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The Girl With Pink Hair

Not all that glitters is gold, not all who wander are lost

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The unknown, the dots and this moment.

I’ve always been a strong advocate of “every thing happens for a reason”.

Like what Steve Jobs said in his commencement speech at Stanford about connecting the dots.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

There are days where I question the decisions that I’ve made. Days I have no idea what the hell I’m doing with my life. That was just last week actually. The silly thing is that, I was actually in a good place leading a damn fine (damn fine being subjective) life. Dream wedding less than 2 months back, spent a month traveling, coming back to a job I enjoyed and being surrounded by awesome people. So what the hell was I worrying myself into a frenzy for? Basically, the future, its uncertainty and money. Some people can tell you exactly where and what they’ll be in 10 years.

Not me.

After spending 2 unhappy weeks worrying about the unknown, a random chat with LF suddenly reminded me of why I had quit my previous job to travel. While that did not happen in the end, I’m pretty sure the awesome past year that I had happened for a reason.

It actually prepared and made me less afraid of the unknown.

Being in the rat race tends to distract us from our dreams. As we scuttle along unhappily with everyone else, conforming to routine and mostly working for money, we forget the things that make us happy. We forget to be grateful for everything that we have. Instead, we ask for more and worry about losing what we have.

This post is really more of a reminder to myself. I need to remember why I left my previous job to travel and to embrace the unknown. Live in the moment and worry less about the future.

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

I am truly excited about what is to come and my super vague plans for the near future. I have absolute faith that the dots will connect when I look back one day. As for now I am and shall continue to be super grateful for all that I have.

Thankful to have had the opportunity to bike along Stevens Creek Trail at Mountain View on a little colorful bike.

Stevens Creek Trail at Mountain View

 

Lazy Sunday in Manila writing about Baguio

Hello from Manila!

My third trip here but sadly, I’ve never really gotten a chance to explore the city. Today would have been a perfect opportunity but it was just too hard getting out of bed. I mean, I should really spend some time enjoying the facilities I’m paying so much for! Plus everyone needs a lazy Sunday once in a while.

Excuses excuses. :P

Anyway, Baguio. Baguio is amazing! A city in the mountains. Unlike the last time I took a van up the mountains where I ended up staying in a wooden hut with no electricity. The ride up was awesome, circling the mountains where there were natural waterfalls by the road, beautiful valleys and shallow rivers(?).

Stopped by Isdaan Floating Restaurant at Tarlac where we were welcomed by a guy on stilts!

Check out who else was there for lunch!

There was a sign which said to hold the Buddha’s hand and ring the bell joyfully but the bell was like so far away. I guess the key is to join hands with others to ring the bell?

Anyway, the Buddha’s hands were out of my reach too.

I like big butts and I cannot lie. I don’t, really, but it does seem like an appropriate caption.

And this is the only shot I have on the way up as the ride was too bumpy for taking shots with my phone.

Our accommodation for 2 nights, Azalea Residence! Affordable and very comfortable!

Streets (actually street) of Baguio at night.

Incredibly good food at O’Mai Khan! I’m usually not a fan of vegetables but this was so fresh and absolutely delicious!

Ended the night with desserts at a quaint little cafe, PNKY.

Thought this was a really cute scene.

Aileen proudly showing off her phone which is also a little TV with an antenna!

It’s a blurry shot but look at those smiles!

Awesome view at Good Shepard where we stopped by to get the famous Ube Jam and peanut brittle.

Strawberry bean curd by the roads.

The shopping street of Baguio!

Coin pouches made from real frogs. (Grimacing while typing this)

The photo says it all, comes with a male model! Hurhur.

Shops by the trail in the park.

The lion of Baguio that appears to change the color of his mane every now and then. Perhaps to match the season :P This time, it was a lovely shade of gold.

Till we meet again!

Doha Tribecca Film Festival 2011

One of my trips to Qatar actually coincide with the annual Doha Tribecca Film Festival held at Katara Cultural Village so we decided to make a trip down to check it out.

Dinner at my all time fav Rotana to avoid the crowd/jam before heading down to Katara. Super awesome grilled fish, corn soup and chilli!

Instead of joining the crowd (was there any?) at the red carpet, we arrived only after the showing of Black Gold had started. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get any tickets.

The grand entrance to the amphitheatre. I can totally imagine how the scene would unfold in ancient Egypt days, trumpets blowing, servants dragging the heavy doors open as the Pharaoh arrives in his golden chariot pulled by 2 beautiful black stallions. Hurhur.

