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I never knew I’d fall in love like this. I never knew how closed-minded I was until now. I used to be so set in my ways & opinions. I always stood my ground on my opinion that Tokyo was my most favorite city in the whole world & no other place could come close in comparison. Man, I really proved myself wrong on so many levels during this past trip to London. London completely blew my mind away & has quickly become my new favorite city in the whole world. I know that’s quite a bold statement to make, but I cannot stress enough how much & how strongly I’ve fallen in love with this incredible city!

First things first, I would like to address one small elephant in this blog post. Jian doesn’t do tourist traps or stuffy museums, but he wholeheartedly went for it on this trip. I guess it helped that all of our friends, who at one point in their lives lived in London, strongly encouraged us to take advantage of the free admission at museums & soak up all the rich British history. Another interesting thing I wanted to note, Jian was the one who was most looking forward to eating & exploring all the food options in London, but came back feeling a little disappointed with his food experiences. I, on the other hand, was not expecting too much culinary-wise. I was excited to try a few traditionally British foods like fish & chips & meat pie, but otherwise I was mostly hoping I wouldn’t get sick on this trip since sometimes I can get a sensitive stomach (e.g. my first trip to New York). However, I was the one who ended up having the most fun eating my way around London. I mostly loved all of the food we ate, while Jian had a few critiques here & there.

I wish I had taken a few more food photos, but I’m not one of those exasperating “foodies” (I detest that term) who takes a hundred trendy food selfies at restaurants & food trucks. I can’t stand it when people, especially from my generation, spend more time artfully arranging the food & taking photos than actually enjoying eating the mother cussing food. I will say there was one incident when Jian & I were eating supper at a seafood restaurant, & a group of middle-aged women from Hong Kong were not only behaving obnoxiously but also being downright inconsiderate to the other diners at the nice restaurant by walking around their table taking flash photography (with a creepy plastic toy doll) & talking loudly. Jian was about to turn around & tell these ladies in Cantonese to stop taking photos, but by that time we were nearly done with our dinner & he didn’t want to start a fight with feisty middle-aged Cantonese women who won’t back down from confrontation. Other diners had asked the waiter if he could politely ask the ladies to turn off the flash on their smartphone cameras. These ladies were extremely inconsiderate, & im glad we left before they could annoy us even more.

I truly enjoyed our food experiences in London, even though Jian was disappointed at times. We really got to try a variety of foods which kind of surprised me because I was expecting that we’d eat more pub food, but there were so many culinary choices just around our hotel alone that we had no problems choosing a place to eat. There’s still a lot of food I would love to go back & try, but I think what we had was a goog first time exploration of food.

  • We ate Japanese ramen twice at 2 different places. First at Bone Daddies Ramen Bar, then at Shoryu. Bone Daddies was one of the meals that really let us down. We were not happy with the ramen at all. The broth was bland & the noodles were mediocre. The only part of the ramen I liked was the grilled corn I added to my ramen. Shoryu on the other hand was a hands-down winner. Our friends were seriously pushing us to eat there, so we caved in & took their recommendation & was not disappointed. The ramen chef at Shoryu came directly from Japan to open up his first International restaurant, & it was a success. I have to say though, the hitting of a taiko drum every time someone walked in to the restaurant was a little cheesy. Other than that, the ramen was pretty good.

