Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Rubberduck Hype

I believe many of you have already been spammed with a wave of similar photos, be it on your facebook news feed, via whatsapp or via word of mouth such as "HAVE YOU ALREADY SEEN THIS?!?" *smashes phone screen onto your face* ...

Some people are already annoyed to the max by this yellow monster duck, while nevertheless, some people are still amazed and very excited about this yellow cute duckie which has already been travelling around the world.  

No matter if you find it cute or amazing, over-hyped, ugly or boring, I think it's worth greeting it once personally. However, be aware that you might encounter a war in front of it. In Hong Kong, the first Saturday after it has arrived counted over 300.000 visitors... and I happened to be there on THAT day... 


"Bow in front of me, you pathetic humans!"
It's really unbelievable how everyone is going crazy for just seeing or taking a photo with this rubber duck.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Packed

Sorry for my little hiatus, but there was too much that I had to settle in my first two weeks in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, everything is accumulating, everything is simply complicatedly packed - physically, mentally and timely.

Physically

Everyone knows that people living in Hong Kong are squeezed into little spaces. At the moment you open your eyes to start off your day, you already notice the lack of space (if you are not super rich) as it takes you one step (or maybe not even one) from the edge of your bed to the living room (if you have one at all). Don't even think of doing the splits next to your bed, you will hit your closet or the wall before you could finish half of the split.

The physical burden continues as you are being squeezed while taking the lift, especially if you live in a building with many floors and only a few number of lifts and everyone needs to rush to work at once (luckily, I don't face such scenarios where I live). Be aware that a similar scenario repeats when you have to take the lift up your office building, happy squeezing.

The feeling of being the ham of a very thick sandwich reaches its maximum in the MTR, once around 8am and once around 7pm when most people fight their way from home to work, and vice versa. However, Hong Kong people know to queue for getting onto trains and buses, something which deserves to be positively emphasized as it makes the packed scenarios a bit more pleasant. I'm lucky to live at the end station of a line, so I often can get a seat to watch people being happily squeezed, muahahaha. Some people who are at the station before the end station take the train to the end station and then stay in the train until it departs again for the other direction just in order to get a seat (a little local trick ;D).


During rush hour in Causeway Bay - This is how it looks when I have just left my office and am on my way to the MTR station. Walking speed equals ant speed.

Mentally

When I just arrived here, I really felt confused and a bit lost. There was so much that I had to get done and I didn't know where to begin, where to look at, whom to look for, where to go to, how to get it done, etc. Hong Kong is not completely new to me, but living here creates and requires me to take a totally different perspective. It's not about enjoying a carefree holiday and happy non-stop shopping anymore, it's more about surviving.

Luckily, relatives and friends here have been very supportive, so I somehow managed to get everything work. Although the crowds and hectic environment seem to be very overwhelming, I now feel very comfortable here. After all, I've found a very nice and convenient place to live (my building is directly linked to/above a shopping mall and the MTR station) and even have a very easy-going, nice, caring and cooking-skilled housemate. My work colleagues are nice too, and so far, stress level at work is not as horrible as I expected (at least not yet, haha).

Many friends of mine that came back to Hong Kong from overseas complained about the crowded streets, limited space and hectic environment. However, I feel quite comfortable here. Even the overcrowded streets do not really disturb me :) hehe.

Timely

The biggest challenge is to balance life in a day that has only 24 hours. First, I'm at work for around 10hrs (incl. the time I'm going home or to work) and I need sufficient sleep (8hrs). When I come home after work, do grocery shopping, cook, wash dishes, shower and do my skincare routine, it's already time to sleep in order to still have my 8hrs sleep. The art is now to still squeeze out enough time for visiting relatives, being social and meeting up with friends, spending time with boyfriend, catching up with own hobbies and some entertainment activities, or simply for having a good rest. For example, I still haven't found time yet to do a little photo trip in Hong Kong =(

Nevertheless, I'm not complaining. I've always complained about the boring and monotonous life in Germany, so now I feel quite fulfilled and enriched with such a busy life. Eventually, I will get tired, because I'm still human, but after all, I think I will still enjoy life here :))

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Birthday Present

FUJIFILM INSTAX 210 INSTANT PHOTO CAMERA. I was quite surprised when I was visiting my boyfriend's parents and then they told me: "W. has sent you a quite heavy package!". I didn't expect to get any big present for birthday this year - I'm happy now :D !