Through the doors into the super cool amphitheater constructed like those in ancient Rome to amplify sounds from the centre naturally. Boss tried singing some weird unknown song in the middle while I was at the top row and it works! Super cool!

A local couple on a date.

Obvious discrimination against black pigeons. Was told by the locals that only white pigeons are allowed in these pigeon towers and the black ones would be shot. Not sure how true that is.

Man made beach with pretty lightings. It costs 100QR just to hang out on the beach.

Super cool open air, air conditioned cafe!

Cupcakes from Red Velvet made specially for the occasion.

Expensive peanut butter cupcake with superb service from the staff.

Some other photos taken in Qatar.

A rare sight, clouds in the sky, so low it cast a shadow on the desert.

The last sunset I saw on that trip. Super pretty.

This is what friends do when you can’t be bothered to wash your car.

Hurhur.

Dinner at Turkey Central. Awesome food. Love the food in Qatar! =D

Seasons in the sun

We had joy we had fun we had seasons in the sun
But the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time

 

To the best team I’ve ever worked with. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Trying to keep our pillar of strength when she was at her weakest.

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Super sweet birthday card from the team

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Where else would you get to do this to your boss table while she was away in Qatar. And the absurd lie we came up with about construction.

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Blue nose family from Hoon.

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By the artist in the team, skillfully depicting us as we are.

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My all time fav team photo.

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Silly notes through the partitions when we were first separated.

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In meetings. WTH. So much for having encouraging team mates.

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Coolest birthday cake ever.20111121-222426.jpg

Thank you for worrying about me and being unable to enjoy your Jam Hsiao concert.

Thank you for listening and not judging me.

Thank you for being the only one still around, my only comfort left at work.

Thank you for the laughter your silliness has brought to us.

Thank you for your guidance.

Thank you beautifying our place with your talents.

All good things come to an end eventually. Thanks for the laughter and the friendship. While I doubt that I will ever encounter what we had as a team before, thanks for bringing me hope in the corporate world and letting me see that friendships do exist in a place where everyone is for themselves.

May these memories get me through the coming years in such a society.

We had joy we had fun we had seasons in the sun
But the wine and the song like the seasons have all gone 

Dream apartment – Fraser Suites

Got to stay at Fraser Suites in Doha on my previous trip to Qatar. Bosses weren’t too happy with the service at Holiday Villa and thus wanted to try out another place. And so, I got to stay there for a night and I totally loved the place!

Loved the full length windows and the simplicity of the place. Small but cosy. Comes with a fully equipped kitchen; toaster, oven, stainless steel pots and pans, baking equipment, basically everything! And a rectangular dining table which is nicely set, with water glasses, plates and napkins, for four.

Nothing scary about staying alone but instead felt very much at home slacking on the sofa and reading in bed (with a reading light!) and iPhone dock by the bed.

What I loved most, was waking up when the room was completely bright even though it was only 6am. Made waking up a lot easier unlike in Singapore where I’ve to wake up when the sky is dark.

Breakfast was filled with all kinds of pastries and cake, strawberries, bananas, yoghurt, personal pots of coffee and bottles of Evian. I don’t usually drink Evian since I really can’t justify paying that much for a bottle of water. Anyway, best stay ever!

Maybe cause it was newly open and there were road construction going on everywhere, directions to the place on google was wrong and I almost missed my flight! Was going round in circles for almost an hour being unable to locate the place. Super thankful for KY’s intuition and getting us safely back where I showered in record time while they packed for me and I left for the airport with water dripping from my hair. Hurhur.

Some other photos taken in Qatar:

One of the “streets” in Souk selling tons of shawls.

Coffee @ Second Cup.

Mcdees for lunch every alternate day. No complains though. =P

Skyline of Doha

Locals at Starbucks. =P

Car rides

Why do we close our eyes when bracing for something negative? Does it help to not see?

While many complain about the long ride to site each morning, I really do enjoy it. It is somehow soothing and peaceful, kinda like meditation. Not that I’ve tried meditation.  An hour’s journey without much traffic, watching the landscape of earth colours change from that of a city, to a sparsely populated industrial area then an endless stretch of powelines against the beautiful sand and sky and finally, to nothing but an endless stretch of sand. The roads here are so and straight that it vanishes into nothing. There’s this turn at a junction in the middle of the desert which I particularly like, with over 10 random signs stuck at the edge of the sand in the middle of nowhere.

These photos do no justice to the beauty but its the best I have for now.

