Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reality vs. imaginary futures from the past

I have always imagined my future ever since I was young.

Before I was 10, my imaginary future was like this:

I would be working in an office of 30 people in Sandakan where my colleagues would consist of mostly female in their twenties. We would go out for lunch together everyday and go shopping on Saturdays at Mile 4. Every night I would go home for dinner cooked by my Mum or even Grandma - there would be soup, 3 dishes and fruits. Tehn we would watch TVB together anad curse about the bad guy in the drama. I would get a boyfriend who works in another office and we would spend every Sunday together with my family eating kon lou min at Mile 4 again, before we go shopping or visit his family at Mile 4 again. Around age 26, we would discuss about getting married and we would. It would be a ceremony back in Sandakan and everyone would be invited. Then we would have two kids - a girl and a boy. And live happily ever after in Sandakan with annual holidays.

Then when I was in high school, my imaginary future was like this:

I would study in KL with my highschool sweet heart and meet people from all over Malaysia. We would endure the tough times of studying and graduating together. After graduating, we would get a job in KL or Singapore. Together we would save money for marriage and family. My family would migrate over to KL/Singapore depending on where I would be. My parents would stay with me after I get married. So every day after work I would go back to nicely prepared meals and freshly showered kids courtesy of my dear Mum. And live happily ever after in KL/Singapore with annual road trips around Malaysia.

Then when during my first year in Australia, my imaginary future was like:

I would get a boyfriend who is kind, dashing and gentleman. We would spend our days in Australia, walking under the sun, travelling around town - without a care of the world. I would go back to Malaysia after that to graduate and to work while he would remain in Australia to graduate and to work. We would be on LDR. I would work in a laboratory and go back to nicely prepared dinners by my Mum followed by strolls around pasar malam after dinner. Before sleep every night, I would call, Skype or MSN with my boyfriend. As soon as I reach 27, my boyfriend would either return to Malaysia or bring me over to Australia. We would get married and have two kids who can speak Chinese and English. My parents would migrate to Australia and stay with us and live happily ever after.

And so we arrived to right now.

Never in the world in my previous imaginary futures had I expected to be:

Living under the same roof with a bunch of similarly aged friends, all of us away from family and pursuing a career here. I thought such a world existed in Friends the sitcom, only.

Living away from home and the luxuries of having dinner prepared for me everynight, no bills or rents to worry about, groceries/laundry done for me.

Living with a dog who is as bratty and mischievious as can be.

Cooking meals as simple as oat with vegetables to as complicated as a failed three tier chocolate cake, every single night.

Chasing so hard after and focusing so much on my career ans aspirations that a family of my own is not on the cards right now.

Having so much ups and downs with my stable partner instead of getting engaged after being together for for years, getting married after being engaged for 1 year and having kids after being married for 1 year - you know, like a static plan.

Travelling all over Australia and to Japan and planning to travel everywhere else in the world instead of saving all my money for marriage and family.

Having to exercise to maintain my figure!! (I was so skinny back then)...


Surely, this isn't exactly the future I anticipated for years ago but I can't help feeling contented at the excitement - for the uncertainties, opportunities and possibilities - that I face right now.

Monday, July 26, 2010

July again

July has been an extreme month - of so much celebration and so much passionate fights.

I guess most people know that Ray's birthday which is also our anniversary is in July.

I love celebrations - big and small - I believe in giving moe credit to the little things in life and reminding ourselves to appreciate each other. And of course, the wine and the dine and presents.

However, with celebrations and occasions also come expectations and anticipation. Where one party might be anticipating or expecting too much while the other party feeling the same - but in a different way. For example, your idea of a celebration might be sweet champagne during dinner overlooking the skyline while your partner's might be cooking a simple meal at home over hot Milo.

While both are intended to make the day special and happy, the discrepancy in expectation can create disappointment. The former in how plain and unglamorous it seems, while the latter in how materialistic and overtly grand it seems.

In the end, many people choose to disregard the day or just go according to one person's wishes - a big NONO to me. The day should never ever end on a sour note. If it does, then you just have to celebrate again and again - until it ends on a happy note.

Expectations are different sure. But I am pretty sure if you do it often enough and care about each other enough, the gap in expectations will only close and not grow.

We learn to live with each other. It might take a few fights, but heck, those are kacang.

July was a month of celebration and fights. I was as happy as I could be and also as angry or sad as I could be.

But right now, sitting here and reflecting on everything that happened - Ray's birthday breakfast, Ray's birthday dinner, our anniversary dinner, Ray's birthday dinner make-up. Ray's birthday supper, Ray's birthday surprise with friends - I am glad to say that I feel happy.

They say the negative things always overshadow the positive things.

That is true, hence the significance of this moment right now: feeling happy and thinking it was all worth it despite all.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dessert with Sissy

It started with . . "Let's go for dessert." Lowena was (pretending) to sleep at the back of the car. Then WenJi remembered about the pastry chef who appeared in the celebrity chef challenge with my beloved Callum who apparently is based in a Cafe at Crown. Of course it excited me: 1) Sweets! 2) Celebrity Chef! 3) Callummmmmmmmmmmmm.

