make me smile again

I think I have some weird obsession with Christmas stuff, gingerbread cookies in the shape of a person in particular. I don’t obsess that much over Christmas tree-shaped items or even Santa Claus, snowmen etc., but it’s the Gingerbread man that always makes me go a little over the top. Some of my friends know this and so I was actually quite happy to receive this as a welcome gift when I visited my friend in Hong Kong last week!20131219-235049.jpgFunny thing was how the post-it note seemed like a blanket for Gingy. I have eaten half of it now and actually it’s a little too hard, but it’s always me enjoying having a Gingerbread cookie than the actual eating of it. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the gingerbread latte for a while, and the mini gingerbread men cookies I got from Marks & Spencer were pretty nice!

20131219-235101.jpgI can’t really remember what I’d wanted to post about when I uploaded these pictures in a draft entry, but now I am feeling pretty exhausted, at the end of a week. The weekend is here, and I am glad that there are these two days off from work, a short breather at least. I must learn, that not everyone’s opinions matter; there are always people around who are infused with so much negativity, that each time you say something they always have to refute with their two-cents worth that really is totally uncalled for and unsolicited. “Did I ask for your opinion?” I would think to myself. Whether or not they share my views or like what I like, shouldn’t matter, but I wish they would just keep their thoughts to themselves instead of blurting out every single disagreement. Or why does it even matter if they think I spend too much, it is my life and my money, how I control my cash flow, how I use my money, why does it even concern them and why do they have to pass a judgment that I spend too much on say, a dermatologist? And when it comes to me talking happily about spending Christmas with friends and family, why is it that a comment like “Oh, I don’t have time to celebrate Christmas” is even necessary??

life is a never ending journey

As a follow-up to my previous post, it really is easy isn’t it? Sometimes the easiest things are however, the hardest to achieve or feel. There was a dark period in my not-so-long-ago past where nothing seemed to give me any prolonged sense of peace. Perhaps I could derive some joy in sitting at a cafe during the weekends sipping coffee and munching on what brings a rush of sugar into my blood stream, but the process of getting there often involves an entire crescendo of emotions, just because our city is getting so crowded day by day, second by second. Whenever I see students hogging tables at cafes, not one or two, but at least 80% of the available tables at a cafe, my blood starts to boil and I experience strong impulses to take drastic actions. Of course, I always just walk away uttering curses under my breath at these inconsiderate people and the helpless/hopeless staff of these cafes, thus taking on the full brunt of negative emotions on myself. Nobody will feel the effects of my negativity when I get angry in these situations because I don’t act on those emotions but instead bury them within me. Yet I can’t possibly go around acting on my emotions because then the consequences might be even more dire than suffering psychologically.

I still can’t get over the weekly episodes of anger-inducing cafe hunt, even if I have already moved my hunt out of town, and it isn’t something that I can get used to, to think that “Oh this is normal”, and just move on to the next available location, if there is any at all. In such situations, there is always the need to compromise and settle somewhere that isn’t my top choice of that day to go to. I don’t really want to or like to compromise, nobody does. And not when situation calls for it all the time. Enjoyment can be so simple yet the route to get there so tumultous.

Maybe this can help serve as a reminder, or at least the sight of it can bring a small smile to my face, help lift the spirits in these situations.    20130927-142703.jpg

The week begins now.

reflections

As I think about some things while I sit whiling time away during the weekends, mulling over a cup of coffee and some sweet treat like a muffin, I contemplate life and all these years that have passed. Well, I make myself sound to be in a deep reflective mood but it’s just some mundane thoughts that cross my mind as I watch the world pass by. It is always better to sit at the sidelines as a by-stander rather than be caught in the thick of the action as the protagonist, isn’t it? Or that is just my preference to be a passive observer of life rather than be caught up in the throes of it.

As much as I deny it vehemently outwardly or inwardly, I think I can no longer hide the fact that I have an obsessive competitive streak in me. I am no go-getter in life, judging by how passive I am towards life, but it is a passive-aggressiveness associated with the competitiveness that makes it all so complicated and difficult to grasp and address. I cannot begin to describe the multiple layers and webs of conflict that exist because of that innate competitiveness that is yet not coupled with the drive to excel and go for what I want.

20130801-105257.jpgIt makes the mood extremely vulnerable to a roller-coaster ride that on some days I feel the handle on the wheel of control is coming loose. When we are acutely aware of the problem but do not have the power and the ability to mete out the solution, which is the way that we will then head?

mood swings

I swear I have one of the fastest swinging moods around. Or maybe I’m exaggerating. But some little things can wield such a powerful effect on me that despite being in public, I can feel so lousy I was close to bursting into tears because internally I felt so upset.

