First week of April

An update has been long overdue.

First off, today is my least favorite celebrated day – April Fool’s Day. Lame jokes, irritating pranks, and a bunch of falsehood make a poor combination and I cannot appreciate any of it.

Second of all, I got off early from class today. From the class that hasn’t ended early at all this semester. It’s a good thing because there was so much information to absorb and I don’t think I could’ve sat through a guest speaker’s presentation without being distracted.

This time last year was spring break. Oh how good we had it last spring break. There was plenty of time to mess around in the kitchen and experiment with recipes. Spring break this year is over and I spent half of it not doing the work I should have been doing which made me feel horrible but I was insistent on letting the break stay a break. I spent one day doing absolutely nothing but writing. Aside from the nagging guilt and procrastination buildup, it was great.

All my hobbies and interests have had to be pushed off the trundling wagon. My language learning has been stalled. I have been thinking about the many language sites I’ve visited telling you that the only way you can make progress in language learning is by cutting out a block of time for language studying and sticking to the schedule. Here’s the thing though: life happens and sometimes even when I do have 15 minutes or even 2 hours of free time, my brain is so tired that I just want to not do anything, and sometimes I have no mood to get back into that language learning zone so it makes studying frustrating and pointless.

Last week I had a surge of inspiration after having lunch with a Japanese professor. I came home and pulled out all my studying material. I didn’t get to any of it. I looked down at the first set of notes and felt guilty about not doing school work so I set it aside. That pile of papers now sit beside me on the desk, collecting dust… again. I want to get back into the momentum I was in before the semester but I know that school workload is only going to take over as the semester comes closer and closer to the end.

In other news, I finally have a functional phone again. I have been without a phone for 6 weeks. It was okay. A bit challenging at times, not being able to communicate with my sister, but mostly it was liberating. I didn’t feel the need to check my phone unnecessarily and I didn’t get distracted by the light flashing when I got incoming messages.

I can’t remember what else I wanted to say except that the only thing I feel like doing is eating. I have been craving vegetarian pizza, Thai panang fish curry, dim sum, all things pasta, all things potato, a nice big fat tray of sushi (I haven’t had decent Japanese food here, not counting the meal my Japanese friends made), samgyeopsal, Burger King french fries, fish and chips (I miss fish and chips so much), and anything homemade. I want it all. So much food, so little time, so little money.

I feel that a lot of my update posts are depressing to read. They probably are.

But if it’s not challenging you, you’re not changing, right? That’s what my friend told me today. Let’s keep hustling.

Happy Friday.

(P.S: It’s getting warm, maybe that’s why I’m irritable and have the hot weather blues)

Raine
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A peek into Tuesday

1. We left for school early which came as a surprise because lately we’ve been spending our mornings karaoke-ing to Chemistry before leaving for school so we usually end up 5-10 minutes late.

Excuse for arriving late: sorry, I had to wait for Almost in Love to end.

Actually this morning we were listening to You Go Your Way which is obviously too amazing to stop midway.

We arrived early and scored the second parking spot of the row!! That’s a first! Slid right in like hot butter and got out.

Walked to our first class.

2. 50 minutes of utter boredom later, I was rushing to my next class for a test. I power-walked to my class like I always do and today I tried waiting for the elevator which is impossibly slow but I checked my watch and decided it would be faster to take the stairs.

I climbed up 3 flights of stairs and marched to my class. Before I stepped into class, I could already see that most of the seats were filled up. Ugh.

I walked in and my professor – who is the most patient lady ever – immediately called out to me and asked me to take a seat in front since there were no more seats.

Um, sitting at the very front of the class at an odd table facing the class is one of my favorite things ever (if the class is decent). While everyone had their little desk-chair-thingys, I had a long rectangular table to myself (and later some other guy).

It was only after I sat down that I realized what was strange.

My professor, whose office hours I’ve been going to quite regularly to get help on homework for, called me by my given name.

No kidding.

She called my name so casually that it just floated over my head. But it’s WEIRD because nobody has ever called me by my given name so casually or smoothly. She’s also somehow even gathered that the second part of my first name is NOT my middle name.

