Mei by Fat Spoon

Hello hello!

This is going to be a random review in a long time. It’s probably not even a review – I just wanna share some things that we had at a recent outing with Vivien, Ginny and Joshua who is now working with Xiaomi in Beijing!! We tried Mei by Fat Spoon which is located in Desa Sri Hartamas. It was pretty tough to find with all the shoplots all so packed in one place. Ginny and I drove and made a few round before we finally found it. Right before you turn in to the shoplot areas, it’s at the first row and appears quite early on your left. The sign is also not too huge, but if you keep your eyes peeled for a white interior restaurant you’ll probably find it. It’s a corner lot!

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The interiors were really pretty cement and solid. It’s quite echo-y if you want to get a good chat over some good dinner. Most of the people who frequent the place are usually the more mature crowd from the urban society. We bumped into more than 5 friends there, no kidding. The owners are also running around themselves serving the customers, so you get pretty good service!

Ginny and I arrived first before the rest came. We sat around for about 30 minutes before we ordered anything – and they were pretty pleasant about it. That’s nice for such a packed place. Well, actually that’s nice for any place. I wouldn’t want to be hogging someone’s table for long. Especially if when we’re more than two!

Vivien came soon after being stuck in the traffic – and we just had Joshua left to start ordering! I already screen through the menu beforehand and it seems like they are more of a Japanese-Western fusion kind of place.

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DSC04613Hello there Joshua!

He sat down and was like “Woah, four of us use different phones”. Ginny uses a Blackberry, Vivien a Samsung/HTC, Joshua a Xiami and I an Apple. That’s kind of funny! Does any of you still uses a Blackberry? I kinda thought it died out but Ginny just recently bought a new one to replace her old one pfft. Loyal blueberry fan forever.

While waiting for our food, I walked around to take some photos of their counter tops and interior. They serve some onigiri’s and various types of cakes for you to nom over simple conversations. Pretty cool! They even have smoked duck onigiri. Super noms – just saw this after reviewing my photos.

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This was their waiting area. Love the minimalistic look.

 

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The girls. We used to call ourselves the Fishball Clan. I wonder if it still exists.

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I love pasta- so I had to try their Spaggheti Carbonara with Pork Bacon ! It was quite yummy.

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I suspect this was Vivien’s but I cant be too sure. This was the Torched Salmon Rice, if I’m not wrong.

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Also ordered a pot of tea that comes with two nice tea cups. Love it when we can share our tea. Any kind of tea!

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Okay, group selfie. It’s a pretty grainy photo – my bad. But the original quality wasn’t that good. Tried to brighten it up abit but it turned out super grainy. Wanted to re-edit it but I replaced the file in my computer. I guess this works.

So that was a brief overview of what happened in Fat Spoon. Overall, I felt like the place was quite cool and worth a try. I don’t know if we will come to one day, where we think “Man I want the carbonara by Fat Spoon” cause the taste wasn’t anything too astounding. But that being said, I feel like if I was already around the area and was looking for a place to eat – I would come back. I wished they tried to cut down on the echo of the place. Love how well lit the place is though. Lots of restaurants got to buck up with that.

So, till next time!

Backupophia – if that exists!

Hello all!

I am lost for abit – but trust me next month will be such a good month!! This month also probably got at least two updates so please come back soon. Maybe I try to do soon. It’s also about 2AM now – but i’m still up doing one of the most paranoid things ever. I’m backing up my Iphone photos. To another hard disk. And another. And another one. I now finally can go to sleep in an hour, after I finish having 3 exact same copies of photos in three different external hard disks.

I started developing this fear of losing my photos after I lost them once in a thumbdrive. Since then, I’ve learnt that I don’t mind paying more to be able to keep those photos forever. And one hard disk is just NOT going to do it. Two, sounds good. But three? That sounds like a pretty awesome plan. I’m not sure if they have a diagnosis for this –  backupophobia, or something.

So while waiting, I figured I should just blog while spending my time here in the living room. This week has been quite happening. As I’m typing this my body is pulsating from being tired, but I will fight through!! Spent quite a good amount of time running around One Utama yesterday trying to pick up stuff for an office warming party, and we stayed up pretty late (for me lah pfft) so me being me, my stamina just won’t make the cut for 14 hour outings – and I was quite burnt out by the time I was on the way home. I felt like my body was a pulsating machine pfft. I slept it all off until about 2PM today. So I woke up a happy girl, but less productive one. Well, I’m here compensating my day by giving it a few more extra hours and I’m throwing myself on the bed! Just turned on the aircond 10 minutes ago, so it should be good and chilly by the time I go in!

