Turn The World Inside Out…

Great inspiring video… Do not underestimate the power what you do and can do…

http://www.insideoutproject.net/en

Raise questions… evoke curiosity… start conversations… create awareness… gather ideas… generate solutions…strength in numbers… Change.

What do you feel strongly about?

What is your cause?

 

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June 3, 2013 at 10:54 am Leave a comment

Improvisation; Travelling, Cooking, Dancing..

Improvisation is a wonderful word.  In Dictionary.com, its defined as 1) to compose and perform or deliver without previous preparation; extemporize.  2) to compose, play, recite, or sing (verse, music, etc.) on the spur of the moment. 3) to make, provide, or arrange from whatever materials are readily available.

One needs to be flexible, quick thinking, and adaptable in order to achieve that.  These are the qualities I love as they also show strength; to deal with all situations, to react accordingly to circumstances and to go with how the wind and water flows.  Life is not that hard when you apply it to all aspects as there are always options.  Be spontaneous and life will always be exciting because you’ll never know what’s going to happen next. 

When it comes to travelling, I generally have a rough plan in terms of direction, transportation and accommodation.  As a lone female traveller, I am responsible for my own safety.  However, I’m always open to detours and road blocks which makes up the thrills of travelling because you dont know where it’ll lead you. 

When I was in Beijing China alone in 2008, I met 2 hostelmates; an Englishman who arrived just a day before and a Dutchman who had been travelling for years.  I wanted to travel to somewhere for 3 days and thought that it would be nice to have company.  Hence I mentioned it to the Dutchman and we spoked about travelling to Harbin to experience the harsh winter and to see the famous ice sculptures.  In our heads, it was a great idea but we were uncertain about travelling together since we only met a day ago.  Eventually, we asked the Englishman to join us and he agreed the next day.  All of us postponed our original travel plans and it all turned out to be a fantastic experience.  

Our only plan was to get to Harbin to see the sights and ice sculptures but in the end we went even travelled further to ski for 2 days!  That was my first ski experience! 

It was so amazing that we got along very well (we are all born in the year of the horse coincidentally!) and we were sad when we returned to Beijing and spoke about meeting at some point in our travels down south.  We stayed in touch and to date, the Englishman now lives and works in Beijing and the Dutchman is a proud father in Holland. 

 

Cooking on the road has its challenges; lack of necessary crockery, kitchen necessities (stove and oven) and appliances.  My ultimate goal is to try to eat healthily (minus too much cheese, oil, sugar and salt)  and to cut cost, hence I had to find ways to improvise with the limited resources.  Couscous (just add hot water) with broccoli and carrots (steamed) tastes great with Japanese rice seasoning, cooking soft and hard boiled eggs using the coffee maker, etc.  I also had plan how to make use of the only 2 plastic containers to prepare and eventually to serve the food in.  That can be quite tricky but I had a lot fun working around it.

I didnt really receive much formal training in Salsa dancing.  My best friend taught me the basic 1-2-3, 5-6-7-8 and that was it.  The rest, I owe it to all the guys I’ve danced with and a lot through observing others.  With my ‘unorthodox’ training, I did have to improvise along the way whenever I missed the hand or step or auto-piloted some moves (a big NO NO for ladies because we are supposed to follow).  I appreciated when guys improvised their moves to go with what I was doing at that time, get me back into place with them and continue the lead.  This shows their versatility and graciousness.  Occasionally, they too discover some new moves along the way.  Ultimately, social dancing is a form of relaxation and enjoyment so there’s no need to get all too technical and strict about it!

In short, IMPROVISATION is great and if you train yourself to do that, life will have less obstacles because you will always find a way out or around and thus make it a lot more fun and enjoyable!

February 16, 2011 at 8:35 pm Leave a comment

Salsa in Cincinnati Ohio

Just before I arrived into Cincinnati Ohio, I launched into the once again tedious task of searching for a venue with salsa dancing somewhere near downtown.  After searching for 15 minutes, salsapower.com is the only one that gave me some kind of information but I’m wary that it may be outdated.

There’s Monday Salsa at Mad Frog which is a little too far away for me to travel alone from downtown and there’s Havana Martini Club in downtown which I later found out that they’ve turned into a not too exciting looking Penguin Piano Club of sorts. 

