I’m not a relationship person and I am 100% being honest. I’ve been in a few relationships in the past; a couple sort-of-serious, most of them… not so much. Which was fine. I grew to be independent and someone who knew how to be happy on her own. When I wasn’t single, that’s when I learned all the terrible traits about me when I’m in a relationship. Sometimes I am jealous, sometimes I am clingy, sometimes I am just too much. It never ended well – for me.
Much to my surprise, the person who I wasn’t even looking for was so close and I was just waiting for my chance to be swept off my feet. It is so cheesy, but it is so true. My person made me realize that I didn’t need to be jealous, it’s okay to be clingy and that I am never too much. It’s been a hard journey to get to our year, and things may not always be good, and we are still working on it everyday, but I am still so proud of us.
So as this is the first anniversary I’ve ever celebrated in life, ever, I was really excited to reach this milestone. I told Shahn I wanted to do something nice and he did not disappoint… He planned out a perfect date day and I was so impressed.
To start off, I had no idea what was going on the entire day. I got dressed and brought a pair of just-in-case booties if I needed to dress up. We were driving for awhile so I figured we were going out of Calgary. My guess was Banff, but instead we took an exit to Canmore… Turns out Shahn booked us a helicopter tour! Although it was short and sweet, I really enjoyed the thrill of being up there and seeing another perspective of mountains that is so familiar to people who live in our city. That day, I didn’t mind the butterflies so much.
After taking our photos, we headed back to Calgary for dinner. Of course, I wasn’t counting on everything to be planned so I still had to pick where. I’ve always wanted to try Brasserie Kensington for dinner and it turned out to be perfect as it was near our night-time activity.
The food there was amazing! I asked for a few suggestions from our server and he was more than helpful, we got Chicken Skin as an appetizer and I went off! It reminded me of Filipino street food, perfectly crispy and so bad for you. For my main, I ended up trying the Bromme Lake Duck Breast. The serving looked quite small, but it was actually very filling. Shahn had the Beef Brisket Burger – also amazing. He mentioned it was on his top five (burgers) and I had no doubts when I tried it. I would also recommend the parm fries, but that’s a biased opinion since I love anything with truffle in it. For dessert, we got their feature which was a Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownie. It was great but I found it super rich and it was hard for us to finish one serving of it.
After dinner, his last surprise was Paint Night! It was something we’ve always wanted to go to but never had the chance. Finally, we got to show each other our skills or lack thereof in my part. I could see how it gets pretty frustrating but it was also really fun! Shahn’s was really good and in the end we decided to exchange paintings as a remembrance of our one year.
An unexpected day turned out to be a perfect date day, and I was also so happy that Shahn finally planned something! Our date was a great celebration of our growth as a couple, and I look really forward to our future and many more adventures together!
I apologize for not having posted in awhile, but life went from hectic to chill as can be so I’ve really just been enjoying it… and to update ya’ll with my super interesting and not boring at all life (I wish), here’s what’s new with me.
First things first, I’m done the semester: Which means I’m done being a full time student and attending night classes forever. Although I technically still have one more class to finish for my undergrad this summer, I’m considering myself finished. I’m so happy to have completed 5 years worth of papers, group projects, presentations and tests. Finally!
Year end banquet hosted by the MSS: To celebrate the last and also the busiest semester of my University career, I also want to highlight something I am proud of being a part of. Last Saturday, the first annual year end banquetfinally took place after a whole semester of planning and needless to say it was a success. Not only did we reach our triple digit goal for ticket sales, but we surpassed it selling over 160 tickets! I’m so very proud with the MSS team because they worked so hard on the event. Although I wasn’t able to help out as much as I wanted to during the semester, it is something that I was glad to have joined and help out with because seeing it all come together was a pleasure.
the bf and I ❤
I found a job!: I’m extremely sad that leaving the food industry means leaving behind my all bacon diet but I’m also excited to be moving on! Most of all, it means leaving behind my worries about paying full price for my prescription medicine and other related grown up things. Although it’s not something completely related to my field of study, it’s with the industry of my dreams! Hint, hint: it’s going to feed the little travel bug of mine. So as cliche as it sounds, I just gotta keep working hard to see where this new chapter takes me!
