Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Decadent Sunday

Sunday was an extremely beautiful and lazy day. Plans to head down to the beach with a girlfriend for some colour and eye-candy were almost dashed when it started raining sometime at 1000hrs. Oh well, rain on a Sunday isn't all that bad. I could always go back to sleep :p And then, lo and behold, approximately 4 hours later, the tentative fingers of the sun came a-tapping on my closed eye-lids... SUN! My brain screamed... SUN! I jerk awake. YES! Rang up said girlfriend and we were on the beach by 1500hrs. It was obviously crammed with bodies but we still managed to bag a spot close enough to the water so as not to have to navigate our way around the dozens of sun worshippers, and yet not too far from the bar where all the cold beers were waiting, jammed on the sunglasses and slapped on the tanning oil (I can just see J. rolling his eyes right now... he's a big believer of sun block, and he has every right to be. I was just in desperate need of some bronze tones). It was pure bliss I tell you, watching dogs gambole on the beach and splash about in the water, while adorable little 2 year-olds ran around butt naked (to maximise the sun probably?). 3-1/2 hours and 4 Heinekens later, we figured we'd allowed the sun more than enough damage so decided to head home, casting one final glance at the heavenly bodies that we were gonna leave behind. Sigh... we have to do this again next week...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Michael Ballack is H-O-T!!

...6ft 2in, dark haired men with a 6 o'clock shadow are hot...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Where in the World...

Wanderlust has struck yet again!! This time, not in the form of wanting to travel, but to study abroad. I've tried in vain to source for a university in Spain that offers courses in English, but it turns out that that option is only available at international universities, and those don't offer the programme that i'm interested in. So my next best option? One of the scandinavian countries. They place alot of emphasis on the English language and teach quite a number of their courses in English, plus, education is free in certain countries! Fantastic! I honestly wouldn't mind living in Finland for 3 or 4 years, but what on earth am I gonna do with Finnish or Swedish once I graduate?? I mean apart from the fact that I would love to experience life in a non-english speaking country, I would like the language I pick up to at least be useful in a significant portion of the world :p Oh well... The University of Helsinki looks interesting...

*Damn, can't find an English version of the course I want... :( Sigh, I guess Australia it is..."

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I have 16 days before I have to move out of my apartment and exactly 2 weeks to get my necessary crap shipped over to Shanghai and the rest back to my parents... I'm no where near started... :p *PANIC!* I've gotten as far as pulling random stuff from cupboards and shelves and dumping them on the sofa, bed and floor of my bedroom. I now sleep in my sister's room. Don't get me wrong, I'm actually quite good at packing... as long as it involves clothes and they all go into a suitcase bound for a holiday. My mum is still impressed by how much I can squeeze into 1 suitcase, but compressing 6 years worth of things into several cardboard boxes is quite a different story!

Oh yes, I'm finally leaving! I thought the day will never arrive. After 9 months of uncertainty, I can't be more excited! I've been taken out of all my existing classes and put in as a support in the programmes that I've been out of touch with for the past 18 months, to retrain myself for when I start running them in Shanghai.

Anyway, this is the condition of my apartment right now...


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Closest thing to crazy...

While browsing through puppetporcelein's blog I came upon a line she'd quoted from a song by Katie Melua (she seems to be listening to alot of her lately...) that speaks alot to me. Sometimes you're left being crazy on your own with not even your closest buddies understanding you anymore than a stranger would...

"How can I think I'm standing strong?
Yet feel the air beneath my feet.
How can happiness feel so wrong?
How can misery feel so sweet?

How can you let me watch you sleep?
Then break my dreams the way you do.
How can I have got in so deep?
Why did i fall in love with you?

How can you treat me like a child?
Yet like a child I yearn for you.
How can anyone feel so wild?
How ca anyone feel so blue?

This is the closest thing to crazy
I have ever been.
Feeling twenty-two, acting seventeen.
This is the nearest thing to crazy
I have ever known.
But I was never crazy on my own.
And now I know
That there's a link between the two,
Being close to craziness, and being close to you

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

How to Survive the Dating Game...

