#BEDM Day 20: The 38-hour Roadtrip

Today’s topic is from the Found Love Now What blog – Have you ever been on a road trip? Where did you go? If not, where would you like to take one to?

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I love road trips. I like driving long distance. The last road trip I took was in 2013. It was a spur of the moment trip. I stumbled upon an amazing resort with room rates slashed 50% and that’s when I knew where I’d be heading for my next road trip.

On the day of my trip, I was up at 5am because I intended to start my journey before 6am, ideally at 530am. I didn’t quite sleep. Which is normal for me. Rather, I took multiple naps throughout the night. So, when my alarm finally rang at 5am, I was sure my eyes were bloodshot.  Naturally, after rolling around in bed, had my coffee, went to the bathroom, etc…I only left at 550am. Not too bad. But 530am would’ve been better.

A friend who was concerned about me driving across the country suggested I update my Facebook status every chance I could during the trip so she could make sure I was safe and sound. I did and every time my phone pinged when someone commented, I felt like I wasn’t alone on the journey!

I admit, I did get lost for a little bit. I generally didn’t mind getting lost provided I had a full tank of gas. I suppose my wonderful GPS decided to take me through the scenic route. Also, I programmed it to the town the resort was in and not the exact co-ordinates of the resort which was what I should’ve done in the first place.

Finally, after more than 8 hours of driving over a distance of 500 kilometres (I took many, many stops), I arrived and was shown to my villa. An entire house which was a 100 years old, all to myself. It was beautiful and the hours of driving totally made up for it.

I spent 20 hours at the resort, then the next day, checked out and drove 500 kilometres home. All within 38 hours.

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#BEDM Day 19: Of bungy jumping & blind dates

Today’s topic is from the Found Love Now What blog – List ten things you’ve accomplished in the past decade.

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accomplishments

  1. Bungy jumped off a bridge 47m above the Waikato River – Screamed till my throat was sore and probably scared the sheep in the vicinity. And there were a lot of sheep.
  2. Successfully organised my younger sister’s Bachelorette Night – I use the word success because every one had a good time and till this day, no one remembered what happened that night.
  3. Started a company – Though my leaving the company wasn’t all flowers and unicorns and I’ve since sold my share of the company to the other partner, this still counts as a life accomplishment in my book 🙂
  4. Obtained my Open Water Diving License even though the idea of being in the water and relying on mechanical equipment to breathe seemed like something only a crazy person would do. And also fish with big teeth scare me.
  5. Cutting ties with toxic people in my life – There were too many people in my life who were emotionally draining and at first, I didn’t know how to let go of these relationships. I eventually did because being with them made me perpetually depressed. Not healthy.
  6. Traveled solo to Siem Reap – Booked flight tickets. Me! Booked hotel. Me! Planned activities. Me! Decided where and what to eat. Me! I agreed with everything I suggested I do ;P
  7. Paid off my student loan and my monthly car payment -HOORAY!
  8. Had two of my short essays published in the local newspaper and two flash fiction published online – Ambition and Biding Time
  9. Signed up with a dating service, went on 6 blind dates that has/ will become fodder for my writing, and SURVIVED! Big accomplishment considering the men that I met on those dates *shivers and goosebumps*
  10. Drove on the right side of the street while on the left side of the car – This was when I was visiting my sister in Houston. At first, I got into the wrong side of the car (the right) when the driver’s side was on the left. I drove from her house to the nearest Kroger’s which was 10 minutes away. I drove at a pleasant 35 miles/ hour, arrived at my destination in one piece. Done with my shopping, drove back and stuck to the correct side of the street and again, arrived in one piece. Also one of my biggest accomplishments to date 🙂

#BEDM Day 18: 10 Things That Cheer Me Up

Today’s topic is from the Found Love Now What blog – A list of ten things that always cheers you up when you’re down.

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1) Rainy, gloomy weather – I absolutely love it when it’s rainy, drizzling, gloomy, cloudy. I also love it when there’s thunderstorms and lightning racing across the sky.