Aside from that, I’ve been keeping my promises to myself. I’ve started working out and taking it easy aka watching TV. I have yet to start cooking, but the TV I’ve been watching has consisted of a lot of Master Chef. It kinda counts, right? There’s also a ton of things I’m looking forward to coming up, so hopefully I can be back on track with my blog as well!
Hands down, one of my favorite countries that I visited on my exchange semester was Thailand. But sadly, I really only got to visit two places in this amazing country due to time and budget constraints, which is why I promised myself I will go back to Thailand one day and hopefully do more.
The first place I visited in Thailand was, of course, Bangkok.
A back story of how we even ended up in Bangkok: we were 20 minutes minutes away from being unable to board on the plane on our way to Malaysia. Something I learned in my exchange about my host country, their time-orientation is very different compared to Canada’s: you’re always waiting. Since they failed to provide us official documentation that we were going to be attending school there in time, we needed to prove that we were eventually going to leave the country. Our solution: buy another one way ticket to the first country we could think of.
I hear from a lot of people that has visited Bangkok that they hated it; they say it’s too touristy and crowded. It was, but I loved it. It also had a such a fun and lively vibe, filled with very friendly people and amazing food.
I didn’t stay in Bangkok too long, so I won’t be able to provide a list of my favorite places. But thanks to my Camera Roll and a handy travel journal I chose to keep during my travels, I have a pretty accurate list of places I got to visit and some suggestions. Although, I really should thank my then-roommate as she was the one who planned most of this trip.
We ended up staying in Sukhumvit 4 at a newer hotel called Alt Hotel Nana, which was actually a really nice hotel for only $35 CAD/ night. It was clean and quiet, the downside was that it was a bit of a walk to get to the main street and the main street also consisted of the “Biggest Adult Playground in the World.” More on this later. Another great thing about Thailand was that there were plenty of available means of transportation; the trains were easy enough to take, uber was really cheap for longer distances and there’s the famous tuk-tuk for short distances!
On our first day, we decided to check out the famous temples in Bangkok. Since we didn’t book anything in advance, we took the train and found someone who was advertising the temple tours. We ended up taking a boat ride to where the temples are and ended up visiting the Reclining Buddha and Thonburi Klong. Both were so beautiful and you can literally spend hours going through them, exploring, and taking photos. There were other temples that we didn’t get to visit, I believe the Marble Temple was under construction so we decided to skip that one. We tried to go to the Grand Palace, which is apparently amazing to see, but we walked to the entrance and turned back around. It was insanely crowded.
As you can see, the view was gorgeous and my photography skills don’t do them justice.
That night, we also got to check out Kao San Road! Yes, it was super touristy and crowded but it was also really cool to see. During the day, the road was filled with vendors and at night it turn’s into Bangkok’s most popular night life. The road is super live with music playing and tons of people walking around. We ended up meeting with people my roommate knew from home and they showed us a what a proper bucket party looked like on Kao San Road. AKA drinking alcohol in buckets and then dancing the night away right on the streets.
Of course, if you wanted to get away from the busy streets, there’s an alley you can take from Kao San which leads you to a famous street food! I believe it was called Chakrabongse Road.
The next day we checked out Khlong Lat Mayom to see what the floating market looked like in Bangkok! I’m not sure if it was just this one in particular, but there weren’t too many vendors that were in boats. Rather, there were stalls just like a regular market. Again, it could have just been that certain day, the certain market, or Google just deceived us completely. Either way, it was super sweet to see and we were told not a lot of foreigners went that one in particular. Probably one of the reasons why it was difficult for us to even figure out if we were at the right place in the first place haha.
