Archive for April, 2012

Another bestseller?

Friend: What have you been up to these days?
Me: Eat play shit!
Friend: Oh my, people “Eat Play Love”, you eat play shit!


A better cook by days

When was the last time I cooked a decent meal (obviously cooking instant noodles and frying eggs do not count) before going to Melbourne? I would say it was back in 1998 during a camping trip when I was appointed as the quartermaster for the team.

I was quite hopeless in cooking when I first reached Melbourne. I consider it an achievement when I could take care of my meals for more than 1 year living abroad and feel comfortable preparing welcoming and farewell meals for friends.

Farewell dinner for Akua, my American buddy

When I worked as a manager at the top-rated backpacker hostel in Rotorua, New Zealand, I did not have defined break time, so whenever I was on duty I needed to cook something really quick, filling, providing wholesome nutrients and at the same time cheap (I was a broke backpacker after all). My staple diet was [toast + ham + ketchup /BBQ sauce+ cheese] + hard boiled eggs + fruits/salad since then.

Staple diet in NZ #1: (ham + ketchup/BBQ sauce + cheese) on toast. Suecing called this pizza!


Staple diet in NZ #2: Salad. Now my life cant part with balsamic vinegar anymore

I ate the same thing all the time until my colleagues got tired of seeing the scene of me with my toast. Trying to improvise each time and to add creativity to my recipe/menu – as the whim took me, I tried toast with ice-cream, of which my fellow colleagues found it HORRIBLE and STRANGE and one even said that, “Sam, I do not feel like eating ice-cream for a while!” But I seriously think it is not a bad idea at all: the toast is hot; the icre-cream is cold, the blend of hot and cold sensation makes it tastes good actually!

Ice cream on toast!

A good way to kill time when I was on duty was to sit in the kitchen and watch people cooked; my boss would then think that I was keeping an eye on the cleanliness of the kitchen. I picked up quite some new recipes with my new found past time.

New recipe learnt #1: Modification of shepherd pie - ingredients=potato, ham, tomato juices, cheese


New recipe learnt #2: Avocado with mayonnaise!


New recipe learnt #3: Grill mushroom with cheese & mixed herbs

I think I demonstrated poor cooking skills and many kind people showed/taught me the right/common ways. I used to cook spaghetti using a PAN until one day 2 Germans were having the following conversation:-
Jan: So this girl cooks spaghetti using a pan?!
Lutz: Yea, she always does that!

New lessons learnt about cooking spaghetti:-
1) It’s more “normal” to cook spaghetti using POT than PAN
2) Q: How can you tell if the spaghetti’s well cooked and ready to be served?
A: throw a thread of spaghetti on to the wall. If it sticks, the spaghetti’s ready to be served

Ok, the spaghetti is ready to be served! :p

Not only were the guests staying at the backpackers generous with their teaching, they were also very philanthropic in terms of food! I have had many heartwarming meals prepared for me!

As my cooking skill improves, it boosts my confidence to cook for others.

My cooking! Kumara (sweet potato) with ginger


My cooking! 4 dishes for my host of couchsurfing

Suecing travelled with me for a month in South Island and we were cooking buddies. I seriously did not see this as a blessing because she’s a worse cook than me! It was like the blind leading the blind.

Making pancakes!


Cooking pancake!


Suecing and I attempted to cook pancake without resorting to the ready-made pancake mix.... Failed!

When we did our 4-day hike along Milford Track, since the huts only offered stoves without cooking utensils, Lie Wei and Chin Chin used the wilderness-way of making toast i.e. manually putting the bread on the heated mess tin. When we were back to civilization, I requested Suecing to make me toast while I went to take shower. When I was done taking shower, Lie Wei and the gang approached me quietly, “Sam, you better help Suecing up, we afraid she might blow up the whole kitchen. We think she does not know how to operate a toaster! Instead of using the toaster, she used our wilderness-way of making toast!”

Mintaro Hut of Milford Track: Only stoves were provided at the hut, we had to bring our own cooking utensils

Oh well, let’s hope I will continue to be a better cook by days!

Goodbye 2011! Hello 2012!