A week went and a bartender at the theatre mentioned he saw some salsa dancing long time ago at a Mexican restaurant just down the road.  Hopeful, I surfed the web again to investigate further and chanced upon midwestlatino.com.  I think their updates were more reliable because there were information about a Salsathon event  on Saturday which I can’t attend because I’m working!!! 😦 

The website is packed with information and personally, I think it’s too cramped up!  It’s similar to loads of salsa websites online where everything is cluttered together.  I think they need to space the information out a little, organise by colour, change of fonts and spacing of everything, basically better organisation so that it’ll be little more soothing to the eye. 

Nevertheless, I did find out that aside from Mad Frogs on Mondays, there’s Bartini on Wednesday!  I can’t believe that I missed last Wednesday because Bartini is right beside the theatre where I’m working!  OMG.  What a waste!

Bartini is a nice looking venue.  Surprisingly, the bar area is relatively quiet as the salsa tunes were very well contained in the dance floor section.  It’s a nice size dance floor with 2 bars and a lot of sitting area.  I think the dance floor could use a bit more light.  Not that I want loads of swirling multi-coloured LEDs and moving lights waving crazily above us, just a bit of dull orange light will be good so that we can see our partner’s face. 

Interestingly, I did see quite a few good-looking men (6 foot 1, muscular with dark looks) who can dance.  It seems like a rare sight for some reason.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to ask them to dance and they didn’t too.  I wonder why because I can see that they were interested to dance with me (btw, did i say i’ve been dancing for 7 years?  So I think I’m quite an average good dancer.).  I guess my hesitation had to do with not wanting to look like I’m trying to hit off with them.  It’s weird that I was conscious because its normal that I ask men to dance and I do it all the time!!

 We are heading to Chicago next week… the search continues…

 

January 29, 2011 at 8:49 pm Leave a comment

Learning made easy

With internet, learning anything is so easy now!  We just need to remind ourselves to search it online and reference with a few other websites with similar topic then summarize and arrive into the best solution and methods.  THANK YOU! 🙂

Example, a sudden craving to make Eggs Benedict crept up this morning and since I don’t really know how to poach an egg and make Hollandaise sauce, I searched online for YouTube videos, spend 3-4 mins watching the 2 videos and discovered how EASY it is to make them!  Coming from Asia, we dont really make sauces like that so it seemed like a daunting task at first but it turned out otherwise!  Hahaha… much like how I go around telling my non-Asian friends how easy it is to make Chinese food. 

As a kid, most of the information came from parents, friends, relatives and school-teachers and textbooks.  I was an inquisitive child and often didn’t get my questions answered and it didn’t really hit me to go look things up in the library (Ok.  I’m a little slow in that area…durr… or maybe I was just plain lazy.  Hahaha…).

Hence, now that we have the world of information at our finger tips, I need to constantly remind myself that I’m in control of my own learning.  Learning is a continuous process in every aspect of our life.  We learn how to grow up, to be a teenager, to be an adult then maybe a parent, a grandparent and eventually learn how to deal with our own death.  To me, this is the beauty of life…

January 24, 2011 at 7:41 pm Leave a comment

Working with limitations – Making Sherbet

We’re in Cincinnati for 2 weeks and this time, we are in a hotel unit that comes with a kitchen!  Woohoo!  I was not able to contain my excitement the moment I walked into the room.  Its great!  I wanted to set up immediately except that my “food bag” was locked away in my work case and I wont be able to retrieve it till the next day. 

Since I have a kitchen now, I’m a bit more adventurous with what I want to make.  I browsed through recipes app in my ipod and found an interesting one… Lemon Basil Sherbet. 🙂  Hmmmm… Looking at the easy few ingredients listed and a quick glance through the method, I thought,”This should be easy.  I can make it work!”

The company very kindly organised a trip to the nearest supermarket for 25 of us and I got all I needed to make the sherbet:

  1. Half and half or light cream – 1 Cup
  2. Granulated  Sugar – 2/3 Cup
  3. Honey – 2 TBS
  4. Lemon Zest – 1 1/2 TBS
  5. Juice of 3 Lemons (Keep the squeezed lemon halves and use them as cups for serving!)
  6. Basil Leaves – 8 fresh divided
  7. Whole Milk – 2 Cups
  8. Sea Salt – Pinches

Method:

  1. Combine half and half, sugar, honey and lemon zest in saucepan. 
  2. Simmer and stir to dissolve sugar.
  3. Remove from heat add 4 basil leaves and bruise against bottom of pot.
  4. Cover and let steep 15mins.
  5. Remove Basil leaves discard and whisk in milk.
  6. Refrigerate till completely chilled.
  7. Whisk lemon juice into Sherbet base and add salt and sliced remaining 4 basil leaves.
  8. Taste for sweetness and add honey if required.
  9. Freeze mixture in ice cream maker or freeze and blend with food processor/blender till smooth.
  10. Cover mixture with plastic wrap and try to gently tap to release air bubbles from mixture.
  11. Freeze for a couple of hours before serving.

