I want to start with I am so f-ing glad that Mercury Retrograde is done and over with! Phew.
After skipping its course last year, Summer has finally arrived in Melbourne, which makes it my first Summer here! Oh, how I welcome short shorts and smooth legs after what feels like a full year of jeans and sweater combos. Summer also brought a daily dose of rainbows into our apartment, thanks to the rainbow maker.
Work has been hectic this month, even though everyone is already in the holiday mood. The office has been half-empty since mid of December, no complaints about that. It’s nice to have proper lunch dates with Amanda where I creeped her out with death and failed marriage talks.
My Tree of Trust team had our Year End dinner celebration at Rice Paper Scissors, started with drinks at Double Happiness, and ended with another drinking sesh at Madam Brussels. It was nice to catch up and learn more about them as we usually don’t hang out together in the office. Is it time to invite them to the Burrow? Hmm.. maybe over Galentine day next year.
Liz and I went to a Tea Blending workshop (another gift from Jik) in Brunswick on a Sunday. I made coconut chai blend while she took home mango coconut fruity blend. The day was continued ended up with my first ever high tea in Mary Eats Cakes followed by exploring the Middle Eastern quarter and brunch at the Stables of COMO. Liz, man, you know the best corners of Melbourne!
I continue going to our meditation class, even without Frida (which means less fun) who is on a soul-searching trip to South Africa. I also have been reading and documenting tarot every day. Some days I get the message, some days I don’t. Oh well, here is to more practice.
My cooking obsession continued with green prawn curry and redfish curry, among others. I also started to get interested in kitchenware, something I vowed never to do when I witnessed Amma’s excitement over a bronze cooking pot in Little India Singapore years ago. I bought a hand-powered vegetable chopper, which I proudly showed to Amanda and forced Fafa to try. I even baked brownies (failed on the first try, semi-succeeded on the second one) and chocolate chip cookies, now that I have a useful baking tray and paper.
Jik and I went to the Sunshine Coast for her birthday trip. We spent the days at the beach and the nights in the bars. We talked, as usual, mostly our deepest and weirdest thoughts. And she once again saved me this time (don’t feel like going into details, just yet, maybe another time. Sorry for being cryptic).
Using festive as a reason, there were dates with Fafa and drinking dates with colleagues, ex-colleagues, and friends throughout the month.
And we are in Tokyo! How about that for the highlight of the year! I am so excited and so cold but still so happy! So far, every single day of this trip has been a highlight. I am counting my blessings.
New and Loving
We set our Christmas tree a little late this year, but it’s extra glorious with the fairy light set I got from Target. The best part of my mornings has been waking up groggily to the living room and being greeted by the pretty tree.
Jik introduced me to Weis Mango Macadamia ice cream recently, and I have been contributing to their EBITDA by demolishing at least two bars daily.
Meanwhile, I introduce Rose Quartz infused sparkling water to both Fafa and Manda. I told them it would fill them with self-love. Both accepted my explanation and drank it even though it smelled exactly like a facial toner.
After Kris Kringle last year and Secret Santa the year before, this year we did a Bad Santa gift exchange at the office. If the name sounded wrong, blame it on Manda. I gave a tea mug from T2Tea as a gift. I liked it and was happy that Anne from Legal got it, so I went and got another one for Liz as her Christmas gift. I know it’s a little weird to give a tea mug to a friend who grew up well versed with everything tea, but it was too pretty not to be gifted. Something I would love to get it for myself. I asked her to fill it with gratitude notes, and she said she would fill it with candy and chocolate instead. Either way, use it, Liz.
Whilst at T2Tea, I tried and got hooked on a limited edition tea called Choc Molten Marvel that has bits of cocoa on it. It’s heavenly with a dash of soy milk. Still, on the topic of tea, I got a gorgeous gold peacock teapot from Fafa as a Christmas gift. I don’t know whether he realizes that he has been gifting me limited edition tea sets three Christmases in a row.
Speaking of the limited edition, I went into The Body Shop looking for their Honey collection, didn’t find it, but stumbled upon their Christmas edition, Vanilla Chai. My kind of bathing paradise!
New Zealand topped dominated my Best Nine, according to Instagram, with one of Uluru and one of the Great Ocean Road slipped in between.
I started this month with a Christmas Haiku. It’s short and meh, but check it out as I have always been a little proud of my non-existent poem writing skill, so much so that I have been considering Carmen Ramen’s suggestion to create an IG account for it my poems. I wrote mainly about food in December (I don’t know why); Penang food, Sacher Torte, space brownies, alternatives to Hong Kong Dim Sum, the boozy weekend in Adelaide at least with a sneak-peek into South Australia Art Gallery.
New Zealand plays Secret Santa nationwide. How cool is that! I wonder whether Tihana participated. Speaking of participating in something grand, Rach have you visited the giant Starbucks in the world? If not yet, please do today! And get me a Starbucks mug Christmas ornament from there!
I couldn’t finish Ikigai maybe because I couldn’t relate to the concept behind it yet. That’s okay. Life is too short of having to force me to read some books. So instead, I am reading Man At The Helm, which is a fantastic read! It reminds me of Adrian Mole’s diary series, which I loved so much when I first read it years ago.
I also finished the salt by Nayyirah Waheed in a couple of nights. It’s golden! My love for poems has been cemented with the ten poem books downloaded for this trip, for free, thanks to Amazon Unlimited.
Have you guys tried it? For $10 a month, it’s a great deal! I also bought The Rape Of Nanking by Iris Chang, which admittedly a bizarre choice to read on an 11-hour flight to Japan.
I have been binge listening to a new to me True Crime Podcast called The Generation Why. It’s terrific, especially the parts where they dissect the 911 calls and the no or short introduction and ad. Other additions in the library include 2 Dope Queens and My Favorite Murder.
Jen got me hooked to SBS On Demand’s Search Party. Speaking of Jen, to her Grinch-like-annoyance, I have been sporting Christmas jumper, decorating Mary (office Christmas tree), and blasting Christmas jingles all month long at work. Check out my ultimate Christmas playlist called Kulture Kween Christmas Playlist on Spotify.
Even though I couldn’t relate to Lagom but I thoroughly enjoy the writer’s Lola Akinmade, blog. I shared a few productivity articles written by Sarah to my girlfriends with Ways To Comfort Yourself When You Don’t Know What’s Wrong being my absolute fave.
Thank You, Next!
We will be celebrating the New Year in Japan, my favourite place in the world! I have scheduled gulping 12 grapes minutes before the year ends and the first sunrise of the year viewing in the Meiji shrine.
I will also be going to Jakarta at the end of the month for my cousin’s bachelorette party, with a stopover in Singapore to get myself a stitched saree for her wedding.
There will be a triple date with Manda and Sumit to an Ethiopian restaurant in Fitzroy called Saba, sometime in the mid-month.
Other than these plans, I reckon January will be a pretty chill month.
Wanderlist update: I had my first ever high tea session. It was delightful!