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2) Snail mail – I love coming home from work to find snail mail – postcards, letters and especially packages! Not bills though 😦 I won’t open them right away instead I’ll wait until after dinner when things quiet down and then open them and enjoy what’s inside. I love sending snail mail too!

3) Books that make me go through a roller coaster of emotions e.g. Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson and any Kristen Ashley books. The more emotional it is, the happier I am.

4) Funny cat videos/ gifs

5) When the barista finally gets my name right (and I didn’t even have to spell it for them!)

6) Perfectly-risen Yorkshire pudding – With roast beef and lots of sauce! Mmmm…comfort food

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One of the best batch of Yorkshire puddings that I’ve ever made

7) Listening to Christmas music in June – Or all year-round actually. Christmas music is a staple in my playlist. Relegating them to only the last three months of the year seems cruel 🙂 Who doesn’t love singing about a White Christmas when it’s blazing hot outside?

8) Level 4 Spicy Japanese curry rice – Best when eaten during cold weather. The heat from the curry will warm you from the inside out. Mmmm…more comfort food

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Japanese curry rice with pork katsu, I heart you

9) An Amazon gift card – For one of my birthdays, a friend gave me an Amazon gift card so that I can buy e-books to my heart’s content. BEST. GIFT. EVER. Thinking about the moment I unwrapped the present to find it inside still brings a smile to my face 😀

10) Good manners – Having the door held opened for you, someone holding an umbrella over your head as you cross the road together, being asked to go in front of the line at the cash register because you only have two items to pay. This ALWAYS makes me more cheery 🙂

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My 10 things (or non-things) in 2013.

#BEDM Day 17: The Aerial Palace

For Day 17 of #BEDM, I’ve chosen to use the topic proposed here – Wanderlust/ Travel

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I’ve always wanted to travel solo. Although I did have the opportunities when it was work-related, travelling solo for pleasure just never worked out. Until 2014.

For my birthday that year, I traveled to Siem Reap with the main purpose of exploring the temples at Angkor. I’d arrived the day before my birthday to settle in to the lovely hotel a friend found for me online and to gauge my surroundings.

The day of my birthday, I was up at 630 as the tour guide I’d booked would meet me at my hotel at 7am to start the tour. It was a warm day. Tuk tuk was the obvious mode of transportation as these versatile motor rickshaw type vehicles could weave in and out of traffic much too easily. I thought we were early but there were already busloads of tourists at the entrance to the Angkor temple complex.

The tour I booked included the usual sites that we’ve all seen on television, movies or read about in books or magazines – Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom, Angkor Wat and all the other awesome temples.

The highlight of my excursion though was when the guide brought me to Phimeanakas, a temple which is located inside the walled enclosure of the Royal Palace of Angkor Thom. It was not the largest of the temples that I’d seen and was one of the most run down but somehow, I was drawn to it. The guide told me that according to legend, the kings of the time visited the temple every night to sleep with a woman who’s actually a Naga (serpent, snake, etc…). If the Naga did not show up, this meant that the kings days were numbered aka not good.

I remember walking up the crumbling steps to the top, using my hands and knees and when I arrived, I caught the smell of incense. I was alone at the temple and my heart started beating quicker. I peered around a fallen column and saw that there was incense being burnt by an old lady who greeted tourists and handed out blessed yellow strings to be tied around one’s wrists, in exchange for a small donation. Phew, no Naga.

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Phimeanakas (The Aerial Palace)

It was truly special to be able to spend my birthday amongst such historical ruins. Like the yellow string around my left wrist, I felt blessed.

#BEDM Day 15: Of the Lobster…errr…Liebster Award

Technically, it’s Day 16 here but I’m sure it’s still Day 15 somewhere ;P

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liebster-awardI was sick over the weekend and didn’t have the energy to power up my laptop and blog. So, when I finally dragged myself out of my bed to attempt to post for #BEDM Day 14, I saw a comment from Glenn of the infamous Roamin’ Gnomials that he’d nominated me for a Liebster Award! I felt better and nervous (who knows why) nearly immediately 😀

I had been nominated twice for this award previously during my “I have no time and don’t know what to blog about” days, I’d missed the nominations by my fellow bloggers. Third time’s the charm I say and I’m happy to accept the nomination this time around. Thank you Roamin’ Gnomials!

