Monday, April 29, 2013

Hands:So I thought, after seeing my feet, you should see my hands, the second most photographed bit of "me" in Singapore. {feet were first}

I needed a good ride for my 30th birthday:

blogging while devouring amazing eggs benedict. At the end of the day sometimes, even in foreign countries with amazing food, you still have to make sure they are preparing your favorite correctly....don't worry, they were.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Traveling alone always leaves you at a lack of yourself in the pictures. So to resolve this in Singapore, as I did last year in Amsterdam, I took pictures of my feet, so that some of me could be in some of the pictures.
Little roller coaster @ Universal Studios Singapore
 Sharks @ the aquarium
man made beach & the LEGO exhibit @ the Art and Science Museum 

 On top of an elephant!!!
 At the Zoo looking at a crocodile...the zoo is so large they have a tram.

Friday, April 19, 2013

21 was big, just days before I got my mission call to France, I think it was the last birthday I have looked forward to celebrating. All the ones in between now and then, { 24 I moved to DC, 26 got married, 28 got divorced} have come and gone without much thought. However 30, 30 is one that has generated a lot of reflection. I think it is because, to me, 30 always seemed like the year when you were really an adult, when life would be settled and secure, when your toddler would bring you breakfast in bed, and your husband would take the day off to spend it with you. Hmmm....let's just do a quick run down to see if "that" worked out

*Married: no divorced
*Kids to bring that breakfast: no, see above
*Darling house: check, kind of, I live with mom and dad. (and it should be.             mentioned that if I was in Utah, my dad totally would have made me breakfast, mountain buffet with orange juice).
*Perfect job: well.....I have a job, let's leave it at that:)

So how can I be this content and calm if I am nothing close to my previous belief about this time in life? 30 is not what I expected, I am not what I had expected. I have lived in 13 different places, traveled to more than that, I have loved many, and met the "love of my life"4 times. I have had moments when I've loved life so much I wanted to burst, and times when life seemed far too much, and I desperately wanted it to end. Luckily, the lows are long past, and I am blissfully grateful that I am here, I am 30, and living more than ever. I am here because of every choice I have made, and every large choice was given extensive thought, so this outcome, this alternate ending,...this came from me. I am the product of my thoughts,and that is not too shabby overall.

After 30 years I don't feel old, or damaged, or broken, or downtrodden,  I feel gratitude more than anything. Gratitude for my family,  wonderful siblings, amazing parents. Gratitude for those who have loved me, pushed me, challenged me, gratitude for those who have taught me, gratitude for those who listened, and laughed, and saved, and protected. In 30 years I have seen ancient artifacts, natural wonders, architectural wonders, priceless works of art, I have stamps in my passport and can get by in 3.5 languages. I have eaten frogs, and kissed a few more than that.  Taking all of this into consideration, my most favorite part of 30, is by far the people that have enlivened every moment of this kaleidoscope. So on this my birthday, I sincerely say, thank you for being part of my journey.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I turned 30 in a pool:
It was a wonderful day, a busy day. I went for a really late night run, then for a dip in the pool. Lap after lap after lap. Then I floated, and just listened to traffic, felt the breeze, alone in the twilight with nowhere to be, no one to miss me, nothing else to do except sit and feel everything in moment. When I was done I hoped out, dried off, glanced at my watch, 12:45p April 17th. I had turned 30 while swimming in a pool in Singapore.....not bad.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Let's talk about the areas in Singapore I visited today:

Chinatown: characterized by Hello Kitty everything, everywhere, stand after stand after stand of jade bracelets, racks of silk robes, firework stands-which I wanted to buy but I fear they'd be confiscated, sorry trash can man-, noodle huts, and calligraphy booths. Chinese lanterns lit the streets, and the faint sent of incense from the near by temple filled the air. Emerald necklaces downstairs, and upstairs, if you chose the "right" place you could get a massage, in the words of one masseus who approached me, " I will make you fall in love with Singapore" I politely declined and tried not to laugh, I don't want to fall in love with any country like that!

