Acai Bowl

I recently discovered frozen acai paste in the supermarket and excitedly bought them. Realising the only way I could really use them is in a creamy acai bowl/ smoothie, I put myself to the test of making a creamy one! I found a good recipe online (claims to be the best!) and modified it such that it would be a blend of both banana and mango (to get the best of both worlds!) as well as berries for a delicious antioxidant boost. I also didn’t have almond butter around, so I substituted it with avocado instead.

The ultimate nemesis to making it creamy and thick is Singapore’s super hot weather (and probably in Brissie summer, the best season to enjoy this cold refreshing treat!)! To mitigate this problem, I did a few things. Firstly, I adjusted the proportion of the ingredients such that it would have less ‘liquid’ inside (only 1/4 cup milk).

Secondly was the temperature. I decided to freeze the ingredients until stone-hard cold, and put the blender and bowl into the freezer to help. I also realised that despite this, the smoothie was still not as thick as I had hoped for (unless I made and ate it in a very cold air-conditioned room!); so if you find that’s what happened, please feel free to pop the creamy acai bowl into the freezer for around half an hour to thicken it up.

The result? Ultimate yumminess that can kick any acai bowl outlet’s butt! I find commercial acai bowls, as delicious as they are, typically are overly-sweetened, slightly diluted without enough acai kick, and too strong of a banana taste overpowering it. This one didn’t have these problems, and was a fair bit cheaper too!

 

Most Creamy Acai Bowl


Serves: 1 bowl (serves 2)                Time: 15 mins

Acai Bowl Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large banana (cut in slices, frozen)
  • 3/4 whole mango (cut in cubes, frozen)
  • 3/4 cup frozen berries such as blackberries, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries (I used blueberries and strawberries)
  • 1 x 100g frozen acai packet (unsweetened is best)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp avocado (frozen)
  • 1/4 cup fresh milk

For Decoration Toppings

  • berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries
  • figs, longans, any fruit you like!
  • mango cubes; coconut chips (unsweetened)
  • pomegranate seeds
  • chia seeds, dried flowers
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened granola
  • pumpkin seeds

Preparation:

1. Place 2 tablespoons granola into a large, pretty bowl.

2. Place the bowl and the blender jug into a freezer to make cold (important in Singapore weather!).

3. Add all acai bowl ingredients into a blender and blend for around 1.5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Tips on how to break up the frozen acai packet easily for a smoother blend is shown in this video.

4. Pour this mixture into the bowl over the granola, and top with your favourite toppings.

5. Enjoy the luscious treat and serve immediately!

Nutritional Facts:

Per bowl (each bowl serves 2): 426 calories; 12.4g fat (3.6g saturated);

67g carbohydrates; 12.2g fibre, 10.4g protein; 58mg sodium

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Journey across three countries

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us” – unknown.

I’ve always considered holidays as an opportunity for me to escape, both physically and mentally. However, with this perception, it is easier to return home and enter “post holiday blues” (which I admit, I am having some now). So perhaps I need to alter my mindset and think of holidays as not an escape of life, but rather to enjoy life. This blog has given me an opportunity to recount and appreciate some of my travel experiences (and hopefully cure my blues).

The following is a summary of my trip. I have limited it to five dot points per country so as not to bore readers.

CHINA – SHANGHAI

I was born in Shanghai, but have never felt a closeness to it or China itself. Perhaps it is because I mainly grew up in Australia. Nevertheless, I still have many relatives in China, so no family holiday is complete without a visit to there.

  1. Metro system – very efficient, easy to figure out.
  2. Old French Concession – beautiful buildings full of history
  3. Grabbing seats – too reserved/polite on subways and one’ll suffer from sore legs
  4. Visiting family
  5. Disneyland – decided to go to the Shanghai one over Japan and HK because at least I can understand the language! Fan girl moment with Captain America.

 

JAPAN – OSAKA, KYOTO, YOKOHAMA, TOKYO

  1. Rice – was SERIOUSLY GOOD. Known as koshihikari rice, it was perfectly chewy, shiny with a hint of sweetness. The Godilocks of Rice.
  2. Fruits and vegetables – expensive $$$ but fresh and tasty. Tiny punnet of white strawberries costed $5 AUD and a small rockmelon was $15 AUD.
  3. Universal studio – solo trip, nearly had a heart attack on the Harry Potter The Forbidden Journey ride (after this near death experience I splurged on an interactive wand…).
  4. Shibuya crossing – one of the world’s busiest intersections.
  5. Temples – Kyoto alone has over 2000 temples. Of course, I only visited a selected few.

