Tulips Pink Flowers Valentine
Musings

Lockdown Diary: Day 5

It’s last hour of lockdown. Making it the shortest lockdown I have experienced so far, but didn’t mean it was in any way easy or got easier.

These five days have been a constant battle of staying positive.

I couldn’t take a mental health day off today from work, nor can I anytime soon. And by the end of workday today, I felt entirely drained, like I am running on empty.

Alas, it’s almost over now. For now. This wave.

Ps. After work, I watched Contagion to wind down. Weird choice, I know. It’s a good movie, eerily similar to the current situation.

Pps. Something random, I wondered about the zoo personnel during the lockdown. Some of them still have to go to work every day to feed the caged animals. Strange time we are living in.

Ppps. Tarot card of the day was the Seven of Pentacles from the Fifth Spirit Tarot deck.

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First Quarter Moon Aquarius
Diary

210121

Happy Aquarius season ♒︎ guys!

I haven’t been writing for a week here, the longest period since I started this blog last year. I am feeling a wee bit of a writer-FOMO, so here are some random observations I noted down in the journal recently —

I use a 400-page black Moleskine to journal. It was a birthday gift from Fafa. At first, I thought it would be my annual journal. But now, only five months in and having used up 3/4 of it, I think I will be getting myself a new journal for my half-birthday in March.

One of the reasons that I haven’t been writing much on the blog is because I am hitting a tarot-reading wall. For some reason, I have been feeling a little less excited about journaling about tarot recently. Not sure whether I am even allowed to say that, but that’s the truth. I have come up with solutions, though. I have started journaling tarot with prompts given by the Moon Void Tarot‘s creator, Stefanie Caponi to honor the Aquarius season (my Moon sign).

I also bought another tarot deck—my first-quarter purchase (hey, I lasted 20 days! Now, I have to go through the next 70-something days without buying another deck). It’s the Fifth Spirit Tarot which sits on top of my 2021 tarot deck list. Yesterday, I saw that Two Sided Tarot has it listed on their website and with only AUD10 shipping, I knew I shouldn’t wait any longer.

One last thing about tarot: I am looking for a tarot deck with continuity or a similar theme throughout the deck. The Moon Void Tarot deck has been the closest I’ve got, but the non-human court-cards broke the singular theme thing that it had going for it.

Even though I haven’t been writing much here, I have been compiling random notes I wrote here and there — paper and digital — into my Day One App. Maybe I can share some of the not-super-boring ones here?

Also, even though I haven’t been writing much, I have been running. I registered for a measly 10km run in October. That gets me going. I am clocking in 3km every run, but with an embarrassing pace to be shared here.

The last best coffee I had was well, not a coffee. We went to Brunswick last weekend to feast on a crab at Miss Katie’s Crab Shack. On the way back, we stopped at one of my favourite coffee shops in Melbourne for some sit-down coffee chai.

This month, I dreamt of Fafa bringing and or showing me a ladybug. Twice. Google told me that it’s a symbol of good luck.

This week, I tried a new Thai dish called Hor Mok for the first time. It’s steamed fish cooked with coconut cream, curry and basil leaf served banana leaf cup. I ordered it because it reminded me of Kerala Meen Pollichathu, but it tasted closer to Cambodian Fish Amok.

Yesterday, I found out that all this while I have been cooking and eating butter that has expired in 2019.

Today, I woke up reminiscing about my Uni time. Jik and I used to sneak into each others class. Even though we majored in different subjects and went to different Universities. And hers was more fun than my boring Accounting lectures.  Then, I realized that taking up CPA is like adopting the worst part of schooling-the studying and exam parts. Ugh!

I realize more and more that I am a creature of routines and rituals. So instead of ignoring it, I should use those things as a foundation of my daily life.

Half-naked yoga brings me joy.

♒︎K

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Best Days
Celebrations, Diary, Musings

What Was The Best Day of Your Life?

What was the best day of your life?

The question popped out on my phone. Sent by Jik. It got me thinking. The thing is, I have many.

The days I spent with my cousins, driving around Jakarta to buy the best road-side food.

The weekend I went to Malaka with my Uni friends and made more friends by the time we went back to Singapore.

Our three weeks honeymoon in Japan.

The weekend I went to Goa to attend my cousin’s wedding.

The first time I saw the Autumn colours IRL.

