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taipei cover

This will be my second time traveling to Taipei, Taiwan. The first time, I was attending the wedding of my good friends from Seattle, Washington. This time around, I’m escorting my mom & her sister, who after immigrating to America some 35 plus years ago, have never returned to their hometown. This is going to be the first time since leaving the hot, sticky, wet island that my mom & her younger sister will be setting foot back on Taiwanese soil.

Now, to provide a little back story to my family, neither my mom nor her sister were actually born in Taiwan. My mom was born in Shanghai, & my aunt was born in Beijing. However, they both grew up since they were toddlers, along with their 3 younger brothers & single (twice divorced) mother in the city of Taipei. Once my mom graduated from university, she & my aunt both immigrated to America to find better jobs (& eventually start their own families). Since moving to America, neither of them have ever gone back to the place where they spent most of their youth. This will be their first experience after 35+ years or so (give or take a few years), & I’m sort of excited to be escorting them to the place they once lived & held many vivid memories.

These are just a few of the highlights I’m hoping to experience on my second trip to Taipei.

highlights of taiwan trip list

  1. Of course I’m planning on taking many photos, most of which will be for the ‘Gram (a.k.a. straight to Instagram). I’ll try to post my photos on this blog if I can remember, but the best way to stay up-to-date & follow me on my Taiwan adventures is to follow me on Instagram.
  2. Growing up, I had a lot of different Chinese food influences. Since my mom primarily identifies as Shanghainese, I learned to eat a lot of traditional Shanghainese food. However, since she actually grew up & lived in Taiwan for most of her life, my mom had a lot of Taiwanese influences in her cooking, so at home we also were introduced to many Taiwanese dishes as well. (Side note: most of my Asian friends are Cantonese, so through them I’ve learned a lot about traditional Cantonese cuisine & Hong Kong style Cantonese food.) When I go back to Taiwan, I can’t wait to eat all of the delicious foods I had growing up, eating all of my childhood comfort foods like plump sausages on a stick (香腸) with fresh garlic of course, stewed lion’s head meatballs (獅子頭), red roasted braised beef noodle soup (紅燒牛肉麵), & lots more!
  3. The first time Jian & I visited Taiwan, we had researched all kinds of cool restaurants, cafés & bars to try out. We found lots of cool, hipster bars with nightly live music, but we never got a chance to try them. We were too busy helping our friends set up props & decorations for their wedding. This time around, we are definitely planning to take time out of our schedule to try a few hipster bars in Taipei. Jian & I are both amateur cocktail connoiseurs, so we love trying new bars, lounges, & hole-in-the-wall drinking places wherever we travel to.
  4. Ok, this one isn’t exactly a highlight per sè, but it’s going to take up a major portion of our trip. I know my mom doesn’t really need a chaperone in Taiwan. I mean, for cuss sake, she can read, write & speak Mandarin fluently. She doesn’t need me to help her there, but she doesn’t like to travel alone, & it reassures here when I’m there to help her with the little details, like showing her how to use the subway system, or showing her where she can exchange her currency. Since this is my mom’s first time going back to Taiwan, she’s feeling a little insecure knowing that things have drastically changed since her days of living there. Also, with me being the type of person who relishes taking care of others, I myself, am relieved & happy that I get to accompany my mom (& my aunt) & take care of her in any way I can.
  5. On almost all of my trips abroad, I don’t give myself much time to properly enjoy & take advantage of the amazing hotel amenities. It was only on my trip to London where I fully took advantage of the hotel hospitality & amenities, & I enjoyed myself thoroughly. This time around, I plan on using more of the hotel facilities & really take the time to relax & let go of my anxieties. I want to losen up & not be so tightly wound up like a rubber band waiting to snap all of the time.
  6. Oh man, this is going to be a tough one. Every day leading up to our trip, Jian & I have been obsessively checking the weather forecast for Taiwan. As of right now, the weather forecast says that it’s super duper hot right now with a minimum of 60% chance of rain. Every. Single. Day. I have no idea whatsoever on how we’re going to avoid the heat, the sticky dampness, & the rain showers. I suggested to Jian that we spend lots of time inside shopping malls, but he quickly shot down that idea with a big fat NO. He then suggested that we take the subway or taxi everywhere we go, but I don’t know if that’s going to help much with the getting-soaked-in-the-hot-rain situation. I guess this would be the perfect time for us to check out all the amenities our hotel has to offer.

Well, I’m officially leaving for Taiwan tomorrow. I still have a few lose ends to tie up, & a few more items to throw in to (or, in my case, carefully & meticulously pack in) my suitcase. I’m signing off to get back to my suitcase organizing duties… Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“Up All Night” by BECK


 


I’m finally at the airport after waiting for so long. The time has finally come, & I don’t think it has sunk in yet. I still can’t believe I’m actually going to London. It’s going to be a wild ride. Will catch up on the other side of the time zone. Until then, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

“A Certain Romance” by Arctic Monkeys


First, let me start off by recapping my SAVE FERRIS concert experience. The concert itself was great. I was kind of surprised that the band chose to play most of their older music instead of playing songs off of their newly released album “Checkered Past”. Being able to sing & dance my heart out to all of the SAVE FERRIS “oldies-but-goodies” really had me reminiscing about the good ol’ days when I first saw them in concert 20 years ago at my very first live music experience in my life. I was so pumped up to hear most of my all-time favorite songs from the band, & some songs I had forgotten that I once loved. I was also glad that I was able to open Jian’s ears & introduce him to a genre of music he’s not very familiar with, & I only hope that I’ve turned him on to this type of music so we can enjoy it together. Not very many people in my life, almost no one, knows about my past life as a Pubk-Rock groupie & “Rude Girl” (a.k.a. female Ska fanatic). Going to see one of my favorite bands after all these years really brought all the fond high school memories back. Standing at the front row of the stage, grooving along with the band. 