Hakata-style ramen from Shoryu

  • Sticking to the topic of noodles, we also ate Vietnamese Phở for lunch one day. There is a hip-looking Vietnamese restaurant one block down the street from our hotel, & we passed by it several times before actually eating there. There was one day when Jian was seriously hungover from overly drinking the night before. I was feeling the effects of the alcohol as well, but was by no means hungover. (I don’t know how I managed to avoid a hangover while Jian had a nasty hangover.) All we wanted was a nice, hot plate of comfort food to ease Jian’s hangover symptoms, so we opted for a bowl of Phở. Jian was disappointed with his Bún bò Huế, saying it was too salty, but I thoroughly enjoyed my regular Phở. I’m not really a fan of the Northern Vietnamese thick noodles, but it was a good cure for all the crazy antics we got up to the night before.
  • We also ate traditional pub fare at a place where I forgot the name, but apparently it was located in an historical building that was built from the 1800s. Jian got what he wished for & had the quintessential bangers & mash, while I had a steaming hot chicken pot pie. We washed that down with 2 pints of beer & rested our tired feet after walking all day. The food was hearty & gave us our second wind back so we could head out for a night of bar crawling.
  • We ate fish & chips at a pub (Princess of Wales, I think that’s what the place was called) on one of our first full days in London, right after I recovered from my short allergy spell the day before. We shared a small platter of fish & chips along with a pint of pale ale for him & a pint of cider for me (because I love apples). I love how the cod batter was crispy but didn’t taste greasy. I was nervous before the trip that I’d end up eating too much greasy fried food on this trip, but I was lucky enough to adjust my eating habits.
  • One of our favorite meals was at a restaurant called Blacklock. I would probably call this place a modern chop house, definitely a carnivore’s paradise. We ate so many different types of “chops” at Blacklock, we ended up eating there twice on our trip. Also, the cocktails were only 5£, so there’s that too. The chops were perfectly cooked, & they come in different sizes, so you can eat a variety of meats without stuffing yourself silly. They had small 3oz portions they called “skinny chops” that most diners ordered a platter of them to share, so Jian & I did just that. We had a varietyof beef, lamb, & pork cuts plus a side of beef drippings chips (a.k.a. French fries cooked in beef gristle). The beef drippings chips were by far the best French fries I’ve ever eaten in my life, & I can say that with complete confidence.

 

super yummy menu from Blacklock

  • Who knew that we’d end up eating Scandinavian open-faced sandwiches in London? Well, we also didn’t expect to visit London during one of the country’s most important holidays: Easter. On Easter Sunday, most shops & restaurants were obviously closed, except for a few Sunday Roast places which requires advanced reservations. However, we found one Scandinavian deli, called Scandinavian Kitchen, that was open for lunch, & we wanted to eat something light so we’d have some energy for the day but also an appetite for dinner & supper. The open-faced sandwiches were amazing. I could not believe how much caviar they put on their smoked salmon sandwich!! I mean, they put a heaping dollop of delicious caviar! In America, caviar is extremely expensive. It’s also considered a high society, upper-crust delicacy, not meant for the lower-crust masses. So, when I saw how much caviar this deli used on their extremely inexpensive open-faced sandwiches, I was blown away. Although this was a casual, on-a-whim lunch, this was one of our most memorable meals…props to the caviar!
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example of Scandinavian Kitchen’s open-faced sandwiches courtesy of Yelp.com

  • On our very first day, touching the soils of London, we ate at a restaurant called Mac & Wild. It was very basic British fare, but it was so well made, it was Jian’s most memorable & most favorite meal of our entire trip. We shared a cup of beef broth, which Jian vividly recalls came in an actual mug, & it was a broth made from beef bones & slow cooked for 48 hours. I ordered a grilled polenta dish & Jian ordered a lamb dish,  up it was the cup of beef broth that really made the meal special. I was having really bad allergies that day with a runny, sniffling, stuffed up nose & low energy, so a cup of soup was just the ticket to help me recover faster.

exterior of Mac & Wild

  • Remember when I mentioned those annoying ladies taking personal photos at the seafood restaurant? Well, how about I talk about that seafood restaurant instead? It was called Wright Brothers, & it was the best seafood we’ve had in a long time. I mean based on the value, it was well worth the stuffed bellies & food coma. We paid 59£ for a deluxe seafood platter which included: razor clams, snails w/ shell, mussels, clams, langoustines, shrimp w/ head, oysters, & a whole crab. According to London Yelp standards, this place is supposed to be expensive, like $$$$ (4 dollar signs) expensive, but look. Jian & I are from San Francisco, California where the price of everything is eye-popping expensive, so these prices did not seem that crazy to us. We had a great time feasting on this culinary explosion from the sea. Then, we were just insane enough to order a side of pomme frites (a.k.a. a fancy French term for fries/chips), which we could barely eat because we were already stuffed to the gills. Oh God, I just realized I wrote a lame pun there.
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the deluxe platter (a.k.a. seafood explosion) at Wright Brothers

