Thursday, June 30, 2011

windy city p3

its been almost the end of the week and my training will be ending tomorrow. and yet, the luggage is yet to be located. i think i'm traumatised for life - no more trips to this part of the world!

i have had to make many calls and check online for the status of my luggage (don't think i can classify it as delayed anymore, but plain lost!), reaching out to as many people i can think of who may be able to help. i don't remember the number of times i had to excuse myself from special topics held during lunch times or when i couldn't stay long to chat more just because i had to go back to check.

adding to that stress, i have to also work from here. it's a bit difficult when my dependable teammate has just resigned the left the day i travelled for this training. with only a month's notice, there was even shorter period of handover to the new teammate, and it made it impossible for me to even handover part of my job.

the other-alternative-teammate was nice to help out, but she too was away on leave this week. that threw back the bulk of the work back at me, as i couldn't just leave everything to drop.

so right after intensive full-day trainings, i had to try to do some shopping to at least get a luggage bag and some necessities. after coming back, had to continue working till almost midnight. by the time i'm done it's too late to do anything else.

have been missing out on the outdoor sports and mingling around for the past few days, and it's really a waste because it's beautiful spring weather!

so i'm planning to stay back tomorrow to do some of that. hopefully it will stay beautiful.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

windy city p2

training has been quite well, with lots of relevant nuggets that could be applied at work.

luggage still not located.

think i'm still having jet lag. feeling sleepy and tired, maybe i just need to sleep more to catch up on all those previous weeks of late nights.

everyone tells me to cheer up and to treat it as a shopping excuse. but it's difficult when its not just your clothes, shoes, toiletries are missing, but clothes on loan from a friend, and also accessories which were gifts from friends. worse still, gifts wrapped in love from my aunt and uncle meant for my cousin.

even if i get reimbursement, i can't get those exact same items back, it would just be too much hassle. not to mention the countless calls i've been making trying to get help on this.

the upside to this is the abundant food we have on campus. yes it really does feel like being back in school with timetables, lecturers, classrooms and attendance sheet!

the weather is lovely too, made me miss japan all over again. like how the skin touches the cold porcelain of the toilet bowl, those who've experienced heated toilet seats would appreciate that nifty japanese invention!

if not for the multiple trips i've had to make to the shopping mall, i would have loved to go outdoors, do a bit of cycling & photography and just enjoy the spring weather.

but i'll take what i can get - the opportunity to be in a totally new continent, having travelled for more than 24 hours, making friends from all over the world, being surrounded by food, and the ability to learn and discover.

i'm still very blessed.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

windy city

It's close to 11am here - So I've finally arrived in Chicago! I love the crisp spring air despite it being a little colder than I had expected. I guess the warm tropical weather has distorted my memory of four season temperatures. I had packed clothes meant for the Malaysian weather since many have told me that it was going to be hot & humid. >.<

Speaking of clothes, I'm left with only the clothes I wore when I left home. My luggage couldn't be located :( I think it had something to do with the fact that my HKG-SFO flight got delayed and I only managed to check in at the San Fran airport minutes before the call to board. Was trying to not to rush through immigration and customs and only got into the plane with 5 minutes before the plane took off.

The only consolation is I got a ride to the training centre in a stretch limo. If not for the frustration at having lost my luggage, I would have felt like a superstar travelling in a white limousine with a driver in suit and cap. Too bad there weren't any bubblies waiting for me inside.

Since the windows were tinted, I took the pleasure of observing the cars around me as we whizzed past in the expressway. No one seemed to be surprised at the limo, the cars were a lot bigger and wider than the ones back home. In fact, everything here is either tall, wide or just bigger than anything I've seen.

Reminded me of the trip down to Sydney, when Tze drove me around the suburbs. I commented on how expansive everything was - the houses, gardens, roads. It's really quite refreshing having so much space around you.

I tried to take in the sights around me, while enjoying the ride being chauffeured, pushing the thoughts of work behind. Even though this was partially for work, I hope the vastly different environment would give me a different perspective, and perhaps a little break from what has happened.

Think the sight of large Americans around me would be a good distraction. Speaking of which, this is the first time I'm being surrounded by predominantly black and white people. It's like what you see on American TV!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

flying on economy for business

So I'm almost packed - hope I didn't leave anything behind. It's hard to know sometimes when you go to a new country, whatmore a new continent this time. First time going for training overseas, on company budget! I'll get to experience what many other friends and family members have done, so I'll get to see whether I'd like travelling for business. Though unfortunately it wont be business class I'll be flying. Economy, bah.

Flying across great oceans and many time zones and transitting 2 times, this should be the biggest adventure so far. Hope I'd be able to get my mind off work a bit, though I'd be expected to still check mails.

Anyways, I'll try to write more when I'm there. Although everyone around me feels excited for me, suggesting places to go, food to try and things to do, I have yet to feel it myself. I guess I'm still too exhausted from all the late nights past few weeks.

Looking forward to catching some sleep and movies on the plane :) Hasta la vista, I'll be back!

