Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 round up

it was a great year for us and here are some of our favourite memories:

we saw the new year in with free flowing complimentary sake at gonpachi in roppongi, tokyo. spent the first week of 2009 in tokyo, gorging ourselves silly on excellent sashimi and practically camping at tsukiji fishmarket. tokyo was merely the start of the massive globe trottin' mission we embarked on in 2009. tkx surprised me with a trip to sikuai island in february for my 22nd and it was about the same time that i found out i'd be going to stockholm on exchange later in the year.

in march we welcomed volki to our family and he's since grown to weigh more than me. we love our bear-dog and every time i travel i miss him more than i miss my siblings. shh.

we ended exams in april (tkx's final and my penultimate!) and went on the mother of all graduation trips with our dear friends. we began in LA, crashing at jer's bachelor pad on fraternity row, before making our way down south. this was just as swine flu broke loose so you can imagine the atmosphere of impending doom, or not. testing our limits, we flew from singapore to tokyo to LA to panama city to lima to arequipa. not for the faint-hearted! but south america was amazing and words can't describe how we fell in love with the continent and are determined to return soon. we only covered peru, argentina and brazil, visiting arequipacolcacuzco, DID THE MACHU PICCHU TREK, buenos airesiguazusao paolotrindadeparatyihla grande, rio but not too shabby for a one-month whirlwind adventure!

lovin' LA
along the lares trail, peru
ducking from pigeon poop outside eva peron's balcony
green lagoon, ihla grande, brazil
the moment we touched down in singapore after one month away, i received the most miraculous news ever and was officially offered a pupillage spot two months later on my dream team in my dream lawfirm. thank you God!

in june i was seduced by the dutch oven and tkx bought me my first le creuset :) he's yet to see a return of investment though... but we're getting there!

july saw tkx graduate and i am very proud of him :) he makes lawsch look easy. upon graduation, he proceeded to return to his alma mata, raffles institution, to commemorate the occasion with his band of brothers (photo credits to kemmy)

also in july, i surprised tkx back with a trip to bali for his quarter-century. and later that month, we ventured up the causeway to muar and malacca for a roadtrip with kench and jon. they're a riot and we ate our way through the sleepy hollows.

later in july, we headed south for mike's star wars party in batam. meet our new friends!

just before i left, we'd a barbeque at home for friends and their +1s, got to see everyone one more time before leaving for (then) sunny stockholm for 5 months...

...not knowing that while i was settling down in stockholm, these 6 bundles of joy would make their grand appearance. thus began the first of many skype dates with the puppies (and tkx).

being on exchange in stocks was the time of my life! met a bunch of awesome people and had such fun living on my own. realise that i'm a hermit at heart and the solitude and space was a liberating change. was off on a mini-eurotrip every fortnight, covering norway (bergen, oslo), portugal (lisbon and porto), finland (helsinki), london, paris, sardinia, berlin, switzerland (zurich, st. moritz) in the span of 4 months, after spending the first month in stockholm making friends to come back to after my solo trips. incidentally, while in stockholm, i also learnt that showers are not self-cleaning and that pork is only good for 5 days post expiry. 6 days is asking for diarrhoea.

tkx visited in november during the fortnight long bar exam study break and we went to sardinia! figured it was as far south as we could go from stockholm and i was missing the sun and its warmth. back in stockholm, we had one of the best meals ever - dinner at matsalen, a two michelin star restaurant in the grand hotel along the waterfront. sublime!

and just as the year drew to a close, i made it back on christmas eve, in time to spend the holiday season back home with the nearest and dearest.

2009 was very good to us and we're both grateful for the experiences and opportunities we've had. the milestones were (easily) tkx's graduation and starting work, and my surreal time in stockholm. we're also delighted to have more puppies to spoil :) we've been tremendously blessed with loving family and friends and are in a good place.