  • Oh I just have to mention my new favorite bake shop called Crosstown Doughnuts!! Once you have a doughnut (I don’t like to say “donut”) from Crosstown, you’ll NEVER go back to Krispy Kreme, or Dunkin, or Voodoo, or Blue Star, or Mr. Holmes ever again. I know that’s an awfully bold statement to make, but I will proclaim it proudly, here & now. I am a huge fan of doughnuts. I’ve been eating them ever since I was a little kid & my mom would bring home a box of a dozen doughnuts from Happy Doughnuts (a former chain shop in the Bay Area). After Krispy Kreme’s popularity skyrocketed, Happy Doughnuts closed a lot of their locations, & I never found a doughnut shop that I liked after that. It wasn’t until I took a trip to Portland, Oregon, when I found a renewed love for doughnuts. No, I did not go to the severely over-hyped Voodoo Doughnuts (just one look at their photos & I knew there’s too much sickly sweetness in their kitschy doughnuts). I went to Blue Star Doughnuts, & I was so surprised at how much I enjoyed eating doughnuts. I was never able to find a comparable doughnut in the California Bay Area since then. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse is pretty close I guess. They do have a good quality doughnut batter, but it wasn’t until I traveled halfway across the country, when this doughnut changed my life forever. So fresh, so delicious, & not overly sweet. I really wanted to eat Crosstown doughnuts everyday for breakfast, but Jian wouldn’t let me, so we only ended up eating there twice. I did, however, manage to stop by there on the day we were leaving & grab 2 more doughnuts to bring back home. Yes, folks. I was so in love with these doughnuts, & so determined, that I hand-carried these 2 doughnuts (one classic glazed & one chocolate truffle) on the plane & brought them home with me. I was so surprised that not only did these doughnuts maintain their shape, but also their freshness. I didn’t eat the doughnuts immediately. I put them in a food saver container & ate them 2 days later. It sounds gross the way I’m describing it, but let me tell you, they were still good days later.
  • Aside from eating whole meals, we also ate many delicious snacks along the way. One such snack that blew our minds came from a Jamón Iberico butcher/deli shop 2 blocks down the street from our hotel called Enrique Tomas Jamon Iberico Shop. Most places in the United States (like an artisanal butcher shop, Spanish restaurant, or even Costco) that offer this fatty, salty, delicious cured ham treat sell a few slivers for nearly an arm & a leg. This specific cured ham charcuterie is muy caro! For example, my brother took my mom to a Spanish restaurant in San Diego for her birthday. He ordered the Jamón Iberico,  & SIX slices cost him $300 USD!! My mom nearly fainted at the price. Costco, the giant American megastore also sells this jamón in a slim, 5oz, shrink wrapped package for $26 USD. On our trip to London, we kept walking past this jamón deli everyday & promising ourselves that we would eat there at least one time before we go home. Jian & I are huge fans of charcuterie meats, especially Jamón Iberico & prosciutto, so it was only a matter of time before we ended up at this place,  which was packed from floor to ceiling with different types of jamón & different cuts lining the display window enticing our senses. One late night we were walking back to our hotel to retire for the evening. Lots of shops had already long since closed & many restaurants were also preparing to call it a night. We were walking by the jamón shop when the guys working there noticed us staring from across the street. They shouted at us to come inside & grab a few slices. I was all for it, but Jian stopped me saying that we shouldn’t bother them if they were closing for the night. The 2 guys said they didn’t mind staying open for us, so we ran across the street to grab a late night snack. We chose a cone of jamón bits, & to our shock, it only cost us 7£!!!! What in the world?! Did we slip into an alternate universe where everything was affordable priced?! We paid for our delicious ham, profusely thanked the gentlemen who were so kind to stay & chat with us for a bit before closing. We brought our special ham back to our hotel, plopped our tired derrières at the Lobby Bar counter & continued our late night with some phenomenal cocktails to pair with our cured treat. Not only because of the extremely affordable price, but also because of its sheer deliciousness, I will never forget this experience for as long as I live.

