Sunday, December 31, 2006

Farewell 2006, Welcome 2007

Earlier this year, I was told that 2006 would be a bad year for me. You know those Chinese horoscope thingy that's in your face everywhere you go during Chinese New Year. Honestly, you turn on the tv and there's some feng shui master telling you what you need to do to protect yourself from bad luck or how much you need to spend on renovations so that you have the right chi at home. Am not a particularly superstitious person, but you got to admit that this sort of thing can be quite interesting. So there I was, being told by the books, by the feng shui master on telly, by the DJ on the radio stations that us Dragons need to be careful.

As I spend the last 20 minutes of 2006 reflecting on the year, I really have no idea what was so bad about it. Aside from having 5 months off work, which was by choice, the rest of the year has been nothing less than exciting. Perhaps the most worrying part of it all was the relocation back home. It took awhile, and still is, to really settle down and figure out what I want to do and where I'm going to go from here. But I'd rather look at it as an unfolding of a new chapter of my life. And so far, the journey has been good.

2006 for me is a year of discovery. I have been blessed with the good fortune of meeting new friends and colleagues; getting job offers via a phantom agent; meeting mentors who are going to be great supporters of my work and discovering new avenues in a field that I want to stay in.
This year has also been particularly important in the growth of family ties and old friendships by just being here, at home.

Here's to a fabulous start to 2007!
May the New Year bring you joy and happiness, and all that your heart wishes for.

The new job

Had a week off before starting work on the 16th. My first day at work was the Open Day weekend. Was stuck at our dept booth for almost 8 hours both days. Torture. But I got to meet some of the students which was good. I had a hard time trying to picture myself back when I was 18, a college newbie. Somehow these kids seem very much younger than I remember myself to be.

My office is still in the works. It's literally the size of the bathroom in my Moorpark apartment. In addition to that, Joe and I will be sharing it. I guess the diet better start soon.

Everyone's been asking me about the job. I can't tell how it's all going to turn out yet since classes only begin on Jan 8th. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to have to work hard on getting the kids excited about Stage Management. I can hear David snickering.

Anyhow, December is December. Full of birthdays, anniversaries and festivities. It's a great month, my favourite.

Post birthday get together at La Bodega

For the first time, my friends have decided to be brutally honest about how I look. I assume they got me this i-care eye massager for a reason. My permanent eyebags may be starting to look too permanent. What a thoughtful gift!

Before I knew it, Christmas was just around the corner. Spent half the day at Lisa's with the god family and dinner at Chili's with the group. Popped by at Dom's the night before. Quiet weekend, but eventful at the same time.

Wonder bricks!

I made it to NYC after all! AND to San Fran, Washington DC and the rest of the United States... all in just 3 hours.

Stopped by at Legoland on my way back to LA. The highlight of the park was Mini USA. In actual fact, I just about realized I paid USD57 to see only that. For those of you who have yet visited Legoland, I'd say that unless you're a Lego fan or are travelling with younger children, you can almost pass it up if you run out of time during your stay in San Diego.

Mini USA was really fascinating. I remember spending hours playing with my Lego set when I was a kid (of course back in the 80s you didn't quite have the variety you find in Lego stores today - Star Wars, Pirates, etc.) and never even thought of half the things these people did with them. Well...building miniature cities and buildings...honestly.

Mini USA

mechanical boats that move

From LA (Mann's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood) to DC n(US Capitol)

Mardi Gras (the float travels around the block); Daytona Racing

San Francisco (Pier 39); Godzilla in town (this is the guy whose job is to play with the Lego dollhouses and to make sure everything is running smoothly)

AND...NYC - this for now. The real thing another time.

Mount Rushmore - the best thing about the picture is the bird

Just like any other theme parks and places of attraction, you've got to have busts. Shakespeare and Marilyn's other Lego buddies include Queen E, Arnold the Governor and Beethoven.

After 3 hours of Lego, I was more than ready to go. I also decided there and then what I would get for a certain little boy for Christmas.