It is high time for this post to be published… I have not been productive in blogging as I always get bogged down in this routine:-
Hatch the idea for a post but I procrastinate the writing part -> do my damnedest to write a post (by sticking to my resolution of using at least 1 newly learned vocab in every post) but lazy to post online /internet’s not available.

If I were to give a theme for the year of 2011, it would be “my happiness project”! I had been working real hard for the pursuit of my happiness (to recover from falling-into-shit hole-symptoms and to feel generally happier). Major events that took place were:-
1) Pastille triggered allergy on 4th day of Chinese New Year, was admitted to hospital
2) First time trying sea kayaking at Port Melbourne
3) Took up swimming lessons at Unimelb, learnt free style (half cooked), back stroke and water threading!
4) First time watching musical show: Xanadu (budget), Love Never Dies (flashy)!
5) First time watching live comedy show
6) Joined Unimelb softball club
7) First time taking hot air balloon flight
8) Backpacking around east coast and outback of Australia
9) Family visited Melbourne
10) Graduated with master’s degree!
11) First time skiing!
12) Flew to New Zealand for working holiday!

My report card for 2011:-
1) Drink at least 2 L of water every day. achieved 50% of the time
2) Finish reading at least the New Testament. failed!
3) Try my best to score 3As for my second semester. accomplished!
4) Maintain my current weight at all costs. succeeded throughout 2011! not after that…. 😦
5) Read at least 5 good books. completed 3 books, and then 40% of book A, 10% of book B & C :p
6) Apply masks 3 times a week. achieved 50% of the time….
7) Cook more in Melbourne, eat out less. accomplished!
8 ) Work-holiday at land-of-Lord-of-the-Ring, even if Sue ditches me and I have to travel alone. accomplished!
9) Eat, sleep and be merry! Practise positive-thinking as hard as I could. accomplished!
10) Tour around koala-land. accomplished!
11) Be more involved in uni activities. accomplished!

2012’s resolution! I am bent on achieving the following by the end of 2012:-
1) Continue doing 2011’s resolution
2) Learn at least another 5 new recipes
3) Practise free style and back stroke more
4) Do volunteering works once going back to normal life, aim to put more focus in the field of environmental conservation
5) Activate my blog again!
6) Maintain current fitness level and take part in my first half marathon

I spot you, creativity!

Creative job recruitment ad!

Reflection of the day

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Inside the glass bottle…

“I want to walk tall, believe in myself, have the courage to ask for what I want and need, and live a life that mattered. I want to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and know that I am loved and that I belonged. I am desperate to feel worthy and I am hungry for the opportunity to live my fullest potential.” - modified from "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers" - Debbie Ford

Under the apple tree…

"If you are not spending all of your waking life in discontent, worry, anxiety, depression, despair, or consumed by other negative states; if you are able to enjoy simple things like listening to the sound of the rain or the wind; if you can see the beauty of clouds moving across the sky or be alone at times without feeling lonely or needing the mental stimulus of entertainment; if you find yourself treating a complete stranger with heartfelt kindness without wanting anything from him or her... it means that a space has opened up, no matter how briefly, in the otherwise incessant stream of thinking that is the human mind." - A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle

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Ich lese….

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The time keeper by Mitch Albom

The art of thinking clearly by Rolf Dobelli

The first phone call from heaven by Mitch Albom

Inferno by Dan Brown

For one more day by Mitch Albom

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

A study in scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom

Have a little faith by Mitch Albom

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

A Fresh Start by John Chapman

Inspiring quotes!

If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other? (God in "Evan Almighthy")
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
Aggie: "But what about the people who hurt you? Don't you ever want to make them suffer?" Norman Babcock: "Well, yeah, but what good would that do? You think just because there's bad people that there's no good ones either? I thought the same thing for a while. But there's always someone out there for you. Somewhere." - Paranorman
“You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” by Walter Hagen
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, body totally worn out and screaming "WOOOHOOOO what a ride!" - by anonymous
When you travel, it’s not like you take a part of each place away with you; rather, it’s as if you leave a part of yourself there, like a part of you forever belongs to that place – the time, the people, and the things you saw; and over time, it gets burned deeper into your soul - by anonymous