Photo courtesy of Yelp.com

  • Have I ever mentioned how much Jian & I love to drink coffee? We love this artisanal craft roast coffee movement that’s popular right now, but we will also patronize big box chain Starbucks, & if need be will grudgingly drink instant coffee. We wouldn’t call ourselves coffee snobs, even though we hail from San Francisco, one of the epicenters of the artisanal coffee roasting trend. However, we do appreciate a good quality coffee bean roast. Of course some of the best & most memorable/life changing coffee we’ve ever had was in Portland, Oregon. We probably had coffee at least twice a day when we visited Portland. We also bought several bags of beans to bring home. How could you not drink coffee in Portland when you’re right at the heart of the artisanal coffee trend, with the likes of Heart, Barista, Coava, Stumptown, Sterling, & many more of coffee roasting’ greatest hits. We’ve also had some pretty good coffee in Hong Kong at Omotesandō Koffee & The Coffee Academics. We’ve also tried coffee in Japan right at the start of their craft coffee movement at notable places such as: Streamer Coffee, Identity Coffeebar + Gallery, Little Nap Coffee Stand, Be A Good Neighbor. Who knew we’d extend our craft coffee tour in London with some awesome coffee from Soho Grind, TAP Coffee, Caravan Coffee, & shops like Flat White & Kaffeine. Oh man, every morning we looked forward to having breakfast with a hot cuppa joe. Jian’s caffeinated drink of choice is usually a macchiato, & I like to drink lattes, but we both fell in love with flat whites (not necessarily from the shop Flat White). Flat whites are my new favorite espresso drink. My favorite part about drinking coffee in London is that their coffee cup sizes are the exact same as in Asia, especially Japan….small. A regular cup size of take away coffee in London is still slightly smaller than a child/junior/short size in America. I love that because it’s so much more manageable than the average small cup size back home. For example, when I order coffee at Starbucks, I always choose the child size, which they call a short size. I still can never fully finish this cup, & by the time I reach the bottom, the coffee has already become soggy/watered-down & cold. The coffee sizes in London are small enough that you get just the right amount of a caffeine fix to power you through the morning & the spdrink stays hot until you reach the bottom of the cup.
  • One of the last meals we ate before we had to pack up our suitcases & head home was a nice little chain restaurant called Burger & Lobster. From what I’ve heard, this restaurant started in New York City, but they’ve opened a few locations scatered around central London. We ate at the Harvey Nichols department store in the exclusive Belgravia district/neighborhood. Jian ordered the traditional lobster roll, while I went for the more meatier whole lobster. Both of our lobster dishes came with a cup of refreshing mixed greens salad & a side of French fries. The lobster was delicious, & you probably don’t already know this but I am a huge fan of lobster. I mean, it’s my favorite type of seafood. However, I’d definitely say my favorite part of the dish was the super creamy clarified butter sauce that came with my lobster. The eatery gives you a hearty portion in a gravy boat perfect for dipping your lobster meat, or for slathering your entire plate in a fatty, buttery gravy. I thoroughly enjoyed eating my whole lobster. It’s my favorite way to enjoy lobster, but I dislike when the shell is too hard to crack. I was having a really difficult time cracking my lobster shell, mostly because the shell, especially the claw, was so thick. It was quite literally as hard as a rock. I was almost tempted to ask for a hammer/mallot, or just place the claw on the floor & smash it with my foot. But…I perservered & kept going. Eventually, after soaking my figertips in clarified butter, I was able to finish my entire lobster from head to tail. If I ever get a chance to go back to New York, I would really like to track down the original chain of Burger & Lobster, if they’re still around in the States.
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photo courtesy of Yelp.com

 

 

I will sum up our London food exploration by saying I had a great time eating my way through London. Jian, however, was quite dissatisfied & unenthused about the food. He felt some of the food we ate was a bit too salty or bland. Not very many dishes wowed him, except for the bone broth soup from Mac & Wild & possibly the seafood platter from Wright Brothers. Let me just say in Jian’s defense, that he’s not a picky eater, but he is hard to impress. I, on the other hand, am a picky eater, but I’m not hard to impress, usually. I went on this trip with the preconceived idea that I would not find very many things that I would like to eat. I was putting doubts in my own mind, making myself think that there would be a lot of weird or exotic food that maybe Jian would want to try, but I would not be interested in. That was not the case, at all. I pretty much loved all the things we ate (except for the Bone Daddies ramen). There are a few places, like Yauatcha, The Breakfast Club, The Duck & Rice, & Blanchette for example, that I’d like to go back & try.

