Taking Stock #1/2015

This place has very much been reduced to a platform for me to document my travels. The drive to write has been lost to a combination of laziness and busyness. Very convenient excuses indeed. Hence I decided to kickstart the writing again, by doing quarterly stock take. Not to see how far I have come in terms of accomplishments but to see if I have remember to live my life or conveniently let work consume my life again.

The year so far since Dec has been great in terms of catching up old friends. I had my first sec sch gathering after many long years. So one Saturday saw around 20 over ladies took over the Straits Kitchen with our boisterous laughter. Time didn’t seem to have passed between us.  Out came the photographs and stories of our past antics. The happiness at meeting everyone almost choked me up with emotions. It was the first time that I felt like this at a sch gathering. It just showed how wonderful my sec sch days were with these ladies.

At work, I was made to do a ukulele performance with my colleagues at our annual appreciation night. It was a most stressful period, juggling with the practices and expectations. I was only glad that I had the fullest support of my instructor whom I reconnected with because of this performance. I also finally got down to putting myself on a class waiting list for more advance ukulele lesson. The next few months will also probably see me starting on a new chapter at work if all things go well.

I also resumed regular exercise after laying off running after the HK Standard Chartered Run. The NTUC Income Run was a painful experience and it just showed that I am not just as good as I am in a 10km run. Perhaps it was a sign to just stick to 10km? Still too early to make such a decision. I also finally took up Pilates Reformers, which has been great in the overall sense of healthy living and improving my runs. Actually also tried Redefined Intense Organised Training (RIOT) but the sessions were torturous and I decided it was just not for me. I have also been on an almost daily breakfast of oat and fish oil supplements in a bid to cut down on my cholesterol level. It remains to be seen in 2 weeks time if it works.

NTUC Income Run. It has been a long time since I could wake myself up at unearthly hours for a run.
NTUC Income Run. It has been a long time since I could wake myself up at unearthly hours for a run.

On the family front, Megan turned 10 recently and Marcus will be 8 this weekend. Time flies. I was also reminded of my parents’ mortality again after my father’s knee replacement surgery and especially LKY’s passing. It signals an end to an era, which parents grew up in. I have also tried to go to church more regularly. 2 friends have given me a book ‘The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?’ as a Christmas present to encourage me to embrace Christianity and to go to church more often. I am still working hard at the church going. Unfortunately, I have not started on the book yet, which I am aiming to finish on my coming holiday.

It doesn’t seem too bad for 1st quarter of the year.

Re-visiting Macau

Macau is beautiful without the casinos

I had a 2-day short trip to Macau before the Standard Chartered Run in Hong Kong. I chose to stay at the Taipa this time hoping to explore a little of this side of Macau. The biggest differences I observed about Macau compared to my last visit was the place is inundated with Mainland Chinese and the air quality has become very compared due to the numerous construction going on.

I brought my mother along for this trip. She has never been to Macau before. Both of us are not casino types of persons, so we didn’t set food into a single casino. The only thrill she got was taking and shuttling between the various casinos on the free shuttle buses as we explore Macau.

I had a quick meet-up with a course mate in Macau. That was the biggest take-away for the trip. It had been a year since we last met and bonded over shopping and food in Hong Kong. I was really happy to meet her again and it made me realise I truly miss the times and people I met when I stayed in Hong Kong for a month in 2013.

再次起跑

Carnival mood at the run at 6.15am

A month has since passed since I ran the Standard Chartered Run in Hong Kong.  Once again, it was a superb run in terms of organisation.  I did the 2nd race of may Category this time, starting at 6.45am. It wasn’t as cold as last year. Probably because I was more prepared in wearing thicker and long sleeves running attire. I didn’t better my timing this year as I didn’t have time to train for it. I was almost 4 mins slower compared to last year, finishing with a time of 1hr and 7min.

Chicago (6 – 7 Dec)

Millenium Park - The Bean

It was a long journey to Chicago. After the official work was done, I stayed back for 2 days to do a little sightseeing with my friend. A friend whom I met in LA 7 years ago. It was great catching up and her warm hospitality made my stay in the city so personal and memorable.

The snippets of photos do not do justice to the Christmas mood in Chicago. I still remember the excitement from the children and adults on the CTA platform when Santa train rode in. The spontaneous singing of “Jingle Bell Rock” in the Santa train. And the lights in the Lincoln Park Zoo. How cool is that! Too bad the Maggie Daley Park was still weeks to opening when I was there.

Got to try Chicago in the summer! That’s what everyone I met told me. Yup! I will remember to do that again.

Tasmania and Melbourne (26 Oct – 9 Nov)

Tasmania - Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain

This was a highly anticipated holidays.

To wine and dine. The seafood especially the oysters! Salty Seas in St Helen gets our unanimous votes for the freshest and plumpest oysters.

To simply soak in the good company of the usual suspect.

Our travel plans were thrown array by the extreme weathers on Cradle Mountain. My first snow storm! Driving through it was scary but we made it to the lodge safely in the end. Hiking plans were quickly casted in favour for a tour in a 4-wheel-drive and snuggling up in the warm and toasty lodge. Seeing wineglass bay with my own eyes. Getting up close to wallaby and penguins. Water rafting in the rain and getting thrown into the water. Sampling the plants like how the local do it.  We did quite a lot in Tasmania in the span of 8 days.

And Melbourne! The heat! And of course catching up with a friend over breakfast! That was really the best part of the Melbourne leg.