In the whole time I was single, hardly anything exciting happened in terms of romantic encounters (well, that's not entirely true). And I don't count the misfortune of getting involved with a complete asshole for a brief period of time, 'exciting'... Anyway, now that I'm off the market I'm getting dinner invitations, promises of fun at the beach, movie outings, chocolates, cute little stuffed animals, AND 2 separate marriage proposals... (the first was more of a promise to bail me out of spinsterhood in the event I found myself still in need of a partner by the time I turned 35). So what's wrong with this picture? None of them are from the person that really matters...

A married girlfriend of mine decided to give me a pep talk on my current situation that went something like this:-

"Girl, you're not getting any younger...... never after 30 to tie the knot.... What are you doing?!?!!" (Her reaction to the fact that I'm not taking advantage of any of the attention I'm suddenly getting and prefering instead to have an LDR with the person I love...)

She then proceeded to enlighten me, and I mean this literally because I was completely unaware of this fact, that WOMEN CAN'T MARRY FOR LOVE! I wasn't sure I heard her right.

"What do you mean women can't marry for love? Why else would you get married then?"

Well, according to Miss (oops... Mrs.) Expert, women are built such that when they're in love, they'll do anything and everything for their man. (Sounds logical to me)... BUT, apparently, by doing the 'anything and everything' a woman is inadvertently achieving the exact opposite to what she'd set out to do, because, the man, being a man, is either gonna

1) back off

2) lose interest

3) take advantage of her

4) take her for granted

or if karma's really got it in for you, all 4.

The bottom line is, forget about ever taking on his family name. Not gonna happen. WHY? Because men like to be kept on the edge, they like it when the girl is just out of their reach, they enjoy having to work for her attention even if they don't wanna admit it.

I've become quite curious by this line of thought by now. I repeat, it's not something that's ever crossed my mind. And then the biggest shock of all... She admitted to being head-over-heels in love with a particular young man, but because she knew things could never work out with him, she picked *practical over ideal* and married someone who was completely crazy about her, but whom she only
liked alot and grew to love over the years. And why was this guy so crazy about her? because she wasn't all over him as she would've been if she was in love with him...

Now if you ask me, if whatever she's saying is generally what happens in relationships, then this whole marriage business is a Catch 22. You love him, he runs away; but promises you the world if you play hard to get. I'm sorry, but are all these games necessary??! What ever happened to I love you, you love me, let's get married. Yes yes, I know, I'm a horrible idealist and hopeless romantic. I've been accused of living in a fantasy and surrounding myself with bubbles of impossible deams. Whatever... The idealist in me refuses to accept the fact that love does NOT conquer all. I'll know what to do when the times comes... I hope :s

** a similar comment was made the night before by a now-married ex. His piece of advice was that eventhough it's great to have ideals, one would be in trouble if one is unable to accept the fact that more often than not, one will have to settle for practical and give up the ideal...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Brunch & Bubbles!

There's nothing I like better than to eat... ok that's an exaggeration, there are lotsa other things I enjoy doing, one of them just happens to be eating. And on Sunday I think I died and went to heaven! To celebrate Miss E's birthday, we were 'strongly encouraged' (I'm not kidding) to do so with a champagne brunch. It cost an exorbitant amount of money, but the half that I paid was soooooooooo worth it! I'm a seafood freak and there was fresh seafood in copious amounts and not to mention oodles of foie gras. Needless to say, I didn't stray far from the fruits of the sea section... I mean with 5 varieties of oysters, 3 of mussles, succulent crab claws, lobster and 3 types of prawns, why would i need to go anywhere else?! (Note: there were loads of other types of seafood, but the above are all that interested me.. hehehehe) Oh and did I mention that there was free-flow of Moet Chandon? AND a cocktail bar serving several of my favourites, including mojitos, caipirinhas, and thanks to the birthday girl, the newly discovered strawberry caipiroska!!! Well let's just say we had a whale of a time... I'll let the pictures do the talking...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Football Fever!

