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Let me begin this post with, I am writing the girls’ trip to Milan (Day 3) tomorrow.

I’ve learned this from a book called Eat the Frog or Eat the Frog first, something like that. It’s a book about overcoming procrastination, by tackling the most difficult task FIRST. So here I am, tackling this once-was-the-easiest-task-but-it’s-now-totally-not task — posting on time and committed to complete by far the most re-scheduled tasks in my journal.

I’m supposed to do the girls’ trip today. But I didn’t. I could have used the time now to draft that instead of this, but I choose to do this. Which made me realized, I’m more motivated to post inspirational/ motivational/ lesson-learned kind of posts compared to travelogue or reviews. Maybe it’s for me to narrow down to a few topic that truly inspires me, rather than juggling too many balls at the same time.

I’d like to dedicate this post to a friend of mine. Technically, she was more known to me as my friend’s girlfriend. Although I have met her a few times, we didn’t have the opportunity to talk to each other on a more personal level. She was several years younger than me, but she passed away due to dengue recently. I didn’t know dengue could be so deadly and it happened so fast and so unexpectedly.

Needless to say, the incident leaves my friend an unimaginable impact. Who would have guessed this? A little girl passed away at her twenties just like that. Life is so fragile. Was my first thought.

I met up with this friend yesterday, slightly a month after the incident. My intention was to check on him, see how’re things going on his side. Obviously, I wouldn’t expect to see him happy, but as a friend, I want to show support. I tried to be extra careful with my choice of word, I rehearse at least 2 times everytime before I say something. I know any kind of question or word will trigger his sadness. I mean, there really isn’t anything I could do to help someone feel better in this kind of situation.

After the conversation with my friend, here are my thoughts:

  1. Be the supportive friend and family, especially at times like that.
  2. Sometimes less is more. It’s applicable to words too.
  3. Memories could either heal or kill a person.
  4. We need to tell ourselves we don’t need to experience to learn.
  5. Quality is always more important than quantity.
  6. Live life to the fullest and don’t give yourself any chance to regret.

Things that we have been told over and over again, by the wise, by the experienced, yet, they don’t hit us until the very moment things occur. Let’s not take anything or anyone for granted. Biggest lesson learned today. And that is the lesson to be remembered for life.

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Girls’ Trip to Milan (Day 2)

After a well rested night, we started day 2 with a food tour. Booked the Milan Food Tour online just two days before our departure to Milan. It was highly recommended by my cousin, who just visited Milan few weeks before us. It’s a 3-hours Food Tour in Brera, which is the oldest neighborhood in Milan, and the size of the group varies depending on how many people book the tour. There was about 9 of us that day which I’d thought it was a pretty good size.

The meeting point was in front of a pastry shop called Panificio Pattini. We arrived around 10 am and apparently that pastry shop was our first stop. After the headcount, we went in and were served with a cup of coffee of our choice (the tour lady recommended cappuccino) and a pastry, I think it was the pasticiotti (mini pastries or pies with a tender crust and rich ricotta or custard filling). The tour lady also explained how Italian loves to stand by the counter and talk to the barista while they prepare their coffee and newspapers that local reads. It was a quick coffee fix before we headed to our second stop – Parma & Co.

There were people inside the deli preparing for business around 11.15 am but it only opens to the public after 12 pm. Our tour group was allowed to go in and was served 3 different types of Parma ham and assorted cheese. The tour lady shared some history of the deli, different cuts and parts of a pig and how the selection of cow milk affect the taste of the cheese. So much input for a morning! Haha!

After that, we continued our tour with more walking, which was good for digestion since we have another 4 more stops to go. We walked about 500 meters and arrived at Grassi e Rossi. It is a gourmet grocery store and has 4.8 out of 5 stars rating on Google based on 5 reviews. It’s like a one-stop-for-all-your-pasta-needs and they do have some outdoor seating in case you are interested in having a quick bite before continuing your day. We were given one risotto alla Milanese each to taste. Basically, it’s a fried rice ball with melted cheese inside. That’s my understanding of this Milanese style risotto.

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And we finally arrived the 4th stop of our tour, Jamaica dal 1911 Ristorante bar. It’s a hundred and six years old bar, as you may have guessed from the name itself. Everything interior including furniture, tiles, bar setup and even the toilet is from more than a century ago! A bar that witnessed history. Haha! It is also a popular place for students to chill out especially it’s located near the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. And the bar printed its business card into a postcard! I love that idea so much because not only we could send the postcard home, we would have the name and address of the place we’ve been to printed on it! Who knows we might want to go back there again and we do not have to search everywhere to look for their name and address. Brilliant idea!

After finishing our drinks, we walked another 800 meters for some meatballs at Antico Pastificio Moscova. It’s an old pasta shop where they sell traditional Italian home-cook food supplies. We got to try two different types of meatballs: beef and veal, which I personally prefer the beef ones. One fun fact about this place is they can cook in your cookware. If you bring your own cookware, they will do the cooking for you, in your cookware. I’m guessing this is to reduce waste, like bring-your-own-tumbler-when-you-buy-coffee kind of idea, but it also makes it looks like you are the one who did the cooking! Hah! Another brilliant idea especially for those busy housewives who need a me-day once in a while.