HONG KONG and MACAU

Final stop before returning home. It was annoyingly hot and humid, especially on the day I visited Macau.

  1. Maids – group gatherings in public spaces (think pedestrian walkways, parks, under bridges) on weekends with BYO food.
  2. Casinos – extravagant yet artificial architecture (I’m looking at you Venetian) on land fill.
  3. Food – much better vegetarian restaurants in HK. Enjoyed a lunch and dinner banquet on Mother’s Day (albeit costly).
  4. View – HK left an impression of skyscrapers, skyscrapers and more skyscrapers admist mountains, mountains and more mountains.
  5. Shopping – watched foreigners (ie. mainland Chinese) leave department stores with suitcases full of goods. Rich Fuerdais (富二代)?

At the beginning of my holiday, I was excited. Throughout it, I had episodes of FOMO. By the end, I was tired. But overall I had a great time. And for now, I say Sayonara. JS

 

Tips: for those heading to Japan in the future, I recommend downloading the Kansai wifi app which detects and logs onto public wifis in the Kansai region. I also used a Citibank debit card for ATM withdrawals and purchases in Japan and HK – zero fees, no currency conversion fee and great rates – highly recommended! 

The Inevitable

We all die. The question isn’t if we do, the question is when we do. And that, precisely, is the problem. In the natural course of life, we all expect to die of old age or some sort of ailment that comes with old age. Some though, are less fortunate, they die at a younger age.

A few years ago, the son of one of my teammates was the driver in a fatal car accident. He was very fortunate and survived, his friend was less so. Two weeks ago, another fatal car accident, this time, it was the female passenger that I knew which was killed.

I first learnt of the news via Facebook. I had to do a double take after I saw the name. Then I closed the app, took a few breaths, and reopened it. It surely cannot be true? I was at work at the time, and for the rest of the day I was in a bit of a daze. It didn’t feel like reality.

Then my coach messaged a few of us about it. That was confirmation. But I was still in denial. How can it be? She was only 17, she was supposed to have the rest of her life to live. It was only a week before that I was watching her play? Is the universe playing a cruel joke on all of us? I was waiting to wake up from this nightmare.

In a way, it was weird that I was so deeply affected by this. I barely knew her, don’t think I’ve even had one proper conversation with her. But at the same time, it felt like I knew her for a long time because I’ve played against her for a few years and had the fortunate of playing with her in the rep team at the end of last season. She was a great footballer.

Maybe it’s because she was so young. Or maybe it was so unexpected. Or maybe it’s because I know quite a number of her close friends, including her twin sister, and I could not even fathom what they would be going through with this loss; and they’re all so young as well.

I really questioned the universe on why this happened. What was the purpose? Was there even a purpose? Was there any way to unmake this reality? I knew my anger nor my sadness would have any impact on this outcome but it was the least I could try.

Young Jade’s funeral was held on Monday. It was the first funeral I have attended since I have been old enough to remember. I wasn’t prepared for what was to come. Seeing her twin recount their times together and the funny stories they created together; seeing her break down as she said her last goodbye; seeing her best friend try to hold her twin as she herself tried to make it through her eulogy; seeing her mum jokingly say Jade was close to surpassing her brother as being the biggest pain in her arse; seeing her mum apologising with tears in her eyes for not being there to protect Jade in her moment of need; it was all too much.

It got worse though, when they wheeled the coffin outside and into the hearse, I don’t think I have words strong enough to describe the wretched sorrow. The wails that the family let out as the hearse was loaded and began to drive away. Fuck me. I still cry with them when I remember that scene. I really wish there was something I could do to make it better, but there isn’t. Then I look to my side and I see the whole 17s team linked arm in arm, absolutely inconsolable.

