Explore the possibilities.

Never be afraid to choose a road that nobody chooses.

Challenge new boundaries

Nobody knows what lies beyond.

There is always something new every day.

Pay attention to little details in your life and appreciate them.

Share the knowledge.

It is always fun to talk to someone who knows the subject as well as you do.

Be excited, and remember the excitement.

Never say you're too old to do something.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Singapore - Company of Cats - Chinatown

You might have seen my previous post on Neko no Niwa. Being rather adventurous, I explored another cat cafe with my cat-loving friends. I just love cat paws. They're so squishy and being hugged by a cat is just... such a bliss ^3^ ~♪

This pretty ragdoll (if I get the breed correctly) is a resident of The Company of Cats in Chinatown.


We went on Wednesday after work, since there is a 50% off on the 2nd entrance fee.


Again, the place is kind of hidden - look out for the signboard and the floating umbrellas - if you like cats, you can't really miss it :)


There are sofas with toys and plushies lying around in the room (Neko Atsume fans, do you recognize Tubbs?)



*insert Jaw BGM here*

Compared to Neko no Niwa, somehow I feel that the cats are more willing to interact with you.


And no, we didn't kiss. Because I just ate a bowl of cold soumen with sausages, nori and sesame sauce ($8). By the way, in case you are hungry, you can order food at the Company of Cats. You can even bring the food inside the room of cats - somehow the cats didn't try to steal my food! I'm impressed :)

If you're scared that the cats may steal your food, there is also an option of eating the food outside the cat room - there is a small dining table just outside the room. I, however, prefer to eat as I enjoy the company of cats (what a pun!). You can check out their menu on their website.


Overall the cats are very well groomed. This cat, Belle, has one of the fluffiest and the softest fur I've ever touched!


I've been here twice, and so far I've been enjoying my visits to the Company of Cats :)

Company of Cats
6B Mosque Street
Singapore 059486
Phone: +65 6220 3835
http://www.thecompanyofcats.sg/index.html

Opening hours:
- Tue - Fri 12pm - 10pm
- Sat - Sun 11am - 10pm
- Closed on Mondays

Entrance Fees
Normal rate: $14/hour
$5 per subsequent 30 minutes
Tues-Friday 12pm-4pm special rate: $10 for the first hour

Reservations by phone are recommended.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Singapore - Neko no Niwa (Cat Cafe) - Clarke Quay

My dear Latino friends (you know who you are) recommended me to adopt a pet for pet therapy, but I was not able to own one in my previous apartment in Switzerland as the management did not allow pets. The current landlady in Singapore loves cats and allows me to own a cat, but I'm not too sure if I can take care of it since I know I'll be flying back to my hometown rather frequently.

Thankfully, there are cat cafes in Singapore!


My first cat cafe visit in Singapore is at Neko no Niwa in Boat Quay (Clarke Quay is the nearest MRT station to reach this place). The cafe is slightly hidden amongst restaurants and bars along the river bank - it's on the second floor. Look for a cat signboard so you don't miss it!


The interior of Neko no Niwa is clean and well-kept - I didn't detect any foul smell when I was there. It was a cozy cat cafe with plenty of natural light - I think the cats enjoy the sun as well.


There are 13 cute cats to observe and play with, but you probably won't see all of them at the same time as they could be asleep or fed in another room. These cats are well-groomed and in general well-mannered - I don't really see them fight and they don't attack you for no reason.


Most people who came watched them, petted them, played with them or took a photo with them. I personally like taking selfies with these beautiful felines ;)


Some of them may look scary, but I think they just have what the urban dictionary defines as "resting bitch faces" (pardon the language) and they mean no harm to you. They will let you pet their heads - if you are lucky, their backs. From my experience, avoid stroking their backs if you're new to these cats.


By the way, if you see any cat wearing a gear (see below), it's because the cat is hyperactive. Apparently wearing this suit will make them less hyperactive.


I had a very pleasant experience at Neko no Niwa, and would recommend you to visit it if you prefer quieter, more peaceful cat cafe ^_^

Neko no Niwa
Address:
54A Boat Quay (Level 2)
Singapore 049843

Mon, Wed to Fri: 11am to 10pm (last entry at 9pm)
Sat, Sun & Public Holidays: 10am to 10pm (last entry at 9pm)
Closed on Tuesdays

Call 6536 5319 to make a reservation.