Forgot to take photos from the party last night – but vlogged quite abit. Hopefully you all menyokong vlogs vlogs saya, because I find documenting things that way are a whole lot more efficient. Just whip camera out – say some words, and tada!!

Okay, I’m just two minutes away from done. Please watch my vlog from last week for now – see you soon!!

I’m Okay, You’re Okay Too.

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Last week was one that put my family and I on a short hiatus away from everything.

We received news of the passing of an uncle who has always been around us for family gatherings and did not entirely expect him to be leaving us so soon despite having some health issues. We spent a total about 3 days at the wake with everybody in the family together at the same place. My uncle was the youngest of all his siblings and following Chinese traditions, only those who were of a lower status in the family tree were allowed to pray for him.

As he was the youngest of the generation, my cousins and I along with his only child Jynn did the prayers. All 6 of us stood by Jynn for the past 3 days of the wake, and everytime I sit behind Jynn (the child has to be at the front row) – i wonder how is it like for him. He is a 15 year old boy, with shoulders that were no broader than his mom. He was only beginning to sprout in height, but have only shot over his equally petite framed mother in the recent months. How is it like for him?

Along the wake I think to myself – that nobody is ever prepared for such news. Nobody can ever be prepared enough to go through the passing of a relative. We can always expect it if there were symptoms, but when it comes – it still comes as a shock. I think back to when I was 15 – I was getting ready for PMR. Now that I think of it, 15 was also a life-turning phase for me because of certain personal incidents – but tracing my years back, I still felt like I was old enough to handle many major things. But now, now that I look at those shoulders and observe his frame from behind – I see a fragile young boy who was never built for this. Yet, he stood tough and lifted his head up. He never forgets to flash a smile or two when speaking to people who came to the wake. Friends who have come to pay their last respects give him a tight hug, but he comforts them back in return.

“Its for the best, its for the best”

Does he mean those words? Does he really know the meaning to those words? Why does a 15 year old have to carry the burden of making it alright for everybody when it’s not okay for him. He should have had his own liberty to be mourning in tears – but he decided otherwise. For that I look up to his courage. He may be a naughty kid in school, or a lazy child at home – but those don’t matter right now. What matters now is that a child has lost a lifetime companion who has been there for him since he was born – his own father.

During the last moments of the wake, right before they sealed up the casket – the emcee guided friends and family to a few rituals. I watched those shoulders shake. Tears streamed down his skin but he refrained from wiping them too much because people from the back may know. But I saw the tears all roll down to his collar bones, and on to the collar of his white t-shirt. His eyes shut tight  – so tight I could see the wrinkles at the corner of his eyes. He swallows his cries and lets it go back down his throat. I could see him trembling.

At one point, somebody softly calls out to him. He hears it the first time, and quickly wipes of whatever that’s on this face – and waits for the second call. When it came, he turned back with a face so normal only with slightly red eyes and flashed a smile. That was the most heart wrenching smile I’ve seen in a lifetime. That smile is now engraved in my mind – and I have flashbacks of what it felt like to see that smile, just seconds after all that trembling. It froze me inside, and sent me to a deep pool of thoughts. How?

Through all that, I tried to refrain from looking at him because we all know the effects. It turns into a relay of tears and my family is mainly built with females – probably doesn’t help if it starts. The wake went smoothly with dear friends and distant family members travelling to bid their last goodbyes. Thank you for everyone who came, and with misfortune comes a blessing – I was happy everyone in the family were there for each other in times like this.

Rest in peace, Uncle Peter.

Verdict: 50 Shades of Grey

I watched it!

The very first memory I have of the book was probably back in 2010 – 2011. It was the most talked about book, so many of my girlfriends were raving about how romantic the book was (or maybe they didn’t exactly use the word ‘romantic’). I loved romantic novels so I was quite interested but never really took the extra step to march in the bookstores for it. I then had my first encounter with the book.

I was  still an intern with Esquire Malaysia and with one of the shoots, I had to find a copy of the book and make the talents from the shoot read a passage of their choice out loud. When I first got hold of the book, I flipped through and stopped right at at the middle of the novel – just to see if it was easy to read so I could pick one up on the way home. I read, didn’t even batter an eye, and tried to read harder. I flipped a few more pages. And another few more. Nobody warned me about the book. I didn’t even think much about when the team wanted the talents to read it during brainstorming. “Probably just a session to showcast their talents”. Wow. All I can say is, I didn’t really get along with the book and was quite turned off. It probably wasn’t my kind of genre, i didn’t even bother giving the synopsis a look up. What I saw was pain.