Thanks to the power of technology, google told us that Miss Celebrity Chef, Philippa Sibley, has now opened a new cafe at St Kilda. The webpage was a simple one page layout but that was enough to convince us to jet to St Kilda. At this moment, Lowena was trying very hard (pretending) to sleep.

The cafe looked really humble and cosy. Little tables sprawled across the room and there were only two waiter/waitresses who were so enthusiastic when it comes to explaining the menu.

We ordered 3 desserts - since it is a special occassion :)

1) The famous 'Snickers'
Caramel Parfait Glace with Salted Peanut Caramel and Milk Chocolate Mousse. This was the challenge Callum had to face and eventually lost out to Philippa. Watch the challenge by clicking here to see how difficult it was to make a slice of this beauty. Oh if you don't feel like watching, look at the recipe: here.
We looked high and low the (small) menu to find nothing similar to the MasterChef challenge and were slightly disappointed. Then the waitress asked, "Did you watch the Masterchef epi..." "YES," was the collective answer of WenJi and I.
It looked exactly like on the show and I could feel Callum's sweat and tears *sniff sniff* The chocolate on top glimmers and the best way to split this cake? To crack it with a light force using your spoon :D I wanna go back already :P

2) Snow White and Red Rose

Let me try to capture this as accurate as possible. This is made up of rosewater ice-cream and vanilla ice-cream with chunks of strawberries at the bottom, decorated with two meringue angel wings (I was sold at this point - angel wings meringue - what else man!?) and crystalised rose petals (I was sold again at this point).

3) Poire Belle . . . .something (Sorry I failed you). Chocolate fondant with melted gooey chocolate infused with maybe honey or champage (according to Lowena) and poached pear with a heart of vanilla ice-cream. This is lurve.

When you get the bill, you get free raspberry marshmallow which are soft as. . . . fluff. Well, this is consolation to the extreme satisfaction you get from the not only delicious but beautiful desserts here.

Be warned, the desserts don't come at a light price. Snickers is priced at $19 and Snow White and Red Rose at $16 (if I'm not wrong). So this is the perfect place to bring your partner to make him/her feel special without the Chanel haha.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Melbourne with Sissy

The first night I went dinner with my sister in Melbourne, the tram we were in hit a taxi :/ My first experience in my 3 years living in Melby, and right after I met my sis yup.

The following day, I hung out with my sister for the first time in a while and the day was freaking windy. Not in quite a while had it been that windy, and right after I met my sis yup.

It was this windy.

It was so windy even the power of Burberry can go die.

We headed up to Mount Dandenong for some serious breakfast action with Melissa and her Mum, who uses the same G11 as me. Oh and I promised to teach her a bit about using the camera, but I think I can probably cover everything I know in . . . .10 minutes. Cause I know THAT much!

We dropped by Teapots, a shop filled with teapots, teacups and tea, located right next to Miss Marples as we arrived an hour before Mis Marples opened just to secure a place. After all, at Miss Marples, it is strictly on a first come first served basis with no take-aways allowed.

Lowena was in awe and on a teapot-high.

I loved this little cottage teapot.

Oh there's a cow in my milk!!

Christmas in July!

Miniature tea sets sitting in a miniature cabinet I nearly knocked over.

Lines and lines of mugs fill every wall in the store.

Lowena and Thomas fighting over whether to buy the $90+ water bottle or the $60+ water kettle. Then they bought both.

Salt and pepper . . . . frogs, yummy.

Salt and pepper . . . . cupcakes, yummy?

And then the most joyous thing happened: Lowena found her long lost identical twin. *sniff sniff*

So at 11 am sharp, we headed back to Miss Marples, expecting to be the FIRST ones!

But of course, we were too late, as the place has been filled and we were asked to return half an hour later.

So more teapots+teacups+tea browsing time.
More miniature darlings!

Okay as much as I love all things miniature and dainty - my stomach and its well being is way moooooorrrreeeeeee important.

Finally, breakfast at Miss Marples.

Me: Mel, you really don't mind going to Miss Marples again after going just last week?
Melissa: No, I love it there!
Me: You sure?
Melissa: Wo chaoooooooooo xi huan. (trans: I suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper like it there).

The jam and cream we go gaga for.

Quiche Lorraine with gigantic chips and salad no one touched mehehe.

Onion soup with drizzles of cheeeeeese.

Asparagus and cheese fingers.

Mel: This one is the best.
Me: What are they? Really?
Mel: Believe me. THE BEST.

The star of the show: scones glorious scones.

Horror movie poster: The Over-fed Ghost.