Balik Kampung Part I

It's Dec 31st. I have half a day to finish posting for the year. Back to my balik kampung trip. It was nothing more than pure exhaustion. Christie can bear witness. Managed to catch almost everyone I wanted to see, plus Erika!

Needless to say, this 16-day trip has done some damages to my bank account, what with stocking up my personal library, Christmas shopping and the 2-week car rental. Nonetheless I got a great deal, thanks go Christie, on the car. They gave me a PT Cruiser for less than half it would normally cost much to my surprise; AND much to THEIR surprise, I had said, "do you by any chance have a honda or a toyota instead?" ie. give me a economical, reliable, use-friendly Japanese car please. The guy looked at me as if I was crazy. They didn't have any. Fine.

Thanksgiving was a couple of days later. No turkey grilling on the PPH rooftop. Megan invited the whole gang to her parents'.

The very next morning, or should I say a couple of hours after we went to bed, Christie and I did the unthinkable. We went shopping. Yes, we did. It's the American Boxing Day so to speak. We were out at 530am and got to the outlets by 6. Every year, thousands of people camp overnight outside stores for bargains. It's like everyone's gone crazy and have loads of dough to throw away in just a few hours. The lines in the stores can rival those at Disneyland. AND if you're lucky, you might even get your 30-second of fame on national tv. ABC's Eyewitness News have been covering this once-a-year shop mob at Camarillo.

The next day, I popped by at the Learys and spent some time with them, the Nolens and the Gilmores. Stacie made this incredible raspberry cheesecake! Don't think the dessert plates needed any cleaning after we were done.

Couple of days later, it was time to visit the Pattersons in San Diego for a post Thanksgiving weekend. It's always so nice to see them, my adopted family really. Plus I had the pleasure of meeting George for the first time after all I've heard about him.

It's never really a San Diego trip until I see Lauren. For some reason, I keep reminiscing back to the days when we shared that lovely Malibu townhouse with Rachel, our third housemate. Making smores by the fire, knitting (like spinsters!) and having endless parties...which led to endless cleaning sessions.

Lauren suggested breakfast at Naked Cafe. Sorry folks, not even one single half naked guy was there to serve us. But I got to say the blueberry-banana pancakes I got made up for it.
I was flipping thru the menu while waiting for Lauren and couldn't help taking a second look at what I thought I had read wrong - something called Malaysian Mocha on the beverages page. What in the world is a MALAYSIAN MOCHA? The first thought that came to mind was MILO. Wait...are they selling a cup of RM1.20 (USD 0.35) milo for USD 4.5??? What a rip off!
When the waitress came to take our orders, I asked, "What is the Malaysian Mocha? I'm Malaysian and I have never come across something like that in my country." She was dumbfounded for about 5 seconds before she answered, "Well, it's a chocolatey drink, with an Asian flavour to it. It used to be called the Asian Mocha but Malaysian Mocha sounded better."

This, my MALAYSIAN friends, is the Malaysian Mocha. It has CINNAMON in it! When do Malaysians put Cinnamon in any drinks?

Friday, December 01, 2006

I'm 30!

33 more minutes and I can no longer say I'm a twenty-something. While I don't feel any older today than I did yesterday, it's still a little overwhelming to think that a decade of your life has just gone by. 10 years. What have I done with my life thus far? - most dreaded question of all times (the second most dreaded question of all times - when are you getting married?)
Check back next month, I may have an answer for you then. :)

So, I thought I had it all planned out. For my 30th birthday I was going to go to NYC. But alas, due to unforeseen circumstances (like getting a new job) I've had to cut short my trip to the States. So here I am...sitting at a computer, 19 minutes till my 30th birthday, blogging. Now you may think that I'm disappointed. This is where you've got it all wrong.

Shawn and Vonessa took me to dinner last night and we had the best creme brulee ever. Today, I spent the day with Christie and Joshua, had a pre-birthday night out with my Pep peeps, got a birthday pizookie (thanks for the treat, guys!), and my phones haven't stopped beeping from the many birthday msges from home and wherever in the world the rest of you are.

It doesn't matter where I am or what I'll be doing tomorrow. I am extremely blessed.