Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Why?

Why do good people leave our lives? Sure, in some cases, it may be for the better, but in other cases, when the people we truly care and love for leave....it is so much harder to say "goodbye" or even "see you later."

Nicholas the Greyhound, Jeff Kniple (director of LNSP/Evergreens--the man who kept the program stand on two feet), and Fr. Jack (one of the best Jesuits and leaders to ever step foot on Loyola's campus) are leaving/left.

I admire Fr. Jack. He has done good for me and my sisters (Jayne, Loyola graduate '09 and Meghan, current Loyola student, graduating in '15). You can find Fr. Jack in Campus Min, the FAC on the elliptical, or giving high 5's and hugs to students and faculty. He is a selfless man who has a warm heart, always open to giving back and creating a happier Loyola community. I'll miss him, saying "SHAN SHAN!" or "LC! (little Chong)" on campus or at the gym. He would stop and actually chat about my day or whatever was on my mind when I worked at the FAC's front desk. I am happy and proud to see him leave Loyola and continue his love for students and higher education as President of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School. I wish you the best, Fr. Jack!

In other Singaporean cases...........

Finals have approached! I have 3 on November 18, 28, and December 2. Between finals, I am going on a 5 day (Nov 18-23) holiday in Vietnam with two of my friends, Katie and Kirsty. We are going to explore Ho Chi Minh City and I'm pretty sure other places as well. I am excited to see another country with its unique culture and foods!

The Thailand and New Zealand kids are all home now, and soon the Australia kids too. It's so weird how everyone's going home now, slowly. I remember all the statuses ("10 days until abroad!" or "Bye America!") this summer, how happy and ready we were to go, now we all dread to leave, hahaha. In 17 days, I will be leaving and returning to the US. I am very excited to go home, but sooo sad to leave the life I have become comfortable with as well as the good people I have met.

Until next time (get ready for my Vietnam post next week!), Much love from the Chatty Chong xoxoxo

Monday, 7 November 2011

"There's 4 of us!....but I'm small!"

What a fun and girly weekend! GIRL POWER!

On Friday, I was boring and stayed in with Fiona. We ended up being lazy and went to McDonalds, as usual. McDonalds is to Singapore as Panera Bread/Chipotle is to America...does that make sense? If not, it means people always go to those places to eat, no matter what time it is or what day it is..... basically people are OBSESSED. You will see tables and tables filled with Singaporean students eating McDonalds with a textbook in hand, no joke. Funny though, back at home, I do not even look or touch McDonalds, but when you're in Asia, surrounded by rice and noodles... McDonalds seems to be a gateway to US and normal food, haha. Here in Singapore, they have McSpicy Wings and.....McDelivery, now if the US had that, we'd all be obese and in wheelchairs... and you know that's true!

On Saturday, I caught up with sleep and grabbed lunch with my roomie, Joanna at Canteen 12/13. I had Korean (missing family and food) "Sundubu Jigae" which is basically spicy soft tofu stew; my momma makes it at home. It tasted okay, nice and spicy, but nothing like my mom's. My roomie is the sweetest and most caring person ever. I've developed an odd raspy cough, and trying to kill it before my Vietnam trip with Robitussin Cough Syrup (since they don't have or know Mucinex or Dayquil) and cough drops, but anyways, she gave me orange juice and Vitamin C pills....so kind! As mentioned, she's from Malaysia, near KL and a mathematics major... bless her, I hate numbers and equations (hence my communication major)!

Saturday night, I had dinner with Ms. Wendy and her family. We went to the Evolution Garden for a nice walk and chat. Ms. Wendy was neighbors with my Aunt Yoon Mee back in Uni. It's a funny thought, that they met in Uni, and now I'm here in Singapore studying at NTU, and she's watching over me. Ms. Wendy is a very nice lady, she is caring, welcoming, and easy to talk to. I am very lucky to have a "family" figure here, especially with my severe case of homesickness (back in August!). We had traditional Singaporean food for dinner at her house, which is soo lavish and beautiful! Her husband offered wine, at first, I was very hesitant, but he was so nice and said it was totally fine, plus I'm legal here! HOLLA! After dinner, I spent time with her children, Aaron who is 11 and Elizabeth who is 8. They are adorable and very clever! I really had a special time with them. I feel so content when I am with them. After my time with Ms. Wendy and her family, I went back to Lizzi's room, met up with the girls, and chilled out, a nice way to end the night!