The many moments I shared with Cheryl when we worked together.

The day I went to the theme park as a kid with just my parents. I was wearing a red dress, and they let me do water rafting. It was so fun. I felt so happy and excited, and a bit of a grown-up.

The day I got a salary hike.

The day I got approval to move to Australia.

The day I stood in front of the sixteen floors National Library in Singapore.

The day I noticed Vi entering the classroom wearing her purple pyjamas.

The days I spent in Phi Phi Island, wearing a bikini for the first time and learning to be confident in it.

The day I bought my first MacBook.

Birthdays.

The hours I spent in the bookstores. And the hours I spent in Spellbox.

The night of the New Year’s Eve when I met Fafa.

The drunken night walk with my cousins in Copenhagen.

The day I ate MSG ridden fried-rice in a Chinese restaurant in Italy after not having rice for more than a week for the first time in my life.

Japan days.

My first snowfall day.

The days where Fafa kindness was the only support I had.

The weekend in Uluru.

The hours Jik and I spent in coffee shops in Hong Kong.

The time with LOL memories.

Quality times I spent with Amma and the moments of hugging her.

The day my Amma complimented me on my cousin’s engagement day.

Drinking Karak Chai in Dubai.

The nights I sat on the beach.

The hours I spent in the kitchen with my workmates – having lunch or just taking breaks.

The days I spent with Erwin and Vivi, rediscovering Jakarta.

The days and nights I spent with Thu just messing around while trying to figure out life.

My days in Singapore.

First dates. Second dates.

The days where I do very little but don’t feel guilty at all. The days when I do so much and feel a sense of accomplishment.

My post-grad days.

Sleepover nights.

My wedding days.

The day I realised I had all the support I needed in life.

The afternoon in Brisbane when we took an hour Uber-ride to eat good Indo food.

The day I discovered Serial podcast while travelling in Europe, which led into the true-crime rabbit hole.

The day I took Shinkansen for the first time, the second time and every single time after that.

The day I set up my blogs excitedly.

My last working day in Singapore.

Those are some of my best days—the ones I would love to redo. I realised now that most of them involve being surrounded by my loved ones, travelling and discovering myself. Here is to creating space in my life for more of those kinds of days.

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Diary, Travel

Echuca Farm Stay Diary: Day 7

Happy New Year from a liminal space in Echuca!

Today is my last day in the farmhouse. Though I’d love to stay for much longer time (weeks if not months), I am grateful for the short time I had here.

I feel refresh, rejuvenated and recharged. Ready to conquer (no, not “slaying” my year anymore – from now onwards, I will be respectful of the new year) 2021.

I closed last year by eating 12 grapes and thanking the Universe all the good things and learning I got to experience in 2020.

Meanwhile, started 2021 by wishing Fafa and then my parents a happy new year, even though it’s just 8 PM of a different year on their time and went to sleep peacefully.

I woke up earlier to have one last breakfast made by Fafa at the farmhouse. Then I ran, meditated, fed the chickens, pulled the tarot card for the year (Ten of Swords) and did the new year tarot spread.

After writing this, the last part of my last farm stay diary series, I am going to pack and tidy up the farmhouse and bid goodbye the baby cows, the farm and the house before heading back to Melbourne.

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Rustic Bedroom Echuca Farm Stay Melbourne VIctoria Australia
Celebrations, Diary, Travel

Echuca Farm Stay Diary: Day 6

Hello from the last day of the unprecedented year.

Today I woke up from yes, another great night sleep. After slathering my face with the pure luxe face oil I got as a free sample, I started reading The New Parisienne by Lindsey Tramuta in bed.

I was in the middle of writing the annual post of The Year I.. when Fafa called me for brekkie. Today he only made egg on toast anticipating the delicious lunch date in the town.

I published the above post, pulled a card representation for the year-end (King of Cups), went running, clocked 150km for the year, and started another new year routine; writing my new year intentions and goals, resolutions, and sharing the process with Jik.

2021 Intentions, Goals and Resolutions

By then, it was almost lunchtime. We got ready and drove half-hour in the scorching heat. We had lunch at the Monkey Coo & Asian Kitchen. My order wasn’t as good this time, but the crab spring rolls appetiser was yummy!

Before leaving Echuca town centre, we made a short stop at Candle Scents as I wanted to give a small thank you token to the farmhouse owner who has been so courteous throughout our stay, even when we broke the bathtub yesterday.