A few years forward, the story comes alive again. Those who owns the book celebrates the movie version, and  “hopes the movie version gives justice to the book”. The trailer goes viral the day it’s released and I remembered my impression of it. I clicked on the trailer, also with curiosity, to see if it tallies with what I’ve briefly read in the book years ago. Actually, I didn’t even have to. The preview thumbnail of the video was of a women blindfolded laid on her back. Still, curiosity gets the better of me. I watched the trailer. “Great soundtrack, I wonder who sang that”.

Months later – the movie was released. People were overjoyed because it was going to show here in Malaysia (didn’t end up like so). Everyone didn’t have to wait long before the movie was uploaded online for free streaming. The link was being shared in Facebook for days by so many people around my circle. One evening, I just decided to click into it. And watched the whole movie. The version I watched was probably quite heavily censored, but I would say i preferred it that way.

How’s the movie?

Since I’ve never read the book I can’t say if it did the book justice. But all in all, I’d think it was an “okay” kind of movie. Probably 5.5 out of 10. It could be a 6. Watching it till the end, I think i finally found the reason why most of the people raving about this story were mostly females. I think. I THINK. I think I understood what the “romantic” side of the story was above all that painstaking interest of sexual pleasures.  I saw the impression of how the woman wanted to change her man into somebody he is not. He was tough. But he gave in, step by step. What’s best? He was a handsome and capable man – that probably fits the puzzle for most woman who wishes nothing but a man who gives in to her hopelessly romantic desires.

…and that’s probably all the logic I see in this movie. I respect the storyline, but I was looking for a reason as to why it went viral. Probably because of the obvious, but what puzzles me is the reason as to why so many woman out there are happy and overjoyed for such peculiar treatment? It almost feels like a celebration. Either that, or I just suck at appreciating what many may see as “art”.

Whatever it is – I probably just need to take a chill pill, move on with life, and stop wondering about these things. But honestly though, the painful intimacy aside – it may have made quite a sweet story.

Signing out x

March Update!

Hello!

Thank you everybody for being so nice to drop by still during CNY period. So surprised at the stats!

I have been away at Langkawi during Chinese New Year with my immediate family along with Cousin Jynn, Grandma and aunt. I blogged consistently with Dayre (https://dayre.me/nataliechai) so if you want to see what kind of (uninteresting) things happen there just click the link to kepoh lah. Or if you are too lazy you can also watch the video below.

The biggest highlight this horrendous cable car ride! It was quite nice lah the view and all, but dang – the experience on unclosed doors was quite unpleasant. Please read more on my Dayre, abit lazy to repeat again – but its a very interesting story i promise!

Besides that, I’m pretty happy because its finally March and I’m kicking back to work. For those who may not know, I have already shifted jobs and is no longer with my previous job that I blogged about few months ago. I still really miss the times there, but I think what’s in store for me now may just be something I find myself to be more suited in. They still have similiar scopes though, but it’s what i enjoy doing :)

 

Ok lah short update for now! Come back soon!

Hello everyone.

I’ve been wanting to give my blog a facelift since forever. The only reason why i still use this template is because it’s the only template available that can fit my photos in the perfect size I like, and its a comfortable hue of blue. As for the fishes behind all these texts (hopefully when you read this in the near future, they will be gone and replaced by an elegant background – probably means white to me pfft), let’s just say I’m not a big fan.

It’s tough for me to change templates because my domain is under a friend’s and I don’t exactly have the flexibility to change much things or host images under my WordPress account. So every time I upload a photo for a post, I gotta do it through a third party image hosting site (right now its still Flickr) and embed the HTML here in the text area – one by one! So what this means, is that I can’t really customize photos to put in headers and such because those things needs my photos to be hosted by my server (but I don’t have that flexibility). Not that i’m complaining – already got the domain for free I can’t ask for more cherries on top of free ice cream. Still very grateful for the domain!

Getting my server provider to help me find a middle ground for this! So let’s keep our fingers crossed and wish that I can finaly get things around. Can’t have fishes swimming here and there in circles still in 2015. Maybe my superstitious grandma will say it signifies luck that is circling in a pot pfft. But hey, this year proved to be pretty good so far!

