Big move

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So …. yeah. I finally did it. Made the big move to California to be with the be a. It’s been nerve wrecking and intense. Fodder for multiple entries. But my attention span has been rather limited especially with the thousand worries I’ve been carrying. But that’s ok. It’s a personal blog which means I write. When I want to. When I can. Right?

Anyway with all the money worries we’ve been facing you would think I would have cut down on my luxuries. Turns out I haven’t. Well. Not really.  I’ve been drinking more home brewed coffee which is supposed to be cheaper but on weekends I treat myself to some froufrou coffee. And today I learnt that starbucks still has their Fall edition reusable cup. And it’s going for $1 instead of $2. I totally saved right? I like these cups better than the $16 tumblers they sell. For one thing. It’s cheaper. If i lose it the heartbreak isn’t so bad. And I still save the same amount with each cup of coffee I buy. Plus when I drop these they don’t crack. The number of coffee tumblers I’ve cracked over the years may have been enough to buy me the new pair of boots I’ve been staring at in Nordstrom rack for the past month!!! So if you are in the market for a limited reusable cup….ask the barista if they have the fall version and if theirs is half off!!20171125_071149

And just in case you are wondering. I’m on no paid leave. Which means I’m not working and not getting paid. But not technically unemployed. I’m on it because I wanted to move here to be with the Beau but wasn’t willing to give up on my research project.  So here we are. Unpaid researcher.  Story of my life.  I know. I should have known better than to voluntarily take on financial hardship. But I thought no big deal. I’ve been a student all my life. Cutting back will be easier. Nope. Almost weekly arguments about our spending and our lifestyle.  It drives me nuts. But it’s ok. We’ll work it out because even when I’m mad at him. I still love him. I just have to remember that we are very different people and we deal with things very differently.

In addition to being thankful to having found each other so late in our lives. I’m thankful for the love and support my in-laws have given us.

So Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!!!

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Daytrip to Melaka

On Saturday afternoon, while sitting on the bus to Johor Bahru, I wondered out loud if it was possible to go on a day trip to Melaka.

Turns out we can.

Except because we left Singapore in the mid-afternoon, our day trip was going to involve spending a night in Melaka. Which, really, isn’t a big deal.

So how did we do it? Simple. First, take a train to Bugis station and get on the express bus to Johor Bahru. There are many options but we chose the yellow express bus on Queen Street. When you buy a ticket to Johor Bahru, you are actually buying a ticket to Larkin bus terminal. Which, we later found out, is not the terminal at the Malaysian Immigration.

After you have cleared immigration, most people would turn right to go to the City Sq mall. Walk straight until the end where there are escalators and on Platform B, there will be buses taking you to Larkin Bus Terminal. Its located about 15 mins away from Johor Bahru center.

After alighting from the bus, walk to where the ticket counters are (you will pass by a few clothing stores, and some hawker stores). We basically got tickets for the bus that was leaving in 5 mins and hustled on over after forking over RM 20.90 per person.

Once we were on the bus, it was smooth sailing all the way (no restroom break, no jam!) and arrived in Melaka at 5.30pm. At this point, I was panicking a bit because we didn’t pack anything other than our passports and some cash. There was no change of clothes, no PLAN on where to stay for the night. After arriving at Melaka Sentral, we hopped on a taxi to Jonker St for RM20. Luckily, there was free wifi around the area where the church was. I whipped out the expedia app and swipped on the Holiday Inn because I desperately needed access to a computer for work purposes. It was a bit more expensive than I hoped and there were certainly cheaper options. But well. A business center was something that could not be compromised on. After that, we walked along Jonker street looking for food. I started off with some gula melaka iced latte at this hipster coffee joint belting out some old jazz classics.20170617_143813[1]

The coffee is super sweet but so refreshing on such a hot humid day. After the drink, we wandered around Jonker Walk, buying random kueh from the various food stores, and tried on a few cheongsams. I almost bought a

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I almost bought a kua but realised that my figure would probably change by the time I’m ready for my traditional wedding ceremony. And then we realised that we really needed to buy something to wear the next day. I was already wearing my green elephant pants so we bought 2 t-shirts from a store for the next day. Then we headed to Mahkota where there was a Uniqlo for the other neccessities.

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We checked into the hotel and took a quick shower before heading out to Jonker walk again for the night market.

There were lots of quick accessories and more clothing stores. And a lot more food. We got more street food and a coconut jelly. I briefly considered getting a Henna but didn’t think my workplace would appreciate such impulsive behavior.

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By the time we finished the walk, I was exhausted, and it was 9.30pm. So we headed back to the hotel where I proceeded to check my email. BIG mistake. I finished up my assigned tasks before heading back to the room to sleep for a few hours.

