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August 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

Recently, there have been thoughts about balance. Finding the right way to juggle every aspect of life. Not that it is difficult or easy, not that I don’t have the right things or fundamentals to make it balanced, just that I have not allowed most of it to happen. For the past couple of months unexpected events have unfold, both good and bad, instead of adapting to them, I’d fought against them.

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A week or two ago, I laid on the hospital bed pondering for a long time. Immobilized after being sedated from a gastroscopy procedure, I could only think about good things. You know as a kid, when you fell ill, you thought about happy days, in hopes to get better so you could go out and play. But instead of dreaming of cycling around or playing catch with the dogs, I reflected upon happier days. Days in California or working in Henry when life was more carefree. Eat fresh produce, live a more sustainable lifestyle; talk to customers, get to know their lives, bake cakes and pour coffee. It was simple. I had wanted to leave the island again and pushed journalism school, not once but twice. Each time there was a chance to take flight, I held back. There was love. Unconditional some might say, or unrequited some might believe. There was hope. Hope, we all know, is a dangerous thing.

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Each time I face a downfall, I wonder if I made the right decision. Each time I reach a milestone, even within a few yards, I smile to myself. Reassuring that I am doing the right things. The ups and downs of emotions and feelings were presented but were not taken heed of. I would want control but could not control the consequences. Worse still, I dwell in them, which explained ending up in the hospital.

There was nothing wrong with the gut, apart that it is sensitive with dairy/gluten. So rather than taking medication to ease the pain after eating them, I would rather avoid them. Sticking to a plant based diet, staying grounded on the mat and running.

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shared meal, veggie fried rice & homemade fig jam

That aside…

Two years or more passed, hoping to put both lives together and letting things be. Learning mostly. With enough conviction, fight for values. Have an open mind, give the benefit of the doubt, even when you think you know it all, most of the time, there are still things to acquire. Like it or not, you are not going to be right all the time, and that is perfectly fine. Where is the fun or challenge if you are?

Until the day comes when we can have things our way, for now, we’re learning to find that harmony.
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sometimes losing balance for love is part of balance in life – elizabeth gilbert

taking a moment

August 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

The last visit to Sydney was rather heavy. It was the last time I got to see Sam, a family friend I’ve known for the last 15 years. I was just a little girl when we first met. We’ve lost touch and been in touch since, the back and forth, occasional messages on special events or family gatherings.

The last couple of days with him and his close friends were really special. I got to know the love of his life, S, who has a great heart and gives more than he takes. Three of us got to laugh at silly things, watch the horizon from their little cosy apartment, where we saw whales, waves and the endless blue sea, we cooked, had quiet dinners, took very short walks and even with the unbearable pain after the surgery, Sam was as cheerful as a three year old.

Somehow, with all the hope, we know letting him go from the pain will be good. Nevertheless, letting go of him is difficult.

Since a few of us couldn’t make it for his funeral, we’ve decided to light a candle and reflect on the moments we had with him. Thank you for showing us the strength that we never thought anyone would have and sharing your spirit with us.
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Live life to the fullest, always give more than you can take. What you have today, might not be what you have tomorrow. Be grateful for simple joys.

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July 25, 2014 § 1 Comment

Learn what harms you, and let it go; desire what you love and that is honestly, good for you. Respecting the body, honor the thoughts, be kind, leave the negativity, and manifest goodness.

there are three things that cannot be hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth. – buddha

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You either get it or you don’t. You either accept it or you don’t. Whatever that is in between is a grey area that can bridge the two together or separate them apart. Patience is one of them, it clearly isn’t in everyone and you can look at the person getting tensed and raising their voice. Worse still, they think they aren’t doing it, because unconsciously they are always right. Perhaps we had experiences, good and bad, and carry them with us like a huge burden that hinder moving forward. We take them along with us like baggage and carry it from one relationship/career/homes/cities, and seem to search for a better perspectives.

I am one who travels light, or attempt to. Believe in having just the essential to get by and capturing every possible moment with the heart and thoughts. I had good experiences, good moments, and bad, some very bad ones and laugh about them now. Do we ever learn? Do we ever go beyond the self and search for something that better?

