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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.
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 (
Ok, lastly, I must sign off with my usual send-off. Cheers, mate.
Today’s song of the day:
“Hot Thoughts” by Spoon
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
Let me start off by giving you a big recap of what’s been going on in my life. Things are finally starting to slow down enough that I can get back into my boring routine. I am a creature of habit, so I like being able to do my specific routines for each day of the week. Today, I’m back at my local big box coffee chain, sitting in my new regular spot, since my local store very recently remodeled & reconfigured their entire place. I feel at ease now that I’m back to my recurring habits. I can settle down again & continue my writing.
Let’s continue. After coming back from our weekend snow getaway in Lake Tahoe, Jian & I had to quickly wash our laundry & re-pack our suitcases for San Diego. My mom just turned 70 this year, which is a pretty big milestone for her, so she wanted to do something special with her immediate children & grandchildren. Originally, she had this grand & lavish idea to invite all of us to Hawaii, but she couldn’t justify the astronomical cost, & we were making last-minute plans which made Hawaii impossible. So, we decided on San Diego as an alternative destination. It was so much more affordable than Hawaii, & the little kids had an incredible time anyway.
Jian was able to score us a pair of rooms at the Marriott hotel again. This was the exact hotel we stayed at during last year’s Comic Con. Sadly, we wer not able to get Jack-and-Jill bedrooms, but at least we were able to stay on the same floor & were only separated by one room. My sister’s kids had so much fun running back & forth between our rooms, & we were located directly infront of the main elevators, so the kids had a huge corridor to run around in without disturbing other guests. We had a blast altogether. The weather was great, not hot, but not cold either.
It was unfortunate that it wasn’t hot enough to go swimming everyday, but my niece LOVES to swim, so she did so regardless of the windy weather. We took the kids to Sea World for the first time, & my mom nearly jumped out of her skin when looking at the admission prices. (Seniors & children don’t even get a discount!) On top of that, half of the exhibits & shows at the park were closed. I understand my sister’s desire to take her kids to Sea World at least once in their lives before it shuts down, but we were all disappointed. Well, we were sort of expecting it, ever since the scathing documentary Blackfish aired on TV, Sea World suffered immensely. At least we can all check this one thing off our bucket lists.
My mom overall had the best time celebrating her birthday in San Diego. She got to celebrate her birthday with all of her siblings before going to San Diego with a nice Chinese banquet, so nobody felt left out of the celebrations. She also got to spend quality time with her immediate children & her favorite grandchildren. She also got to spend more quality time with her sister, & they had so much fun gossiping, chatting, & laughing the entire time. It was great for all of us to each have someone in our age range to hang out with & talk to. The best part was that the little kids had the most fun out of all of us.
Oh, did I forget to mention that I got sick, yet again? Of course, I should add this to my list of routines & habits. Every time I am around my sister’s kids, I always end up contracting whatever illness they have at the time. I should also mention that my sister’s kids get sick very easily, & they are almost always sick or have a cold (even though my sister takes them to get regular vaccinations & doctor’s check-ups). These kids are always climbing on top of me or grabbing at me, wanting my undivided attention; they always want to be near me or play with me. I end up letting my guard down too much around them, then easily contract whatever virus or germs that are incubating in their little pod bodies. I got a severe cold on our way home from San Diego. Then, on top of that, just as I’m recovering from that, I had to get a mild fever because stupid me decided to fall asleep with the bedroom window open. At least my fever only lasted 24 hours, but it was still irritating.
I’m all rested, refreshed, & have a clean bill of health as of recently. Jian & I are planning yet another trip. The first quarter of the year hasn’t even passed, & we have already been on three or four trips. Ok, look, we are not purposely spending so much money & time going on all of these trips & vacations. A lot of our recent trips have been pre-planned family events, & we only took some brief time for ourselves to go play in the snow. Starting from the end of last year, we’ve already been planning a few major trips for this year before I really settle down & focus on becoming a mom in the future.
Our next trip will be to Asia (again). For awhile now, we’ve been talking about visiting Jian’s grandparents in southern China. Jian’s mom recently came back from visiting her parents, & she told us that their health has been steadily deteriorating from the last time we visited them 2+ years ago. So, we ultimately decided to make our own plans to visit them before it’s too late. Jian is very close to all of his grandparents, so this trip will be extremely important to him. Although this will be a serious trip, we will also be able to sneak in a little fun for ourselves. We found an affordable travel package deal that allows us to have a several day layover in Hong Kong before we visit Jian’s relatives in China. Jian has been desperately wanting to go with me to Hong Kong for years. I’ve been putting off visiting Hong Kong because for a long time it hasn’t held much interest for me. I’ve visited Hong Kong a few times when I was a child, but I never felt the urge to go back. I’ve always wanted to visit Europe, & we finally were getting around to planning our big trip to visit a European destination this year. However, this China is taking precedent over our Europeam vacation.
