Wow, I believe this is the third March I’ve done a wallpaper!
(Ignoring the fact that the month has elapsed almost a third of the way…)
It also feels like I have become the person who updates monthly through an image that wasn’t even really taken in the previous month. February was a short month, and the whole quitting a job, traveling, and starting a new job with immense jet-lag thing kind of took over my month.
We arrived in Taipei on New Years Eve at night, and went immediately to a HUGE FEAST. This feast puts all Christmases I’ve had combined to shame! Between seven people (and an eighth one who showed up much later), we had two tables worth of dishes at my grandmother’s house for our Chinese New Year family dinner. We began with the sea – seared scallops, pan-fried fish (a must-have), giant prawns that were really more like baby lobsters, crab, a type of fish egg that gets compressed into almost a pate-like-shape, then baked or fried…and those were just the highlights. Then it was three different types of beef, two chicken dishes (plus a soup with chicken), pork, Taiwanese sausages, eggs, tofu…you name it, we had it. As if that wasn’t enough, then we had hot pot – a big meal all in itself, normally! We also had dumplings (another must-have for good luck), and sweet deep-fried cakes for the new year. The meal was absolutely fantabulous, and the feast made me realise (and remember) how big of a celebration Chinese New Year really means in Asia.
After dinner, we were already pretty tired, but we decided to take a quick break and visit my grandpa at the hospital to stay through New Year’s Eve with him. It was my first time seeing my grandpa since he’d been ill, and I walked into the deserted hospital wing with much trepidation. We spoke to Grandpa, hung around and met the aide and some of the nurses working overtime, and shortly after the first fireworks went off at the start of the new year, went back to my Grandma’s to meet my uncle who had arrived from San Francisco.
The reason why our trip became a bit of a family reunion is because we arrived at a time when Grandpa’s health was once again quite critical. My uncle came back the same day as us, and we all spent a few days visiting the hospital twice, sometimes three times, everyday. Grandpa passed away on Valentine’s Day (thank you, amazing choice of date, what an awesome man) and then my mom and sister came back to Taipei too to attend the funeral on the 23rd. A sad event, but I am glad that Grandpa has finally ended the suffering, and that I was able to be there on his last few days to speak to him and send him off properly.
We managed to squeeze in a few days of hanging out in Taipei despite the turn of events, and still continued on to our trip to Boracay in the Philippines. Although CNN votes Boracay as one of the top beaches in the world – I TOTALLY DISAGREE. We went at a busy time during Chinese New Year, so the island was completely over-capacity, resulting in green algae growth in the waters, and just a terrible beach to spend time on. Also, I had higher expectations for the Philippines in terms of how easy it might’ve been to navigate or how developed Boracay should have been, and I was quite taken aback by our actual experience. (It took us a FULL DAY to travel from Manila to Boracay, due to delays, traffic, and other sketchy events.) Looking back, I really wish we had gone to Kenting in the south of Taiwan instead! Next time, I’ll know, and for now, I have a couple of new stamps in my passport and better worldly knowledge.
We came back on a Sunday morning, and I started work at my new job the very next day. I can’t quite tell you what happened in the first week we were back in London…we were basically useless by 9pm every night, and woke up chatting to each other at 5am or earlier every morning!
So far, I’m loving my new job, and I’m getting back on track on sorting out my time so that I will have more time to blog and update on what’s happening and share some recipes (about bloody time, you say)!
The wallpaper is of a gluten-free almond cake that I adapted from a Cordon Bleu recipe…I’ll try to share it soon!