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Showing posts with label Expat Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Expat Life. Show all posts

12 December 2013

The lull

When it comes to shopping, I am happiest among books, shoes, and vintage stuff. This week I did books.

Exploring book covers is so much fun. The hours just fly.

Kinokuniya, Siam Paragon

A special place to browse and buy books: inside a ship. I loved it then; I'm enjoying the memory now.

Skywatch: Logos Hope

Weekend teas with books in places like this make the afternoons lovely.


Reflections:  around Agalico


Active culinary department: in most parts of the Philippines Christmas begins as soon as the months start ending in 'ber' so that's September for us. And then in December, right when Christmas parties in schools are over, it's non-stop cooking in kitchens at homes, at least in homes I know. Food, glorious food. But right now it's something simple.

I call this the lull

Clam chowder soup in a bread bowl from Au Bon Pain

I must have mentioned this in previous faves and joys posts that I would be home for Christmas this year. By Friday next week I will not be in Bangkok but in South Cotabato. Home sweet home. My heart just leaped to my throat saying that. Party every day! I'm not sure I'll be back in time to blog about it but I'll try.

Linking with -Friday's Fave Five / Picture Clusters / Share the Joy

04 December 2013

To the suburbs we go

An activity in the academic calendar was not translated to English for me to adjust the course outline in time. Someone's syllabus is going to be shaken up.... The thought of sitting for hours through untranslated details bothered me but then -

 Reflections: weekend dinner view

It turned out we would join the main campus (of Thonbury University) in celebrating ASEAN Day which means no stressing over multiple regressions, figure interpretations, stuff like that for a day. A much welcome break!

A trip that involves feeling like being in the country or at least signs that some countryside is close by is great in my books. Skyscrapers and crazy traffic disappearing as the bus speeds to the suburbs - ah! My excitement was like To Grandma's House We Go.

 Skywatch: homeward bound

Speeches, a quiz bowl, food fair and demos later, I found a spot to wait for students to get into the buses that would take us back to the city.

Water World: Electrical Engineering Department pond

This is opposite the pond. Though I'm not exactly the praying type, at least not like this, I was very pleased to observe students do this after all the cheering at the shows earlier.

Praying for traveling mercies

Here's a sinus-clearing seafood sour soup to conclude the week.

A touch of spice

03 December 2013

Ukulele festival

Organized by Ribbee Boutique Ukulele Paradise, the third Thailand Ukulele International Festival took place at Siam Paragon in October 2013. I just happened to be passing by. But the instrument reminds me of those afternoons under a Balimbing tree with a cousin who taught me to play a few chords. I wished the piano, which I hated at the time (lessons and practice sessions were stealing play hours), were as easy as you only needed to learn a few chords and you're accompanying someone singing several songs.


The artists in this festival played complicated tunes I never heard before. It was fun.


Do you play the ukulele or have one at home?

25 November 2013

THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!


Tacloban. It's where I spent two months of great adventure with college buddies at about the same age as the young adult artists in this video

 We Are The World for Philippines (Cover by Filipino Artsts)

This is the church where I served as piano accompanist for the 1990 summer student choir, and some of the services. According to reports it was filled with dead bodies when this shot was taken.

Photo Courtesy: AUP Network on FB

On Saturday, November 24th, Central World management (the former WTC Bangkok) lent space for a Haiyan fundraiser without charge. I'd like to commemorate the highlights:

 

One Voice: Help Haiyan Victims was a serendipity. Organizing events is something I had to pay money to study in grad school. But it was live learning right there that night and observing the process was free.

Skywatch: Mission Tacloban

The Bangkok Charity Orchestra  reflected tranquility in their music. Poor typhoon victims would benefit from melodies that are tender and soothing to the soul.

 Reflections: hope in a new day

Updates from friends about relief efforts on their side of the pond were heart-warming. Owner of Thailand's top plastic surgery hospital (friend's boss), without anyone asking him, set up a station where people can drop off things they want to give away. He then made arrangements for an airplane to transport the goods to Tacloban.

Joy is joining beautiful friends in supporting a cause

Helping helped us take a step forward in nurturing love for fellow human beings. It was terrific. I learned so much including empathy or at least a shadow of it. Thinking how hard it must be for victims to go without proper meals, I avoided restaurants and tried to keep mine simple


Seeing the world pitch in is beyond touching. Witnessing acts of generosity, cooperation, and kindness in many different ways has rendered me speechless and reduced me to tears (though very rarely do I cry).


THANK YOU WORLD FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS!

This post is shared with Mellow Yellows / Friday's Faves / Picture Clusters / Share the Joy / Water World / ABC Wednesday / Our World / Ruby Tuesday Too / Monday Blues / Monday's Music Moves Me

19 November 2013

Flowers rule

Wherever they are, flowers are flowers. Pretty - on a branch, a watering can, a vase or even on a cage;


lovely on a bike or on a girl's head. They're a joy to behold.

~ niece ~

08 November 2013

Sit on a story and rub shoulders with tea

Anyone who needs a blue-sky holiday, please raise your hand.

There goes mine.