looking forward to 2010 and the surprises in store. tkx is back to work (after taking the bar exam) and i begin my final semester of law school in a week. transitions ahead, pupil to associate for him and student to, uh, beach bum for me. well, not exactly but because i only start pupillage in jan 2011, i've scored some extra time to chillax i.e. do the post-graduate law course. travels wise, we're going to tuscany and shanghai in summer and probaby making a few weekend jaunts to circumvent his inability to take time off as a pupil. nothing we can't get around :) there's much in store and it's only going to get better. am most excited that it'll be the first year that we won't be spending more than half of apart. we started going out in mid 2007 and then he promptly went to belgium on exchange for a year. so we spent the rest of 2007 and half of 2008 apart. we'd a year in singapore together (july 2008-july 2009) and then it was my turn to disappear to stockholm for the rest of 2009. so, being in the same place at the same time is still a new concept but one we've been relishing since i returned. needless to say, we can't wait to share 2010 and we can't wait to share it with you. thanks for reading, and more importantly, thanks for being a friend.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

the christmas crazy

house for tea after christmas lunch and before christmas dinner - braving the equatorial humidity head on!

(random patrons)

veggie chips at gordon grill for boxing day lunch

boxing day is over and it's been a hectic yet restful christmas. we've settled into a decent routine over the years and there's always the turkey lunch at uncle M's on christmas day. we'd dinner plans too and on boxing day we'd the family lunch at our usual haunt. a mad mad rush to be on time and appease the gramps because i had to have my hair cut! but we made it in the nick of time. went to town for the first time since coming home and ohmyword i didn't recognise anything! am pleased with the spoils though :) he's truly indulgent, and for that i'm grateful.

well, seeing how i'm safely esconed in the family fold, i think it's time for a curtain call. it's no longer the swede life, i'm no longer fending for myself in the jungle that is scandinavia. thanks for sharing the experience, i've had fun posting. it's been a good run and i'm happy to end this chapter on a high note.

so, goodbye and happy trails!

(p/s back to the old blog - email me for an invite if you're interested!)

Friday, December 25, 2009

life's perfect

and i don't mean to induce diabetes in you but it really is.

landed in good ol' changi airport on time and customs were a breeze. gotta love the hyper-efficiency that is singapore. and home was standing in the arrival hall looking ever so handsome :) truly where the heart is.

went to the physical home and got reacquainted with my canine precious. he really put me through the wringer! he was determined to ignore me but after much pleading on my part, he condescended to sit at my tired feet. he kept up with the silent treatment for a good 10minutes, glowering away at this previously-absentee mother of his. good he isn't one to hold a grudge though because he finally warmed up and was his usual affectionate self. glad the parentals' fear that he'd devour me live was unfounded. and when i left his garden, he started to howl. was morbidly pleased that i was missed.

rushed for a facial after then back home for some quality time with my not-so-little puppy. doubt he realises how big he actually is. it's as if he's a tiny thing trapped in a bear's body because omgosh he's GIGANTIC now. i go away for five months and come home to a grizzly bear. he still bounds everywhere and thinks he can hop onto my lap like he used to. nah uh!

and i saw our latest addition for the first time too! he's absolutely adorable and so frisky. pity he sits like a frog on a lily pad though. worried about his splayed hindlegs. gotta have that looked into.

the party count's already at 2 in the 12h i've been home. went across the street for christmas eve party #1 then to our long-time family friends' for christmas eve party #2. have lunch and dinner parties for the next four days straight with a short break before relapsing into party fever for the new years' long weekend. psyched :) looking forward to seeing everyone again!

it's so very good to be home and i'm blessed to have a fantastic family to come back to. saw my grandparents for the first time in 5 months at the family friend's christmas party and it's surreal to be sitting on my bed, listening to the sound of raindrops on the windowpane and the frog chorus i've missed. my time in stockholm feels like a dream, far removed from the pleasant reality that i've descended back into. will post proper and with some photos once i get my act together. in the meanwhile, i'm running on 2h of sleep the past 48h and desperately need to crash.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


is waiting :)
rough flight from stocks to bangkok. crying children should be hurled off the plane. or the irresponsible parent slapped with a heavy fine. growl.
low-key last morning in stockholm. no i did not oversleep and k was my willing sherpa. bag weighed all of 28.7kg. and that doesn't include my backpack. he sneaked me through the turnstile too. i'm getting good at this, albeit a bit late in the day.
ok! boarding now and home sweet home in 2h. yay!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

homeward bound

in the blink of an eye, it's time to head home.