But then some small thing can turn the tables on this crappy mood and be an instant uplifter that the unhappiness miraculously melts away and peace floods my entire being in that instant. Schizophrenic anyone?

I was chided recently for not knowing to count my blessings and with that I recalled being told before that I have a choice. If I am really so unhappy with my job I have a choice to walk away rather than whine and get pissy when someone says something that rubs off me the wrong way. And I want to tell those people who never fail to exclaim how envious they are of me for my business trips that they too have a choice to change jobs and get something that will take them around the world. Everything works both ways, like we learnt in science lessons before, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction force, or doesn’t it? Weak analogy but you get the drift.

for the love of bread!

Yes I know I sound like a broken record, playing on and on annoyingly about how much I love carbohydrates in the form of bread. But yet I think I can’t stress enough how much I enjoy it. Well, I suppose like life, the things that we enjoy eating or our gastronomical indulgences, or perhaps addictions, come in phases. I remember when I was really young I loved eating chye tow kway (fried carrot cake in dark soy sauce with lots of egg) so much that my mum bought it for my breakfast every morning. Until I got sick of it that is. It happened suddenly, one morning when I was eating it as usual and all of a sudden I felt sick in my stomach, like it became too greasy and overwhelming that if I were to take another bite of it I would retch and empty the contents of my stomach entirely.

Isn’t that strange how our body sends such obvious signals but yet they happen in a flash, taking us off-guard? Life does that to us too.

Then in another phase of my life, I loved char siew rice, maybe it wasn’t the rice that I enjoyed so much but the char siew, nicely-roasted pork with the edges slightly burnt and crispy, yet still retaining the juiciness, tenderness and moisture of the meat. The same thing with the fried carrot cake didn’t happen here, because obviously I didn’t eat char siew rice on a daily basis, but now I am not such a big fan of it. I don’t mind having it on and off, but I won’t die without it. Same goes for carrot cake, I can eat it now without feeling the urge to puke, but it has been sometime since I last ate it.

So, with that, I really wonder how long it would be before I get sick of bread. Even for coffee, there was this recent phase where I drank a cup of the local coffee, or as we tend to call it kopi c (siew dai for me), but then one morning my body decided it had enough of this routine, with the same signals with fried carrot cake, so I changed my morning beverage. But coffee still figures as a big part of my life, though on some days I try to curb my intake. However, it is always nice to receive a dose of caffeine decorated with some latte art.

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And pardon the look of this sandwich. It actually looks like a burger because of the bread used, and I cut a part of it out to eat before I remembered to take a picture. There was no way I was going to be able to bring this up to my mouth and take a bite from it due to its sheer height but funnily I always eat my sandwiches by taking them apart. This is a rosemary chicken sandwich on walnut bread, my current favourite bread type. 20130327-090323.jpg

The same question came back to me too, whether I get sick of people after a while, or vice versa. I guess, since we can get sick of the kinds of things we eat, the things we do, the routines we keep, by the same measure, this would also apply on people right? I know I rant a lot about things that I always say are beyond my control and despite that I still go on (again like a broken record) about how helpless I feel about situations and the likes. I can’t expect that the people around me won’t get sick at some point about this ceaseless tirade that will just amplify any negative energy all around. So yes, I realise too that it does come to a point where I don’t meet up with some friends anymore because they would have gotten tired, and grown weary so much so that they would not look forward to each meet-up because it would just be another complain session.

There was this episode in my past where I felt wronged for being forgetful; I was being called out on something I said which I evidently did not remember at that instant, and I considered about how unfair it was that something I said that I don’t recall was being used against me. Going by the same vein, I shouldn’t too hold someone against what they said in the past, whether they meant it or not, or what their words meant. Things like, “I will always be…” and so on and so forth. Words are just words, without actions they don’t mean anything at all, not anymore.

learning to breathe

I have been trying really hard to embrace positivity and on some days I think I am fairly successful. It must have been evident because some friends I met in the last months commented how they feel that I seem to be a happier person these days. As compared to the grouch that I was, or rather a discontent soul who whines and complains at every possible opportunity, I think I have come a long way. It is only when we pause in the midst of our tracks, in my case, in my long ceaseless and pointless journey of lamenting, that we start to hear what is going on. During a period of time, I realised that I listen more to other people and what they have to say, and joked to my friend how this was payback time for me. It is also only during this time that perhaps I can start to learn to appreciate some small things in my life, things which I often take for granted and overlook, but actually when they happen I actually do feel an inkling of bliss and thank God that my life is blessed in that way.

