Monday, April 30, 2012

2.Sawadee kap: "Hello Stranger" - A review and some other things

As you know, I am leaving to Thailand in less than a week's time. Preparations are slow, but steady.
As part of the preparations, I had wanted to watch at least one Thai movie or Drama before I go. Unorthodox, but you get a sense of the language, place and all, yunno?

The movie I got to watch was "Hello Stranger"
Which was probably a movie a Thai Guy should have watched if he were considering traveling to Korea. Not the best choice for my preparations, nevertheless, he's a brief review.
The movie is about 2 Thai strangers (Yes, D'uh) who meet, or rather bump into each other at Korea. They had both recently semi broken up. So same thing; boy-meets-girl, fight, travel travel together, irritate each other, sentimental conversation at night, not so irritated at each other, like each other, discover feelings for each other (Which was one part that I felt had 4 minutes of very realistic script incorporated there), one or both of exes come back into the scene, confusion of feelings, conflicted loyalties and climax.
Rom Com Rating: 7.5
Highlight: Script

Okay, not one of the best reviews. [ Or you could consider this as a master review of many rom-coms' across the globe! And appreciate my talent ;P] But here's what I learnt about Thailand & Thai ppl from the movie.

  1. They are not as sentimental as Koreans (at least  not this couple)
  2. They or just the hero of the movie have/has a very wacky sense of humour
  3. They're very helpful
  4. Bangkok (The tiny bit that I saw in the movie) Looked like Mumbai :/
  5. They look a lot like Indians (Or just the 2 of them)
Okay, considering it was just one movie, 95% shot at Korea, I didn't have much that contributed to my preparations. It was a nice movie though. Give it a shot sometimes.

Moving on to further preparations

Compiled a lot of data, and made tiny booklets ( 3 of each). Information about the Night Markets, Floating markets, General Thai travel tips and guidelines, maps and the like.
I'm not kidding, I've made mini book lets for each of us. Small enough to fit with our hand bags.

Packing front:
No Progress :/ (Will. Start. Tonight! *Steely Determination!* )

Other Information:
Discovered today morning that my aunt and uncle were going to be traveling with us. Which does not raise my enthusiasm levels greatly. :/.
I mean, I love them a lot and all, but my aunt's sense of fashion and mine are tangential. Considering that 70% of my purpose of this trip is shopping, her presence might or might not affect it's over all enjoyment quotient. I've already got my dad's approval for hanging out by myself, as long as I am safe. Wonder how things will pan out.

General State of mind:
I am strangely not very enthused about the scenery. Maybe because, most of the Thailand I've seen in pictures is about crowded shopping places. And the mumbail-likeness from the movie. But I'm guessing Pattaya will blow my mind off though. No pressure Pattaya, just hopes! But its still not sinking in. Probably because of the last week blues in the job scene, with no idea on what next. And daddy complaining about how I'm never focussed. Sigh. I really hope this trip is fun, and not all worrisome.
It is gonna be before my birthday, so I have the fresh start from 24 deal. That'll ease lots of the pressure. But you know, this time, it's complete fresh start. Even my bank accounts have been wiped clean, for this trip. That was such a depressing thing I tell you! So much so that I almost decided that I will just get a new mobile here, so I can leave that amount back. I didn't do that though. 24 is going to be one helluva fresh start! Only silver lining is that I'll get my final settlement from this organization by the end of May.
Anyway, that's a different matter all together.
This is my first trip abroad, and it IS going to be great! Awesomely great :)

Date: 30th April 2012
Date of departure: 5 May 2012
Count Down: 5 days !