Little India: characterized by used CD booths, cell phones in the front, henna in the back. The area smelled delightful, flower strands hung everywhere, I am sure they have a significance but it was 11p and I didn't really care. I figure it was to mask the curry smell that seemed to ooze out of every third person's skin. No  lanterns, just blaring neon signs, whose glimmer was only surpassed by the gaudy gold stores. More gold than I have ever seen, and in the most rundown, gross, display cases. No message places, but after about 20 minutes I realized a lot of men were looking at me, maybe it was because I was the only girl out? Maybe it was because it was so hot out, that earlier, I ditched my pants and was wearing my tunic as a dress, a short dress. Either way it was not my dream come true, the fact that the guy at the qwiki mart, who sold me my water and lychee gummies, gave me the gummies for free because he wanted to "give me a gift", that was alright ;)

So nut shell: don't get a massage in Chinatown unless....unless nothing just don't. And don't wear a shirt as a dress in Little India. You're welcome.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I tend to lump ideas like love languages and birth order, into the pish posh folder. But the older I get {ahhh 30 is just a few days away!!} the more I realize there is truth to them...well there is truth to birth order.

I am a middle child. I have done things, seen things, and been places no one else in my family has. I am very much a product of my upbringing. We are all a bit wild in our own ways.  I am a bit funny, kind, generous, selfless, I love to serve, and wish I could take credit  for being this way but i cannot, I am this way because my parent were and are funny, kind, generous, selfless, humble and a million other amazing things.   There are however times, I really crave a yacht, a designer wardrobe complete with fancy bags and heels with red soles. There I times I want giant giant diamonds and a private island to live on and a small country to control. It is at these moments I wonder ;) {this would lend you to think I was an only child}

Then there are moments when I am wrong or I make a mistake or I get on a plane to Singapore and I am wrong and make mistakes all within the first few minutes of being in the kitchen and the middle child thing kicks in with a fury. I get quiet, internally hot and embarrassed, and I instantly feel like I don't belong and I scramble to feel like I fit in.  Sadly this happened almost every single day! And maybe not so sadly.....because it got me to thinking.

Where do I belong? And while I was cleaning up the chocolate mess, or bagging the cake batter whose eggs were over whipped, or re-platting, or or or and, I had a fraction of the realization that I belong wherever I am. Within reason of course. This is not new knowledge but little reminders are nice to have. I have the same mortal right as any color, any height, any nationality, any religion, to breath the air, explore the unknown. There will be more who know more, have seen more, have been there before, but comparisons should never be made. We all sleep, oxygenate blood, and give or take one or two, we all have the same # of bones and chromosomes. We should not compare, but learn from those who have been/seen/explored/done/gone before. With all hope, those persons will be willing to enlighten, if not, we must be gracious and move on to another who will assist your progression in a positive direction.

