my poor legs! haha
- Having to use my super rusty French... I often answered in Spanish, then had to correct myself... I reckon had I had a few more days, my French may have gotten a little better.
- Macaroons... different colours and sizes!!!! love love love them.
- The Louvre... need I say more?!
- Crepes... yummo and they are everywhere!!!
- Other touristy things I was able to check out... Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs D'Elysee, Notre Dame, Place de la Concorde, Invalids, Marais, Bastille...
- Tartiflette... a cheesy potato bake type dish... totally delicious and extremely filling!

My Hong Kong highlights:
- Kim, Michael and I wrote a list of the things to eat in HK... and remember that list I made in a previous post?... anyway I managed to go through the list bar 2 items (siu mai and dun lai), and even added more to the list.
- So basically I ate, ate and ate... so awesome, but need some serious detoxing now.
- Caught up with lots of people and some of them I hadn't seen in absolutely ages, so it was lovely seeing them.
- Shopping... my lovely ex-colleague Lettie even took 1 1/2 days to hang out with me and we did some serious shopping around Kowloon (plus lots of crazy eating)... the shopping was so crazy that I had to buy a big packing box from the post office and I managed to fill it completely. Lettie and her husband even came over to where I was staying to pick up the box so they could post it out for me next week!!!
- My night out with the rugby girls... started out at the football club... ended in Lan Kwai... all i can say is jelly shots are not choice of poison.

Alright this connection is about to expire so I better finish up now. I can't believe that I've been away from Perth for five weeks... and two more to go. It's been so much fun... but I do miss home at times :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

travel update - toronto part two

Besides the wedding, I was able to catch up with my friends from my dip ed course, and friends I have known from my HK days. It was so good to see them all, especially in their now hometowns. I was also able to try out the local food haunts and did lots of window shopping... okay so i was able to squish in a little retail therapy too. Ice hockey has always been a game i have wanted to watch and a friend managed to get me an in to get a pair of tickets, so Kel and I went and watched the Toronto Maple Leafs play again the Atlanta Thrashers... unfortunately the game wasn't too spectacular with the Thrashers winning but we did witness some fights! awesome!

Other highlights for me in Toronto:
- drooling at T&T the huge asian supermarket... it's got everything asian!
- trying Kelly's famous chocolate fudge chunks with dried cherries cookies... delicious!
- dropping my contact lens down the sink drain and having to wait a day before I got some help rescuing the lens... Dan and Veronica came over for a hot pot and Dan opened up the sink's u-tube and fished the lens out!

I've uploaded more pics from my trip: my uni reunion; toronto part one; and toronto part two.

My massive Toronto thankyou: Kwun-Ye and Kelly who helped with the playlist; Kwun-Ye for lending me her phone charger cuz mine decided to conk out; Dan who helped rescue my contact lens from the sink drain pipe; Kim who was a big instigator of retail therapy; Kevin who kindly agreed to help work her sister's shift so that she can take me to the airport; Pat and Kel and Gully for putting up with me for the past week... thank you to the Kans, Pat and Kwun-Ye for speaking chinglish with me... & thank you guys, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Toronto... hope to be back next year!

travel update - toronto part one

I have been in Toronto for the past week and a bit, spending my time with my high school best friend Kelly who got married last weekend. Her wedding last weekend was very much talked about, it was full of her close friends and was sooooo much fun. The wedding was at the Metropolitan Hotel and the reception was catered by the famous Lai Wah Heen restaurant in the hotel that served the most incredible Cantonese dishes... wow the food was amazing. There was another Chinese banquet the next evening but only for the relatives and a few others (like myself)... I was so full after it all.

There are plenty of stories to tell from all the festivities but here are some of the highlights from the wedding weekend:
- meeting the Aulis family
- hanging out with Kelly's Torontonian and Bostonian posse
- our own 'tea ceremony' serving the newlyweds the ABT aka Anything But Tea
- Kim, Michael C and I dedicating Jackie Cheung's Snow Wolf Lake and Leon Lai's My Love Ichiban to the newlyweds
- the newlyweds head banging to metal on the dance floor
- the newlyweds salsa-ing their first dance to Michael Buble's Save The Last Dance
- wedding crashers... simply hilarious
- post wedding drinks at the bridal suite... the biggest get together of the Kan and Aulis friends
- Sunday morning breakfast/brunch at Fire On The East Side... wow
- the hip flask containing ABT
- the photographers forgot about the wedding date and had to rush over for the appointment... Kelly and Pat did manage to get some pics taken around the city in the end!
- lots of dancing... even Mrs Kan was boogying!
- dessert buffet... I was so lucky to have been sitting right next to the dessert table