Stubbornness. In all honesty, I am one of them. I can get fixated on something and not look through the situation from another window. Recently, the thoughts have slowed down a little more to rationalize events more. To keep in perspective that we need to be patient with others as much as we should be patient with ourselves. That time given, can vary from a second to twenty years.

love what is good for you, do not desire what harms you.
There is a repetitive pattern in us human beings that is hard to break. Vices. Bad habits. It’s almost like tasting a really greasy plate of fries or saccharine sweet treat and keep on going back for it until the doctor place a red light. Or getting into relationships that hurts and having to face the same arguments but with a different soul. One day, you will get fed up, and try to learn why by back tracking what had been done.

Sometimes, when things can be avoided momentarily, and the time is missed, just take it with a pinch of salt.

Sometimes, when things cannot be avoided momentarily, and the time has passed, take it with a pinch of salt too.

Either way, give the benefit of the doubt.

These days, the other half has been stretching his culinary repertoire at the cafe. While, I go back to basics at home.
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honey-glazed endives, smoked beef flank and salsa verde

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cinnamon apple sauce and blood orange marmalade

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almond milk gluten free pancakes and homemade nut butters with agave

the gap

July 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

“there is always that impulsive initial thought to react quickly, to make a move before others and to jump two steps forwards

there is always that gap between the thought and reaction

there is always space and room to make time between both of them, for a more thoughtful spectrum, a bigger picture, an understanding perspective and a moment to ease into each other’s feelings

create the space, leave it to breathe, listen actively, act reverently and acknowledge that you are better than what you were yesterday”
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A week ago, I took sometime off to Sydney to visit a family friend who recently got diagnosed with liver cancer. While it was hard for some to understand the sudden decision, it was more difficult to comprehend how unforgiving a common abnormal cell growth can just take over the body and allow us to fail in taking part in the most simplest daily activity.

Stepping away from the island was a blessing. Getting into the routine of cooking healthy plant-based food, nourishing others, yoga everyday, writing and long walks. It created a room between the daily life and future. It gave an opportunity to reflect about decisions made, done, the outcomes and what to do after.

Time stopped, the thoughts flowed as they should and feelings were placed in focus. You start asking yourself questions and values you hold close to the heart.

Words said that could hurt so much more than one can ever imagine. Words whispered to make the heart skips a few beats. Food so bad you cannot believe people want to eat them. Food, so wholesome, you wonder why people stop eating them. Laughters heard so loud, you smile just listening to them.

The people. The words. The food. The meanings.
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In the last few months, I lost the ability to acknowledge what is in front of me and started to have second thoughts. The reassurance of things were not promising. Helping to run the cafe came easy until I started doubting its sustainability. The daily ingredients, the connections we made, the lives we may change, the philosophy behind the minds and what entails beyond.

The doubt became fear, then like all introverts do best, we start caving in, giving in and caring less. An unknown unconscious action and feel somewhat, lost.

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Coming back to home ground, there was no air of freshness, but a subtle thought to reconnect the gap. To build trust again, take pride in the self & others, give time ( a lot of it), and stay grounded.

Acknowledge that we came here to have a good experience, start the day with a proactive thought, a simple gratitude to pen down, a respectable exchange between two souls and feed the body what nature gives us best.

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The destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they are fed – Jean Anthelme

Cafes visited:
Kawa
Single Origin Roaster, a big favourite
Earth to Table, so deliciously raw
Will & Co

Yoga:
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allscript

June 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

“There’s an epigram tacked to my office bulletin board, pinched from a magazine — “Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pâté.”

- Margaret Atwood

How many times have you flipped through a magazine and want to be exactly what it is? The images catch your soul, the words read your thoughts, the illustrations make your mind wonder and keep your daily chores interesting.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the luxury of receiving magazines and subscribing from Allscript. They carry an abundance of cultured editorials from fashion, lifestyle, current affairs, comics and many more. Their membership program curates towards your needs and sends you good reads that thrive on your passion. Best of all, their collection includes foreign and regional editorials that are carefully selected and can only be found at selected bookstores.

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As an avid food magazine reader, Allscript sent me the trendy Fricote, lovely Cereal and contemporary Gourmand. Food has many dimensions and personal experiences. Through these magazines, I keep finding more pertinent elements, unique perspectives and sometimes a friend in the other food writers.

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Use Allscript to subscribe your favourite reads and keep sharing its great collection!

