I’ve planned and started two commitments for this year. The first one…
The second one is something that I actually started 3 years ago, yes, to master German (with Duolingo)! I’m going to start a stickK commitment soon, after a paper deadline. It seems to be an interesting concept, a friend has tried and recommended it. The idea is: you set your goals, then you can set a referee who verifies your reports. You can also (optionally) set the stakes, in which the money can go to either a friend or foe, charity, or anti-charity, if you fail your commitment. Let’s see how it goes 😉
As for my 2016 in review, inspired by a friend who reviewed his year by embedding the highlight of his tweets for each month, I’m going to do the same! But I don’t tweet anymore, so I’ll embed my Facebook posts instead.
TL;DR: 2016 was a great and hectic but exciting year for me. A year of change and transition. I finished my PhD. I went home for 2,5 weeks. I started a Postdoc position, moved to Germany. I went to Japan for the first time, went back again two months later. And finally I turned 30.
Do you see the little house there surrounded by plattenbau instead? 😀 ^^;;
Anyway, it was a nice place although… with 22 people in a house *and only 2 bathrooms!* it was a bit too crowded for me :”>. We got to eat the very yummy and tasty Czech food though, and drink cheap but good pilsner*for bear*, because during our 2 nights there we always had dinner at a restaurant, so I won’t complain much ;).
First of all, for you who celebrate the birthdays of two prophets, which fall on two consecutive days this year, Merry Mawlid al-Nabi and Merry Christmas! 🙂 Have a nice long weekend, and since probably you’ll have a nice long holiday until the New Year, happy holidays!
Next, since today, December 25th, *I wrote this draft two days ago* is also my birthday… happy birthday to me! Now it’s only one more year to 30 😉
So thankful for all the presents *for Christmas or for birthday I regard them all as my birthday presents ;)*, although ♫ all I want for Christmas is you ♫ ehem, like more colors to accommodate my new hobby, interesting jigsaw puzzle and books, candle holder decorated with cats, etc.
The picture above contains my birthday presents from the bear, typical Australian stuff since he’s just back from Brisbane *after 2.5 months*. The fluffy Kolala, the very left on the picture, hugging her baby, is actually a reward for the cat being self-restrained on browsing social media and (especially negative) news; the baby kolala is a reward for the cat being (so unusually) sportive *e.g. completing at least 5,000 steps a day* while the bear is away :”>. The mango beer and chocolate are simply because I love mango and chocolate. The last item is actually an audio card. The sound of conversation between mama koala and baby koala can be heard when the card is opened. Anyway, what is inside the card is what is so great and has an interesting background story…
First of all… yes, I’m at home. And yes, I’m procrastinating. I’m so sorry, dear work, research, and… similar stuff :(.
How am I procrastinating –besides writing a blog post, of course–? The answer is… coloring!
A friend *hi, Jen!* introduces me to this new addictive activity. It was addictive when I was a child, but then I moved on to drawing and painting, the more ‘grown-up’ stuff :p. The problem with drawing or painting is that sketching takes quite some time. Most of the time I abandoned my drawing project in the middle of the sketching stage.
I actually knew about the hype of coloring book for adults quite some time ago. I was like, “Awesome!” but didn’t really do anything about it. Just recently, my friend was really excited when she saw a huge collection of this kind of books in Kinokuniya, a bookstore, in Singapore. Hence, I was too :). I bought some and brought them back to home, introduced them to my family. Now they are also addicted :D.
My sister just arrived in Singapore when we decided to visit the Chinatown area. Right after we got out from the MRT station, we stumbled upon a cat café! It is called The Company of Cats, located in the Mosque St.
Now, a little bit of history about cat café… The world’s first cat café, “Cat Flower Garden”, opened its doors in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1998. Then, the concept blossomed in Japan and became very popular, with seventy nine cat cafés opened across the country. — Wikipedia
Even though I’m an avid cat lover, and these kind of cafés have been around the world for quite a while, this would be my first cat café experience. The café was right in front of us, and we felt that the cats were calling for us to come in, so we thought… why not, let’s go!