My 11 Answers to the 11 Difficult Questions from the Roamin’ Gnomial:

Do you hate me now for nominating  you? Yes.

If you could live anywhere in the universe (assuming food and air supply), where would it be? In the Mariana Trench. Only if there’s no megalodons sighted there. I hate megalodons, they take up so much space!

Explain why your favourite colour is your favourite colour. My favourite colour is everyone’s least favourite colour and that’s why it’s my favourite colour 🙂

Have you ever hated something you wrote and wished you hadn’t post it? Every single darn time.

Do you ever get depressed by the prospect of a meatless meal? Not yet.

How do you feel about gnomes? I think their outfits could use an update and I’d also like to know how they can afford to travel around the world.

Why do you blog? If I didn’t, I’d go insane because there’s so much inner dialogue going on that I need an outlet.

Cats or dogs? Cats and dogs.

Does your real-life persona come across in your writing? I’m more me when I write than I am in person.

Coffee or tea? Mostly tea these days. I’m a recovering java-holic.

What’s the deal with these people and the number 11? I have absolutely no idea but I did stumble across this article – 11 Lobster Facts That Will Leave You Shell-Shocked.

11 Random Facts about Me (An addendum to the 10 random facts about me that you can find here):

  1. I met my oldest friend when we were 5 years old in kindergarten.
  2. When I was 12, I spelled the word ‘temperature’ as ‘temprature’ and got a 98 in English.
  3. I learnt to dive to overcome my fear of fish swimming beside me. I’m still afraid of fish swimming beside me.
  4. I like odd numbers more than even numbers.
  5. I made my younger brother cry because I laughed hysterically when he came back from school with his exam paper that showed that he spelled ‘banana’ as ‘banani’.
  6. I sleep with a blunt hunting knife in my bedside table.
  7. I love reading celebrity gossip blogs.
  8. I went on a blind date once and when it ended, called him by the wrong name.
  9. I love Halloween and fall, although we don’t have fall here.
  10. I have turned down invitations to meet friends because it would interrupt my reading time.
  11. I make an awesome roast chicken.

The 5 Blogs I’m Nominating:

  1. Herding Cats & Burning Soup
  2. Yamanashi Kei 
  3. Stephanie Ingram
  4. Stumbling Into Adventure
  5. I Could Be Batman

My 11 Questions for the Nominees:

  1. Which superpower would you choose – being invisible or reading minds?
  2. What was the yuckiest thing you ever ate?
  3. Are you left-handed or right-handed?
  4. Have you ever gone to the movies alone?
  5. Name a skill that you wish you could learn if you had all the time and money in the world.
  6. Which would you prefer – more days in a week or more hours in a day?
  7. What mantra do you repeat to yourself when life gets a little too difficult to manage?
  8. Star Trek or Star Wars?
  9. What is your favourite drink?
  10. What kind of toppings do you hate on your pizza?
  11. How do you feel after answering all these questions?

Bear with me, I’m almost at the end!

Official Rules of the Liebster Award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog in your post.
  • Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.
  • Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  • Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5–11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, that have less than 1,000 followers.
  • Create a new list of 11 questions for the nominees to answer.

#BEDM Day 13: Dear Green Owl…

Day 13:  Issue a public apology. This can be as funny or as serious or as creative as you want it to be.

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Dear Green Owl,

I’m sorry I have been ignoring your emails reminding me to continue learning French. I needed some time to figure out when and where I’ll use the phrase Ils ne pourront jamais rentrer sur Terre (They will never be able to go back to Earth). After much contemplation and alcohol, I’ve decided that one of the characters in a story I’m thinking about shall be a French astronaut. He and the rest of his crew will travel to the moon but through some bad luck and poor timing, he returns back to Earth, leaving behind his crewmates. As he looks out the port window of his shiny rocket at his friends on the surface of the moon, he’ll say “Ils ne pourront jamais rentrer sur Terre…”. 

