Archive | December, 2010

Taiwan trip

30 Dec

Ok, so it’s been almost 3 months ago that me and the hubby went to Taiwan before we came up here to Alaska from Indonesia. Sounds a little bit complicated isn’t it? Anyway, my first post was about our decision to move up here (Alaska) from Indonesia (where we met, fell in love, got married). So after my visa was granted, we started looking for plane tickets. Well.. we got so many choices.. but since we’re a cheap couple, we’re opting for China Airlines, the cheapest one among them all! Seriously, the price difference between China airlines and Delta airlines for example is almost like twice as much! Hubby’s business visa was about to expire on Sept 16, but ALL the flights from Taipei to Anchorage were somehow FULLY booked from mid Sept to 1st of Oct! So….. we finally decided that we’re gonna go on our 2nd honeymoon to Taiwan for about 10 days!!

The packing part and the emotional fiesta (from the time we decided to move up here to the actual departure date) are too long to be written on this post. Fast forward to the day of our departure. After lengthy hugs and many many tears in the airport, I finally managed to peel myself off from my dad and my auntie who also came to sent us away.Β  The flight from Jakarta to Taipei was quite enjoyable, it was only like 5 hours or so. I watched Sex and the City..read a book.. tried to nap.. yada.. yada.. and finally we arrived πŸ™‚

We got insane amount of luggage, I think we got 2 huge suitcases, 1 huge box, 2 medium size travel bags, and 2 guitars.. how in the heck are we going to bring all of these stuffs with us while we’re on a trip? And behold…… the mighty ‘luggage deposit counter’ as the Taiwanese call it. It was like heaven sent!! So we deposited everything that we won’t need for the trip, and we’re only left with 1 suitcase and 2 travel bags πŸ˜€ woohooooo We got the hotel at around 10 PM-ish and we’re starving….so we went to the nearest 7-11 and bought Doritos and cup noodles yum yum….. such a healthy dinner eh?? Brought them back to the hotel room, and I cried my eyes out while eating cup noodles because suddenly I got this ‘I’m moving away from my family’ feeling 😦  I was sobbing, crying, eating noodles and doritos, snot and tears rolling down my face.. but finally my always calm hubby calmed me down. And I was able to make him promise that if we have the time and the money, we have to go back to Jakarta on average of once in 2 years or so :p

The hotel that we stayed at had this really nice breakfast buffet (at least according to me) πŸ˜€ what kind of hotel have kimchi for breakfast?? Right?? I gobbled white rice, kimchi, miscellaneous pickles and questionable meat, sunny side up eggs and some dried fishes. Then we rode this awesome Aloha bus to Taichung, hubby lived there for 8 years so we’re going to see some of his friends and eat this supposedly legendary Kung Pao chicken which he has been craving for the last 2 years πŸ˜€ We’re staying at his friend’s house, and they have 3 dogs!! This is one of their dogs, isn’t he precious??

He’s so ugly, we actually felt sorry for him. He’s so ugly, we petted him the most. He’s so ugly to the point that he passed the ugly point and circled back to the cute point. But.. inside that ugly and then cute exterior, he’s actually EVIL!! Duane petted him, and he was like shoving his head to Duane’s head so Duane thought that he wants to give him kisses right?? right?? but what did the dog do?? He bit Duane’s nostril!!! ouch!! Which led me to conclude that…. ugly dogs are evil dogs! Except Boxers πŸ˜€

Later that night, we went to the supposedly legendary Kung Pao chicken place, but sadly….. they changed the chef 😦 ARGH!! πŸ˜₯ we were all pretty frustrated!! I want to try THAT legendary kung pao chicken πŸ˜₯ oh well, our food was pretty good though. But still.. Jakarta’s chinese food is better in my opinion :p

The next day, we spent the whole day cruising the city, checked out some Buddhist stores and for dinner we ate Ma La Guo πŸ˜€ It’s sooooooo good!! It’s basically hot pot withΒ  blood based soup with coagulated blood floating inside.

The blood based soup is the one on the left, the right one is pickled cabbage based soup. You can’t really see the floating coagulated blood, but don’t worry, I have picture of it later on on this post πŸ™‚ We ate 3 Ma La Guo meals during our 10 days trip πŸ˜€Β  I’m craving it now….. slurp……

The next day we went to the Big Buddha, you can climb in the Big Buddha, and they have like 6 or 7 levels.. on each levels they have statues which depicted the story of how Siddharta Gautama became a Buddha. This is the picture of the Big Buddha from the outside:

If you climb up to the top level, you can see the city through Buddha’s third eye.. Cool huh? πŸ™‚ But when we were there, the top level was closed for smth… 😦