Cookies and faraway memories

Has some tiny random wish come true for you?
Well, of course it has.
And isn't it so much sweeter when they come in groups! In threes, to be more specific. Wishes come true in groups of three, so that's a given :)
That's what happened to me last week, cookies, noodles and a reason to go to a place :)

Sometime last week, I found myself wondering how nice it would be to have chocolate chip cookies dipped in cold milk. Wishing more like. For some odd reason, I had forgotten to get them with the monthly provisions, and was too lazy to go out for just a pack of cookies. And my on going diet to the list of reasons, and we're left with one sad little girl with no cookies! Not for long though :)
I drag along to office the next day, work work work, yap yap yap, work yap work yap...the usual, and guess what! A friend calls and says I've got these cookies from Auroville for you, don't forget to pick them up before you leave! Golly Tumolly I tell you ! And these cookies were not just normal chocolate chip cookies, they were chocolate filled cookies! We all know filled is soooo much better that just chocolate chip. And there was not just one or two, but 4 packs.Yummaliciousness!!! These were so good, they are probably right up there, next to Subway's Double Chocolate.
Chocolate filled cookies, dipped in cold milk - Check!

Three of us had gone out for lunch last Friday, to a food court. For lack of better restaurant in the walkable vicinity. I'm normally not a big fan of food courts, but this time, it wasn't so bad. We had a whole variety of food. Homey, Oriental, Fruity. As we were looking through the noodles menu, I was hoping for Singapore noodles, as they would be a good addition to our palate, but they no have it :(
We had pan fried instead. A little bit of regret, but all the fun and chatter, and it was long forgotten!
That night, we had gone out for dinner (Which has a whole story in itself) - a dinner buffet to be more specific. And guess what was one of the two types of noodles available ? Yup, Singapore noodles :)
And in it went, despite me knowing that I would be trying eight out of the ten dessert varieties. (I'm not a roly poly by the way. Not yet anyway)

Do you know those places we used to hang around at a lot as university students, and as we grow older, stop frequenting them. CCD is one such place for me. Just last Wednesday, I found myself hoping for a reason to go there with someone. Just go hang out, those oh-so-familiar leather couches. Menu that is probably been the same in ages! On thursday, I got a text saying that we were gonna have a blogger meet, and guess the venue! Yup, CCD. The happiness :)
So on Saturday I went there. The familiar mall - only mall with free parking in the city. (That matters. Especially did back when I was a student ;) ) I parked, went toward the double door and that's when it hit me. A whole bunch of memories. Complicated-confused-not-so-happy memories of happy times. I couldn't shake off the feeling, no matter how hard I tried. Ghosts of the memories past lived in that place. And I should not have gone alone. By force of habit, I walked into some of the shops I used to shop/ window show - for colours at. I stepped into CCD, and left. Didn't find the group I was supposed to meet.

Do you know the term "Be Careful What You Wish For" ?
I think God demonstrated it to me last week. Owing to recent events, I guess He knew how much I could and couldn't handle. I say God, because we've been having a push and pull relationship recently. I can sense it from His end too. Interesting.
But no matter what, its a nice feeling to get what we wish for!
And I am going to continue wishing for ... all kindsa things. I may get them sometimes, I may not at others. And I may get it, and then regret for most. Or many. Nonetheless, regret what you did, than what you didn't, right!

Off to open the third pack of cookies :)

Hope your wishes come true too :)

Ta !

Sunday, April 29, 2012

1.Sawadee kap:To the Land of Khun!

This is part one of what is going to be a 3 week travel story, preparation, the vacation itself, and the after glow. This is a story I've been waiting a life time to write !
A little bit of rewind (Toing toing toing) So, seeing the world has been a long lasting dream of mine and my mother's. We've never stepped out though. It was always something or the other. It has gone as close as fixing dates, location (UK, Canada, Germany) and almost booking tickets. Well, it always had stopped at almost, until NOW !
Next week, same time, I will be there!
The wonderful land of Thailand :)
Tickets are booked, and my travel bag is out. Lists have been made.Being made. Currency is spoken about. And weeeeeeeeeeee, I'm going !
I guess, I have been destined to start my travels around the globe from South east Asia, fine with me! All the better actually, seeing as how much of an asian movie and drama buff I've been for the past couple of years. Though my collection revolved predominantly around Korean and Japanese, I've been hearing enough references to Thailand! Especially since my friend's favourite band - 2 PM, has a Thai guy who is one of its lead singers. So much so, that we refer to Thailand as Nichkhun-Land, or the land of Khun ;)