It’s been a few days since the funeral, life seems to have returned to normal. At least on the surface. I’ve seen her mum a few times since Monday, she seems to be in a good spirit for what has happened. G was back at training yesterday and was out on the field tonight, scoring a cracker against the boys in a friendly. Jade’s other best friend, R, was also out there killing it. But the real battle is to make sure these kids have an outlet for when emotions do fall, that they can move through this and come out the other side relatively intact.

But universe, seriously, fuck you.

This song was played in her video montage. Rest In Peace Jade ❤

 

R ⚽

Vegan Chocolate Pie: for chocoholics

Hey everyone!

As my first blog post for the year (I believe), I wanted to post up a Chocolate Pie recipe that I used just yesterday to create this:

As a couple of you guys are chocoholics, you have to try this! Here’s how you can make it:

1. Get all the below ingredients:

Written out this is:

PIE CRUST:

2 cups plain flour

2/3 cup butter

1 teaspoon salt

5-7 tablespoons water

CHOCOLATE PIE FILLING:

300g silken firm tofu

1/2 cup Almond Breeze Chocolate milk

300g chocolate chips (melted in a microwave)

1/2 cup peanut butter

2. First make the pie crust by mixing 2 cups of plain flour with 2/3 cup of butter to get the below grainy texture:

3. Add a teaspoon of salt and 5-7 tablespoons of water gradually until the flour and butter clump together.

4. Roll it into a ball!

5. Then roll it out to be around about the same size as your pie tin:

6. Put it in the oven at 190 degrees until golden brown (this may take half an hour or so; I wasn’t checking!)

7. Next, make the chocolate filling! I got this recipe from this site which has better pictures than what I took! First, cut up your 300g of silken tofu and place it into your blender or food processor. Then just add 1/2 cup of Almond Breeze Chocolate milk, 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 300g of melted chocolate chips (melt them in the microwave) and blitz to mix!

8. By now, the pie crust should be done so keep both the crust and filling separate and allow the crust time to cool. I don’t know where the air bubbles came from but the filling should cover it!

9. After the crust is cool, fill her up!

10. Chill overnight or chill for a bit, depending on how urgently you want your chocolate fix and enjoy!

Hope you guys enjoy this!

~Gelato 🍦

A Saturday Spring Onion Adventure

To be read rather quickly because that’s how I speak….

It was just going to be a simple walk to the shops, and it was. More or less. It was the walk home that was an adventure.

Today I planned to try a new recipe for dinner – Turkey Fried Rice. I had all the ingredients except spring onions. Rather than driving to the local shops, I decided a walk would be good, it was a nice afternoon and I had been sitting for most of the day. I set out on the 5.4km round trip. After 800m the tiredness made itself known and yet I refused to give up so early in the walk. Instead, I closed my eyes. It’s less tiring closing one’s eyes, there are less visual stimuli to take in. Although it is a little harder to walk, especially along an unknown street. A change of tactics was needed.

Thus began my experiment – I know what it’s like to walk with no vison at all, but what is it like to walk with partial sight? With the exception of street crossings, I walked the rest of the way to the shops with one eye closed and the other only half open – substantially limiting my view of the world around me. It was a fascinating experience. I could see enough to be confident in where I was walking, but not enough to care what others would think if they noticed what I was doing. I couldn’t see them anyway. I have always thought that those ‘legally blind’ but with some vision would rely heavily on their other senses. Now I am not so sure. With only a small sphere of sight from one eye, I spent the whole time focusing on what I could see rather than trying to use my other senses more. It was only when my eyes were fully closed that I relied on the ground surfaces and sounds.

At the shops I used my full sight again (thankfully, because there was a car that really didn’t want to stop at the zebra crossing), bought the spring onions and started the journey home again, one eye half open, one eye closed. With a little more practice under my belt, I used my other senses more, recognising when cars were in the closest lane or slowing to approach a side street, smelling cigarette smoke as I walked past a house etc. Without being able to see street signs, I remembered the turn off from the main road, taking the second street on the right where the blue fence was. Homewood bound through the back streets. And then suddenly there was a dog coming towards me. Didn’t see that coming.

“Hello medium-sized black dog with a thick collar. Where did you come from?” I had just turned off a busy road onto a side street with lots of quiet houses. “Should I be scared because I don’t know you, Dog and you came straight to me?” “Getting scared won’t stop the dog if it wants to bite me….so I guess there’s no point. Just keep walking Cherith, perhaps he will get bored and go back home.”

