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Well folks, I’m finally back from my nearly 2-week vacation in Taipei, Taiwan. It was kind of an interesting trip. It started off with my mom getting severe jet lag almost immediately upon landing at Taoyuan International Airport. Then upon checking in to our hotel, my mom got a nasty cold (which she suspected was the result of sitting on a 12-hour flight full of recycled air & intense air conditioning). She tried to muddle through the rest of the trip, but it was obvious that she was just completely drained of all energy & enthusiasm during the first full week.

By the time the second week came around, my mom was pretty much burnt out from the Taipei city environment & ready to go home. On top of that, my aunt was also ready to head home. She spent most of her days holed up in her hotel room, due to her tired & sore feet. My aunt had originally planned to visit Taiwan, not to take a stroll down memory lane, but to get a cosmetic spa treatment; then she chickened out at the last minute. After that, she was pretty much over her trip & wanted to head back home.

Jian & I had a pretty fun time during our stay in Taiwan, but by the end of the second week, we were also feeling a little burnt out as well & definitely looking forward to heading back to the comforts of our own home & bed (& definitely ready to get out of the constant rain). Of course we didn’t relish having to burst our cozy little vacation bubble, but it was time to face reality & the real world again. We definitely stuffed ourselves silly with good food & some delicious cocktails, & squeezed in a good amount of shopping. We also got a well-balanced taste of Taiwanese culture, historical landmarks, & city living. Here are some of the highlights of things I learned from my trip to Taipei.

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01. The taxi drivers in Taipei are the worst. I’m sorry, but they are just horrible, plain & simple. The taxi drivers are equally rude & mean…& I mean it. (No pun intended.) Here are two prime examples of how badly the taxi drivers suck:

  •  A.) On the day it was raining the hardest, my mom & aunt wanted to go back to our hotel to rest up before dinner with my uncle. My mom was feeling tired from her jet lag, & my aunt was feeling burnt out from department store shopping. They had planned to take a taxi from the giant department store we were at, but when they told the taxi driver their destination, he flat out refused to take them as customers. He angrily told them to get out of his car all while proceeding to scold them about how he did not want to drive all the way to the neighborhood where our hotel was located (which was actually not very far from the deparment store we were shopping at).
  • B) There was one day when Jian & I had planned to take my mom out for a nice Taiwanese breakfast (& let my aunt sleep in). Jian went online & found a small breakfast shop near our hotel to take my mom for breakfast. We originally planned on using Uber, but we decided not to wait for an Uber driver, & tried a cab instead. Here’s where the story takes a nasty turn. First off, the cab driver got upset when Jian didn’t immediately tell him where we wanted to go (no exaggeration). When we told the cab driver the name of the café we wanted to go to, the cab driver claimed he had never heard of such place, & it didn’t exist. Jian continued talking to the cab driver & gave him a specific address. The cab driver then said that that address (specifically the street name) did not exist. Jian tried to describe the location by giving the name of a nearby hotel (or some sort of landmark), but the cab driver continued his “that doesn’t exist” rant saying that neighborhood had nothing. So basically, that cab driver gave us a bullshit story so he wouldn’t have to take us to a neighborhood he didn’t want to drive to. At that point, my mom was extremely annoyed, plus it was raining fairly hard…so she gave him an equally snotty attitude, & told him to take us to a place he would recommend. He then brought us to a nearby shop that was about to close for the day, not bothering to mention that they only operate super early in the mornings & close early (we got there at 10am). When we told the cab driver the place was closed, he ignored us & made us exit the taxi anyway. Jian & my mom were so pissed at that point we took Uber instead to the original café we wanted to go to. The Uber driver was so much more helpful & friendlier. He knew exactly the café we wanted to go to, & even talked about how popular it was.

These two experiences turned us off from ever taking taxi cabs again in Taiwan. From that point on, we exclusively used either the metro or Uber as public transportation.

02. The MRT in Taipei is so easy to use, & such a convenient way to travel around the city. Just like the subway system in Tokyo, the metro in Taipei is efficient, on-time, clean & relatively cheap. Plus, it’s a great way to get around town without having to walk in the rain. Jian & I practically used the MRT the most while we were in Taipei. For certain destinations that were a little too far from a standard metro station, or if it was late at night, or we were too tired, we would then use Uber.

03. Speaking of Uber, this is also a great way to get around town. The Uber drivers are very friendly & easy to talk to. The cars are relatively clean (some cars we rode in smelled like tobbacco &/or beetlenut pulp), & they’re also efficient. Using Uber in Taiwan is the same process as it is in the U.S.. The only thing I would suggest is to make sure you put a travel notice on the credit card associated with your Uber account, so your payments will go through without any problems. Quite a few locals had warned Jian & I about taking taxis, more specifically about how taxi drivers will sometimes scam you by purposely taking a longer route just to get a higher fare. As for our experiences with Uber in Taipei, we were fortunate to have not experienced any scammers (knock on wood).