Isn't it always so much more fun when you can excite over something, when you have someone to do it with! I'm so glad she's around! Unfortunately, she's not coming along. Nevertheless, I'm sure I'll be remembering her all along, considering I might have to kidnap a certain Khunnie for her, if I happen to lay eyes on him ;P (Nichkhun fans out there, don't fret, we promise to share! ) Yeah - fan girl obsessions can't get pretty extreme at times!

Thailand to me, so far is about Shopping, Gizmos, Colourful stuff, awesome food (Being a foodie helps! Phad thai, here I commeeee) Beautiful places, clothes, and did I mention shopping? It's gonna be the best of all the vacation worlds, especially for an amateur like me. Pretty picture perfect places, cheap stuff ( ;) ) and enough colour for me to gape at. I'm especially excited about checking out the floating markets, and the midnight markets. I hear the midnight markets have a weekly schedule to them, so I've gotta look that up. But seriously, how cool is a midnight market! A market that can capture a travelers' fancy, in the alluring imaginative night time!

My bags are going to be packed. The travelers' Thai book is already in place! I shall keep you updated on the preparations :)
Suggestions are always welcome of course.

Off I go now!

Have a an amazing weekend :)

Date: 29th April 2012
Date of departure: 5 May 2012
Count Down: 6 days !

Friday, April 27, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

One lost ear ring...

I don't like change.
No, its not change, I don't like. It's uncertainty.

So I came here to rant about all the things that are over whelming me, and guess what blogger decided to do?!
Get a new look!
Change, I tell ya, is plaguing me.
Some notice? An option of using the old look till I decide to get used to the idea that a new one is lurking around? Nope. Just open blogger one fine day, a day when one wants to rant about change, and WHAM - they change! Seriously people! A little sensitivity her ?! I've been using that old look since I began blogging...
I sigh, and the writing area decides to expand to fill the page with no scroll down option!!! AAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH !!!! Wae wae wae WAE ?!?! I prefer knowing how much space is left to the end.

My life is fine... nothing majorly bad.
But its those tiny kutty kutty things, that you know you can deal with individually. And there is no need for defense mechanisms like denial or keeping myself super busy.
3 medium sized things, all in one week. Plus this blogspot look changing (ok, that's too tiny to matter, I know, but still..)
1. Like you already know, the wedding thing. I made up my mind, told my dad that I need time. Dad tells grandma. She freaks. Now she talks about it all the time. ALL the time. I'm not kidding! She's spoken about it so much in the past week, I'm going to get serious allergic. Or worse, when she's not talking about it, she takes someone's wedding card (And damn, why do so many people we know have to get married ?!? even if they do, can't they just send e-cards or something? Then I can delete it, tell myself its because of space issues, and not feel too evil/ guilty about it) So my grandma takes some wedding card, sits, stares at it, and sighs as loud as ever, followed by smaller sign, then "In my lifetime ....." Another sigh. Sheesh right?
2. Job hunt thing, which I've had to put on hold temporarily because of my exam on Monday.
[psst...I'm like one inch from the bottom of my lappy, and this thing's scroller won't show! Blogspot,seriously! I bite!
Aaahh, there it is! I guess threats work with techno stuff too ! Bwahahaha]
Anyway, so yes, this being April - Appraisal month, no one's really hiring. Even though I know I don't wanna work till probably the last week of May or June beginning ... well you know, this is one big uncertainty!
3. Finally, The impending exam, and more stressing is the 200 page record that I have to hand write by tomorrow. And I've finished only 50.