The dog didn’t get bored. It followed me for a bit, ran across the road in front of a car to sniff something on the other side, then ran back again. “Ahh! Please don’t get yourself hit!” (I said in my head). The local Model Craft store owners had never seen the dog before and had little advice to offer me in my current predicament. Rather than letting the dog keep following me (I was still 2km from home), I decided to turn back to where the dog had first come from, hoping it would find a house to go back into. It didn’t.

Time to move onto a new tactic – contacting someone who could hopefully help. An internet search for ‘found dogs’ stated to ring the council. Whilst the dog sprinted up and down a small empty lot and rolled in questionable weeds, I gave my details to a lovely lady at Brisbane City Council. She tracked down the dog’s owner via telephone and I discovered the dog (a female blue cattle dog) belonged on the other side of the busy road and up a few streets. The owner was unable to leave her home at the present time so I spent the next 10 minutes walking an energetic dog by the collar across the busy road, around the corner, up the hill, around another corner and down a few houses. Home sweet home, for that little dog. Now to get the spring onions home for my own dinner.

Back across the road, down the hill, around the corner, up a big hill, across another busy road, down a big hill, up a small hill, across a few streets, round a few corners, past the corner store, up a final hill, along one more street and I was home.

Thus ended the Spring Onion adventure.

Next time, I might just drive.

C.

Where is home for a nomad?

To most people, my life seems to be quite bizarre. Come to think of it, I don’t really know anyone else personally who has moved around the world as much as I have throughout both childhood and as an adult. It’s not even from country to country, but it included moving city to city, and from suburb to suburb.

When I was in Hong Kong for the first 11 years of my life, my life was probably less nomadic. I went to an international school, so I kind of felt like an outsider in my own ‘home’ anyway and holding Australian citizenship since I was born made me feel like an Aussie, even though I wasn’t technically living in Australia. I remember for a potluck on International Day in primary school, classmates would bring in for their awesome dishes from across the world, and me, not knowing how to cook (and my helper didn’t know how to cook anything Australian either!), decided to bring in Maltesers as my Australian heritage. So I’ve always been a pretty international person, starting from the school I went to.

When I migrated to Australia, I felt really out of place at first. I missed HK dreadfully and was super nostalgic and ‘homesick’ for the first few years. I thought I’d prefer living in Australia as I was getting sick of the noise and crowds in HK, but it was a huge cultural shock and I had to adapt. People say there are already enough changes happening in a teenager’s life already as is; you can imagine the added changes happening in my life at the time moving to a new country. We stayed in Adelaide for around 1.5 years or so; during then we changed houses twice (I went to North Adelaide Primary which was more international, then to Hallett Cove East Primary which was considerably more ‘white’). Being so different, I was obviously bullied by others (I always was bullied anyway in primary school, but being ‘FOB’ meant I stuck out like a sore throat more than anyone else.

Somehow, I managed to make it through those years intact. I’m not sure how, but I managed to adapt and be resilient. Learn the new ways of living in a new country, getting used to, and even starting to love Australia. But after Adelaide, we moved to Wagga, and I have to admit, I didn’t really like living in a country town. Going from a suburban Adelaide town with already very little international influence, to Wagga Wagga (where there were probably just a handful of Asian people living there at the time), kind of turned my life upside down. Suddenly, I was even ‘weirder’ than everyone else than ever, and being a typical teenager, wanted to conform. All my friends in the all-girls Catholic high school I went to were into tanning, beauty products, shaving… and slowly, I drifted to doing these things just so I wouldn’t be laughed at for having hairy legs. We’d purposely put our arms out in the sun (especially my inner arm because that was most white!) during recess. I read Dolly magazines and watched Lizzie McGuire.

Eventually, I got sick of trying to conform and ended up hanging out with a bunch of misfits (the all-girls’ school combined with the partner all-boys school to become co-ed), whom were the most kind and accepting people in the school. We were the ‘gothics’ at the time, even though I never adhered to their rituals of wearing black, getting piercings and tattoos etc; I felt most comfortable in this group.

