December 10th, 2010


Cake walk

“Life does not always reward us with the best cookie in the box, or the happiest family. Sometimes you take what you get and make the best of it. In my case, that’s where imagination came in as handily as learning how to bake. For both of these lifesavers, I have my confusing, painful, unforgettable childhood to thank. Which makes me wonder if my cake obsession, really, is not much more than my struggle to find a way to redeem with sweetness those moments that left, however bitter on occasion, such a lasting taste in my mouth.” –Kate Moses

I've been so far back on my reading and hoping to do some catch up over the holiday season. It seems like I have hit a wall when it comes to reading and I hope that wall comes down soon.

The above is an excerpt from the book 'Cakewalk' by Kate Moses. Not particularly know compared to books like "The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo" or Harry Potter, I was particularly drawn to this book as it it's a clever combination of recipes and a story in a single book. However, as I've been hitting the 'wall' when it comes to book, I decided to download a sampler before purchasing.

I've not quite gone through the sampler yet but if anyone has read this book, do let me know what you think about it.

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The Crown Fountain

Buckingham Fountain

I have a fascination for water - rivers, lakes, fountains. They make lovely photographs and it's almost always challenging to take a good shot but if you manage to (which I haven't grappled the skill of aperture, shutter speed etc), you can get gorgeous jaw-dropping shots.

The Crown Fountain is one of the key attractions in the Millenium Park aside from The Bean. The design of it is almost fascinating and artistic and personally feel that it's best viewed at night. The two glass block towers face each other and when you stand at different spots and angles, you will see different images. It was quite difficult to snap a shot of it due to the strong sunlight so these are the best that I have.

The next fountain that we visited in Chicago was the Buckingham Fountain situated in the Grant Park (walking distance from The Crown, or at least, we walked!) Again, I believe it'll stand out more magnificantly at night and during the day, it looked like just a huge fountain. B.T was pressured into donating money to a begger who kept pestering and it wasn't a pleasant experience. I was half afraid that he was one of those gypsies in Italy that would snatch the wallet when he took it out. Thankfully, he walked off satisfied. I can't recall how much he gave but it wasn't worth it as I don't really have sympathy for beggers who are healthy, able-bodied adults who have the capability of finding decent jobs to earn a living instead of wasting time living off others.

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L-R. A the sweetie who's half Chinese, 1/4 Ukranian & 1/4 English and no one can tell that she's half Chinese, N the gentle giant who is a staggering 6"6 and J whom I met recently and is now trying to teach me Spanish

If I could name one aspect of my job that I love, is that I am fortunate to have the opportunity to meet new people all the time. And mostly great people.

I used to be part of an Asia Pacific team that had loads of fun Asian people and after changes happened, we landed up being part of the Emerging Markets merged together with Latin America. The first time I met all my Latino counterparts, it was quite an experience. We were all in a room together and had to stand up, introduce ourself. It went something like, I'm xxx from Peru! I'm xxx from Argentina! I'm xxx from Mexico! I'm xxx from Ecuador! Venezuela! Puerto Rico! San Paolo! Korea! Australia! India!... I started giggling and whispered to my teammate that it felt like we were watching Miss Universe.

Till today, I can't recognize all of them, get confused on the geography of where they originate from and just like we Asians all look the same i.e. Chinese=Japanese=Korean, we thought that the Latinos all looked alike. It isn't a myth when they say that Latinos are beautiful.

I try to get to know a new face each time I see them and remembering the name alone or trying to pronounce it is a challenge. But they mostly speak perfect English and two or three other languages and conversations flow easily. I am grateful for the many opportunities that I had since young to travel all over the world and those experiences allow me to converse easily with new people and never running out of topics to talk about. This time around, I proudly shared about Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia and I got to know more about Brasil for example which sells Haivianas for only USD$10!

Since most speak Portuguese or Spanish (asides from English), they all try to teach me how to speak Spanish and omg, it's a beautiful language. B.T learnt a bit of Spanish in high school or college and we were planning to learn Japanese together (a refresher of sorts for me) using Rosetta Stone but haven't had time and apparently, Spanish is really easy. It's hard to get the correct pronounciation and hearing the true natives speak, it's a really sexy language just like French!

Of course, I get taught the wrong and cheeky things for example, "Carino" which means 'Honey' but not the edible type and I said, Oh, so if I ask the waiter for 'Carino' to go with my pancakes? Will that work? Obviously, everyone roared with laughter. -_- Carino means 'darling or sweetheart' so oops. Te amo carino. Now I like that. Texted that to B.T and he should understand that!

The most used Spanish word at the drinks party landed up being (of course) Salud which means 'cheers'. And many other words that they tried to make me remember but to no avail. I think I suck at languages :P

I do love my job. :)

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