We were stuffed but of course, dessert is another matter totally - bread and butter pudding :)

Rode the trains after that to the city where cameras were whipped out and pictures were shared before someone fell asleep, someone else camwhored like mad.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon shopping around the city - forced to run into shops due to the cold, wind and drizzle - not because of the sales at all! At night, we met up with WenJi for some modern Australian cuisine.

Me: What do you guys wanna eat?
Thomas and Lowena: Emu, kangaroo, ostrich . . . you get the gist.

We went to Tjanabi at Federation Square. At first, I thought Tjanabi would be an Indian restaurant from the name and so did WenJi.

Here are the food we had for the night:

Taster plates:-
House made duck liver, brandy and pepper leaf pate with melba toast
Crocodile Escabech – crocodile tail fillet in a Spanish marinade
Pork Rabbit loin and duck neck terrine muntrie and apple chutney
Local olives marinated in lemon and native pepper leaf
Vegetarian spring rolls with mango and finger lime chutney
Kangaroo chorizo with tomato and Tasmanian pepper relish

Some sampler - feta cheese and lamb (I think).

Salmon fillet on a bed of greens with caviar

Kangaroo fillet

Emu fillet with risotto and braised carrots.

Lowena: Wah carrots! I haven't eaten vege in a while! *munches* Eh, how come it tastes like alcohol. . . . ?

Lowena: Ohhhh risotto! I love risotto! *munches* Eh, how come tastes like ginseng . . . . ?

We were quite stuffed when we were done with our dinner. But WenJi and I were adamant about going for some noice dessert somewhere. We thought about Cumulus, then Greco then, an ingenious idea dawned upon us and led us to the biggest discovery and sweetest experience we ever had.

So much as a Lowena who pretended to be sleeping in the car woke up, bright and totally in love after that.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New things

I love my new hair :) I love my new hat :)

I love my new denim jacket :) I love my new contact lens:)

Things new - they are always so fascinating, exciting and promising. Maybe it will go wrong, maybe it will go right. Regardless, it means change.
Change is essential, after all risk equals reward. And I am willing to take the risk.

While change is good, it is greater to know that there are things which are here to stay - family.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I was about to skip blowdrying my hair when I received a message from my mum saying that my hair looks really nice just like one of those Vivi models.

Being my mum she is just probably being nice.

But here I am grabbing the blowdryer.


I mean, after all it was an international SMS so there must be a tiny weeny bit of truth to it ne?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Sweetest Thing

This is the sweetest thing ever - just put a smile on my face :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Home dreaming

I dreamt about standing in front of the old dressing table in my parents' room back in Sandakan.

Mum was laying Hainanese chicken in the middle of huge piece of cardboard.

Then she laid two balls of rice on either side of the chicken.

I asked, "How are you going to wrap it up without it spilling?"

Then Mum answered, "Like that lar!"

Ah, home.

Oh and my sister is here. I screamed at her.

Ah, home.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mart130 & Saganaki

I am going to bring my sister to Mart 130 - the best breakfast place in Melby.

So, of course, I have to go and re-taste the GOOD stuffs over there before bringing the guest of honour over.

It was a cold windy morning and I risked my life for this mission.

A hot chocolate to start off my day.

The eggs are the highlights at this hidden cafe but Mel's Mum discovered the other gem on its menu - the corn fritters. So Ray ordered this tangy, spicy delight.

For the sake of feeling healthy. . . . erm, actually due to an extended period of overeating with Ray being back from kampung Marla and forcing me to eat with me (sigh of sigh), I ordered fruit granola with vanilla yoghurt.
And it came with milk.

We sat overlooking the windy landscapes of a leash-free dog park.

And the milk went to Ray. I gave him that key component of my breakfast - milk, cos I just LURVE milk.

We spent the rest of the day in the city, booking day tours for my sis&co. Then it started raining heavily and we started running frantically back to our car. Jetted back to Clayton . . . . . to grab a KFC Snack Box.
Why just a small Snack Box for the two of us?
Cause we were gonna head to SAGANAKI for Ray's early birthday dinner! (Side story: I got a $100 dinner voucher for Saganaki after winning a lucky draw)
I find bangs so important in making me feel younger haha.

And colour contact lens so important in making my eyes look bigger :D

We ordered like mad!
First up: Trio of dips – Tzatziki, Taramasalata and Melitzanosalata served with pita (I loved the red coloured dip!)

Second entree: Saganaki - Pan fried kefalograviera cheese (Cheesy heaven omg you must order this in every Greek restaurant)

Cocktail: Cookies & Cream

Main #1: Mixed Grill Plate - Chef’s selection of meats which may include Lukaniko, pork, beef and chicken

Main #2: Kakavia – A glorious Greek version of the famous French bouillabaisse ~ Fresh seafood including scallops, prawns, mussels, calamari, crab and fish from today’s market is combined with Macaronia in a delicate tomato, garlic and chili soup.

No dessert cause. . . anyway, I got a $2 scarf from Cotton On and have been wearing it everywhere. Bargains, how I love them and pride myself on finding them.