And behind the Buddha, there’s a super duper green field of grass and a temple

We went inside the temple, and I found it really really weird that inside a Buddhist temple, there are lots of statues of Chinese gods…. hm…. I always thought Buddhist and Kong Hu Cu are 2 different beliefs….. oh well, I guess Taiwanese truly believe in ‘you can kill 2 birds with 1 stone’. So like, if you have a wish.. and you don’t know whether it’ll be Buddha or one of Chinese gods who willΒ  make your wish come true, you can go to 1 temple.. pray to everyone of them.. and have the possibility of your wish be granted go up right?? yeah.. that makes sense.. I guess.. And here’s a picture that I took from inside the temple, looking at the Buddha, looking at the city

The next day, we went to the probably the most awesomest place on earth!! Tarokoooo :D:D

We went to this city called Hua Lien by train, the train is super duper nice! Ow.. and in the morning, we had the most interesting cab ride πŸ˜€ I am probably about 90% chinese by blood, but I don’t speak chinese. My husband on the other hand, he’s white but since he spent 8 years in Taiwan, he could speak chinese fluently. So, anyway.. needles to say, he was the one who arranged every single thing for our Taiwan trip. On that early morning, we took a cab to go to the train station, and we wanted to stop at McDonalds first for our breafast. The conversation went like this :

Cab Driver (CB) : Where to? (in Chinese while looking at me)

Me : Sorry, I cannot speak Chinese..

Husband (H) : Train station but stop at the nearest McDonald first (all in Chinese.. fluently!)

CB : (looking at me, speaking in Chinese) I’m sorry, I don’t speak English.. where to miss?

Me : ………….. (totally have no idea that the cab driver tried to talk to me.. I was looking out the window..)

H : She doesn’t speak chinese, let’s go to McDonalds (in CHINESE)

CB : (saying smth else, totally thinks that I’m just faking that I cannot speak Chinese, and finally he said..) But her hair is black!!

And the craziness continues with the cab driver doesn’t want to believe that I cannot speak Chinese, and Hubby (the western guy) can speak chinese fluently.. -.-”

Finally we reached McDonalds, we went to the drive through

CB : Do you have menu in English? these people cannot speak Chinese! (in Chinese of course)

H : (ignoring the CB) Can I have 2 egg muffins, 1 coffe.. yada yada.. (ordering in Chinese)

It was sooooo funny πŸ˜€

Anyway, back to the awesome train ride! Have I told you that the train is nice and new? It has humongous clean bathroom as well! Pic of us on the train πŸ˜€ Hubby said he looks really douche-y in this pic πŸ˜€

Right after we reached Hua Lien, we hurried to the hotel, rented a scooter, and we went to Taroko Gorge πŸ™‚ I was completely blown away, it is AWESOME!!! All the pictures cannot do any justice on the level of awesomeness that this place has.

Can you see the tiny temple up on the mountain? Isn’t that awesome? There are lots of tiny temples everywhere over here! πŸ™‚

Look at the road!! Sometimes you have to duck so that your head won’t get bashed :p (kidding)

Yes.. those white streaks on the side of the mountain is waterfall!!! Isn’t that awesome?? :D:D

More awesome photos from Taroko :

Can you see the Kuan Yin statue and the temple?

Random super duper green bug

After about 1000 stairs, we finally got to the Kuan Yin statue

Buddha statue with gorge background

This is the pic looking into the gorge from our hotel

We spent about 3 days over there, and every single day, we just scooter our way up the mountains, we didn’t get tired of it at all! That’s how awesome is it! πŸ˜€

Next stop is Pu Li, we stayed with Duane’s old opera teacher. Her family is super nice :):)

We went to Kuan Yin waterfall, it was quite a hike to go up the waterfall! When I reached up there, I was out of breath… then… I saw this middle aged chinese woman hiked up there with high heels and she didn’t look tired at all! 😦

Yep. that’s me πŸ˜€ squatting by the pool of the waterfall. I fell down on the pool while I was trying to walk back.. the water was freezing cold!!

After Pu Li, we went back to Taichung for a couple of days to hang out with Duane’s friends, and then we went on to our last stop, Taipei!! πŸ˜€

We rode on this one super high cable car! It’s by the zoo, the zoo has 2 pandas, but since we didn’t have much time in Taipei we decided to just rode the cable car instead of going into the zoo. I was hoping to see the pandas from the cable car.. but of course it wasn’t happening πŸ˜€

See how high it is!!

The next day we went to….. Taipei 101!!!! πŸ˜€ It was tall, it was great.. but why do you have to charge tourists so much money lah???? :(:(:(:(

Every single thing are so expensive over there, to went up the elevator, the drinks.. ckckckck oh well, at least now I can proudly say I’ve been to the second tallest building in the world πŸ™‚

Look at this, if this is not misleading and deceptive, I don’t know what is!!

