Sunday, 31 January 2010

lifetime of suitcases

As I packed the contents of my room tonight, I realised something... I have essentially been living out of a suitcase for almost a decade (or in my case, many suitcases...)

Let's take a look back...

High school - I shudder at the memory of my awkward and geeky high school years, but I started my living out of a suitcase there with boarding school

University - Two years in dorms, 2 years in two separate, equally horrible apartments shared with 5 amazing girls. That's four years of constantly packing and unpacking, not to mention very unfortunately choices in wall art and paint colour

Post-University - A short stint in Guyana, before sort of settling down in my parent's house for a year, still I never quite got around to unpacking all of my boxes because...

The first apartment came along with my first real job and I moved in there with the incredible K., but again was lazy and never quite got around to getting all of my stuff unpacked and settled

...and before I knew it, I left, quit my job, went back to school and moved back home to my parents all in one breath (or rather one carefully worded resignation letter)

then a hop, skip and jump later - here I am in London, 7 months in and already moving house.

oh, and all of my books are packed so it's a bit past midnight and i'm incredibly bored... hence the rambling blog post about nothing at all.

on a side note, I picked up another pair of brown leather boots on Saturday. Indulging in one of my unhealthy obsessions is always good fun.

Friday, 29 January 2010

dance dance dance til you're dead!!

So excited it's the weekend (or rather it will be in another half hour).

Aside from a weekend filled with shopping with my favourite Auntie B, tonight's festivities will be getting my dance off with the lovely J

Sometimes you just need a night of insane dancing to shake off all of the stress and worries from life. And none of that weird techno crap for me, thank you very much. I'd much rather get my groove on to cheesy top 40, where I can mouth along with the lyrics and re-live the heydays of my high school youth.

On a different note, less than one month til I hit the big 2-8, bringing me closer to the even bigger 3-0.

thank god I still look like I'm 17.

Happy Weekend all!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

top 10 reasons why i can't wait to move

As I procrastinate from packing up my room (I move on Monday), I've decided to write a blog post on why I cannot wait to move

In no particular order...

1. No more leaky shower tap that has to be fastened and held tight by a tea towel after every single flipping shower

2. The end of waking up and feeling the frosty draft come into your room because the windows don't close properly

3. Not having to factor in an extra hour of commute time every weekend because the tube line is closed

4. Saying sayonara to the vacuum that doesn't really suck up anything, and I shed a lot on my already dodgy carpet

5. Missing out on last minute get together's with friends and newly-made friends because I live so bloody far away, not to mention not having to pay 20 quid every time I head home after a late night and can't be arsed to wait for the night bus

6. No longer having to avoid the weird guy at the end of my street who panhandles and sometimes shouts obscenities to random strangers (although that can be amusing when not directed at me)

7. No longer having to pass by the door on my high street, where my flatmate informed me that if I ever wanted coke, it was the place to go

8. Bidding goodbye to my extremely cheap mattress, which after layering a mattress pad and an extra duvet, still leaves spring marks in my back after sleeping

9. No longer fiddling with the separate hot and cold shower taps to get the right temperature, even though after five minutes, all hell breaks lose and I end up scalding myself or freezing

10. Not being woken up by my upstairs neighbour who has a penchant for late night activities...and I'm a heavy sleeper

Ok. Now I really have to start packing....

Photos of the new digs to come soon!


Tuesday, 26 January 2010

blacking out the friction

sometimes there are just too many thoughts in my head.

I tend to ponder, stress, over analyze and all I want is an escape from the constant hum of thoughts that run through my mind.

I think everyone has their own coping mechanism for escaping themselves. Some turn to the bottle - a fun but slightly expensive and not-so-great-for-your-health option. Others turn towards watching mindless television like Big Brother and reruns of Friends until they pass out on the couch, remote in hand and the television screen casting an eery blue light on the room.

And what do I do?

I hit the treadmill armed with my ipod, turn up the music and just run while staring into space. It takes awhile to quiet everything that goes into my head, but once I get into that place where everything just fades away, nothing can touch me.