Pricing:

  • 1 hour: S$12
  • Next 1/2 hour: S$5
  • 3-Hour Special: S$24*
  • Whole Day Pass: S$32



*Students get a FREE Hot Chocolate with these long stay rates, please show your student pass.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

2016 - LOL

I'm not sure if my blog is still linked to Facebook. So a while ago I logged out of Facebook.

I can't tell the reason, but it's for multiple good reasons. For sure, one is for the revival of this blog, which I have taken a great care of for years. Which has something to do with a secret project that I'm going to be involved at. Yes, I received a rule that I have to keep my mouth (or my fingers?) shut, so I'm going to comply with that.

Don't worry, it's not a cult ^_^

To those who had been following my cooking pictures on Facebook... and thanks for connecting with me on Whatsapp and LINE. You can still see the old ones there, but starting today, you'll see new ones only on this blog. And if you missed me, shout out at the comment box of my blog and I'll get back to you.

Big milestone coming up at the end of November. Perhaps on the 27th to be exact, but let's have some buffer time.

아자 아자 화이팅!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Switzerland - Chocolate, Cheese and Castle Day Trip

This is a short guide on how to enjoy the world-renown Swiss milk chocolate, the characteristic Gruyere cheese and a time-travel back to the Medieval age in one day.



Departing from Vevey, my friend and I took the train to Broc, which is the center point between Vevey and Bern, the capital of Switzerland.

Maison Cailler, the factory where Cailler chocolate is currently produced, hosts a chocolate museum where you can learn about the history of the cocoa, milk chocolate production in Switzerland, as well as getting interactive hands-on experience on chocolate and its raw components: cocoa bean and cocoa butter.

Cocoa bean

Cocoa butter


There, you will also see the machinery used in the past and in present to process cocoa into chocolate.

The past

The present


See how fast chocolate sticks are made:

video



Not interested in technical stuff? What about... tasting chocolate? *nomnom*

How to taste chocolate - taken from a display in Maison Cailler

There are about 15-20 different chocolate products that you can taste as much as you want. No kidding. They don't provide you with water, though, so at some point you will start feeling that you had enough chocolate. I recommend bringing at least a bottle of water to rinse your palate so you can enjoy the tasting better. These two sections were my favorites:



Like the chocolates? You can buy them at the shop right at the exit. The shop sells other products that are not available for tasting in the exhibition, and they are typically the special edition chocolates (i.e. winter special flavors). The chocolates sold here are cheaper than in the supermarket.



After too much chocolate (maybe there is never too much for some of you), it's good to have something salty. We took the train from Broc to Gruyere to see how the delicious Swiss cheese is made in La Maison du Gruyere.

I study food technology, so nothing is really new to me. Nevertheless, I find the use of automation pretty amazing. The tanks on the right are where rennet (the enzyme to curd milk into cheese) is added into milk, stirred and cut. On the left is where they drain water and whey from casein curds and mold them into a cheese wheel. The machines automatically turn the cheese wheel from time to time.



Note that the cheese production is only 3-4 times a day, between 9-11 AM and between 1-2 PM. Make sure to plan your trip well!

After an interactive session upstairs, you can also visit the cellar where the cheeses are aged.



The visit took us around 30-45 minutes because we took things slowly. 

Aside from the cheese factory, you can also visit the restaurant. There are better places out there, but if you are only on a short visit to Switzerland and will have no other chance to try the fondue, you can try it here. It's not that the fondue is bad, but my friend and I had better cheese fondue with richer taste of the cheese and the white wine. Also, for the portion, it is a little bit overpriced. With the three of us, we thought of sharing the set menu: Menu gruérien for 44 Francs, but it was not really enough to fill us. This comes with cheese fondue, dried meat platter and meringue with double creme and raspberries.

