Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy 2011 – is it time for new year’s resolutions again?

It is a new year which usually means everyone has made some form of New Year’s resolution. Magazines, Twitter and many blogs are full of New Year’s resolutions. and all of friends and colleagues talk about their New Year's resolution. I for one generally don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. What’s really the point of them? If something needs to be changed about your life like eating more vegetables, spending more time for the family, drinking more water, exercising, say hello to your neighbour or being a happier person, why wait until the new year to change it and then only stick to them for a few months before falling off the wagon which then leaves one even more unhappier. Not a good start to a new year, I reckon.

This year however I got a tiny bit sucked into the wave of New Year’s resolutions. The break over Christmas gave me time to stop, take a breath and reflect on the last year. I am happy with my life where it is at at the moment. But I believe a few things can be improved to make my life even more happier and healthier. 

So here are my goals for 2011 ( Would I classify them as New Year’s resolutions, probably not. And are goals for the future actually New Year’s resolutions?)

  • So this year I want to work on being a more relaxed and calmer person. I don’t get worked up about little things and explode anymore. Think of my blood pressure and all that wasted energy which I could use on something more useful, more meaningful. I want to be able to take a step back and breathe before tackling the issue which irritates me. Maybe I should start with meditation and read self-help books?
  • This brings me to my next goal: I would like to be more efficient with my time and manage it better, work wise and privately. I want to enjoy my free-time more and spend more quality time with my loved ones. I would like to be able to take the moments in and cherish them more. I want to appreciate the little and fine things which make my life more happier even more. Any tips on how to achieve it?
  • I would like to be more bold by wearing more colourful and more unusual fashion, have more coverage to sport a bright lipstick and do something different my hair every now and then. Doesn't colour make you happy too?
  • I will continue being healthy and fit and will look after myself a bit more. I cannot influence if I become ill with some disease or get hit by a car (I don't want to jinx it here!) but I can work on being the healhiest I can be. I will give myself a break from beating myself up about not achieving certain goals and stop comparing myself to other people. I will start to appreciate what I have achieved in my life and be grateful about it. I guess the two points above come into the game here. Being more relaxed, calmer and have more time for things which make me happy also leads to being healthy. Your body and mind have a very close connection. A body cannot be healthy without the mind being healthy. Sounds little bit too spirituous but it is true. I will also train for the Melbourne marathon this year. Running a marathon is one of the items of my “bucket list”. I think this year is a good year to do it as I am the fittest I have ever been which is a good foundation to build on.
  • I would also like to get involved in some charity. I believe I do underestimate how blessed I am with my life and sometimes don’t value my life enough. So it is time to give something back. I read recently that doing some form of charity brings you more happiness in your life. If that isn’t reason enough? 
What else is on the agenda for 2011? Of course more travel: Broome in April and a trip to New Year, LA and Las Vegas in August/September. I am so excited and have started to save my spending money. I am also looking forward to celebrate our first wedding anniversary in January, celebrating the wedding of 2 closed friends in March and many 30th birthdays in the first half of the year, having my little sister over for Christmas and spending 3 weeks with her and her family.

2011 already looks damn good to me packed with more adventures. 

Friday, December 31, 2010

Good Bye 2010 - what a year it was

Wow, I can't believe it already New Year's Eve of 2010.

2010 was a massive year for me, full with adventures sometimes glossy, sometimes not so glossy. It was full with love, happiness, travel, tears, laughters, sun, food and challenges. Yes, it was the biggest and probably most remarkable year of my life so far. Let's start with a little review of 2010.

My wonderful husband T and I got married in January this year. It was truly the best day of my life (so far!) and yes it is a little bit cheesy and cliche to say that. I felt the most beautiful and happiest on that day. Often when I am little bit down or have a non-sense fight with my hubby, I recall how I felt on our wedding day and the meaning of the vows we exchanged on that day. 

After a gorgeous honeymoon in Vietnam, we moved to Singapore for a relative short stay (8 months in total) and I went from full time work to part time a student. Sounds exciting and yes it was exciting at the start. We lived in this great & new apartment with a fantastic facilities and awesome view, cheap cabs rides, safe and clean city, yummy food and good shopping. On the other hand I also realised how much working was/is for me in terms of social contacts. And yes, my enemy homesickness visited me a few times too. Oh and loneliness dropped in a number times as well because my hubby was more on the planes flying across the world instead of being in Singapore (with me).  

I had the opportunity to fly twice back to Berlin and to see my family and friends for a few weeks each. I traveled to fantastic places like Tokyo, Malaysia (twice), Seoul, Bali and Shanghai. I read so many books and have started to love exercising (and yes I can get up at 5.45 am to work out and actually enjoy it.) 