the inevitable farewells have been relatively painless, probably because i've been blessed to have friends who made an effort and there was good closure. not meaning to sound morbid, i don't know when or if we'll see each other again. sure, we're young. sure, the world's shrinking. but would we ever be at the same place at the same time again? beats me. for what it's worth, it's been an amazing 5months and i've made some stellar friendships that took me by surprise.

so in order of (dis)appearance, S was the first to go, then J and N, and after my exam, i'd a tiny farewell tea at bashment. was sneaky and scheduled my friends at hourly intervals so i'd have their undivided attention during each slot. went to bashment at A.Mc's recommendation and had coffee with him and JHD before the italians M&M arrived. and then german A. was especially touched that M came by (with napolitan visitors in tow!) because she was rushing to skavsta herself and had yet to hit the christmas markets. as a fellow female, i understand the pain. had a good time catching up and reminiscing about our time together and then M, A and i went to sneakers & stuff to have one last isabel (raspberry and daim milkshake).

fellow countryman M then sent me to arlanda and very kindly provided porter services en route. spent the night uncomfortably at the airport and took the first flight out to zurich. from zurich i took the scenic route to meet the family in st. moritz. enjoyed two blissful days of apres ski, basically steam sauna and hot tub, and great company. we'd met up with family friends in st. moritz and it was fun catching up with friends i'd not seen since leaving for stockholm. spent two days in zurich and then it was back to stockholm!

had the bonus of a home cooked dinner at casa mcfaull and the tag team of the year put together a scrumptious roast chicken meal. am most impressed by aussie hospitality and ingenuity. and we skyped J in aix and it was a real party. the gentlemen then helped me to the bus (trolley bag in 30cm fresh snow is no joke) and sneaked me on because my season pass had been kidnapped by aforementioned mule, M.

back in my room and attempting to squeeze 5months into a suitcase. people have gone through worse, i'm sure. but this' pretty darn challenging by itself. and i'm scared to go to sleep in case i don't wake up and miss my flight. eep.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

a quiet contentment

i guess this is it. there's much i'm going to miss, and much to look forward to. as this chapter draws to a close, i'm really glad for the friends i've made, and the memories of being young and being in europe. it's been awesome beyond belief. am blessed to have met some truly wonderful characters and will be sad to see them go. well, technically, i'm the one 'going'. and yet i've reached a stage where i'm ready to move on. ready to meet the next adventure head on and crazy excited about everything in store back home. there're friends to catch up with, places to go, things to do. it's a great place to be, on the cusp of the transition home and yet i know that things will be different when i return. much as i like to think that life comes to a standstill when i'm not around, it's probably only in my head.

wasn't ready a few weeks ago, or even last week. but i think i am now. and i can't wait to see my nearest and dearest again.

see you soon!

on of the hardest moments in stocks thus far was saying bye to J. it's been on my mind for awhile and we'd a great girls' night in last night but somehow you can never really emotionally ready yourself for indefinite separation. indulge my momentary melodrama, it's admittedly uncharacteristic because i generally don't have feelings. while i'd known from the beginning that there's always the inevitable goodbye, i remained deep in denial. so today came and moot court went and as we walked to the tbana like we usually do, we talked about the weather. we talked about christmas, we talked about snowfights. we talked about pre-drinks. we talked about everything except the imminent farewell when we boarded our trains in opposite directions. we lingered at the tbana, letting train after train whizz by before finally accepting that we both had lives to get on with. she's headed home (to her surprise!) and i was headed home, too, to the brick of a PIL textbook that has only been used as a candy tray so far.

it's funny how no one mentioned the pink elephant en route to the tbana and we passed the metal ball that we used to wait for each other at in summer, before it got too cold to wait outdoors, without hiccup. but it was hard to stand on the platform (with N, who, incidentally, i'd to bid farewell to toO!) and know that it was goodbye for now.

interpretive dances

inter alia.

moot court was a blast. bolo showcased their creative spin on cluster munitions in free form dance while we mimed our interpretation of the nicaraguan contra warriors. or not :)

encouraging nods all round and it was a great performance. really enjoyed working with my group, my one regret is that i only got to know J and C so late in the course. our ever-worthy opponents were lots of fun too and it was good-natured ribbing all round. of course, no moot court's complete without a celebratory lunch after and we chilled at lantis while the other teams thrashed it out.