I haven't got the chance to try out this camera yet, but my first impression of it is: big, chunky and heavy. However, after checking up some reviews online, it's supposed to be a really good instant cam. In general, I always wanted to create one of those colorful polaroid walls with creative photos, precious moments and memorable events with family and friends. I think it would make an awesome room decor :) Besides, I love how polaroid photos have that retro style (and it doesn't always have to be created by Instagram :P).

At the moment, I don't dare to make random snapshots, because I don't want to waste any of the expensive film. I rather wait for some meaningful photo opportunity or some special event or hangout with friends to give my new instant cam its premiere, making sure that every photo is top. Let me later tell you more about my experience of using the instant cam or show you the instant pictures I take ;D

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Week Rewind: Birthday, Farewell, Hong Kong

I've just landed in Hong Kong and directly starting off with a busy week, so the week rewind of my last week in Germany comes now a bit delayed, sorry!

The older I get, the less I feel like celebrating my BIRTHDAY by any special manner. I spent this birthday having a simple dimsum dinner with my parents in Maastricht which is the only place around my area in Germany where you can get delicious dimsum. Do you recognize the dishes in here? Which is your favorite?

There we jump from the birthday dinner right to my FAREWELL DINNER, but this time with my both cousins. First we went to some bar, but it was so packed and the music was so loud inside that we left right after we made our first foot step into the restaurant bars. It's funny how we now enjoy calm and decent places instead of the weekend party atmosphere, like grandpas and grandmas. Have we really become so old already?


Have you ever PACKED FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR? I already find it difficult to pack for a holiday, so packing for the entire year was pretty close to mission impossible. Well, maybe packing itself was not a mission impossible, but packing for the year AND having everything you want fitting into the luggage. I also didn't want to spend too much money on things I have stocks of at home, e.g. my skincare products, on the other side, the bottles of liquid and creams add on a lot of weight, sigh. However, as you can see, I managed it somehow to finish "the bomb".

Usually, the grey weather is a good reason to be happy about when you leave it for a sunny location. On my RAINY DEPARTURE though, the gloomy weather created the blue curtain which was rather emotionally draining as it effectively covered a lot that I wanted to see, but made those even more visible that I didn't hope to see and feel.  


More enlightenment when I arrived AT THE AIRPORT. I brought some little friend with me from my room in Germany, so it wouldn't become too unfamiliar in my new home in Hong Kong later. Have I ever mentioned how I love to be surrounded by cute plush animals in my room, so that it feels more like home? haha, childish, I know xP

ARRIVED IN HONG KONG after 10 hours of flight, pretty fast actually. I was lucky to sit at the aisle and next to a around 15 years old girl who was quite calm and nice, so I had a quite comfortable flight although the plane was totally full which I had not expected for this season.

Love the weather in Hong Kong at the moment. It's sunny and warm, but not too hot and humid, quite perfect actually :) This is how you would love to spend most time outside. However, I always feel like going out in Hong Kong, even if it is just for walking around somewhere, and even if I have to squeeze between the floods of people. Maybe I really like the busy life and busy streets, so I don't feel overwhelmed by the crowds (yet?) while my friends have been complaining a lot about the many people.

My week in Hong Kong has just begun, so I haven't been doing so much except of visiting family and meeting up friends. However, I can't wait to explore many great places, snap around for nice photos, and show you more of Hong Kong :)

Stay tuned for more in my next blog post :D

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Maastricht


The water has not always been deep blue tinted by the clear, bright, cloud-free sky, and the MAAS RIVERSIDE has not always been blessed with a golden shine. I still see myself running over the bridge over there, rushing to uni classes, be it on a sunny, windy, rainy or snowy day. Bridging over the past 4 years of student life in this city took me indeed through some stormy instances and lifeless phases as well, but all in all, it has amounted to a lovely, satisfying picture.

