Sounds about right…

Image borrowed from Mary Doria Russell

May you all have a great Sunday!

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These words are beautiful

I deal in words every day — I’m a writer, after all. But there’s just something about Japanese that perfectly explains feelings we have a hard time with in English. Here are a few that I found beautiful:

Continue reading These words are beautiful

Into the deep end

Creatures from the Black Lagoon? Hmmm… these could be cousins. Meet our fascinating deep sea denizens in The Deep: Illuminating the Mysteries of the Deep Sea

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(above) One of over 40 specimens displayed, this is a Flapjack devilfish, a finned octopus that lives near the bottom of the sea floor. When they are caught, the muscles of the octopus retract, giving them their characteristic flat pancake shape

We had the chance to catch this fascinating exhibit at the ArtScience Museum last June. The whole exhibit is like a sci-fi movie come to life, if the sci-fi movie in question involves strange life forms. The creatures here are what are known as abyssal (from abyss)  because, well, they live deep below the sea, deeper than most divers venture. Looking at them brought home to me the realization that we still know so little about life in our seas, despite the fact that we’ve sent many manned expeditions to the moon, have gone exploring farther into our solar system that we’re now saying hello to Pluto, and have made inroads into technology that we can communicate with anyone in the world at the push of a few buttons. As these pictures show, our seas are still uncharted territory for the most part. They’re our version of terra incognita. Enjoy the images!

Continue reading Into the deep end

[EDITED] Lessons from falling off a bike

For a well-balanced life

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Kermit at rest. (I named my beautiful green Trek bike Kermit. I have a habit of naming some of my things. For example, my Mac has a name and now my bike. Why do I do this? I don’t know. Because.)

So there I was, nervously perched on top of a big green bike, seemingly miles off the ground, and navigating through Sentosa’s three beaches, which were filled with gawking tourists, trams — and horrors! — little kids in scooters and bikes and families with pets. Why oh why didn’t they all go home?? More to the point, why am I here? I could be home, reading a book instead of trying to navigate through Sentosa’s crowded beaches on a weekend! Instead, I still can’t believe that I am indeed riding a bike. On my own. Without training wheels…. How did I get here?

Continue reading [EDITED] Lessons from falling off a bike

Buns, Balls, and Crabs (part 2)

… Or how I ate my way through Taipei and lived to tell the tale. Or, how I learned sharing is caring. (Second of multiple parts)

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Crab legs and claws, snails, shrimp and other drool-inducing delicacies at the Keelung Maiokau Night Market

Taiwan is not a good place for dieters. There is just too much delicious food. Our first afternoon alone, in the first three hours in Taipei, we have managed to eat mee sua, which is thin rice flour noodles in a thick broth/gravy with pieces of meat in it and flavored with soy sauce and vinegar. It was mouthwatering. Before that, someone bought a packet of fried chicken nuggets that were out of this world, which our group all sampled. I must say, the Taiwanese really know their street food. And almost anything can be considered street food, as I would later see as we visited the night markets — the first of which, I would be introduced to that first night.

I love traveling by myself and getting lost in a new place. But I must admit, for this first trip to Taipei, I’m glad that I had colleagues who have been here several times and can just guide us as to where to go. I suppose finding the night markets would be easy, for a newcomer. But finding the little stalls and carts that sell the best buns, for instance, is going to be a problem for newbies. There’s also the language problem. More people now speak English, especially among the young university students, but non-Mandarin speakers may still have a hard time getting understood. Still, that’s part of the beauty of travel, isn’t it? On this trip, though, we had a guide who knew her way around. That saved time figuring out how to get to the different places. And of course, the company had hired a van to take us to the more far-flung areas we wanted to go to, which again, saved us valuable time.

Continue reading Buns, Balls, and Crabs (part 2)

Buns, Balls, and Crabs

…Or, how I ate my way through Taipei in five days and lived to tell the tale. (Part 1 of several parts)

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Entrance to Keelung Miaokou Night Market. Taiwan is crazy with night markets and they’re fabulous places to eat, drink, eat, shop, eat, meet friends… and eat

This was a company-sponsored bonding trip that happened mid-2013. Yes, a bit late to be posting it now more than a year later, but you know how it is — sometimes things just pile up! So Taiwan. Had to admit, it’s not on my travel bucket list (I don’t really have an actual list; but when pressed on where to go, I can name a few places) — in fact, it’s not even top of mind of places that I would consider visiting. Blame a friend’s comments more than a decade or so ago when she was on a business trip to Taipei and had a miserable time of it because ordinary people didn’t speak English and there were not enough signages in English to make your way around on your own. But since then, had heard great things about Taipei and Taiwan in general, so when the office went for a trip there, I was excited. Who wouldn’t be, when it was practically a free trip to go gallivanting?

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Midday, Humpday Reflection: Boobs

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I was inspired by the nymag.com article to draw my own pair

This is a somewhat odd, middle of the week post. I don’t usually overshare personal reflections in this blog, but I just came across the article, “New York Women Draw Their Own Boobs” on nymag.com, which amused me. Reading it, I had an immediate flashback to my mom, getting dressed. I don’t know if she would appreciate me sharing this, but she’s not shy about getting dressed in front of her kids, even now that we’re grownups. When she needed to take off or put on a top, for instance, and we happened to barge into her bedroom to ask her something or talk to her, she would just blithely go on doing what she was doing, without self-consciousness, as if it were perfectly natural for her kids to see her naked. And we all got used to it, growing up. It was just mom being mom.

Continue reading Midday, Humpday Reflection: Boobs