Compare the pic with what we actually got!!!

 

The view from the top! We’re above the clouds πŸ˜€

Taipei 101 from the outside (which kinda looks like stacked up Chinese take-outs)

Ow ow.. and I ate Ma La Guo (yep.. that coagulated blood in blood soup) one more time that night!! Here you can really see the coagulated blood piece yummeehhh. It’s that brown tofu looking thingy in the small bowl.

And I had tripe noodle soup with it… slurrppppp πŸ˜€ just seeing it now making me hungry again…..

The next day, we’re off to the airport to fly to Alaska πŸ˜€ Here’s a pic of us waiting in the waiting room of Taipei airport

And that ends our super duper fun trip πŸ™‚ I cannot wait to go back there :):)

 

 

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Now that we have snow… what to do?

29 Dec

I am on a roll πŸ˜€ This should be my 3rd posts of the day!

My dad always says that I’m “anget anget tai ayam” it literally translates to warm like chicken shit. It basically means that, when I have a hobby I will pursue that with all my heart for about.. a month.. top, then I’ll loose my interest (because chicken shit only warms about a minute then it’ll get cold on the ground, you know what I mean right??). Kinda like blogging, when I am on a roll I can write 3 posts in a day, but then.. I won’t blog for months :p

That makes me think… why are we, Indonesians, are so obsessed with chicken rear end? We called goosebumps, “pantat ayam”, which literally means chicken butt.. seriously.. next time you have goosebumps, look at it closely, it looks like chicken butt!

Ok, back to the main topic, this is my first snow! It has been so exciting to do stuff with them πŸ˜€

I’ve made snowman, I’ve had snowballs fight with Maggie the dog, I’ve made snow angels (yes, plural, I’ve laid on the cold cold snow with the sole purpose to make snow angel more than once), I’ve ridden snow machine, I’ve skied, I’ve snow-shoed.. I guess that’s about it πŸ™‚

And here is the picture of our snowman:

Looks a tad scary with 1 eye much bigger than the other, our snowman has leaves moustache and I’m not sure whether you can see it or not, but the it has an epic nose! And of course the first thing Maggie did was pee on it.. Ah.. that dog… ckckck…

We had so much fun that day, I made hot cocoa afterwards.. yummeh πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

Snow machining is really fun as well! πŸ™‚ I haven’t ridden it by myself, I’m still riding double with my hubby. But, here is a photo of me “riding the snow machine”

Ahem…. if you think I look fat, it’s because I’m wearing at least 4 layers of clothes.. ahem…

That ride was really fun and cold! We went down to the river, and dad predicted the temperature was like minus 15 to minus 20 Fahrenheit! Which is like minus 100 in centigrade scale :p I’m kidding, it might be like.. maybe.. minus 30 C.. perhaps? Anyway, it was COLD! I never felt so cold in my life! It was so cold I thought my eyeballs are gonna freeze! It was so cold I thought my cheeks are peeling off! After that cold cold river riding, we went up to a hill, and guess what the guys think a good idea? Drinking cold beers! I don’t get men…. it’s cold…. how can you enjoy cold beer when it’s freezing cold? Sigh….

 

 

 

 

 

Green bean soup

29 Dec

This is my first x’mas away from my family, I think…. I’m pretty sure I always went back home when I was living in OZ.. hm… oh well.. not important πŸ™‚

Let’s put it this way, this is the farthest I’ve been away from my family during X’mas time. I miss them so much, I miss our old X’mas decorations, I miss the old fake X’mas tree, I miss waking up at 5.30 AM Christmas morning to go to Christmas morning mass, I miss humidity and heat (this has nothing to do with christmas, but whatever).

This is a picture of our old Christmas tree, hm…. somehow it looks much better in real life πŸ˜€

And here is a pic of the inside of my church, I miss it so much….

Everyone here are really curious about Christmas celebration in Jakarta, Indonesia. I think most people here thinks that Indonesia is a Moslem country and we don’t celebrate Christmas at all. Ok people, first of all, no matter what CNN or Fox or various TV channels here are telling you, Indonesia is NOT a Moslem country. Yes, the majority of the population are Moslem, yes we are the country with the biggest Moslem population in the world, but Indonesia is NOT a Moslem country. We do celebrate Christmas with all of it’s festivity πŸ™‚ (hm… why am I talking about religion now? this is so out of topic of what I’m trying to write on this post)

Anyway, what I want to write on this post is about my family’s Christmas staple food, it’s not Christmas in our house if we’re not having green bean soup. This tradition went way way back to the year 1950s or 1960s. When my dad was a little kid, Indonesia just declared it’s independence so the economy condition wasn’t very good at all. And at some point, it was hard for my dad’s family to even have a decent meal every single day. They didn’t eat meat much at all because it’s unaffordable, they only eat meat for special occasion. So for Christmas, my Grandma cooked green bean soup ( I think it’s called mung bean over here ) with yummy pork belly (yes the kind with 2 :1 fat to meat ratio, respectively) . The whole family really treasured that meal, because keep in mind, meat is a delicacy back then.