Here are my top picks for songs to drown out the noise in your head:

1. Yeah Yeah Yeah's - Runaway
2. Metric - Blindness
3. Metric - Gold Gun Girls
4. The Plastiscines - BItch
5. Radiohead - Idioteque
6. Stellastar - Sweet Troubled Soul
7. Blonde Redhead - Dr. Strangluv
8. Collective Soul - Run
9. Mew - Comforting Sounds
10. Mother Mother - Wrecking Ball

PS. As I write this, I just remembered this girl I went to Guyana with, D. who, from what I recall, had a father who went deaf after running with his earphones on high - urban legend perhaps?

Sunday, 24 January 2010

no bleeding nipples... 14 km and counting

Had another amazing run with T. this morning that took us past more sights of this incredible city

We started as usual by Baker St Station, ran down Edgeware Rd, to Hyde Park... from there we went straight down to through Green Park and arrived at Buckingham Palace, where the changing of the guards happened to be going on - something I've never actually seen before.

Arrived at Trafalgar Square, ran down The Strand and cut down Villiers to Embankment. That led us down to the Thames - ran along that until we got to Millennium Bridge, ran up towards St. Pauls and ran along Fleet all the way back to Trafalgar and then up Regents, dodging shoppers and baby strollers for the last 3-4 kilometres

Aside from stopping at some red lights (which felt like every single bloody one down Edgeware Rd) we ran at a good pace the entire time, I think we were out for about 1.5 hours, but to be honest, I don't think either one of us are too serious about timing - we're having too much fun gossiping and sharing our thoughts on life while running through a city that we both adore.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

"please shit in the chair"

FINALLY got my hair cut today after 7 long months of trying to book an appointment, never getting around to it, sleeping in and missing appointments or going to the wrong salon..

I went to J.Moriyama - a japanese-owned chain of hair salons around London. It had been recommended to me by a few friends, and I went mainly because they know how to cut 'Asian' hair. (whatever that means...)

My stylist was a sweet Japanese guy named Masa...or something like that. He had just moved over from Japan and spoke very basic English, but he was polite and a gentleman enough not to cringe in horror at my split ends. When he asked me when was the last time I cut my hair, I got a polite but slightly horrified 'ohh...' when I told him it had been about 7 months.

He politely asked me to 'shit in the chair', which I quickly realised wasn't an invitation to partake in some weird Japanese hentai porn, and he got to work...

I've never had someone pay so much attention to detail when cutting my hair - it was fascinating to watch how meticulous Masa was with each snip.

In the end, my hair isn't really much shorter than it was before, but thanks to Masa it's finally out of its neglected sad state.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Oh Canada - Oh beer

Went to my first Canadian Expats in London meet up tonight and dragged an American and Swede with me as well. Normally when I get the email alerts I don't bother attending because the locations are typically not central enough for me and I'm not a big enough hockey fan to feign interest for one night.

This night caught my eye though... they were celebrating the introduction of a beer from the Granville Island Brewery - the Winter Ale to be exact - to a local pub in london, right by Bond St.

Ever since my cousin introduced me to this place in Vancouver, I was in love. I'm not a massive beer drinker, but pumpkin ale was so damn good, I still remember it.

Tonight's brew of choice - the celebrated Winter Ale really wasn't that great. In fact, I have to say I didn't like it at all... but it was a novelty, seeing something from back home in Central London.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

who needs to own a house anyway?

It's scary how fast I'm going through money here...

Firstly, my job pays me very little, I work in PR, so think of the lowest possible salary and then divide that in half

Secondly, I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, and I refuse to live in a shit-hole (although my flat at the moment is just a slight cut above that)

Thirdly, I have an unhealthly obsession for the following:

i) Discount books from the Book Warehouse that I buy then get halfway through before I buy and start a new book

ii) Trying out chocolate bars that they don't have in Canada (Curly Wurly's, Chocolate Buttons, Flakes, just to name a few)

iii) The sale section at Anthropologie, which even when marked 50% off is still really expensive

iv) Regular priced items at Anthropologie

v) Various bath/beauty products from the massive Boots on Bond Street

vi) Really good black americanos

vii) Brunching with friends on a Sunday

viii) Mid-week drinks with friends

ix) Dinner any day of the week out with friends

x) Cupcakes

xi) Comfy black leggings

xii) leather riding boots (preferably in dark brown)

And fourthly, which is the worst obsession of all... is travel. I can't help but feel obliged to see as much of Europe as I can while I'm here. With so many bank holidays coming up in the next few months I've gone a little crazy in the last few days with booking flights

So that goal of seeing a new city every month? Check, check and check.