i've such a good class :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

winter morning

the sun's streaming through the clouds, there's a blanket of white, the fresh powder's being blown off the roof in sheets, there are red berries on the wet, black, broughs.

woke up to run through the rebuttal but i rather watch the clouds move across the sky.

changing seasons

so the scale's different but J lives on the picturesque street just across the road from the hotel i stayed at during my first week in stockholm. in fact, while on the bus to J's, i got all nostalgic retracing my hike to campus in the reverse. had walked the same route in summer (when i'd been too cheap to spring for a transport pass) from the hotel to the housing office and it was practically unrecognisable under all the snow.

had a surprise trip down memory lane when we went over for tea this afternoon and snapped a quick (snowy!) photo of my initial home here. how quickly things have gone full cycle. i'm still in stockholm but it feels like all i have left are stories and memories. feels a little out-of-body at the moment even.

it feels like

i'm trapped in one of those snow-globes. and it's awesome :)

a taste of summer

at the start of winter. i could get used to provencal vegetables! i finally got J to cook me ratatooie :) chopping veggies is an underrated therapeutic activity. loved chopping them into tiny, perfect squares. J paired the ratatooie with armenian grain that reminded me of couscous and i seared some scallops to provide a complementary sweetness to the ripe vegetables. dessert was a tub of haagen-dazs mac brittle. mhmmm :)

i can't believe it's the last time i'd be over at her beautiful loft at frids. definitely my favourite apartment in stockholm, plenty of happy memories in her cosy living room with G's candles. gosh! as i was walking back to the tbana, i was thinking of all the other treks i'd made to and fro the frids tbana. this was the first time it was in snow though! and i realised it's going to be awhile before i'm ever in that neck of the woods again. if ever!

time flies. i'm going to miss J. recurring theme as exchange winds down. bah humbug.

all group meetings

should be like this one - pot after pot of coffee and tea, bowl after bowl of christmas cookies and chocolate-covered digestives, deep meaningful conversation and glogg. (macbook tutorial optional)

we were, very obviously, imbibed with christmas spirit(s) and at our unproductive best. needless to say, it was a blast and i wish we'd more time together.

moot court tomorrow, final on thursday and then it's home free!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

fresh powder

we got about 10cm of fresh powder last night :)

just when i thought i was over stockholm, something like this happens and i fall in love all over again. on my way to the printer's (i.e. my abused fellow singaporean) i gleefully made fresh tracks and kicked up the powder as i walked. it was so light! and fluffy! and i wanted to dive into it and shovel handfuls of snow into my mouth. but i resisted temptation and tried to catch snowflakes on my tongue instead. minus points for being swakoo but wow! powder! doesn't stop falling! yay!

pad thai

in stockholm???

trust sofo to have the most authentic pad thai i've had outside thailand! it's crazy because i haven't had pad thai in ages and it was as if A was a mind reader or something. hot pad thai on a snowy evening really hits the spot. mhmmm. i'm still thinking about it :)

had a lovely quiet evening with the german power couple, S and A, and i'm really going to miss them. they're both over-achievers in their own right, extremely intimidating on paper but oh-so-affable in person. A is one of the warmest, most genuine friends i've made on erasmus and i am in constant awe of her domestic divinity. S, ever efficient and resourceful, found this gem of a thai place, whose name escapes me, i'm sorry. but ohmyword who'd have thought i'd have the most amazing pad thai in this land of bland and substandard local cuisine? ok, take that back. paul&norbert served pretty darn fantastic swedish cuisine with an international interpretation but swedish food in general leaves much to be desires. still haven't had a kolbullar (swedish meatball) since helsinking.

dinner was memorable. great food, better company and i'm touched that in spite of the all-nighters they both pulled rushing a ruleoflaw paper for today, they still made time to meet me. now that's true friendship - a rare commodity indeed in the facetious world of erasmus. heh.

