Friday, 29 June 2012

american dream- san francisco day 1


after a gruelling 14-hour flight which left zits all over my face (worst case in a decade), we finally arrived in the land of dreams- america!

United Airways fed us enough though the flight attendants are a bit old. and fierce.

because i'm typing this as Sophy sleeps in the next bed, here are just some photos. a bit too jet-lagged to fully appreciate that my lifelong dream has just been realised.


san fran is very hilly. i found it charming, new friend Peng says it reminds him of his hometown, a rural village named Wuzhou in China. =.=

and everywhere there are buildings with external fire escapes ala Friends!


this is Sophy. (wow i'm such a good photographer!)

after checking into the Hotel Carlton, we set out to visit the nearest drugstore so i could buy body lotion.



most of the items are locked up. looks like SF is really not as safe as Sydney.

things in USA is truly cheaper! on the duty free shopping on the flight, i wanted to buy 2 jars of Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner for US$40 but my debit card was declined :'(

not sure if i'll have any time to shop as all of us are new to SF and are keen to visit the sights first and foremost.


anyway here's our lovely room in the semi-atas hotel.


haha compare all my drugstore buys to Sophy's department store version.


a walk-in closet for our luggage.


lastly, this is the bedroom. ok jetlag kicking in. good night!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake


obviously i botched up again ((weeps

admittedly it was my bad because i was so exhausted by the time i was processing the cake i didn't care that there was a lump of cream cheese in the mix and bunged the bloody thing into the oven.


and then i couldn't wait for it to cool completely and shoved it into the fridge so i could go to bed.

obvi, it was a bad idea.


not sure why but i keep burning the tops of my cakes whereas the middle's still a bit too soft.

taste-wise i liked it (like liquid peanut butter) but S deemed it too sour.

my colleagues liked it, but then they were crazy about the chocolate peanut butter cookies i baked (i have a thing for chocolate + pb) so.. their tastebuds might be weird haha.


this is what it's supposed to look like ((commits suicide

original recipe from Nigella here

i substituted the peanuts for walnuts because i couldn't find any peanuts.

;;;

leaving for USA in a couple of days and i'm nursing a sore throat! :'(

don't think i can work tomorrow and dread telling my senior i need to take leave again


argh

Sunday, 24 June 2012

miss chu


one of my fave bits about Sydney is the many artisan eateries dotted around the city, where i live (albeit in a living room)-- speaking of living rooms, i have also taken over my home's dining room, which has turned into my second study.

after reading about Miss Chu on The Unbearable Lightness and realising how accessible it was, i planned Tomomi's welcome-back dinner there. 

Hanoi Vegetarian Deep Fried Spring Rolls, $6

Cyan did the ordering so we had too much, as usual. haha

i had high expectations for this place due to Lee's post on Unbearable and it was quite good for me but i wouldn't recommend this place too highly to my friends because it's not mainstream and safe enough.

Satay Chicken Warm Vermicelli Salad, $13

we were so used to pho that we asked the waiter if it's supposed to be so dry. sekali the sauce was at the bottom and once you mix everything, it's quite delicious! chicken was a bit too dry but then i'm more of a carb person so i was more intent on devouring the vermicelli.

i think the difference between Sydney and Melbourne is that Sydney has more Malaysians who have settled down here and integrated our culture into the lives of Sydney-siders; whereas Melbourne has more Malaysian students. Laksa and satay are 2 foods commonly found here, popular with angmos and Asians alike.

i've even tried satay soup, which was.. quite yummy. (well, my mum didn't cook much, so i can be quite easy to please food-wise). but essentially it's just bottled satay sauce + water.

Steamed Rice and Greens with Satay Chicken, $13

i don't think i've seen red rice since junior high! this dish wasn't for me as i don't like rice particularly.

Vegetarian Fried Net Spring Roll Salad, $13

Egg Omelet, Avocado and Balsamic Caramelised Onion Fresh Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls, $7.50 for 2

the rice paper rolls were a bit too sticky and hard for my liking, though the taste was mm~ (i hate food which calls for ugly eating, which is why i never eat kebabs or large burgers in public)


love the design of the tuckshop :)

was good to see the beautiful Tomomi again. the only good thing about my previous household was the people!