On Sunday, we were going to cycle on Pulau Ubin Island, but laziness kicked in, so I slept in as well as the girls. We had a girl's day, basically (me, Fiona, Lizzi, Katie, and Kirsty). With no agenda or schedule, we hopped on the mrt and went to Joo Koon for shits and giggles! You see Joo Koon is the very end of the mrt line, and there is absolutely nothing there, except some factories and a go-kart place? So random, hahaha. We hopped back and went to Vivo City shopping centre, and basically did what girls love...shopping (oh and eating). I had proper soup and a wrap... so good! We rushed back to campus to get ready for a night I will never forget, ever.

1-Altitude is "a multi-concept lifestyle destination boasting of 360-degree sky dining view, world tallest al fresco rooftop bar and a sports interactive lifestyle bar" in Singapore.  Ladies must be 21 years old (I'm 20...) and men have to be 25. Fiona met the manager of 1-Altitude the night we were at Attica, and she texted him, and........ we got on the Guestlist! SICK! We felt so "posh" (did I use the word, right, UK girls? haha) and glamorous, walking around this outdoor bar and dancing with cran-vodka, wine, and champagne in our hands. I was with Fiona, Lizzi, Katie, and Kirsty. I absolutely adore them! They have truly made my Singapore experience amazing and a memorable one. I feel I can be ME with them and let my guard down. LOVE THEM! I dread the day I have to say "goodbye." Anyways, the view was BREATHTAKING. I could see all of Singapore. The view reminded me the reason why I came to Singapore. It's a beautiful city! We were so high up in the air, my phone buzzed and greeted me to Malaysia (Indoneisa for Lizzi). I looked like a child in a candy store, staring with my mouth open. I felt like I was in a dream.

We then proceeded to take the lift all the way down to the 1st floor. In hopes of getting to New Asia Bar on time, we walked over, with laughter and... interesting things (balloons, Chinese statutes, pee in a bush...no need to get into details). We finally made it to Swissotel, but a shiny and bright McDonalds dragged us in there instead to soak up the alcohol. I'm pretty sure everyone in McD was drunk. After stuffing our faces, we decided to go back to NTU. We thought it would be a brilliant idea to squeeze 5 girls in one taxi, now in Singapore, there is no way in Hell taxi drivers are cool with that, so we had a plan: get in as fast as we can, and put Lizzi on the ground. After the driver constantly saying, "No can! No can! There is 5! No can!"....Lizzi answered, "but there's 4 of us! .....and I'm small!" All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a taxi van appeared and we hopped in there and all made it home safely. Oh, Singapore....

Today (Monday) is a public holiday, so we were all off of school. We went to Ikea for the rest of the day and night. I had the best meal ever, sad to say it was at Ikea hahaha. I had meatballs, wings, and chips (fries for you Americans). We walked around and the girls bought stuff. I am leaving in 4 weeks, it is useless to buy anything. As the weeks are going by, I am getting very excited to go home, but soo sad to leave the amazing people I have met. I am DREADING the actual "farewell," but on the bright side, my Vietnam trip with Katie and Kirsty is in 10 days!!!!! I cannot wait for another adventure! This week is the last week of classes, I cannot believe it! All my "real assignments" are basically done, so for now, I am sitting around until finals. Until another exciting post, Much Love from the Chatty Chong xoxoxo

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Stop and Think

As I was sitting here in Golden Spoon (a canteen I enjoy) and peacefully doing my marketing paper, I could not continue with a paragraph without thinking about social justice. In Singapore, there is a social injustice about maids whether it being in homes or cafes, or even freakin McDonalds.

There is this old lady with gray hair tied up in a bun and faded maroon t-shirt, who works at Golden Spoon everyday. With a frown on her face, she wheels her cart of dirty dishes and chopsticks around the canteen, on a search for more dirty plates to take to the back kitchen for cleaning. All day, she is on her feet, as people hustle and bustle in and out. NOT ONCE have I ever heard a "thank you" from anyone, or "Oh, I got it"...I mean I understand it is the social norm, to leave dirty plates and utensils on the tables and leave, but.... we are all full-grown adults, capable of walking over to the "Tray Return". I just witnessed a lady rolling her eyes and scoffing at this old lady for being her way... really, it's not hard to say 2 words.. "excuse me." What happened to social justice and the need to help others??? Maybe I'm going crazy...