Again, after around 1.5 years in Wagga, my family moved to greener pastures in Brisbane, and of course, all the farewells were sad, but surprisingly became easier with every move. We were initially living in a service apartment at Toowong, and we could see Wesley Hospital from the window. I remember the road trip from Wagga to Brisbane, transporting quite a few of our goods to the new city. A new city with a vibrant outlook; I kind of fell in love with Brisbane the first time we saw it (when I moved there!). Suddenly we could eat Asian food again without having to ask our family friend Chinese restaurant owners to help us buy stock from Sydney (which we did in Wagga!). Brisbane River was beautiful and the night landscape was stunning from the apartment. I thought we’d be here for a long time, and indeed we were there the longest (stayed there for around 8 years) out of all the cities in Australia.

My parents found a nice house in Wellington Point, and we lived there for a while. I remember how quiet it was there; and how long of a walk it was from the train station! I loved the coast nearby though and exploring the nearby forests. We were looking at school options around the area; there was Redlands College, Ormiston College, Wellington Point High, and Wynnum State High. I’m not sure how it was decided exactly, but somehow I wanted a more ‘central’ location and went to Wynnum State High for a few months. Obviously, that was a really bad choice and I was surrounded by unmotivated classmates and rednecks. Don’t get me wrong, some of them were lovely people, but I couldn’t imagine myself studying well in that environment. I then transferred to Coorparoo Secondary College and for the first time, had quite a few ‘Asian’ friends in Australia. Still feeling like the academic rigour of the school was quite lacking, I mentioned I was interested in going to BSHS to my parents. But I was already in Year 9 at the time; it was far too late to get in via the academic or art merit. The only option was via catchment; and since my parents were so mobile anyway, they moved to West End to let me get in through that route. I really appreciated this sacrifice they made for me though. I liked living in West End; it was a Queenslander with a lovely wooden deck backyard and birds of paradise. It was so serene despite being so central. I remember often going to the Vietnamese bakery and grocery shop to snack on the buns and prawn crackers, and the continental Greek shop for their nuts, as I was walking home from school.

After half a year or so in West End, we moved to a quaint, creaky little Queenslander in Holland Park West. My most vivid memories of the house were the beautiful rose gardens in both the front and backyards. I loved cutting the roses out and having a fresh bouquet in my bedroom every day. We stayed there for a while, but eventually, my parents bout a Queenslander (again!) in Upper Mt Gravatt, where I’d stay for most of my time in Brissie. It probably wasn’t as unique as the other places I was in, but it was homely and was next to a football field so I enjoyed walking across the lawn as I traversed to Garden City every day for public transport. My mum’s dental surgery was at 2012 Logan Rd so I helped out at the surgery quite often as it was so convenient.

Of course, having the usual globe-trotter genes in me (no I’m just kidding, to be honest I don’t think it was the best thing moving so much!), I was worried about job prospects as a dietitian in Australia and applied randomly to hospitals in Singapore, thinking I probably wouldn’t be considered anyway. In typical Singapore fashion though, they were extremely efficient and I was offered a job almost straight away after my Skype interview before I even graduated. I grappled with the decision; I loved Australia and I didn’t want to leave home… but my mum broke the news that they were planning on moving to Malaysia soon, and told me to take the opportunity to go elsewhere otherwise I’d probably just stay in Australia and not learn about the world. Since I wasn’t even going to have family in Australia anymore (at least immediate family), plus how insane it would have been to reject a job offer in a terrible career landscape for dietitians in Australia; I agreed to move. I thought it would just be a 2-year stint (that was the length of the contract) anyway, and that I could always move back home to Australia when I wanted.

That 2 years has become 5, and probably a lot longer, living in Singapore. After the 2-year contract was over (and I was not happy working where I was), I knew I had to apply elsewhere to keep up a visa in Singapore. I was in a relationship with my ex-boyfriend since I arrived in Singapore, and did not want to leave him to go back to Australia. So I got a new job in another hospital and worked there for another 1.5 years. Things were getting quite rocky with the relationship then, but I decided to stay in Singapore anyway as I was getting more job opportunities here. I was actually contemplating moving to Australia with my ex-boyfriend under a partner visa at the time, but of course, since things were so rocky, it never went through. I was initially living in Outram Park with a Singaporean auntie (not related!) who did not allow cooking, visitors etc; basically, she was really draconian. I moved to a room in Bishan closer to my new workplace, but the main flatmates were so overbearingly mean that I moved out to my ex-boyfriend’s place in Hougang. They were in the process of moving house too, so I then moved to Sengkang with them (all in the northern district in SG); just for a few months or so. Eventually, I moved out of his family’s place as they didn’t like me cooking in the kitchen, and my ex and I co-habited for some time in another apartment at Outram Park. We would have ‘breaks’ in-between where we kind of broke up and he moved back to his place though.