There was a heap of us that took pictures over the weekend... these are the ones from my camera: click here and also here.

travel update - melbourne

After spending my birthday packing and picnic-ing at the supreme court gardens with about 12,000 people (for the Church Together event), I got an airplane and began my seven-week round the world trip. My flight destinations: Melbourne - Toronto - London - Paris - Hong Kong - Singapore - Kuala Lumpur - Singapore - Perth.

Note to self: budget flights are really budget flights, remember to bring own pillow/neck rest etc and be prepared to get jabbed by the person in the seat behind you when they are trying to stretch out and totally cop the impact of the jab!

I spend most of my time in Melbourne catching up with friends from high school, uni and church. It was really great seeing everyone again... made me really miss being in Melbourne.

Anyway here's my list of some of the new things I saw/ did/ checked out this time in Melbourne:
- stayed at a hotel right on Bourke Street Mall which was very convenient
- checked out the newly redesigned GPO which now has fabulous shops inside
- Spicy Fish... a sichuan/shanghainese restaurant in chinatown... so yummy
- Max Brenner... I finally got to taste the chocolate waffles!
- breakfast at Asti's place complete with swedish creamed cod paste
- Kit Cosmetics Christmas VIP event at the Chapel Street store... how much fun did I have!
- I Like You... my friend Tina's shop which has got some amazing clothes and accessories
- an entire lap around the Albert Park lake with Michelle
- SatayStix... my cousins' restaurant on 600 Bourke Street
- Little Creatures has a dining hall on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
- discovering that there was Obama sauce at a hotdog stand
- having breakfast with Liz in the airport just before I left town for Toronto

click here for more pics

Friday, October 31, 2008

a month of posts - day thirtyone

Last day of the month... I had a sugar-filled morning tea this morning where there was a display of homemade goodies doused liberally in saccharine (I contributed the blueberry swirl cheesecakes)... so full of goodness! My office has been really getting into the collegial spirit - up and coming events with my team: Melbourne Cup lunch at the pub (we're going to frock-it and have sweepstakes! woohoo!), dinner with a few of the girls, farewell lunch for a colleague... it's all happening!

images from previous melbourne cups... the event that has the entire nation at a standstill, celebrating horses and fashion
Currently loving:
- Catching up with girlfriends over some late night supper complete with a soothing chai latte...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

a month of posts - day thirty

It's the Red Bull Air Race World Championship this weekend. This is the third year in a row that this annual international competition has been held in Perth. Perth will be hosting this event until year 2011. I missed the competitions in the past two year, so I'm looking forward to catching glimpses of the action on Sunday! This competition uses "the fastest, most agile and lightweight racing planes, pilots navigate a low-level aerial race track made up of air-filled pylons, reaching speeds of 370 kilometres per hour while withstanding forces of up to 12 gs." Wow! I heard them above my house last Sunday as the planes are parked in the airport about 5 minutes from my house. We could hear them practising today by the Swan River (my office isn't too far from the river)... those planes can be pretty loud! Anyway can't wait to see all of the action up close on the weekend!

Currently loving:
- Making blueberry swirl cheesecakes... the first batch didn't have any vanilla essence, but I redeemed myself with the second batch.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

a month of posts - day twentynine

A group of us at work decided to have a morning tea and do something fun for Halloween. Sure I don't celebrate it, and frankly not too many people in Australia do, but we just thought it would be something different to do. Anyway I had a little look online at the different foods people have been creating for Halloween inspirations (I discovered that there are extreme pumpkin craving designs... even had ones going political) Back in the office at the moment on the cards we've got mini cheezels, blackberry swirl cheesecakes, mud cake and iced arrowroot biscuits... mmm drool.

above pics from

Currently loving:
- Surprisingly enjoying the twice a week lunch time circuit training... I have started to take a liking to it... never thought I'd ever say I enjoy exercising... guess never say never.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

a month of posts - day twentyeight

Less than twenty days before I start my seven-week long travels. There is quite a lot that I still need to arrange beforehand. I'm making lists and trying to stay sane, and not burst with excitement...

this gorgeous card by foxy & winston with alpacas made me melt... they are so adorable

Currently loving:
- Dad's garden... there is a myriad of flowers popping up all over and it looks quite wild yet beautiful.