Monday, December 14, 2009

singers boleh

a little circular / redundant but i'm really grateful to be from a country that emphasised a dual first language. or at least a competent degree of bilingualism. sure, many people are bilingual, or pseudo-bilingual at least. but how many countries can boast that they've attained the same linguistic success as my generation of singaporeans? and for almost everybody. it's something the chinese (fake) sushi chef pointed out when i ordered my sushi in mandarin. i've become a bit of a regular there because my use of mandarin scores me extra (read: free) sushi. but his point was how singaporeans have a distinct advantage because we've (almost) conquered east and west with a relatively sound grasp on english and mandarin. granted, english and mandarin don't open all doors, but it's a solid combination.

anyhoos, when i was nattering away in mandarin with H, my chinese corridormate, i realised the sole reason why we get along is because i speak to him in mandarin. and that's the only language the dude wants to speak. the other corridormates merely elicit grunts and reluctant acknowledgement. i, on the other hand, have transcended that and we actually engage in intellectually stimulating political discourse. (aside: thank you higher chinese for making me aware of socioeconomic problems and exposing me to the vernacular of formal mandarin) plus, we found out today that we share the same birthday. how awesome's that! then he tsked my tea (1 x overripe avocado with lime and salt) and offered me his pai gu. fringe benefit or what ;)

the very unfortunate recurring theme on this blog is that i automatically befriend people who feed me. i'd never make a good guard dog.

trust the swedes

to elevate porn to an artform.

must be all that sex tourism to south east asia.

E for equality

don't you just love how 50marks on an exam is an E for everyone except swedish students?

organic's my new religion

well, not exactly. but kladkakka baked with organic cocoa is distinctly superior to regular kladkakka. i'm so glad my corridor believes in the benefits of eco (that's what they call organic here), especially our resident dessert chef.


and for once it's not melting on the ground :)


this' K and he's unintentionally taught me a lot about generosity.

K's a phD student in stockholm. one night when we were chatting over dinner, i learnt how he was supporting his parents, siblings, nieces and nephews back in hyderabad. not uncommon, i know, but wow. his phD allowance gets stretched in so many different directions! such responsibility on his spindly shoulders. needless to say, we were all students on a budget but K somehow managed to be the most giving person i've met here. whenever he cooks, he cooks for himself +1. just in case someone's eating in and hungry. if there's extra, he'll have it for lunch the next day. but everytime he's cooking, he's more than happy to share. i've tried to repay him in kind, by giving him the ingredients to cook with, by sneaking sundries into his cupboard but he shrugs it off and refuses to accept anything in return. i mentioned in passing once that i missed tandoori chicken (believe me, i really wasn't hinting) and next i knew, K was cooking tandoori for me. K instituted this rule in the corridor that if there's any food lying around (and it's his), then it's common property and anybody can help themselves. how giving is that? this' one guy who shares unconditionally and thinks nothing of it. his humility is equally inspirational. he was accepted into the cambridge phD program but couldn't go because of lack of funding but not once has he lauded his intelligence over the rest of us lesser mortals.

and now K's gone! and i'm sad. i woke up to say bye (nothing budges me from sleep, so he's gotta be special) and there's a gaping absence in the kitchen :(


i love that he's infinitely smarter than me.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


am vaguely disturbed that swedish K can effortlessly pick me up and lift me a few feet above the ground. reminds me of rag, when T & H decided that i was too heavy to be twirled for gravity-defying sexytimes.

then again, swedish K did the same to indian K (a boy) before gleefully declaring that i weighed more.

not exactly what i wanted to hear...

(i suppose it's only fair to add that swedish K's a construction worker accustomed to lifting concrete pillars.)


by far one of my best nights in stockholm. i lucked out with my corridor. neighbours are never necessarily friends, but i must say i've really come to like this bunch. our kitchen and living room are spotless and everyone's largely considerate and tidy. no one sweats the small stuff (except me, when the hoover's missing...) and we genuinely get along swimmingly. am going to miss having them around. indian K's leaving on monday morning, A's going to lebanon on tuesday, C's going back to france, P's returning to gdansk... you get the picture. so this was probably our last night all together in our cramped quarters. our christmas tree's up, we were serenading each other with disney songs (the only genre we've in common, but N sung in french) and it's going to be so quiet around the place as we slowly dwindle in numbers.

i've heard horror stories of co-ed, communal living but this was a rather pleasant experience :)

quote of the day

(looking at the 500g of dry rice in the rice cooker)
me: i hope i don't kill the cooker.
swedish K: i hope you don't kill the corridor.

corridordinner in 10minutes! psyched :D

Thursday, December 10, 2009


is going straight from the airport to a facial.

