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April 20, 2018 § Leave a comment

In the conversations of my daily routines, there is a queer silence between sentences. As gentle as they are, the exists in pauses of acknowledgements and gratitude. I write frequently about gratitude, almost too much when I look back on how many times I type it on this screen. But yet, there will not be sufficient amount to express how fortunate we are and how much we still take for granted.

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A couple of weeks ago, my partner ran a full marathon back in Malaysia. So I decided to cheer him on by running, well, a quarter of it. The next 5km mark is a boundary I have yet to explore. The feet took me to Williamstown, a lovely horizon leading towards the endless sea. The beach front was merely the beginning of a buzzing little town. It lined with sun-kissed children, joyful dog-walkers and eager diners. Bring out the roller blades, if I may say, and glide through the bright pavements with ocean breeze in your hair and salty moisture on your skin.

Back at home, in this little apartment, I have been settling in just as bread on butter. It’s been almost 10 weeks of analysing botany, human parts and occasionally wine-ing. Learning about your own palate is perhaps one of the most satisfying adventure to leap on. Acquiring a skill to understand another’s is, something beyond reach. I have a deep admiration for wine connoisseurs as for botanists.

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A simple walk in the park was far more complex and enriching than it seems. We visited the gorgeous Royal Botanical Gardens last week. The tropical glasshouse felt like home and memories of being a child running around our home garden came floating in. Right here, the terrain is different. The weather changes so drastically, every moment of beauty is like the freshly bloomed flower, temporary and sacred. The short instances make it so delightful, just as the pauses in my conversations.

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The days are getting shorter, my runs are getting longer, but the silences remain unchanged. Always there to keep an everlasting subtle essence in beautiful moments.

 

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2316

February 19, 2018 § 1 Comment

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This is your path.

This is how you form the shapes you fall so gently in. This is a journey of how graceful you treat yourself and practice compassion. This is not your mom’s or dad’s. Do not take Forbes list or best yoga poses to be your goal. Do not take an idol and follow their style.

What makes you think you will be happy today with what you have in the future? What makes you believe that other people’s happiness is ideal for you?
Is it for you to take?
Is it meant to be enough?

What is ever enough when less is so much more than what you already stand for?

Your happiness is already in you.

Be the main character in your show. Find your own proses and take the lead.

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The last weekend was a quiet one by the beach. I drove myself out to the end of a little town and found the most delightful deli. So I bought myself some hummus, olives and  sourdough bread for a little picnic by the sea. As I found myself in an unknown corner, a dog came up and put his weight on my feet. How wet and warm he felt, how loyal and tender he seemed. He was waiting for his owner to finish a surf. Everytime someone would come up to the shore, he would run over and greet them.

“Eventually it will be the right one”, the second surfer said to me.

Every time he realised the surfer wasn’t the owner, he came back to my little towel and waited with me. As they say, misery loves company.

“It’s call Benjo!”, another surfer shouted across to me.

I guess as much he is a regular. The ocean has a way of calling me back. I have been enjoying the waves, cold waters and watching surfers take the plunge. One day, I will too.

Till that day comes, it’s a little memory of finding warmth in nature. An unknown shepherd dog, the abundance of sea herbs, white sands and oceanic sounds.

 

1834

January 13, 2018 § Leave a comment

IMG_1615It is funny how after some time, it isn’t about the pose, it’s about the breath you take in and how you release it. It is the way you show up on the mat everyday that inherently, dedicating an hour to reconnect the mind/body/soul. It is how the pose is formed and transits to another.

It is funny how after a while, it isn’t how the dish is served but the freshness of the ingredients and how they arrived at your table. The sincerity of the purveyors, honest cooks and warm servers.

It is funny how it isn’t the type of clothes we wear but how it softly fits onto our skin and makes us feel naturally comfortable . It isn’t about dress sense but the sincerity of our smile we put on every time we greet someone.

It is funny how it isn’t about the amount of friends you have but the depth of friendships. How far you are willing to stretch for one another and how often they appear in your daily thoughts. The moments you shared laughing at one another’s stupidity, putting up with the idiosyncrasies and still want to share a meal together.

It is funny how it isn’t about the places you have been but how you get there. As cliche as this sounds, it is amusing that there are still tourist spots and selfie sticks.

It is funny how as a plant based eater (some call me rabbit, goat or bird), I know how to eight way a chicken, gut and scale a fish or touch raw meat; yet find meat eaters who squinch into a ball when they see a pig’s head or bone in meal. It is also rather peculiar that they do not know the shape of an oyster in poultry or where the vein of the prawns are.