It was past 3 PM when we were back in the farmhouse. Since it was too hot to do anything and it’s a liminal space day anyway, after feeding the chickens, I changed into Pjs, opened a new bottle of wine and started journaling.

I wrote my last gratitude list for the year, tarot related goals for the next year and any random things I can think of in between, with the pink-sky backdrop which can be seen from the dinning room where I am writing this from. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

After this as my previous days’ routine, I am going to shower, watch Come Dine With Me on SBS Food, have steak dinner (Fafa’s new year’s eve speciality), drink more wine in the name of festivity, write a bit more, greet the cows, wish my parents an early Happy New Year, read, eat 12 grapes as another new year tradition, drink tea, watch Dexter, pray and go to bed early-ish so I can greet the new year in peace and gratitude.

Happy New Year’s Eve ━ hope you are celebrating it the way you want.

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Echuca Farm Stay Melbourne VIctoria Australia
Diary, Travel

Echuca Farm Stay Diary: Day 5

Another good night sleep (Fafa complained that I started all my recent entries with the status of my sleep ━ it’s a diary, Fa, That’s how I write my diary) and stayed in bed for some time while Fafa cooked us Farmer’s breakfast. I so can get adjusted to this morning routine!

Chicken Echuca Farm Stay Melbourne VIctoria Australia

After breakfast and doing my daily tarot-card draw (Four of Wands), we went out to feed Korona and Kovid ━ the chickens, and I continued walking around the compound for some morning bird-watching session. It’s one of the self-care activities that nourish the old-soul in me.

After an hour in the blazing sun and failing to see any bird from close-proximity, I gave up. More than this, Amma for sure would complain of me being tanner than usual.

Since it’s our anniversary (we met in a bar in Singapore 11 years ago) we thought we would do something different instead of lazing around the farmhouse. We ended up driving to Bendigo town and roamed around the unexpectedly pleasant art-gallery there.

Aboriginal Painting Bendigo Art Gallery Moon

My favourite pieces include the dot paintings, the 1800s European paintings with strong oriental influenced and a wood-block painting of Asakusa temple. There were also beautiful indigenous pattern silk scarf and moon inspired jewellery made by local indigenous artist. In the end, I got the paper towel for our home and a zipper case for Jik, both in a same aboriginal print.

Art-upped, we walked around the town centre for some late lunch, forgetting for a moment that we were in a small town in Australia and nothing opens past 3 PM except for some chain restaurants.

Grill’d is a famous burger chain in Australia that claimed that they make healthy burgers. Since I’m not fond of burgers at all, I have never tried them, until today. It was okay, but not something I would go for again if there is any other choice.

Despite the lunch blunder, I like Bendigo, dare I say, more than Echuca. On the drive back home I told Fafa, I could retire there. He pretended not to hear me.

One-hour later, we were back in the Echuca farm. Just in time for me to shower, write the anniversary card I got for Fafa and watch an hour of Come Dine With Me together. After this, I am going do the Cold full-moon in Cancer (The Chariot) tarot spread, call my parents and read. Later tonight, if the wind storm is not so bad, Fafa and I are going to do some star-gazing.

Not a bad way to celebrate anniversary, eh?

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Murray River Paddlesteamers Echuca
Diary, Travel

Echuca Farm Stay Diary: Day 4

I woke up from another day of excellent sleep and a bit later than usual, but why not eh? After all, it’s my vacation days. I pulled the card of the day ━ Page of Wands ━ journaled a bit about it while updating my to-do list for the next two days and next year.

After breakfast, we went to the Echuca town centre, which is best to be avoided during the holiday season as it’s crowded from assortments of tourist.

We had to go there because it’s also where the Murray River Echuca Paddlestreamer docks. We boarded the 2-hour cruise before noon and sat on the top-deck so we could enjoy the uninterrupted view of the river while enjoying some drinks and reminiscing the old times.

After the recommendation of a colleague, I booked the paddle streamer, but I came with low expectations. I mean, I have seen the Murray River before, it’s brown. How fun could it be cruising through at brown coloured water, I thought. It turned out to be a scenic journey where we got to see the other side of Echuca, including the camping site, private-boat families, kayaking couples, inns by the river and a gorgeous glasshouse.