Obstacle 1:  I didnt find basil in the supermarket so I thought maybe i can make do with Parsley or just make Lemon Sherbet… 🙂 – DONE.

Obstacle 2: The recipe said to put the mixture into an ice cream maker.  Frankly I dont know why I didnt see that earlier because that would have detered me from making this.  Well, I googled,”How to make sherbet without an ice cream maker?”  and I found a youtube video teaching you how to do this! – DONE.

Obstacle 3: Lemon Zest… you usually need a grater and since I dont have one in the kitchen, I used the peeler to peel the lemon (just the yellow bits) and subsequently chop them up into thin strips and there you go… Lemon Zest! 🙂 – DONE.

Obstacle 4: I was supposed to use whole milk but I only have 2% fat milk so… we’ll see how it goes.. Low fat Sherbet anyone?! 🙂  – DONE.

Obstacle 5:  To get the smooth Sherbet consistency, it was recommended to at least put the frozen mixture into a blender.  One of our colleagues travel a mini blender so I’m borrowing it from her and hopefully it will all work! – DONE

I’m blending it tomorrow… Fingers crossed!

Obstacle 6: I didnt have any cling wrap so I used any plastic bag I can find, cut out a size, rinse it and cover the sherbet with it.  (Step 10 above)

This is the end product of my Lemon Vanilla Sherbert:

I added vanilla essence instead of basil and it tastes GREAT! 🙂  Nice vanila scent to it too!

January 22, 2011 at 7:17 am Leave a comment

The Pat Down

We were in Tulsa airport on early Monday morning for our flight to Louisville via Dallas and a bus drive after to Cincinnati (its supposed to be cheaper for the company if we do it this way… loonng travel day!)  At security in Tulsa airport, everyone had to go through a body scanner and not the usual metal detectors scanner.  When asked, the airport staff said that its similar to a cellphone transmission.

Whatever it is, I dont really like the idea of going through scanners that emits some kind of waves into/through my body.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of our work, we had to face the scanners almost every Monday as we travel from city to city.  Its quite irritating but going through the scanners also means you dont have to stand in queues for long time (Imagine everyone wants a Pat Down… ), and its less invasive. 

Since the airport was not that busy and the staff looked friendly, I requested for The Pat Down.  I’ve never been searched that way before so am curious. 

I had to walk through the metal detector and was asked to stand on a little mat with 2 foot prints on it.  The lady officer asked me if I understand that she will be touching areas around my inner thighs and my breasts and I said yes.  She was all serious but kept her volume low as she explained further.  I appreciate that.  It would have been traumatising if she went,”I GOING TO TOUCH YOUR INNER THIGHS AREA AND BREASTS!” 

It was a detailed and systematic search; arms and hands shoulders and collar, inner waist bands, inner thighs, legs, foot (poor officer, a little yuky if socks stinks) and front chest area and sliding the hands on the breasts and under.  I didnt feel violated in anyway maybe because I had double pants and double tops on (for the cold weather) and so I was protected from feeling the touch of a stranger.  Hmm… maybe that’s the way to go, just wear more clothing and definitely no skirts on travel days.  I wonder how they will reach the inner thighs if the girl is wearing a long dress or skirt?  At the end of it, the officer used a special paper to clean the rubber gloves she had on and put it into a machine to test if there’s any traces of bomb chemicals. 

The pat down did make me feel more self conscious as I wondered what the hundreds others were thinking when I was getting the “special” attention; implants? special devices? secrets? suspect??  I’m wonder if this whole special scanning machines deal is really necessary or is it just another business opportunity?

January 20, 2011 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

Learn from those who’ve been there done that…

I came across an article in an airline magazine today about help from senior volunteers who gives an advice or 2 to anyone who writes in to them.  Its called the Elder Wisdom Circle.  I think this is a really cool idea because it gives the older folks a chance to share their experiences with the younger ones (no age limit) and to make their time more well spent because they are helping someone else who needs a listening ear or a word of advice.  

Questions are asked via email, hence there’ll be no embarrasement or awkwardness… just pure simple answers based on what was asked with no other considerations, etc.  The only obstacle will be that the older folks will have to learn how to use the computer which I believe is quite a daunting task to many…

January 18, 2011 at 4:49 am Leave a comment

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