Cheese fondue (Gruyère AOP and Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP) Served with bread, potatoes, onions and gherkins

Himbeeren, Meringue und Doppelrahm aus dem Greyerzerland - Raspberries, meringue and double cream of Gruyère

Holzplättli mit Trockenfleisch - Wooden plate with dried beef meat


If you live around Vevey, I'd recommend to visit des Trois Siflettes. Check this link for my fondue experience there.

Close to the train station is Gruyere castle and a small town. If you want to buy souvenirs, buy them at La Maison du Gruyere because it is cheaper; don't buy them at the town center.



The interior of the castle was rustic but well-maintained. You should not expect glamorous and bourgeois decorations like in Palace of Versailles, but this castle is for sure bigger than Chateau de Chillon close to Montreux. 



The view from the top of the castle was also splendid, since it is located up the hill. The climb was not too bad, since we kept stopping on every floor to explore the castle.




Lastly, enjoy the scenic sunset in Gruyere:



I would recommend a full day trip for Broc and Gruyere if you don't live close by. Shops closes early in Switzerland, so start exploring early. The restaurant at La Maison du Gruyere closes at 7 PM in between October and May and 8 PM in summer (Jun - Sep).


For more information, check out their official websites:


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Switzerland - Vevey - Fun Fondue Place

Think Switzerland; think cheese fondue.

I began my life in Vevey, Switzerland in August 2014 - summer. The first thing I want to eat is cheese fondue, but no one really eats cheese fondue in summer. The best time to eat fondue is indeed during winter :P

There are several cheese fondue restaurants in Vevey, but this restaurant is rather unique: des Trois Siflettes (or 3 Siflettes, as the restaurant sign says).

As an outsider, I cannot comment on how good the cheese fondue is compared to other restaurants. To begin with, people have different preferences. Someone who does not like the strong, pungent cheese smell would chose a blander option, and vice versa. Personally, I like mildly stinky cheeses. Sometimes I cannot handle goat cheese, but I'm okay with dry, aged cheese. However, I could say that I was satisfied with the fondue, and especially the whole experience at the restaurant.

The restaurant does not only offer cheese fondue, but other traditional Swiss food such as dried meats. My favorite is the bacon.

Dried meat platter: beef, bacon and pork slices, with pickles


The restaurant itself holds a homey, cozy ambiance. It's not a large establishment, but I estimate that it can fit around 40 people. 


Did you notice something on the picture above?


The cheese fondue is placed on a burner to keep it warm and unsolidified.



As I mentioned at the title of this post, this restaurant is a fun place for a cheese fondue. I will not spoil the fun by posting what happened, but here are some hints: Swiss flag, music and an unusually humongous tableware. You can experience the fun if you order a set of cheese fondue.




By the way, don't forget to try the traditional meringue (baked whipped egg white with sugar) with crème double. Crème double is not just a normal cream: it has double the fat content of a normal cream (40-55% fat), so it's normal the fun in the mouth.... probably not in the belly, if you are on a tight diet. You have to eat the meringue WITH the crème double. The meringue will slowly melt in your mouth, giving you a burst of pleasant sweetness, and the crème double brings the rich, creamy texture that complements the sweetness of the meringue. It's one of the fantastic desserts I have ever tried.



If you are visiting Switzerland only for a couple of days, I think the whole experience is worth loading some calories. I've lived in Switzerland for 8 months, and I have only had 3 cheese fondues so far. Well, 4 if I include my attempt to have cheese fondue at home using a makeshift double-boiler (a ceramic bowl on top of a saucepan containing boiling water). At that time, I didn't have a fondue set.



Interested to visit? Here's the address:

Restaurant des 3 Siflettes
Rue du Simplon 1
1800 Vevey
Phone: +41 (0)21 921 14 13

Nearest bus stop: Hôtel de Ville

Closed on Sunday and Monday noon

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015: Switch On!

Once again, another year has passed. Like everyone else's, 2014 was full of ups and downs, and in my case, they were rather extreme. It was a surprisingly tough year, but I survived and I am looking forward to more exciting things this year. I won't say goodbye to 2014 because it's a very important year and there were way too many unforgettable events worth keeping in heart and mind until I become a senile, old woman. Probably with some cats around me, too.