By the time they put us back on the land, we were hungry and decided to try our luck to find a decentish food in the very crowded town centre. After being turned down by a couple of places, we went inside Monkee & Co Asian Kitchen. Again, I kept my expectation low because I couldn’t see any Asian running the restaurant. I was proven wrong the second time today. The coconut lime seafood curry I ordered was sublime! So was Fafa’s Rendang Bao, so much so that suggested we go there again tomorrow.

Back at the farmhouse, I fed the chickens (which I named Kovid and Korona), lit the Christmas candle I got on a hefty discount from the lovely people at The Candle Scent and put the flowers we got from Coles into a vase and settled for a nap. But I was too restless (maybe too well-rested?), so I went to the beautifully-lit kitchen to try a new summer salad recipe.

This time it included avocado, watermelon and feta cheese. Once it was ready, we sat for a simple dinner of the said salad and spicy Indo instant noodle.

I took a shower before writing this. The plan was to write today’s happenings and cross-off a few things of my to-do list today, but all I want to do is sit in the living room with the TV on, read a book lazily and drink a chilled glass of wine.

You know what, I might do just that. After all, I am already half-way through my holiday (acutely aware and dreading this), I shall enjoy as much as I can by doing all the things I want and not the things I need/must/should do.

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Cancer Full Moon Echuca Farm Stay Melbourne VIctoria Australia
Diary, Travel

Echuca Farm Stay Diary: Day 3

I might have jinxed it when I wrote about the most peaceful sleep I had in months on my first night here — because neither of us got much sleep yesterday, no thanks to the severe wind storm. It had started yesterday afternoon, but by midnight it was a full-blown storm. The whole house kept rattling and the trees swooshing hard that it kept us awake, tossing and turning all night. On top of that, I was so worried that the strong ass wind would blow the chickens away.

When I saw the sunrise, I called defeat and jumped into the shower to freshen up. After pulling the card of the day (Six of Wands again) checking the chickens were still there and alive, Fafa and I sat for a proper breakfast.

We also met the farm owner, a photographer who lives in the bigger house nearby with her farmer husband and their three young kids. She filled us in with the history of the farmhouse. It was locked for 15 years before they bought and turned it into Airbnb earlier this year.

By mid-morning I couldn’t keep my eyes open and strangely felt cold in the 35-degree weather, so I turned on the heater in the bedroom and started reading the latest book Fafa got me (The New Parisienne: The Women & Ideas Shaping Paris Book by Lindsey Tramuta) before snoozing off.

It was past 1 PM when Fafa woke me up. He offered to drive us to a neighbouring town, Kyabram, for some Thai lunch, which I quickly welcomed since Asian food means rice and I haven’t had rice since the day before yesterday. After a 20 minutes drive, we were greeted by an empty town. There goes my rice dream for the day. We then tried our luck in another town, Rochester and were enticed by the menu board that offered both Thai beef salad and sriracha burger. Unfortunately, once we were inside, they told us they were only serving the display counter food. All were sad looking, but I was already hungry by then. I settled with the savoury scones thinking how bad could a scone be. It was bland bad.

So far, the day wasn’t going as I envisioned it to be. On the way home, Fafa, God bless his heart, offered to cook us some steak tonight, which of course I replied with a “yes please!“.

When we came home, I took another shower to wash the dust and heat off and settled in on the dining table with some grapes, spicy chips and a big glass of wine. With that, I could slowly feel I am back on track with the vacation vibes.

Since the weather was not too crazy and the sky was pretty blue-ish, I went out to greet the cattle that were walking back to the parlour for their second and last milking of the day.

By the time I came back, Fafa had started preparing the steak. With an addition of the quick-n-easy Aunty Jen’s summer salad (this time I added the zucchini freshly plucked from the farm) , a glass of wine and a bottle of Furphy we sat for a delicious meal.

After dinner, I prepared a bath for myself using one of the three Lush bath bombs I treated myself for Diwali. Who knew, soaking in the bathtub with a glass of wine while listening to the Wildly Tarot podcast was exactly what my soul, body and mind needed to heal and rejuvenate.

I feel so relaxed. Tonight I have a back to back Come Dine With Me starting from 10 PM, Gone Surfing tea from T2Tea to keep me warm and Home Body by Rupi Kaur downloaded on my kindle. Oh, also some stargazing in between ━ it’s almost full moon (CancerThe Chariot) tonight and it looks so beautiful.