Amazing. It’s a pleasant surprise. Isn’t it nice when someone bothers to call you by your name without giving crappy excuses?

The test wasn’t bad but with any kind of mathematical tests, I usually always doubt my answers after I’m done.

3. Because of the test, I came out way earlier than expected and had to wait for my sister. I wondered what to do for the time being. I walked into two buildings to look for a table where I could study but none.

I ended up sitting down at a table at another building but I barely sat for 3 minutes before deciding to head over to the chemistry stockroom to check if they had any lab coats.

4. A leisurely stroll in the windy weather later, I found myself in front of the stockroom which had an ugly blue handwritten sign saying OUT FOR LUNCH, BE BACK AT xPM.

Great.

I didn’t want to wait for a whole hour so I walked away. Where to go now? I wound up at a little shady corner by a classroom where I had a class last semester.

5. I put my bag down and played a few rounds of Sudoku while a lovely breeze drifted past continuously. When I was tired, I looked up and something caught my eye.

It was a squirrel in a leafless tree.

I watched the squirrel mess around and dangle from the branches for a few minutes and then I thought to myself, nature is so beautiful.

And almost cried. Seriously. What is up with me? Lately I’ve been finding joy in all the nature around me and it makes me emotional, I don’t know why.

6. My sister’s class ended so we headed home… And on the way back, I said, uh there’s nothing for lunch -____-

I’ve been a slob lately. I haven’t been on top of this week’s menu and it’s only Tuesday. Which means there’s still time to commandeer the ship to smoother waters haha.

Seriously though, we’ve had Korean instant noodles for lunch for the past two days.

We wanted to get Chinese takeout but in the end drove past Burger King and saw that they had a 2 for $5 deal for their fish burgers. I don’t know about you but fish burgers are tasty.

McDonald’s here is different – too much bacon and ranch in everything. Burger King has been our go-to of late (and we rarely even have fast food these days) but not so much since we found out that they took the Mushroom Swiss burger off their menu.

What is wrong with you, Burger King? That mushroom burger was the whole reason we even started going to BK.

Anyway, the Spicy Big Fish that we had wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t spicy but it was decent.

7. It’s been a mellow day of discovering more Chemistry songs that we like. In 1 month, we’ve accumulated at least 50 new songs.

I’ve said this once but I’ll say it again: if Chemistry gets back together, we are so going to their concert.

Here, have some pictures in the middle of a post:

birdofparadise1 The bird-of-paradise that my sister mentioned in her post. flowers1

Vibrant flowers on campus that I adore looking at.squirrel1

‘This angle is better.’ The chipmunk said when I aimed my camera at him.

I can’t believe he/she stood so still for me to get a picture. Little fella, you’re awesome.bk1

Said fish burger.

Other things that have been on my mind:

1. I’m reading Gangsta. the manga. I don’t know where to put all these emotions and inspirations I’m getting from it. The two main characters are endlessly fascinating and the girl too.

It makes me think about humans and relationships and the complexity of both. Come to think of it, 99% of the manga I’ve read are brilliant. They are well-written as much as they are thought-provoking.

2. My friend recently submitted some of her poetry to a site and it’s gotten quite a bit of positive feedback. I’m happy for her. At the same time, I started to beat myself up over my lack of courage all these years to share my work with others.

I’ve been writing since I was 7 but I haven’t published anything that I’ve written. ‘You’re crap’ is what I think to myself when I think about sharing my writing. ‘You’re not good enough.’

I know I’ve read things about writers often experiencing this ‘your writing is not good enough’ thing but I think it’s a bit more than that for me because I also suffer from poor self-esteem.

Yay me. It’s a shitty feeling.

3. Then I confessed my crappy feelings to my sister who obviously is my sister for a reason. AND SHE KNEW THAT I WAS FEELING DOWN.

No wonder she kept asking me: why? what are you doing? why so quiet?

And I kept telling her nothing.

And in the end when I told her, she was like, I knew it. I knew something was off about you.

