Sometimes I think about when I very first arrived in Australia, on July 1st, 2008, all alone-y on my own-y.

Without knowing, I got one Aussie thing completely wrong, and one Aussie thing completely right.


After a 12 hour flight from Beijing, I arrived in Sydney and blearily walked through customs and immigration were an officer lady said “How ya going?” in a friendly way.

I thought about how I was going to be getting to the couchsurfing house I had arranged and replied “BY BUS”.

I found out days later that “how ya going” simply means “how are you”. HAHAHA. She must have thought I was funny.


I’m by myself. It’s hot. I’m thirsty.

I walk into a bar and ask for a LEMONADE.

The flavour isn’t quite what I expected, but it quenches the thirst.

Weeks later I find out that Aussie’s call Sprite-type pop “lemonade”. And actual lemonade does not exist (cry).


OK wow, I knew I had been procrastinating doing another Crafty WIP post, but I didn’t realize I’d left it TWO YEARS! Holy moly. I have a lot to show off, so I’ll have to do two posts! Here are some crossstitches I finished over the last couple years.

Papa and me in Fiji. My first photo pattern. I used My Photo Stitch to make a pattern out of a picture. I was so skeptical it was going to look ok because it was asking for like green and purple to stitch our faces, but it does!

The back was a little crazy.

The cloth is filthy and warped so not quite sure how I should display it yet.

Quick little Nintendo controller. I added the letters and the arrows to the pattern myself.

My spirit animal/life motto? Not sure what to do with this one as I didn’t leave enough extra room at the top. I might cut it out if I can figure out how to keep the cloth from unravelling, and then sew it onto something like a patch?

This one was fun to stitch. So cute. I do <3 Canada.

This was a huge project from last year. It’s a Frosted Pumpkin pattern, but I switched all the months around to fit the Southern Hemisphere (particularly Melbourne) because at that point I knew we were moving. I actually purposely didn’t show it to people in case they figured it out before I’d told work. Perhaps I was a little paranoid, haha.

Now I just have to get around to ironing and framing all of them!

My next crossstitch projects are either going to be a 22 page black and white Escher pattern that will probably take 80 years to finish, and/or experimenting with crossstitching on clothing using waste canvas.

Last month I went to Sydney for a weekend for Rae’s hens party.

A brief timeline of our friendship: Became friends in Beijing in 2008. Visited each other lots of times in Sydney/Melbourne in 2009 and 2010. Last saw her the day we left Australia to move to Canada, at the Sydney airport on our stopover, in 2010.

So it was awesome to see her again and catch up after so long! The first night we stayed up way too late just chatting and laughing.

The next day was Rae’s hens party. It was Great Gatsby themed. We had food and drinks at a restaurant, played lots of games, and then went to a club afterwards. Her friends were really nice. It was fun!

She just got married last week in Germany. <3

The next day we got ramen for lunch at Ryo’s. She said that people come from all over the place to go to this particular ramen restaurant. Then we got there and a man came out and said that they were closing early because they had such a busy morning. But Rae told him that I had come all the way from Melbourne and I was leaving that night (lies! haha) and asked him to PLEASE let us eat! And it actually worked!

I had pork soy sauce ramen with egg and vegetables, and Rae had chicken ramen. My broth was rich and tasty and the pork was super tender and fatty (in a good way). The egg was great, and the noodles nice and chewy. A very good bowl of ramen.

Ryo's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

After lunch we went on a long walk. We walked through Wendy’s Secret Garden, down by Luna Park, Milson’s Point, the place where Rae and Thomas got engaged, and back to her house. It was a beautiful day. Sydney is really pretty.

Then that night Thomas came back from his weekend away and we all had dinner together at home.

Monday I went to the zoo by myself. I had never been before. What a great location! I especially liked the gorillas.

Then Jessie picked me up after finishing work and we went to get Ava from daycare and hang out for a bit before my flight home. Ava likes to drag chairs around and eat cheese.