pity the haircut has to wait till boxing day.

but i was prioritising and i can always wear a christmas hat through the yuletide merry-making. however, the masquerade party's only on new year's eve.

making it awesome

but fast running out of ideas.

had rice with salmon last night, rice with wolfberries for breakfast, rice with cubed chicken breast, sauteed mushrooms and spring onions for lunch. am planning rice with egg and scallop for dinner tonight. after which, i still have enough rice for at least three meals! maybe i'll try it with prawn tomorrow but by then i'd have exhausted my creativity and allowed myself to get stuck in leftover hell.

the perils of over-enthusiasm.

the first farewell

sucked monkey balls.

doesn't help that there goes one of my favourite people on erasmus, just that neither of us call it erasmus because we're both non-EU.

but as the man himself put, 'strangers to friends, then the inevitable farewell.' is the essence of exchange, isn't it.

byebye S, keep an eye on dangermouse for me.

(photo credits to N)

chicken run

i did something incredibly stupid today.

a dear friend had gifted me with a box of chicken rice mix when i left for stockholm.

realising that i'd 10 days to go, i thought i better use it up. nevermind that it was enough mix to flavour 1kg of rice. i spent the afternoon measuring out the right amount (no mean feat converting weight to volume to metric to pint, you get the picture) and having to guesstimate the entire time because we don't have measuring cups in our kitchen. we've a fancy schmancy mixer but nope, no measuring cups. and then i'd to wash the rice, like, seven times. because i'm too cheap to buy good rice. hence my rice is always so very dirty i get the heebie jeebies and i have to wash it until the water runs clear (usually six times). and then i cooked the rice in the cooker, which took forever because it was enough for an army. and i stirred the rice halfway through as instructed. then i portioned the rice onto plates to cool, had some, shared some with the frenchies (which they promptly rolled into their burritos - ???!) and then once the rice had cooled (after half an hour on my windowsill), i packed it all into my one litre ziplock and heaved a sigh of relief, thinking i was so smart and so capable and so domestic.

then i called him.

and he just said, 'but sweetie, you don't even like rice. why didn't you use the paste to cook the 2kg of frozen chicken you've got sitting in your freezer?'

now is it just me or did you hear that bubble burst too?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

one of these things

does not belong.

gotta admit i burst out laughing when i saw the frozen fish head masquerading as a frozen prawn.


as S pointed out after dinner, living alone makes one conscious of independent consumption. in addition to my list of uncooked food, i also now know how many weeks it takes for me to go through one roll of loo paper and how many bags of trash i fill a week. i probably don't use much electricity because i live by fairylight and like the cold so i don't use the heater. not too sure how big a carbon footprint i'm leaving but i only do full loads of laundry, and every fortnight, plus i'm quite the recycling nazi, or so my corridormates tell me.

on an absolutely unrelated note, i can't wait to go home and have a party. a grown up party that isn't in a smoky co-ed corridor. with grown up wine (only wine older than us will be allowed in) and pretentious french food with names my chinese tongue can't wrap itself around. but the dress code will be sg appropriate because all them pupils will be tired of their penguin suits and if it isn't something that can withstand the 30+deg heat and 100% immunity then offending guest will have to stay with the young wine i.e. outside.

and then when everyone's had enough to drink, we'll skinnydip in the pool* with the lights off and the shutterbugs will promise not to take photos. and then we'll go to sleep on the floaties and wake up when the lovely equatorial sun shines on our faces and adjourn to the patio for pancakes and eggs benedict.

while i'm dreaming, i'm also dreaming that my precious will be less smelly because my sources tell me he's got a smell only a mother could love. sigh. poor baby, no one bathes him like i do :(

*V, remember that time there were 20 crazy girls and my brother saw us and ran away? yeah.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


you've been warned.

just realised that i've 10 days to finish:
2 big green limes
3 big yellow onions
9 eggs
1 aubergine
1.5 bottles of pasta sauce
250g button mushrooms
2 stalks of spring onions
1kg of frozen chicken thigh
2 frozen chicken breasts
2 pieces of frozen salmon
1 frozen spring roll
200g frozen prawns
250g frozen wox mix vegetables
600g penne
1kg rice
1 serving of mee pok
a handful of dried scallops
a handful of dried mushrooms
500g coffee powder
1 roll of chocolate-covered digestives
2 avocadoes
7 teabags of indian chai
10 teabags of assorted tea