But yeah. Long story short, she gave me the dose of self-esteem I needed back after all those feelings. We had a long and deep conversation about feelings.

And at the end of the conversation, she said: Remember, I’m your number one fan fo-evar.

Dammit. I’m going to cry in the bathroom now.

But first, a bonus,

Bonus: my mom sent me an IM saying: hello lil me. And I was like, why? My mom said: because you look like me and cook like me. If that is not the best compliment I’ve gotten so far, I don’t know what is.

My mom is my hero. And I hope that I’m hers too.

Happy Tuesday… Or Hump Day since it’s already almost Wednesday. Keep doing you, whoever you are.

Raine
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More California things… I think

1. PINK everything. No, really, why is Victoria’s Secret Pink wear SO popular here? I swear everyone in school has at least ONE Pink article of clothing be it a Pink bedazzled hoodie or a pair of Pink-emblazoned yoga pants or Pink tank top. I guess people take their VS seriously. I just like their flip flops which went out of production.

vs pink2. Under Armour obsession. Same thing here. UA shirts, UA hoodies, UA bags, UA caps, UA everything. I don’t get it. Explanation please?

underarmour3. Giants everything. Okay, this I kind of get because even before I came here I found myself browsing the Giants merch pages. I’m not a big sports fan but I can appreciate the SF Giants. If people are not wearing Pink or Under Armour stuff, they’re probably wearing something Giants-related. Orange and black… always.

giantskeychain4. Sweatpants and hoodie combo. I’ve read about the typical American’s obsession with sweatpants and hoodies but um, I did not expect it to go this far. Girls show up to school in sweatpants… and it’s acceptable. I thought sweatpants were for lounging at home or going to the gym. Well, apparently sweatpants are the new jeans because people wear them everywhere. To Target, to eat, to school, to fill their gas, to the park, everywhere. Well, I’ll take the sweatpants+hoodie combo over non-existent shorts and cleavage-baring tops that are popular back home (you did not hear this from me). Brb ordering sweatpants.

I get it. I really do.

5. Non-winter. It’s December. It’s 70 degrees outside. It’s January. It’s still almost 70 degrees. It’s February. We’re back to 70 degrees. Um, what? I was right about not needing our Vancouver gear. It’s still hot and sunny in between sprinkles of rain, random cool drafts and occasional grey skies.

cali-sky4

6. Bad drivers. They’re all over the world but they’re all of slightly different breeds. Back home, you have inconsiderate folks who pressure you when you try to park/back out of a parking space, folks who cut into the tiniest gap between you and the car in front of you, folks who shoot out of corners without checking oncoming traffic, douchebag level max, etc. Here: Californians speeding, Californians braking at the last second, Californians tailgating, impatience level max…

Wait, did I forget tailgating?

Side story: while I was test-driving a car on the freeway the other day, the guy told me I wasn’t going fast enough and that I could get a ticket for going too slow. K. HOW is going at 55mph slow? HOW? How??? 65mph is 105km/h. That’s crazy. The speed limit is 65mph. Read: limit. Why do I need to push 65mph?

7. Ranch and mayo. I will never understand covering your meals with excessive amounts of ranch or mayo. I used to think that I ate a lot of mayo.. Now I see how foolish and wrong I was. I eat at least only 1/8 of what people eat here. Just waaay too much dressing.

8-ways-to-ruin-a-healthy-salad1835075941-may-24-2012-600x3998. Sandals and socks combo. Are you seeing a pattern here? Yeah, I notice tons of fashion statements that are different from the ones back home. Apparently it’s totally COOL to wear socks with sandals like the Romans and Japanese. This is a fashion trend we are getting on! We just bought ugly sandals from Daiso to wear out with mismatched socks. Check these out:

socks-and-sandals

Working it

Pg-13-romans

These are the ones more commonly seen around campus. Adidas sandals and white/black socks.

Apparently they are also called slides here. I don’t know, I just call them slippers.

