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Turning 31

I turned 31 this past weekend. It didn’t feel any different from any other year. I didn’t feel any older or wiser. I didn’t feel the urge to act my age, not that I even know what people in their 30s are supposed to act like.

What I did have was fun. A lot of fun. I don’t know how other people celebrate their birthdays but I’m very easy going with my birthday. The only mistake I did was to ask Dude what he’s got planned for my birthday. After asking a few times, he said that he was getting me a Happy Meal and that was it. I thought he was joking about the Happy Meal, but he wasn’t.

I really did get a Happy Meal.

happy meal
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Mail from far away

I love snail mail, especially when they’re packages sent by a dear friend. Last week, I had a pleasant surprise when I received an email to collect a package from the reception desk. I went down and found a package the size of a loaf of bread, waiting for me.

Inside the package I found a lovingly wrapped teacup, a handful of chocolates and photographs; a lot of photographs of my friend and her family. It was lovely!

I’ve missed my dear friend ever since she went back to the States. Starbucks was our thing. Now, I can’t go to a Starbucks without thinking about her. I’ve watched her kids grow up via her blog and experience every heartache and joy with her. More than once a month I wish that Ohio was only a short train ride away, just so that I can come over and visit her and her family and vice versa.

Now that I’m a lot freer, I foresee a return package and some postcards coming her way.

Why I Go To Book Stores, And The Things I Do There

French Quarter Book Store
Photo by LOLren

Every couple of weeks, I would drop by the big bookstore in town just so that I get my fix of book fondling.

Yes, I love to fondle books; molesting their spine, take in the scent of fresh, clean pages and flipping the pages to feel the breeze against my face. I have a book fetish and I’m not ashamed of it.

I love walking through the stacks, trailing my fingers against the spine of the books and reading the titles and the name of the authors, until one strikes my interest. If the book interests me enough, I may consider buying it. More often than not, I would go home with a book or two.

I’d admire the cover art of the books and compare the different cover art for the same book, if there is any.

I’d check out the new arrivals, even though I’ve already checked them out the last time I was there, which could be just be the week before.

The three major sections that I would always check out are the fantasy, horror and graphic novels sections, just to check if they’ve brought in anything new since the last time I checked.

I would pour over the collection of Moleskine products that they have and covet the different notebook selections that they have.

At the end of the few hours that I can spend at the bookstore, I would reluctantly leave the bookstore and look forward to the next time I can drop by.

Me And My MILO

Photo by Nestle

I grew up drinking MILO, the popular malted chocolate drink. It was one of the first things I asked for when I woke up and still remains one of my comfort food/drinks when I’m feeling low. It’s also a meal replacement for me when I’m just too lazy to eat or in need of a quick snack.

I didn’t realise that MILO has been in the region for far longer than I thought. It wasn’t until I found this ad for MILO from the 70s.

I would say that most of us in Singapore grew up drinking MILO. Now days, my MILO drink in the morning is almost always spiked with a little coffee, for that extra kick of caffeine.

Now days, there are so many variations of MILO drinks out there and one of the most popular one is the MILO Dinosaur.

Milo Dinosaur!
Photo by mulberry leaves

This is when a large glass of iced MILO is topped with a thick layer of MILO powder. It’s wonderfully sweet, cold and if not drank right, might induce cough fits from inhaling the MILO powder straight into the throat.

Even the ads have also changed with the times.

Even so, the message is still the same, MILO is good for you. It also tastes very good.

MILO is so popular in the house that whenever anyone buys the pre-packaged MILO drinks, it usually doesn’t last more than a few days. It’s just something that my sisters and I really love, even as adults.

When I was in Australia a long while ago, I discovered that the MILO blend in Australia tastes differently from the one that we get locally; it’s more chocolaty and goes so well when mixed with warmed milk. So I was overjoyed when I discovered that we could actually get the Australian blend here. It costs a little bit more but for MILO lovers like it, it’s worth paying a little bit more.

MILO is the one drink that will almost always help make me feel better.