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Echuca Farm Stay Melbourne VIctoria Australia
Musings

Echuca Farm Stay Diary: Day 2

In less than 24 hours of staying here, I have decided to 1) buy a house with a similar layout in the city and 2) fill it with vintage furniture and antique knick-knacks 3) come back here next year 4) buy a farm+farmhouse as our holiday+retirement house in the future. So yes, in short, the farm stay is going well.

I was asleep within a few minutes; I put my head onto the soft pillow yesterday night. And sadly, that has been a while, back home, I usually toss and turn and wake up a few times during the night. Not to mention the concurring nightmares I have been having throughout December.

I woke up in the morning feeling refreshed — greeted by a gorgeous sunrise which can be seen from our bedroom window. I stayed in bed, half-asleep and listed ten things I am grateful for.

Since I haven’t had such a good morning for a while, I thought I’d leverage it by picking up running again. Thankfully, I had some sense to pack up my running gear into the car yesterday 😀 The run was well, hard and pretty embarrassing stat-wise, but hey at least I am restarting again.

I came back to the farmhouse with smell of bacon filling the air in the kitchen. Fafa was cooking us a full-set of brekkie. Damn, the day is getting better and better.

After breakfast, I retreat to the dining room, which I called the Tech-room to do some tarot reading (my card of the day was the Six of Wands and Fafa’s was the Two of Wands) while listening to the Tarot Wildy podcast and sipping the home-made cappuccino.

Around midday, we went out with the plan of having lunch at the Echuca town-centre. However, all the places are either closed or full or have the least appetising menu ever. I told Fafa I would make lunch for us instead, just that he has to wait for a bit longer.

I made one-pot- pasta with four basic ingredients, including pasta. And salad — which I first had at Jen’s place when she invited us for early Christmas lunch some weeks ago. I loved it so much that I asked her for the recipe.

Aunty Jen's Summer Salad

Aunty Jen’s Summer Salad


(serves two hungry people): one big red onion, three medium-sized tomatoes, mozzarella (can be replaced with bocconcini), salad leaves, fresh basil and any stone fruit. Add olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste.

My tweaks: I forgot to put the stone fruit! but I added a bit of cranberries, green grapes, slivers of almonds and a dash of chilli powder just because we both like it spicy.

After the super late lunch, we retired to the sofa where Fafa watched the boxing day test’s continuation, while I dozed off (so much for reading the books I brought).

We then fed the chickens, greeted the cows and snacked at the porch. We went in soon after as the weather was the complete opposite of the blue-sky yesterday and this morning. I think there is a huge storm coming our way tonight. I’m off to take a shower now. After that the plan is to curl up on the comfy sofa with a book and a glass of wine.

Hope you are having a nice relaxing break as well, wherever you are. More tomorrow – xo.

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Echuca Farm Stay Melbourne VIctoria Australia
Diary, Travel

Echuca Farm Stay Diary: Day 1

Hello from Echuca!

I just got done with the night shower and poured myself another glass of red, while waiting for my green-tea paste face-mask to dry so I can wash it off.

Let me tell you about our first day of the farm stay

After a 3-hour drive from Melbourne, going around almost four empty towns that reminded me of Timaru in New Zealand and after a short pit stop for double patty burgers in the summer heat peak, we reached the farm we will be staying at for a week.

The farmhouse looked rundown from the outside, but it had a rustic-charm in the inside. The house, as to how Fafa and I agreed on, has a soul. It is precisely the kind of home we love – complete with the wooden floorboards with a creaking sound, huge rustic windows adorned with french curtains, vintage-tiled bathroom floor and a clawfoot tub, rattan bed frame and plenty of mazes to give us the illusion of extra space.

So far, we have gone out to play in the backyard (frontyard?), fed the chickens, cooked dinner (instant noodles with buttered eggs) — accompanied by a delicious locally-sourced glass of red wine.

While Fafa watched the boxing day test match between Australia and India, I finished reading The Alchemist. What a book! I am so going to re-read it again, but not immediately since I have brought another five books to read during the trip. Right now though, I am going to wash my face, pour myself another glass of red, turn the TV on and binge-watch my favourite local SBS Food channel until we both fall asleep on the big and super cozy sofa.

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