Some familiar stops on my routine path to uni...

Never realized that the MOSAE FORUM can look so pretty in the sunset.

The statue you see in here is called "THE TRAVELLER" - and it's non-stop on fire.

THE MARKET. I'm not very happy with this photo, because I was not prepared for this shot at all. First, I simply wanted to make a shot of the building only, but then the crowd of birds suddenly flew by and I found it even prettier to have them in the photo. However, it happened so fast that I couldn't take enough care of everything in the photo, and it now looks as if it's cut at the bottom =/ Too bad they didn't fly by like this a second time either... seems that photography needs some luck too...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Week Rewind: Snowy Moving, Thermal Bathing, Highschool Memories

It has been a busy, busy, busy week, and at the same time, a very multifaceted one.


Last week, a SNOW STORM covered landscapes with endless white blankets, and now we are bathing under a clear, blue sky with the nature's most powerful spotlight opening a colorful spring show.


Unfortunately, the unlucky me couldn't FINISH MOVING early or late enough to avoid the unfavorable weather condition. I had to finish moving during the snow storm. So instead of simply carrying things from A to B, it became a fight against slippery ground and snow flakes doing their wild dance in the air. With a bit of waddling, slipping, cold feet and muscle soreness, I somehow managed to puzzle my final pieces of furniture and stuff into the car, and started the snowy driving adventure with my FLUFFY COMPANY who seemed to feel like a king on the co-driver's seat. I brought this teddy all along from Australia, and it experienced already once the privilege of occupying an entire passenger seat, because I had an empty seat next to me in the flight - such a lucky thing.

































The entire moving process has drained so much of my human battery that I totally deserved a little THERMAL PARADIES. It's the Emser Therme - Wellness & Sauna, located in Bad Ems near Koblenz in Germany. My friends and me expected something of a larger scale since it is newly built and has just opened in the end of December last year.

However, the atmosphere was very pleasing and they offer many options for pampering yourself: The main pool, the refreshing outdoor pool, the hot pool, the cold pool (probably the least popular one, but it stimulates the blood circulation and strengthens your immune system), three or four different herbal-steaming rooms (they differ by temperatures), also several saunas and many resting areas. Massage is provided for an additional fee.

I am not sure how much of the minerals in the water my skin could absorb, but I felt so squeaky clean and healthy after enjoying thermal bathing there - and 15 Euros for 3 hours (even including sauna) is actually a good value!

































I haven't been to this place for 4.5 years already, but I suddenly felt that I should re-visit this place and the people from my memory there - MY HIGHSCHOOL. I was totally overwhelmed by its transformation and everything that has been replaced by some eco-friendly construction or modern technology. Chalk boards were now pen boards, computers were everywhere, the paper news board became a large LCD TV screen,  classrooms have now air-conditioning systems, and homework is now received via email or through a forum. It's actually nothing special, because universities have this equipment and these tools, too. But other than being a big, well-renowned institution, my highschool is based in a lovely middle-sized village, so these changes were strange to me.

I actually had a meeting with a teacher of mine and caught up about life a bit. She has always been a teacher I liked very much, because she never only taught us about study materials, but also trained us a lot for processes of learning in the future. To be honest, I teared up a bit when she told me how teachers still remember me, like how some teachers had mentioned me after I graduated :')


One week left until my flight. I am a bit sad that I cannot take my little HANNARI TOFU COLLECTION with me to decorate my new home over there, so I've decided to take a photo of them and switched my fb cover picture, haha! I totally have a weakness for this fluffly tofu thingy, hope I can find more of them in Hong Kong later, wakakakkaa.