Probably one of the highlights of this trip was when we went to Siam Paragon Mall to see a movie! I know that’s such a touristy thing to do, but it was insane. There were probably 3-4 malls connected to each other with varying levels of fanciness and they were huge! Going to see a movie in Thailand was one of our must-do’s and we were so glad we did it. The movie ticket that we got came with a 15 minute massage, a glass of wine, a couple of snacks, and reclining chairs in a 12 person movie theater. It was crazy and so worth it for the experience.
Did you know that Thailand’s national anthem is even played in the movie theater? They play it right before the trailers start so you can’t get too comfortable in your seat.
If you’ve ever heard of infamous Thailand Ping Pong Show’s, we also got to witness that (what I meant when I’ll speak on the subject of Adult Playground’s a little more). If you know what it is and you’re thinking why on earth did we want to see that, we HAD too. We we’re in Thailand! We had to experience EVERYTHING! The only thing I have to say about them is that it was actually quite interesting and instead of thinking about how gross? not sexy at all? they are, we were left wondering how on earth did they do what they just did. It was also not as unsafe as we thought to go see one, but obviously be cautious and remember you can bargain! To avoid being scammed, we researched how much we should be paying before asking a random guy on the streets of Sukhumvit where we can see one.
Another crazy awesome thing about Thailand is the shopping! I’ve already talked about Kao San Road and the crazy malls, but what left me stunned is the weekend market called Chatuchak. It was the best shopping I got to do in all of Asia and this is coming from someone who’s from the Philippines. I know what I’m talking about when it comes to markets and if you have any idea of what I’m talking about… it was Greenhills and Divisoria x 10. Chatuchak had 8000 stalls to be exact and you can literally find anything there. I was in cheap quality clothing heaven, it was amazing. My roommate and I felt the same way when we got there and if you mean business like us, we decided to split up for efficiency.
I remember the final thing we got to do in Bangkok was go see a Muay Thai fight. They’re really big in Thailand, so it was one of the things we had actually planned on doing. It was also super cheap to get tickets and actually a lot of fun! They separate foreigners and locals on different sides of the stadium and we were lucky enough to get a close enough view of the latter. The event went on for a few hours, with locals betting and cheering on their favorites. It was super exciting to see!
So that was Bangkok. I was only able to spend very few days there but as you can see, we tried to experience as much as we can. I’m sure there are so many more things to do, but I’d like to think we crossed out a ton from our list. Bangkok is such a lively city and one that you have to keep an open mind about.
Everyone has their go-to sushi place and I finally got to visit mine after a long hiatus! I haven’t been here since I left for my exchange more than a year ago, and walking in to familiar faces who greeted me with smiles and long-time-no-see’s was awesome!
Sushi Toki is a family owned business tucked away in a little street mall on Memorial Drive. It’s a little spot that serves fresh sushi and their rolls are amazing! There are so many great menu items at Toki and I always have so much trouble giving in to my hungry eyes. I want to get everything.
During this visit,the boyfriend and I opted for the Beef Tataki as our appetizer. I love their Tataki here because it’s so full of flavor and texture. If you aren’t a fan of just lightly seared beef, there are other appies that are just as great too… I’m also a big fan of their Calamari Salad and Takoyaki to list a couple.
After we finished our appetizer, we were served the most appetizing looking plate of rolls. We chose three different rolls: Lion Roll, Spider Roll and Body Roll. I also had to get my favorite, which for some reason only Sushi Toki seem to do so well, my double seared Salmon Sashimi with spicy mayo. Shahn likes to make fun of me for my requests, but I swear, double seared really does make a difference. Trust.
The Lion Roll is both of our favorites. It has creme cheese and crab meat topped with seared salmon and tempura crumbs. Their Spider Roll is also amazing, I already love soft shelled crab in the first place, but they topped this off with avocado, mayo and unagi sauce. It’s so creamy and delicious. Lastly. the Body Roll isn’t something I usually get but and I would describe it as a Dynamite Roll and California Roll combined. A little plain for me but it was good anyways!
