Grateful – #ellysagegoestolondon

Today is Day 20 in London – 3 more days and my vacation comes to an end. It wasn’t easy making this trip happen, and I’ve got so many people to thank.

Firstly, to my Ellysage team – thank you girls for hustling on without me in Singapore. Thanks for working hard to learn everything you needed to know before I went away. Poly might have started for a few of you girls (and not forgetting exams for Fiona), but you still took time out to help with whatever needed to be done. I’m so proud to be a part of #teamellysage 🙂

Secondly, to Gwen and Rizza – thank you for coordinating your flights so that we could meet up in London to shoot the lookbook video for Ellysage. Gwen, thanks for picking up the outfits and bringing them here even though it wasn’t the most convenient (wait, actually thanks goes to Marcus for picking the clothes up! Haha!). And Rizza, thanks for offering your time and your talents to shoot for us. I owe you both a good meal when I get back!

Finally, to Wesley – thanks for having me here and taking care of me. It’s funny how each time we meet up, my cooking skills level up like crazy (#masterchef). Yes, I am most definitely going back home a few kilos heavier *pats belly*.

So much good vibes just thinking bout how every piece came together so nicely.

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Rome 2014

As usual, a much overdue post – Wesley took me on an all expenses paid trip to Rome in June and it was such an amazing trip! I absolutely love learning about the history of a place and culture, so much so that after our guided tours, I would go back to the hotel and start Googling on whatever our guide said that day! I got to see all the famous sights – Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps, the Colosseum, and most definitely the impressive Vatican City. We even took a day trip to Florence for wine tasting.

The weather was insanely hot, but I guess when I’m travelling, I would rather it be sunny than for it to rain. We also stayed really near the Termini station, but somehow we didn’t even take the metro. Hahaha. Our hotel was less than 5km from all the attractions we wanted to see, so we basically walked everywhere. It’s good and bad, cos we get really tired from sightseeing every single day (imagine hot weather + long distances), but we get to burn a lot of calories so, all’s good? Plus, I LOVE Italian food, and trust me I ate a lot, but I wasn’t at all bored with having pasta every single day! Our favorite restaurant was Babbo’s – it was recommended by our hotel front desk personnel with such passion that Wesley and I simply had to check it out and the food was AMAZING. If you do head to Rome, definitely try Babbo’s, you can thank me later heh 😉

US 2013

Life has been busy, and busy is always good. But that also means I’m severely behind on posting exciting events that happened. Duh, the title speaks for itself. Hahaha.

So I popped over to the US last year for a 6 week vacation to attend Wesley’s graduation. I got to tour Purdue, experience life as a couple in school (sorta?), and watch my smartypants receive his Bachelor’s degree. Following that, we traveled around the US, visiting Chicago, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Santa Monica, and Los Angeles. There are just so many highlights of our trip, it’s hard to keep it short. In Chicago, we ice skated at Millennium Park, visited the Willis Tower; we even caught the Thanksgiving Parade, and basically freezed our asses off because Chicago was JUST SO DARN COLD! In San Francisco, we walked everywhere, had the best dim sum, revisited the Fisherman’s Wharf and soaked in the Christmas spirit. I bought my climbing shoes and harness and we even had our picture drawn on Christmas day!

The second half of our vacation was an amazing road trip. After San Francisco, we drove a convertible up to Napa Valley (but sadly traded it for a Toyota Corolla back down to LA). Imagine the wind blowing through your hair, your hands raised up high as you cruise along the highway – it’s everything you can imagine and more! Napa was definitely our favorite destination. But what can I say, how do you not like a place if you’re tipsy all day? Hahahaha!

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I think the most frequently asked questions when I got back were “How do you travel for so long?”, “Weren’t you bored?”, “You could stand living with each other for 6 weeks???”. I have to say, traveling for an extended period of time with your partner brings out the best and worst in the both of you. I guess it tests your compatibility – whether your lifestyle, tastes, and preferences match. Imagine not being able to agree on where to go or what to do, or if you have different spending habits – the tension that an extended trip can create is unimaginable. Thankfully, Wesley was an amazing travel companion and when we got tired from traveling, it was easy for us to agree on just chilling in the hotel for the last few days. Amazingly enough, we still want to go back to the US (okay, maybe just Napa), even though it’s only been less than half a year since we got back to Singapore!