Sometime during the rocky periods with my ex, I met my current boyfriend online… we chatted intermittently for a whole year, but never really met face to face. Early last year, I decided to have another ‘break’ with my ex. Perhaps unlike most Singaporean girls, I am a very idealistic, naive and tolerant person. I was willing to sacrifice so much for him and would do anything for him, even if there were obvious problems in his life and he was not taking appropriate actions to improve it. I learned though, that love alone is not enough to sustain a relationship. We loved and cared for each other very much (towards the end of the relationship anyway), but sometimes, you have to accept you’re not meant to be with someone who is bringing more pain than joy in your life, no matter how much you are both pining for it to work out.     

I have always been a very sentimental person who feels attached quite easily. Once I fall in love, I fall in deep… which is why it took so long to end it. So in 2016, I started dating guys I met online (which is how I met Travis). When Trav finally asked me out (one year ago), I fell head over heels for him.. I think if not for falling for Trav, I’m not even sure if I may have eventually wound up going back to my ex after the ‘break’. It’s not that I would ’settle’ for someone; I need someone I feel a strong connection with, which I did with all the relationships I’ve had. It’s that despite the pain and hurt that he gave me, I might still end up with him just because we had a long history together of trying to make it work, and it hurt me so much to leave him. I met up with quite a few guys but I didn’t feel enough chemistry with any of them, so that’s why I got back together with my ex in mid-2016. It felt like a comfortable and safe place to be. I guess it took someone really amazing (my current boyfriend) to realise how I needed to really evaluate my life and direction, and kind of sweep me off my feet.

So anyway, since I had been with Trav, I moved house because I was getting so sick of the construction noise (happening in wee hours of the night for the darn new MRT station!) and decided to move to Coronation Arcade, at Botanic Gardens (near the MRT anyway), since it was close to Trav’s house and my workplace too. The new room was next to a Korean couple, who was using the bathroom right adjacent to my bedroom, at 1-2am and 7am every day. I didn’t want to be wearing earplugs the whole night just to sleep, and the kitchen was always a mess from Indian students downstairs that I didn’t ever feel like cooking. So I just moved to Lutheran Road, just 2 streets away from the old room. It’s still not perfect (the maids wake up at 6am to start mopping the floor -_- which obviously wakes me up), but at least I have my own bathroom, have a timeframe of between midnight to 6am where I don’t need to wear earplugs before I’m awoken, and the kitchen is cleaner.

I don’t really know what the purpose of the passage was; I guess it was a bit of self-indulgent nostalgia to write up all those memories otherwise I might forget this in the decades to come… and it kind of came from the feeling of the dilemma about where my home is. Eventually, I know I’ll probably settle down somewhere (exactly where I’m not sure). But I read somewhere that home is not necessarily a place, but a collection of people you love and moments you treasure, and it could be several places. This way of looking at it makes me feel a bit better about my nomadic life which I sometimes feel self-pity about. There’s nothing to feel bad about, even if most people believe it was not an easy life. It wasn’t, but it has been an enriching journey that has helped me become a resilient, resourceful, independent, tolerant, open-minded and adaptable individual. I realise that all of it happened for a reason to make me who I am today and meet all the people who are precious in my life now.

February

February went by very quickly, I must say

Impromptu trip to HK – 9 Feb to 14 Feb 

I made a very spontaneous decision to go to Hong Kong on Friday 9 Feb. My phone that morning got a flurry of text messages in the family forum that granny was critically ill. To make matters worse, an aunt had recently been diagnosed with cancer. It sounded so serious so over the course of that day, I made the decision to fly back. Like, literally, the same day at midnight. Luckily, my manager was super understanding and let me take 3 days off, right away.