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Could you guess what’s next?

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YES! You guessed right. DESSERT! Hahaha! How could we complete a food tour in Milan without some gelato? So the next station, Tasta.

 

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Tasta

 

 

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Can you tell mom is pretty excited about the ice cream?

 

 

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My choice of gelato: Chocolate and cheese something. =D

They offer a variety of flavors, as most of the ice cream shops do, and I have yet to try all of them, but I do like my choice of chocolate and cheese. But according to mom and sister, they prefer the one they had the day before, which is located near Duomo. I did not get to try that (because I did not join them for the rest of Day 1) but this was not bad for my enjoyment.

By the time we finished our food tour, it was already 1.30 pm. We had been eating non-stop for the past 3 hours and it’s time for shopping. We walked around Brera and Sempione park for an hour or two, and then took a bus to Via Monte Napoleone and sat down at Pasticceria Cova, located along via Montenapoleone, the upscale shopping street in Milan, for some afternoon tea. It has a beautiful interior and offers a great selection of handcraft pastries, an ideal place to relax and chat after the long 3-hours walking.

We decided we can’t do much later that evening because we have booked our tour to Bellagio and Lake Como the day after. So we headed to Don Raffaele for some pizza and pasta before calling it a day.

Hah! The second half of the day was pretty free and easy considering we did not have anything planned specifically, except for enjoying the mother and daughters time. It was also sister’s birthday so we got her a slice of cake from Don Raffaele (Cova has a good selection of pastries but not so much on cakes) and had our small celebration back in the hotel. There was nothing big but I think she had enjoyed the day! Lolz!

 


Day 3 and 4 will be out somewhere in the week. Stay tuned!

 

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Girls’ Trip to Milan (Day 1)

This is a long due post. I’ve already known how to begin this post but I just couldn’t get myself to sit down to do it. But I’ve decided, today is the day. I will not postpone it anymore.

It was something impromptu. It only took less than two days to decide, a few days to plan and execute (well, it was just a short trip).

When I knew I was going to Milan, I asked mom if she’d like to join me on that trip. Mom, who does not travel very often and had never traveled without my dad, hesitated a little when I asked. I booked her ticket either way and left the final decision to her. There was so much uncertainty.

As time went by, I knew mom was mentally preparing herself for the trip, though I told myself there might a slight chance of mom decided not to go in the end. To mom, traveling is a challenge. People might not, and will not understand why, but traveling without my dad made things even more challenging for her. I went on planning our stay and itinerary, on the other hand, hoping she could get over the obstacles, and will finally decide to come along.

Long story short, two days before the trip, I went home and saw mom took out their fuschia medium-sized cargo bag. She was excitedly waiting for me to go back and pack with her! I was excited too because it was finally happening! I was going to Milan with mom! Yay! =D

On the departure day itself, the entire family sent us to KLIA and we had breakfast after checked-in. We had about 10 hours of transit time in Singapore.

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Me and Mom at holding room. Can you see there’s some color code going on here? =D

We had a quick lunch after we reached Singapore and got ourselves some snacks for the 12 hours flight.

Fast forward to 20-hours later, we had finally arrived in Milan! There was suppose to be a surprise for mom at Malpensa Airport but it did not happen until we checked in to the hotel and it became another form of surprise.

 

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Waiting at the bus stop. Can you see it?

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Ta-da! The surprise was here! How many of you actually spotted her in the first photo? Hah! =D

Sister was supposed to hold a Welcome to Milan paperboard at the arrival hall, but she missed the earlier coach and arrived an hour after we left the airport, so she came to the hotel instead, pretending to deliver room service. Mom was resting while she heard someone knocked on the door. Confused but she went to answer the door anyway because I wasn’t moving. She literally took 2 seconds realize what just happened. =D Good job sister! And then, we officially started our girls’ trip in Milan!

First thing first, breakfast! We were starving because it was almost 11 am and we had not had breakfast. We took the bus to town and started looking for restaurants that are recommended by TripAdvisor. Unfortunately, I forgot to check the opening hour and most of the restaurants do not open until noon. Starved and left with little choice, we walked into the first cafe called Di Viole Di Liquirizia to get the hunger fixed.

It was a small but crowded cafe, we sat down after ordering. The cafe only offers Italian menu, but the owner, who is also the one who baked everything in the cafe, explained the menu to us in English. We ordered two cakes and a scone, and I say definitely go for the cakes! They were so good and the owner was friendly too! If you walk passed the cafe, check it out!

After the sweet treats, we weren’t that hungry anymore, but we still need something substantial to last us for the rest of our day, so we went to another restaurant, Mo Puglia Bistrot, which is about 5 minutes walk from the cafe.

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I remember we ordered another two dishes but I must have forgotten to take a photo so I could only share these two, which I do not recall the name. The one on the left was some sort of salad and the one on the right was some chef recommended pasta. I would say they weren’t bad but we couldn’t finish them probably because of the cakes we had earlier on. So yeah, maybe I’ll go back again someday and try their food to have a better thought about them.