As I watch this lady from table to table, I cannot help but wonder her health and her family. Would her children or grandchildren be proud and happy 'cause of her successes in still making money at such an age? Or, would they be sad to know she is pushed around emotionally as a maid? At such an old age, I feel grief and sorrow for her. I look at my grandparents and wish they live their lives happily in peace and in solace. 

On the flip side, my friends and I have decided to get fit, so we are running/jogging every night and motivating each other. Running outside in Singapore heat and humidity, you can imagine how sexy I look with sweat dripping down on every part of my body (hahaha). Alright, back to my paper..... Gotta finish it because Indonesia trip this weekend! Until then, much love from the Chatty Chong xoxoxo

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Chatty Chong's Back! (Melaka Time)

Ni hao! Sorry that the Chatty Chong hasn't been too chatty lately and blogging. With all the stress and the sudden death of my grandmother (Rest in peace, Choon Cha Cho--my mom's mom), I have kind of lost a piece of myself and put a pause button on my life and forgot to get in touch. But, after a fun-filled and needed weekend with my amazing and supportive friends, I feel like I am ready to be back on track..

Although my LA grandmother ( we call her that, cause she lived out in LA) was a small lady and occasionally wore clothes that did not match, she had a heart that weighed her down. Her heart was filled with love, care, and warmth that was contagious. She was the most caring, happy and lovable person. She never used the word, "no" with my sisters and me. It was if "no" was not in her vocabulary. I remember when we were younger, she would take us to the supermarket with my mom, and we would throw random snacks and candies in the cart, and my mom would yell at us to put it back. My grandma would slap my mom and tell her to leave us alone. Another fond memory is the nest she built for this mama bird and her babies. She always had a soft spot for animals. So because my grandpa is literally a carnivore, and rarely eats veggies (just like me hahaha, probably where I get it from), my grandma would cook all meat dishes for.. breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. She was an excellent cook. Her voice was so bubbly and warm. Finding out about her sudden death out here in Singapore crushed me, there are basically no words to describe the brokenness I felt in the first weeks of October. She had a special place in my heart and I felt as if it was shattered. I forgot what it felt like to smile and laugh. But, with a little help from my friends that I have made, I am getting back on life. With the suddenness of death, I have learned a very important life lesson: To just live life simply and happy, why worry about the small things? For, we may not know if tomorrow is our last day. Death is part of life, and I believe my grandma lived a full and happy one. She gave me a blessing, my mother. I will forever love and miss you, Grandma Choon Cha Cho. My love for you is endless and unconditional. You make me stronger as each day goes by. Rest in peace, for I shall see you again--- jump in your warm loving arms and be greeted by your "grandma" kisses.


This past weekend, my buddies, Lizzi, Fiona, Katie, Kirsty, AM, Leo, Kyu, Dom, and I visited Melaka, a very historical place in Malaysia, yet filled with culture, traditions, great food, and even, creepy critters (haha). We took the bus which was fairly cheap, and although it was uncomfortable, it still gave me an exciting feel to once again, travel out of Singapore and into the new!

We stayed at Groven Travellers Home (hostel). It was definitely an experience I'll never forget.... I slept in a bed with a mosquito net. At first, I was in shock, but heyyy when am I ever going to do this again? And, how many people can say they slept in a net?!? It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. We grabbed dinner the 1st night at a hawker centre, where I ordered a spicy chicken rice. Being Korean, it was not spicy at all! Bring on the spice! After a few Tiger beers here and there, it was about bed time. The next day would be a full day of history, adventure, and karaoke?

After snoozing my alarm clock a couple times, I took a shower, and met my friends in the "living room" area of the hostel. We visited the Porta de Santiago at the foot of St. Paul's Hill (a Dutch and English influence in Melaka). We climbed up the stairs in the hot hot heat and visited museums (thank sweet baby Jesus for air con!). With Deepavali on the way, we were greeted by very friendly Indians who shared their culture with us by serving us free samples and teaching us how to fry up an Indian classic. We then headed into the heart of Melaka, looked around the side markets, grabbed a few waters and icecreams and it was off to Jonker Street.