Monday, October 27, 2008

a month of posts - day twentyseven

Remember the cassette tape? well I found an online version! saves me time from sitting in front of the boom box waiting for the right song to come along just so I can record it without too much talking from the DJ. sweet!

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

Currently loving:
- vegetarian sushi with pickled ginger in the middle... yum!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

a month of posts - day twentysix

Flew back into Perth today after being in Melbourne for just over a day. Perth started its third year of trial daylight savings today (now GMT +9). As it is a trial daylight savings, there have been constant debate of the pros and cons for it. It amuses me to no end when I hear that daylight saving is bad as cows will become disorientated with the time to be milked and how curtains will fade faster. I am looking forward to having more sun and to have it later too... although you won't see me without a bottle of sunscreen in hand this summer. Now I just wished the shops will also follow suit and extend their trading hours...

the pro and the con

Currently loving:
- Being back in Perth with my family.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

a month of posts - day twentyfive

It's Britt-Astid and Stuart's wedding today. I arrived in Melbourne at 5:45am... got whisked back to my friend's place where I conked out for a couple hours before getting ready to attend the wedding. The wedding ceremony was at the Swedish Church... highlighting Asti's scandinavian heritage. The weather was lovely... so lovely in fact that I was actually rather afraid I'd get sunburnt. The reception in the evening was equally lovely... there was a candle lighting ceremony and pre-dinner drinks before a fantastic dinner complete with desserts and wedding cake made by Asti's mom Solveig... and the night was topped off with everyone getting into the dancing!

clockwise from top left: at the swedish church; the newly weds mr and mrs robinson; will and mish blowing bubbles outside the church; mel, andre, judith and ann waiting for the bride to arrive.

Currently loving:
- Catching up with my friends in Melbourne... lots of catching up and good times.

Friday, October 24, 2008

a month of posts - day twentyfour

It's been a pretty big day today... went to work (one of our teams moved out of the building), I had to run a few last minute errands, packed to fly out to Melbourne for the weekend, helped make toasted sandwiches at Youth (it was quite a fun adventure with half a dozen of us leaders hovering over sandwich presses to make hundreds of them), headed over to the airport to catch my flight. I felt very pampered when I received a travel pack from a friend complete with lollies, chips, a magazine, sample hand cream and the newest book by Lauren Weiberger (author of The Devil Wears Prada)... can't wait to read it.

Currently loving:
- Brittany's fantastic news... she heard about her school sending people to Thailand on a mission trip, thought it was a great idea but wasn't sure if she could afford it or should go... anyway she finally submitted in her application form a few weeks back and found out yesterday she was accepted into the program!!!! So proud of her!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

a month of posts - day twentythree

I received my letter from the big boss regarding my job after the restructure yesterday, and I will be moving to a new team. In fact my team is going to be dispersed into three different teams... the changes that will happen! Looking back to the two and a half years I have been in my team, I have learnt so much and have made lots of new friendships. I would have to say we are probably the most united team, the rowdiest and we love to share food and have a good laugh together. I have been really blessed having the opportunity to work in the government from a five-day temp job to fixed-term contracts with the department.... had amazing colleagues who showed and taught me admin skills amongst other skills (including the skill to 'fail')... and a fantastic manager who not only is committed to the work, but who cares for the team members... I've been so blessed. Anyway change, someone everyone gets a little uncomfortable with it... some react stronger than others... it can bring out the insecurity, the unknown, etc. It's so easy to simply say 'let's embrace change!' but in reality it can be so difficult... there's often an inertia I find when I want to change... I want to start in the new role (not sure when I'm moving yet) with a positive attitude, and want to be a valuable asset to the team. God help!

this film is one of my favourites and has been used as a reference between my friends and I on many occasions in relation to work, fashion and relationships

Currently loving:
- the soba noodle soup from the Japanese restaurant next to my office... slurp slurp!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a month of posts - day twentytwo