04. Disclaimer: Looks can be deceiving. The architecture in Taipei, from the outside, looks very outdated & stuck in a 1990s time warp. On the inside, the decor looks quite modern. There are quite a few modern & contemporary structures dotting the Taipei skyline, but for the most part, the city feels a little dingy & past its prime. There’s not a lot of old historical architecture either. Even though Taipei shows a lot of its Japanese influence, it is definitely not as modern looking as Tokyo.

05. Continuing my architectural theme, Jian had made a very keen observation about the buildings in the city. He mentioned that he had noticed that many of the buildings in the city were either giant shopping malls/department stores with huge food courts, or they were hotels. The other third of the buildings in the city were convenient stores or restaurants. During our 2-week stay in Taipei, we were getting pretty sick & tired of seeing the same old boring department stores or touristy hotel chains everywhere.

06. One must-try food when you visit Taiwan is the quintessential shaved ice (& new Korean trend snow ice), especially with fresh fruit. Taiwan’s national fruit is the mango, so the traditional shaved ice with fresh mango (& a scoop of ice cream) is the most recommended dessert. My favorite shaved ice toppings are red adzuki beans & condensed milk. It’s what I’ve known & have eaten since I was a young girl. These shaved ice treats are great to cool you down when it’s hot outside. They’re also just as good to eat when it’s been raining throughout your entire stay on the island.

07. A new trend I saw popping up all over the city was churros. Yes, you heard me. I said churrrrros! Those cinnamon-sugar coated fried sticks of delicious dough. But, wait. These aren’t just any churros. They’re churros formed into the round shape of a doughnut. Two of the most popular shops in Taipei are Street ChurrosChurro’K. These hot & crispy treats come with a variety of ooey-gooey, sweet dipping sauces & toppings. Now that I’m writing about it, I kind of wish I had tried these churro rounds when I was in Taipei, but I was trying to balance out my diet & not eat too many sweets (which I tend to do when I’m on vacation). Plus, all the food we were eating at every meal made me too stuffed to even want to eat dessert.

08. Oooooh! I have quite a few things to say about the emerging craft cocktail scene in Taipei. When Jian & I first visited Taipei four years ago for our friends’ wedding, there weren’t that many places to go chill out & have drinks (like old fashionedsgin tonics). Now, there are more & more cocktail bars & lounges opening up all over the city serving up innovative concoctions as well as the “classics”. The two of us had the best time discovering a few awesome (& some rather unique) cocktail bars. I’ve listed some highlights below.

  • The very first cocktail bar Jian & I visited was called Dig Out. It’s a very small 10-person space, located a few minutes drive outside of the Mitsukoshi shopping square/complex/park. The bar’s atmosphere is very cozy with leather furniture, comfortably cushioned bar stools, with a very rustic, vintage, & wood decor. The bartender we spoke to could speak a little bit of English (& we can speak a decent amount of Mandarin), so we were able to chat with each other & really have a fun time. The bartender was very skilled at twisting classic cocktails into creative new drinks. The most memorable thing for me about Dig Out was that they used little, novelty, dessert spoon sized metal shovels as stir sticks, for a fun & cute nod to their name.
  • One other highly memorable bars we visited was called R and D Cocktail Lab. Started by a French man, you’ll find tons of ex-pats & foreigners frequenting this bar. This place is located on a quiet street, but is pretty roomy in terms of capacity. You’ll definitely find your standard fare of classic cocktails as well as house-made cocktails (on tap), & other delicious libations concocted by the very-skilled & highly knowledged bar staff. The proprietor of RnD, “Frenchie” (as he so nicknamed himself), is very warm & friendly, & he likes to mingle with the guests almost as much as he loves to create delicious, refreshing, yet strong cocktails. Jian & I met a really cool guy named Ben on our second visit to RnD. We exchanged pleasantries (he’s from Chicago, & we’re from San Francisco). He talked about his business trip & first time visiting Taipei, & we ended up giving him our travel guide book. We hope he actually used it, & maybe one day he will pass the travel book on to someone else he meets on another business trip.
  • I never thought I’d end up drinking very boozy cocktails with my retired mother & her sister (imagine Grace & Frankie from the Netflix TV show) while on vacation. My mom & aunt can sometimes be a little “frisky with the whisky”, & other times they are very conservative & will only have a small nip of a glass. On this trip, I was surprised that my mom & aunt happily & eagerly joined us for a drink or two. We thoroughly enjoyed Backyard Jr., a whisky-centric cocktail bar. With over 2,000 varietals of whiskies, bourbons, & ryes, we had a great time sipping our Hot Toddys, Old Fashioneds, High Balls. Of course Jian had the most fun chatting it up with all the bartenders. He always has a way to charm the bartenders & is able to talk with them for hours on end about cocktails, spirits, & the cocktail drinking experience. My mom, my aunt, & I enjoyed the plush decor & soft jazz music, & we all truly enjoyed the food!
  • One drinking experience we had in Taipei that both intrigued us & baffled us at the same time, was when Jian & I visited Wa Shu. I’d call it an experimental cocktail bar. This minimalist bar was started by a Japanese ex-pat, who also happens to be a very strict taskmaster when it comes to keeping his bar staff in line. We heard him on several occassion openly scold his staff for various tasks he felt were not done to his exact standards. Here’s where things get a little confusing for us. This bar doesn’t have a standard drink menu. Instead they have a menu with a list of flavors, fruits, & taste profiles for you to choose from. You tell the bartender what types of flavors, fruits, &/or taste profiles you prefer, & they will create a drink for you. (You can’t just order a plain ol’ martini or whiskey sour.) Also, this bar does not carry standard spirits. All of the spirits they use to make cocktails are infused with some sort of experimental recipe, or some unique herb or barrel wood. It was hard for us to grasp the concept of telling the bartender what flavors we liked because most of the flavors we like, within the spirit-forward cocktails we often drink, were not listed on their menu. It was also hard to describe our taste profile because this bar only makes light & fruity/herbal drinks, but they don’t really understand how to make spirit-forward drinks. Let me just sum this up by saying cocktails in Asia are by far much “lighter” than the “stronger” cocktails over here in the States, & we sometimes struggle with grasping that concept.