So now, even though my family is much better off, we always come back to that humble soup with that cheap cut of meat every Christmas. It kinda reminds us all about the humble beginning of our big family and the struggle that my grandma and grandpa went through back then. Yes, all the Christmas gifts are awesome, they are like cherry on top. But the most important thing about Christmas for me is being with the people you love the most, treasuring every single moment with them and being really thankful of all the blessings that I have received πŸ™‚ As I was sitting on the big dinner table this Christmas, surrounded by my new family that I truly adore, looking at their genuine smiles.. I know I’m home πŸ™‚

My first white Christmas :):)

29 Dec

Bwahahaha so much for that resolution that I’m gonna write something on my blog every single day.. oh well.. :p

I want to write about this year awesome X’mas that I just had πŸ™‚ We celebrated the whole x’mas eve, x’mas day, the whole shebang with my awesome in-laws and super nice aunt Carol πŸ™‚

I cooked a x’mas egg dish on 24th dec morning, pepper for smth red, leftover spinach for smth green, and shredded meat for smth black for … erm… (i’m keeping this for myself :p) I forgot to put oil on the dish, so the egg thingy came out all sticky and ugly but still delicious nonetheless πŸ™‚

I was really really eager to go to Willow that morning to start the x’mas celebration with mom and dad, but hubby wanted to work a bit that morning….

The conversation that we had was kinda like this, it was about 8.30 AM-ish

me : What time are we going? * excited..excited.. *

hubby : erm.. around 11? I want to work a bit..

….. 10 mins passed….

me : do you want me to pack your clothes, or you want to pack yourself?

Hubby : pack for me please..

….. 10 mins passed…..

me : should I pack your shaving stuff?

Hubby : yes please…

…. and so on and so on….

30 mins later, I was all ready to go, bolster and packed up clothes and gifts πŸ˜€ and hubby was still coding away on his computer -.-”

then at the last minutes he decided to take shower and shave… so finally we left the house around 11.30

We were gonna totally stop at Taco Bell for lunch, but we were busy discussing politics and other stuff that we totally forgot about that πŸ˜€

ow ow… we saw a bald eagle on top of a tree!! how cool is that?? :):)

Finally after a long drive, we got to Willow, Maggie of course was barking away πŸ™‚ the funniest thing happened, she squatted and peed while hubby was petting her right after we got out of the car! πŸ˜€

If that doesn’t say β€œI love you and I miss you so much” I don’t know what is πŸ˜€

We were welcomed with tasty smells of soups, and of course hugs from mom, dad, and aunt Carol! πŸ™‚

That night (x’mas eve), families from mom’s side came over and we had a yummy soup fiesta. My contribution for that party was oriental coleslaw salad (which I don’t think is tasty, but everyone else seems to love it.. maybe out of politeness.. not sure πŸ˜€ hehe)

Then after dinner we opened our x’mas presents, I was so so touched by all the gifts that I received. They really gave lots of thoughts for my presents πŸ™‚ These are my loots for this year’s x’mas πŸ™‚

Look at all that pink kitchen aid stuffs that I got πŸ™‚Β  (yeah.. I like pink stuffs.. I’m just another one of those vain asian girls :p)

And I got a breadmaker , Justbento cookbook which I have read from back to back at least twice now, gloves and so many other things πŸ™‚ I really cannot thank mom and dad enough for all of these wonderful gifts!

Then later that night mom invited Dee and Bob over for x’mas dinner. We ate juicy Prime rib (yum yummm), ham, and homemade bread courtesy of my new breadmaker πŸ™‚

After gorging on all of the food, we played cranium! My hubby suggested that it should be girls against boys which he regretted later πŸ˜€ MUAHAHAHA We girls owned them! πŸ˜€ MUAHAHAHA

We went out cross country skiing the next day (partly out of guilt because we have been eating so so much, and we gotta exercise!), it was so much fun! I only fell down on my ass once πŸ™‚ yippee for me :):)

That night Dad bbq-ed salmon with his secret sauce which was awesome, and we watched tons of ‘how I met your mother’ episodes until 11PM.

We went home the next day, with lots of presents in the back of the car, another inch on the waist, and most importantly, that warm tingling feeling in our heart πŸ™‚

This year Christmas is LEGEND… wait for it… wait for it…… DARY!! πŸ˜€

Merry Christmas πŸ™‚