Yesterday was Valentines day. Oh! Speaking of Valentines Day – recently got to do a little something with the boys at The Ming Thing for a little skit on How to Buy A Valentines Day Gift! Have you watched it yet? Cause if you haven’t, I shall do the honors of embedding it for you right down below!

So what did you guys do for Valentines day, or week? Gosh waking up to Instagram and Facebook that morning was seriously just full of -.-. It’s not so much of a “Omg I’m so jealous” “Omg why am I still single” kind of =.=. It’s just the feeling of scrolling endlessly through a flower catalogue. Which one to buy for my mother’s birthday. Not flowers, then maybe catalogue of where to have the best Valentines getaway. Feels like a competition with each other. Or maybe this is what a girl who sits at home enjoying McDonalds bought by her mom will say.

How did I wake up to Valentines? I woke up to matching T-shirts with my mom, and got instructed to order McD right away. Well, at least McD was the good part of the day. It became my Valentine photo. And it got a good amount of engagement. I like to think that people like my choice of Valentines.

Other than that, I am also a very happy girl today because I finally got RM 48 waived off my phone bill. It was me second time filing  a ‘complaint’. So this was what happened. I’ve always had a 1GB internet plan (costs RM 48 per month) but in January, I decided that I’d try downgrading to see if I can just work with 500MB. I’m always at the office so I usually just use up to 650MB and that’s it. If I control a little bit more, I can probably save a little money. So what I did to change the plan, was that I ran a code on my phone and changed the plan through the code. This was what the counter advised me to to do about a year ago.

So this time I remembered that advise, and did just that. In the month of January, I tracked my usage and made sure i used less that 500MB because I know that I’ll be painfully charged if I went over the quota. Of course, I can’t do that without a trusty dta tracker app. The bill for January soon came and I realised I was not only charged for my 500MB (RM 38) but my monthly 1GB was still running! I was not happy, of course and wanted to waive it off. So I went to the Maxis branch in Pavilion to try to sort things out an explained it to him. I then found out that the codes that ran in my phone were only applicable for Quota Upgrades. So if I was on a 1GB plan and thought I needed more, I can get there and upgrade my plan for the particular month.

Well, made sense. But not what I was made to understand the last time. So I still thought it was unfair for them to teach me A, but end up charging me for that. The Pavilion branch tried to help, but only said they would submit a case. They would waive off the amount for me if they find that my usage was indeed lower than 500MB. He also promised that I would get a Case Text to indicate that the case was being submitted and reviewed in 30 minutes after we left the counter. I waited the next 24 hours. Nothing.

So two weeks forward, today – I went to the KLCC branch. I like that branch a whole lot better because people in general seem to know what they are doing and are more understanding and helpful. But honestly, I went there with preparation to be like “rawr rawr i haven’t had lunch” tone incase they turn the fault on entirely on me. So before I sat down I told the lady it was my second time doing this (so she is prepared incase I don’t end up being happy at her :P) and gosh, was so relieved when she willingly waived the amount of after understanding my account. I could see she had the “That was a Quota Upgrade code, not a Plan Change code” face going on – but I think the lesson here is that I now know that the method doesn’t work. And most importantly I wasn’t charged for nothing. She also kindly helped me shift my plan to one that’s more valuable, so I’m very happy with her service!

Okay that’s all to end my day!

Goodnight everybody :)

Palsaik BBQ Media Appreciation Night

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Had some good nommy in the morning!

About two weeks ago I received an email inviting me for a media appreciation night because of a review I put up online (not requested by them of course). I’ve also realized that many of the readers end up here because of all these food reviews and Palsaik BBQ has been one of the more popular posts in that genre over the past few months since I’ve put that up. This time I didn’t know how to expect so I invited a friend who I knew loved samgyupsal as much as I do. Jocelyn came over to pick me up 45 minutes before the event and we headed on to the Scotts Garden outlet. Palsaik BBQ has one outlet in Soho KL but the one in Scotts Garden is their second outlet. I’ve never been to this branch.

The outlet here is pretty isolated I must say – the building felt a little dodgy, but Jocelyn said its a popular spot for the people who are working in the offices nearby. Probably that’s where they get the crowd. We arrived at the place just 5 minutes before the event. I was kinda worried that there wasn’t going to be anything going on because I didn’t receive any call of sorts or a confirmation email for my RSVP. I think I’m just not good with RSVPs haha.