I am so thankful for having a few friends now in my life who are firm but supportive. They are not afraid to tell it to my face what they really think, and although some of their words do sting I know they mean well. Well, eventually I get round to thinking that way, even if my first instinct may prove otherwise. That, I suppose, is the kind of support network that we all need in our lives; no one can truly function independently in life, because we all live in a community so we always need some kind of dependencies, whether we like it or not.

It is easy to blame anything for everything when something goes wrong, and it takes a whole lot of effort to turn around on all that and start seeing the good in what seems to be bad. Every morning when I miss my bus, I would curse under my breath and my mood also takes a nose dive into the deepest depths of the Pacific Ocean. I am easily irritable and something as slight as a person brushing against me can make me annoyed. By the same measure, my mood can get uplifted really easily and quickly. Perhaps that is what people call mood swings?

Someone once told me to count my blessings, literally, and one day I tried. Of course I chose a day when it was easy, i.e. a weekend, but one of these days I will try doing that on a weekday instead and then I shall see how blessed I really am.   20130226-140021.jpg

For now, I really need to learn how to breathe, literally and figuratively. Life is never about constants, that is what makes life interesting and what gives life meaning. If nothing ever changes around us then the years will just crawl and there won’t be a purpose to anything at all, don’t you think? I got really pissed off recently over a spate of repetitive incidents that occurred at home, people with whom I do not have a choice over. I just don’t get why they can be blatantly inconsiderate, maybe when people are too comfortable with themselves that is the result? It just pains me each time I have to go through situations that rile me and it really is so pointless, why can’t they just exercise some care and consideration? I know I am blessed to have my family with me, but some things, we just can’t blink them away and pretend that nothing happened because people just start to step all over you.

What was supposed to start out as an inspired post from the positivity I experiecned over the weekend has unfortunately turned around into a soliloquoy of rants. I apologise. But I think some people will be secretly glad that I’m out of their lives now because then they don’t have to hear my whines and laments like before, right?

so tired of being here

Aside from dinner at the Kaglan in the town centre near the hotel, the only other proper dinner I had was when the colleagues decided to head to Reading for dinner one rainy evening. It really rained a lot that day and honestly I was very reluctant to join, especially when half the time I have no idea what the conversation going on was about since I don’t speak the language and yes they are all so considerate.

Besides, having to sit in the car cramped in the backseat with two bigger-sized human beings on either side, travelling to Reading that was supposedly about 10 minutes drive away that actually was more like 30 minutes, I started to feel sick in the car already.

It was decided then that we should check out Jamie’s Italian, even though there were other choices. But the others that were available weren’t as interesting, such as Wagamama, and the others I cannot recall now.

Despite it being a wet and cold evening, Jamie’s Italian was really crowded but we were lucky to get a round table for the 5 of us, somewhere in the middle of the eatery, and yet it wasn’t so noisy that we couldn’t hear each other. At least I don’t really remember having to shout to get myself heard, not that I had to talk a lot. Jetlag had more or less set in, or I never really got out of being jetlagged, so by 8pm in the evening, I was already in a state of hibernation.

We had some starters, olives, bread baskets, and fries with truffle oil plus parmesan. I have had truffle fries before but this was slightly different. It was just normal fried potatoes with truffle oil and sprinkled with shaved parmesan cheese, so it wasn’t salty like most french fries are, and with parmesan it tasted great.

I was initially undecided about ordering the spaghetti vongole or the risotto but finally chose the former because I hadn’t had any decent vongole for ages. The only one I had before that I really liked is no longer in existence, which was cooked with light white wine sauce that was a little like aglio olio. This was a bit different, it had more taste to it, probably due to the different types of clams used. I think a lot of times I don’t fancy the vongole because the clams they used were of the variety that I don’t enjoy as they had some strong pungent taste. This was not too bad I think. At least I don’t dislike it so I think it’s a fairly good choice.

For dessert, we shared the tiramisu that came with orange mascarpone, and also the crushed ice with limoncello and mint, which was refreshing though perhaps a tad unsuitable for the cold weather. This would have been the perfect weather for things like hot pot or soup but I didn’t get a chance to have any soup.

Despite all that rain and the unwillingness in making the trip, I think it was good to try the eatery and have some proper dinner, because I have been having too much junk these two weeks. It feels really lousy to not be eating well and especially not having the chance, the motivation or the energy to do any exercising. I’m constantly feeling lethargic and tired and everything is just not in a very good state.