What have I learnt in 2010? 
- I love being married (not just because of the sparkle on my finger) and yes it change things in your relationship. 
- I call Australia now "home" and absolutely love living in Collingwood. 
- I appreciate and cherish my relationship with my little sister M more than ever.
- I bough way too many beauty products in duty free and Singapore but now I can sport a bright lip stick without feeling like a clown.
- Exercising is now a part of my life style, it makes me feel good, happy and gives me energy.
- I love cooking.
- The crisis between North Korea and South Korea has to stop. War makes no sense whatsoever. Korea is such a beautiful country.
- We all have to do something seriously about the pollution and damage to our environment. 
- Melbourne weather despite being so unpredictable is great.  
- I am a breakfast person  and not dinner.
- I love Chanel, Burberry and my iPhone (BlackBerry I am looking at you - we are still not friends yet.)

Let's say good bye to 2010 with these photos


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dear Blog, I owe you an apology

Yes, dear Glossy Daily Adventures, I am sorry for neglecting you over the last 2 months. If I tell you of the hectic weeks which included trips to Germany to spend some time with my family, followed up by days of packing up our belongings in Singapore, then flying to Shanghai for a quick break, back to Singapore for the last bit of packing and then flying finally home to Melbourne, not mentioning the endless hours of unpacking, cleaning up and shopping to stock up the pantry, you will probably be offended and won't listen to my stories anymore since travelling is no excuse for non-blogging. And yes, you are right, I should taken time to blog. Please forgive me, GDA.

So yes, I am back in beautiful Melbourne, back at home, and it feels like I have never left. 8 months without Melbourne was a long time and I truly appreciate the great life style you offer, Melbourne. 

It is great to sleep in our own bed again, drink great coffee on Smith St, cuddle our cute Cocker Spaniel Jesse and take him for long walks along the Yarra, going for runs outside and not break into a massive sweat within the first 2 minutes, buy fresh food on the Queen Victoria Market, catching up with friends in our local pub. 

When I moved from Germany to Australia 5 years ago, I already learnt that you start to appreciate the little things which make you happy at home. Yes, those little things I have missed in Singapore, and I am so happy that I have all those little things back again as there is no better place than home.  

My first coffee in Melbourne - on Smith St

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cake, cake and more cake

There are two things I love about German food: the breakfast and the afternoon tea. So the next few posts will be about breakfasts and cakes. My mum's cheese cake was on the top of the list of foods I look forward to eat while I am back in Germany and I didn't need to ask twice for it. 

A fresh and fluffy cheese cake was already waiting for me when I arrived Saturday morning. For a minute I thought about not eating breakfast and just a piece of cake. Clearly a very insane thought after I saw the yummy bread rolls, the different types of cheese and cold meats on the table. I saved the cheese cake for afternoon tea and it was fantastic. It almost melted in my mouth.

I just love the whole German afternoon tea culture. It is kind of a ceremony: sitting down with the family at 3.30 pm, with freshly brewed coffee, served in a coffee pot made out of porcelain and home baked cakes. 

We had a little family get to together yesterday afternoon. And of course there was more cake, or better  cakes: left over cheese cake, my sister's chocolate cake, my grandma's plum cake with crumbles and apple cinnamon cake. I didn't try all of these cakes as much as I wanted. I only had more cheese cake and small piece of plum cake which is really good too. I compensated for eating so much cake by working out for an hour in the morning, fish for lunch (no potatoes) and salad for dinner (no bread).

There is still another and, sadly, last piece of Cheese cake waiting for me in the fridge....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Morning runs and yummy breakfast

I have been avoiding running outside for the last 6 months. Mainly because it is way too hot in Singapore to run outside and we live also in the CBD. So I did my running on the treadmill in the gym in our apartment building. Oh man, I got so bored with it. Not only made it me feel like a hamster, I also noticed that it does not get my heart rate up high enough to burn any calories and fat. What's the point of running on the treadmill then? 
I switched to interval training instead. For example, 5 minutes warm up, then 2 moderate speed, then 1 to 2 minutes sprinting, then pull back to moderate, then increase incline and so. I do this for about 30 - 45 minutes. Depending how I fit I feel and how motivated I am because I still feel like a hamster when I run treadmill. 

Besides my other gym workouts,the hubby and I enjoy doing something active on the weekends. Usually we would explore one of the many reservoirs in Singapore. (Did you know that Singapore is actually very green and it is more like a city surrounded by rain forest?) Our favourite reservoir is Macrichtie which has many different trials, from 3 km to 14 km. Usually we are also to see some monkeys along the way. A few Saturday mornings ago, I suggested to the hubby that we should run instead of power walk the track - just to challenge ourselves. Suddenly there we were, running the cross country track for about an hour. Boy, that was hard work but it also gave me this awesome "running high" which I did not get from the treadmill training. The "running high" makes the hard work worth it. The realisation that I can run outside in Singapore (yes, it is bloody hot and you sweat like a pig - not a nice picture, I know) motivated me and also anger me to do it more often. 

It became our little routine that we would go for a run instead of walks on our Saturdays. And now I have started to run by myself during the week too. I run along the river here, from Marina Bay where our apartment is, passed Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. It is a nice and peaceful 45 minute run because it is not packed with the tourists yet and hardly any of the cafes/ restaurants are open yet. 