Every 2 years, this gal becomes obsessed with football, a sport, I admit I don't follow on a regular basis. Despite being told once before, I've forgotten what a Champion's League is and what the Confederations Cup is... But the World Cup and the Euro Cup? Ahhhh.. those two I'm familiar with. And my support was with the Germans, Portugese and Spaniards, in that order. Yes, I know... it doesn't seem like I'm very sincere in my backing of these teams, since according to a male friend, I'm not a proper fan unless I pledge allegiance to ONLY one team. Well, sorry, I like all 3 teams, and I have my own reasons for each (No, none of them involve the physical attributes of the players! Though I DO find Ballack quite dishy ;))

How would a fan support her team? By buying a matching pair of shorts and sports top in the country's colours of course!

And everyone knows you can't have a new set of clothes without matching footwear! Then you might as well throw in a pedicure while you're at it just to bring out the colour of the sandals...

My only regret was not being able to get the track top... sigh... Otherwise my attire would've been complete...

Anyway, back to my story... I have also been thought of rather lowly due to my somewhat minimal knowledge of football history, and thus not worthy of any opinions I may have on any of the matches. While most of my male friends were happy to have a 'convert' on board, cheering and guzzling bottles of beer alongside them, there were the odd one or two who felt otherwise. To them I was just another female 'groupie' jumping on the bandwagon JUST BECAUSE everyone else was doing it... hmmmmph... how dare they! Say what they want, but at the end of the day, I suspect that they're feeling threatened that females are starting to take a genuine interest in the sport that was once enjoyed and obsessed upon exclusively by the boys. Football season gave husbands and boyfriends THE reason to hang out at bars till the wee hours of the morning (depending on where you are) and come home roaring drunk... After all IT'S THE WORLD CUP!! I guess it's hard to accept the fact that your other half either has MORE fun than you, or gets chatted up by other football fanatics. Well, sorry boys, us girls have just as much right to shout obscenities at 30" flat screens and sport the corresponding colours of our favourite team as you do, so deal with it!

Another observation I made during Football season, is the fact that all sense of propriety and civility goes out the window when you have a group of buddies cheering for opposing teams. The cussing that was flying around was colourful and creative and most totally uncalled for at times. Oh, did I mention that these insults were aimed at one another! It's amazing how incredibly childish and petty people can become! I was at the receiving end of one such string of verbal abuse, when England lost to Portugal. I'm still not speaking to him... What ever happened to good fun and sportsmanship??

The Over-Zealous Supporters a.k.a 'the Arrogant Bastards' is what a female friend uses for annoying, over-the-top supporters who bitch about you in French just because you're supporting Brazil... Oh my God!! People, grow up!? You don't see me going off the deep end just because someone scored against Germany!

Anyway, on to happier moments...

At Table 108 where we spent quite a few nights (and money) watching the matches.

This cutie sure knows which team to back! Very proud of him! must congratulate his mother...

Portugal - England / France - Brazil...

All I can say is, I had a blast hanging out with my buds and contributing to the spirit of the World Cup, but I'm just glad it's over and people can go back to being sane again!!! Thank god it's once every 4 years... But then again, the Euro Cup is coming up... :s

Sunday, July 02, 2006

City of Love

Paris - The City of Love... I used to think it an exaggeration and rather cliched everytime I heard someone use that phrase. I mean really, a city is a city, how much more romantic can it get in comparison to the other great destinations of the world...

This was my second time in Paris and b
y the end of the first day of my holiday, I'd begun to see what the swooning was all about...

When I was there in September 2005, my trip was a blur. I had about a week and there was just so much to see and do, and I wanted to see them ALL! The Eifel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris, and as many of the quarters as I could drag my tired feet to. Half my time was spent planning the most time-saving routes for my tour around the city, and the other half trying to keep to what I'd planned... which essentially meant I had little or no time to fully appreciate the true beauty and serenity of Paris.