No wonder we felt being called… with that manymaneki-neko!
Before playing with the cats, we had to wash our hands first. Then, the lady there made sure that we know the rules in the café, such as.. Don’t lift the cats. Don’t wake the cats up. Don’t kidnap the cats *grin*. Okay, hands are clean, rules are laid down, let’s play!
The festival happened around two weeks after Singapore celebrates its golden jubilee, August 21-22 and 28-29. Actually, I found out about this festival accidentally, I’m so glad I didn’t miss it :).
After the ‘cat & bear’s trip to Tioman Island, Malaysia’ (will write about this soon), we arrived back in Singapore on Monday, August 24 evening. On our way to the nearest 7 Eleven to have our dinner, ehem… ’cause I was craving steamy ramen cup :D, we met these cute little fellas in front of National Museum of Singapore..
They’re so cute! I can’t stop moving my body when they start dancing 🙂
We got a booklet about the festival from a guy hanging around there, that’s how we found out about this. The big events happened only on Friday and Saturday (21-22 and 28-29), but the Anooki, the cute Inuits, celebrates SG50 at the Façade of National Museum of Singapore throughout the week, continuously (with 3 min break each time) from 7:30 PM to 11:00 PM, along with the free exhibitions inside (and outside) the museum. Lucky us!
The bear wasn’t so lucky, because we missed the first weekend of events, and he had to leave Singapore on Tuesday night, August 24. Bummer 🙁 Well, at least he met the Anooki. But… my sister was indeed very lucky, because she visited me the weekend after, August 28-31. What a perfect timing! Even though we didn’t know about the festival beforehand.
Since last year I’ve been wanting to try via ferrata, but the idea was always dismissed by the bear (a.k.a our via ferrata expert here :p) by reason of my lack of stamina.
Via ferrata, the Italian words for ‘iron road’, is a protected climbing route usually found in the Alps. It is called the iron road because there is (almost) always a steel cable that runs along the route, fixed to the rock every 3-10 m. The climber can securely hang (with the climbing aids) on the cable, limiting any fall. (source: Wikipedia, of course)
Not only that the climbing activity requires a very good physical fitness, but reaching the ferrata route itself usually requires some hiking. It’s not like a helicopter would drop us at the start of the route, then pick us up after we are done :p. That’s why the bear was hesitant, because he thought I’m not fit enough to handle the long and tedious journey.
However, this summer, somehow he is convinced that I’m now able to do it (thanks to poweryoga ^^). So here we go!
A workation is a trip or vacation where you must perform some task for your regular work. Although you may be in a new or exotic locale, you may have to attend meetings, telecommute, or complete projects for your job. — www.wisegeek.com
I think companies should really consider to do this once in a while *grin*, this is what it looks like… Luckily, as a PhD student I have the flexibility to do this kind of stuff. The bear is actually Dr. Bear now, but as a Postdoc who hasn’t started his teaching activity yet, he has the same flexibility. So yeah, we decided to give it a shot. And the destination for our first workation is… Gran Canaria, in Canary Islands!
Why there? Because… it’s November, autumn was gradually changing into winter in Italy, Trento/Bolzano was showering most of the time, and we want a warm place, with sun! Our first option was Egypt, but I need to get a visa to go there, while Canary Islands are still in the Schengen area (Spanish islands), hence no visa is needed, my residence permit is sufficient.
The first thing that we need is a good place to stay for a week, with a fast and reliable internet connection (first priority), and a reasonable price (second priority). For location, we don’t really need the shortest access to a beach, because this is usually monopolized by expensive luxurious resorts. We were looking for such a place through airbnb.com and tripadvisor.com, until we finally found a place that we wanted: Villa la Bella (Bungalow) in Maspalomas. Read more »