*magazines and subscription were all sponsored by Allscript

waking up

June 16, 2014 § 4 Comments

We all wake up differently.Sometimes to dreams still lingering in our heads, the last thought before falling into deep sleep, sometimes to a crooked neck, to people we love drooling on a new pillow case or to a heavy head for there is still a little bit of alcohol in the blood.. and really just want to sleep in a little bit more.. Maybe I’ve always enjoy the way our sun slowly lights up the room, the fresh scent of a new day, the excitement of knowing you can have the freedom to undo the wrongs and have a new chance to life. Renewal. Possibilities. Growth.

I used to wake up earlier than everyone else to have a little bit of a quiet time to myself. I make a cup of tea, have some fruits and regain a little bit of consciousness. To reflect on what was done and can be better, to the hours I will be giving and the people I will spent with, to the flow of a the day and how we can meet on common grounds.

These days, I find myself doing the same routine but with a different perspective. Looking back at the days ,trying to not regret on the decisions made and how to move forward with others. These days, life is taking its own course to change and be meaningfully simple. Be in sync with people that matters, stop when they are tired, go when they can, push them when there is a chance for goodness and nurturing into something wholesome.

A timely wake up call for a new shift.

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I used to believe we need to be on the same page or shoes to feel each others. But I am starting to think that we need to stop to try to be in sync, it’s nice to be in sync, but we are individuals. Individuals who try to be happy on our own, but come together and share the simple everyday joys just so.

Last night was exactly how it was meant to be, unadorned, honest and real. We finally got to celebrate our one year anniversary. It was perhaps the best way to enjoy an infant blossoming into something, hopefully, better. We are all silly, stubborn and eccentric. We are all a little insecure, quiet, and loud. We are all happy in our own ways, and searching for a sense of belonging.

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Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning – Mitch Albom

a year at necessary

June 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

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The cafe is turning a year old soon. These days I find myself looking back at the photographs, recollecting moments building the space, testing recipes, helping to cement the floors, staying late with the crew, meeting new people and finally, to what it is today.

I remember unlocking the door wee hours in the morning and baked the first batch of muffins. The girls setting the coffee bar up and arranging the flowers as we wait for the customers. A few curious ones from the neighbourhood came by, our regulars from Henry dropped in to show support, so did our family and friends. We fed them our usual staples and other new dishes. Every opening day, we did the same thing to keep people happy with our simple ways of getting by.

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Away from the hullabaloo of a city, there lies a cafe for individuals of all sorts sharing a meal or two at the table. Doing what they do as they like, spending them with good company, listening to lovely tunes, and indulging in anything honest and fresh. It is much adorn to remind yourself what is needed and return back to the basics.

I bake. That’s all I really do there. Baking sweet treats from dawn till mid afternoon. Then I carry on the day with yoga and writing, spend time with family and the cycle repeats. While it sounds so simple and pure, there are off days. Days when we get so packed, crap hits the ceiling. People demand for more, they want change, and are not use to the way we are. We become vulnerable to their dispositions and lose the bond.
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Then there are instances where we connect in every level, spend more time knowing each other and start to nurture the sense of community. My supplier who drops off a bag of fresh apricots, just cause; the little girl who runs around the table before getting on the stool to eat her bowl of granola; the french toast and brew coffee lady who sits there the whole morning with an iPad and two cellphones; the family that brings everyone out to dine in the evenings, and have hot chocolate to beer & fried rice to sandwich. A community of characters.

Somehow, I did not intend to stay this long. I had put school on hold for this to grow and continue with life. Following the rhythm, and be present to being here has been difficult to accept. This island has always made me feel like a fish out of water, I found comfort in other lands and had planned to explore. Yet, things change, well to be honest, I found love. Unrequited, supportive and mad affection. Instead of pushing what I had help build or watched what it is today away, and finding thoughts to leave with every discomfort, I learn to grow and embrace.

James, who now lives in the north-west, call it “grounded perspective”. We were so naive to drive across country through the rush hour. We have slowed down since and are still looking for grounds that appreciate who we are. Afterall, isn’t it all we want in life is to feel appreciate by others? And be comfortable with ourselves?

This sentimental post perhaps will make you feel lost in space, but there is no other way to put how this past year has been for me. Currently, we’re just going to dwell in what we have, appreciate its form and make the most out of them.

Anything else, just does not need to matter.
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