Stay tuned for more of my London vacation blog! This food exploration was only the begining… Until then, cheers mates!

Today’s song of the day:

“Friendship (Is A Small Boat In The Storm) by Chicano Batman

friendship is a small boat in the storm.jpg


Woo-Hoo! The time is almost near. Tomorrow I’m going to a concert performed by my all-time favorite Ska band SAVE FERRIS. This while be the first time in nearly 20 years since I’ve last seen this band perform live. I’m so super excited, but I’m still feeling the lingering effects from my cold, so I’m kind of bummed that I won’t get to fully sing along with the band tomorrow night. However, I still plan on fully enjoying myself & dancing along to all my favorite songs, & groove to the new songs from their new album Checkered Past. 

The day after tomorrow, I’m heading off to Los Angeles to celebrate my niece’s 7th birthday. I’m bummed out that I didn’t get to do my usual “aunt thing” & go hog wild on a massive birthday present for my niece this year. Jian made me stick to a budget & only get my niece a small gift. I love spoiling my niece & nephew, especially splurging on birthday gifts, so it was especially hard for me to keep it simple this year. I’m really excited to be celebrating my niece’s birthday with her this year. Usually my niece & nephew only want to have a party with their friends, but this year we are having a family celebration as well.

Shortly after I come back from Los Angeles, I have to unpack & repack my suitcase, so I can jet off to jolly ol’ England. I still cannot believe I’m going to London! I’m excited & freaking out at the same time. I’ve always wanted to visit London & never thought I’d get the opportunity, but it’s all really happening! Being able to check something off of my bucket list has such a rewarding & fulfilling feeling. I know I am going to fully immerse myself in this experience. I’m going to take it all in & fully enjoy myself.

I also want to let you in on a secret. Lately I’ve been listening to more ASMR audio & watching more ASMR videos. Okay, that’s not the actual secret here. The secret part of this fun fact is that I’ve been particularly drawn to a very specific genre of ASMR audio/video. The genre I’m referring to is highly mature themed & risqué, & that means the theme is one you would put a parental control on if your kids were in the room. I don’t want to get into too much specifics about what I’m listening to; that is wading into an extremely personal area I am not comfortable sharing with you. I will say one mor thing about these ASMR audios/videos before I move on. After listening to these audio files, I feel so much more lighter & happier. My daily mood  has turned in a very positive direction. I’ve been smiling more, & I’m definitely more upbeat throughout the entire day. I can’t wait until the sources I follow will update new content for me to listen to. One of my biggest inspirations for going back to listening to these audio files is a person who means something special to me.

My inspiration.


Before I finish this post, I’d like to add one random thing. There was a slightly older gentleman who was sitting across from me at the communal table at the big box coffee shop. I took notice of him almost immediately after he sat down because I thought he looked attractive. Hey, before you get any silly ideas in your head, I was not stealing side glances at him the entire time (just partially), & I was not stalking him. I first took notice of the gentleman himself, then quickly observed (snooped at) what he was doing while drinking his coffee. He was writing very meticulously in his neat & tidy notebook while reading from a slim reference book & glancing at notes on his smartphone. The first thing I noticed was how impeccably neat & precise his penmanship was while he was writing in his notebook. That attracted me more than anything. Listen, if a guy has neat penmanship, that’s a win in my book, or should I say, that’s a turn on for me. The second thing I noticed was this gentleman was writing some sort of mathematical/scientific equations along with his notes. This guy was pretty incredible, which is what I gathered from my short notice of him before he packed up & left. Man, I can’t stop thinking about this gentleman’s clean handwriting & feel envious. I’ve made it well known that my handwriting looks like chicken scratch. No matter how much I practice my writing, I always feel like my handwriting is so sloppy & looks too masculine for a lady, but too childish to be considered masculine. It’s just blah penmanship. I kind of wished at that moment that I had nice handwriting like that gentleman. The only good thing I can say about my penmanship is that it’s legible. I’m not going to forget this gentleman anytime soon.

This is just for reference, to paint a picture of my scenario. I’m NOT a creep, I promise.


Ok, lastly, I must sign off with my usual send-off. Cheers, mate.