Dom, our "international tour guide" (I called him that all weekend, hahaha) took us to a traditional chinese tea tasting place called, Zenghe Teahouse (where I was bit by bugs at least 3434039042 times). The tea was really nice. I felt so "zen" and at peace hahaha. I even bought tea leaves for mommy and daddy back at home. Did I mention how cheap Malaysia is?!? When the lady, said "80 ringgit," I was like hold up lady, what?!? In US dollars, that is about $25! SWEET BRO!

For dinner, we had some sort of Satay Shabu Shabu but Malaysian style, of course. The waiter brought a big boiling pot of chili peanut sauce sort of thing, and placed in our table and turned on the burner. We went in the back, picked out what we wanted, from bok choi to prawns to wantons, we put them on a tray, and dunked them in the boiling pot. Can I just mention how much I enjoyed all the spicy foods I consumed? I was born to be Asian! hahaha.  After a few seconds or minutes, we pulled the goodies out, and into our mouths (om nom nom)! It was delicious and so cheap! And of course, accompanying my meal was a big bottle of Tiger. I sware Tiger and I are best friends---THE beer of Asia.

Sidenote: The toilets in Malaysia were NOT proper toilets. It was legit a hole on the ground. God bless my dear friends. I refused and did not use them (hahaha, call me a brat!). They squatted and lived! hahaha.

After dinner, we went to a bar to grab drinks. Katie, Fiona, Lizzi, and I downed 4 cocktails together and then chased it with Tiger (of course). We were feeling pretty damn good, then sweet Katie bought us tequila shots (thank girlfrannn, shout out to you!). A night that ends with tequila ends with "shit getting even more crayyy crayyyy." We proceeded to a karaoke bar, and let me tell you, Asia loves karaoke. We played the latest hits with random Eagles and Beatles music. Lizzi, hating Tay Swift, put "Love Story" on the playlist just for me, thanks girlfrannnn, shout out to you too! After an hour of singing on the top of our lungs and crashing another party's karaoke room, it was time to soak our alcohol up with help from our friend, McDonald's. God Bless for McD!

The next day was our last day in Melaka. We all kind of slept in after a wild night, did I mention, I fell off my chair and wiped out at the bars for all of the people in Melaka....ooops??? We grabbed the famous, Chicken Rice Balls for lunch. They weren't that special, but hey, "When in Melaka." Afterwards, we drove to the bus station, and after 5-6 hours of traveling from this bus to another bus to the mrt, we finally made it back in one piece to Singapore and grabbed dinner at Boon Lay. It was a needed weekend, and I am so happy I went, even if I have 2 presentations on Friday (AHHH!).

You know, Melaka is not a very rich or clean place like Singapore, so I noticed lots of differences, such as a family of rats scurrying around, bugs and trash everywhere, and run-down homes on the river. People should not take their lives for granted. We all must learn to appreciate what we have and quit the complaining. There are people out in Asia who clean their clothes without a washer and eat the scraps off the ground. It bothers me so much and even makes me feel guilty to be able to travel and eat delicious dishes, when there are people suffering. I am fortunate and blessed to have the life I have, to come all the way out here in Singapore, learn and appreciate the culture, people, and food with the company of great people who have made an impact in my life. I will never forget what I saw, ate, and experienced. As the one month mark comes up (til I'm home), I intend to make every minute here a worthwhile one. Until next time, Much love from the Chatty Chong!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Way DOWN UNDAAAAAAAAAA

"Ello Mate!"... "No Worries, Mate!" .......is what I heard all week in my vacation in Melbourne, Aussie. Took a break from Singapore and went down undaaaaa and explored a different continent!

Bobby, Andrew and I flew to Melbourne with Emirates. It was a nice flight. There were sooo many movies to choose from! I watched all Disney movies of course! I watched "The Princess and the Frog" and "UP"...such great movies. I have anxiety on airplanes, so I barely ate and panicked the whole time as usual. The airplane had terrible turblence so my stomach literally felt like it was jumping from my throat down to my feet. We finally got off and I felt sooo sick. We waited hours for Caitie's arrival from Thailand to Melbourne. Once she arrived, it was off to our hostel, Urban Central.