Walking towards the restaurant there still didn’t seem like there was any set up outside. I was getting a little worried until we walked in and we saw a reception counter set up. Registered ourselves and we could choose a place to sit at. Palsaik reserved a whole area in the restaurant just for the bloggers and media in conjunction with their anniversary. We were one of the earlier ones (although we were on time!) so we got to choose our spot.

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We chose Table No 1 at the corner!

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This is like Jocelyn’s staple angle everytime I try to take a photo. She turns a side and pretends to look at something.

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The servers quickly came to ask what we’d like to have. It was free flow night so we could have anything we wanted. There was some grape wine, makgeolli, and everything to choose from. We just chose the basics and had lemon cider.

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For those who missed out my first Palsaik review, you will first be served 3 bowls. One with a snack appetizer of cucumber and a sauce. It tastes quite nice if you treat it as a dip. The salad has a soury vinegar kind of taste to it. I usually take alot of this when we got for BBQ! Another empty bowl is for the soup that they will serve with the sets.

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Soon people start flocking in and filling up the place. I think this was only at about 7.50ish?

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Soon we could start eating! They started to serve us some kimchi on the BBQ plates. Apparently these plates are all customised for Palsaik and are made to not stick to your meat! They also go through maintenance every 3 months to make sure they are clean and glossed.

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The famous stretch of 8 Flavored Pork Slices!

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Jocelyn just….wishing meat cooked faster.

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We were also served the premium kimchi. This one you usually have to order of the menu. It tastes different from the ones you are served on the BBQ plate. This kimchi is fermented for about a month before being served to you so it has a really sour taste to it. May taste bad for some people who isn’t used to the taste. But it is super yummy when you put it in a wrap!

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All these food – just for TWO OF US!

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Slicing the meat up one by one. Perfect bite size. You can order rice to go with it if you want, but because it was just both of us we didn’t want to order any rice so we can finish everything!

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Lanceolate root! The server initially introduced it as ginseng root. I was hesitating a little because I didn’t like ginseng. I just assumed it was going to taste like one cause it was a root. But to my surprise, it was actually quite yummy! The texture is similiar to one of a mushroom, and because the red sauce (which wasn’t spicy) is quite strong – it overpowers the taste. So good for those who are a little scared of the taste of ginseng, good for you – cause its not ginseng! 

Also, random fact. The Lanceolate root is a herb that can be eaten raw or cooked. It is used to treat lung abscesses, milk-flow obstruction (good for mummies?) and inflamed boil among many other. Many of the Koreans eat it as a food medicine apparently. All these Karen, the media relations email to tell me one pfft. Actually not so intelligent can remember so many things. When you are there just eat eat eat saje.

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My kind of wrap. We call is ssam! I love big big ssams!

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Pajeon! Or known as Korean pancake. This had some vegetables and squid – but the taste was yummy too. Not sure if this is in the menu. I think the samonim (lady boss) specially made this for the event.

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There was also a lucky draw! They had three tiers. Two vacuum cleaners, a TV, and the Grand Prize Winner could get TWO RETURN TICKETS TO KOREA!!! GOSH!!

Damn lucky right the winner! At first I was looking at the vacuum cleaners because they looks so high tech. I always like cleaning gadgets not sure why. They started the lucky draw and of course my name wasn’t called for both vacuum cleaners. I was abit sad – then I started eyeing on the TV. Then I started to think so much about what if I won the TV. Where should I put the TV? I don’t have a place in my room. My living room TV still works well. If I choose to give it to my aunty, i heard she just recently got a new TV. Gosh think so much for what. Then anyway, they drew the winner for the TV. Clearly not me.

Okla second runner up and first runner up not me. Not my business anymore. Jocelyn and I looked at each other and just said “Nothing to do here” and continued eating while the picked the winner for the two return tickets to Korea. Suddenly, I heard my name being called along with my blog name. Jocelyn and I looked at each other for abit with our eyes extended to its widest. Then it hit me.

DID…I…JUST…GET…PICKED??

O.O

Crap, I really did. I stood up slowly and walked towards the front, still in disbelief. Didn’t know what to do, didn’t even know what it meant to win the tickets. Does this mean I’m going to Korea for free? O.O My gawd. So I took a photo with the mock cheque or something and went back to eat. Texted my mom and told her we’re probably going to Korea pfft. But I haven’t gotten any details on the tickets yet. BUT GOSH.

I CAN FINALLY SAY I ACTUALLY GOT CHOSEN TO WIN SOMETHING IN A LUCKY DRAW!! AND AIRPLANE TICKETS TO TOP!

Checked off my to-experience list!