Dragon’s Back

I did it! I conquered the Dragon’s Back hike! It took me about 2.5 hours to finish the hike which ends at the lovely Big Wave Beach. Kayan and I chilled there for an hour over overpriced sodas and fries hoping to catch the sunset but we were blocked by some mountains. And OMG I have to say this – YOU CAN SURF AT BIG WAVE BEACH! But with the temperature at 18 deg, I wouldn’t dare brave the sea.  But still, super shiok!

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Level 1: 80%

Hong Kong

Just got back from Hong Kong and what a fun trip it was! Gen basically had a humongous list of “MUST TRY FOODS”, so we were hunting down restaurants every single day. My favourite were definitely Butao Ramen and Greyhound Cafe – ironically both do not serve dim sum. She also had a huge list of “things to buy home”, which reminds me of the embarrassing day where we made our way to Kee Wah, only to buy SO MUCH that we had to immediately cab home instead of continuing our day touring the place. Hahaha. Yes, this led to overweight baggage issues, but let’s not talk about it. Lol.

For the first 3 days, we’d wake up at noon and hit the gym. Yes, I actually exercised while on holiday! Unbelievable! Hahaha. Anyhow, we’ll wind up leaving the apartment only at 3pm, having a super late lunch and not feeling hungry when it’s dinner time. We didn’t do much touristy stuff (other than hunting down food), so it was a really chillax trip with us sipping coffee at Caffe Habitu – our second home. Occasionally we’d switch the coffee for a mid-day alcoholic beverage (so classy) and people watch for an hour or two.

A turn of events

On my third day in Bangkok, Steph texted me early in the morning and asked if I was still in Bangkok. I jokingly replied “Yes! R u coming” and she said she was thinking of flying over. Fast forward a few hours and we were having dinner together at some random restaurant near her hotel. Lol! Who would’ve expected that eh? We spent Saturday shopping, my friend gave us a lift to Chatuchak (I really do have awesome friends heh) and after having some awesome coconut ice cream, we headed to MBK for dinner and back to the hotel for a massage. Best massage EVER! Lol.

Wow. I really had an amazingly refreshing trip. I’ve always wanted to travel alone, and I finally did! Ivan was never really comfortable with me traveling alone, in fact I was so close to chickening out after booking the hotel. Then Gen texted me wishing me a safe trip and told me that traveling alone is one of the best and most liberating things. So I plucked up some courage and headed to the airport. At least for the first 3 days when I was alone, I really felt like all my time was my own. No need for driving people around, keeping track of others’ schedules, attending to work at specific times of the day, you get the picture. I could take a nap whenever I wanted, eat whatever I wanted, and go wherever I wanted to go. But of course, coming back to reality, it’s not a sustainable lifestyle. As much as I’d love to live as my own independent person, there will always be things to worry about – work, family, money. But for what it’s worth, I had one of the most amazing trips ever 🙂 The only way it could be better was if I were in Bali! Hahahaha!

Day Two

Day 2 was totally off from what I had planned it out to be. I was gonna get some work done, do some personal shopping, catch a movie, eat my favorite gelato and takeaway some otah from the road side stall. Instead, apart from getting some work done, I didn’t shop, I didn’t watch a movie, neither did I eat gelato and otah. Lol. Ironic how things played out. I wound up buying a book, I’m Feeling Lucky – The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59, and reading it over lunch at an Italian restaurant. Maybe tomorrow I’ll do whatever I missed out today (which is everything lol).

Anyway, I’m starting to miss running. In a bid to lose a few kilos for grad night, I went on a massive diet – sipping coffee throughout the day to tame the hunger pangs, and probably eating a tenth of what I usually eat daily. I also started running everyday and it kinda stuck on me. I recently followed this Facebook page and it’s been giving me tons of motivation for running even when I’m overseas (and without running shoes and a gym). A few of my favorite posts:

“Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up.”

“I’m busy getting stronger.”

“Running can be the ultimate escape. As soon as we head out the door, we leave our problems, worries, and busy schedules behind. We get lost in the private world of our own thoughts and imaginations. We return with better balance in our energy, an improved mood, and the confidence to be who we really are.”

It’s not easy finding motivation to run everyday, but after I got through the initial hurdle, running became something really fun. It’s the time I get to my own thoughts, and true to the quote above, I come back refreshed and in a much better mood. Plus, my body was looking so much better, that’s why it’s all worth it. Lol. So yes, I’m really craving running while on a holiday. How much weirder can I get?