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Thank you Green Owl from Duolingo, whatever would I do without you 🙂

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My public apology to fellow candy-crushers.

#BEDM Day 12: Old Roommates

Today’s #BEDM topic – What Do You Miss? – was taken from this blog, which lists the topics I referred to when I did this challenge in 2013. 

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When I was 18 and starting A-levels, I stayed with 3 other girls in a hostel. The room we were assigned wasn’t very large, it was long rather than wide. It reminded me of a corridor 🙂 It was the first time I’d be staying with strangers and I didn’t know whether to be excited or scared.

The first roommate I met was ML. She wasn’t a stranger, much to my relief. We’d met a year ago when we attended the same tuition centre. Though we weren’t BFFs, or even quite Fs, we were more acquaintances, she seemed tolerable. So far, so good.

Then there’s F, who turned out to be super-extroverted, predictably unpredictable and loved shocking people with her words and antics. I’m still certain that if we weren’t roommates, we would not be friends. She was Ms. Popular, I was not. Our orbits never would’ve intersected.

Finally, there was KH, she was our resident genius who was also emotional and had an amazing singing voice. She was born on January 7th, which automatically made her our older, wiser sister.

We were such a motley crew.  Truly, no four could be more different yet somehow we fit into one another’s lives like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

I remember one night, weary of the monotony of study, someone switched off the lights in our room. I was at my desk focused on my textbook, hoping that the information would migrate into my brain via sound wave. My desk faced the window which meant my back faced the light switch so I didn’t know who switched off the lights that night. I’m guessing ML since she was always the one that came up with the most outrageous ideas. Then the music that was humming pleasantly in the background was turned up.  This sounded more and more like something F would do.  I was getting up from my seat, when hands grabbed me and the next thing I knew, I was being forced to wriggle to the beat of the music!  Everyone knew that I don’t dance, yet there I was in the middle of the room being forced to sway my hips like its never been swayed before.  I was gyrating, making unnatural shapes.  This dance torture didn’t last long though (phew) because I managed to escape from my captor’s grasps and planted myself on the floor, making sure no one could drag me to do more gyrations.

In the end, all of us ended on the floor and we laughed our asses off. The lights were still switched off. We needed that spontaneous dance-off; the daily grind was slowly wearing us down. Moments like those kept me smiling for days afterwards.

Of course, there was the flip side to all the fun and funny antics.

My nightly ritual was to have a cup of coffee or tea after dinner before I settled down for revisions.  One night, after a particularly weary day, this ritual brought a sense of order to my chaotic thoughts.  I had already brewed a cup of tea and left it covered on my desk while I popped off to the washroom.  Returning, anticipating my tea, I reached for the cup.  I lifted the lid and as I laid my lips on the rim, my eyes were drawn to 3 pieces of orange cheezels floating in my tea, leaving oily trails.

I was shocked – my tea! My precious tea! Tears welled in my eyes, the stressful day and my ruined tea overwhelmed me, as I turned towards the obvious culprits – ML and F who were giggling behind their text books. Did they think it was funny?  The tea was un-drinkable! All I wanted was a quiet night. I hated them then, at that very moment.

And now, having lost touch with all of them, I miss them. A little.

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My What Do You Miss? post from 2013.

#BEDM Day 11: The ROM

For Day 11 of #BEDM, I’ve chosen to use the topic proposed here – Museums. 

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I love museums. I always have.  Walking into a museum always takes my breath away and there’re times when I wished I could hop, skip and jump along the corridors of a museum because the exhibits bring me such joy. If you love me, you’d bring me to a museum, and I’d forever be yours.

When I lived in Toronto, one of the places I’d frequent was the Royal Ontario Museum or the ROM. The first time I went to the ROM, I spent 4 hours roaming it’s halls and I’d only covered less than half the exhibits!  I’d stand in front of each plaque/ signage, and read the information and look at the display, making sure I didn’t miss anything.