So yes, that pretty much wrapped up the night. So glad I actually decided to go! Thanks Jocelyn for coming with me!

Thanks Palsaik BBQ for organizing this. Thank God for allowing my humble name to be picked. It is a blessing of some sort and I honestly appreciate it!

HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY AGAIN, PALSAIK! <3

Sincerely,
Samgyupsal Fan Forever

 

5 Questions – Once Every Month.

I don’t think I’ve ever been bothered by menstruation as much I am becoming to be over the past years. To the extend that I will actually blog about it. It probably is the most ‘personal’ post I have ever put on this blog that has to do with human excretes. ANYWAY, yes – menstruation. Slowly, the idea and its uncertainty of timing slowly creeps on me every single month. Every month I find myself asking The 4W1H.

  1. Who EXACTLY will I be with when you come?
  2. What EXACTLY should I wear on the day you come?
  3. Where EXACTLY will you come?
  4. When EXACTLY are you going to come?
  5. How EXACTLY are you going to tell me you are coming?

Honestly, timing has never really been a problem. All these while, period come on the same day EVERY single month and I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. I didn’t even need to know if I was craving for chocolates, I just KNEW and expected the arrival of Aunty P. But as years past (and probably comes with age when hormones change), I think things just start to slowly shift and for a good few months now there has been so much guessing. Ladies out there, let’s all hold hands and pray for a universal period date pfft.

Actually you know what, a friend of mine actually came to me and asked “Hey girls, so when exactly is the date you girls get your period?” So a few of us was like “Uhm..” and answering our own dates (we’re all close friends!). Then he blinked and said “Huh, you mean you all get it on different dates?”. HAHAHAHA.

But that got me thinking – how awesome can that be? Everybody having synchronised menstruation timing. Everybody would have extra sanitaries for each other when we’re short, we can just knock on the strangers cubicle next door in a public washroom and she is BOUND to have something to save you when you welcome the unexpected. How convenient. You don’t ever have to be confused if whether  your tummy ache is a pre-period tummy ache or if its from breakfast. Universal period dates makes life much more easier!

Guys, if you don’t know what this does to us – it spoils quite a good number of our plans. We don’t get to wear that white dress in case of leakage, some of us can’t get something cold to drink because it hurts, and most importantly for me – I hate it when it clashes with holidays. However, it seems to always be the case. When it comes during a holiday or when you are away from home, you worry about other things like if the bathroom is well equipped in the place you are going to be at. Because really, I don’t know about you – but there is a degree of filth that  I feel NEEDS to get out of my system when it is MY week.

I have also recently encountered losing appetite because of menstruation. Didn’t feel like eating the WHOLE day – that’s quite crazy actually. I asked to share a bowl of noodles with my mom but I ended up eating only quarter of it. Just wasn’t feeling it at all. Meow.

Yes anyway, just wanted to say this. And if I could get something to just give me the answers to all the 5 Golden questions above – that’d be great.

But I say first ah – this one joking only please  (incase this one becomes a curse or something pfft)

/scaredycat

How I Learnt New Languages Efficiently!

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Well, given that I’ve attempted learning Korean and Chinese (both written and spoken) and have somewhat managed to go through it without losing my hair, I’d like to think that I kind of have a grasp of what works and not when learning a new language. People come to me and ask if it’s tough, learning these language – it is. I’m not going to hide it – but it wasn’t so difficult that I was on the verge of giving up at any point. I’ll probably put up a vlog on this when I have time but for now let’s do a blog post!

Let’s get real – Chinese is one of the MOST difficult languages that we can ever imagine to have. And who in the world learns Korean just for fun? Nobody. I didn’t, but I’ll work on that later. I have decided to break down what worked for me  in points!

 

#1 : Learn to love the hardest part of the language – written form.

Korean : You would have thought it’s the weirdest language out there with squares and boxes, and it must be so hard learning to read all that stuff. The hook that got me to learning this was when I found out the language was alphabetical and in nowhere near Chinese where a stroke could change the whole meaning of the word. I got so enticed just realizing that fact – that I was on a roller coaster on memorizing the words over two days.

Chinese : All Chinese letters are pretty easy to write. You just have to remember the simple elements of fire, wood, animal, food, water. Anything that has to do with water (sea, ocean, pool) always has the water element next to the word. The supporting character for you to read it out and give it its own meaning would be another simple character.

 

#2 : You CAN’T stop at intermediate level. KEEP GOING.