Urban Central is in the outskirts of the city. It was across from a 24-hour McDonalds, which we did not visit once on our trip. I refused to eat any fast-food, rice, and noodles; I needed Asian-food break. I was very impressed with the hostel. There was a communal kitchen, bar, and computer room. Our family room was so cute. There was a bunk bed, king bed, "living room", tv in the corner, and a bathroom. I did not have anything to complain about, besides the fact it was freezing! It was 4 degrees celsius when we got there, which is 44 degrees Fahrenheit, I believe, so yeah FREEZING COLD, comparing to Singapore's 90 degree weather--sunny, warm, and humid, but it was a nice change. It made me feel like I was at home with the cold weather and autumn.

We explored Melbourne the first day, walking up and down the streets. Melbourne is a beautiful city! There are trams and cable cars on the roads along with the cars and random horse carriages. The Aussies are SO NICE! We had lunch at Young and Jackson, where I had a bagel sandwich with a SALAD...two things I haven't had in MONTHS. I was in Heaven, no joke. After lunch, we walked around some more and familiarized ourselves with the city. We napped and passed out for 8 hours...haha oops? We got up around 10pm and were starving. We went to CROWN Casino. I had a delicious plate of pasta with chicken and spinach with a hunk of parmesan cheese on top. In Aussie, the legal age to gamble is 18, so of course, we gambled. I made 160 Aussie dollars from the Wheel. I was impressed with myself! Maybe it was luck or maybe I am just a closeted professional gambler? One or the other....

The next day, we visited the Rod Laver Arena. Now, I did not know who this was hahaha. He was a famous tennis player, apparently. I am not into tennis, but Bobby (obvii), Andrew, and Caitie are. I was just trodding along. After that, we went to Fitzroy Gardens and Cooks' Cottage. The Gardens were beautiful! Hilarious story...we were taking pictures on this bench and a Chinese lady came up and starting rambling in Chinese. I replied, "I'm sorry I don't speak Chinese." She proceeded to speak anyways and her voice got louder. She actually wanted us to get off the bench so her and her hubby could take pictures... RUUUUDE, girlfrannnn. After that little incident, we went to a rooftop bar, where we had crazy damn good appetizers which included sausage rolls, bread with various dips, spinach Spanakopita, and deep fried polenta sticks. Then we went to a British pub called "The Elephant & Wheelbarrow," where I got two glasses of wine, preparing myself for the wine tour of course. We indulged with french fries ("chips") and nachos, took a cab back, and passed out.

Our first day of tours started with the Yarra Valley Wine Tour. We were the youngest people on the tour. The tour guide (I'm pretty sure) loved us! He was the nicest man ever. We learned to drink wine properly and to "appreciate" its flavors. Each wine place we visited, somebody was explaining the flavor and instructing us to look, smell, and swirl the wine, when really we just downed that bad boy. Go American College Students! hahaha. The instructor would say, "Ok, now drink your wine"...our glasses were always empty. I love wine, I couldn't help myself. Besides the wine, our lunch was fantastic! So fancy! One of my favorite wines is Chandon, which is sparkly, bubbly wine. I finally got my wine and cheese at Chandon as well. The view of the mountains and vineyards was absolutely breathtaking. I could not believe how beautiful it was. I never wanted to leave that place. With wine in one hand, great friends, and a beautiful view, I was very content with my life. After a long day of trying wines, we all took a snoozer on the ride back to the city. For dinner, we decided to treat ourselves to steak at "Squires Loft." My mouth was having a party, I love steak! It was perfectly cooked with a warm baked potato. After dinner, we went back to our hostel and slept, ready for another tour.

