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post-its

i love post-its. i think its one of the best inventions ever. my table on a typical day is always filled w post-its of to-dos. i used to even carry post-its in my wallet so i will be able to jot things down, i know there are mobile phones with reminders but im old school, i like a good old post-it. and wont it be nice to receive a post-it with a hand written note on it. so amidst all the craziness at work, here’s a note too all my friends. 🙂 20120105-010149.jpg

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hello 2012

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I disappeared from the blog scene after returning from my asian trip because life caught up with me. i’ve been debating about returning since i love writing and sharing about my daily happenings. i’m still working on my blog and coming up with themes so it’ll keep me going. i work better when i have a routine. in the mean time, hope you’re still enjoying the start of a new year. As a chinese, we get an extended holiday — Chinese New Year and its coming up January 23rd. I’m going to start to prep for it since there’s a ton of traditions involved (i only keep those i agree with!), will definitely blog about that, no festivals escape jojo! 🙂

Hong Kong

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20110902-034531.jpg old chinese junk ship

Hong Kong. So much memories here yet I dont remember the place at all. oxymoronic i know. this was the city i took my first trip overseas with my friends 11 years ago and i’ve never been back ever since. The only thing the remains the same is the night market and water dripping from AC. Other then that, everything else seems different from before. There are way more malls, the sidewalk seem cleaner and there are alot more people (just like every other Asian city)! The fun part about being a tourist is that you get to meet other tourists, start a conversation with them for say an hour/ two and you go your separate ways, contining with your lives. Its intriguing how people end up in the same space at the same time. I met a Brazilian, French, German and American just on my first day of arriving in HK and I wonder if their lives/perspectives are changed in that short span of talking with me. Mine definitely was shaped, I learned new things about each individual and the random facts they threw at me like how polar bears are mating with grizzy bears up north because there arent enough male polar bears around? haha. Or that the hostel I was staying at was actually a famous place because a film by Wong Kar Wai was filmed there? (I had no idea!) I know I convinced the German to try chicken feet, no idea if it ever came through though. I know this post should be about HK, what was fun, what to buy, where to go visit; but this was my unique HK experience. 🙂

20110902-033541.jpg this is the home my mom grew up in and the same home my brother and i spend our holidays at.

Growing up I had a mild sense of identity crisis over who I am. I said mild because compared to other mixed kids (pan-asians, eurasians, blackasians etc), I don’t look physically different from others so it was more of an internal struggle. I was well aware that my mom was taiwanese and had a whole chunk of family in taiwan and proudly told everyone I’m half taiwanese. Every year, my mom would pack my brother and I on a plane and ship us to taiwan for the holidays. That was the only taiwanese influence I had. However, other then spending my holidays in Taiwan, I didn’t feel different from my classmates/friends in Singapore and always felt very Singaporean. Deep down, I always wondered what it meant to be half-taiwanese. It didn’t occur to me that my brother felt the same way until a couple of years back when we had this conversation, it definitely gave me some peace that I wasn’t alone in this. Ironically, I got to know alot of taiwanese people in Chicago! To any outsider, I may look totally blended in (physically), but it took a while for me to grow comfortable with them. Initially, I’ll just sit on the brink, always taking a bit more time trying to understand what everyone is saying (my chinese is really bad comparatively) and culturally, singaporeans and taiwanese are different. But I’m glad to say I’ve assimilated well with my taiwanese friends and have even unknowingly picked up their accent and so many times thrown people off when they found out I’m not taiwanese (which does secretly make me happy). And this increased interaction has made me realised how much my mom has influenced me in her taiwanese ways. I’ve found the half taiwanese part of me. I’m home mom.

I’m home.

20110902-031124.jpg skyline of singapore

I’m home. its always such a conflictual feeling to be back in Singapore. I’ve only been away for 3 years but the constant change is so hard to keep up with. Sometimes Chicago feels more comforting because she never changes. (My old secondary school building is now a food court!) The only constant is my friends and family, yet its hard because I’m the one who has changed (vastly). Many friends expect me to stay the same, they comment me about my accent (which did eventually fade off the longer I stayed), my view of life is very different from everyone and sometimes I wonder if I’m just a deviant teenager refusing to settle down in life, like everyone else. Conversations of wedding plans, buying a car, getting an apartment, prices of apartments, enrolling kids into grade school etc all bypass me. Nobody really wants to hear about my 8-hour work days, endless summer festivals, my monthly travels, long dreadful winters etc. Yet, I love the fact that I am still in contact with friends from grade school and beyond. And the fact that Singapore’s so small, we’re separated by 2 degrees! Despite everyone being at different stages of life, there is still that past memory that holds us together.

“You’re not coming back anymore right?” It is no longer a question now, people just assume I’ve given up on my homeland for something (seemingly)better. “No,” I’ll answer politely, “just not at this point.” There are many different ways to live your life and Singapore’s way is not mine, but I’ll be back. My parents are here and I’ll always find my way back into their abode. It is my asian way of saying thanks. Confucius says.

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so in a twist and turn of events, i found out I was illegal to work come 08/19 and with the urging of my supervisor, decided to take a trip home. with the unknow ahead (i left without knowing how long my break was going to be) i decided it would be a good time to check out Japan, a place I’ve been wanting to go my whole life (literally). I’ve sort of idealized Japan and put it high of my list of places i will definitely love (despite having never been there). Turns out I was unimpressed. I blame it on the fact that I didn’t get out of Tokyo, the vast population giving me numerous panic attacks and I didn’t go to Tokyo with a shopping agenda.

Other then that I actually had an awesome time. The hostel I stayed at was wonderfully clean, safe, in a great location (although i got lost/drenched in the rain while trying to find it!) and I met many wonderful fellow travellers. Somehow it seems like being in the same hostel gives you the permission to talk to anyone in the same space. If you know me, I don’t like to initiate conversation. My motto is that if someone initiates a conversation I will keep it going, but to hell will I ever first say hi. (I have strong inertia) But somehow, it seems like the inertia is broken, I actually started talking to anyone. I’ve met travellers from Australia, New Zealand, France, USA etc and its so exciting listening to everyone’s story and how we all landed in the same place at the same time. It was at this point I realised, I’ve been cooped up in a box and there’s so much more out there for me to explore. Travelling is addictive like that.

ps: A big thank you to teaegg for planning my itinerary and ensuring I had an awesome time! 🙂

I’m back.

I’m back. Cant believe 2 months have gone since I last posted. Guess work picked up and I was thrown into a whirlwind of life changing events. In the past 2 months, I’ve moved from enjoying the Chicago summer to embarking on my first solo travel experience around Asia. I’m definitely a changed person and a big advocate of solo travelling! More to come on that. The one great news is that my visa has sorted out and I’ll be in Chicago for the next 3 years. I’m crazy excited about what this city is going to surprise me with, bring it on CHI-TOWN!

20110902-025553.jpg a mandatory picture with my dish before i start devouring