Sunday, March 29, 2015

diabolo ginger

Continuing on my quest for interesting food and drinks while in Japan, here's Diabolo Ginger from the Kirin's Sekai No Kitchen Kara series. I've previously had the salted lychee inspired by Thai mothers; it was quite a treat during summer and reminded me a bit of home.

They even made a really cute diaroma depicting a typical kitchen where a Thai mother would have made this refreshing drink for her family.

Apparently this was inspired by the French mother's wisdom of simmering ginger in sugar syrup. Where I come from, ginger is usually used for cooking, but in other parts of the world ginger is eaten as candies, or used to make confectionery.

To be honest, I would have mistaken this for ginger ale since it was fizzy and had gingery taste if I had not read the description behind, and went through the article where the Kirin folks visited Provence and apparently discovered this drink!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

journey into jordan : wadi rum

I know it's been some time I posted about Jordan, and I had meant to continue on them after posting on Madaba and Petra. Recently I tried to enter the KLM photo competition since I had just come back from Europe on it. Too bad I had already missed the dateline, but it made me recall some of the breathtaking scenes I had seen.

We climbed up the rocks at "Lawrence's Spring", the watering hole for camels. This was our first stop on the guided desert tour on a 4x4.

It felt like being on a different planet altogether. Perhaps Mars looked like this, with all the red sand? I'd never seen so much sand in my life before, very used to tropical greenery had made me appreciate the flora and fauna back home.

We were able to spend some time climbing the many sand dunes in the desert and just gaze around us in awe.

Our tour guide-cum-driver must be so used to seeing all his tourists taking too many shots of the same thing.

Halfway through the tour, he'd create fire, lit up a worn black kettle and proceeded to make tea to serve us. It would be one of the best tea I'd had. We were still trying to figure out what made the tea so ... addictive. We'd never have enough of it, though one might think it's like your regular black tea.

Just stopping by all these rock formations made me imagine the many million years of erosion and natural elements that shaped them to be so.

I particularly liked this one. I call it "The Standing Turtle Pooping".

Thursday, March 19, 2015

dancing in my dreams

Just when I thought I'd sleep dreamless, the one this morning about Barbie caught me by surprise. It's been a year since we last met, and I wondered if that was the reason why it came to me. For what it's worth, it was quite a sweet dream, seared in retro hues and all things nostalgic.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

will i dream again tonight?

Excuse while I try to take a breather. It's nice to look back at the pictures I took at The Hiding Place because it's so calming.

Now that I'm back in Japan, still need to sort out expenses not to mention get back to normal routine. Just when I thought after doing some great stuff in Europe, I could take a bit of rest while things go on. Of course life is not that easy. Or maybe I'm just recovering from jet lag. Or the European hours is here to stay.

Been waking up tired because I was still dreaming halfway, and I actually remembered details from past 3 days.

First day was in a school-like setting, with me trying to look for suitable lockers to place different pieces of belonging while making sure they were locked - hence the purpose of lockers.

Second day was rather mystical; the image that stood out was of snow falling and my view getting rather misty due to the wonders of winter surrounding me.

And this morning, I saw some blocks of apartment-hotel that I was staying at, surrounded by what seemed like stalls set up like in pasar ramadan. I thought I had enough supper before going to bed, but perhaps my brain was still hungry.

Some say there are meanings to dreams. Some say it's your brain's way of processing events and thoughts from that day. I think I'd rather have dreamless sleep anytime. Unless, these dreams actually mean something.

Monday, March 09, 2015

the birthday that was, or was it?

Thanks everyone for the warm wishes and sweet thoughts! Rather than bore you with the usual speech of gratitude, let me humour you instead on this auspicious day. I booked my flight earlier than usual in the hopes of coming back in time for my birthday weekend. It was almost perfect; the business trip went well, I did what I went to Europe for, and accomplished 5 milestones in 2 weeks.

Was happy I visited a new country though I didn't get a stamp on the passport, enjoyed so much Scandinavian dishes I forgot I missed rice, and appreciated the better work-life balance that Asian companies are not known for. Even though I was still on calls with my boss, and some agencies up till the airplane was about to take off, I was quite pleased with myself, but very much thankful for His grace and mercy for such a "I-don't-quite-know-what-adjective-to-use" trip in Europe this time around.

I had called up a few people to let them know I was back, and was anticipating a lovely birthday lunch which was planned weeks in advance. Snuggled back in my bed, set 2 alarm clocks just in case, and off I went to dreamland.

Next thing I knew, I woke up to see 3:37 on my phone. Is that AM or PM? OMG, as I looked out the window through the heavy curtains, I had missed my own birthday celebration.The jet lag and period and whole trip must have conspired against me! I didn't realise I was so tired, but I guess my body needed the rest.

My dear friends were so kind that they brought the birthday cake, the food they cooked, and the presents to church. Was very touched at their generosity, time and effort put into planning my special day. You should've seen the video they took singing birthday songs for me, with an empty chair reserved for me!

Sunday, March 08, 2015

pre-birthday happiness

It's been a lovely but unexpected prelude to the birthday this year.

When I went home for Christmas, I knew I would be having a business trip sometime in February. I was hoping it would coincide with some snow since there's very little where I am here. However, project delays and availability pushed the date back a few times

So you can imagine I was very relieved that I didn't have to spend my birthday through a business trip, thanks to a little bit of planning and grace from above!

This was my first trip alone. Usually the boss or a colleague would be on the same trip. By His grace, I was able to accomplish what I went to Europe for - complete requirements gathering for Sweden, and launch 4 European sites.

This was the first time I stayed over the weekend, so I was able to explore a new country. Too bad I didn't get the Swedish stamp on the passport, since I was transiting from the Netherlands. >.<

Of course, there is still lots of unresolved issues, some unhappy people, and loose ends to tie up. But I ain't superwoman, and there's only so much one can do. So I chose to reflect on the positives of this trip - a check for a new country, plenty of gastronomic experiences, lovely people, and many unexpected treats.

Even though I was still on calls up till when the plane was getting ready to take off, I'm thankful I was able to leave Europe with sweet memories this time. Coupled with the fact that I came back a day earlier than usual means I'm able to celebrate my birthday properly!