So this morning I bounced out of the bed when the alarm went off, despite being super tired, had my cold green tea and a banana to get some energy and I hit the pavement. Man, this morning it was so hard to run my usual track. My legs are so sore heavy and slow from kick boxing yesterday and the little man in my head was screaming at me to stop. But I made it. I ignored the little man and the feeling I made it felt even better than normally.

The best part after a morning run: a yummy breakfast. This morning I had porridge with natural yoghurt (for protein), cinnamon (good fat burner) and strawberries and some great Oolong tea. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Is eating healthy while travelling impossible?

My passport will be the proud owner of many stamps of, at least, 8 different countries by the end of this year. Not bad effort, don't you think? That I am struggling with the fact to hand over that passport when I will change my name officially is still a small issue though. I like those stamps and I like travelling a lot.

There is only one thing about travelling which I seriously loathe: it is nearly impossible to eat healthy while travelling. Working out while travelling is more easy, just your pack your runners and gym gear and hit the hotel gym before breakfast or go for a run outside.

I started to watch my diet more closely and became a little health nut lately. My husband would probably describe my eating habits as “eating for the thighs and butt instead of the stomach”.  (Baby, that’s not a bad thing since you are the one who has to put up with my thighs in the long run.) So I discovered eating healthy while travelling is possible, maybe not as healthy as at home, but still.  It just takes some planning, preparation and discipline. This is what I do: 
  • I eat before I fly. Not just snacking at the airport or so, eat a proper meal.  
  • For longer flights (more than 2 hours), I request a “low fat” meal when booking my flight. Just go to special request and tick the box.  Just like as if you would request a vegetarian meal  or a kids meal. The best part is you get your meal served before everyone else.  While everyone else eats, you can use the toilet and you don’t need to queue up and you get to go to sleep much earlier (if it is a night flight). (Oh, did you know a normal inflight meal contains 500 - 1000 calories - this is without counting the drinks? Just google it, you will be surprised to see the results.)
  • For short flights, I eat before the fly and say no to the snacks/sandwichs what are served on the plane. 
  • For any flight, I pack healthy snacks like apples, nuts, vegetable sticks, you name it. That also helps me to have a snack while driving to the hotel or before a meal at the destination. Often I arrive at weird times and due to the time difference, I may be hungry when I land. 
  • I also take an empty plastic bottle with me and fill it up with water or I buy a bottle of water once I passed the security check. As everyone would know, the dry plane air dehydrates you plus I never know when I will be able to drink some water after I arrived.

These few pointes have really helped me to stay on track with my healthy eating habits. The only and biggest problem I faced so far is when flying back home or during a stop over, there is only McDonalds, KFC or Starbucks at the airport. I still cannot believe that there are so many people out there who are happy to queue up at McDonalds. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why being stared at made me almost cry

Ever since we relocated to Singapore, I face the issue that people stare at me on almost a daily basis. Knowing that staring at other people is not consider as rude in Asia and the fact I do look different to the Asian ladies with my blond, long hair and blue eyes, I did not mind it so much at the start. I basically ignore it and big sun glasses always helped too. Over time, I sometimes felt a little bit more brave and even stared back and imitated their way of staring at me by scanning them from head to top. Something must have changed lately because I cannot ignore it as easy anymore as I used to. It makes me feel more and more uncomfortable.

Last weekend in Malaysia, I felt so uncomfortable that I was on the verge of crying and hiding in our hotel room after being continuously stared at for 3 days. Don't get me wrong here and, yes, I know I should take it as a compliment. Seriously, it is not a nice feeling when everyone just looks at you. It even went so far that some people would start to talk to their friends or family and then everyone looks again. It made me feel very insecure about myself, vulnerable even. In particular when I lay in a bikini by the pool and had one of those "fat days".

I guess the fact that Malaysia has a large Muslim population contributed to the fact that I was stared at when lying in a bikini by pool. For me it is so normal to go swimming in a bikini whereas for other cultures it is strictly forbidden to reveal so much skin. It was actually forbidden to go swimming fully clothed and/or with a scarf according to the hotel rules. So I did not do anything wrong by wearing a black bikini, it wasn't a tiny skimpy piece either.

Still a bit battered and down by this experience , I googled a few expat and travel forums today to see (and get assurance) if anyone feels in a similar way I feel. Maybe I am just a little weak princess who should toughen up more. And yes, there are heaps of Western people who feel in the same way and no I am not weak little princess. Every Western person seems to have an issue with being stared at and it is not the issue of rudeness. It is about being uncomfortable, the feeling of being judged by all these stranger. I am not sure if these strangers really judged me when staring at me. They probably still wonder about me looking different to them. Not a bad way.

But I can't help it, it makes me feel so uncomfortable. So please no more stares, please. How do you feel being stared at? Do you love it or loathe it?