Monday, December 7, 2009


listening to sigur ros catapults me back to last summer, when we roadtripped around the island and blasted their songs as they were meant to be enjoyed.

house guests

was talking with A.Mc over punch at S' on friday and he mentioned how he'd been the fortunate beneficiary of much european hospitality, having stayed with friends, friends' friends on his travels around europe. on a smaller scale, having been the houseguest of a parisian family friend in paris last month, i know how blessed i felt when i stayed with them. my host even gave me a stack of unvalidated metro tickets to use when i explored the city on my own! every detail was seen to without being stifling. i don't know how they did it but it was a perfect balance of time together and personal time/space, without me feeling like i was intruding on their privacy. i'd have time to myself after breakfast (before sight-seeing with them), after lunch (we'd come back to the apartment and everyone does their thing till tea-time) and after dinner (they were upstairs by 2200h and i'd have the run of the downstairs).

it got me thinking about european hospitality and how being a houseguest is relatively uncommon back home. maybe it's the space constraint - i don't know many families on our tiny isle who have an extra room! every bit of space is utilised and an empty room for visiting guests just seems to be a luxury few can afford. so, hypothetically, if a friend of mine wanted to visit, there physically isn't space for him/her unless he/she doesn't mind the sofa. but i've heard from a sofa regular that the love of my life runs at the door wanting to be let in the whole night, so might not make for the most comfortable of sleeps. but more than just physical space, i think the home's very personal and not somewhere i'd want people over. maybe it's more my parents but they'd balk at the thought of a stranger around the house because the home's private. part of me attributes it to an asian conservatism, and the other part to lack of contact with the outside world. they don't actually have friends who'd stay with them because their friends aren't backpacking students on a budget. or their friends wouldn't impose their kids on them. and they wouldn't make the first move and invite someone because it's just not entrenched in their psyche. also, we don't have a guest room.

that said, all this doesn't stop me from dreaming of one day living somewhere with a guest room at the ready for friends blown eastwards. that'd be nice :)

sold out

i'm guilty of frequently lamenting that there are no good chinese restaurants in europe. chinese restaurants (within my budget, bayswater notwithstanding) tend to get lumped together with random bits of asia's culinary offerings. on a not-so-unrelated note, as J petulantly pointed out, 'we've a restaurant in my hometown that doesn't know if it's japanese or korean. the sign says japanese but it serves bulgogi and sushi.' much ink can be spilt on this culinary phenomenon - the attempted assimilation of immigrants; adapting asian cuisine to the local palate; economies of scale but i'm not interested in deep sociopolitical discourse. well, not at 1043h anyway.

my lone point is this - i used to complain that there weren't enough specialised restaurants and the asian restaurants proliferating europe are sorry hodgepodge excuses that i wouldn't be caught dead in unless i'm on the brink of starvation. what in the world is kung pow chicken anyway? or chop suey? FAKE FAKE FAKE and in fact, probably how an italian would react in shenzhen. BUT when i invited J and S over for a simple asian night in i.e. dinner at chez moi, all i could offer them were spring rolls (not very asian) and chicken chow mein, the staple of any substandard asian take-out. limited kitchen and grocery resources would be a paltry excuse, seeing that there are asian grocers in stockholm and my little communal kitchen is surprisingly well-stocked, cleaniness of communal pots and pans aside. so there's no excuse really but my sheer sloth, inexperience (i learnt how to chow from youtube) and seeming ability to maintain a grip on my chinese culinary heritage. not that i ever had a good hold on it to begin with....

and in true student on a budget fashion, i asked for some help with dessert and they brought apple pie, ice cream and glogg. i just had the remnants of glogg for breakfast, which according to S makes me a first rate alkie but in my defence, the negligible alcohol it in couldn't have withstood all that stove time. also, tell a lie. i ate up the pie and ice cream for breakfast too. move over kelloggs, this' the new breakfast of champions!


baywatch moment

i miss him :(

(dad: since he got too big to carry, we don't know his weight anymore but we're guessing he weighs about the same as you.)