IMG_1616It is strange and awesome at the same time. We are all looking for the same sense of belonging and meaning on this earth but our paths are far from near.

It is remarkable that you can feel so much for someone and yet so little in an instance. It isn’t the words we say but the promises we keep to ourselves for others, which makes the relationship genuine. The call you were supposed to make, the letter you were going to sent, the cup of coffee you meant to share and the little projects we set out to do.

It is peculiar that we meet at the same spot again and again. We are drawn to the likeness of sensibility and charm in the space. In time, our encounters are brief but special. Yet there is all there is.

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We took a trip to the Great Ocean Road today. It was pouring very heavily and the little fella felt scared. So he rested his chin on my lap the whole way until we got home. I sneaked into McGran’s Cafe to take away a lovely slice of tahini cake. The rain has a way of showing up when it is least needed but beneath the thick dark clouds there is warmth in being good company and a sincere slice of cake.

 

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08012018

January 8, 2018 § Leave a comment

Your experience will be solely yours. No one else sees or feels what you deeply observe, encounter and soak the soul in. By that I also mean we get to choose who and what we karmically interact with. Sometimes we do not realise that there is a reason behind the daily habits. How we brush our teeth, choose to hold a fork or chopsticks, turn the door knob a certain way. Perhaps even with the certain people we communicate. Do we greet them a kindly, joyfully or quietly. What brings that particular emotion when something inside is triggered.

I chose living mindfully since a tender age. Though it might appeared that some hard experiences were much intended than unconsciously, there has always been a certain light inside the heart that lead to where I am now.

Now, is the moment we should all live in. I do realise more and more that people living in the fast pace world tend to sweep away my questions or curiosity as they would, sweep away awareness. Everything goes under the rug. Ironically, so does being authentic.

What is your sankalpa?, as most yoga instructors will ask at the beginning of the practice. Is it simply to let go? To feel warmth? To be here? How is your heart doing?

These days, my intentions have been to with the soul. The mind has been drifting off to the past year and resulted in drawing memories of encounters. These growing moments were like pain growing sprouts, reminders of lessons and staying true. So much had happened. So much have yet, to happen.

IMG_1509You have waited to be loved. Love every corners there is inside right this moment. All that is needed is encapsulated in the tender heart. 

New Year’s Eve countdown was much spectacular as it was spent luxuriously by Sydney Harbour. The days along were so blessed I started to wonder what have I done to deserve this. “Take it all in my dear”, that is all she said to me.

 

Back to my favourite part of the city, practicing yoga, reading/writing and more cooking. Nectarines from the tree right in front of the lovely apartment.

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the year will end..

December 26, 2017 § Leave a comment

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It’s been a very reflective year. More so than the year before because of the events that have unfolded. For many, it is perhaps sedentary, a cruise mode to pass through the motions and performed what is needed or should. I for one have never been the sort who operates on cruise mode, if anything it has always been manual. I bought a bike and put it together (with a little help from my friends), moved into an empty apartment and found furniture on the local community sites, found recipes for kombucha/sauerkraut/soy yogurt and now have a little fermentation corner; perhaps Bunnings would be my next favourite DIY store. As it should, as I feel our lives should be simplified to lessen the carbon footprints by making it of our own and deliberately making a conscious effort to refine attitudes, broaden perspectives, and foster cohesiveness amongst ourselves.

There hasn’t been any new recipes here despite being a food blog. I have not been cooking with recipes for a while. Baking is quite intuitive and so is cooking. But here is a simple put together for days like these are far than a few. This morning at the local asian market, I found laksa leaves and danced around the spot while hoping the cctv above me didn’t notice. Then head down to the local Coles, treat myself to some locally grown blood orange and a big tub of soy yogurt. I turned our Cave playlist on, assembled a spread of crackers with vegemite, dolloped a couple of tablespoons of soy yogurt into a vintage teacup, sliced oranges & banana and tossed a few laksa leaves. IMG_1249

So this is how 2017 will end, with no guidance to how life should be but simply a genuine joyful act of come what may. As one of my uncles will sing in my ear when I was a little girl, que sara sara . You know the next line…

Updated, and a new title. I just watched an inspiring film, Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent. It is perhaps the best movie I have seen this year.

Let the flesh grow old and crumble. What are my expectations and what have I done?