So I bought and paid for my ticket at 3 pm. Then after work I had pre-booked blood donation appointment at Red Cross. Asked the nurse if it was risky given I was flying out of the country in less than 6 hours? They recommended better not to risk it in case there were complications.

After that appointment, I went to BSHS to adjudicate two rounds of debates. BSHS versus Churchie. Met a Queens counsel (senior barrister, “QC”) who has been a QC for 16 years who used to be the President of the Bar Association, and who talked about being at Canberra with Malcolm (Turnbull, of course) and George (Brandis, who else?).  For those who don’t know who those two are, Malcolm is the current Prime Minister, and George was our Attorney General. No biggie. So why was this QC there? Son is in year 9 debating. Right. No pressure that I will be judging the son’s debate.

Anyway, debating finished at 8:30 pm. Geoff drove me home to pack, then we went to dinner. At around 10:30, Geoff dropped me off at the International Airport. So that night at 12:45 pm, I flew back to HK, arriving in HK the next very morning.

On the day I arrived, I visited Granny and also my aunt.  Family was stressed. All of mum’s siblings had been there the day before, and I think, were mentally prepared that she might not make it. Granny has had dementia for 11 years, and on that day, had a deadly combo of heart failure and pneumonia. My uncle who is based in UK spends 6 months in a year in HK just to help his other siblings with looking after Granny.

So over the next 5 days of my stay, I went to see Granny twice a day (only permitted to visit that ward twice a day). Her heart rate gradually became more normal, and the rounds of antibiotics meant that her lungs were looking much better. Still, feeding her was a 2 hour job as her consciousness was in and out, which meant that any food that she didn’t swallow had the potential to choke her.

I also got to see my aunt, she was very positive and prepared for the challenge ahead. Also managed to catch up with two primary school friends.

Anyway, long story short… Granny pulled through and apparently is discharged and can now walk, great fight for a 91 year old! Aunt has also undergone surgery, and the surgery was very successful so chemo/radiation is not needed.

Phew.

The decision to fly back was a courageous one. And lol, I was the only grand kid based overseas that made that impromptu decision. When my aunt (mum’s sis) saw me, her first reaction was “Are you unemployed or something? How come you managed to take leave so easily?!”. And indeed, I had anticipated this type of reaction when I was deliberating over whether to fly back on that Friday. In HK, most employers would not appreciate it…

Luckily my workplace is a family-oriented one, and taking leave was not a big deal. I figured, if this meant a final goodbye, I would only have one chance. The job? Well, I could always find another one, right?

SBS radio interview in Cantonese 

After the impromptu trip to HK. I got back midnight on 14 Feb. I went to work the very next day and started at 7:15 am. First thing I had to do was a SBS Radio interview on behalf of ASIC in Canto. I was approached just before I did the impromptu visit to HK; told them I’d be back on Thursday and if they could wait, I would do it first thing when I came back.

It was a cool experience. The executive producer asked if I would be interested in talk back radio? lol I saw my corporate affairs colleagues shake their heads. Of course, any type of media exposure would have to be pre-approved. Ordinarily any media direct contact would be with people 6-7 levels above my pay grade… the only reason why I got the opportunity was because I had the language skills. So my task was basically translating and the delivery of that script in Cantonese. Haha, was told it was another tick in the diversity report of the organisation.

For those who are interested, here is the link.

February babies get together

It was great to see everyone. Pretty awesome how everyone has managed to stay in touch!

House/ dinner parties 

I have noticed more and more of us are getting into home ownership! Congratulations to everyone who’s getting in the property ladder!

I wonder if people would be interested in having more get togethers in each other’s home? It’s a great way to hang out. Usually everyone brings a plate or beverages they would like to drink, consistent with the egalitarian Australian culture. One privilege that we enjoy in this country, is having relatively spacious dwellings; and its quite cosy to hang out at a home. Not that being at a restaurant/café is not cosy, just that if you’ve finished your food and no longer are ordering, it feels bad to occupy a table if you still wanted to chat.

Having said that, I know some people are just too busy and think that getting their houses ready for guests is a tedious chore. I guess, for me, it is motivation to keep the house clean, and to keep an extensive chocolate and tea collection. 😀