((sigh. my Sunday is drawing to an end and i have to continue my readings.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

端午节

for awhile now i feel like i've been running a marathon.

work, class and assignments on my days off.

finally i got my first real day of rest today :DD though now that finals are over i have to get straight into my WORK unit to be done in USA.

my assigned group for this subject is all-Caucasian girls. so i have to work doubly hard to ensure i don't embarrass Asians. i don't want them to feel about me the way i feel about some 'AAA' grade people.

am excited about USA but can't help wishing i could stop and breathe for a bit.


today S bought me dinner at Masuya 'because i was going to USA'. initially i thought it was because she was worried i might be cannibalised there ((shudders

 sekali she said, 'buy me a nice souvenir' haha!

Masuya is near Wynyard, on a very quiet street off Hunter Street.

S sent me some reviews of the restaurant this morning and apparently they're famous for their Sapporo Hot Pot with seafood and soy milk. also their sashimi was supposed to be very fresh, so we ordered a piece each at $3 per piece (haha, the life of a poor uni student!)

i found it quite firm and fresh but S says it could be sweeter. not enough of a foodie to comment, but it was definitely fresher than what i had at Fish Market.


lots of eye-rolling from S while i was taking this shot but i have a thing for these traditional types of pots. the food is cooked for 15 minutes on the table.


obvi, we had eaten before S remembered we haven't taken any photos!

there was a crab, fish balls (atas succulent ones), chicken, scallops, salmon pieces and vegetables in a rich seafood broth.

it was very, very delicious. a pot is enough to serve 2-3. i can vouch for everything except the crab (as i am allergic to crabs sometimes). the chicken was tender.. really, this is just perfection in a meal. and quite reasonably-priced at $45.


on the way home we came across dumplings being sold at Meet Fresh and decided to buy one each to celebrate 端午节,though both of us are stuffed to the brim from Masuya.


had a good talk with S, a bit too soul-baring for my liking, really. silly because the person baring her heart was me ((rolls eyes.

gotta work harder to become a better person!

端午节快乐!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

last night

due to unique circumstances that can only happen in my life, i ended up carrying my duvet and running out of my home in my PJs at 2 am.

i honestly had no idea where to hail a cab at this hour, but thankfully there were 2 idling in front of ABC.

the nanosecond i slid onto the seats, i could practically see all the antennas pricking up all over the cabbie, who sneaked peeks at me through the rearview mirror. 

his ears almost twitched as i rung D and told her i was on my way. when he realised i wasn't going to share my sob story with him, he asked, with measured nonchalance..

'moving?'

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

moving?!

moving?!

normal people don't move by carrying a single duvet and wandering the wet streets of Sydney at 2am on a winter night. in PJs and sandals. but kudos to him for guts (he was probably trying to gauge if i was nuts.) it rhymes! haha

i told him the boring truth and he slumped. though he did give me a 20cents discount haha. probably reckoned i was lying and had actually found my boyfriend in bed with another woman or something.

now i am forever indebted to Dai Dai, Ivan.. and all the beautiful people i met here! don't know what's wrong with me this semester but i'm practically surviving on the kindness of others.

i wish i were more articulate so i could express my gratitude better. one day when i become successful and rich i'll repay you guys a billion times over!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

american visa interview


this morning i woke at 6.15am for my visa interview at 8am.

i ran a bit late as i was obsessed with making sure i looked perfect for the interview.. plus i thought there wouldn't be too many people at the consulate as i had selected the first interview slot.

i was wrong.


there were so many people at the consulate i was still in the queue at 8.15am!

the upside is that even if you're late, the good people at the consulate understand that it's due to their crazily stringent security measures and let you take your interview anyway.

in my fantasy the interview would take place in an interrogation room (as per Hollywood movies).. reality is, as usual, vastly different.

after the security check where you're made to strip down to the bare basics, you bring your thick document file to a reception where they confirm that your photo is recent and that you have paid us$160 for your tourist visa ((wallet bleeding

then you wait to be directed up to another office upstairs, where our passports and appointment confirmations are checked one-by-one.. and we are let into the office. one. by. one.