The next morning, we feasted on the buffet breakfast at the hotel before heading out again.  We climbed up Bukit St. Paul. Only the outer shell of the church remains.

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After the brisk climb, we headed back to Jonker walk for a second breakfast. We found a chendol place that served quadruple duty as a currency, gem museum and tribute to Mao. They also had some nonya laksa. The chendol and laksa were both very good.

After getting our second wind, we proceeded to walk around the area again. We found one of the oldest mosque in Melaka, an old kwan im temple and more food stores.

But we were completely stuffed. So we settled for some curacao coffee instead.

After that, we headed back to the hotel, took another quick shower and checked out. Got a taxi back to Melaka Sentral and took another bus back to JB where we stopped for a quick dinner. Unfortunately, we were part of the unfortunate crowd that got stuck in JB immigration around 5pm. Took about 2 hours to clear immigration, another hour to finally board a bus back across the causeway. Luckily, clearing Singapore immigration was much quicker (30 mins) and we caught the first causeway link out of Woodlands. We then took a train from Kranji back home. The journey from JB to Simei took 5 hours. Maybe we should stayed another night in Melaka?

Prague

So I haven’t updated the blog in a while. I want to say that it’s because I’ve been busier than usual. But that’s a lie. I’ve kinda entered this weird lull in my life where nothing much has changed and I’m bored. I’m not as anxious as I normally am but the pressures are still there. I think I’ve just tuned it out. Or I’m burned out. Not sure which.

Anyway I just returned from a 7 day trip to Prague. Prague is a lovely city and I chose to go during the ‘off’ season in the first week of May which was supposed to have a smaller crowd but if that was the off season, I’m sure the ‘on’ season crowd would have been terrible because there were a lot of tourists when I went. Now 7 days in Prague is a lot. Most people would have planned day or overnight trips to Dresden or something like that. But I’ve been off my game and didn’t plan anythijg except buy my air tickets because i wanted to go to the andre reiu concert and it so happened that the joseph strauss orchestra was going to be in Prague during my designated vacation days. Yea. So this free and easy holiday emphasizes the easy part. Anything that required more effort wasn’t going to happen. Based on this trip i would say a full 3 days in Prague would be more than enough to see the major sights and catch at least 2 operas or see a couple of shows.

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All of the museums and most churches require an entry fee in Prague but a majority of the fees are quite low. If the church required a fee and you are into classical music, i suggest you buy a concert ticket instead. I didn’t bother with the castle. I went to the grounds and walked outside (that’s free) but didn’t bother with the inside.

20170509_075435.jpgTo see the big cathedral with the beautiful stained glass, I recommend buying circuit b. Otherwise just walk in and see a bit of the front parts of the church. If that bit already draws your attention and you MUST view the rest of it then go get the ticket.

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Interior of the st. Vitus cathedral with the beautiful stained glass windows.

I prefer the solitude so I walked up to the castle grounds early morning. I recommend catching the train elevator things across from Most Legii (the bridge that isn’t Charles Bridge) up before strolling to the castle. Less painful on the legs. The Starhov monastry is at the top of the elevator and its a more pleasant walk then climbing up to the Castle.

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In the wee hours of the morning the Charles Bridge is a lovely place to take photographs but in May the sun was already rising at 5.30am. The people that were there had gigantic lenses poking out from their DSLRs and large tripods. A few only had cellphone cameras but were mostly drunk teens/20ish kids on the tail end of their night out.

Another major Prague attraction is the astronomical clock which is super popular with tourists. The show goes from 8am to 11pm. I never bothered to stick around for one but did snap a few pictures at random times.

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Now I know it sounds like I didn’t have a good time in Prague. I did. I REALLY did. I took a tour with Tour4Charity where the 400czk fee goes towards a charity that helps children in foster care adapt to life after they are out. I also did a food tour with Taste of Prague (point of note, the staff at Taste of Prague were incredibly helpful. Helped me obtain a last minute reservation with DeGustation, gave lots of helpful pointers on things to do, where to eat, etc EVEN after the tour was over. Totally worth it. LOVE their service). So I learnt about the history of the Czech Republic as well as their food history so I wasn’t a complete failure as a tourist. But if I’m honest about it, i walked around a lot, saw the interior of a few churches and one synagogue, ate quite a bit and dinned at some rather nice establishments.

I had a grand time watching the opera and it was so affordable I had to pinch myself.

But yep. That pretty much sums it up! At some point i will probably blog about some specific sights. But for now this is just a quick hello! And what have you been up to lately?