09. Amidst all of the tall skyscrapers, shopping malls, & very 1990s designed apartment complexes, there were lots & lots of greenery dotted all over the city. It was surely a welcome sight in contrast to all of the chaos that surrouned us daily. Everywhere you turn, there’s always construction happening somewhere. So, it’s nice when you can find a small park here & there, or when you are able to walk down tree-lined streets. If only the greenery could help lessen the pollution in the city, but there are just too many motor bikes & motor scooters clogging up the streets with their nasty exhaust. On some days when it wasn’t raining, we were able to enjoy taking a stroll in the park, or in the small garden next to a museum.

10. Lastly, I will end this list with food. Oh man, I didn’t even notice this until the last couple of days of our vacation, but Jian had pointed out that all we’ve been eating throughout our entire trip were starch-filled foods. All the vegetables at the places ate at were so bland & over-cooked that we ended up not really eating much of it. Besides, since they were over-cooked, the veggies pretty much lost all of their nutritional value anyway. Most of the dishes we ate consisted of some sort of green onion (a.k.a. scallion) pancake (always made fresh), a rice bowl meal set, soup dumplings, a bowl of noodles, or some sort of steamed bun filled with meaty delights. It was practically rice on top of noodles on top of bread. Towards the end of our trip, Jian & I started drinking more pressed/blended juices just to get the fiber from the fruits, & we tried eating whatever veggies we could (bland or not). We wanted to re-balance our bodies again before flying home as two human-sized dumplings. I think I had the hardest time eating in Taipei. Whatever I saw, I wanted it all. I could not decide which of my childhood favorites I wanted to eat first. On the flip side, I thought my mom & my aunt were going to go buck wild eating all of their childhood favorites (since they actually grew up in Taipei), but they ended up being the most finnicky about food out of our entire group & didn’t really go wild with the food. Jian tried to keep up with my eating habit, but he ended up feeling very bloated & unsettled towards the end of our trip. By the end, we were definitely ready to go back home & eat a classic hamburger.

Well, this is the end of my first Taiwan blog post. If you want to see photos from my trip, you know, to get a better grasp of the time I spent there, the food I ate, the places I visited…please check out my Instagram feed (@mel__senpai). My Instagram feed is my most active social media account, & the best place to follow me & to contact me. Until next time, 干杯!

Today’s song of the day:

“Let Me Show You” by Kero One ft. Azure

let me show you kero one

my unorganized mind

September has come & gone, & I’ve been pretty busy. Between scheduling visits to see my doctor about the health & maintenance of my lady parts, & family events, & anniversaries (of sorts), it’s been a pretty hectic time for me. I’ve been inwardly thinking a lot latey, & there have been a few key things that have been circling around in my scattered brain.

First things first, this past month officially marked the 5-year anniversary of my father’s death. I rarely discuss this topic to anyone, ever. Ocassionally I’ll talk to Jian, but I mostly keep this topic to myself. This is an extremely sensitive subject within my immediate family, & I have an even more extremely difficult time trying to talk about this topic with any of my family members. I really have to walk on eggshells around my family if I even mention my dad in passing. I wish I was exaggerating on this, but unfortunately I’m not.

This is an especially difficult subject to talk about around my mom because this will just re-open an old can of doubt she carries around with her in her expensive hand bag at all times. It’s hard to pull her out of her cycle of self-doubt once she gets on the Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda train. I also never talk about this subject with my siblings. We just don’t express our feelings to each other. That’s not what we were taught growing up, to communicate & express our feelings between each other.