Doesn't the right photo make people think that I was A GEEK xD? Beside preparing some memories, I also setup computers for my parents so they can easily use them without me showing them each time. My parents are now so tech-savvy with their facebook, skype, yahoo messenger, whatsapp. I can't believe that I've really taught them the full set of main online communcation channels, and my mum got the habit to message me the same message through ALL these channels to make sure that I do receive her messages...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rainbow

WHAT IS A RAINBOW FOR YOU? A colorful bow in the sky? A band of colours? A miracle? Magic? A childhood memory? Or do you simply think of an "optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere"?

Grown up people would not see it as something special, because we simply know that a rainbow is this "optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere".

But for children, it is a different story. They do not treat it as a scientific or meteorological phenomenon. For them, it is like magic, a miracle about which they get extremely excited and totally amazed. I have got to realize this because I am now sitting in the bus on my way home, and behind me are two little children screaming out their fascination about the rainbow that has just appeared in the sky.

Such screaming kiddies usually annoy me. However, this time they make me think back to the time when I was their age. I actually used to be same. Each time I saw a rainbow, I would constantly stare at it at our window until it was disappeared, and I got freaky about that “miracle” too.

Children do not think about cause and effects. The missing knowledge gives them the magic that makes them happy. The fact that children think simple makes them seeing things as complex and special.

It’s just sad that after we have grown up, we forget how common things in our childhood used to make us all excited and happy. It’s sad that we fail to see the beauty and extraordinary in daily things because we know a logic or scientific explanation to them, and because we take them for granted.

It’s sad that we smile less because we think more.

*repost from my old blog, 2010

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Week Rewind: Valentines Day, Moving, Cologne

VALENTINE'S DAY. This has already been more than one week, but since I didn't blog about it, you can see here what I had been up to on that supposedly lovey-dovey romantic day. My boyfriend is currently on the other side of the world, thus leaving me with a lonely valentine's day. First I thought about going out to the city, but I refused to hand myself over to the snowy hell of coldness.

In the end, I stayed in my warm, cozy, little apartment and turned valentine's day into a "FEEL-GOOD-BEAUTY-AND-WELLNESS DAY", haha! If it's all about giving and receiving love, why not give and receive love oneself? No need to be sad to not have a date, just treat yourself to something you enjoy, right? Thus, I turned on some soft music, wrapped my hair into a hair mask, put on a facial mask, grabbed a nice book to read while enjoying a relaxing, flowery-smelling, feet bubble bath! Yay!


Let's keep on MOVING, MOVING... my home. Since I will be leaving Germany for at least one year in the next month, it's time to say goodbye to my own little home in which I spent the last four years as a student. Time flew by faster than expected, and I actually got to really love my little room, although it's not very spacious and not one of the very attractive rooms, but rather old and maybe even frail because I can hear every little step of my neighbor above. The more familiar and comfortable I got with living here, the more feelings are attached to it, and the less I want to let go of the personal space.

However, what I could easily let go were all my readings and notes from my bachelor and master studies. If I  spread it evenly on the floor, I could cover my entire room with it. I still cannot believe how much I studied compared to how much from it is now left in my brain. Moreover, moving that huge mountain of paper to the disposal took me three runs.

Spent more than three days moving my stuff back to my old room in my parents' house. I definitely haven't done enough sports lately, because the muscle soreness from carrying heavy furniture, boxes and bags was so horribly intensive... I couldn't even lift my arms anymore.


When I was sorting my stuff, many surprising things popped out from my shelves and drawers, that is, many precious memories came back to light after being buried and forgotten in dusted corners for years. What I realized was that many things changed because I had changed.

When I was still a beauty junk, I would non-stop collect as many product samples as possible to figure out the best products for me. These are the PERFUME SAMPLES that I gathered throughout the last years, but now they might wander to the disposal. When I was young, I damned these CHINESE STUDY BOOKS and would have loved to throw them into the trash bag. But as I grow older, I started to slowly develop some passion for this language myself and these books suddenly regain their value to me.

As time goes by, many things become more worth, other things less worth to us. We might start to appreciate what we didn't appreciate before, and we might let go of what we thought we could never let go. I'm happy that I discovered many of these while moving back to my old room, because they are signs of growing up.