Friday, June 24, 2011

venom and heat

You know who you are, thank you for your prayers.

I really thought I was going through anxiety attack, and it was all I could to do remain calm and still drive myself to work despite all that has happened lately.

It wasn't just the slithering snakes nor the burning fire caused by the arrows from all direction, it also felt like waves were crashing over me.

I felt a a strange sense of calm amidst the venom and heat, something I can't quite explain but deep down I knew it was Him who came to my rescue.

I'm glad I'm not alone in this.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


The snakes are everywhere.

The flaming arrows seem to fly in from all directions.

How do I get myself out of this? Who do I turn to? Who is to be trusted?

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Though I've read this before, it came just at the right time when I thought there was no good left in the things around me.

It didn't dawn on me that a lot of many various things accumulated could be so overwhelming until it did reach that point, so I try to remind myself to take things slowly, one at a time, and to leave the rest to God.

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."
— Mother Teresa

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

another break?

It's a little more than 10 days counting down. Just when I thought about this trip last year, it seemed so far away. Though I did plot down after CNY to start checking on flights and take my time preparing for it.

Little did I know I'd be roped in for another project, with my earlier roll off date pushed back from June to December. Now I'm in the middle of quite a peak period, and stress levels are at an all-time high :(

These past few weeks have been a lot of about office politics, lack of resources, too much nit-picking by stakeholders and the initial settling in for the new team members. Being pragmatic, I just want to get things done, but are hampered by factors beyond my control.

In the midst of the early weeks of project kick off, I was trying to get a single list of to-do from colleagues who've been there but came back with various opinions. Flights were reserved in advance, but I was getting worried that the visa application would be plagued with all sorts of paperwork.

Knowing how strict airlines are these days, whatmore airport security, I had to double and triple check that I had everything covered. After many weeks of running around getting various forms filled, photo taken, fees paid, and letters verified, I finally secured an interview with the embassy early last week.

There were a series of queues to go through, which took almost 2 hours. The interview itself went by in a breeze, in fact was over in a couple of minutes! I'm glad I didn't get the other guy who seemed quite strict but courteous.

The one who interviewed me looked kinda Japanese with Koizumi's salt-and-pepper lion hair, but spoke with an American accent. He basically asked which company I was attached with, what purpose I was travelling for, what I had studied in my previous course, and whether I was single >.<

With that, he gave me the approval that I would have my visa within 3 working days. That was fast! I had to make my dad wait at home for the courier in case they arrived earlier, so I was really relieved when they sent it over on Friday.

Hope all goes well with the rest of the things on my checklist. And of course, that nagging feeling at work that I may still have to check emails when I'm away @.@

Monday, June 06, 2011

dancing fish

Seen a dancing fish before?

Sunday, June 05, 2011


The weather these days have been rather unpredictable, with stretches of extremely hot & humid weather interspersed with unexpected heavy rain. Just when you're dressed in sleeveless to get an even tan, the late afternoon can suddenly turn to a session in the fridge with sudden thunderstorms and lightning flashing across the skies.

It was one of these days when we got caught in the rain on the way back that we decided to try something warm and soupy. Located in BVII, canoodling caught my eye with its catchy name and creative interior.

Even the menu had a quirky feel to it.
canoodling (/kəˈno͞odling) = to kiss and cuddle amorously *in this case, over noodles

I was suitably impressed with the prompt and courteous service extended by the wait staff. Rather than lament on the lack of service in the country just because I have experienced the best, I must commend them for their attentiveness.

Boasting a cheery yellow and solid black theme, this theme helped carry some air of playfulness in its interior decor. For those with an artistic streak, they can help themselves to the generous selection of crayons to doodle while waiting.

I like how it felt a bit like being in a kindergarten with the bold bright colours and seemingly simple cutleries. The chopsticks and spoons in the cup looked more like sticks of pencils in a jar, all waiting to be used for more doodling on the paper tablecloth.

The menu near the kitchen is boldly scribbled in Japanese chalk, offering a list of familiar local favourites. The dim lighting only served to accentuate the chrome accents from everything within sight.

There are plenty of plush cushions custom made to fit the theme of the restaurant, which could also be seen at the base of the lamps near the island for casual patrons.

Since I wasn't having much appetite after a long day at work, I decided to try something simple and went for the chee cheong fun in XO sauce. When one is hungry, it's funny how something that seemed so easily done and simply tossed can taste so good! Gives me an idea of what to cook if I want something quick and delicious.

Miss Barbie needed something more filling, so an order of pan mee accompanied by stuffed fish ball in soup based on the recommendation of the waiter. This was the dry version, almost reminded me of those Japanese meals that come with half-boiled egg to be mixed together with the other ingredients.

Apparently canoodling shares kitchen with a neighbouring eatery, known as forgoodnesssake, which was supposed to be a Japanese style bar. Unfortunately a few weeks after when we went back for more soupy goodness, that has closed down but replaced with a Chinese restaurant serving home-cooked dishes.

Food : 7.5/10
Service : 8.5/10
Ambience : 8.5/10