I’ve tried talking about my dad to my oldest brother, in which we share this biological father together, but he flat out doesn’t respond whenever I mention “dad”. My other two siblings, on the other hand, are too busy squabbling amongst themselves over their extremely strained & estranged relationship with their own biological father. All of them, due to our glaringly large age gaps, I assume, treat me from childhood up until today like I am just the little baby sister of the group. To them, I’m the spoiled, sheltered, coddled baby of the family. So, I’ve learned to stay quiet & shrink into the background.

On the day of the anniversary of my dad’s death, I thought about him long & hard. However, I mostly thought about how I never got to properly grieve over his death. I never got to mourn his passing. From the time my dad was taken to the hospital up until his death, I did what I always do best. I nurtured & cared for others. More than myself, I took care of everyone else. So, while all of our friends & family poured in to see my dad, hold his hand, shed a tear, say goodbye, I was busy making phone calls & comforting those who were agonizing & weeping over the phone. I wanted to break down & cry my eyes out until they hurt, but I held it all in. I wanted to scream & shout & stomp my feet & pound my fists, but I didn’t want to freak my mom out any more than she already was. Because I didn’t want to see my (at that time) fragile mother completely lose it, I held my composure so that I could be her realiable shoulder to lean on. When everyone around me was crying, I kept a stiff upper lip. I’ve now built this hard shell around the topic of my father. I keep everything to myself. I only let my emotions & feelings slip out when I am completely & utterly alone. No one ever asked me how I felt when my dad was dying. Nobody asks me, even now, how I’m coping (or feeling). I’ve grown accustomed to it.


On another topic, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I will never see eye-to-eye with my sister. We never did when we were growing up together, we don’t now, & I don’t think we ever will in the future. For a brief period of time, I thought my sister & were growing closer as siblings once she started having children. My sister relied on me to help her with the little things like running to the grocery store, or babysitting the toddler kids for a few hours.

Then, when my sister went through the process of her divorce, she grew to become a very difficult person to get close to. She became increasingly controlling in all aspects of her life to the point of overbearingness. It also became difficult to have a conversation with her, even on neutral subjects, for she would get argumentative very quickly.

I always give my sister the benefit of the doubt; I cut her plenty of slack; I give her countless breaks because I know she is struggling & doing her best to be a good hard-working single parent. My sister is struggling to raise her two amazing children, all while juggling a difficult job environment, an overbearing cuss of a boss, & a resistant ex-husband who allegedgly refuses to properly co-parent their children together. While I try to make my sister’s life a little easier by offering to help her in any way I can, she ends up taking advantage of my assistance, & she often tells me that my help is actually not helping her at all. I know my sister has past unresolved issues, extreme insecurities, & a lot of resentment due to her parents divorce (a.k.a. our mom & her biological father) when she was a child, but because she hasn’t dealt with these issues, she unwittingly takes out her resentments on the people around her.

I know she doesn’t mean to project her insecurities & issues on others (myself included), but I can’t help but think to myself sometimes that I should be taken out of her “line of fire” because all of this divorce stuff happened way before I was even born. Why should she take out her resentments & issues out on me, when I wasn’t even born? On top of that, I have no connection to her father whatsoever. I’ve barely met him a handful of times throughout my entire life, & we’ve never spoken more than 1 or 2 sentences to each other at best. I don’t hold anything against my sister. I know these are her own demons to slay, but I can’t help but think that she’s not making things any better by snapping at other innocent people.


The third item I want to talk about is coming from a completely different direction. I want to talk about the dreams I’ve been having lately. I wish I could remember the dreams I’ve been having lately. They’ve been extremely vivid & detailed. For the past several days, I’ve fallen into a terrible sleeping pattern. I’ll try to go to bed at a more reasonable hour than I have been in the past. I really am trying to change my sleeping habits. However, for the past several days I’ve been waking up feeling extremely groggy, exhausted, & like my mind has been on overdrive all night long.

Some mornings I’ll even wake up with a sore back, noticing that I was in such a deep sleep the night before that I didn’t even move or change positions while I was sleeping. My body was frozen into one position all night. I will wake up feeling like I’d only taken a nap & had not really had a full night’s sleep. I can sometimes recall bits & pieces of my dreams in the morning, but mostly all I can remember is that in my dreams there were a lot of action scenes & lots of talking. There was one morning when I woke up & I could remember that I had intense thoughts in my dream, like I knew what my dream-state character was thinking in the dream. I could remember whether I was running or walking in my dream. I could vaguely remember talking to other people in my dream. I remember one scene perfectly, where I was trying to climb a set of stairs in the backyard of my house, & the stairs were crumbling beneath me. I could practically feel the soft wood when I tried to grab the gate door with my hands. That’s how intense & vivd my dreams were.