Sadly, we didn’t have any room for dessert but I would suggest their Deep Fried Banana with Ice Cream! Sushi Toki still remains my #1 sushi spot in Calgary and not a lot of places have come close. The service and food makes this place a great place overall. I’m forever grateful that I came across their Instagram page once upon a time and that their photos matched the food they served in real life!
Answers to: Rukia, Kia, Kiara, Kiwi Age: 5 human years | Breed: Mini Poodle Loves: Car rides, walks, snow/ice, blankets and staring out open windows Hates: Fetch, hair dryers, vacuums and being disturbed while eating/ sleeping Truly the most obedient and smartest poodle I know. Girl would never run out an open door and knows all her tricks (except fetch) from “spin” all the way to “roll over.” Able to go off leash, wipe her paws after going outside, and gets offended when you call her “poop butt.” She thinks she’s a guard dog, but could be easily cuddled… only when she feels like it though. Likes to have her alone time before bed and hides under furniture until everyone’s asleep. Acts like she’s annoyed but is the first one to instigate play fights with her sister and ALWAYS lets her win. Also known for her diva attitude.
Answers to: Killie, Killa, Killa K, Kil, Killua Age: 9 human months old | Breed: Yorkie X Shitzu Mix Loves: Flip flops, hair ties, plants, my laundry basket and her bff Kia Hates: Heights, socializing, car rides and going to the groomers The smallest dog with the biggest personality. Has never stopped wagging her tail and hands down the sweetest girl you’ll ever meet. Will be running at the door to greet you no matter what time of day you come home and will roll over automatically if she sees your hand moving towards her. Causes a mess and chews up every flip flop she can find CONSTANTLY, but makes everyone happy as heck. Loves her bestfriend Kia, follows her around literally everywhere and was born solely to annoy her. Has an endless supply of energy when she’s awake but won’t even move if you’re shaking her when she’s sleepy.
Happy National Puppy Day to all dog owners out there! No matter how old our dogs get, they’re still little baby pups to all of us. There’s really no describing how much joy and company these two bring to my family, and also to eachother (Kia hasn’t gotten sick once since she met Killie!). And quite honestly, waking up to these two little rascals scratching at my door has always been the worst/ best thing in the morning
This time last year, I would have already spent exactly 1 out of 5 months in Penang, Malaysia. It’s crazy how short that amount of time seems compared to how big of a part it’s played in my life. Every time it’s mentioned at work, my manager interrupts to say I went because I was “finding myself.” I went for a exchange semester, but I really did learn so much. I got to travel and live in a different country by myself! Something not a ton of people would be able to say they’ve done at my age… or ever.
I’ve always been so proud of myself for taking that opportunity, and I’ve always regretted not starting this blog sooner so that I can share my experiences and knowledge.. Hence, I decided to do a few blog posts here and there of anything related to my travels where I visited a total of 9 countries.
First destination: Penang, Malaysia!
AKA my home base and it was a good one. The reason I wanted to do an exchange was because for me, it was a reason to travel… and I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t in it for academics. Penang was great because it was close to everything! I had so many means of travel available to me; plane, bus, boat, and even train. It was super cheap to travel, for example it cost me $30 to Singapore by plane and $50 to go to Thailand by doing a combination of flying and taking a boat.
Penang is also known as having one of the best street food in the world (I think they’re ranked #2 after Thailand). It’s not hard to see why once you get there, too. They have what they described as “asian food courts” which is also known as Hawker Centers. This is where you go for cheap but good food. I swear, everything cost under $5 there. Sometimes I would spend $10-$15 and get 5 different meals when I wanted to treat myself lmao! You can really get away with only getting one or two dishes though, depending on the proportions of what you get.