And once I convinced myself of this, everything else was bliss. Chocolate was perfectly tempered, cakes were decorated with ease, and plating was up to snuff. There is nothing in your way, except yourself.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I swam with the rays today. There is a little water park on a little island called Sentosa. It is basically a a commercial vortex complete with Universal Studios, a casino, a Hard Rock Hotel & Cafe, and a bundle of shops, more hotels, restaurants.... and this water park. I have only ever seen rays from the other side of the glass, or on The Discovery Channel, so when I found out at on a first come first serve basis you could feed them, I was the first one to sign up this morning. By 11:am I was in booties and ray gloves with a cooler of shrimp and fish bits. A few splashes in the water to indicate I was there, and I was surrounded. Big rays, little rays, rays with spots, black rays, white rays, and this really long odd shaped one. Kenza you better watch out, I think I want a ray tank.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Just a few thought: Bags in Asia are so expensive when you sit at a restaurant they bring you a small table or cart just for your purse. I don't get it, the really expensive ones are made from stingray or crocodile right, aren't those animals pretty tough? I guess not tough enough for the floor. .... and it makes me feel fancy ;) It's hot here, and it's humid, and I love it. {I really am sad I didn't get a little bit more winter skiing in}. Last night the train station was particularly sticky. The heat was low and stagnant. I think I descretely smelled my arm pits every 19 seconds to see if that moldy old boat carpet smell was me, it wasn't least I don't think it was.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Traveling alone definitely has its decide each days itinerary, you decide the pace, what to eat, and when to wake. You can take as long as you want in the shower, you can watch TV till the wee hours {I have not done this, I like sleep top much....but I could} you can stop in every bakery, paper store, toy store, and you never have worry if you're snoring {I am sure I am a veritable symphony seeing as I am still trying to kick this 3 month sniffle} Traveling alone definitely has its are the only one ever making decisions, no one is there to take your picture so you end up propping the camera on trash cans, stairs, benches, your purse, and planter boxes, there is no one to share the pastries with, and when you see something really funny, you are the only one that laughs so you look just a little crazy, there is no one to tell you if you tucked your shirt into your underwear or have mascara smeared on your face, or curry in your teeth { yes these have all happened in the last 48 hrs} There are pros and cons to this little adventure I find myself on, biggest pro today...changing the itinerary 36 times and finally settling on my original plan and no one was annoyed but me :) biggest con....wishing my mom and sisters were with me as I viewed: literally billions of dollars of gems {I needed the geologist Beth and Jen to tell me what they were and Audrey to mindlessly drool with me},  then gazed at the worlds largest aquarium viewing window @ the Singapore Aquarium { i didn't know which fish I was looking at, I needed Teresa and Hannah}. But for more than just their knowledge of things, sharing memories with the ones I love is better than escaping fornan adventure.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hibiscus & Pollen: Let's talk for a moment about Monday here. Saturday was good, Sunday was good, today...I began to fall in love. The trains aligned and I got to my stop much earlier than anticipated.  I of course was starving so I stopped by the 7- eleven of all places and grabbed  juice and a little cheese bun thing. To people here, the bun thing was probably super ghetto, but to new eyes it was a delicacy. I munched as I strolled through some little underground walkway. 2 elevators and an escalator later I was at ground level. The doors opened and I felt like I was walking off a spaceship... The silent hum of the elevator cogs were shattered by a chorus of birds. Yesterday I had gone to the left and come up by a hotel lobby, today I took a right and ended up walking through the gardens by the bay. Sadly I can't add pictures because I forgot my camera adapter, just google Gardens by the Bay Singapore and you will see.  Work was a bustle all day. As I mentioned the kitchen is a bit compact compared to what I am used . Today there were chefs visiting from Hibiscus in London. I was assigned to them, and by glorious coincidence they were French so that was fun. I made:  asparagus and white chocolate cremeux, coconut whey sorbet, and dehydrated black olive dust. Not the dessert I would put next to my unicorn and rainbow in my dreams, but it was surprisingly good. Service started and this chef in jeans showed up, also French.  I was his little gopher grabbing plates and setting up, didn't thing much of it. It was fun, a little French, a little English, a little dessert for Andres, a little dessert for this guy, Merrill Lynch Asia had bought out the restaurant because they were merging soon and this was a bit of a thank you, and it was a bit of a "big deal" because 2 Chefs were collaborating for the first time. Pollen and Hibiscus, Jason Atherton and Claude Bosi. Yep turns out mr. Frenchy in jeans is a Michelin 2 star chef....that's a big deal. Super glad I was using the familiar form of French when was addressing him versus the formal, not. 140 desserts plated in 10 min: 70 butternut, chocolate, coconut, and 70 black olive, asparagus white chocolate, goat cheese. Funny how that is all it takes to feel alive, a plane ticket to Singapore, 2 days prepping for 1 wild 10 minute stretch of plating, followed by catching the last train home and falling into bed.

Monday, April 8, 2013

His and hers: Asian men are sharp. I see either black or silver shiny suits. They wear pointy, well polished shoes, expensive black framed glasses, and are a bit safe in there neckwear, never a bow tie! Asian woman are for the most part sharp, pencil skirts, kitten heels, super straight hair unaffected by the humidity. {I look like I am perpetually getting shocked by the toaster} Then there is the group of Asian women I just can't grasped....hello kitty shirt, jelly running shoes and a mini skirt with Christmas trees. Black lace t shirt, green bra, platform flip flops, bringing her now almost to my waist, and grey silk shorts with oversized back pockets. I know it was only been a few days, but I have yet to see an irrationally dressed men, just one, all I am asking for is one guy to wear jelly kitten heels and a rainbow belt on his way to an office job.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

1 minute please: The two hold an elegant story, a charming tale. I would botch it by trying to regurgitate the emotion. In brief, he and she were. Then they weren't. Decades later, she was part of her own museum exhibit and he, came as an unexpected guest. I adore how much is said in simply a moment of silence. Skip to 1:13 if you must. So much of life's wonder takes place in simple moments.....maybe I should stop honking so much.  (Thanks Ms. Dani Pierce for enlightening me with this).

