24 December 2007
I am back in lala land. Honestly, it's where I feel my heart belongs - at least for now that's how it feels. It's been an exciting few days visiting old friends, new babies, discovering Postcard Tea's T is married (Congrats!!), knowing there are people out there genuinely missing my lovely baking creations.
That feels just so good....
I cannot wait for my Christmas baking session at O's. (thank you thank you). Sleepless nights (partly jet-lag, partial excitement of Christmas baking) has kept me up in my cosy warm bed and now I am blogging away at 9am on a Christmas eve! Hehe....
Did my grocery shopping at my favourite W, cutting our snowflakes icing and later on today visit LCB, Borough market and using a brandnew oven (honestly I feel so honoured) to kickstart Christmas baking!!!
Also, I had a fantastic day yesterday. It's been the longest of time I had felt so happy (from within) with simple pleasures in life...let's hope I start to have more of days like these in the coming new year!
With this, I end this entry today by thanking MC and Fook for all the "tips", encouragement, teasing and shaking their heads in disbelief that I sent my grocery list on email (coupled with a text to say, read email)...enough said!
20 November 2007
When you have to make the right decision, sometimes "right" metamorphoses itself.
What's right in your heart might not be right to the head. And sometimes, the math just does not add up.
(in more ways than one!)
Thoughts have been racing through my mind, causing insomnia most nights, only aided by foot massages that you can get for not very much money over here in HK (I swear they really help you to sleep better at night and nothing is worth more than a good night's sleep). However, when daybreak comes, I hardly action on those thoughts.
This, frustrates me immensely. It's almost too large an inertia - way too big for me to handle and manage, that's weighing down on me....it makes me tired, lifeless and lethargic.
Yet somehow I am struggling so hard to keep afloat, to feel alive, to maintain this mindless existence of nothingness and triviality.
I am seeking the simple pleasures in life - contentment and happiness. And so far, lady luck has not been with me. Often the simplest things are the most difficult to obtain, which is why we much rather focus on the complicated, hoping the simple "goes away", but really it does not.
Atlas! I am generally optimistic and am still waiting for that fairytale, that 童話故事 to happen.
What does not kill, only makes you stronger.
29 August 2007
After a 2 week break in London (now declared my "lala" land) - bashing it out in the fine countryside of West Sussex, Canada Water, Regent Street and Whitehall Court, I have arrived back to my newly-adopted transient location, Hong Kong.
How quickly those 2 weeks have gone by... Lip & Anna's wedding, Life in the UK test, PR woes, Poker Nights and silly jokes at Whitehall Court, a BBQ at lovely MC's, picnic in Greenwich Park, visit to the Operating Theatre Museum, dinners/lunches/cream teas etc. along with a dose of the British summer weather.
And also another piece of good news, I have finally gotten my British residency! Yay!
So what does that mean exactly? Well it means I can stay in the UK for as long as I like with no restrictions to work and the likes.
It got me thinking quite a bit I must say in those past 2 weeks that have gone by at the blink of the eye. How much I liked the life I was leading in London, how peaceful everything is over there, the quirky inefficiencies of Britain, how I missed my friends terribly and how they miss moi too!
However, things have changed somewhat. I cannot help but think of how I might be coping if I were to move back to London again. I am now, essentially homeless there, the EX has soo moved on (it's painful to think even), what kind of job will I, or rather, can I take up that allows me to feed, house myself?
So many dreams so many conflicts of interests! The constant struggle in my heart and mind....
I LOVE LONDON! AND ALL of you THERE!!! (you know who you are)...will I move again? Will it be for the same reasons as HK? Have I grown up or worryingly, have I gone deeper into dreamland??
Questions questions questions...without answers.
08 August 2007
A very minor incident that occured today made me realise the subtle differences between friends that will go all out to make your day a great one and those that really are only there when the going is good.
Again - life's lessons learnt.
What day is it today? 8th August.
25 June 2007
36 hours later...back in HK right now and incredibly jetlagged. Despite having a very taxing week ahead of me, I am unable to get to sleep!!! This is extremely fustrating considering I am not such a good traveller at all.
This trip back to London made me realise something: I feel so much more at home there. I sensed ZERO fustration despite the numerous inefficiencies that were presented along the way. I sort of just plonked on and enjoyed the quirkiness of it all.
Met up with many friends and just spent most part of my time enjoying London/walking around, sleeping, resting, eating....as I have always said: I fall in love with London all over again once Summer arrives.
Of course there were awkward moments to be had: meeting The Ex with his new +1 was definitely not something I will say made a good welcome back to London dinner! But the girls have been very supportive and oh! How can I forget the wonderful dinner with had at Lucianos. Mucking about, gossiping about bad dress sense (Wah? So well dressed today ah? And that was BAD! ).
THANK YOU GIRLS...LOVE YOU ALL!!!
I see HK as an adventure and let's see what I get out of it. If not, I guess soon I'll be heading back to London I'm afraid.