9. In-N-Out. Ah, here we have the number one pride of California. And you know what? I totally get it. I get why the lines – counter AND drive-thru – are so freaking long from the moment they open at 11am. The first time we went, we ordered 3 burgers and 2 fries. The fries, however, are skinny, soggy and quite unimpressive so that was a let-down. But we liked the cheeseburger so much that we went again the following day. The cheeseburger is tasty, Animal Style or not. We have agreed that In-N-Out is better than Five Guys.

cali-innout

Agree or disagree? Did I miss anything?

Raine
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January update: college, life and other tidbits

Hello.

About time I wrote a post, right?

I was writing another post earlier on about something else when I realized that I haven’t done a ‘random things’ update in a while. So here I am, with lots of things to say but of course, in random order.

1. Classes have started (which is somehow what I always end up saying in posts like these and it almost gives me deja vu). How are classes? One is coming along just fine, one is pretty much the same as the one last semester aka boring but only with more strange and annoying work, one is actually nice and slow (my stats professor’s patience is amazing), one is interesting (I even got to hold a 2.5 billion year old rock), and one I do not know yet but I’m guessing will be boring and annoying.

2. More stress. I don’t know about you but semester beginnings are tiring and stressful as heck. It’s not the same as high school where everything starts off nice and easy with a fixed timetable and fixed lunch break (kiss that goodbye in college). I’m stressing over so many things, I can’t even begin to count.

3. I need to SLOW DOWN. I have a Type A personality which according to this site (ironically a site about stress) means having these characteristics:

  • Time Urgency and Impatience, as demonstrated by people who, among other things, get frustrated while waiting in line, interrupt others often, walk or talk at a rapid pace, and are always painfully aware of the time and how little of it they have to spare.
  • Free-Floating Hostility or Aggressiveness, which shows up as impatience, rudeness, being easily upset over small things, or ‘having a short fuse’, for example.
  • Competitiveness
  • Strong Achievement-Orientation
  • Certain Physical Characteristics That Result From Stress and Type A Behavior Over Years : Facial tension (tight lips, clenched jaw, etc.), tongue clicking or teeth grinding, dark circles under eyes, facial sweating (on forehead or upper lip)

Am I guilty of these traits? Indeed. More so during the periods of time when I feel like I have so much more to do and just feel like hurling the chair (figuratively because I paid $80 for this chair). In short, I haven’t been very nice and I also feel bad about that.

Apparently there are TIPS, too, for dealing with a Type A personality. Let’s look at them while we’re at it:

  • Change Your Work Life
  • Change Thought Patterns
  • Start Journaling  – I tried for the first 5 days of the new year then things got busy (lame excuse obviously) and I forgot. I want to get back to that even if it’s only to write a few lines every day because I think that it helps.
  • Make It A Game – counting idiots on the road, they say. I could do that… probably.
  • Breathing Exercises – ugh, I don’t remember this until after I get frustrated or angry.
  • Love Your Pets – my pet is miles away from me. I need him. so. much. It’s so weird that I miss him a billion times more when I’m away. Or maybe it’s not weird, it’s natural.
  • Gardening – this is another thing I have been considering heavily. I was thinking of getting a bonsai plant but we’ll see if I have any extra budget for a plant.

ANYWAY, the third point is I need to slooow dooown. A lot. But it’s hard because I naturally rush around a lot.

4. Budgeting. Stop buying unnecessary things. Wait, we don’t. I guess the most that we spend on is food. I occasionally think about our tuition and expenses and try not to freak out. The question is, how to cut back on spending when you don’t really spend that much in the first place?

5. We went for our first basketball game this week. I hoped that it would be exciting and obviously hope that our team would win. It was both! We were on the edge of our seats, screaming and cheering for our team. It was a close match but we won. The last few seconds were gripping, I tell you. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and even showed up in our school colors.

What I can be sure of, after watching this game, is that Kuroko no Basuke has some dramatic and completely unreal scenes haha. Players do not have time for chitchat and trash-talking while trying to score; the ball does not remain in the air for five minutes while words are being exchanged. Also, I’m quite sure the referees do their jobs well so any kind of foul play would be detected… unlike in KnB where Hanamiya and Haizaki get away with things like elbowing other players or stomping on someone else’s foot. In case you didn’t get it, I’m just joking.