finally in the office, more waiting to get fingerprints scanned.

then waited some more for my turn to be interviewed. thank goodness they had some magazines at the waiting area, if not i think i would just kill myself from nervousness! (because i had already paid for the USA trip)

finally i was called to the interview, which was conducted standing up and through a glass wall
!!! with the interviewer speaking using a portable microphone ((faints

and the thick stack of documents i brought? -- including the original birth certificate DHL-ed from KL at the beautiful price of RM89-- he didn't even want to hear about them!

interviewer: what are you going to america for?

me: an exchange program, i have a letter from my professor, do you wanna see it?

him: no! just tell me. do you have money to fund your trip?

me: yes, do you wanna see my statements?

him: no! just tell me. how much money do you have in your account?

.. the entire interview took all of 5 minutes ((rolls eyes

what does this have to do with the Quiksilver bag?

on the way home i popped into Roxy to check out a sale, and found one of the cardigan of my dreams!


this white knit from love rain ((heart heart!

i think she wore it and had a midnight date in springtime with 仁河 *^-^* now i have the cardigan, all that's left is to find my 仁河 by springtime, and my life is set haha

mine is not as baggy but i love it. plus it was half price! and the buttons are sewn tightly-- always a sign of quality.

so.. end of story. i will get my passport back next week and can start preparing for usa :DD

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

x


i went to the hairdresser again. because my hair was so tangled it wasn't even funny.

and because N said my shaved patch is getting larger and larger. haha admittedly my hand does slip sometimes when i'm shaving my own hair. 

sekali my stylist said my hair's so tangled due to dryness not thickness. and also that i did a good job shaving my own hair *proud*

so now i have to start using leave-in treatment :(( and get S to help with shaving sometimes.


haha so glad am over my phase of not letting people see me from the side.

other fun, non-academic *guilty* things i did on the Queen's Birthday--



it really was simpler than frying eggs!

and tastes amazing fresh out of the oven!

after it gets cold i felt it was a tad too sweet and soggy/floury but i finished almost half of it in 2 days!

the rest i quickly gave away to Christina when i went to her place just now to grab some printouts for my US visa interview in 9 hours' time ((sweats

if not i would just devour everything!

one thing i noticed about cakes i bake is that they invariably end up slightly burnt.. and i love it!!! i must be crazy but there's something addictive about the crispiness of the edges, almost cookie-like!


recently everybody has been so kind to me, i'm almost afraid.

my housemates keep stuffing me-- soup and watermelon!


i think they're aghast at how much instant noodles i eat xD


and Christina saved my skin by helping me print some documents for my interview tomorrow at 10pm! plus having Rudy pass me a 暖暖包 (hand warmer?) to keep me warm on the walk home ((eyes brim over

S bought me a case just because it was beautiful and cheap hehe. we had dinner together tonight, something we haven't done alone in a long time (sounds a bit wrong hmm)

and not forgetting Daph and Ivan who kindly had me over for dinner a couple of nights ago and helped with my printing and graphics editing for assessment.

i'm just grateful *^-^*

talked to my parents yesterday and dad even got mum to tell me he misses me (another highlight of my life, haha!)

Monday, 11 June 2012

rainy season

video

i forgot to add this video in to the Vivid post. very de-stressing to scream out loud!

the higher your pitch/louder your voice, the higher the boards flip.

i used to be quite shrill but as i age (?) my voice becomes lower. 

i've probably whined about this before, but juggling part-time work and full-time study is more challenging than i expected. 

i mean, i'm actually getting white hair now-- not just one, but a few at the same time!

so i was 102% ready to scream when i saw the opportunity.

thankfully there was another brief respite from work/study-- ivan & daphnie's housewarming party!


the lovebirds, who have been together for 5 years (unthinkable!) finally rented an apartment all for themselves.

baked a honey chocolate cake.. very apt for the occasion, no?


the hosts were gracious and organised, even writing our names on plastic cups and bowls so we don't end up playing the 'hmm-which-cup-is-mine' game.

felt a bit guilty remembering how my guests had to eat out of tupperwares and bring their own disposable cutlery when they came to my place.


everybody brought a dish and the table was already groaning under the weight of all the delicious food before the last guest arrived!

my fave would have to be Ivan's hot pot (or, in Malaysian terms, steamboat). in fact i loved it so much i invited myself to their home the next day for the leftovers.


they even had cute disposable chopsticks with a toothpick inside. i think they bought these from Daiso, a Japanese mart in Chatswood. gotta give it to the Japs for being #1 in thoughtfulness.


