Lunch Time Dates

I love lunch time dates!!  They give me a break in the work day and make me smile like no other things can.  So when Raewyn’s Mum asked me over for lunch, I jumped at the chance.

I had such a blast with Raewyn that I can’t wait for the next date.  The last time I saw her was at her one month.

The picture on the left is from her party and the picture on the right is from today 🙂 Look how she’s grown and into a real sweetie too.  She let me cuddle her, play with her, we even made funny faces together and let me take numerous pictures of her.  Isn’t she such a sweetheart?

It’s really easy to see why too.  Her Mummy, Tess is one of the gentlest soul I know.  I can’t wait to see this little one grow up into the fine lady I know she’ll become.  Till then, I can’t wait for our next lunch date little one 🙂

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Being a Daughter

When it comes to parents, I’ve been truly blessed.  Maybe some day I’ll get to be as great as they have been for me for someone else and accord the same luxury of being able to choose to:-

Every now and then I forget that I am able to choose to be a better person because of everything my parents gave, taught and showed me.  Let’s be very honest, my parents aren’t perfect.  In fact, they are very real with flaws, some that can drive me a little nutty sometimes but that’s where they inspire me to be the better person I want to be.  Flaws and all, even when times are bad, they always try harder.

I grew up very similarly to how my Dad did and he learnt from my grandparents how to be better than them.  He understands that I’m like him and my yearn to constantly challenge myself.  My Mum, on the other hand, grew up from the school of hard knocks and made it her mission as my mother to make sure that everyday my sister and I have the luxury to choose to be a better person.  It’s so easy for us to pick and choose to be a better person simply because of her sacrifices.

So yah, I am grateful for every chance I get to hang out with them.  Sometimes we get lucky like this trip to Perth where I got to celebrate my Mummy’s birthday with them.

My Mummy probably doesn’t realise how much strength I draw from her.  I don’t think she even knows how her sacrifices have made subtle yet impactful influences in my life decisions, especially when I can choose to not sweat the small stuff and choose to be better.  Not everyone have what I have so I lap it up that on a beautiful spring day in Perth, I got to share her birthday, listen to her stories, learn from her life lessons and remember not to take my life for granted.

In case I forget and get complacent, I have been blessed to be able to:-

  • Be Kind
  • Speak Truth
  • Love Others
  • Show Grace
  • Work Hard
  • Be Grateful

because my parents made sure I could.  I shouldn’t squander it because a lot more other people who have less than me choose to be better everyday.

Being Vegetarian in Taipei

I’ve said this more than once or twice, being vegetarian in Taipei is great!!  I don’t know where else in the world you can find a vegetarian version of nearly every Taiwanese dish there is.  Needless to say, I’m always a happy camper when I have to go to Taipei for work.

I love noodles.  Fat ones, skinny ones, long ones and short ones so when I found Hoshina, a restaurant that hand makes their noodles, I was happy happy happy.  It was delicious too!!  Though Taiwanese have no idea what they are talking about when they say spicy :p  They have an array of different noodles dishes, most of them were soup based and interesting side dishes too.  They are mostly vegan though you can add an egg to most of the noodle dishes.  I went back twice in the week was in Taipei.  If I lived there, it would be one of my favourite haunts.

The thing about Taipei I really like is the different quaint little shops you can find hidden within the maze of back lanes that is, in my humble opinion, the backbone of the city.  One afternoon, looking for a quick lunch I stumbled into a cafe that I don’t have the name for.  It made a decent salad with home dressing and freshly squeezed orange juice.  Good salads are hard to find in Asia.  Too bad though, I wouldn’t be able to find this cafe again, even if my life depended on it.

You can’t go to Taipei and not eat stinky tofu.  At least not when you’re me 🙂  I love food with strong smells.  So there’s little vegetarian Taiwanese hole in the wall type spot does does excellent vegetarian version of Taiwanese cuisine.  There is no signage to the place and it’s easy to miss the spot but together with a Taiwanese friend who knew where we were going.  I went home with yet another full belly.