Finally, the tiny things
  • My sister lost a ear ring, I had like forever, and gave absolutely ridiculous answers to how, what , when or what next. (I might have really blown up yesterday at that)
  • My grandma suggested she re-arrange a bag of mine now, (getting ready for the trip 2 weeks from now! TWO weeks!) and
  • Blogspot ...ok ok...we've covered that bit. (You can't get mad at me for that blogspot, you did spring it on me!)

So.. after putting it like this, I'm realizing it's probably just stress and not a depressive spell around the corner (Okay, yeah, Maybe too much of psychology) that made me want to drive off to some un-inhabited location and scream.

So I guess its not change... or uncertainty ...its just stress.
Hmmm..... and come Monday, exam done, I guess I'll be fine.
I better be, huh !

Danke, kiregu adios !

Monday, April 16, 2012

Across the universe

If I could be doing anything right now, anything at all, I'd be sitting along the beach drinking a green apple vodka martini.

Do you know how physically and emotionally exhausting it is to keep reminding yourself that you are an adult, when having a tough conversation with your parent?

I made a big big decision tonight, and put it across too. It hasn't sunk in for him yet, that I can see. Surprisingly though, it has for me. I guess this is what I always wanted, and knew it somewhere inside too. I was just not ready/ old enough to own to it or say it out loud.
Today I did.
Bigger future responsibility, definitely. But not ambiguous anymore. And makes sense to me.
I hope he accepts it.
I hope he gets used to it.
I hope I were born anywhere but here, to the same family.
I hope I were across the universe.
I just wish I were at that beach with the chill of that green apple martini numbing my senses.
Posted in

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cuture Shock

Scenario 1: Arranged marriage

Scenario 2: Prospect of moving from a city to a wanna be city

Scenario 3: Korean Lunch

Scenario 4: Dad's friends visit: 4 people settled in Netherlands - 2 German, 2 Dutch. One of the Germans, stays at Netherlands, works at Germany.

Let me take you through this step by step.

I stay home with my parents and grandma. My dad and grandma have been, for more than a year now, giving Mrs. Bennet a run for her money - where trying to marry their daughter off is concerned. I've never seen a person more talented than my grandmother who can slip marriage into absolutely any conversation ever.

My success in evading both of them has been having its ups and downs, and today it had a very deep low. They found not one, but TWO eligible guys in the newspaper. Just my luck. And one of them - the more eligible one, is settled in a town about 700 kms from where I stay. Apparently they are really well off, and the guy is educated abroad. But this said, he's settled there, in a town, with family. (At the risk of my blog being read by "Prospects"-) I cannot do that!!! I may not hang out as much as many my age, but I like the city. I love the city!! I like that I can get back home alone at 11 PM, or that I can just go hang at a mall by myself, wearing shorts and a tee shirt, my glasses and my hair left to do as it pleases - without having to worry about what the "society" or "others" will think about me. I give a damn about what others think of me, and if I were ever to move to such a place, (No offence - though I am not naming the place - it's a great place, lovely climate - but as a vacation! Not a place for me to live in!) I would always be asked "What will others thinks of us if you act this way!".

I would die. Shrivel up and die.

So, right now, I know that is not happening, but today morning, when it was just brought up, and with grandma going "Don't say no before you give it a thought", and dad going "They're such a nice family, I've spoken to them" I was officially completely losing hope.

Once upon a time, 2 years back, I used to freak, now I just sink inside.

Is asking for 4 years time, during when I just find someone myself, that un-reasonable a thing to ask?!?! Seriously ?!

So, with all of that running in my head, I headed off to my korean lunch. It took me a while to get into I-dont-care-about-marriages-or-weddings-lets-talk-tall-hot-korean-guys mode. The fact that my friend was riding with me, and that we hiilariously got lost in circles helped :)

By the time we reached, I was all ready for my first Korean Lunch ever! Unlike Chinese or Italian, Korean cuisine isn't that famous. So I was excited about eating all that I've seen. (Please check post Chalmukesumneda for a more detailed account)

Short version: There was soooooo much of food, and it was all different, good different :)

Come evening, with a power cut that slightly extended and mindless drama watching. By then I had remembered the whole morning episode, and made up my mind that it could never happen - and was stocking up on defences, for when my dad dinally wakes for that conversation.