But I had a second chance, and this time, since I was past doing all the touristy stuff (yes guilty as charged), and Jochen was more than familiar with the nooks and crannies of his home of about a year, I was treated to a first-hand experience to a small part of the Parisian way of life in the summer.

The day I touched down, Jochen took me to Trocadero to catch the Festival Andalucia. That was a treat considering how hooked I am to all things Spanish. Weather was absolutely gorgeous... blazing sun with a breeze... heaven! Yes! I was indeed on a holiday!

What do you do when the weather gets a litle too hot? You soak your feet in the cool waters of the fountains at Trocadero...

...whilst continuing to soak up the rays!

Can you believe I don't remember these statues despite coming here less than a year ago?!

Evening stroll...

Another way to enjoy the sun is to have a picnic, and lawns aren't the only places you can do that... try the Passerelle des Arts instead.

My trip coincided with the first week of the World Cup so it would've been silly to not take advantage of the fact that I'd be able to watch the matches at a decent hour i.e 9pm as opposed to 3am if I were back home :p

At a stadium at Cité Universitaire watching France vs Switzerland (on a big screen of course)

And through the World Cup, I got to meet like-minded football enthusiasts, like...


... Fernando (L), and Sasha (R).

Of course I wasn't about to spend my whole week there on football, so I dedicated a day to roaming through the Jardin des Tuileries, all the way dow
n to Champs-Elysées and ending at the Arc de Triomphe, and another with a colleague who happened to be up around the same time, and getting lost somewhere along Rue St. Dennis and then being loudly (and somewhat rudely) asked if I wanted to engage in some intercourse... and I don't mean the verbal kind :p

My last 2 days held a little surprise for me. Be it a lucky coincidence or divine intervention of what-have-you, the basement (or carpark) in the building Jochen works in collapsed, and everyone was sent home! Tough for the company but Hooray for me! I now had my own perosnal tour guide.

Upon Hddenson's recommendation, we decided to take a stroll throught the side lanes of Le Marais. (thanks for the tip, Hidd! I enjoyed myself throughly!!) There was none of the hurried feel you would usually get when navigating your way down Orchard Road back home. Instead, people here were taking their meanderings at such a leisurely pace, it makes you wonder if they really DON'T have any other place to be at. I loved the narrow side lanes and the uniquitous little cafes that you don't really see at first, and then jump out at you as you get closer. They are the perfect places to sit in and watch Paris go by, or catch up with your girlfriends for
the latest in their lives, or have a few stolen minutes or 30 to canoodle with your other half. What really caught my attention were the teenie tiny tables lined up outside every Parisian cafe. That and the fact that all the chairs faced outward, making customers appear to be watching a play or something, amused me to no end. Call me childish but they became the source of numerous exclamations and bursts of hastily suppressed giggles. ( I think J was ready to leave me at a corner if I started on my 100th comment). So there I was, sitting at a cafe and sipping my hot chocolate, trying to look as though they were something I do all the time, when in truth the only thought that kept running through my head was, "Where will they fit all the plates if we were a hungry party of 4?" For people who know me well, they'd be able to say that food is one of my passions.

So, that same evening, Jochen scored some extra brownie points when he took me to this little wine bar somewhere in Montnartre where suctomers could choose a bottle of wine from the racks that ran along the wall, and savour it with a selection of soft cheeses and meats... Needless to say, being the carnivore that I am, I enjoyed the meats more than I did the cheeses. (and I am well aware of the fact that I could get shot for making such a statement).

Oh, since we're on the subject of food, the kebabs are THE BEST!!! Nestled in bread smeared with sauce
blanche and piled high with grilled meats and fries... Sigh... it hits the spot everytime...

Anyway, by the end of my 8 days, I probably saw alot less of Paris compared to the same amount of time last year, but I sure as hell had more of a taste of the culture and lifestyle. And just a note before I end, despite what most say about the cool attitude the French have towards non-French speakers, I had several very pleasant encounters with Parisians, who tried their best to commnunicate with me, even if it was half in French and half in English.

More photos on Flickr. All taken with camera phone therefore quality has been compromised :)