Our second tour was to Phillip Island to see Aussie critters! For breakfast we went to Babka Bakery (Russian). It was unbelievably delicious! I had Russian Breakfast tea with a herb omelette with cheese and freshly-baked bread. I had a plan to indulge and spoil my stomach, and I was doing it justice in Melbourne. We grabbed some lunch from Babka as well and off to Phillip Island! We first went to a farm with the typical farm animals: goats, cows, horses.... and of course being in Aussie, there were kangaroos and wombats! I FED, PETTED, AND HUNG OUT WITH KANGAROOS! I have always wanted to do that, and I did it! I can "check it off" on my "bucket list." Kangaroos are such sweet animals! I was so excited, probably more excited than the children on our tour bus. After that, it was time to see koala bears! They looked like huge fluffy gray balls; they were up in the trees sleeping away. I was a foot away from a sleeping koala bear! They are soo adorable, but if you mess with them, they will claw your face off! Such cute, vicious creatures! It was finally time to go to the actual Phillip Island to see penguins! But before, we saw a field of wallabies (mini-versions of kangaroos) and took pictures on top of a cliff of an ocean view where penguins climb up to get home (very steep!). It was a beautiful view! We got to the penguin parade just in time and purchased ponchos to sit on. It was pouring rain.. rain or shine, the penguins were coming! They swam out of the ocean and waddled up the shore to their homes. I was right next to penguins! They are adorable little things, waddling to go home. I felt so Aussie at that moment, hanging out with kangaroos, koala bears, and penguins! (felt a bit like Steve Irwin ....may he rest in peace).

The third and last tour we went on was a Sports/Beer Brewery Tour. We visited the Melbourne Cricket Grounds, Flemington Horse Race Grounds, and drove on the Formula 1 Racecar tracks. I personally did not care too much about the sports tour, I was just looking forward to the beer! We visited the Carlton Brewhouse and saw how the beer was made. We were all given 4 glasses and chose the beer we wanted to sample. I got the Carlton Mild, Pure Blonde, Cascade, and Bulmer's. Now, Bulmer's is a special beer... it is a Cider, and it is life-changing. It was the most tasty and delicious beer/cider I have ever had; it is probably my new favorite drink. It needs to get imported to the USA right away. For dinner we went to an Italian restaurant where we had endless garlic bread, cheese platter, wine, chicken marsala, and pastas. Such a great meal to end the day.

Queen Victoria Market was the next "place to visit" on our Melbourne list. For breakfast, we went to this cute cafe where I had hot chocolate (SO GOOOOOD and WARM) with Eggs Benedict...absolutely fabulous! We rented and rode bikes to the market. I haven't been on a bike in years and I was surprised on how normal it felt, although it was terrifying sharing the roads with cars and buses and trams! Queen Victoria is a huge market where one can find fresh vegetables and fruits, every Aussie souvenir you can think of, and endless shopping. We ate at the Vic Market Place where I had a huge block of lasagna with a hunk of cheese right on top....oooooh I was loving life...cheese and all!

For our last night in Melbourne, we went to P.J. O'Brien's (Irish pub) for dinner and drinks. I had a fat hamburger with fries. I had way too much Bulmer's Cider and felt pretty good towards the end of the night. I danced, sang, and had a great last night with Caitie, Andrew, and Bobby. In PJ's, we were the youngest people and got carded! SAY WHAT. The pub was full of cougars, old people, and weird people, but it was so funny to people-watch. It was a great night to end my week of Melbourne, by the way Melbourne is pronounced "Mel-bin"...ha!

On our last day in the beautiful city, we had lunch at an Italian place. I had a caprese pizza bread....soooo good! I think we were all depressed when we got up that morning, knowing that we would have to leave and return back to Asia. Something that really was depressing was that I did not get to see Erin and CJ in Melbourne. They are actually studying there at Monash Uni. Erin and CJ were on THEIR break, so we had just missed them! It would have been more fun with them there to show us around and explore together, but hey I still had an amazing time in Melbourne. One day I will be back to visit and make my way up to Sydney and the Outback! Did I mention how hot the Aussie accent is? I was loving the boys!!!!! I will never forget my time in Melbourne.

.... Back in Singapore now with less than 2 months left! I cannot believe it, seriously. I just got here! Where did the time go? October will be stressful with lots of presentations to prepare for----a huge chunk of my grade.. I guess I should start actually doing work. Studying abroad and school work? WHAT? =) Tomorrow night I am going to Marina Bay Sands with the girls and Loyola boys to see.......LION KING BROADWAY! sooo stoked! Until that production, Much love from the Chatty Chong! xoxoxoxo

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Best Tuesday Ever!