Still looking for accomodation in Paris, France and Petaling Jaya, Malaysia... Paris' got heaps of hotels and hostels... so where should I stay? options, options, options. I've had heaps of help from friends who have visited France before and they have been providing me with lots and lots of information and useful tips... really appreciate how excited and resourceful everyone has been about my trip. I've also managed to convince a friend to join me for my short two-day stay in Paris! Yay should be heaps of fun. Hope to be able to pack some sightseeing in and catch up with my friend Cilou.

images i hope to be able to see in paris
Currently loving:
- Playing online scrabble and getting super speedy responses! Game on!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

a month of posts - day twentyone

My talented cousin Eve made Nat some cupcakes for her birthday... I managed to try one out... carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! yummo see below for evidence.

Currently loving:
- A morning tea that I helped organise (to wish one of our teams all the best as they move t a new location) turned out to be a success. The catering was good, we had plenty to nibble on... we pinned up scanned pictures of them, and some head shots of the team superimposed onto book covers. Hehe just loved how my team got in on all the action, helping out with the pics, decorations, cleaning up, etc.

Monday, October 20, 2008

a month of posts - day twenty

It's been quite a turbulent quarter with many things changing in the big wide world of Perth... in my opinion anyway... the whirlwind state election (which is being governed in coalition at the moment), my work's major restructure which still has not yet been settled since it was announced in May, the international economy crashing, Perth's property market having its big ups and downs, etc. But I was reminded by Mark Connor (my pastor when I was living in Melbourne) who spoke at church over this weekend that we should be living for things of eternal value - knowing God, loving and valuing people, and investing our time, talent and resources into our world a better place, and to have a generous spirit. I find that when I get anxious and uncertain, that's when I tend to curl inwards and not want to give... call it self-preservation or whatever, but I pray that I will be able to live larger.

the You Are Beautiful project
Currently loving:
- My colleagues who help lighten up my day, cracking jokes, sharing food, supporting one another... (even through our vigorous sweaty lunch time circuit training sessions!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

a month of posts - day nineteen

The warm weather has hit Perth all of a sudden... it was cold a month ago and Spring had just arrived, now boom warm weather... does that mean summer has officially set in? Here are a few clues that the season has changed in Perth:
- David Jones and Myer have already set up their Christmas displays (yes, that includes reindeers, snowflakes, snowmen)
- Shops are starting to sell 2009 calendars... some with very summery hued covers
- Young teenagers start to bring their surfboards/bodyboards into the city
- You start to wonder why the shops are so stuffy... 'what's happened to their air conditioning system'?
- Daylight saving (WA has it's time change next weekend) yay to longer hours of daylight
- Everyone keeps talking about hanging out at the beach
- The insects start to swarm.... especially at dusk... watch out the mozzie repellent will be in action! (I've already copped a mozzie bite on my cheek... sigh!)

some blooms from dad's beloved garden

Currently loving:
- Mose and Nat cooking for us... I ate so much! Mose made his signature pasta with beef and chorizo, plus chilli mussels, and Nat made scallop sambal! The meal was topped out with a passionfruit syrup cake to celebrate our three October babies.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

a month of posts - day eighteen

I have been reminiscing about the past summer camps today, and one of the most memorable moments was Australia Day 2006 when all the leaders did our own version of the Skyshow by lighting sparklers and waving/dancing around the basketball court with them. I found this amazing video on where light graffiti artists used glow sticks, LED lights, flashlights, time-lapse photography to create multidimensional tagging without spray paint!

Currently loving:
- Going out dancing with the girls... Hadn't been out dancing in a while, so a bunch of us decided to go to The Court for a boogie... The music was very good! party town!

Friday, October 17, 2008

a month of posts - day seventeen

The Youth program is back and running for Term 4 after a two week break that seemed much too long at times... Seeing the youth make new friends, discover their own spiritual journey, and having the opportunity to share life and just hear what they've been up to makes me smile. I was rostered today to drive some of the youth from the Cockburn (pronounced 'co-burn') Central campus up to the Burswood campus which hosts the Youth program. Normally there are two or more leaders who drive up with the youth, but there weren't too many of them tonight so I was the sole driver. I was a little anxious at first as some of them can be a bit of a handful at times... but the drive to and from Youth was great fun, the kids were cracking jokes and they made me laugh. They are such an inspiration! I'm getting pumped for summer camp next year! The promo video is extremely enticing... well done milton, clarebear and jess... the hypothermia from the freezing water was worth it!