Like most conversations which you're over prepared for, this one sizzled out in 5 minutes. I guess he is pretty clear about my stance now, but looked like he was still mulling over it. That and the unused defences had kind of drained me of my energy for the day.

Couple of chicken legs.

Headed to bed, plopped on it, and continued my mindless drama watching, though my eyes were dying for a nap.

Before one of the 45 minute episode was up, I head some people talking in the living room - with definite strong accents.

My dad is one of THE MOST SOCIAL people I know, and has friends from all over the world. Literally. Having studied and worked in 3 different countries just added to his mixed pot of friends.

I hadn't met today's guests before. They were friends of friends.

Normally, the culture lover that I am, I run over for a fun conversation to ask about various things. But today was not one of those days.

Nevertheless, courtesy demanded that I be there, and boy am I glad I went.

So as mentioned earlier, there were 4 of them. An older Dutch couple, and a younger German couple, all settled in the the Netherlands. The older couple and the guy of the younger couple were all into biological research. The German girl - who lived in Netherlands (Some place pronounced Neigh-megan - but I'm not sure if thats the right spelling) travelled to Germany everyday for work as a trainer. She's a psychologist by education, so yes, I was very interested to know what scope there was in that field. But more so about how she dealt with the Dutch-German culture divide by literally crossing over everyday! Didn't ask though, as they stayed for a short time, and they were talking about biology.

I learnt how Potato diseases had changed the History of Ireland and the English crown's power in 1844. Apparently, Ireland was an English colony. Thought Potatoes and wheat was grown there, the Irish were entitled to only the potatoes - which was their staple food. In 1844, a mexican potato disease caused all the potatoes of that year to spoil, leaving the Irish with nothing to eat. It was then that they realized how surpressed they really were, not being allowed to eat the wheat that they grew. There was a huge political unrest, and lots of migration happened. The Kennedys' of the USA were by-products of part of that migration to USA. Cool huh?

The guests were given a choice of wine or black tea, but I dunno if they mis understood, they picked both. Not that offering both is an issue, but wine & black tea is such a weird combination don't you think ? Ah well, foreigners!

A lot happened today, and here I am writing about it.

But you know what the biggest culture shock of today was?

It was my 17 year old sister, who:
1. Came out to greet the guests - (which she normally only does by showing her face, putting on a fake smile, and running to her room before most people registered her tiny presence)

2. Put out her hands first, to shake everyone's hands, and the biggest whopper of them all

3. Asked the guy (German younger guy) who was double her age, and definitely at least double her size, very politely,

"How do you pronounce that? Your name... could you spell it for me please?"

And then went on to sit and have a detailed conversation about biological research with the older gentleman, during the rest of their visit.

My jaw is still lying somewhere down. I'm gonna go pick it up, not think too much about anything, and go to sleep.


Chalmukesumneda means "I will eat well!" in Korean.

I've been a kdrama fan for more than a year now, and Koreans being who they are, describe and portray food in great detail in all their dramas. The foodie in me has always wanted to try out Korean food (especially the "Samgyopsal" (Pork wrapped in lettuce)).

So obviously I have been quite excited for the past couple of weeks after discovering that someone had discovered not one, but 2 authentic Korean restaurants right here in the city where I live in!

The D day finally arrived today.

A great deal of planning and discussion had gone into this. Googling Korean foods that were must tries, discussing who's gonna order what.

A little too much for just a lunch, you say?

I agree.