First up? Adventures in Chamonix with the wonderful J, who hails from the US of A (but I try not to hold that against her). Between tearing up the hills of the French Alps, we'll be staying at what's known as the budget party hotel of Chamonix.

Stay tuned :)

The "slopes" of Blue Mountain...

Monday, 11 January 2010

working from home

Called in sick today for work as my stomach is still misbehaving.

Unfortunately the outside world does not stop and wait for my health to get back to normal so I'm trying to get some research done for a work report at the moment.

Trying to work at home is never easy. In my flat we have a nice large dining room table in my living room that sits right by the twin French doors overlooking the street below. Aside from being a bit wobbly, it's a good surface area for my laptop, glass of gatorade, agenda, blackberry, plate of uneaten dried toast and an assortment of other necessities for those working from home...

However, my flat is freezing.

Despite having the heat cranked up, the insulation is so poor in this part of the flat that it remains permanently cold and drafty, which is why at the moment I'm wearing three layers, fleece sweatpants, snowboarding socks and slippers AND I'm still cold.

Thank god I'll be back in the office tomorrow, don't think my health can take this 'working from home' thing.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

You know you're Asian when...

I'm sick - again.

I have quite possibly the worst immune system in the world. Since moving to London, I've had half a dozen colds, lost my voice twice and from Friday night to today I've been sick from what's either a stomach flu or Noro virus. (not pleasant)

Unable to keep anything in my system, I've been pretty well holed up in bed the entire weekend with my box set of Sex and the City dvds. Somehow I managed to make it to yoga class yesterday morning, but pretty well spent most of it in 'child's pose' while the rest of the class stood in warrior position and gazed at me in pity.

Fed up with a diet of dry toast and OJ, I made the quintessential Asian meal for those who are sick - jook or congee to those non-Asians out there.

I've never actually made congee before as my mother always made it for me. But it's not really that hard, just pour some rice in a pot, wash it, throw in some chopped up ginger and water and voila.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

losing my borough market virginity

Today I lost my borough market virginity... it took me only 7 months to venture over to one of the oldest food markets in London. To be fair, I've walked through the market many a time - it's just been closed.

Kind of like your first time having sex, losing my borough market virginity was all build up and anticipation, then slight disappointment at the end, followed by determination to make the next time better.

It really wasn't the market's fault. The market was perfect and wonderful; fulfilling everything anyone had ever told me about it. Rather it was my own fault... you see, I've been battling a horrible cold and once again have lost my voice due to the following factors:

a) my drafty flat stays at a balmy 14 degrees at night even with the heating set to 25+

b) I haven't slept more than 4/5 hours each night since getting back

c) I think that drinking mulled wine is a good way to battle the germs in my body

d) I spent most of NYE shouting to people over loud booming music (and drinking lots of wine that wasn't mulled)

Due to my poor health and general lack of sleep, I was quite late dragging my ass out of bed and joined my friends about an hour after I was supposed to at the market.

What should have been an amazing and awe-inspiring afternoon of any foodie's dream come true, it was deadened due to my lack of ability to smell and therefore taste anything properly... plus it was flipping cold out.

I ate a pain au chocolat first, firmly believing that a good pain au chocolat is the cure for any ill - except this pain au chocolat had been sitting out in the cold for a few hours

Then I sampled some cheese, some bread and olive oil... then I had a lemon, ginger and honey tea and tucked in an enormous seafood and chorizo paella... both of which got cold really fast, and quite frankly tasted pretty bland thanks to my stupid cold.

Never one to close a door after a crummy first time, I'm determined to give the market and me another go. Hopefully we'll enjoy a long and fulfilling relationship in the years to come...