Christina made salted crispy chicken (盐酥鸡). she gave face to Daph and dressed up. every time she makes an effort she ends up looking stunning. i remember Eugene telling me this is his ideal girl type-- usually bare-faced and low-key but a knockout when she wants to be.

haha but sometimes when i don't wear makeup and go out, i'm shocked by my reflection in public toilet mirrors, like 'i can't find my eyes!!!'


rudy took these. 



after everybody was stuffed up to our throats, we had the most intense game of Uno Stacko i have ever played before in my life! (ok, so i have only ever played it 3 times in all my life, but..)


see the FIRE in Christina's eyes!! ((burning

the funny thing is how we were playing this as a drinking game, where the guys were paired with a girl so there would be somebody to imbibe alcohol if they lost.

and when Rudy helped Christina drink i was cheering, 'wow! 英雄救美!’ but Christina brought me back to reality with a 'yeah it looks very romantic now, but when he starts throwing up when he gets home, i'm the one who has to clean it up.'

ooh the harsh reality of being in a 8-year relationship!

sometimes i get starry-eyed and i get away with it because i'm the youngest in the group, but i really hope i exit this phase soon ((rolls eyes.

at the end of the night i had lost half the rounds of Uno and had drank enough to buzz a bit xD because i was in a group by myself keke. everybody automatically assumed R would be my black knight because we spend so much time together but.. he's R, and i needed some alcohol in me.

i loved my best friend's (& everybody else's) indignant reactions. recently people have been nothing but kind to me *grateful* 

Saturday, 9 June 2012

vivid sydney


what i won at work..

on thursday we had teambuilding activities which had us all running around the Royal Botanic Gardens for an hour. wahseh i haven't ran so hard since high school's PE exams! yep, not even to catch the train last Sunday.

(and at night i ran with Jaz to Central station again! why all the sudden running?!)


last night we went to Vivid Sydney, which is a series of 3D projections on iconic buildings in Sydney, paired with music. this is Customs House, where i go sometimes during lunch to read and/or nap.

it's on every night at 6pm until midnight, and runs through to 11 June.

they did a great job but really slow art is for people who are warm, full and free. we were hungry and cold thus could not fully appreciate the meaning (?) behind the instalments with slooow movements.


we were like, 'just do something, already!'

gosh i sound so vulgar but i was quite impatient as i was watching this particular screening.

the only person who had the patience to check out everything was R ((because he had a meat box for lunch and i had.. a half tub of yogurt?


i kinda lost appetite for the other half when i realised what was happening before my very eyes!-- i am turning yet another guy into my brother!!! nooo!!! i must walk out from this curse!!!

;;;

anyway it was a bit of a walk.. about 3 hours to cover everything


isn't this just stunning?! it looks just like the Night effects from some of the iPhone photography apps!


the chandelier from la traviata! :))


i need a new bag. everybody is forever asking why i carry a shopping bag with me constantly.


lastly.. haha! the magic item that kept me from freezing over last night! white scarf! it's actually a 围脖 instead of a 围巾, like a collar scarf and is great for pairing with my summer clothes which are more low-cut. i also love the fluffy balls, though they don't go with my general look at all. have started shaving my hair myself. sometimes my hands slip and i lose more long hair but gosh my hair is just so thick i reckon it's gonna grow back fast!

i'm not sure if it's just me who wears summer clothes all year round and add layers to stay warm. my Taiwanese friends have seasonal closets and usually wear 2-3 layers, when i have a minimum requirement of 3-4 layers. but when i put on my coat finally i can hardly bend my arms =.=

end of procrastination. back to assignments.