Holidays spoil us, don't they? At least that's one thing they do with me. Wasn't it only weeks since that quick romp in the Lion City? And now I'm planning the next one -

 Skywatch: Far Far Away

- over tea. It started when an FB friend in Salzburg suggested, 'Sis, how about a literary tour in five years? Europe? Fatten up the piggy.' Automatically I said why not.

So I just gave myself a lot to keep boredom at bay. Stock investing and PhD were prominent as I alternately gaze out the garden and on its reflection on my sunglasses. They should be worth engaging in while the five years roll.

Weekend Reflections: garden on shade

'Our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty,' says James Norwood Pratt. I like the idea.

Meanwhile I can't believe my dean approved another leave - the third one this year, flight is confirmed which means >


I'll be home for Christmas!

My heart just leaped to my throat. This will be only my third time in sixteen years to be home for Christmas. It goes without saying a celebration should be in order.  And since I'm fond of dining out, this time I tried a

Korean buffet though I went to this restaurant mainly for the shiitake and salmon -

 Full!

So these were my highlights for the week. I'm thankful.

04 November 2013

Qrookshanqs joins a quorum of witches

Prologue: Thailand's Supreme Patriarch is dead.  The whole kingdom is in mourning mode. And that also means Khaosan Road, a usual party venue, is shut down. Parties go on though but behind closed doors and kept as private and quiet as possible. And that's how -

Qrookshanqs ignores Ermione and wanders into Medusa's cave...
 xxx
xxx

She comes as Grumpy Cat,

tries not to forget who she is.

Qrookshanqs is convinced that those are Nagini's ancestors on Medusa's head, and thinks what a waste of cauldron time taking photos is

A smiling one joins them and the quorum is complete. Soon they chant eye of newt, toe of frog... lizard's leg and howlet's wing. Qrookshanks, ever the grief sucker, grumbles how do witches "boil and bake" fillet of a fenney snake or wool of bat at the same time? Anyone?

No one huh? Alright, grumpy mood intensifying nicely...

Until the party is peaking and she starts smiling, ruining her stance. Now she's gone queer.

Qrookshanqs learns that it's difficult not to grin when surrounded with crazy, goofing friends

and reckons she may well abandon her grumpy look
 
xxx
xxx

Epilogue: Qrookshanqs transfigured into the Cheshire Cat before midnight. Thailand continues to wear black until further notice.

01 November 2013

Ladybugs and choirs

It's another day to count faves and highlights. Here are mine this week -

A ladybug visited me. What a cute surprise! It's the first time I saw one that was not on a leaf or flower but on my very pillow so I cherished the moment. It hopped on some books (I read in bed) before flying out the porch. As a kid I loved watching ladybugs in our little garden. They're some of my favorite creatures.


Ma leads her group (all widows except one) to win first place in a provincial level choir competition. I found out on Facebook, thanks to a friend. So that's why she seemed unable to talk long when I rang last week. They were practising. Sometimes I get a bit annoyed that I find out first from other people, but okay, I get it - it's her way of teasing and she's fun like that.
 

Grandparents' Day celebration in church. It felt nostalgic looking at photos and reading comments of their children who I went to church with. How time flies! Yesterday they were us. I am particularly thankful to Ma for taking care of CJ while I am overseas. How did she find the time for choirs and all that?

Last night's party was great, despite an improvised venue. The original huge street party was canceled as Thailand mourns the death of the Supreme Patriarch (head monk). I have never been that keen on Halloween parties but this year I thought I should experience one once and for all. I came as Grumpy Cat which I shouldn't have done because I can't stop grinning, but yes, it was fun :D

 Dr Sunee's spooky dessert

Brunch by Pizza Company: garden salad, cheese bread and sour cream, chicken sticks, and milk chocolate smoothie. I never eat pizza in Pizza Company, just like I never drink coffee in Starbucks, but these places are the answer when I'm hungry and lazy to cook.


Linking with Fave Five * Picture Clusters

29 October 2013

Pluviophile

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow advises, "the best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." I absolutely have no problem with that!

One childhood memory I remember to this day is that afternoon when playmates were out playing basket ball in the rain. Afraid I would get sick, my overprotective mother made me stay indoors. She allowed our dog and even the house help to play. I watched them by the window have the frolic of their lives through tears as torrential as the rain that was pouring, my heart broken.

As an adult an opportunity to stand in the rain presented itself to me in a national park. Seizing it with a vengeance, I found that rain was a natural hair conditioner. But more significantly, I didn't get sick. Did you hear that, Ma? In fact I felt the opposite.

I love chanting, "be still sad heart and cease repining, behind the clouds the sun is still shining. Thy fate is the common fate of all. Into each life some rain must fall. Some days must be dark and dreary."

Is something weird going on with me or what? Why, when the skies show signs of rain, I feel excited like a child who has just been given a dream toy. Rain switches me to a happy mood. The world is so right!

Through FB trending I learned there's a name for people like me. I am a -
 

"Ta-ta, it looks like rain..."

And rain it did

The neighbor's mango trees and blossoms survive a storm

One sniff of rain and I'm a chicken off to roost in her coop...err...5th floor apartment

Come on, rain. Bring it on!

This parking lot becomes a little lake when it pours non-stop for three hours. Perfect spot for floating paper boats.

Pitter-patter on and off? Ah... tea is served on the porch.

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