Currently loving:
- Blue brie and pate... hmm dinner.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

a month of posts - day sixteen

I discovered that there was such a thing as a Christmas ornament swap as I began to journey into reading design blogs. Although I don't sew or design much crafty things, I've been following the ornament swap organised by Freshly Blended and Cake & Pie for the past 2 years. Each participant has to create an ornament and send them to I think eight other people, and in return they will receive eight different ones. It's a showcase of creativity, design, and mix medium/textures. I'm really excited that the swap will be happening again this year. Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. Below are just a few of the amazing tree decorations people came up with from last year's ornament swap.

Currently loving:
- Calendared morning teas at the office... it was the last day at the office for one of my colleagues today and the entire directorate had a morning tea for her. Everyone brought a plate to share... what a spread of goodies. I could barely have my lunch! So good!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

a month of posts - day fifteen

I'm product swooning... just got back from a makeup event that promoted the new range of lipsticks called Lipstick Queen by Poppy King. It was a fun night where we all got lipstick makeovers, and even got tips and recommendations from the Lipstick Queen herself. I couldn't resist and had to purchase a couple of the products myself (see below for evidence)... they looked so good! haha what a sucker. (But I'm sure there are plenty of you who would love to get your mitts on these lippies too!)

Currently loving:
- the return of CSI:NY on tv!!! what a lovely way to chill for the night with the family.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

a month of posts - day fourteen

After the discussion with my cousins about the things we're going to get up to when in Malaysia... I've been dreaming about the foods...
- the dessert kuehs.. ie kueh lapis, ang ku kueh, kueh onde onde, pulut tai tai
- indian rojak
- fresh guava with sour plum dipping powder
- roti canai
- air limou
- nasi lemak
- the mamak stores
- fresh coconut juice
- durian
- jackfruit
- ais kacang
- teh tarik

Foods I haven't yet tried but have been recommended to try:
- rotiboy
- cupcakes in damansara utama
- what else have I missed and is worth trying???

Currently loving:
- Having lunch out in the sun, away from the freezing cold office!

Monday, October 13, 2008

a month of posts - day thirteen

The weather is warming up. The spring blooms are popping up everywhere... Dad's garden is looking really lush and it's really cute seeing dad all gushy about his precious flowers. I'm gearing up for summer this year, been getting used to the heat by going to circuit training twice a week at lunchtimes under increasingly warm conditions which has been making the sessions so much more unbearable... I've already been bitten by mozzies at dusk, another sign that summer time is approaching. I've even got my SPF handcream ready for driving. Anyway here's an oldie but a goodie... makes me laugh everytime I watch this video (ps: it's not an nz ad - those guys say togs).

Currently loving:
- Planning my Toronto trip with Kel on iChat... ice hockey, catching up with the Capper girls and shopping!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

a month of posts - day twelve

I've always been fascinated by innovative product designs. For those of us old enough to remember creating our own mix tape cassettes, sitting next to the boom box recording the songs off the radio, trying to make the songs fit on to one side then having to do the same with side B... and once have you perfected the art of mix tapes you create one for your special friend, your besties, etc... bringing back a few good memories? In one of my design blog surf sessions, I discovered the MixTape USB! It's the updated version of the 80s era!

Currently loving:
- My friends who are actively helping me plan my trip! Love you guys oxox

Saturday, October 11, 2008

a month of posts - day eleven

It's my sister's birthday (and dad's too but he wasn't in town)... A bunch of girls dressed up and had dinner in the city, then headed down to Subi where we met up with many many more birthday wellwishers. It was really great hanging out with all my cousins... it's probably the first time in a long time where all of us (the ones living in Perth) have actually hung out without the uncles and aunties... it was so fun! Can't wait for us to cause a major raucous when we're all in Malaysia in December! Anyway here are a few pics from the evening at the Subiaco Hotel... I'm sure there'll be plenty of pics from the night lingering on facebook soon from everyone else's cameras.

the ong siblings

the girly ong cousins + bryce tintin and sarah

Currently loving:
- Having supper (not just bikkies and a cuppa but a full on dinner) with my family after partying for Sarah's birthday.