Today’s song of the day:

“Hot Thoughts” by Spoon

View of Big Ben_WP

I can’t believe my luck! After all these years of living on this great big planet, I’m finally able to check off one of my ultimate dream destinations on my bucket list. Yup, you’ve probably guessed correctly based on my blog header graphic.

I’M GOING TO LONDON!

I could not be happier that I finally get to visit London after dreaming about it for so many years. I mean, I’ve been dreaming about visiting this magical city ever since I was a little kid reading children’s books about Paddington Bear (while holding my very own stuffed Paddington toy…that I still keep in my storage bin in the closet). As I grew older, & music became a huge part of my life, I wanted to visit London to pop into one of the many local vinyl record shops, or pop into one of the many quaint cafés with live music. Then, I went through puberty, & all I wanted to do was visit London to flirt with the cute, tall boys with the attractive accents. Later on, that turned into wanting to visit London to try & spot my favorite celebrities (especially the male ones). After watching the movie Pirate Radio (a.k.a. The Boat That Rocked) starring Bill Nighy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris O’Dowd (of Bridesmaids fame), January Jones, & more… that just bolstered my efforts to visit London once & for all.

So Jian proclaimed one day earlier this year that he was itching to go on a vacation with me. Ever since Jian’s best friend got back from a lengthy family vacation to Japan, Jian had been feeling slightly envious. He’s been wanting to go back to Japan for a long time, but it saddens me to say that I’m a little over Japan at the moment. I just visited Japan briefly last year, & that also had made Jian a little disappointed that he hadn’t gone with our group. At this point in our vacation planning, I kept repeating to Jian that I wanted to visit a place we’ve both never been to. Jian kept going on & on about how he really wanted to visit some new city in Japan (someplace other than Tokyo or Yokohama). I pretty much wore him down, & convinced him that we should visit London. A lot of our family members had been telling us to visit Paris (which is another dream destination on my bucket list), but after repeatedly hearing the same stories about Paris & other parts of France from my mother, it kind of turned me off to visiting Paris for a while. Plus, I’ve been thinking that since this will be my very first visit to Europe, I thought I should start with something easy, easy as in some place where English is a common/main language, just to get my feet wet first. After I’ve learned the proper European etiquette & culture, then perhaps some day in the future I’ll visit more European countries. (*I’m still lumping England into the European continent based on its geography. I’m well aware that England itself is no longer a part of the European Union.)

Well, that’s pretty much it. All I can say now is that I’m feeling so grateful, appreciative, & blessed in my life. I absolutely NEVER want to take anything for granted, ever! I understand the privilidged life that I live, & I appreciate every moment (small & large) with every fiber of my being. I could not be more grateful for this exciting & powerful opportunity in my life. I am soaking up all of the gratitude in the universe & projecting it out into the world through my hard work, love, & appreciation. Life is beautiful. That is my send off. Until then, Cheers mate!

Today’s song of the day:

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by The Beatles


Let me start off by giving you a big recap of what’s been going on in my life. Things are finally starting to slow down enough that I can get back into my boring routine. I am a creature of habit, so I like being able to do my specific routines for each day of the week. Today, I’m back at my local big box coffee chain, sitting in my new regular spot, since my local store very recently remodeled & reconfigured their entire place. I feel at ease now that I’m back to my recurring habits. I can settle down again & continue my writing.


Let’s continue. After coming back from our weekend snow getaway in Lake Tahoe, Jian & I had to quickly wash our laundry & re-pack our suitcases for San Diego. My mom just turned 70 this year, which is a pretty big milestone for her, so she wanted to do something special with her immediate children & grandchildren. Originally, she had this grand & lavish idea to invite all of us to Hawaii, but she couldn’t justify the astronomical cost, & we were making last-minute plans which made Hawaii impossible. So, we decided on San Diego as an alternative destination. It was so much more affordable than Hawaii, & the little kids had an incredible time anyway.

Jian was able to score us a pair of rooms at the Marriott hotel again. This was the exact hotel we stayed at during last year’s Comic Con. Sadly, we wer not able to get Jack-and-Jill bedrooms, but at least we were able to stay on the same floor & were only separated by one room. My sister’s kids had so much fun running back & forth between our rooms, & we were located directly infront of the main elevators, so the kids had a huge corridor to run around in without disturbing other guests. We had a blast altogether. The weather was great, not hot, but not cold either.