Though they don’t hand make their noodles, it was yummy too.  The soup was was rather hearty.  I’m definitely a soup person and with monkey head mushrooms, I bet I could take my sister there for a meal too.  I think she’ll like Taiwan.  It’s a foodie paradise for meatasourous too!!

Of course, I made a pit stop to Loving Hut.  A vegetarian chain of restaurants that even has a presence in Singapore.  Again vegetarian versions of Taiwanese cuisine.  I even got some road side vegetarian dumplings for my last night in Taipei.  I love Taipei 🙂

中秋节快乐

My family got together early to celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival 中秋节 (zhong qiu jie) where we had mooncakes galore, even vegetarian ones with vegetarian yolks.  It was yummy!!  Coupled with tea and good conversations, we ushered the full moon in about a week earlier than everyone is going to do today.

Of course, there was the customary walk with lanterns and traditional ones at that.  None of those music blaring battery operated modern lanterns … actually we had a couple of those but when came time to take a walk everyone chose the candle lit ones 🙂  And not forgetting sparkles.

There’s something about sparkles that just adds to the celebrations.  From my family to yours, may mooncakes fill your belly and the lights of sparkles fill tonight and all of your nights!!

The Scarecrow

It’s no secret that I’m a vegetarian that borders on being vegan.  The jury is still out for me when it comes to bees and honey so I can’t honestly say I’m vegan.  There are many reasons why I’m vegetarian and mostly it comes from an awareness that I didn’t have before.  When something is made clear to you, it’s kinda hard to ignore and that’s why being vegetarian hasn’t been difficult for me at all.  So when I chanced upon this campaign, I was reminded about my answer when people ask me if I’ll ever stop being vegetarian.

I’ll stop being vegetarian when I’m prepared to kill the animal I want to eat.

Yes yes yes, the FaceBook guy said this too.  For the record, I said it way before he made it popular but it’s totally possible he said it to his friends before I ever thought it.  It really doesn’t matter who said it first but I understand what he means.  Like the Game of Thrones pilot episode where Ned Stark was teaching his young son about accountability, “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.”

Back to the campaign, I did like Chipotle when I tried it but I’m not entirely sure they are totally fresh food served at its best.  Nonetheless, it’s a great branding exercise and will make me seek out a Chipotle the next time I’m near one so I guess it worked 🙂

One day I hope I can put my name on something like that too.

The Honeymoon Part 3

Here’s the final instalment to the quick recap of the honeymoon.  We woke up to a beautiful last morning in Banff.  The sun was out and we headed back to Lake Louise for lunch.

The view was stunning.  There’s something about water and mountains that humble you and makes the pasta you’re having extra tasty 🙂  Once we were done with lunch, we had a quick walk by the lake and then it was back on the road to Salmon Arm where we had great Mexican food for dinner.  We spent a night in an ok B&B but Owlhead Creek B&B was still my favourite.  The next time I’m in the area, that’s the only place I’ll be staying in.

The next morning after a quick breakfast and we were on our way back home to Vancouver.  We had quite a bit to cover so we didn’t want to waste too much time.  Even though I really wanted to try wake boarding on Shuswap Lake.  Next time 🙂  We stopped in Merritt for lunch where we found a lovely sandwich place that served a very yummy vegan chocolate cake!!  I love Canada 🙂

Needless to say I was a very happy camper on the way back to Vancouver 🙂  When the Port Mann bridge came into sight, I could feel the country way of life give way to the city.  It wasn’t a bad thing.  Not at all.  I’ve come to realise that nature feeds my soul and the city feeds my mind.  I need both to be a happy me 🙂

My father-in-law picked us up as we dropped off our rental and I got to visit his workshop.  For my husband, it was a little nostalgic and for me, very novel and educational.  Millwork is an art and I have a new found love for cabinets and things made of wood.  I’ve always liked them but I now have a greater appreciation for them.  How the wood is curved, made from one piece, put together with no screws 🙂

My favourite thing about my father-in-law’s workshop is his collection of antique planes.  Technology sure has made production easier but there’s something about the old way of doing things that warms my heart.  Then it was back for dinner with a view on the balcony.