Oh, & did I mention that I made direct eye contact with the lead singer Monique Powell a few times throughout the concert? Yeah, it was super awesome that Monique fan-serviced my section of the audience a ton. I mean, she sang in front of my section of the stage for most of the night. It was so incredible, except for one glaringly odious thorn in the beautiful black & white checkered rose that was the SAVE FERRIS concert. IT WAS THE EXTREMELY OBNOXIOUS FANS (& there were many of them, mostly standing in my section of the stage as well). 

There were some fans who couldn’t stop trying to grab the band’s attention by screaming out immature comments in between songs. Others were trying to one-up each other in some sort of musical listing contest by flaunting their vintage SAVE FERRIS concert tees from way back when. There were some fans who were trying to look clever by leaving cans of Spam by the front of the stage as prop gifts for the band, meant to be a cute nod to the band’s popular song just-so-titled “SPAM”, & yes the song is all about that salty canned meat. Unfortunately two things happened after the cans of meat were left on the stage (unnoticed by the band): 1. the band didn’t even perform their song “SPAM” that night, & 2. two rude female fans saw the cans, which were meant to be gifts for the band, & openly pocketed the items for themselves without even asking. I got roughly knocked around by many fans, some who were being overly rowdy & moshing, & some who were trying to push their way to the very front of the stage. One woman was so incredibly rude with her pushing, grabbing at other’s clothes & flailing dancing that several other fans had asked her to leave. She had brought her teenage daughter who could only look on in embarrassment & had acted rather annoyingly herself.

I was so appalled by the behavior of my fellow SAVE FERRIS fans that night. It made me feel embarrassed to be lumped in with them. I get it. We’re at a concert where there’s booze & relaxed pot smoking rules. Concerts are a time & place for people to get amped up & let loose, but that doesn’t mean shoving others around, stepping on their feet, & spilling beer all over their shirtsleeves. The stage was small. It’s easy & tempting to throw your hands up, hoping the singer would give you a high-five or shake your hand, but that doesn’t give you the right to become handsy & grab-happy. Stop flailing your hands in front of the singer’s face. She’s not going o kiss your hand or grab you to come up on stage. Give her some space & some respect, man. Anyway, other than the embarrassing & obnoxious fans, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, & I think Jian did too. He had his sufficient quota of alcohol consumption & got to groove to some amazing music. It was sort of bittersweet to see that a lot of the original band members had left, & we were intoduced to some new members. I remember back in the day when my cousin got me a personally autographed message for my birthday from Bill Uechi the former bassist of SAVE FERRIS. I had the message framed, & it sat on my bedroom nightstand for many years before I retired it to my storage closet. The new band members of SAVE FERRIS are cool, but I still wish I had seen some more familiar faces besides the lead singer & lead guitarist.

Ok, on to some other less rant-y news. I’m almost ready for my trip to London. I just ordered my British Pounds today at the bank. I’ve got my traveler Oyster card loaded up & ready to be used, & I got my pre-paid SIM card for my smartphone. All I have left to do is pack my suitcase, which I’m kind of dreading because I never know what types of clothes I should pack. I want to look somewhat stylish, but I also want to dress appropriately for the weather. I know that the weather will be cool when I get there. It’ll practically be like San Francisco’s autumn weather, but I also have a feeling that a lot of shops & restaurants will have their heat cranked up high. I once packed tons of cold weather clothes for a November trip to Tokyo. The weather forecasts kept saying it would be super cold in Tokyo at that time, but I ended up not using any of my cold weather clothes at all when I was there. I was pretty bummed out, disappointed that I had packed the wrong clothes. I don’t want that to happen this time around. I don’t want to pack unnecessary clothes that I won’t use because I’m trying to pack light & efficiently, but I also don’t want to forget anything.

See, this is just me over thinking things as usual. I know that whatever I pack will be fine. I just can’t believe how fast time is flying by, & before I know it, it’ll be time for me to board that plane. I’m so super excited about this upcoming trip. I guess I can say that I am genuinely chuffed to bits! I can’t wait to share pics! Until then, cheers mate!

Today’s song of the day:

“Catching Fireflies” by The Revivalists



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

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Beards are awesome, and they tell no lies.
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#BarCrawl #cocktail #HappyHour #GinAndTonic #Tanqueray #gin #FeverTree #tonic #lemon #ClearIce #IceCube #WaShu #TPE #TW #DrinksOfInstagram #travel #adventure #vacation #thirsty #family @tanqueraygin @fevertree_uk Christmas themed Halloween decorations. WTF, Taipei?! 🎄🎃 👻
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#decorations #decor #theme #banner #Christmas #Xmas #Halloween #spooky #holiday #holidays #WTF #random #weird #fun #funny #WrongHoliday #LouisaCoffee #CoffeeShop #travel #vacation #adventure #family #TPE #TW #CityLink #IWantThis Capping the night off with delicious libations at one sweet spot. 🍹
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#RAndD #CocktailLab #cocktail #cocktails #HappyHour #GrapefruitThing #vieuxcarre #CraftCocktails #MadBeats #FavoriteMusic #music #KillerPlaylist #TheBlackKeys #TheTurtles #MamasAndThePapas #TPE #TW #travel #vacation #adventure #DrinksOfInstagram @rndtaipei Trying all of the Ichiran Ramen spots around the world. Japan🇯🇵? ✔️ Hong Kong 🇭🇰? ✔️ Taiwan 🇹🇼? ✔️
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