Dear Europe, maybe next time.

I was on NY Times browsing for editorials when I came across an old article The 46 Places to Go in 2013. There were plenty of impressive images posted in the piece and I got interested in only a handful mentioned. It is weird to read that my country is also on the list. Not sure if I should be proud because my city clearly is more concrete than jungle. I have been traveling around Asia for the last few years and I just can’t get enough of them and Europe has not been on my list of to-go even though I have many friends who have visited and marveled at the cultures.

Incredible negative responses from natives

Parisian cats. Ah.

“Job crisis, money crisis.. blah” My ideal place to get married or have my honeymoon was Paris. Even if I were to head to Europe one day, I’ll skip the city and reserve it for the day. It will be great if my guy is a Paris ‘virgin’ too. I have read up on the multiple locations for beautiful aerial views of Paris’ landmarks and I am sure it will be great. But then… the French/ European rommies that I have met on the road have discouraged me on doing that. They would share that the French can’t wait to get out of the country and loads of negative stuff that is happening around. In fact, a few of them are constantly on the road in Asia and not returning home. These are the people who had lived in France their whole lives and only made it out after college. It puzzles me. I always miss Singapore whenever I travel for more than a week. My Mum’s dishes, the hawker fare (Gordon Ramsey just had a cooking challenge with our local cooks!) and high speed broadband. I recently got to know an Italian college girl in Nepal. She was the epitome of Italian food because every meal of hers consists of pasta and olive oil. I ROFL when she used olive oil to lubricate a creaking door hinge! She’s pretty, lively and the type of executive any boss would like but she has trouble getting an office job in Italy because she only has a bachelors degree(?!). I feel so bad right now. I should just go on and take up an MBA or be really grateful to my boss for giving me the job. So… the responses from fellow travelers about their home countries were not so favourable but not big enough to turn me off. *I just googled ‘Paris suburbs’ and most of the images were of strikes and smoke bombs. WTH?

5000 years of history

Fortifications of Xi`an: Never try scaling and walking it after a big chinese breakfast

Chinese history = 5000 years ++. I visited China for a three-city backpack and fell in love with the land of dragons. To add on, I had the best guides ever in friends who grew up there. The hospitality and warmth I have experienced was indescribable. As a Chinese, I always felt out of place for my poorly spoken mandarin. But in China, I was proud to demonstrate what I had learnt in Chinese classes, amusing some of the locals with my accent and sentences which was peppered with English. I am narcissistic to a certain degree and when a group of people love me, I love them back even more. China is a place I will love to live in, if given the opportunity. They have everything! I just love how rich in history the land is. Add in the neighbours India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and nearby SEA countries, I will never have time for Europe! I totally forgot about my favourite South Korea and its hermit kingdom bro! And awesome Thai massages.. list goes on.

Innate stubbornness

Just because many of my friends have toured Europe doesn’t mean I have to do it too. I would gladly take on Africa or North and South America any day. My finances aren’t that bad. Plus my Mum’s in a spending funk right now so I think I’ve gotten a potential sponsor. (Ha!) Having stubbornly denied Europe, I would still love to visit Paris and explore the Nordic region. It seems like rumours are true, the best looking people are the Scandinavians. (Ha! x 3) I’ve only met a few of them and I think all Caucasians look the same to me. Maybe a visit will prove me wrong.

What’s next

I am in the midst of planning a coastline railway tour of Vietnam in August/September, starting my journey from Hanoi. The tour will include the coastal cities of either Hue or Danang, and end at Ho Chi Minh City. I am buying my tickets ASAP. I saw this Royal Enfield bike tour available in Hanoi and I am totally psyched!

We shall see. Dear Europe, maybe next time.

WOAH!

Teasing Sugar

Aside

sly looking fella

Cats hate me for the same reason dog people hate them.

I go to them when I seek entertainment just like how they go to humans for food and cuddles.

Sugar (fatty) hates me. She hides in the corner whenever she sees me. But I just love teasing her royal fattiness.

Recently, I found a way to get Sugar to come to me.

Anchovy traps. Laying anchovies all over my arm so she will have to come pawing over to get to her favourite snack. Then I will sneak a hug attack on her and she will struggle out of my arm lock within 10 seconds. Repeat trap for another 5x or till I’m out of anchovies.

Oh I just love teasing her.

She should count her blessings that she is living in luxury and let me cuddle her more!

1 more day…

Taken at the roof of a school in Pokhara, Nepal.

Till we land on the beautiful landscape of Kathmandu!

Absolutely excited to be seeing the mountains!

More work to churn before flying off.

Had the biggest laugh earlier.

I had asked my boss about a guy we knew through work partnership.

I needed to seek his gay-dar opinion as me and several friends are interested in matchmaking him with a girlfriend. Boss thinks he’s gay. DAMN!

I thought a ‘les mis’-t-shirt wearer would just signify he’s a literary guy!

Anyway my stomach is literally churning from the ‘internal laughter’, imagining the what-ifs should we had gone ahead with the match. HAHAHAHAHA! Oh my stomach!

Nb. I know some friends/ acquaintances do read this space so if you think I’m referring to you, you are given a license to bitchslap me if you are not who we think you are. Yes, the one who worked with me previously and wore a les-mis t-shirt. We really want to match you with a very sweet friend!

*Post trip update: He is as straight as whatever-that’s-straight can be. And we are not going ahead with the matchmaking. Cheyyy.

a nurtured optimist

208665_10150486945970608_5083646_nI was never a pessimist. Neither am I much of an optimist. But I do list Winston Churchill’s optimist quote as a personal favourite along with tonnes of Dalai Lama sayings.

But I am always grateful for every day. That explains this blog. I really am an optimist huh?

Not forgetting my Scorpio-traits, I get pissed-off pretty easily if I were to witness injustice or get really emo if someone shares a sad story on Facebook. Look me in the eyes if you need answers about my day’s mood.

Today, a friend posted this link (mywifesfightwithbreastcancer.com) on Facebook and I got teary-eyed just browsing through. I thought about the fragility of life, dealing with god’s arrangements for everyone and most importantly, heartbreaks that trail and last a lifetime.

I reckon my sensitivity came from my personal experience. My Mum was diagnosed with an illness that requires chemotherapy during my teens and she spent a good year in hospital battling the illness, inner demons and dropping hair. I grew really depressed during the period with no one to turn to. That’s what puberty does to you. I am glad our family got through the whole ordeal but it also made me cherish life even more. I became somewhat afraid of ‘death’ too.

Will I be able to bravely face the day where my loved ones leave?

Will I be able to leave my loved one behind when my time comes?

Have you lost a loved one and been suppressing the misery inside?

I know for sure that I’m slowly regaining confidence as a ‘smile-r’ and becoming a more ‘grateful’ person inside as everyday with my loved ones is a gift.