It’s too bad that Halloween isn’t really a thing here because I think Ava would make the cutest Eleven ever. All she needs is a pink dress, some Eggo’s, and a little facepaint nosebleed. :D

Thanks for a great weekend ladies!

July 16th – July 21st, 2016

July 16: Our overnight bus was supposed to drop us off in Bangkok at 6AM, but it got in early… at 4AM. It was still dark and there was nothing around except extremely annoying taxi drivers. I was very sleepy and quite annoyed. Eventually we figured out that we were pretty close to Khao San Road where there was a 24 hour McDonalds. I had a burger for breakfast with all the drunk people and we just waited around for a couple hours. Eventually we took a taxi to our hotel with hopes of being able to check in early, but instead they said to come back at 2PM… approximately EIGHT hours later. Sigh. At least we were able to drop our bags off though.

So then we went to Chatuchak weekend market. One of the largest markets in the world. It has EVERYTHING, like new and used clothes, snacks, art, (possibly endangered) animals and fish…

Best way to kill time in Thailand: massages!!

Finally we could check in to our hotel. I can’t remember what else we did that evening but I’m pretty sure I was asleep by 8PM.

July 17: We took a taxi to Khlong Lat Mayom floating market. This market is much smaller than the one tourists normally go to, but it’s way closer and way more relaxed. There were a few people selling things from boats, but most of the market was food stands on the land part. I saw tons of things I have never even heard of. It was really hot though and I don’t have much appetite when I’m overheated, so we didn’t actually try that much. I did enjoy my passion fruit slime over soda and ice very much though.

We also took a 20 baht boat ride around the area, paddled by a funny Thai man (see above lilypad hat). It’s too bad we couldn’t understand him because it seemed like he was giving A LOT of info about the area. It was still a nice relaxing tour though. It was by far the cheapest boat tour I’ve ever been on (about $0.75!).

That night we went out for boat noodles. These are very small bowls of noodles for 10ish baht each ($0.37). People have competitions to see who can eat the most bowls. I had 4.

July 18: Shopping day!! We went to Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery and MBK mall. We thought we might buy phones but chickened out. Actually I don’t think we bought much at all, just did a lot of browsing. That night I got the most vigorous Thai massage of the trip. She really worked my muscles. I decided it was like someone else foam rolling you for you. I did feel pretty great afterwards, once the torture was finished.

July 19: Temple day. It was Asalha Puja (a Buddhist holiday) so the temples were extra busy. We went to a few. There was singing, praying, sermons etc. At Wat Po you could also pay for a zodiac candle that you throw into a melting pot and then ladle a scoop into the gigantic candle mold. You could also line up to get patted on the head by a monk with a wooden stick brush thingy. We did that.

Coke in a bag after overheating in Chinatown. I don’t drink Coke very often but that was dang refreshing.

That night I planned dinner at a nice fancy restaurant a short cab ride away from our hotel as a treat for our anniversary (on the 14th). But pretty sure our cab driver ripped us off, and then dinner ended up costing twice as much as I expected, and then no cab would use the meter on the way home so we had to walk. Didn’t end up as fun as I had hoped.

July 20: Our last day of Bangkok, Thailand, and vacation. We did last minute shopping at Platinum Fashion Mall and Central World. We got jeans and t-shirts, and gifts for the nieces and nephews. Then we saw the BFG… what a nice movie.

That night we went to one of the open air restaurants near our hotel that was always filled with locals. I had minced chicken with morning glory and a fried egg, and sticky rice. Scott had papaya salad (duh). Really nice and really cheap.

And then we went for one final Thai massage, at the vigorous place. It was great.

July 21: Relaxed morning and then packed our bags to fly home. :'(

I really enjoyed Bangkok this time. I have been there a few times before but this time we really crammed in a lot of fun activities and it ended up being really great. Plus it seemed easier to do things? I’m not sure if it’s because the city has changed or I am just less young/inexperienced. But yeah for the most part it was way easier to get taxis, directions, information, and use public transit, and I don’t think we really got scammed at all either. Success!