 Leaving the city.

To nothing but sand.

Where the bosses poked fun at this pipeline above the sand. An engineering disgrace, they said. To think they demanded so much from us. Hurhur.

There’s beauty to everything, if only we open our minds and hearts to it.

The weather is crazily hot and it’s not even the worst. Utmost respect to the guys out there at site. On the other hand, the same orange circle that brings about such temperatures also displays such picture perfect sights. Even with the heat, one can’t help but stop and stare for a little while.

Just checked into Fraser Suites in Doha. It’s amazing! Couldn’t help dancing around a little. It’s exactly the kind of apartment I would like to stay in if I were to be living abroad alone.

Off to catch up on my reading before turning.

Is it the look in your eyes

Or is it this dancing juice?

Who cares, baby

I think I wanna marry you

Day 1 in Qatar. Again.

So a year and a half has passed and I’ve not blogged about my previous trip.

Humans are forgetful, truly. Then, I told myself that I would never return to Qatar, less than half a year later, I had forgotten the bad and only remembered the good times. The friends that I had made, the awesome food, the countless firsts and all that I’ve learnt. Another year later, I’m back again. Same country, same company but with different people for a different project. This time, not as HR.

Comfort is totally overrated. When in our comfort zones, we tend to learn lesser. The greatest experiences and lessons learnt are more often than not, in the face of adversity. And so, embrace I shall.

=)

Was greeted by the huge rising sun upon touching down.

Super cute round toilet bowl at the hotel while the toilet bowls at site are square shaped. Hurhur.

At night, it becomes an endless stretch of red lights. Pretty.

The setting sky at site.

The end of my 29 hours Monday. =)

 

 

Work trip to Qatar

Despite being given the opportunity to travel to middle east for work, my blog has been filled with only complaints about work. And so, after being inspired by other interesting blogs, I’ve decided to blog a bit about my trip to Qatar.

My luggage half filled with food.

Here’s my room for the first trip up.

My first meal in Qatar, Turkish cai peng which sucked. =X

The ‘CBD’ area of Doha. They have really impressive buildings (which doesn’t appear so from the photo) but all half empty or totally deserted.

My ‘welcome’ drink, cocktail. Its a mixture of all kinds of fruits which tastes quite weird. Had to force it all down out of politeness.

Goodness. This is really boring. Shall blog about my only interesting experience there some time soon.

Meanwhile, more boring photos.

Nah. I give up.

Living in Qatar

Interesting (interesting being subjective) things I had encountered during my short stay in Qatar

1) There are no addresses in Qatar. the office address on the namecards goes something like this: C ring road, Business building, 2nd Floor, near Jaidah flyover. Made it kinda difficult and troublesome for deliveries and of course made me appreciative of the address system in Singapore which I’ve long taken for granted. :P

2) Its dangerous to fall down in summer as the floor is hot enough to burn your skin.

3) The working hours for Qataris are 8am to 12pm and 4pm to 8pm as 12pm to 4pm is generally too hot to work. Though in practice they usually only work 2 to 3 hours in the morning.

4) Wearing the abaya actually keeps the body cooler than wearing normal clothes.

5) Ladies are given priority at government agencies and do not need to queue. But of course, being a Singaporean, I’m too used to queuing.

6) The local men and women don’t get to know each other before marrige. A marriage proposal typically goes this way: “eh you have a sister? can I marry her?” And there you go, a marriage in the making.

7) Contrary to the information found online, Qatar is relatively modern and it’s fine wearing skirts that reveal your knees, sandals and sleeveless tops.

8 ) The number of trees in a person’s house reflects his wealth. Apparently it’s too costly to constantly water the plants. THOUGH the electrical/water bill is being paid for.

9) There’s no 6 piece nuggets meal, there’s only 9 piece nuggets at Macdonalds’.

10) No chilli sauce is given at fast food restaurants. Weird since people in the country seem to love spicy food.

11) Pavements are not strictly for pedestrians. Pavements are also used for parking, overtaking and u-turns. WTH.

12) Every accident has to be reported to the police. No repairs, major or minor can be done without a police report. Is this the same in SG?

13) Shops are closed during prayer times on Fridays and men are not allowed to enter shopping centres without a female accompanying. My colleague was rejected entry just when he really needed to pee. Lol.

14) All major supermarkets operate till 12am. Most shops close pretty late at around 11pm.

That’s all for now. :) :) :)

Miss seeing Audrey do the self stabbing action :P

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