The place in between

Do you ever just get stuck? Metaphorically speaking. There’s this weird place I’ve discovered recently, where I am not happy nor sad- but somewhere in between that is somewhat indescribable. Perhaps, this is not a feeling but rather a desire; a desire to feel. The human mind is both fascinating and confusing to me, there are things that simply so not amount to words- things that are indescribable, things that are beyond the capacity of science…yet we somehow know what they are. Emotions, thoughts, feeling, consciousness they are all phenomenons that we know to be true yet cannot actually prove it. For example what is dreaming? Why its when you see vivid real images while we sleep. But how exactly do we know those images are real? We have all had dreams, but how do we know that what you classify as a dream is the same as the people around you? Likewise, how do we know that the colour red is the same red that the person next to you is seeing through their eyes? It may be darker, it may be lighter or it may not even be red, it may be orange for that matter. How do we know that what is happening right now is reality? How can we prove that? My reality may be true, but is my reality the same as yours and is your reality the same as mine? Also, what about the past? They say the past shapes who we are as both individuals and as a society; but how can we be certain that any of the events in the past actually happened? Lets say we can be sure because of the many different interpretations of the same event (like teh holocaust) but are the recounts of the events plausible? Each recount is a different version of the same event; none of them will be identical to the last- because of the fact that one’s pain may be another’s strength and one’s weakness may be another’s victory. People obscure and twist stories to make themselves central to their experiences; if and when they articulate their memories bits will be left out and bits will be emphasised. Nothing is objective; everything is subjective. Something may seem objective but the nature of the human mind cannot help but have a ‘mind’ of its own (pun intended)

The start of vegan-ism

So a few days ago I decided to ‘trial’ a vegan diet…1. because I wanted to lose weight and 2. because I wanted a challenge. So far I’m feeling less bloated, more energetic and ‘lighter’ in a sense; it’s been tough though…not going to lie I did cheat a couple times (unintentionally) but that’s what this is about I guess, overcoming obstacles.

Anyway, there is another reason for this post; I made a Vegan banana bread/loaf yesterday that I absolutely loved, so I though I’d share it with you guys!

INGREDIENTS

  • About 3 cups oatmeal (you can use gluten free if you wish)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, plus 1 tablespoon (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 squares of 70% dark chocolate (or- of course- vegan chocolate chips) – optional but strongly encouraged
  • 3 tablespoons oatmeal
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Tried to make it look all pretty but I guess I’m still new to this whole blogging thing haha:P

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175.C (or 350F) and line a 23x13cm loaf pan (or 9×5 inch)…to be honest I just used a random loaf pan I had:P
  2. Place your oats into a blender and blend for a 1-2minutes until it resembles flour; you may need to give it some help by stirring it to surface the oats that are still whole
  3. Measure our 2 cups of your oat flour into a bowl and add the other dry ingredients and whisk until everything is well incorporated
  4. Place the banana, vanilla extract, oil and sugar and beat until well combined and creamy; pour in your dry mix and fold until just combined…DO NOT OVERMIX then fold in the chocolate
  5. Pour into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the 3 tablespoon of oats as well as the 1 tablespoon of sugar. Then bake for 30-40mins
  6. Loaf is done when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10-15mins before removing from pan

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NOTES

  • If batter is too thick for your liking, you can add some almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk etc. to loosen it up
  • If cut into 10 slices…152 cal, 2.6g fat, 3.3g of protien and 29.6g of carbs

Credit to ambitiouskitchen.com for the amazing recipe!

Christmas well spent!

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So it’s that time of the year again; where the jolly man in the red suit pays you a visit and leaves behind an abundance of presents underneath the iconic Christmas tree;)

For us living in Australia we do not have the pleasure of experiencing a White Christmas in fact quite the opposite actually! Christmas for us is all about wearing our Santa hats, having a barbie (BBQ) going with beers in our hands, attempting to escape the summer heat. However this year things were slightly different…we still had our beers, but the weather was surprisingly cooler than normal and instead of our usual BBQ my Aunty and Uncle served up a very traditional Western Christmas feast complete with roast ham and turkey. Though I must admit they did have their Chinese twist on some of the dishes- for example instead of traditional breadcrumb stuffing, they made it out of sticky rice, chestnuts and Chinese sausage (larp cherng), which- if you’re familiar with Chinese cuisine (or even ‘yum cha’) you’ll know that this is the same as a dish called Lor Mai Gai or glutinous rice.

