at the crossroads

This is the longest break I've ever taken from blogging since I started this site. In this 5-month hiatus, I've made several major life-changing decisions which I will attempt to summarise here for posterity's sake. 

Sometime mid last year in 2011, an extended session at the doctor's confirmed a medical condition inherited from the paternal side of the family tree that I've suspected for a long time. The experts believe I wasn't anywhere near the life-threatening phase of the condition although I have had to accept the fact that I will be on medication for the rest of my life. Perhaps one day if and when I am courageous enough, I just might share more details with the world.

Then came a period of extensive soul-searching and self-reflection on exactly what I think my life should be about and how I should live it. Some people don't get their answers despite searching their whole lives. I don't dare to claim I found 'my destined path' so to speak, but I was sure the lack of work-life balance due to the hours and stress from the previous industry I was in and the unique management style of my boss then wasn't the way to go for long. I hardened my heart and tendered my resignation even though I loved what I did so that I may get some sort of sanity back.

There and then, I also decided to give my battered body and mind a good long break. I found that I didn't care that I wouldn't be earning good money and hence would have to sacrifice some material comforts. I also didn't care that people around me gave me weird looks when I offered the "I'm currently jobless" reply to that often-asked question that seems to be one of the most popular among most people's default ice-breaking lines. 

Lastly, I promised myself I would pursue all the things I love and had missed out on in my previous life when I'd been too focused on my career. So. From the time I left my previous employment until now as I type this entry, I have:

- flown back to Singapore to spend quality time with the family
- restarted drum lessons
- done some traveling around Asia with friends and family with whom I hadn't gone on holidays for more than 6 years
- started a little online gig that encompasses many of my interests (I will make a proper announcement of it very soon)
- rested well
- played hard

I have not looked back. I am happy and contented. There will be more to come, I promise.

tudi in sydney: to the mountains and the fish market

I took Tudi to the Blue Mountains where we did the touristy thing of taking pictures with the famous Three Sisters at Echo Point. We also went to find a few waterfalls only to be disappointed by the 'humongous' falls. Flower pot scones at the Wayzgoose Cafe in Leura were great as usual and the highlight of the trip up.

We also had a pig out session at the fish market where I overdid the sashimi thing to the extent I think I'll stay off them for a while. The half dozen oysters, on the contrary, weren't enough to go around because someone who claimed wouldn't touch the oysters ended up stealing 2 out of the lot!

tudi in sydney: at the beaches

Going to the beaches is a must for any itinerary for visitors to Sydney. I took Tudi to three different beaches on three separate days - Maroubra, Bondi and Manly. The lazy bug is still here... no writing, please see pictures below.

tudi in sydney: hunter valley gardens

One of the items on Tudi's itinerary in Sydney was to head up to Hunter Valley. Out of so many times I've been to the Hunter Region, this was my first visit to the Hunter Valley Gardens. My favourite was the Story Book Garden where we went up close and personal with some of my favourite characters like the Mad Hatter!

Again, I'm too lazy to write much so I'll just let the pictures do the talking. Next time you head to the Hunter, do set aside a few hours to explore the beautifully manicured gardens on top of your wine tasting tours if you haven't been there.

x'mas day

We had the honour of having my favourite Tudi, pretty Vanisha and princess Summer over on X'mas day.

Tudi was tasked to make Jamie Oliver's tuscan salad and it turned out to be the best homemade tuscan salad we've ever had.

Pawpaw was in charge of the main course. He swapped the stuffed turkey for a stuffed chicken and made his own signature stuffing that was heavenly. The chicken skin got torn in the stuffing process hence the poor bird looks naked below.

I made dessert - pavlova with freshly whipped cream and fresh strawberries on top served with homemade berry compote on the side. I have to admit I cheated by buying a ready made base instead of baking it from scratch after I saw how cheaply it was selling for in Coles.

An obligatory group photo with our colourful party hats from the X'mas bonbons. Check out how intensely Summer was looking into the camera!

Following the sumptuous dinner, we settled comfortably onto the couches with our wine glasses and miscellaneous snacks for a quiet DVD night.

A simple affair and yet full of smiles. I feel blessed.