So as you know Tuesdays I have no class.....I usually do the same thing on my Tuesdays: sleep in, do laundry, eat lunch, stare at the walls out of boredom, and do work all day, but today was no ordinary Tuesday! It was a fun-filled and very rainy Tuesday!

I spent my Tuesday with Jolene, Gerlynn, and Lotta, who are girls in my PR writing group. Jolene and Gerlynn are locals, born and raised in Singapore and Lotta is from Sweden. Did I mention there are over 70 people from Sweden? They beat us! I think America is 3rd? Anywho, we went out to lunch, to a Japanese restaurant called "Waraku" followed by a "dessert" drink (bubble tea to be exact) from "Gong Cha."

Waraku was DELICIOUS! It was sooo nice to have "real food" instead of canteen food. There was a special too, you can get noodles and rice for $9! Not too shabby. I got Udon noodles and "Chicken Katsu Don", which is basically rice with eggs and chicken. When they served you the food, two spoons were given, one for rice, and another for noodles. Singaporeans have a special way to eat their noodles; with chopsticks in one hand, spoon in the other, they put their noodles onto the spoon and slurp it up! I cannot explain how happy I was at that moment. The food was warm and comforting. Sipping on Chinese tea, with "zen" music playing in the background, good company, and good food, I was having such a lovely time with the girls. We got to know each other more by talking about our homes, families, and "girl stuff." I learned so much about Singapore and Sweden in one sitting! The girls are all so sweet! In fact, Jolene's boyfriend is studying at Penn State U and they visited Ocean City, MD...such a small world! Ahhh Ocean Shitty... I miss you. hahaha.

After walking around and digesting our Japanese feast, we were off to Gong Cha. Bubble Tea is the speciality, basically it is pearl milk tea. The pearls are black squishy jelly balls. I personally do not like them, but it is a very popular drink! So popular that customers are given a number to wait to be made and get their drink. I got a drink that had Ovaltine in it with cereal. It tasted like a less sweeter version of chocolate milk with bits of cereal. It was cold and refreshing, and a nice "ending" to my Japanese meal. I am just getting the best of Singapore! haha. I love hanging out with the locals, they know what is good and what is not. I love food and they love food, so food brought us together hahaha. We had such nice chats too. I really enjoyed my day.

Tonight, there was an Oktoberfest event at Hall 12. There was beer and sasuages---so German lol, except the beer was Carlsberg which is Danish.....Diversity? hahaha. I had a sasuage, of course! So yummy! I didn't get to indulge in beer because I'm still on allergy medication and I don't want to jinx it! There was a pool of Exchange students there and it was a nice atmosphere. It was nice to run into new and old Exchange friends, nice community and company. Although, it would have been sick to actually celebrate Oktoberfest in Germany, so you Loyola abroaders in Europe, I am envious of you! Represent Loyola well and go cray cray! <3 But, overall it was a nice "event" to end my Fun Tuesday.

4 more days until down unda in Aussie! SOOOO excited! This is a short and sweet post; I usually don't post about Tuesdays haha, but this Tuesday was really special, since it was my first time hanging out with locals off campus and trying new foods! I LOVED it! Until next time, Much love from the Chatty Chong! xoxo

P.S. I know Swedish, well only "hey! how are you?" hahaha, it's "ey humudo"...I definitely butchered the spelling...but you get the idea! hahaha I love my international life!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

When in doubt, PEACE it out.

Happy Sunday!!

This was a rather boring yet chill weekend for me. This is the week before Recess Week, where I will be spending an exciting week in Melbourne, Australia with Andrew, Caitie, and Bobby. I needed to catch up on work and such... get the nitty gritty things done before I leave Singapore for a week, hence why it was a "boring yet chill" weekend.

My health status: Better. After 3 long days of resting and missing out on lectures, I feel so much better. I got more medication, so I should be good to go for Aussie, except my headaches have been killer lately, especially in the sinus area of my face. Still a little congested here and there, but I will be okay! (just in case if you were wondering...)