As for gifts this year I was very happy in receiving a Kindle along with perfume and other feminine hygiene supplies!

Post Christmas day I learnt a very valuable saying from a friend of mine via facebook; she posted a heartfelt message including the quote

It’s not about what’s underneath the tree, but what’s around it

To me this is a very important thing to remember in order to keep ourselves grounded and put things back into perspective; too often we are caught in the materialistic world of handbags, shoes, clothes, technological devices etc…that we forget what the true meaning of Christmas- or any other celebratory occasion-is. I never fully understood this until this year, when I ‘moved out’ of home to live with my great Aunt and Uncle and although they are really humble and accepting of me…nothing beats the feeling when I come home every holiday and spend those two or six weeks with my parents and siblings. Beforehand I was in such a hurry to be on my own and gain independence that I neglected to think about the fact that I only get to spend- lets say- 20 years max at home. Thereafter I am living either by myself or with a spouse and then eventually my own family…these slowly diminishing years of my youth are all I get to spend with my family on a day to day basis. After this time it’s going to be a matter of making time to visit my parents and sisters; it may even be a case of seeing them on major holidays (like Christmas and New Years). This is exactly the situation with my grandparents and their children, having 5 children you’d think that one would visit at least once a month but the truth is they only see each other if it’s Christmas or if my Grandparents drive the 3 hours to go see them.

It’s these things that I wish I could tell my 16 year-old self; but I suppose my naivety and immaturity got the better of me. So I guess after much rambling, my point is to treasure the time your spend with your family and loved ones for these moments are too often taken for granted.

Merry Christmas everyone and have a happy and successful new year.

The rest of the holiday plus epic plane ride!

Been a bit busy lately since I came back from Brisbane, so haven’t been very active…any who here is the rest of my holiday!

DAY 9

The day was pretty relaxed and chilled to begin with, I spent the morning lazing around and uploading the previous post before deciding to head out to Carindale and suss out a dress to wear for my cousins graduation.

OOTD!
OOTD!
SOTD! (Selfie of the day;))
SOTD! (Selfie of the day;))

I didn’t end up finding a dress, but I found a really cute play suit though!

After I walked around a bit more, my Aunty wanted to meet up with me so we could look for Christmas presents for my 奶奶 (grandma) and my 爷爷 (grandpa). I remember meeting her at a mini bar because she had spent the last 3hrs out touring a university campus with her English class…on a 30+ degree day!! So when I found her I couldn’t help but laugh at her; red faced and downing a large glass of white.

I later met up with my cousin and her boyfriend to drive over to visit my second cousins; when I last saw them- a year ago- the were so much littler and younger! This time I saw them the youngest could already stand. I couldn’t help but mock the situation we were in since in Chinese our second cousins are regarded as our Aunties and Uncles, because they are our parents cousins and our cousins are what we call ‘adoptive brothers and sisters’ hence being aunties and uncles. Hopefully that made sense haha…

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We stayed at their house for a longer than expected due to some heavy thunderstorm; after it had eased a bit, we said our goodbyes and met up with a friend for some pho and bubble tea. No, you cannot get any more Asian then that.

DAY 10

Last full day in Brisbane:(

My cousin and I woke up really early to head out to the city and have breakfast before getting ready for her big day (by ‘big day’ I mean her graduation ceremony not her wedding haha)

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The ferry ride to the place we had breakfast!
The ferry ride to the place we had breakfast!
Not the sunniest day but still nice!
Not the sunniest day but still nice!

The ceremony started at 2pm but my cousin had to get there a bit earlier to suit up and do a run through.

The actual ceremony was really inspiring with really motivational guest speakers and even an activity that required some graduates to walk on glass in front of the whole audience! Definitely the most interesting presentation I’ve been too.