6. My coulda-beens. I’ve realized as of late that if I had been nudged towards the science-y direction, I would have taken astronomy or geology as my major. Even way back when I was younger, I remember telling my mom that I wanted to be an astronomer and a geologist. Why I didn’t pursue either: 1) at some point, the thought of there being SO MANY unknowns in the universe was incredibly daunting, and 2) being far away in some unknown desert or mountain (aka away from home) digging for fossils (possibly in unbearable heat or that’s how I always imagine it to be)  was also incredibly daunting. It was too much for my teenage brain to process.

One of my close friends has graduated with a degree in geology. Don’t think for a second that I didn’t think it was freaking cool that she actually went into the field of geology. I always wanted to know what classes she was taking and what interesting fossil finds there are. Can you imagine what I’d be like if I had a friend in the field of astronomy?

7. Nobody should make red sauce pasta with KETCHUP. Once upon a time, I went to a friend’s place and her mother made spaghetti for lunch. Guess what she poured onto the cold, overcooked spaghetti? Ketchup. Gag me. Okay, then she said there was cheese and brought out – wait for it, no, not parmesan – those square slices of Kraft American cheese. WHY? Never mind. Guess what she made us pair our ketchup-and-processed-cheese-laden spaghetti with? MILK.

I gagged on my lunch. Literally. I was the last one at the table except for my friend’s grandfather. Seeing me struggling to finish my ‘spaghetti’, he took pity on me and told me that I didn’t have to finish it. My mom has trained us to be polite guests and to not complain about the food served by others so I felt bad about not eating it but not bad enough to continue. So I didn’t.

Just thinking about it makes me shudder. How was that even pasta? I do not know.

This was a completely random thought because we were discussing it at dinner that day and I was reminded of how glad I am that my mom cooks some badass pasta.

8. It’s cold. I’ve had to break out our jackets from Vancouver. It’s actually rather annoying to have to wear so many layers.

9. Exercise. This semester’s schedule is enough exercise for me, I’m thinking. I’ve been marching/fast-walking to my next class which is on the opposite end of the campus every single day. Here’s the catch: I have to get across the entire length of the campus within 10 minutes and that is if the class finishes on time. By the time I get to my next class (also after which I climb three flights of stairs; holla quad and hamstring workout) and sit down, I’m out of breath and I feel warm and toasty because of the blood pumping. The 5-day workout I didn’t sign up for, here I come.

10. The end of nail polish… at least for this semester? I’m taking a class this semester that has a lab that kind of bans nail polish. Ugh, I’m sad.

Anyway, that’s it for today otherwise this post is going to get too wordy.

Raine
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November-ish

nov-shoes-target

Us, in Target, making full use of the pretty mirrors

Welcome to my post about October and November things. My post-titling-skills are completely adequate as you can see.

1. Halloween is a non-event for us. No costumes or candy for us. Just lots of surfing the net… like every other night.

2. We spent Halloween night getting excited over the rain. The first rain we’ve seen here. We did see a few drops of summer rain but I’m discounting that. It felt like home for a while. The smell and sound of rain are lovely and comforting.

3. It’s finally fall. The days have cooled down and the skies are cloudier but there are still some mildly sunny periods in a day. The leaves are turning and falling but rather slowly if you ask me. It’s even cool enough to eat outside haha.

4. I broke my boots out of the plastic bag that they were wrapped in for the past 6 months. It was so exciting to wear them again. Haha, I never thought I’d say that but it was. Once I stepped out onto the rain-soaked path, I was overwhelmed with nostalgia. It was like I was back in Vancouver again, whut?

5. So… NaNoWriMo has started. I forgot. I can’t remember if I joined last year or not but I do know I’ve joined it more than once. I don’t know if I’ll be joining this year (late start, of course, since I forgot that yesterday was the first) but to whoever is, good luck!