My wish for 2015 is probably to complete posting all the adventures in Europe I had completed last year. I was happy that my friend actually was Googling "Japan Town Paris" and found my blog. I hope my blog has been useful to many of you out there!

And also, I owe a couple of new songs to be completed and released to my loyal listeners. Ooph. There are just so many things to do this year.

Without further ado, I wish everyone a splendid year ahead with many many ups and hopefully not so much downs. Thanks for your support in the virtual world. Please continue reading my blog and/or visit my YouTube channel for weird unconventional songs made from Vocaloid.

Cheers and God bless! :D


Oops wrong photo. I don't sleep in class anymore, since I have graduated last year haha


Many happy returns and cherish people who are important to you! :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

[Slice of Life] - About Grieving

I was attending a 3-day workshop about performing a training and at the end of it, the facilitator told us to complement another participant, and I was told,
"I did not know what you were going to talk about, but when I saw you smiled, I felt like I wanted to follow whatever it is you are going to talk about. You smile all the time, keep it up."
To me, this came as a surprise. It has been two weeks since my dad's passing, and I had left Indonesia for Switzerland to resume working.

The first three days after his passing was a terrible ordeal. First, I had to sit down for at least 19 hours in public transportation, holding back from screaming, punching the window of the train or the plane or yelling at the two kids sitting next to me to stop looking at me and making so much irritating noise. I had to bear with not able to do anything or ask anything in detail because my brother had to take care of the situation and my mother was just in hysterical mode.

The second day, I arrived and saw my dad's face, bloated, blue and pale. His nostrils were stuffed with cotton, and his lips purple. Black stains covered half of his face, and his hands were stiff and cold. His eyes were closed, and I can't even remember the colour of his eyes. The only part of the skin I could see was his face, yet when I touched it, it was like touching a block of ice that would never melt.

Flashbacks of memories that were normally kept at the bottom of my mind's cabinet were suddenly finding their way out and they started to flood my brain. Happy times became sorrows and sad times became regrets. Many what-if's started to haunt me, but as pitiful as they are, what-if's cannot change anything. They bring nothing but stabs to your heart, leaving scars in process.

Worse, I had not expected that many people visiting my late father. It should have been a grateful thing, but it made me unable to properly talk to and pray for my father. Every single time I started a prayer, guests came and I just had to explain again and again how my father died, when I was not even there when he died and until now I don't even exactly know how he died. I felt helpless.

Pretty much the same thing happened on the third day. I was better at handling crowds and ignore the sound of flash and shutter of a camera. I was better at ignoring the stares of visitors. I heard stories of deaths related to the visitors of my late father. Stories telling me that age did not matter. That even a person doing regular exercises could die of the same cause. That it would take time to heal.

Still, to be honest, what I wanted to do was to smash everything in the room and scream,
"Why did you not wait for me?"
I was ready to go home for Christmas. I had worked hard the week before he passed away so I could go home and spend good times at home. I did not spend much time with my late father a week before his passing. I should have had spared some time to talk to him longer. Regret is a bitch; it always comes after, but never before. Regret brings frustration, and frustration brings tears.

In the end, crying solves nothing. Grieving solves nothing. Not having appetite solves nothing. They just create problems and worries. They leave things undone.

But still, I discovered that even if people tell you to stop crying, you should not.

Cry when you have to cry. And remember what you felt when you cried. Remember that numbing pain, that hopelessness, that uselessness of yourself, that weak, ugly you.

And then look at a picture of you before all these happened.

Is this who you are?

Don't let grief define you. Don't let it distort your identity. Grief can reshape the future, but it must not destroy it.

Grief is there to make you remember to spend your time more carefully and wisely. To remind you that nothing is eternal. To humble yourself to say sorry even if you are not in the wrong, and to give you courage to say "I love you".

Today, I shared the story of my loss to the person who complimented me on my smile. After saying a few words of condolences, he told me,
"The part where you keep smiling... it's your personality. Don't lose it."
Friends and readers who are grieving, who grieved and perhaps one day will grieve: don't lose yourself. Slowly but steadily pull yourself back up. Time to time you may fall again, but be strong. Pray, and believe in yourself. And once you are back in shape, remember to help those who fall into the pit of grief, just as how others have helped you.