07 May 2007
Friends back in London call me weekly for an update (thank you MC!) and I miss them far too much to like it here in HK really!
However, I think I do owe them something at least - to let them know I have been etc. etc.
So last week, a visit from Hoh, coupled with an action-packed boat trip to 大潭 (DAI TAM) - trying out wakeboarding (hehe! managed to get up and stay on the very first attempt...oh how smug am I!), then dinner at this great local place in 北角 followed by a quick drink at JJs with Ro, L-Net, P and SC then nipping off to Hei Hei to meet M&M.
16 April 2007
ONE MONTH (ALMOST) ON IN THIS NEW CITY
It's been almost a month since I set foot into HK and how things have shaped up in the last few weeks ...
The work and going back to work (well after 9 months of not working) has been strangely pain free and I have managed to pick up from where I left off pretty seamlessly. My hours are very civilised and a welcome change from my previous banking job (goodbye 6am starts, herald the 9ams!). You get to go for lunch (aka swimming or gym sessions for moi) and you really are not expected to work past the 6:30pm mark.
Regarding the type of work I perform - it varies. I've set up the backbones for the marketing of the HF and have recently been roped in to drive the starting up of two PE fund (gosh - the beginnings of all the financial jargon, how v different from cake baking but yes. It's easy peasy for me and it's like I've never left the industry almost!)
So work is just about okay...oh and MSN, Skype and all the things you are banned from communicating with the outside world is used freely/encouraged in my office. :) How very nice is it to not be in a large corporate giant!
Of course, the downside is you are more highly scrutinised, there is less anonymity and slack and you cannot push the blame to having bureaucracy in your way!
Lifewise though has been less of a smooth transition. I miss all my friends back in London, the beginnings of the glorious summer weather and of course, Borough market where i while away many Saturday afternoons, strolling the food stalls, drinking the madly addictive Monmouth coffee and carrying back home lots of good meat from The Ginger Pig.
Life has been a lonely one-person exisitence. What social life?
Generally in HK you get to meet lots of people, but many of the same type (note: bankers, lawyers abound) It's hard to make true friends here and life is pretty much about work for many. The work-life balance is poor for most (hence you are alone most of the time if you fo not put in those punishing hours) and everyone ends up angry, easily irritable and very unforgiving.
What I came to attempt to do seems like a distant tale now. I await to see what fate might bring though I am not entirely sure how long I can be in this state of insensibility...
19 March 2007
Okay - I have to admit, I am beginning to feel scared now. Most of my stuff is gone, true friends like MC, FH, Cx, A&Lip have been very encouraging and helpful in more ways than one. I really am lucky to have them as friends. When do true friends come by in your life? Not very often at all.
I have been re-assured that if there was any hint of sadness or unhappiness I am subjected to in HK, I should retreat right away back to London.
It's good to know I will be missed. Just like Anna had said: "There are many things you will miss of London but at the same time, there are many things in London that will be missing of you."
There is hardly any time to left to think about the sadness I feel inside me. More of going through the motions of making the move possible and as painless as possible: last minute frantic packings, leaving dinners, last goodbyes, dealing with the mundane things of getting my flat sold etc etc. At the same time, the hint of excitement of moving in to a new city. I think it's the uncertainty that's giving me the kick...
I await to the new beginnings in HK
02 March 2007
I had a really simple nasi lemak party for my Malaysian gang last night as part of the dinner party series I was hosting in the run-up to my leaving of London for HK.
Due to a series of mishaps and delay in paperwork, it is likely my move to HK will not happen on the 15th March hence, more fustrations and more uncertainties regarding my living arrangements in HK!!! How very very annoying...note: inefficiencies of the corporate world...here it goes again!
As usual the wonderful company of new and old friends made it an incredible evening. There were 8 of us at the dinner and I had to cook 7 cups of rice! My my...the nasi lemak certainly went down well with the crowd!
We had: nasi lemak (all the trimmings of sambal belachan, ikan bilis, telur, teeboon) together with ayam curry. We finished the meal with sago gula melaka and green tea with adzuki bean mousse cake!
Yummy!! Was a shame that Ong could not join us and we had a last-minute cancellation from Cynthia! =(
She's not been feeling her best since she came back from HK...hope she's feeling better now!
That was the wonderful but sad evening I had....to be reminded that this is the life I will be leaving behind in London. All my friends, dinner parties and stuff like that!
19 February 2007
This year's CNY is indeed a strange one. It's potentially the last one I spend in my flat, in London, with friends. How emotional these days have been...and will be in the days to come.
Friday night - spent at D's place. We had "打边炉" and D was all so excited about his new gf G whom he could not wait to introduce to us...hehe...will definitely catch up with G in HK since that's where she's based.
Sat night - with my wonderful HKie gang! Not alot of us were there as the lucky ones had gone back home/holiday and the not so lucky ones had nights. We were at Shanghai Blues and ate till our hearts content. Thanks to WingK we had a good time after dinner with copious amounts of alcohol and sang karaoke till 5am!