Before you start, prepare mentally to survive till advanced level. This is an advice that has been given by SO MANY lecturers from Korea and Beijing – and I stay true to that.

Just because you can already read the words, and hold a simple conversation now – doesn’t mean you will remember how in a couple of years down. Your brain can only sustain information (especially when it comes to a foreign language that you may not use commonly) when you reach an advanced level where you do not need to thread words together before saying them. This makes it that when you stop using it as often as when you learnt the language, it just degrades to an intermediate level – but you will still be able to brush things up in no time when you are determined to get back to advanced level.

For those who stopped at intermediate level will probably see what I mean.

 

#3: Learn with New Media

I love songs and watching movies. I made it a point to polish pronunciation and listening skills by switching all entertainment to the language I was learning. When I was learning Korean, almost everything on my playlist was Korean. I watched Korean movies, dramas, sitcoms. I didn’t go through a day without listening to Korean. Same thing too when I was in Beijing.

I downloaded a music app that only played Chinese songs that had lyrics in Chinese and romanized words so I turned that on every morning when I was getting ready. Before going to bed, I just let the TV play so that I could watch dramas or them reading news. Even if this may not mean that I could understand everything, your brain is actually absorbing on the pronunciation and placement of grammar. It may even be something as simple as “News is brought to you by…” or “Coming up next..”. Your brain picks that up unknowingly because its on repeat – and it may not be a practical thing you will be able to use right away. But you will be surprised how fast your sleeping mind picks up compared to your conscious state.

 

#4 : Start translating early!

Yeap. Even as a newbie. 3-4 weeks into learning the language.

For those learning Korean, you’ve got the best choice of songs. Kpop songs usually don’t make sense and are CRAZY repetitive. Learn translating those songs line by line – download one of those dictionary apps on your phone. I personally recommend Daum Dictionary. For example, I’m just going to pick the simplest and most famous Korean song. Gangnam Style. You will realize that there are repetitions of the same word. Find out what they are and they probably are words that are very commonly used in the context of conversational language.

Romanised Version

Areumdawo / sarangseureowo /
Keurae neo /  hey / keurae / baro / neo /hey
Areumdawo / sarangseureowo /
Keurae / neo / hey / keurae /baro/ neo hey

Translated Version :

Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Now let’s go until the end

Well, now you know Areumdawo is Beautiful. And Sarangseureowo is Loveable!

It is a proven method to work and get the words in your head.

Translate your favorite songs of the language even if its tough. Go through it over and over again. The feeling of understanding the song upon your own research is not an explainable feeling. It’s alot different than getting readily translated versions online. Doing this well enable you to identify the most common words and having translate c0untless of songs will remind you vocab by vocab each time they appear. You really only need 300 vocabs or so to be able to start speaking normally!

 

#5 Carry a D.I.Y Vocab book!

I wrote down words that I didn’t know but would like to know and went back to write it down. For example, after translating a song of choice – and I find that a word is used so ever so frequently I would write it down and separate it based on columns. It doesn’t have to be words you can use. Write down things that you find interesting, even if it is vulgar or too sexual. Yes I said it. There would be no context that you will be able to use it, but sometimes it’s these triggers that helps us remember grammar better because of its shock level.

Here’s a glimpse into my first DIY book. I have two of these over the span of time I was learning. But really, the first one already had me speaking quite comfortably!

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After jotting down random words, you can advance to writing down sentences that you learn or hear by the streets like this below.

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What you do with this book, is that it has to be SMALL SIZED and you would be able to bring this book EVERYWHERE you go, or at least to the toilet when you can. Take it out and test yourself page by page, slowly. You don’t have to memorize everything. But what I do is I try to memorize one page (that probably has like 10 words?) and i test myself at the end of it – by covering the translation of it in English. I do that again the next session – and slowly you start to remember. Don’t move on so quickly just because you feel like you’ve got it. Get back to it at random times just to see if you know the words still.

You’d be surprised at how much you’ve grown. Looking back at my D.I.Y book now, puzzles me how those words were like algebra.

 

#6 Learn it with at least one friend that you know prior to classes (who is as determined as you are!) 

This is important because of the beginning stage of the learning experience. Enrolling yourself into a class will still get you friends to talk to. But you may not be as comfortable texting or conversing in the language because you may still be quite distant from each other. However if you get a friend to come in with you, you start making silly mistakes and you may even be braver to ask questions on what you missed out and make fun of the people in the class or parts of the class.

