Our trip to the Botanic Gardens.

Ah, yes. The Singapore Botanic Gardens. It’s probably the very heart of the garden city. Sadly, I’ve almost forgotten about it. I frequent Marina Bay, Tiong Bahru, the Singapore River, and places like Fort Canning. But the Botanic Gardens? It’s slightly further away.

We had a couple of reasons to visit the Botanic Gardens this past weekend. But the reasons weren’t really urgent or compelling. Maybe we just wanted some fresh air. Maybe we wanted to spend time doing something different and… well, free.

The Botanic Gardens was a little dry this time around. There hasn’t been much rain recently and you can see it in the greenery. They look a little thirsty! Still beautiful… the space dedicated to plant life.

The rest in photos. 🙂

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Love, G

7 October 2019.

I’ve an awful amount of writing to do.

There have been changes at work recently. It’s great I get to travel. But I’ve been doing plenty of thinking about the direction I’m headed. I’m learning so much and I work with great people. But I want to go where I feel stronger and more confident.

I’ve a few things to unload onto my blog. I hope I can get to them soon. In the meantime, I have some photos to share.

Starting with a trip to Swee Choon in Jalan Basar with my boyfriend and his flatmates. It’s kinda rare we get to go out together. In fact, I think I was the one who initiated it. I’m happy the gang was pretty much game for dumplings.

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Dumpings at Swee Choon. Pretty tasty and quick to serve.

Another photo I’d like to share is from Paul’s condo in Kallang. With my dragon boat team out of the picture these days… my social circle has been reduced greatly. The most meaningful interaction I get are with my college friends.

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Damn this view. Even better than Marina Bay Sands.

In September, my brother had a business trip in Bangkok… which was an opportunity for the family to follow him there for a weekend. It was a pretty quick weekend but we managed to stuff it with as many things as possible like a Thai cooking class, a private day trip to Ayutthaya, some night market shopping (barely, barely… it was raining and we were tired). At least we managed to squeeze in our annual trip.

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With the family in Ayutthaya.

A day later I flew down to Sydney, Australia for a team offsite. It’s my first time down under… and my first time that far into the Southern Hemisphere.

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Our hotel was at the foot of Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s the most beautiful bridge I’ve seen so far.

Of all my offsites, it was probably the most enjoyable. Well-paced. Lots of learnings. And ample ‘extra’ time to explore Sydney and its neighbouring areas.

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With Michele and Eugene at Bondi Lookout.

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With Krutika and her husband Sarteck at Surry Hills.

I’ll be blogging more about Australia very soon.

Lastly, for this quick update… my boyfriend. ❤

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With PJ at River Valley. After we saw Joker at GV Grand in Great World City.

We’ve been together for over 14 months now. I can’t believe that time has passed by that quickly. He’s teaching me patience. AND WAIT. That’s not a bad thing! Friends and family close to me would know that I can be impatient… bitchy, and moody. But with PJ, I’m learning to calm down, to chill, to think before I speak, to be more loving and kind. He has that effect on me. 🙂

***

I’d like to open up about my anxiety. I feel it’s peaked a little bit in the past two weeks.

 

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Love, George

Wishlist from September 2019

Things I want…

  1. GoPro 7 with a box full of accessories.
  2. iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil.
  3. Roundtrip SQ Premium Economy tickets to Tokyo.
  4. A 2-bedroom apartment setup with my boyfriend. The 2nd room is for guests and also serves as an office where I’ll take video calls from San Francisco.
  5. Permanent Residency status and the freedom to explore roles offered to citizens and permanent residents.
  6. A 2nd life insurance plan. Or an enhanced first plan.
  7. $800 shopping spree at Crate & Barrel.
  8. Real Estate Investment (a house in Cavite). It has to be near a school or a future commercial district.
  9. Dinner and drinks with my nearest and dearest friends. I’m thinking a boodle fight for good measure. And plenty of alcohol.
  10. Aesop collection.
  11. Certificates in digital marketing.

Noir.

I’m struggling through work. I’ll be candid about that. It’s ‘alarming’ and ‘deeply concerning’ that I haven’t ‘picked up’ the necessary skills needed to get the job I signed up for.

False.

I’m proud of myself for trying something new. I give myself credit for making a bold step to leave my comfort zone. I might not be as amazing as my peers but I’m something of my own. I am capable of being great at my own pace. I’ve launched projects and campaigns. I’ve made some good relations with stakeholders. Not all of them. But how could you when you have double the stakeholders. You’ll never be able to please every single one. Only manage. And, as my manager reminds me constantly, prioritise.

I think I’ve only recently gotten my bearings again after a rollercoaster 2017/2018. I struggle with mental health issues. I recognise the anxiety which drains me. I acknowledge I need help and I’ll be open about it. I know how it feels to stand twelve floors above and looking down into the abyss. I also know how it feels to stand 34 floors above the ground and looking out from the posh, well-stocked pantry of the tech company I work for. I feel fucking thankful. I’ve overcome challenges and doubt to get to where I stand.

If it’s a chemical imbalance, I’ll deal with it. I accept anxiety as a part of me that I need to manage. Like how I need to manage the next eBook I’m working on.