6. Throws are amazing. I love throws. They keep you SO warm. I love mine and I’m eyeing the selection at Costco.

7. I have signed up for winter classes. Let’s do this.

8. Okay, what else… October recap: October was kind of fun, I think. We joined a club in school, went to the meetings, met people, went to volleyball games and other social events… I even had a few lunches with friends which is new to me, kind of.

9. Looking forward to: turkey for Thanksgiving.

10. Daylight saving is stupid if you ask me. It just gets darker faster. The point is…? Do you have daylight saving where you are?

And that’s it. What did you do in October? What are you looking forward to in November?

Raine
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Lately

welcome-pumpkin1

I have a long overdue update of how things have been. Firstly, hello October! I’m seeing lots of excitement over the fact that it’s October.

While the excitement over pumpkin spice latte, October 3 which for some reason is of some importance because of Mean Girls (which I still don’t get why has to be a reference for almost everything) and Halloween everything are beyond us, we do appreciate beautiful fall foliage, cooler weather, and the pumpkin patch that we’ve seen in our neighborhood!!

Halloween is around the corner. We don’t celebrate it but it’s a big deal here, isn’t it? If you need us, we’ll just be here… hiding behind our computer screens LOL. We are wondering if any kids from the neighborhood will come around trick-or-treating. We’ll have to run out to Costco to get candy. Speaking of which, we just came home with a big box of chocolates. Because they were on sale and you know, because chocolate.

Anyway, on with the update:

1. I have a tan. I arrived all white and pasty after four months of winter in Vancouver. I’m approximately three shades darker. -crying in the corner- Even with copious amounts of sunblock and an umbrella, I still got tanned… Oh well. See, you don’t need to go to the beach to get a tan.

2. Girl power prevails. We’re miles away from home and we’ve had to do stuff that we’re not used to doing (read: have never done before).

We did okay, I think. I managed to get a decent phone plan for us, we managed to apply for internet and electricity service AND set up our own modem, I ordered a printer and set it up, we managed to ‘assemble’ our own furniture (okay, it was pre-assembled but we had to cut it out of the damned boxes because the tables were stuck inside), we’ve hauled stuff way heavier than ourselves, we’ve unscrewed bulbs and bought insect spray that we had to use on a cockroach (omg). That’s taken care of at home by our dad and in Vancouver, our brother. So this is all new to us.

Sometimes I am torn between thinking of myself as a princess who would much rather leave the ‘tough’ work and techy stuff to Dad and a do-it-yourself-and-depend-on-yourself kind of girl who takes interest in how Dad fixes the door. I guess that would make me a warrior princess? Just call me Xena. Lol jk. My mom has always told us that girls can do or be anything that guys can, sometimes even better (#badassmom/#ladybossadvice/#onlyfemalemanagerinherdepartment).

In short, you can do this, ladies. You are just as capable as a man. Except maybe for trying to lift a mattress by yourself lol.

3. I occasionally find myself thinking about the astronomy class that I took in my Vancouver uni. I still can’t believe that I finally took an astronomy class and what more the professor’s love and enthusiasm for the subject made it even better. I find nature incredibly fascinating and in part I have my mom to thank for this. We had quite a few books about things like volcanoes, wildlife and nature in general while growing up. Astronomy is one of those things I have marveled at since young and wanted to study even if it was only for the briefest four months in college. And I did it and I’m happy that I did.

I even learned about black holes which was something I have always been very fascinated about. I remember asking my dad how black holes worked (I think it was while we were watching some outer space show, maybe Star Trek) and he couldn’t really tell me. They seemed scary and interesting at the same time. Astronomy tidbit of the day: black holes are massive dead stars that collapse from the sheer weight and pressure exerted onto itself.

And one thing that I took away from the class is that astronomy is for everyone. Everyone can learn stuff about the universe from the internet or books or whatever. It’s not like chemistry where you have to memorize chemicals and stuff (ugh, why). I always thought that you had to be a super physics genius to get astronomy. Which is why I’m motivated to start reading up on astronomy stuff and subscribing to newsletters (if you know any, let me know). Did you guys read about the story of how the ‘Man in the Moon’ came about? The article came out a few days ago and apparently, the craters on the moon aren’t formed by asteroid impact but rather, a volcanic event. Very cool stuff indeed.