How can one not sit on the thoughts and reflect on those questions? For Jeremiah Tower, cooking and dining is a soiree. More than not, he has meticulous anticipations with lighthearted vim and vigour. I had thought I would be rather insane to think that menus are as readable as books. Hence having a big collection of menus from restaurants/cafes through travelling. The name of the dish should highlight the main ingredient, not whimsical or how it’s processed but what it entails. It has never quite stuck with me how sous-vide is so welcomed on a menu or putting an accurate number for cooking temperature. We might as well put UNOX oven-baked apricot cake or Iseya sliced tuna belly. Our equipment has taken over how food is appreciated, where it should simply be rejoiced by its origins. The source of how they are formed has been diminished. A pinch of salt in a dense brownie is forgotten because salted caramel is drenched all over it.

I seek finesse in feeding the finesse food and drinks. Perhaps it’s not everyday I work in one but hope to find a place where people are on their toes and captivate themselves into something more than just as it is. After all, what is greatness if we settle? IMG_E1257

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December 2, 2017 § Leave a comment

Today I had someone said me at times that when its down, this soul tends to bring it lower; when its up I tend to turn it down as well. I have known this for a while but when someone whom you put as first says that to you, it is sharp. I am blessed to be loved. It is human to doubt or feel insignificant but I do have a real quest to being better whether others are going to stick around or not.

It is not an easy one. Meditation, yoga, the works you name it. Not everyone comes from a very happy childhood or for the fact of any matter happy baseline. Their couple goals or examples were unconsciously conditioned to be anything but positive or even healthy. It took a whole lot to pull themselves out a ditch but eventually came to light. The journey, begins when you start out of it. The past is what we tell ourselves but the present is where we are. It hits hard sometimes. This weekend was not nice. Transition can be lovely but not always easy. But here is to trying step by step because the light will be there again. At the end of the day, we are only human. Working towards being a better person for ourselves and people around us. Like anything beautiful, an apartment, a design work, a simple dish or a piece of art, there is beauty in imperfection. Wabi-sabi. Savouring the balance, sitting in awkward silences, enjoying the crack edges and listening to the heavy storm. Hold on to yourself for its what love would do.

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2339

November 27, 2017 § Leave a comment

IMG_E0803There are a few moments in life that you unconsciously remember. Perhaps a fruitful dessert you made during the first summer day, when the heat was so strong, turning the oven on would just be against the grain. It might be a stranger you locked eyes with on the train and had a heartfelt connection. It could even be a ratatouille moment ~ a certain dish that sent you back to your childhood dining memories.

Today is a momentous day. One I would never have imagined happening for as long as I remembered. While other girls chase white dresses and shiny rings, I longed for a space I call my own. Exactly two years ago, mum and I decided to visit her university in Switzerland. She had graduated in the year when bell bottom pants were as trendy as dim sim or Lune croissant in Fitzroy. But instead, we had traditional apple strudels with dark roasted coffee in our thick parka jackets. We hiked through a snow blizzard and made it to the cafe she interned at. It was somewhere there that I decided to steer the wheel and take a different course on this journey.

Two years later, I am in a different country, studying my second degree and reading up on road bikes. Perhaps going to celebrate Christmas in hot summer ( not that it really matters since we are from the tropics) and try not to get too tan.

I moved into my new apartment today. For the first time, in years I am living on my own once again. I bought the double mattress from a furniture store which had an incredibly kind salesman who squeezed it into my friend’s car. He also gave me two extra pillows to keep myself warm. I bought a dining table set and second-hand refrigerator from a buy/swap/sale online group, which had given incredibly sublime experiences. Everyone has so warmly offered help and extended an extra pair of hands if in need. My neighbours have already introduced themselves, gave me their numbers in case of emergency and welcomed me to the area. It’s barely even day one, yet it feels like I have lived here for a long time. This is the feeling of being at home.

IMG_0810As a Malaysian, I would call this the kampung spirit. The sense of belonging one feels in a community where everyone looks out for one another and share the same backyard but still respecting privacy. I moved here with 2X30kg suitcases, and am starting from scratch. A new drying rack, a new knife board, a new set of detergents, vacuum cleaner and even blender, which my boyfriend so kindly hand-carried from Mustafa (Singapore).

It is surreal but only natural. As I sit beside the window this late evening, staring at the brightly lit half moon and sipping on the Nadurra, I can only count my blessings and be grateful for the generosity and graciousness.

Here is to many first loves to come. I have yet to bake in the oven, do a full asana, sleep on that mattress and make my first breakfast. IMG_0801

yoga is painless, when you practice awareness
asana brings transformation, when you let the breath flow
life is painless, when you practice mindfulness
the journey offers beauty, 
when you surrender to the flow

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