Day 12 saw us hanging out in Vancouver and dropping by another vegetarian favourite of mine where I had great veggie burger.  Shopped a little in the grocery store and happy to report most of the things I need is available in Singapore.  They never use to be and I had to lug them back from Canada :p  I don’t anymore.  We even found time to catch up with a friend over tea.

I forgot my phone on Day 13 and so no pictures there.  We caught up with Aaron’s friends and their kids.  Of course, I had a whale of a time since there were cute kids around 🙂

Instead of wildlife sightings, on day 14, I chanced upon my father-in-law’s neighbour’s kitty cat.  He peeked around the corner as I was waiting for the lift and was friendly enough to let me pat him.

Then finally the honeymoon and the vacation came to an end and I found myself finishing Downton Abbey Season 3 on my plane ride home.  That needs another post altogether but in a nutshell, it made me cry and I felt sorry for the couple sitting next to me.  They probably think my boyfriend or husband has abandoned me.  The transit in Taipei was much quicker than the one heading to Vancouver.  There was even an interesting exhibition of an artist that worked with scrap metal.  It kept me busy till boarding.

After about four and a half hours, I was back in Singapore where my sister and Wags picked me up with yummy local veggie bee hoon.  Perfect wrap to a fantastic honeymoon 🙂  To which my husband reminded me, will not be a regular thing O_o

I say, we take what we get 😉  Happy Wednesday everyone!!

Part 2 of the Honeymoon

Our first full day in Banff is day 6, we took it easy.  Enjoyed our egg free muffins for breakfast and I’m loving this B&B route we decided on.  Then we walked into the town, had lunch and went to the museum.

Found out how the town of Banff was founded and how the love for skiing and mountaineering in Canada started.  I particularly love the photo in the bottom left hand corner which are hand made goggles from the late 19th century to face the ice storms in winter.

Day 7 was another road trip in itself.  We were going to see the icefields that were a two and a half hour drive away from Banff.  It started with my favourite muffins of the week, Cherry Vanilla Crumble Muffins.  Then we saw an elk and a Mama bear and her two cubs on the way!!

Again the views were stunning.  There is something about water that immediately calms me and something about mountains that humble me.  I was often speechless, which is rare for me :p  When I finally got to the glacier, I was as excitable as a kid in a candy store.

Being on top of a glacier that feeds into three ocean was quite the thrill for me.  I even managed to have a sip of glacier water.  It was icy cold and extremely fresh.  It was a lovely summer day and in my mind, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like during winter O_o

By the time we came down from the glacier, it was dinner time.  The sun was still out but our tummies were ready for dinner and guess what we had.  Chinese food!!  Yep, in the middle of Canada by the Rockies, we had pretty good Chinese vegetarian food.  Can’t wait to bring my parents and my sister there now 🙂

Day 8 saw us being in total tourist mode and getting on the Banff gondola.  The queue going up was long but not as long as the line up coming down!!  You’d think it’s a ride at Disneyland.  All in all, it was worth it 🙂  You can see the whole town of Banff from Mount Sulphur, they did a good job with the board walks and making it friendly for all ages.  Again another spot to bring my parents and my sister!!

Day 9 was a long day for us.  It started with a pretty hike by Johnston Creek.  Again it was friendly for all ages so it was crowded because it was a lovely summer day to be out and about.  We took out time and enjoyed the sights and little chipmunks aka pikas along the way.  They were chubby little things because everyone was feeding them.

Then it was off to Lake Moraine.  A beautiful turquoise lake nestled in the Rockies.

We took a lovely hike along the lake and stumbled on a trail that needed 4 or more people to do.  Yes, apparently bears and cougars are less likely to attack if you’re part of a bigger group and noisy.  After Lake Moraine, we moved on to Lake Louise.

Less turquoise than Lake Moraine because of the rock flour.  So Lake Louise is more green.  Then we headed back to Banff.  In time for jaunt to the place where we met some 12 years ago 🙂

It was 2001 and during the Banff TV Festival, we met in one of the rooms of the convention center.  So it was nostalgic for the both of us to walk through the hallways and the bus stop where we had a brief conversation that is clear in both our memories.  A wonderful wrap to a beautiful day 🙂 and part 2 of the post.