I am still upset that I didn’t get to go to at least one star viewing event but I know one day I will go (very Disney-like of me, I know… I’m thinking Rapunzel finding her new dream ahaha). And here’s what I also learned from astronomy which somehow isn’t ingrained into everyone’s well of common sense: there is so much more out there than meets the eye and you are just the teeniest tiniest most microscopic speck in the universe. The end. Infer for yourself.

4. My sister and I are taking an art history class this semester and the professor is HILARIOUS. He throws in the wittiest, driest, most accurate references all the time and we’re just rolling on the floor, laughing. Well, it’s more like trying not to burst out laughing so there’s more shaking and trembling in our chair than anything. The professor knows his stuff – seriously, he’s like the only person I’ve known so far who has endless general knowledge. I highly recommend his class and art history in general because it is such a fascinating subject.

5. The library is awesome. That is all. I am in love with Robert Crais’s Cole and Pike novels and was SO happy to see the whole collection in the library. I know I’ve said this many times before but Robert Crais is just a literary genius. I hope he has a book signing nearby so that we can go and tell him exactly that. Picking out The Watchman out of all the books on the thriller shelf two years ago… amazing. The appeal was mostly in Pike’s name though.

6. About the weather (because what’s a ‘lately’ post without weather updates?)… it was cool for a few days – like the 70s – and now the temperatures are soaring back up again (yay -_-). People showed up in full winter gear on the days when it was cool. That was amusing. It’s like they were just waiting to bust out the scarves, boots and heavy sweaters. Which would have been fine if it hadn’t gotten bleeding hot in the afternoon.

7. About food. We have a hangout spot that we love. We’ve been to a Korean BBQ twice and I personally rather like it. I know my mom loves it (hehe). We tried a Japanese place which is supposedly ‘the bomb’ and has lots of positive reviews on Yelp. Our verdict: a cramped and kinda gross place (and trust me, we’ve been to some pretty yucky places before) with a messy ordering system, no waiting area for takeout orders, abrupt and unsmiling staff, and dry, so-so food. We are on the hunt for better Japanese places.

We also tried a Chinese restaurant which had raving reviews on Yelp. Our verdict: nothing that special, nice interior but super salty food, and what the heck is General Tso’s chicken anyway? I’ve never even heard of it and we’re Asian. If you’re looking for authentic Chinese food and you see General Tso’s chicken on the menu, run. Chinese food tip of the day: chicken dim sum will never be as good as pork dim sum.

Cheesecake Factory was disappointing in terms of service and we discovered that we don’t fancy key lime cheesecake. Oh well, at least the pasta was good. We’ve also just recently discovered a Thai restaurant that’s cheaper and WAY tastier than the one we went to twice. The lady is also much friendlier. Score.

On the home kitchen front, we’ve been cooking like nobody’s business. The oven has been put to good use and I hope we get to roast turkey for Thanksgiving this year. The cooking is fun but the cleaning is another story. Who likes washing the dishes anyway?! Or scrubbing that damned pan with the burnt sides?? Please send kitchen help lol.

8. Oh, you know what we’re excited about for the fall? Fall anime. Ahaha, you totally saw this one coming, didn’t you? Well, we’ve got a lineup of shows to watch and we’ve already kicked one off the list. Hopefully I’ll have time to write some brief reviews of the summer anime we watched.

9. In other random pieces of Spud news: we have a cat (if you didn’t read about that); I am on Instagram (it’s getting lonely there, having only one follower); we are in LOVE with Antique Bakery – it is an excellent show with an opening theme we have been playing on repeat and I love the originality of the idea behind the story; checking the mailbox and seeing the parcels I ordered is always a highlight of the day especially when it’s all wrapped up nicely; we are thinking of getting some fall decor for our place (maybe a cute wreath) but have no idea where to look; and we are also thinking of getting plants since we have a little patio outside but we’re not exactly green thumbs so we don’t know what plants to get. Suggestions?