My dreams lately have been so action-packed, as in I move around a lot in my dreams, & I’m often moving from place to place in my dreams. I also do a lot of thinking & talking in my dreams. There was one day where I woke up from a particularly intense dream. Well, I mostly woke up because my bladder was screaming at me to go relieve myself in the bathroom. However, after that, I fell back to sleep & had yet another vivid dream. That caused me to feel very disoriented when I finally woke up for the day. These past couple of days of dreaming have really messed up my sleeping patterns, & has kind of done a number on my body. Last week, my sleeping pattern was so out of whack that I ended up getting sick. I caught a fever & the chills, but luckily those symptoms only lasted 24 hours. I was back on my feet again by the time the weekend came around. Now, I can assure you that my sleeping patterns have returned to normal. I stopped having such vivid & detailed dreams, & I’m now waking up feeling more refreshed than groggy.


On one final note, I’m excited to tell you all that in two weeks from now, I’ll be in Taipei, Taiwain!! Yes, I’m going on another trip again, but I can promise you that this trip is not for my personal pleasure. This time I’m escorting & chaperoning my mother & her sister, who haven’t been back to the city where they grew up for more than 35 years. I can understand that these two (senior) sisters are reluctant to travel by themselves, so when my mom causally invited Jian & myself to travel with them, we eagerly said yes. Jian loves Taiwain, & I love to travel with my mom & aunt. Also, I like to take care of my mom, & I want to chaperone her so that she will feel safe & comfortable knowing she has someone with her who can help her & keep her company (besides the company of her loving sister).

My mom is feeling both excited & anxious going back to the city where she grew up after too many years of being away. She’s had countless invitations by her friends & many opportunities to go back to Taipei, but she always declined & found an excuse not to go. This time she put her foot down & decided to go back, or else she might miss her opportunity when she gets older & is no longer able to take long flights. I am so excited to be there with my mom as she relives a little bit of her childhood memories. I feel kind of disappointed that my other siblings (the ones that share the same biological mother with me) don’t do these kinds of things for my mom or with my mom. I understand a little that they each have their own obligations in their lives (like difficult work schedules & raising children), in which they can’t just pack a bag & fly off to wherever, but a part of me feels like they’re missing out on important milestones & memorable experiences with our mother that could bring them closer together.

I am so grateful, appreciative, happy, lucky & fortunate to have opportunities like this, especially ones where I can just drop everything, pack my bags & go without a care in the world. I make sure that I take care of my own personal obligations & tasks first, so that I can enjoy these special moments with my family & friends. I can’t wait to showcase my trip to Taipei. I am not going to promise a travel blog this time. I’m really bad at sticking to those, but I’m going to at least try to upload photos whenever I can. Until then, 干杯 (dry cup), everyone!

Today’s song of the day:

“If You’re Hearing This” by Hook N Sling ft. Parson James & Betty Who

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see or watch

As Jian has been logging in more & more hours on the boob tube, I’ve been winding down, watching less. I don’t know…blegh. I’ve been becoming increasingly uninspired by the television programming lineup over the past few years. There really haven’t been many shows that have caught my interest. Also, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to do more productive things other than just sit on my lazy cuss & watch mindless hours of TV.

I know it’s very easy just to turn on the television & have it running in the background as comforting background noise while you’re off doing things like washing dishes, folding laundry, or writing term papers for school. I am very guilty of doing this, especially while I’m in my kitchen. My parents, especially my dad, insisted on putting a small TV in our family kitchen when I was younger, mostly so that he wouldn’t have to miss a minute of any baseball game during our precious family bonding time, but also so that we could watch the early evening news & popular family game shows (like JeopardyWheel of Fortune) as a family while we all sat at the kitchen table for supper.

That TV in our family kitchen has become embedded into our family life so much so that, as a family unit, we bascially cannot live without it. Every family member who enters our kitchen gets sucked in by the boob tube. At least one person or another will turn on the TV, & it will not be turned off until everybody heads off to bed at night. It’s a pretty sad fact, especially when it seems like this TV has become some sort of social crutch that we unconsciously rely on.

I don’t know how Jian does it, multi-task while he’s watching TV. He can watch videos on YouTube while having the TV running in the background. Both electronic devices have their volumes turned up pretty high (well, high for my standards). Sometimes when we’re all gathered in the kitchen after supper, my mom will be watching some sort of weird Chinese video on her smartphone, & the TV will be on, & Jian will just be sitting in his designated seat watching some random meme video on his phone as well, & all the competing noises don’t even bother him one tiny bit. For me, it’s extremely distracting. I can’t have the TV on while I’m watching something on YouTube or 9Gag.