On Friday, Fiona, Bobby, Leo, Andrew, Justin and I went to Jurong Point for dinner where I had a spicy Korean stew (yuk-kae-jang) that my mommy makes at home. It was expensive, but I missed the Korean cuisine. It tasted nothing like mom's, but it was an acceptable substitute. It definitely had a spicy kick to it, which I enjoyed. I love me some spicy food! After dinner, we decided to watch a film at the Golden Village in the shopping centre. We bought tickets ($10.50 each) to see "Crazy Stupid Love." What is interesting about the movies here is that it is assigned seating. The concession stand's foods cracked me up. They served mashed potatoes and cheese sasuages....not my favorite, instead I bought a box's worth of sweet popcorn ($5 each). I would say the prices were the same as home's, but at home, I never go to the movies because it costs too much! But hey, when in Singapore (when in Rome) haha. Our movie did not start until midnight, so we had 2 hours to kill. We went into 2 "play areas" which reminded me of adult version sizes of Chuck E. Cheese. I did not play any games, but the boys did. Boys love video games! I did play one round of DDR (dance dance revolution) with Bobby. HA, DDR reminded me of middle school days, going to the movies, and watching competitions against people... oooh middle school.. the days of awkwardness, puberty, and sass. 

After watching the boys beat the highest scores and run around playing the next game, we headed back to Golden Village. Our seats were not bad at all. The movie had Chinese subtitles, which was definitely new to me. I thought it was cool haha. "Crazy Stupid Love" ended up being a great movie! It was about love (obviously) and how dysfunctional it can get, but in the end, everyone deserves and wants love. I felt a little bad for the boys to sit through a romantic-comedy chick flick, haha. I warned them! haha, but Steve Carrell was in it, and heyyy that man is a genius! His best role is Brick from "Anchorman." I enjoyed my first movie experience in Singapore, so I call that night a GREAT SUCCESS.

On Saturday, Sanaz, Fiona, Meg, and I spent our day at Marina Bay for Marina Bay Day! It was basically a "touristy" day where we saw the big attractions, modeled our peace signs and took numerous photos in Marina Bay. We visited the Helix bridge, Merlion, Esplanade, and even ended up on Arab Street. The weather was very strange. It started out as an ominous, gray, and cloudy day but then miraculously transformed into a sunny, bright, and hot day. Singapore is bi-polar with its weather, just like good ol' Baltimore. I don't know why but we find the peace sign pose very amusing in pictures, so in almost every picture we have peace signs up. In fact, when we were taking pictures in front of the Merlion, a group of Asian people asked to take pictures with us! Now is that racist or.... appreciation of diversity? HA. I personally did not care and enjoyed the fun. PEACE SIGNS FOR EVERYONE! lol.

Sanaz, Fiona, and I had dinner on Arab Street which I believe is near Little India. I had a Malay dish, Seafood Mee Goreng, which is basically fried noodles with seafood, but I decided to "kick it up a notch" and get it spicy. I must have a tolerance for spicy food, because it was not spicy at all. It was actually nice. At first, I was skeptical, but since I have been here for almost 3 months, I have enjoyed trying new dishes and opening my palate to new flavors. It ended up being a very nice evening too, with the sun going down and nice calm breezes within the Street. We were so exhausted from walking around in the sun all day, so we took the mrt back to NTU. I ended up staying in my room, relaxing and chatting with friends and family back at home for the rest of the night and slept like a baby. Oh, and we booked tours for Aussie and my poor bank account is crying and begging me to stop abusing it. HA.. oops...I need a lesson on budgeting.

I cannot believe that my Australia trip is in nearly 6 days! I remember sitting in my living room with my parents and Bobby and Andrew on the phone booking it few months back. I remember being so excited and nervous at the same time. Time really flies. People ought to appreciate what they have and not spoil it. I still cannot believe I have been in Singapore for over 2 months now. I have met amazing friends, tried new dishes, and opened my heart to culture and people. I love traveling. I love Singapore. Most importantly, I have learned to find myself and the person I want to become.

Now all there is left to do is to wait and get through this week off to DOWN UNDA (that's Australia, if you didn't get it). I am really sad I won't be able to see Erin or CJ there, but that is OK! How amazing would it have been to hang out with Loyola people in Aussie!?! Oh, how I miss my Loyola lovers and EGs. I hope everyone is doing well, staying healthy, and happy =)  I've got to run now, I'm going to eat dinner with another family friend from Singapore. Can't wait to see what I try tonight! Until next time, Much Love from the Chatty Chong! xo