It was unfortunate that it wasn’t hot enough to go swimming everyday, but my niece LOVES to swim, so she did so regardless of the windy weather. We took the kids to Sea World for the first time, & my mom nearly jumped out of her skin when looking at the admission prices. (Seniors & children don’t even get a discount!) On top of that, half of the exhibits & shows at the park were closed. I understand my sister’s desire to take her kids to Sea World at least once in their lives before it shuts down, but we were all disappointed. Well, we were sort of expecting it, ever since the scathing documentary Blackfish aired on TV, Sea World suffered immensely. At least we can all check this one thing off our bucket lists.

My mom overall had the best time celebrating her birthday in San Diego. She got to celebrate her birthday with all of her siblings before going to San Diego with a nice Chinese banquet, so nobody felt left out of the celebrations. She also got to spend quality time with her immediate children & her favorite grandchildren. She also got to spend more quality time with her sister, & they had so much fun gossiping, chatting, & laughing the entire time. It was great for all of us to each have someone in our age range to hang out with & talk to. The best part was that the little kids had the most fun out of all of us.


Oh, did I forget to mention that I got sick, yet again? Of course, I should add this to my list of routines & habits. Every time I am around my sister’s kids, I always end up contracting whatever illness they have at the time. I should also mention that my sister’s kids get sick very easily, & they are almost always sick or have a cold (even though my sister takes them to get regular vaccinations & doctor’s check-ups). These kids are always climbing on top of me or grabbing at me, wanting my undivided attention; they always want to be near me or play with me. I end up letting my guard down too much around them, then easily contract whatever virus or germs that are incubating in their little pod bodies. I got a severe cold on our way home from San Diego. Then, on top of that, just as I’m recovering from that, I had to get a mild fever because stupid me decided to fall asleep with the bedroom window open. At least my fever only lasted 24 hours, but it was still irritating.

I’m all rested, refreshed, & have a clean bill of health as of recently. Jian & I are planning yet another trip. The first quarter of the year hasn’t even passed, & we have already been on three or four trips. Ok, look, we are not purposely spending so much money & time going on all of these trips & vacations. A lot of our recent trips have been pre-planned family events, & we only took some brief time for ourselves to go play in the snow. Starting from the end of last year, we’ve already been planning a few major trips for this year before I really settle down & focus on becoming a mom in the future.

Our next trip will be to Asia (again). For awhile now, we’ve been talking about visiting Jian’s grandparents in southern China. Jian’s mom recently came back from visiting her parents, & she told us that their health has been steadily deteriorating from the last time we visited them 2+ years ago. So, we ultimately decided to make our own plans to visit them before it’s too late. Jian is very close to all of his grandparents, so this trip will be extremely important to him. Although this will be a serious trip, we will also be able to sneak in a little fun for ourselves. We found an affordable travel package deal that allows us to have a several day layover in Hong Kong before we visit Jian’s relatives in China. Jian has been desperately wanting to go with me to Hong Kong for years. I’ve been putting off visiting Hong Kong because for a long time it hasn’t held much interest for me. I’ve visited Hong Kong a few times when I was a child, but I never felt the urge to go back. I’ve always wanted to visit Europe, & we finally were getting around to planning our big trip to visit a European destination this year. However, this China is taking precedent over our Europeam vacation.

Jian & I were making plans to visit London. We had our desired hotel picked out, & we even settled on our travel dates, but all of that is taking a backseat to our mission to spend precious time with Jian’s grandparents, who are now confined to wheelchairs. I was initially disappointed to be putting our European vacation on hold (at least for the time being), however, I am very excited to spend time with Jian’s wonderful grandparents. I don’t have any grandparents of my own anymore, so spending time with Jian’s grandparents is a little bittersweet for me. I am also excited to be visiting Hong Kong after so many years. Jian can play the tour guide and show me around. Jian is not originally from Hong Kong. Out of all of our Cantonese friends, Jian & our friend Angela are the only two who are born directly from the motherland (Jian is from Canton, & Angela is from Macau). Everyone else in our group is actually from Hong Kong. However, Jian has a vast knowledge of Hong Kong, & has visited the area many, many times. It will be a relief to travel with someone who can speak Cantonese, even though many Hong Kong locals can speak English. This will be a new experience for us. Hopefully we will be able to also squeeze in our London trip this year. I guess we will see how this all plays out.