Man, when I was a teenager I watched everything that was hot in pop culutre during those days. I watched every single show on MTVVH1 (remember Pop-Up Video anyone?). I watched all of the after school cartoons (like Animaniacs, Gummi Bears, Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers, & every Asian girl’s mandatory viewing material: Sailor Moon). I used to watch the block of Friday night shows like Boy Meets World, Family Matters, & Step by Step. Then, as I got older, I really got into watching Japanese variety shows & drama shows. I also loved to watch re-runs of old British TV shows on the PBS channel (like Keeping Up Appearances, Are You Being Served?, & Sherlock Holmes). From there, my tastes evolved into watching mind-numbing reality shows like The Vapid Houswives Seeking Attention They Don’t Get From Their Lame Husbands, watching cartoons like Family GuyAmerican Dad, & watching more home improvement shows like House Hunters. Oh…I also loved watching the globaly popular hit TV show Top Gear (but I quickly left the fandom after Jeremy Clarkson was unceremoneously kicked off the show).

Now, there aren’t very many shows that I actively follow & watch full seasons of, with maybe the exception of Outlander (on the STARZ network). That’s one show I really enjoy watching, not only for the storylines, content & costumes/set props/filming locations, but also because there is one very specific actor that I am a huge fan of, & I like to follow his/her acting career. Other than Outlander, I used to watch a lot of The Big Bang Theory, but I forget to follow the show each week, & then when I try to watch the previous episodes using my cable provider’s On Demand service, they make me jump through a cuss load of hoops to watch. Or else I have to buy the old seasons, which I don’t want to. So, I just watch episode clips posted on YouTube by the show, just so I can keep up with the storyline.

There’s not a lot of current shows that I follow these days. I watch a few episodes of popular shows here & there (i.e. Game of Thrones) just to be able to keep up with the “watercooler” banter with my friends, but I don’t religiously follow many shows on TV. I’ve been trying lately to genuinely follow the newly popular cartoon Rick & Morty, but I’m getting more & more turned off by all of the annoying whining/complaining by the Sanchez-Smith family that is the center of the show. I’m rapidly losing interest in this show.

I think this is a good thing, watching less TV. I am, however, watching more On Demand movies & watching more movies/shows on Netflix (but that’s mostly just because I don’t want to waste my paid membership). No, I don’t sit around all day on my flabby cuss, watching movies on a loop. I’ll usually watch a movie while I’m doing some sort of stationary chore (i.e. washing dishes, or folding laundry). I’ll pick a movie to have on in the background, then once the movie is over, I’ll turn off the TV & go about my day as usual. Sometimes, I’ll have a movie on while I’m updating my blog, but that’s a rare ocassion, as the movie will end up distracting me from writing. You all probably know by now that I’ll always have a movie playing while I’m taking a bath. However, I actively try to not watch any movies or videos before I go to bed. I hope that I can continue this trend of watching less TV. I want to be more productive, rather than sit on my cuss for 4-6 hours a day, channel surfing. I don’t want to rely on the television to keep me company. I’d much rather be doing what I’m doing now, writing. And this is where I end my post because I need sleep. Cheers, mates.

Today’s song of the day:

“Go Flex” by Post Malone

go flex post malone.jpg

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The other day, while I was sitting at the coffee shop & severely procrastinating on writing a new blog post, I was sorting out the thoughts flowing through my mind & making mental notes about myself. I started with going over all of the different quirks & habits in my life that make me stand out. the more I think about these habits/routines/quirks, the more I get a better understanding about how I’ve reached the place in my life where I am now. Stepping back a few paces & really taking a hard look at myself has been a bit of an eye-opening experience.

There are many things that I do, things that seem kind of like rituals, they’re second-nature to me by now. Most of the time I don’t even realize that I’m doing these things, & I don’t consider them strange or unusual. However, an outside person looking into my life would think I’m a bit obsessive compulsive, or rigid/strict, or just plain weird. At first, Jian thought I was being overly dramatic or overly fussy about things, but now I notice him picking up on the things that I do that I don’t really pay much attention to…like wiping down the toilet seat after multiple guests have used our bathroom. I really wish I could say that I’m just a clean freak, but I think I’m slowly becoming a germaphobe. I can say for certain though, that I’ve got weird quirks.

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This is probably my most notable quirk. I’ve mentioned this a couple of times in this blog. There are certain foods that I have to eat a certain way. For example, when I’m eating Asian food with white rice, I don’t like other foods touching my bowl of rice unless it’s meant to be eaten over rice like curry. Also, when I’m eating a snack box, I will eat each compartment separately unless it’s like a Lunchable type of box where all the items are supposed to be assembled to make one snack. The best example I can give is when I go to my local big box coffee shop & get the cheese & fruit protein box. I will eat all the items in a very specific order every single time. First, I eat the fruit. Next, I separate the dried fruit from the nuts & eat them separately (first dried fruit, then nuts). Then, I eat the cheese. Finally, I eat the crackers. I never deviate from this order. Ever.