I’d revisit the ROM every other week. If I was in the area but without enough time to look at the exhibits, I’d hang out in the museum shop. (I love museum shops too!)

One year, for Halloween, the ROM screened the classic horror movie, Dracula (1931). Accompanying the screening of the movie was an orchestra that would play the “soundtrack” of the movie. I had to sit on my hands or else I’d clap throughout the movie, I had such a wonderful time!

The ROM has undergone a facelift. When I went, it looked like this:

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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Now, the ROM looks like this:

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Photo courtesy of http://www.bloor-yorkville.com

Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer the former 🙂

#BEDM Day 10: That Time at the Wedding

Today’s #BEDM topic – Most Embarrassing Moment(s) – was taken from this blog, which lists the topics I referred to when I did this challenge in 2013. 

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I’m no stranger to embarrassing moments. As someone who tends to leap before looking, I find myself in those situations more often than not. I’m used to it by now that I hardly blush. Mostly.

The most embarrassing moment that I can recall happened during my sister’s wedding two years ago. There has been other embarrassing moments since but that one was the MOST embarrassing in recent years. It could be that there have been other even more embarrassing moments since then but I’m sure they’ve been suppressed ;P

I was my sister’s Maid of Honour and part of my duties was to make sure that everyone was comfortable and that things were progressing as they should. This meant toasts at every table I stopped at during the reception.

Towards the end of the night, I was buzzed but to my buzzed self, I was still composed. Which is a lie we tell ourselves when we’re drunk out of our mind. Apparently, my buzzed self decide to chat up the keyboardist of the band that played at my sister’s wedding reception. And by chatting up, I meant tell my entire life story. My inner composed self was shouting “SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!” to my buzzed storyteller self because my inner composed self could see that the hot keyboardist who was probably 10 years older than I am was trying to make a quick getaway from the chatty MOH.

He started to walk away, so what did I do? I grabbed his arm and forced him to sit with me so that I can continue my story. What was embarrassing was that I remember not allowing him to go to the washroom because I was certain he wouldn’t come back and that my inner composed self could hear my outer buzzed self slurring her words. Not attractive at all. I can’t remember how he got away but he apparently did and the next thing I knew, it was the next morning and I had no idea how I ended up in bed.

Alcohol, bad.

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This was my embarrassing moment story during the #BEDM 2013.

#BEDM Day 9 (Europe): I Heart Pickled Herrings

Update: After more sleuthing in the world wide web, I came across this blog – Found Love Now What – that has her suggested daily topics for #BEDM from 2015, which I find quite appealing and may possibly borrow for the purpose of this challenge 🙂

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Following a month of blogging (nearly) every day in April for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I wanted to continue the momentum and decided to do the Blog Every Day in May Challenge. I’d attempted this challenge in 2013 but didn’t complete, probably due to blogging fatigue 🙂 This year is my second attempt and I’m starting at Day 9 although if I’m really determined, I may go back and post for the days I missed, which means that for the most part, I’ll follow the proposed topics for each of the days in the challenge.  

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In October 2015, I visited Amsterdam for the first time and out of so many things that I was looking forward to for my trip, one of the top things (the #1 thing on my list was seeing windmills) was trying pickled herring.

Immediately after landing at Schiphol airport, my hunt began.

I searched for the kiosks that sold pickled herring which were supposed to be scattered amongst the canal area only to find one which had yet to open for the day. Refusing to be denied my pickled herring, I resorted to buying pickled herring from Albert Heijn, the supermarket chain ubiquitous in Amsterdam and devoured the entire tray of perhaps 10 herrings with a side of raw onions. My first impression? Oh God, I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday! Who cared about fishy-onion breath!

Then, while at the famous Albert Cuyp Market, I found this place – Volendammer Vishandel:

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Photo credit: http://www.myhiddengems.co.uk

where I ordered and devoured this – pickled herring AND fried oysters. I could’ve ordered 10 more of these but I had the whole market to eat through 🙂

Smoked herring

Pickled herring, I heart you.