NIGHT SNACKING. I have to admit that I totally messed up my sleep pattern and kind of turned around day and night. Thus, I find myself night snacking a lot (although it's simply my dinner, just that I have it at an unusual time, haha!) which is definitely a bad habit to break. On the left, my friend and I went to the sushi restaurant where we used to job part-time. Back then, there were times when I couldn't see its meals anymore, but now that it has been a while, I missed the food there. On the right, homemade pho - ooohh, how I love noodle soups!


Here in Germany, in the area where I live, there aren't many big attractions around. But one which is certainly worth a "wow!" is the cathedral in COLOGNE (Kölner Dom). Although I've been there many, many times, the level of detail in this Gothic architecture still amazes me considering that it has all been created by human hands only. It's said to be the third highest church building in this world, and also the most visited landmark in Germany.

However, my friend and I didn't go there to visit the cathedral. We simply had a nice shopping afternoon (but we ended up not buying anything) and then headed for INDIAN FOOD at Buy Buy. Their curry was sooooo good, and that for a very reasonable price. We ordered a lamp curry à la chef and a chicken curry with tomatoes, garlic, onions and ginger, while the latter was a bit more spicy. However, I love spicy food (although I always get a running nose from it) and I can totally recommend that Indian place to everyone who also likes Indian curry.

That was again one week that has passed by quite fast. Countdown is running, just two more weeks until my departure to Hong Kong! Can't wait to drag you along to my new adventure over there :)


Friday, February 15, 2013

The Familiar


I thought I would dislike this place because I can't stand its silence, dullness, coldness and emptiness. But as I move further away from it, its silence becomes tranquility, its dullness turns into harmony, its coldness depicts stability, and its emptiness inspires the feeling of freedom.

I thought I would feel relieved facing a change, but sacrifices become more visible and more weighty as I am preparing to set out for change. Will the gains compensate for all that I am leaving behind?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Roadtrip away from Sydney with no Destination (Pt.4) - Byron Bay


Isn't that adorable and cute? Although Byron Bay was again another beachside town we had arrived, we weren't much attracted by the beach (also because we already had too many on our roadtrip), but rather by the lovely souvenir and crafts shops and nice dining restaurants.

We actually went to Byron Bay twice. The first time we stopped there for dinner and also wanted to stay there over night. Unfortunately, hotels were all booked out so that we were forced to continue our trip and eventually made it to Gold Coast. However, the dinner we had there was an exclusive experience.

St. Elmo - Dining room and wine bar. The place gave an impression of being quite high-class with dimmed lights and the big wine bar with all the fine wines on the shelves. It was a relaxing and chilling place where you could hang with your group of friends for a nice cocktail or wine, or even for nice food platters to be shared with friends.

They have a diverse menu, but in my opinion, the dishes are a bit overpriced for the fact that none of us had had enough although the bill was already more than decent. The dishes did taste good though, just that portions were quite small. The service was also awesome and very professional.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Roadtrip away from Sydney with no Destination (Pt.3) - Brisbane

Brisbane City Centre
We could have stayed close to our hotel and taken some nice walk at Broadbeach, but after we have already seen so many beaches and places related to water, we needed some variety. Thinking back, I find it a bit regretful that I didn't make at least one footstep on the famous Broadbeach, but one day only at Gold Coast was really too rushed. For that one day, we rather gave priority to half day of theme park and half day of city life to balance out all the "water views" and beaches that we already had. After we had our fun in Movie World, it was time for some flashing city lights in Brisbane.


I remember how rushed we were, because we were so afraid to miss out the sun and the sunset. Brisbane was totally an unfamiliar place to us, so after we parked our car somewhere close to the city center, we simply followed the last sunbeams and ran towards the sunset until we would reach an interesting place - very random and spontaneous, as always.