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In the mornings, I will always make my bed. It doesn’t matter how late I will be, I will make my bed, come hell or high water. This habit has been drilled & etched into my brain from the time I was a small child all the way into my adulthood. It used to be because my bedroom was in an active hallway that guests had to pass through in order to get to the bathroom. My parents used to host a ton of dinner parties for friends & guests, & my mom always wanted my room to look clean & presentable so that when someone walked past my bedroom on their way to the bathroom, it would look nice. As a kid, if I didn’t make the bed up to my mom’s standards (my mom once worked as a housekeeper, so she has high standards), she would make me re-do the bed all over again. Then, when I became a teenager, I would just make my bed anyway, so that I could get my parents off my back & not have to nag me to make my bed. It just became so commonplace & repetitive that eventually it became engrained in my personal habits. Now, I personally will feel sloppy & like my room’s a mess if the bed is not made. I can’t just smooth the comforter over the bed. I have to nicely fold & tuck the sheets in & fluff up the pillows & the whole shebang. I also have to make my bed first thing once I get out of bed. I can’t wait until the end of my morning routine, or wait until I get home in the evening. I have to make my bed, even if it means I will be running late.

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The same goes for my bedtime pajamas. I absolutely must fold them in the morning when I put on my clothes for the day. I can’t just throw my pajamas in a pile on my bed. I have to fold them, & place them in the same spot on my bed each & every morning. Now, I’m not so exacting that I have to fold my pajamas perfectly, but I do have to at least fold them & not wad them up into a ball & throw them on a chair. On top of the pajama organizing in the morning. I also have a self-imposed rule that I should not & I do not wear my pajamas outside of the bedroom area. That means I don’t lounge around the house in my pajamas, not even on holidays, vacations, or relaxing weekends. My dad always taught me that when you get up in the morning, you have to make yourself look tidy & presentable. Wearing pajamas like they’re everyday wear only makes you look like a slob. That’s one word I try extremely hard to kick out of my vocabulary: SLOB. I never want to come off as a slob or a sloppy person. So, I don’t wear pajamas outside of the bedroom. I will be fully dressed in my everyday clothes.

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I’ve got more mundane tales from the bedroom. I’ve got a handkerchief (a few of them actually) that was purposefully given to me by my beloved dad. He hated seeing me sniffling my wet nose all the time, & he detested even more seeing crumpled up wet tissues wadded up in my pockets. So he taught me how to use & appreciate the handkerchief. A lot of kids in my generation either think this type of accessory is either outdated & old fashioned…like something they’d see their grandpas use, or way too hipster fashion. I find handkerchiefs to be extremely functional & cool. I always keep the handkerchief my dad gave me under my pillow. Yes, I sleep with this handkerchief under my pillow every single night. This handkerchief never ever leaves my bedroom (except for when I wash it, obviously). If you already follow my blog, then you’d know that I named this handkerchief Tom Hanks-erchief. I keep a second handkerchief in my purse, & I named that one Colin Hanks-erchief (yes, I named them after the actor Tom Hanks & his actor son Colin Hanks). This handkerchief under my pillow has, in a way,  become my “security blanket”. I feel comforted knowing a piece of my dad’s memory is close to me while I’m sleeping. However, I don’t need to bring a handkerchief with me while I’m traveling. For one thing, I don’t like my handkerchiefs touching foreign objects or foreign beds. Another thing is I don’t want to accidentally leave my handkerchief in the hotel bed & lose it.

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Keeping with the bedroom theme, I can’t fall asleep if the closet door isn’t all the way closed. Sometimes I try to justify my craziness by telling myself that I like everything to be orderly & neat, but really this habit stems from my childhood fears of scary things hiding in my closet & all that jazz. I have a built-in closet in my bedroom, & there is an open space between the top shelf & the ceiling which is covered by the top lip of the door frame. When I was a teenager, I used to scare myself by tricking my mind into thinking there were bugs crawling around up there. One time, I did try to get something from the top shelf, & I thought I felt something move. Ever since then, I never used the top shelf to store any of my things until Jian helped me re-design my closet & put in a new Container Store shelf system. Let me just say that I get scared very easily, even from the littlest things (like over-produced Hollywood movies). These days I know for a fact there is nothing creepy hiding in my closet, but I still like the feeling of my closet doors being 100% closed. They can’t be ajar or have a gap. I feel a sense of completeness & organization when I know the closet doors are fully closed.

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I have a similar situation with my bedroom door. In the beginning, when I was a teenager, I would keep my door closed for privacy. My parents never let me close my bedroom door when I was a youngster, so I felt a huge sense of maturity & freedom once my parents started letting me close my bedroom door. As a teen, I thought I’d be able to hide stuff from my parents if I had my door closed, but I never had anything I wanted to hide or keep secret. My teenage years were fun for sure, but they were also kind of “vanilla”. It wasn’t until I was older when I would close my bedroom door for a sense security. I thought if an intruder tried to attack me, I’d be able to hear them coming through my squeaky door, & that would buy me a few precious seconds to climb out my bedroom window to possibly escape. Now-a-days, I continue to keep my bedroom door closed for security purposes. I feel like a closed door in some way keeps out baddies & evil spirits. I will not be able to sleep if my bedroom door is even slightly ajar. It must be all the way closed.