Pretty sure there are tons of other stuff that happened; they are just eluding me at the moment.

What have you been up to lately? Any plans for October?

Raine
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Things to know when living in Vancouver

I’ve compiled some things that I’ve learned during my 4-month stay in the West Coast of Canada.

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1. Check the dates of public holidays. If you’re renting a car during your stay, this information is highly important. We made the mistake of not booking the car early one weekend and found out that the car rental place was fresh out of cars because it was Easter weekend. And the car rental place kind of only had 3 cars of every size so…

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2. Got a birthday to celebrate and have no idea where to get a tasty cake from? Head to Safeway, nab the black forest cake and checkout. You won’t regret it. It’s so good! For $12.99, you just cannot resist.

Or you could go to Costco.

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3. Looking for moving boxes? Don’t go to Walmart – we’ve tried our luck there and found none. Home Depot is where you want to get your boxes. A large moving box costs $2 at Home Depot. At Budget, it costs $5.50. Your homework is done. You’re welcome! 😀

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4. U-turns are illegal. Who knew?! Missed your turn? Just make a big square around the block. Hmm… I guess it’s probably because the roads have no dividers…

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5. Check the bus schedule. I don’t know if this a ‘you don’t say’ piece of information but I’m just going to throw it in for bus noobs like ourselves. Chances of the bus arriving at the stated time on Google Maps are slim so expect to miss/wait for the bus. Bus schedules are different on weekends and the interval between buses in the evening is longer.

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6. Going in winter? Get a scarf and beanie. Bailey was right. In her email, she told me that a scarf and beanie are essential. I got the scarf but never managed to find a beanie.

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7. Check the weather forecast!!! I’m not even kidding. It can be drizzling in the morning then cloudless + blazing hot in the afternoon. Or it could be cloudy one moment and pouring in the next. Or it could be sunny but extremely windy at the same time.

My advice: if you’re not sure whether it’ll rain, just wear something with a hood. Seriously, the hood makes all the difference. You can put it up when there’s rain or sun and you can also zip yourself right up when the wind is ripping past.

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8. There really are sushi places at every corner. Japanese food lovers, you will not be disappointed. I do wish I found a place with takoyaki though.

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9. Invest in a good pair of boots. If we’re being completely honest, get a pair of calf-length boots. You’ll know what I mean when you have to splosh through puddles of rain.

I bought a pair of BareTraps snow boots and they’re really comfy. I’ve read reviews online that say that the boots began to fall apart after daily wear for a few months. I didn’t wear my boots daily so I can’t say for sure but one thing I agree with is that the zipper is pretty crappy. Apart from that, it’s warm and comfy and I could walk from one end of the school to the other (so far!) without my soles hurting. The traction on these boots are also decent – for rain and snow but I had to be a bit more careful when there was frost on the sidewalk.

My other pair of boots that I love, love, love are my Timberlands. I bought them in the US for $70? I didn’t think I would wear them a lot but I found that they were my go-to shoes when I was sick and tired of zipping myself in and out of my BareTraps boots. They’re waterproof and moderately comfy but super sturdy. The traction isn’t that great since I think they’re meant for hiking, not winter weather.

10. No, really, the stores actually close at 8pm. Omg. Where I come from, malls close at midnight and there are tons of places that are full out open 24hours. It is SO weird to have to hustle to get to places before 8pm. Okay, and there are places in Vancouver that open at 12NOON on weekends. Doubly weird. We wake up at 7am and have NOWHERE to go until noon.

If you come from a bustling city full of life, this might actually be weird. By the way, there’s always usually not more than 5 people in Target during winter. Once, we went in and we were the only ones there except for the staff. Things only start to get livelier in spring. We went the other day and there were like 30 people!

Bonus: Home Depot is apparently the IT place. There are more people in Home Depot than Target. Amazing.

I hope you’ve learned something new today. Come back for more… if I have any.

Raine
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