After lunch, we walked around the area before went to Zani Viaggi to book the Lake Como and Bellagio day trip. You could totally visit Lake Como and Bellagio on your own, which is more cost saving and flexible in terms of how much time you get in Lake Como and Bellagio respectively, but we did the tour instead, which cost us €89 per person, because I thought it would be easier for us since we do not speak Italian. The experience with the information counter in Zani Viaggi wasn’t pleasant which was quite disappointing. Being a visitor center of the city, the staffs were not even close to friendly. Maybe next time I should just get everything booked online instead.

After booking the tickets, we decided to go to the supermarket near our hotel and load up our food supply. Mom and sister rested a little before heading out again while I stayed in for the remaining of day one, to have proper rest before the beginning of day two.

 


I didn’t intend to break this into a few posts but I guess I have to. My style is normally put everything together because I thought it would be more organized and I prefer to tell a story at one go. I’ve known I will take hours to complete this post because it is about a trip that happened 2 months ago and I will need more time to recall what happened and I’m still trying to get the momentum. But this is taking much longer than I’ve expected so I have no choice but to take a break at Day 1 and continue with Day 2 hopefully tomorrow if not the day after. I will try to complete this trip as soon as possible because as I’ve mentioned in the beginning of the post, this is way overdue. Thank you for your patience and thanks for dropping by! Till then!

 

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The Power of Ice-Cream

Things that I’m grateful for today:

1. My love gently removed my hair clip he saw me asleep, which did woke me up a little but I fell back asleep again shortly after with a smile on my face. He is such a sweetheart who does big and small things that shows his love towards me. #love

2. After being reminded few times that it’s totally fine to charge my phone when it shows less than 20%, I did not do accordingly due to laziness or procrastination. So my love did it for me, and I woke up to a fully charged phone.

3. I read somewhere about “start your day by telling yourself it’s gonna be a good one” or something similar. I tried this morning to find out, this works MAGICALLY. The key is to treat the way how he wants to be treated, not the way you thought how he wants to be treated.

4. So I managed to accomplish something I wanted to accomplish two days ago. Although it’s 2 days late, but I’m glad I did it. Start with a plan and try to accomplish it. Having a plan is good. Accomplishing it is even better. Even for a plan as small as making cinnamon croutons.

5. My love accompany me lunch despite his tiredness after early reporting and lack of rest the night before. He did this for me, and I love to be that reason. =)

6. The load is super comfortable as well as the people I worked with. Amazing!

7. Ms Biew asekd me ‘What/who inspired your change?’ she asked, and without thinking too much, I answered ‘him’. Thank you for showing and reminding me that we could be a better person. Not forgetting my open-minded and supportive parents. Dad and mom embrace differences so we could be ourselves as long as we are doing the right things. Cheers! To the wonderful people around me! ❤

I wanted to make this a list of 10 but then I thought, there is no need to because this is not homework nor competition. The hyper mode has become charging mode. Need to recharge for another awesome day ahead!

I am really grateful for what is given to me and what I have. This may sound repetitive but I mean it. I will learn to appreciate everything even more regardless what size it might be, because everything is worth being grateful for if it does make someone happy. =)

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Life is a subtraction

人生是减法;见一面,少一面。

Translation: Life is a subtraction; the chances of meeting only get lesser and lesser.

There is newborn every day.

But there is also death every day.

It is very easy to talk about life but when it occurs, how would you handle it?

So on this trip from Singapore to London, there was this gentleman, traveling alone.

He was seated on the other aisle, so I didn’t have much chance to serve him.

I’ve only learned about him from Van, my partner, who chatted with him when he came to the snack corner, that he is doing an Asia trip for his wife, who passed away recently. From San Francisco, Japan, Hong Kong, Bangkok, to London, then back to San Francisco. 29 days.

Then, he came to the snack corner for the second time. I went forward, and we started chatting.

I did not ask how. I couldn’t.

Instead, I asked how did they meet.

They were introduced to each other through a friend. It wasn’t loved at the first sight. In fact, they didn’t like each other that much in the beginning. But, you know, if it is meant to be, it is meant to be.

39 years of marriage. They have a daughter who is turning 29 years old this 29th. Apparently, they love to travel. He showed me some photos of her on his phone. From Paris to London. He said his wife loves Hong Kong. They had been staying in HK for years. And they planned to do an Asia trip together.

It was just, perhaps a less than 15 minutes conversation, but it touched both Van and my heart as he was talking. It was nothing fancy but we could feel his love towards his wife. A lot of love. And the love has been increasing every day. He is a proud and happy man whenever he talks about her.

As I’m writing this post, I somehow relate this gentleman with Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. His passing is definitely one of the saddest news to the world and videos of Mr. Lee are shared all over the internet. Mr. Lee was not only famous for being a successful politician, he was a loving husband who’d read poems to Mrs. Lee every night despite his tight daily schedule when she was not well. And it all goes down to one reason, LOVE.

Love has no age.

Love has no race.

Love has no rank.

Love has no gender.

And love has no time limit.

 

Love wholeheartedly.

Love unconditionally.

Love like there is no tomorrow.