July 2nd – July 16th, 2016

Perhaps I was a bit ambitious trying to get all the way from Berlin to Phuket, and then Phuket to Ko Samui (by land/boat) all in one continuous trip. It ended up being a VERY long trip.

  1. metro and bus to the airport (0.75 hr)
  2. fly to Cologne (1 hr)
  3. fly to Phuket (12 hr)
  4. go through immigrations (2 hr)
  5. airport bus to bus station #1 (1.5 hr)
  6. truck to bus station #2 (0.25 hr)
  7. bus to Surat Thani (4 hr)
  8. bus to ferry terminal (1 hr)
  9. ferry to Ko Samui (2 hr)
  10. taxi to hotel (0.75 hr)

Total: 25.25 hours. Yeah… a bit much with all those steps. At least it was cheap?!

But we made it to the fancy boutique hotel in Lamai in time for my 30th birthday the next day. Birthday morning I got woken up by Scott grabbing my foot from the door and yelling “THERE’S ONLY 15 MINUTES OF BREAKFAST LEFT!!”. What a wakeup.

The breakfast was amazing. Breakfast each day started with fresh juice and a platter of fruit (mango, watermelon, dragon fruit etc.), then pastries and pancakes with amazing homemade jams (passionfruit, raspberry, lemon etc.) and ham and cheese slices. Then they would make you an omelette or plain eggs with bacon or potatoes.

We got a much needed post-Camino foot scrub, and then I went for a fancy birthday massage on the hotel rooftop. We lazed around in the pool/beach/AC all day, with Scott making me a new cocktail he invented: The Belt Buckle (passionfruit nectar and champagne).

We had dinner at the hotel. We shared papaya salad, and Scott had satay (which we later realized has quite a bit of coconut milk in it and is therefore on the banned list) and I had a chicken and cashew dish. It was all nice but the best part was that Scott had organized an amazing chocolate birthday cake for dessert. It was SO GOOD. Then after dinner the hotel people surprised us with one of those giant paper lanterns to set off. Pretty sure it’s still flying to this day.

After a few days at the fancy hotel we moved on to Chaweng. We went to the beach every day to swim and read. There was a lady on the beach selling chilled mango and teeny tiny bananas. The mangoes were SOOOOO good, I never used to like them that much but now I can’t get enough.

Scott got a foot massage that made his baby toe turn purple and swell up. Bahaha. We took a break from massages for a bit after that.

One of the highlights of Ko Samui was taking a cooking course. It was so well organized, and we learned a lot about the ingredients. The actual cooking part took about 1 minute per dish in the super hot woks. We made shrimp salad, panang curry paste, panang curry, and pad see ew with pork. I liked the panang the most.

Ko Samui was a bit too city for my liking so the next day we took the ferry to Haad Rin on Ko Phangan. We purposely avoided going during full moon, so there weren’t many people around, and the beach was lovely.

One day we went on a snorkelling trip around the north part of Ko Phangan. It was cloudy and windy, so the snorkelling wasn’t life changing, but it was still nice to get out. There were lots of different types of colourful fish. And we saw monkeys on the drive back! They were sitting up on the power lines. V cool.

Haad Rin was nice but it got a bit noisy at night, so we moved onwards to Ban Tai. We found an awesome shack restaurant that was super cheap and delicious, and our hotel had a very nice pool, so we were set for a few more days.

Favourite foods at the moment:

  • Mango shakes. Pretty much daily.
  • Mango crepe. With nutella and condensed milk.
  • Papaya salad. This was one of the only foods that Scott could eat in Thailand, since almost everything else was fried, or made with coconut milk. Good thing it’s a delicious dish.
  • Spicy fruit salad. This was the other thing that Scott could eat. It had dragon fruit, pineapple, apple, tomato, green beans, shredded carrot and peanuts in a chili fish sauce sauce.

There was also a night market that we could walk to that had all sorts of cheap food stands. Scott was able to eat bbq chicken skewers and I had things like curry puffs, samosas and spring rolls.

After a few days of relaxation in Ban Thai we continued on to Bangkok via ferry and bus.