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DSC_4487   DSC_4475 The event ended with a live performance of On top of the world by Imagine Dragons and a shower of balloons and glitter…the perfect way to end in my opinion!

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We spent the rest of the night celebrating with cheap chicken wings – which my cousin and her boyfriend shared 30 of…- while I stuck to my quesadillas. We played pool and wasted the night away talking and meeting new people.

LAST DAY…THE CRAZY PLANE RIDE!

Another early morning because we spent the night in the city and needed to be back at home by 8am to pack in time for my 10:40 flight back to Melbourne. When we got home at around 7;30 I thought I had plenty of time to pack and shower before heading to the airport…turns out I was so wrong. I had misread/ forgotten the actual time of my flight and instead of 10:40am like I thought it was it was actually 9;15am! So seeing this I cussed a few times before composing myself (sorta) and found everything in the house that was mine and shoved it into my suitcase; at this point my cousin was freaking out too but I was confident I had enough time because at this point it was only about 8am; we picked up my cousins boyfriend and began our trip to the airport. Usually a 15min drive turned into a half an hour trip due to a car accident on the highway…even my cousin said that this road was never congested! By the time I got the airport there was still 30mins to take off so I sprinted over to the check in counter but unfortunately I didn’t make and had to take the next available flight back to Melbourne at 2:20pm.

We went back home and had some breakfast and watched a movie while I packed my stuff neatly back into my suitcase; we left at 12:00 because we did not want to miss another flight. When I got to the airport my flight had been delayed by 20mins which wasn’t too bad…but then another 20mins was added on…the another 20mins…

Finally we boarded the plane at 2:50pm for a 3pm take off; but when we hadn’t moved for 15mins we knew something was up…turns out a storm had broken out and the weather conditions were too severe to fly in, and passengers were required to wait inside the plane until the conditions had calmed. 45mins had passed and the current pilots had exceeded their flight times and we had to wait 90mins+ for other pilots to arrive. When they had finally arrived we did not take off until 6:30pm as we were 8th in queue for take off…all the passengers cheered when we finally took off!

All in all were stuck in the plane for 6hrs total…lets just say its a trip I will not forget; touching down in Melbourne at 10pm I knew there was no way I could make the train back home, so I stayed at my cousins apartment in the city and woke up early the next morning to catch a 3hr train back home.

Although this trip was less fun than my usual ones, it was an adventure nether the less…can’t wait for the next one!

Holidays begin!

Summer holidays are finally here! I’ve actually been on holidays for about a week or so, but I’ve used this time very efficiently to catch up on some much needed sleep. The freedom of just waking up whenever and doing whatever I want, just adds to my love of spontaneity.

Yesterday I hopped on a plane to Brisbane to visit my cousin and attend her graduation- which really is just an excuse to enjoy 10 days in paradise. I’ve always been drawn to the relaxing atmosphere up here; everyone is so easy going and moving at their own pace, everything is just a lot slower here compared to Melbourne- which is something that I really admire about this place.

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Today was a very easy day, I wasn’t sure what to do in the morning but after two episodes of ‘Bones’ I came to the conclusion that this was not how I wanted to spend my time up here. So I found out how to get out the South Bank and spent about an hour on a park bench reading a book by my current favourite author Rainbow Rowell. The weather was really nice so I decided to take a stroll with my camera along the river side, I had absolutely no idea when the path ended but I just kept on walking. Some people hate being alone and exploring new places by themselves, but for me it’s the complete opposite; I love being able to go according to what I feel like doing, I love letting my mind and legs run free and take me somewhere…anywhere. Because in those instances you are doing everything for yourself; satisfying your own needs and being rightfully selfish. Contentment comes from within and once you are able to find that happy place for yourself it really shows on the outside.

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After a peaceful stroll, I met up with a friend and together we went to museum- partly because we didn’t know what else to do and partly because it was an activity that did not require money (haha)

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Not just a bunch of leaves...but stick insects!
Not just a bunch of leaves…but stick insects!

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So not a bad second day; absolutely knackered right now… goodnight internet buddies!;P