Now I’m going to end this blog post right here. I can finally stop writing & go back to reading my Whisky Magazine. Yup, I said WHISKY. In case you didn’t already know, I am a huge fan of whisky (& bourbon). Most of my favorite distilleries come from Japan & Scotland. However, I have discovered one special distillery from Taiwan that I really enjoy. There are just too many to enjoy. So this time, I really mean it when I say CHEERS!

Today’s song of the day:

“L.A. Girlz” by WEEZER

My sister (a newly single mother) recently visited our house with her two incredibly amazing children. I’m not saying they’re amazing just to be a doting aunt. These kids truly are incredible. Perhaps it’s because as the years go by, we grow closer and closer in relationship. I absolutely adore my sister’s kids, & they adore me as well.

One time my nephew pulled me aside & told me point blank to my face that he thinks of me as his second mom. True story, bro. However, I’d like to believe that I’m the cooler “mom” because I discipline the kids without yelling at them or scolding them the way my sister does. Granted, she is their actual mother…but the kids & I are tight too.

This past week rushed by in such a blur. My sister brought her kids to our house on their one-week school break. It felt like they were only here for a few short days. We, as a family, took the two kids to explore the downtown of the big City by the Bay. The kids made their first trip to Chinatown to buy traditional-ish costumes for their school performance. Then we took them to eat organic ice cream after a quick lunch. The next few days after that became such a blur I can hardly remember all the events that happened. We took the kids up to the mountains (which were eerily lacking snow). Actually we were in the mountains for two reasons: 1. The kids have never been up in the mountains before & have never truly experienced snow, & 2. My sister had to take care of a real estate project involving our former family vacation home. My sister’s kids were so excited to be up in the mountains & touching snow for the first time…although it was only a small barren patch of icy snow. We stayed at a very comfortable hotel overnight & the kids got to run around in the beautiful lake town full of lush nature.

We celebrated my mom’s (a.k.a. Grandma) birthday up in the mountains, took the kids to play around the creek, & had a fun overnight road trip. The kids were so captivated by the snow & the nature all around us. We had such a great, memorable time renting a mini-van & having lots of good laughs along the way. Alas, the kids were sad to go home. They made their Grandma a cute birthday card, but also drew a sad face on the back of it. When asked why, my nephew replied, “…because we are sad to go home. We want to stay here longer.” My niece, who usually has an I-don’t-really-care attitude even asked, “Why do we have to go home?” as we dropped them off at the airport.

I am so drained, physically, from this past week…I had to force myself to write this week’s blog post. There’s more stuff that happened that I want to write about, but my mind is stuttering right now, so I better sign off before I get more incoherent. Cheers.

Today’s song of the day:
“Mony, Mony” by Tommy James & The Shondells
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Pull this thread as I walk away...
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#WEEZER #Undone #TheSweaterSong #SweaterSong #ClassicSong #classic #Alternative #AltRock #AltNation #Shoreline #ShorelineAmpetheater #MountainView #CA #SiliconValley #VideoGames #Comics #Comedy #music #food #festival #coniVal #ID10T #ID10TFest #IDIOTFest #ChrisHardwick #Saturday @midnight @weezer Holla Jesu Christe, from Tennessee to L.A. 🎶
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#WEEZER #PorkAndBeans #pork #beans #Alternative #AltRock #AltNation #Shoreline #ShorelineAmpetheater #MountainView #CA #SiliconValley #VideoGames #Comics #Comedy #music #food #festival #conival #ID10T #ID10TFest #IDIOTFest #ChrisHardwick #Saturday #latergram @midnight @weezer Third time seeing WEEZER perform live, & still never get tired of it. 🎶 =W=
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#WEEZER #HashPipe #hash #pipe #OpeningSong  #Alternative #AltRock #AltNation #Shoreline #ShorelineAmpetheater #MountainView #CA #SiliconValley #VideoGames #Comics #Comedy #music #food #festival #conival #ID10T #ID10TFest #IDIOTFest #ChrisHardwick #Saturday #latergram @midnight @weezer More tales from the Nerd Fest... ❤️
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