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I don’t know if this considered part of the “bedroom” category, but it sort of applies to every category. Ever since I started wearing lip balm (a.k.a. chapstick), I must keep a stick of this addictive stuff everywhere. Let me preface this topic by saying I’m a mouth-breather. Due to my childhood health issues, I’ve had major problems breathing normally through my nose & mouth. I’ve since had cosmetic surgery to correct this issue, but I still breathe mostly through my mouth. Sometimes I find it difficult to breathe through my nose. Therefore, I use lots & lots & lots of lip balm to keep my lips hydrated, otherwise they’d be a dry, chapped mess. I use so much lip balm throughout the day that I’ve got to keep a stick in pretty much every place I can think of. I keep one stick on my bedroom nightstand, so I can apply this before I go to sleep. I keep another stick in my purse for obvious reasons. I also keep one in my car for emergencies. I keep another stick in my work desk drawer, & another one in the kitchen…because my lips get super dry after I eat. I know this is nuts. I don’t have to hide several sticks of lip balm all over my house, but let me tell you, I use sooo much of this stuff that it makes sense to me to have so much of it lying around. Yeah, I know I’m another “consumer sheep” keeping the billion dollar beauty industry in business, but I’m OK with that as long as they keep the Carmex lip balms at $1.99USD. LOL!

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This quirk is kind of gross, but I’m going to mention it anyway. This would probably sound better if I told you I was over 65 years old. I mean, it would sound more reasonable if I was a senior citizen with a bladder problem, but I’m neither a senior nor do I have a bladder problem. This is just something that’s developed over time. I used to be able to hold my urine for ungodly amounts of time when I was a teenager & didn’t care about urinary tract infections, or bladder infections, or general health issues whatsoever. Now, I feel like I’m in the bathroom more often than not, especially at night, even more so right before I go to bed. Like the description says above, I’ve got to pee before I go to sleep or else I can’t fall asleep at all. No matter how much I try to will myself to not think about urinating, telling myself my bladder is empty & I don’t need to pee, I just can’t fall asleep. I have to pee at least once before I go to sleep. I guess it’s all in my head, but my body just won’t let me rest.

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This next topic has a connection with my previous bathroom topic. I am constantly, & I mean CONSTANTLY sweeping, vacuuming, picking up loose hairs off the floor. I’ve noticed three places around my house where there’s the most amount of shed hairs on the floor & that’s the kitchen, my bedroom, & my bathroom. No matter how many times per day that I thoroughly brush my hair, I am constantly shedding hair. I even take one of those hair, skin & nails supplements to strengthen my hair & to prevent excessive shedding, but I don’t notice any difference in my hair. I still shed a ton of hair, & no my hair is not thinning…thank cuss. I probably spend at least an hour, cumulatively, per day cleaning up all the shed/loose hairs off the floors in my house. I can’t stand dirty floors, & even worse, I can’t stand seeing hairs everywhere. My bathroom is the hardest hit area of shed hair. I’m constantly taking my cordless Dyson vacuum & cleaning the floor in my bathroom. Not only is it gross to have loose hairs all over the floor, but what would guests think if they saw an unkempt bathroom? Yuck!

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Finally, let me take this loose hair dilemma one step further. I also dislike seeing loose hairs sticking out of my hair brush. I don’t spend ungodly amounts of time per day cleaning my hair brush, but I at least pluck out the loose hairs that stick out to the sides after I brush my hair or use my hair brush to style my hair. I don’t necessarily go so far as to obsessively clean my hair brush, but I at least want it to look neat & tidy. The same goes for my round styling barrel brush as well. I get grossed out if I see loose hairs sticking out of my brushes, & will pluck them until all the loose hairs are gone. It’s just another one of my organizational quirks. I can’t help myself. That’s also probably the main reason why I don’t like to use other people’s hair brushes/tools, & I don’t like to share mine with others. I feel very uncomfortable when I see Jian grabbing my hair brush to brush his hair, even when he has just washed his hair. Knowing that his hairs are tangled in my brush creeps me out. See below for an example of what I’m talking about.

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Well, there you have it. Those are my main habits/quirks/routines/patterns in a nutshell. I know I’m a weirdo, clean freak, obssessive compulsive germaphobe, or something to that effect, but I’m learning to deal with these things every day. I used to jump up & down, rant & rave, & have a mini freak-out over some of these things. However, the more I openly recognize these quirks, the more I’m able to find ways to handle them differently. I try not to let myself fully freak out over these little things, & I think I’m getting a better handle on myself. I embrace these weird aspects of myself, & work on not letting these aspects take over my life. That’s the best I can do. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“Audi.” by Smokepurpp

audi smokepurpp


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

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