But then again, we're talking about a bunch of people who have been breathing the Korean culture for ages, through the glasses in their laptops, so to be able to actually lay their hands on some Korean food (I am not going to mention the hope of running into some hot Korean dude there. Nope, I'm not. ) is something comparable to ... the first taste of chicken, to someone who has been vegetarian all their lives, but has "heard" a lot about how chicken is. (See, I didn't over dramatize! Though the hope of running into a certain LMH, and me nonchalantly saying "Oh, Annyong-ha-se-yo, I've seen some of your work", and him being interested in continuing that conversation with me might have passed through my imagination once. )

So anyway, back to our story!

Like many organized lunches, our party of 'more than 8' sizzled down to 6 last night, and finally 4 of us ended up there. That wasn't going to dampen my spirits! On the contrary, knowing that I knew all of the other 3 really well, I was happy that I could eat without being conscious.

Two of us went together, within ten minutes all four of us were comfortably seated at a table in a segregated room (This restaurant did not offer ground level seating with low tables). A 14 page menu was read and reread like it was holy literature. If I were that book, I'd've felt very special today, just sayin'.

So going through many eliminations - 2 of us didn't eat Sea Food, 3 of them didn't eat pork (There went my samgyupsal dream - after an internal war with my conscience), and 2 of them didn't eat beef. So it left us with the option of sharing in twos, or just sticking with chicken and veg. And after further discussions, and interrogating (Lets face it, 'asking' would have been a gross understatement) the waiter - who luckily for us was more amused than irritated, we decided on 5 dishes between the 4 us. Which, thinking back now, especially since we already knew that portions would be big, was a real stupidity! Nevertheless, 4 eager souls awaited 'paap' :)

First came in a trolley filled with trays, all freebies !!!

There was kimchi, prawn something, beef something, pork something, egg something, salad with mayo (which probably had a funky Korean name too) vinegar dipped cucumber, sea weed fry (Which was ammaazzziiinnngg) spinach and some sprouts.

Some emptied faster than the others ... the sprouts and spinach were attempted. Chop stick skills were perfected. Almost.

Aaaannnnddddd the main course arrived!

So, I'm not going to be going into the details out that. Just that, as expected, the portions were humoonnnngous. I got to try many things I've wanted to, from what I've seen in the dramas... Eat sticky rice with that loong spoon, take a spoon full squashed along the sides of the bowl, top it with stuff from a soup bowl (Cross a carrot piece and a lentil - no one noticed how delighted at was with how that turned out :P ) and gobble it up!

 Black bean noodles
Uri Chicken (With a fancy name)- :D
 Bibimpaap (Mixed rice)

Black been noodles that came from a bowl that was never ending, bibimbap or something similar that came in a sizzling hot bowl. Chicken and black roll thingy (Kimbap)

I know I could go into great detail about the food, but like I said I am not going to do that ... though, one striking think I did notice was that; though none of the food tasted like anything I've eaten before, it somehow had a familiar feel.

[A friend of mine who recently got married and went to a different state, where they speak a different language, said that though she doesn't know the language, she was lucky to have had a couple of people she knew who used to speak that language, and hence it doesn't feel alien anymore - even though she hardly knew the language at all]

The food felt like that, familiar.

Yes, I didn't get to eat what I have been dreaming of eating for the greater part of 2 weeks, and wanting to eat for more than a year. But hey, the wait is over rated.

The food was yummm.... so many different flavours.

Korean food is not too much about the smell, like Italian food. It's not too much about the striking flavours either. Most of the food I had today hits the tip of the tongue more than the more lingering rear of the tongue. The food had so many different flavours to it, and definitely has its own signature taste. Though, because we avoided most of the meat products today, I can't say what that flavour is for sure yet!

To me, it didn't hit all the right notes. But it hit some pretty good ones! I felt satiated, and I wanted to go back again. Sooner the better! (Samgyupsal might be the reason for that :))

End of the day - I know I haven't tried it all, but it was great food, amazing company and awesome fun!

I'd definitely recommend that you give it a shot, you'll want to go back again yourself to try the others.

And I bet you'll say "Aaaahhh Mashitaaa" at least a few times! I did ;)