Maybe you both found one of the words to sound very much like a very obscene word in your first language, that would be a good thing to laugh over – and also will be a good memory trigger :) You will also end up growing with a friend and it just makes it more fun to be able to share secrets over a foreign language that nobody else knows. It’s almost like a special power.

 

#7 Be Brave To Make Mistakes! 

There is no more advice more previous than this.

Make your mistakes, with whatever you have. Use sign language – you will learn from this making mistakes and being corrected because it also triggers a shock factor into your mind and you WILL remember it because there is an instance that helps you. Everybody has student ego at some point, when you believe you have known enough for your own liking. It is at these times that it is best to test it out and be prepared to be corrected. I still am being corrected till this day and do not mind it one bit! You NEED grammar nazi’s to help you with this.

 

#8 Talk to yourself. Have an imaginary friend.

I’ve never told anybody this. But I had my imagination turned on ever so often when I was learning the languages. Before I slept, I imagined instances and I would speak out loud as part of being in a conversation. I was both A and B who was speaking to each other. I know it sounds kind of odd and not everybody can do this. But doing this more gave me confidence and realization that I could actually say the things I want to say. It can’t be scripted, I had to come up with my own impromptu responses. Nobody was there to judge me – and I was braved to use words that were at the back of my head!

I imagine marketplaces alot and quarreling with old nasty women. That was a way to fire up conversations.

Then I’d go to bed. Not long after, I started dreaming in the language I was learning. Always happens :)

Tracking Mania

Man.

I feel like I’m almost getting obsessed with refreshing my DHL parcel. I ordered a laptop sometime last week and because I’ve heard reviews about it coming super quickly – I am so excited. My current one is working just alright (have I mentioned this before, cause this feels like deja vu), but it is beginning to slow down when I need to multitask. And I am that absolute multi tasker when I am online, because I always have at least like 10 tabs opened and each are loading a video. I may also have Photoshop and the video editor opened simultaneously and they take up alot of memory just processing the applications. So I decided to grit my teeth and get myself a new one, so waiting on it is just so exciting.

I keep refreshing the tracking page, and each time I wake up I hope it says its being delivered – but it’s never that. So at one points it says, processing cleared, sent to facility – I was like heck yes! Then two hours later, it updates again and says processing cleared. How many processings need to be cleared ah? Can’t just all processing stages be cleared before you tell me processing is cleared because for me all processing is one thing.

But then again, nothing is ever enough. Maybe I’d also be  complaining if they dont break down every cleared process to me pfft – but if I never knew, I wouldn’t right?

I called DHL just to check if my package was gonna come in today because I was afraid that they would send it after office hours. Got it to be sent to my dad’s shop because it’s such a hassle to send it to my house because there are alot of security barriers that I or the deliveryman will have to deal with. Then I got paranoid before I called so I Googled “Does anybody check if their package will arrive at the office today”, or “Should I call DHL, will they know if I am another annoying buyer of this brand”. Didn’t want the customer service person from DHL go generalizing and be all “These people, always calling to check on a small thing – I know just who and what type of person you are”. Afraid of being judged pfft. Turns out so many people DO call up to ask the same question, so I decided to take advantage of the majority actions so I wouldn’t be identified pfft. I know, my brain goes both sides.

Few hours later, I wanted to call again but was paranoid that the system says “Second Attempt Caller” with regards to my mobile number. So I’ve decided to play it cool with DHL. So now my records are clean, and I am an appropriate and patient person by records!

Here’s the thing with me, when you give me a tracking code – all I want to do with my life is just to track it down until it gets delivered to my place. Be it Pizza, Dominos, McDonalds or even just online shopping! Are you guys with me on this! Now I’m trying to play a game with myself to see if my mind control is stronger or if my impatience is stronger. It’s like I’m playing pull and push with nobody but myself. Sigh.

ALSO, random fact – my tracking number has my exact birthday on it, the year, month and date all put together. Now I feel like my new laptop is going be my soulmate pfft. And it’s not even tailored based on my buying information. It’s an airway bill. Whutt?  /cues You Are My Destiny song

Okay that’s all I wanna say for now.

P/S : I know the world doesn’t really work like that, but you know what I mean!

UPDATE : Okay, I didn’t get to stop myself from making that second call. So I did. This morning I was told it’d come by 2 or latest by tomorrow. I didn’t have high hopes for it to arrive today. But I made a second call – and it probably is only coming NEXT Wednesday/Thursday because we have a Public Holiday on Mon and Tues. Smoking bacon. I need some of that for comfort.