Can you imagine from this random shot how in need I was for some interesting spot worth taking a photo of? The visit to Brisbane was not planned at all. It was a quite spontaneous reaction to the "what's next?"-question after we had just left Movie World. Therefore, no one was prepared for Brisbane, and none of us had an idea of where to go, where to find the must-see spots or even where to get good food. We were so lost that even a boring garage was suddenly inspirational enough to be worth taking a photo of, haha!


- "The cloud there looks super cute!"
- "Huh?"
- "There, where the sun is behind! Take a photo before it's gone!"

Thanks to my friend who spotted this little golden view. I love things which shine, glow and sparkle in a minimalist or soft way and thereby create brightness which is not too striking - something that one could call "understated beauty". It warms the heart with a pleasant feeling without being too obtrusive or thrilling.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Roadtrip away from Sydney with no Destination (Pt.2) - Gold Coast, Movie World

View from Sofitel Hotel,  Broadbeach, Gold Coast
Day 4 - We were about to cross the border to Queensland which we had never expected. The plan was to be back to Sydney on day 5, and going forward to Gold Coast would add up at least one more day. But hey, it's Gold Coast right in front of us - the Australian touristic hot spot overloaded with various theme parks, world-renowned beaches and year-round sunshine which wows over 10 million of visitors each year! Being so close to such a promising holiday destination, could we really just abandon that opportunity and simply alter our course?

Sofitel Hotel, Broadbeach, Gold Coast
I just say, seize the moment, babe. Who knows when we would have the chance again to go there together? Leaving Australia for good was just a matter of time to all of us, so we better cherish the great things right ahead of us. In that moment, it was us, being together, there.

When we arrived at Broadbeach in that little village, we were surrounded by huge hotel buildings, lovely cafes and restaurants which all created that relaxed, chill and laid-back holiday flair. People must be so happy living here, because it doesn't seem to be ever necessary nor appropriate to feel stress in that area.

Sofitel Hotel, Broadbeach, Gold Coast
Summer, sunshine, 25°C degrees, beaches, bikini, thongs, Christmas tree - Please find the mistake in that word list. Well, if you are Australian, all these things will fit together very well and nothing seems wrong. Not every man on this world gets to enjoy the typical snowy white Christmas (disputable if it's unfortunate or not), and even more people on this world can't get to experience a hot summer Christmas. As I belong to the latter group of people, I just had to grab the opportunity of posing next to a Christmas tree with a summer dress and thongs on.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Roadtrip away from Sydney with no Destination (Pt.1)

This trip dates back to the beginning of last year when I was in Australia. I've always wanted to write down the entire story of it, because it was such an awesome experience to me, but I never found time to do so throughout the year until now...



Well, we did have destinations, but they were decided on at the very last moments whenever we felt like making a stopover. Normally, people plan days ahead which route to take, where to stop and where, where to sleep over, which hostels to book etc... but we prepared nothing of these. A road trip has never been that spontaneous and random before for me. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I missed Melbourne's Twelve Apostles

Although I went to Australia so many times, I never made it to Melbourne - unfortunately :( My boyfriend went with our friends on a trip to Melbourne though and showed me awesome photos from their adventure. I am not going to show you the entire collection, but there is ONE photo, one spot, one view that I MUST share to you! It might be the most popular spot in Melbourne, although it's couple hours drive away from the city center. However, you drive along the so-called Great Ocean Road - so there will be some breathtaking views accompanying your ride, definitely worth going once!

The Twelve Apostles, "Melbourne", Australia

It's funny how it's called the TWELVE apostles, but has actually only nine stacks from which one even collapsed couple years ago, leaving eight today. Anyways, if you are around that area and enjoy great ocean views or even natural wonders, you shouldn't miss this famous Australian spot :)

My boyfriend took this very awesome photo before the wind smashed his camera to the ground :( That gives his camera a quite heroic appearance for still having completed a last great work, haha! I hope I can catch up a journey to Melbourne one day and take my own photo of this miraculous view.

Sigh, I miss Australia... especially because I've been going through freezing minus temperatures here in Germany's winter, while the hot sun is shining brightly "down under"...

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