Sunday lunch - party at A,S and Zacy boy's home. S was a wonderful hostess and made you feel more than welcome at her beautiful flat. The group was labelled broadly as "family" vs a very small minority of non-relatives.(people like moi) We had 鱼生，乳猪 and a whole host of other traditional goodies!!! Yummy yum yum....it's nice to be around people during CNY. We stayed and chatted and ate till 8pm! What a wonderful and long lunch....also went to visit their new home (A+S: it's beautiful, cannot wait till when you move in and we have the first meal in the "favourite room of the house"). Zac as usual is the darling ...
THAT WAS MY CNY!!!
13 February 2007
I enjoyed the dishes I made so much during the thai feast I decided to share the wonderful recipe with you. Afterall, good food is meant to be shared, in more ways than one:
Chicken and Pamelo Salad - serves 6 (if not big fans of Pamelo. If they are like A+S, S then maybe just 4)
Chicken breasts - 2 large ones. Only fresh ones will do please
Coconut milk - diluted with chicken stock or water to make the poaching liquid
Lemon grass - 1 stalk, bruised at ends
Kaffir Lime leaves - 2 pieces
Poach the chicken breasts in the above poaching liquid with the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves infused into the poaching liquid. Depending on the size and thickness of the breasts, it will take about 10-15 minutes.
Leave to cool in the poaching liquid and shred(by hand) roughly.
2 cloves of garlic
1 stalk of lemongrass
2 dried chillis - soak in water to soften
juice of 1 lime
nam pla - fish sauce
Pound the garlic, lemon grass and chilli into a fine paste with a pinch of salt for abrasion. Add the lime juice, palm sugar and nam pla. The dressing should first taste sweet/salty and then finally tangy with a very faint heat. Adjust accordingly. Next add the cooled poaching liquid to this dressing you have made. The poaching liquid will greatly reduce the acidic tones to the dressing. Adjust again to taste.
Peel 2 fresh pamelo (can be replaced with canned mandarin segments from Waitrose but nothing beats the real McCoy. Get your partner/bf/male friends to peel the pamelo. There is no free lunch in this world!) into the segments and try to losen the segments
Mix dressing with shredded chicken, then mix in the peeled pamelo segments. Add fresh roughly torned mint leaves and coriander. Garnish with fried shallots, deep-fried julienned kaffir lime leaves.
Serve and be delighted for many days/years to come. (as you are sure to crave for it the very next day and the next day after like I did)
I had an incredible dinner party last Sunday at my place. Good food (well I hope my guests enjoyed it!), great company and lots of fun...what more can one ask for?
It was an intimate dinner for 4 + 1 (Zacy boy) and as the company was so good, it went well past midnight with Zac having to have 2 feeds!
I had a thai chinese menu and it included the following:
10 January 2007
2007 - this is supposedly a new year. New year, new beginnings, everything new! However, strangely, I do not seem to have a feeling of newness. Embracing the new year with new hopes, renewed optimism and all the fanciful stuff was the deal!!
As much as I am acutely aware of the privileged position I am in; to have these many options opened to me (work/start a business/location/travels etc. etc.) I am extremely bothered by the uncertainty it has brought upon me. I've learnt to be a lot calmer than I was before(or is it what we call "bochap") and can that be a good thing?
Singapore hardly feels like home. I used to get that feeling of pride and happiness everytime the plane touches down on the Changi runway, seeing rows and rows of neatly planted trees, this artificially created garden city with the towering HDB flats in the background. It felt comforting and reassuring.
However, somewhere along the way, that feeling has disappeared. I no longer feel I belong here. In fact, I feel caught between two time zones: the time when I left Singapore at the age of 19 to study at the LSE and now some good number of years later, where London has been my home. Somehow, to me, Singapore was where those hazy childhood memories were established. London - was the beginning of the real adult life.
How am I to bridge the gap them? I'm finding it extremely difficult.
03 January 2007
"...with my one foot in and my one foot out..."
Yes - after toying around with flour, eggs, sugar and butter for a good few months, throwing in a couple of trips around Asia and Europe, it's time to face the real world again.
What is the real world exactly? A job? Or facing up to the fact that living in London alone, is actually quite a lonely prospect? So what's the deal?(the latest of my grand plan) I've decided I want a change of scenery and yes! I'm heading to Hong Kong.
The BIG question is: AM I READY FOR THIS?
Life is about weighing up what we lose and what we gain. At different point in our lives we crave for different things. Some things that were very important before, become less so now.
London has been home for so long. I miss my flat every single day I'm away. I miss the familiar oven, the gym, the markets and pretty much everything else. I never get enough of this city that I've called home for such a long time. My wonderful wonderful flat. It's truly beautiful and I cannot tell you how much I've grown to be attached to it.
As much as I'll miss London, the flat and all the things that come along with it, the adventure to HK I must say is truly exciting.
Setting up a new home, new faces, new challenges, new wants/needs...another adventure in my life story!
Who knows what might be in store?