These are the times we live in. Filtered or unfiltered. Precious. Pretentious. Where we get older and age gracefully. Knocking down walls. Creating new ones. We respect the new paths created. Friends come and go. And they DO GO. Believe me.

But some stay.

I choose to stay. I know there’s still so much work to get done. It’ll be worth the struggle.

Two things:

  1. I love SUNMI. This is a great MV from her Noir single. I’m obsessed with LALALAY.
  2. I’ll be fine. I needed to blog this as an outlet.

Switch!

Finally!

Two years ago I wrote and performed a rap song in the hopes I could win a Nintendo Switch at a company party. I failed. LOL. The top prize went to someone who wanted to dedicate company resources to a charity. How does one compete with that?

I didn’t get a chance to buy a Switch until today. The past few years involved leaving that previous job, getting accustomed to a new one, and virtually saving more money to prepare for the next chapter of my life (The States? Hong Kong? The Philippines?) in 2020.

I’ve wanted to treat myself to a new gadget for a while.

So… this is a birthday gift to myself. It’s also a reward for completing nine months in my current role. Excited to play this on the trains or while waiting at airports. ❤

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Nintendo Switch (Grey)

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Hard and thin cases.

I was waiting for an online promotion with Qisahn. Qisahn is one of the most trusted video game stores in Singapore. Because of the Great Singapore Sale and Shopee, they had coupons available. I can’t say I got a huge discount. But it was better than a $600 console.

These are some of the Nintendo Switch games I’m excited to play:

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Cuphead
  • Super Mario Maker 2
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Pokemon Let’s Go!
  • New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2
  • Stardew Valley

Are you a gamer? Do you play on the Nintendo Switch? What are your recommendations?

Tampines, Singapore: 888 Mookata

PJ and I discovered an affordable mookata (think: Korean BBQ meets Chinese Hot Pot) near his block in Tampines.

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888 Mookata is part of a newly-renovated coffee shop at Block 820 Tampines Ave 81.

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888 Mookata sees a healthy crowd. Took this photo after 11pm sorry!

We were happy it’s open until 11:00 PM!

They offer a set for two people which is priced at SGD 26.00. That’s $13 each for a selection of meat, vegetable, and noodles. Not bad!

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A nice Saturday evening in Tampines with PJ.

There’s a set for four people priced at SGD 45.00. Maybe PJ’s flatmates Del and Gel can join next time. 🙂

888 Mookata has several branches in the city. Check out their Facebook here.

  • 888 Mookata
  • 820 Tampines Street 81, Singapore 520820
  • Open 12PM to 11PM

Frankfurt, Germany: A stopover experience

On my way to Dublin for a work visit… I had a 6-hour stopover in Frankfurt, Germany. It’s the first time I’ve set foot on continental Europe.

I took a Singapore Airlines flight to Frankfurt (SQ26) and landed around 7:00 AM local time. First thing I did was to collect my luggage from the baggage carousel and check it into my Lufthansa flight for the late afternoon. Checking in is automated including a bag drop counter. Frankfurt airport is big!

I originally wanted to take a shower at the airport. When I found the shower area, I learned they only had one or two stalls and that there was a queue. I didn’t want to waste time (and I didn’t stink either, I was only on a plane for 13 hours lol). I left the airport and headed down to the train station to buy a day trip ticket (single person).

AND MADE A MISTAKE BY BOARDING THE WRONG TRAIN. Ended up at the suburbs and lost about an hour and a half. I’ve never been “lost” before. This was disappointing. Found my way back to Frankfurt Sur (South) and to my destination which is the old town or “altstadt” in German.

My feel of the place? It’s peak summer I suppose and the weather was warm. My first orientation into Europe was Dublin and London back in March. Temperatures at the time involved wearing layers of clothing. Here in Frankfurt, in the middle of July, I was wearing a t-shirt and a jacket. But I was sweating underneath.

The buildings definitely looked fascinating. Especially the Romer. But I had done some reading before flying into Frankfurt and I understand much of the city was destroyed during the World War and that much of what we see today is actually restored. The old town though was a delight to see. I read that it has a huge Christmas market and that the area is enchanting in winter.

Because I lost time with my detour into the suburbs… I decided to screw with my little Frankfurt checklist and instead enjoy the air conditioning, peace, and quiet of the History Museum. It’s well worth it. Containing artefacts and very detailed displays of Frankfurt’s rich past. It’s a shame I had to squeeze half a day’s worth of the museum into the span of an hour.

After the museum, I had about an hour and a half left before I needed to be back at Frankfurt airport. I crossed the Iron Bridge (the bridge crosses the Main River) and recorded a short video blog on the other end. From this bridge, you can see Frankfurt’s CBD buildings.

I walked to a restaurant recommended to me by a close friend. It’s called Gaststätte Atschel and it’s where I enjoyed my first taste of franks from Germany and a plate of chicken schnitzel. I also ordered a glass of aphelwein “apple wine”.