Simple Dates

The best dates that I’ve had so far are the simple ones. No fancy outings or food. No fancy dressing up. Just two people enjoying each other’s company and doing things that one would normally think would be fun.

Like sitting at the counter seats at a local Starbucks, watching people and pigeons over coffee and pastries, while at the same time, discussing what we read in The 4 Hour Work Week.

Spending a few hours in the pool, swimming laps and teaching/learning how to swim more efficiently.

Sitting quietly in the library, reading a pile of comic books between us.

Sharing a meal and just talking about our day.

I don’t know about anyone else but these dates are the ones that I look forward to.

What I Miss About My Grandmother

It’s been a little more than two years since my grandmother suffered a stroke that left bed-bound with half her body paralysed and unable to speak or swallow. In those two years, the atmosphere of my home hasn’t been as cheery as it used to be. The house has been quite and it’s the things that I used to take for granted are the things that I miss most about her.

I miss grandma’s cooking. Sure, grandma’s maid/caretaker can recreate the dishes that grandma taught her but it’s still not the same. It doesn’t have the same depth of taste that only comes from someone who cooks with love for the ones she love.

Strangely, I miss her nagging. It used to have me rolling my eyes when she starts nagging at us but now that she can’t do it anymore, you miss it because you realise that she only nags at you because she wants the best for you and that she loves you very much.

The thing that miss most about my grandma is her laughter. It’s not that she can’t laugh now, she can. It’s just that it’s so rare that when she laughs it’s like the whole house lights up again. She spends most of her day asleep or watching TV silently. I never knew how much difference her laughter can make until you don’t hear it anymore.

Even though she’s not as healthy as she used to be, she is as healthy as she can be in her condition. She’s not losing weight nor does she have bedsores since we make every effort to prevent that from occurring. We talk to her everyday, to tell her how our day went. We miss the vivacious, stubborn old woman that she was before she got sick but we know that underneath the silence and the frail body, she’s still there, in the glints of her eyes.

Weekend of Awesome

Lately, most of my weekends are spent doing assignments, hanging out with my friends for a while and then spending time with Dude but this week, my weekend was most awesome. I had loads of fun.

On Saturday morning, I met up with the Adventure Crew for the archaeological dig site at The National Art Gallery. It was a beautiful sunny and very hot morning. Sarah and I were the first ones there. After a short briefing, we were put to work; carefully scooping the soil with a trowel and into buckets so as to expose the artefacts without damaging them.

It was not easy work and I pulled a back muscle while lifting the buckets and unfortunately, had to leave most of the heavy lifting to Sarah. I felt really bad about it because everyone was doing their share of the work and there I was, unable to help with most of the work.

pottery shards
Picture courtesy of Sarah

Within the first fifteen minutes of working, we managed to find a few pottery shards and after two hours, we managed to get a decent amount of pottery shards that, we were told, as old as modern Singapore. This means that these shards have been buried in the soil since the 1800s. How freaking cool is that?

Unfortunately, I had to leave early due to familial obligation and so I left my fellow archaeologists-wanna-be to continue the fun work of digging stuff up.

On Sunday, I most of the morning at the library trying to do my school assignments. I managed to see the Rihlah exhibit at the library. It was really interesting.

The rest of the day was spent at Dude’s store, where I finished up my assignments and minded the store while he and a cousin manned the tables (that were just right outside of the store) of knick knacks that they were selling at the Flea & Fun Market along Haji Lane. I didn’t take any pictures since the crowd was huge and you can barely move around but here’s a good write up of the weekend’s flea market event.

It was interesting seeing all the stuff that the other vendors were selling but due to the crowd (and that I missed the previous day’s sale), I didn’t get to see much of the stuff.

All in all, my weekend was awesome. I got to hang out with my friends, pretended to be an archaeologist for a while, finished up most of my assignments and experienced first hand what it was like to be a part-time sales girl, having to mind the store all by yourself for a few minutes (which is damn scary when you don’t have any sales experience at all).