Choose your own adventure: did you ever have those books?I didn't,  but I had friends who did, and when I say I didn't, it means I had access to them, but thought they were dumb.  That thought is now catching up with me.... Dear Choose Your Own Adventure Gods, please forgive me, and from now on, even though I can't see all the choices, please just give me the good adventure, not the one were in the end I get attacked by killer bees or end up where I starter.

Day 2 I got up for a lovely little jont to the reservoir, them home before the morning mini monsoon. The flat I was suppose to stay in was amazing! Complete with Olympic lap pool, maid who did all the laundry and ironing, high tech toilet, fridge, keyless entry, not to mention it was in one of the posher neighborhoods. Well the room I was to stay in was rented out a day before I came. So, I got the couch the first night, long enough to really covet this place, then over to 15A Jalan Senang. Snoopy sheets, smells like my grandma Jean's mothball attic, I share a totally blue bathroom with a dude who forgets to unlock my side of the door when he is done, there was no toilet paper, which I found out too late in the process, and to flush it you use the little bucket/pot combo to the side. There is no shower curtain but it came with my own Garfield mug i can use for the stay, and it is only $350 for 2 weeks and it is across the canal from the posh place, so at least I get to look at what my adventure could have been;)

The kitchen was a dream, new, clean, clean, new, everything worked, and the executive chef swore like a sailor and had a mini fit about some eggs so things were well with the universe. I plated 30+ desserts, made a handful of recipes, and then had a lovely dinner with the chef. My biggest challenge will be not letting me get in the way....the shy me, the uncomfortable me, the what the {insert profanity of choice} am I doing here me, the " yep I should have gone to Disneyland" me, the I am not really as brave as I thought me, the jumping off the cliff while thinking " I jumped and now I just hope I don't backflop in the water" me. So that was not a nutshell, but in a nut shell, you can't always choose your adventure. You can choose the destination but in the end, all you really get to choose is whether you get out now, or buckle up and hold on. I am buckled, and I am not just going to hold on, but love every minute of this with my eyes wide open so I don't miss a moment.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Day 1: 10 hours in the air before wheels touched down in Tokyo. I get of the plane and in moments I feel it, the air is different, the smell is different, the voice over the intercom is impossible to understand. In Europe I can figure things out, I feel like I have a one up on all the "tourists", because I speak french and can muddle through understanding some German, Italian, and Spanish. I can look and act European. .....well here, not so much. I am one down, and then some.  I can't look or act Asian. I caught myself bowing like they do and then i wondered, is that rude? Does it look like I am just copying them? Am i bowing to say thank you or hello? People are eating dehydrated calamari from bags, money is a yen...what is the exchange rate on that?!...., I went to the bathroom and there was a little trough in the ground, I waited 3 minutes for the toilet I am used to and every woman I let in front of me just smiled and they were all thinking, "silly westerner".  Maybe later in the week I will give that a whirl, but after a long flight I think I would fall over or end up peeing on myself. There is a little good to this though because, my toilet had a bunch of controls. Flushing noises to mask other noises, cool air, bidet, rinsing, and lights? Yes technicolor lights. I opted for lights and they did add that certain something to my time in the lou.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Do you want to know where I am today?:
(well I am not there yet, technically I won't be there until Saturday...but I am on my way)
Your Flight Information
Thu 04APR
LV 9:46am
AR 10:48am
DELTA 4560*

LV 12:30pm
AR 4:25pm
**Fri 05APR

Fri 05APR
LV 7:20pm
AR 1:30am
**Sat 06APR