I could’ve taken the train back to the airport. But I didn’t want to stress myself out with the variable of not knowing how easy it is to pass through immigration. I took an Uber and had an interesting chat with the driver. The driver is a German-born Afghan who gushes about life in Germany. How it differs from neighbouring France. How he didn’t quite enjoy a visit to Afghanistan (after I asked him if he went back to his parents’ country to see how it’s like). He was recommending some places in Frankfurt known to have girls called Freikörperkultur (FKK).

LOL.

Getting through immigration at Frankfurt airport was a breeze. The boarding gate situation was different altogether though. As it seemed I was sharing a Lufthansa flight with half a school of students out on some type of excursion.

The rest in photos. I would love to see Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg closer to winter one day!

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Römer, Frankfurt

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Altstadt (Frankfurt am Main)

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Altstadt (Frankfurt am Main)

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Altstadt (Frankfurt am Main)

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Altstadt (Frankfurt am Main)

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Frankfurt River Cruise

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Iron Bridge in Frankfurt

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Frankfurt’s CBD

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Walking along Wallstraße in Frankfurt

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Walking along Wallstraße in Frankfurt

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Walking along Wallstraße in Frankfurt

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Franks at Gaststätte Atschel

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Chicken Schnitzel at Gaststätte Atschel

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Gaststätte Atschel

An anniversary to remember.

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I met PJ! ❤

In the past year, no one’s made me smile and laugh as loud. He replies to messages before I send them. He’s embraced the things that I love and has made them his own. He isn’t forceful. Always smiling at me. He has this way of tilting his head down and his eyes sparkle at you. I can’t really describe it sorry! He’s made me happy and I’m grateful to have met him a year ago. Surely we’re in our honeymoon phase perhaps. And we are far from perfect. But for a first-year… we’re smooth. He has a way to make the sun rise on my cloudy days.

We’ve been to a few destinations already in one year: Melaka on our 2nd weekend together last year (ambitious), Ho Chi Minh City for Christmas (riding motorcycles), Ipoh for his friend’s wedding (sampling sweets at Concubine Lane), Bangkok for Songkran (it was a BLAST), and Manila (to meet my family).

Our relationship started when I had just left my previous job. Those early days of our relationship involved me spending days in his Tampines flat and waiting for an email reply from an interviewer. He’d cook pasta and we’d watch drag race on a single bed.

I love picking him up at his office which is also in Tampines. And we’d go out for Thai food or maybe get takeout and eat it at the park. We’ve grown fond of teppanyaki. I watch him order his 2nd Coke and an extra cup of rice.

The many times he’s in the lobby of Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 2. Waiting patiently on the seats. Each time we meet we exchange a kiss and start walking in the direction of food.

That one time he wore a Star Trek uniform with me. Even if he hadn’t seen a single episode of Star Trek. And how he’d listen to me talk on and on about the Klingon War.

We live in the intensity of the moment. But it’s nice to look back at what experiences I’ve had this past year. Marami na pala tayo nagawa. 🙂

Happy first year, love. ❤

***

To celebrate our first anniversary, I flew back immediately from my work trip in Dublin so I can land in Singapore on the 20th of July. PJ picked me up at the airport. I told him to prepare a bag for a “staycation”. He already guessed which hotel it was going to be at (even if I was trying to mix it up so it’s not expected).

After taking a few photos at the HSBC Rain Vortex (that huge waterfall within Jewel)… I told him “alright, let’s check-in at Crowne Plaza.”

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is the world’s best airport hotel. It’s also a hotel that’s in the world’s best airport. I had always dreamt of staying here to celebrate either a birthday or a special occasion. I had my birthday in Melaka the previous week. So celebrating our anniversary here was perfect.

I leave you with photos.

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Starting off with burgers and spaghetti at Rumours Bar & Grill Jewel.

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Tip: Settle down at one of the restaurants on the upper level. It’s too crowded to walk around. Enjoy happy hour and watch the sunlight change.

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Rumours Bar & Grill originated in Bali, Indonesia.

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PJ surprises me with leche flan that he made. ❤

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Our hotel surprises us with a card and a cake.

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KFC chicken and PJ’s leche flan.

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All about the ambiance. A late night in a hotel room with your boyfriend.

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Random snacks. Bengawan Solo almond cookies that were meant as pasalubong in Ireland are back in Singapore. Snacks from the office in Dublin.

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The only view of the runway from the 4th level.

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Brunch at Azur, Crowne Plaza Changi Airport’s restaurant.

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Nice and easy at 9:30 in the morning.

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Crowds disappear after 10:00 am.

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A healthy selection of Asian and Western.

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The buffet was alright. Sufficient choices.

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The front of Azur.

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The lobby of Crowne Plaza Hotel Changi Airport.

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With PJ at Crowne Plaza Hotel Changi Airport.

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Loved the water features.

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The hotel has a tropical theme with openings in walls to let nature in.

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Poolside.

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Poolside.

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Interesting maze at the pool.

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We can’t wait to swim!

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Tempting to get in the water.

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The fitness area which we got to use for a few minutes.

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Landscaped surroundings.

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Water features on both sides.

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This is an airport swimming pool.

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PJ.

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Really excited to get into the water.

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A view of Changi Airport’s Control Tower and Jewel.

❤ ❤ ❤

(It’s MY blog so I could be as cheesy as I want!)