It was also very multicultural (another reason why they’re Hawker Centers were so great), there were so many different languages and religions everywhere and it was nice to be able to learn all about them. Penang is also a mix of tradition and modern and when I got home sick, it wasn’t too difficult to go out and sit in a cafe to feel somewhat home (they were very popular).
Here’s some of my favorites in Penang:
Means of transportation: Uber (extremely cheap but safety is a concern)
Must do: Georgetown Street Art (rent a bike and go on a scavenger hunt)
Must try food: Roti Pisang (Roti w/ bananas, condensed milk, curry sauce)
Must see: Kek Lok Si Temple (so different in the morning vs at night)
Random fun activity: Upside Down Museum
Hawker Center: Super Tanker (cheap(er) food), Red Garden (more exp but better proportions)
Place to drink: Antarabangsa Enterprise (casual drinking and cheap beer)
Breakfast Spot: Sechawan ‘n’ Such (the best bennies… ever!)
Cafe: Black Kettle (good food and good wifi)
Mall: Queensbay Mall
Penang Bridge from our rooftop
Upside down museum
The best bacon benny I’ve ever had
Finding street art on a tandem bike
Kek Lok Si Temple at night and during Chinese New Year
Grabbed drinks for Antarabangsa and took a walk around
There were so many things to do and places to eat in Penang, so the list of my favorites is really just a peek of all the places I went and enjoyed. There’s also a lot of touristy things on that list, but I do genuinely enjoy a balance of checking out tourist vs local spots! Of course there were so many other things (like people!) that made it such a great trip, but all I can say was that Penang was such a great opportunity to experience and somewhere I miss being everyday.
For my second and final reservation for Calgary’s Big Taste Festival, my friends and I headed down to Cucina Market Bistro located on Stephen Ave. Our first impression was that the atmosphere was really nice, and we also loved their open kitchen concept. The service wasn’t overly impressive, but it was nice of them to accommodate us when we were a bit late for our reservation. Now to get down on the yummy details!
Butternut Squash Bisque
Course 1: As per usual, we made sure we got each of the menu items that were offered. For appetizers, we had a choice of Chorizo Arancini or Butternut Squash Bisque. I personally love arancini (deep fried risotto balls), and Cucina’s was not a disappointment. The arancini was really simple and did not have too much flavor, but the aioli and parmesan definitely made up for it! The bisque was also tasty, but I couldn’t taste much of the squash. It just tasted like coconut curry – which I personally loved because it reminded me of Malaysia.
Chicken Pesto Penne
Braised Pork Belly
Course 2: For the main course, there was a choice of Chicken Pesto Penne and Braised Pork Belly. First off, the serving size was a lot bigger than Model Milk’s. BUT, I also could not find it on their regular menu which leads me to believe these were just dishes made for Big Taste (thoughts?!). The Penne was flavorful and really creamy – we concluded it would be something we could have again if we were craving a creamy penne. I chose the Braised Pork Belly, but it’s probably something I wouldn’t order again. The pork belly was cooked really well, the skin was crispy while the meat was tender. It was also plated with polenta with mushrooms and tomato ragu. Everything on the plate went really well together, except the taste closely reminded me of a Filipino dish called Menudo!
Course 3: Finally, for the best part of any meal, the dessert! This time we had a choice of Moelleux au Chocolat and Tiramisu. I had the Chocolat which was also gluten free, the manager ran our desserts and noted I should have a bite of the cake, creme fraiche and raspberry coulis together. I did, and it was delicious! Usually, I’m not a fan of raspberry coulis on my cakes because a lot of places overdo it and it takes away from the cake. But for this, it was such a perfect balance. The Tiramisu is also a recipe from the owners great grandmother! I was too focused on my dessert to have a few more bites of Tiramisu, but it was great!
Overall, I came in with no expectations for Cucina and it turned out to be really enjoyable. The proportions were really reasonable for Big Taste, as well as how much it would normally cost on their menu. The food was tasty, and I would definitely want to come back to try other items on their regular menu as well!