Jian & I were making plans to visit London. We had our desired hotel picked out, & we even settled on our travel dates, but all of that is taking a backseat to our mission to spend precious time with Jian’s grandparents, who are now confined to wheelchairs. I was initially disappointed to be putting our European vacation on hold (at least for the time being), however, I am very excited to spend time with Jian’s wonderful grandparents. I don’t have any grandparents of my own anymore, so spending time with Jian’s grandparents is a little bittersweet for me. I am also excited to be visiting Hong Kong after so many years. Jian can play the tour guide and show me around. Jian is not originally from Hong Kong. Out of all of our Cantonese friends, Jian & our friend Angela are the only two who are born directly from the motherland (Jian is from Canton, & Angela is from Macau). Everyone else in our group is actually from Hong Kong. However, Jian has a vast knowledge of Hong Kong, & has visited the area many, many times. It will be a relief to travel with someone who can speak Cantonese, even though many Hong Kong locals can speak English. This will be a new experience for us. Hopefully we will be able to also squeeze in our London trip this year. I guess we will see how this all plays out.
Now I’m going to end this blog post right here. I can finally stop writing & go back to reading my Whisky Magazine. Yup, I said WHISKY. In case you didn’t already know, I am a huge fan of whisky (& bourbon). Most of my favorite distilleries come from Japan & Scotland. However, I have discovered one special distillery from Taiwan that I really enjoy. There are just too many to enjoy. So this time, I really mean it when I say CHEERS!
Today’s song of the day:
“L.A. Girlz” by WEEZER
My sister (a newly single mother) recently visited our house with her two incredibly amazing children. I’m not saying they’re amazing just to be a doting aunt. These kids truly are incredible. Perhaps it’s because as the years go by, we grow closer and closer in relationship. I absolutely adore my sister’s kids, & they adore me as well.
One time my nephew pulled me aside & told me point blank to my face that he thinks of me as his second mom. True story, bro. However, I’d like to believe that I’m the cooler “mom” because I discipline the kids without yelling at them or scolding them the way my sister does. Granted, she is their actual mother…but the kids & I are tight too.
This past week rushed by in such a blur. My sister brought her kids to our house on their one-week school break. It felt like they were only here for a few short days. We, as a family, took the two kids to explore the downtown of the big City by the Bay. The kids made their first trip to Chinatown to buy traditional-ish costumes for their school performance. Then we took them to eat organic ice cream after a quick lunch. The next few days after that became such a blur I can hardly remember all the events that happened. We took the kids up to the mountains (which were eerily lacking snow). Actually we were in the mountains for two reasons: 1. The kids have never been up in the mountains before & have never truly experienced snow, & 2. My sister had to take care of a real estate project involving our former family vacation home. My sister’s kids were so excited to be up in the mountains & touching snow for the first time…although it was only a small barren patch of icy snow. We stayed at a very comfortable hotel overnight & the kids got to run around in the beautiful lake town full of lush nature.
We celebrated my mom’s (a.k.a. Grandma) birthday up in the mountains, took the kids to play around the creek, & had a fun overnight road trip. The kids were so captivated by the snow & the nature all around us. We had such a great, memorable time renting a mini-van & having lots of good laughs along the way. Alas, the kids were sad to go home. They made their Grandma a cute birthday card, but also drew a sad face on the back of it. When asked why, my nephew replied, “…because we are sad to go home. We want to stay here longer.” My niece, who usually has an I-don’t-really-care attitude even asked, “Why do we have to go home?” as we dropped them off at the airport.
I am so drained, physically, from this past week…I had to force myself to write this week’s blog post. There’s more stuff that happened that I want to write about, but my mind is stuttering right now, so I better sign off before I get more incoherent. Cheers.
My birthday is coming up towards the end of this month, and my companion has decided to take me on a road trip down to Southern California (Los Angeles to be exact). We are going to drive my new station wagon (which I found out is also categorized as a “shooting-brake station wagon” in car/auto language) down to Los Angeles for an extended 3-day weekend & just relax. I’ve got my fingers crossed hoping that the weather will be warm enough for a no-sweater-necessary weekend getaway.
Ok, so from where we live (near San Francisco), Los Angeles doesn’t seem like such an exotic or very exciting place to “get away”, but it’s a place very familiar to us that we want to explore more of. Plus, it’s the most affordable option, since April seems to be one of the most expensive months out of the year to travel, & we just want to go there dang-nab-it. Oh yeah… Also, my husband wanted to do something special for my birthday while saving some money by driving instead of flying, since we’re traveling overseas at the end of the year…again. Yes, we’re going to Asia again. Our friends are getting married in Taiwan, so we will be there for 1 week. Then, we planned a 10-day layover in Japan to lower the cost of the plane tickets. (It was less expensive for us to book a flight with a layover rather than fly direct.)
I chose to head to Los Angeles for my birthday & try the local food scene over there. I live near San Francisco & practically go there every weekend, so I’ve pretty much plunged right into the whole foodie culture/movement. I’m not quite at the organic-everything, gluten-free, açai, kale veggie, foodie level… BUT… I have sort-of gotten into the whole locally-sourced, small-batch, seasonal ingredients menu, phase. I thought it would be cool to try out some local (& possibly hip, but not hipster) places to eat. I’m also on a quest to find some tasty pastries & non-Starbucks coffee while we’re there. For my birthday, my companion & I made reservations at a semi-swanky restaurant close to the hotel. (I’m staying at The Standard hotel in Downtown LA by the way.)
It’s only a 3-day trip, but I’m very much looking forward to it. I’ve decided to treat myself to a special manicure with nail art at my favorite Japanese nail salon (Marie Nails), & my companion is going to get his hair cut at a traditional-style old school barber shop (Baxter Finley Barber & Shop) which he read also serves whiskey & other alcoholic beverages to its customers. The birthday getaway trip is only a few short weeks away, but I’m already anticipating it with a child-like excitement. Cheers!