Saturday, October 15, 2011

What Do YOU Want to See?

{In which I poll the audience then never follow through because I am a sucky blogger}

Oops, haven't posted in quite a while. Don't worry, I'm still alive! I do want to get back to posting photos again — I've been doing a rather poor job of keeping you updated on my Taiwan adventures. Sorry! And thanks to everyone who's asked me about my blog. I'm touched you guys missed my posts! :)

Right now I have soooo many photos I'm not sure where to start. There are photos from May I still haven't gotten around to posting! So I thought I'd ask you guys what you'd be more interested in seeing, since you're the ones reading this blog, and then I'll go from there instead of trying to stay chronological like I've been doing before.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How I Survived My Weekend

{In which I lock myself out of the apartment for 20+ hours but managed to get back, with minimal hysterics and plenty of good luck}

(Oops, I didn't expect typing this out to take so long. Sorry about the lateness on email and blog comments and general MIA-ness.  This post explains why on two fronts: 1) I got locked out and 2) I was writing this beast of a post. So yes, this account is kind of wordy. If you want, feel free to skip to the TL;DR version.)

I was planning to have a nice, quiet, relaxing weekend. Work had been more burdensome than usual lately — I stayed past 9pm several nights last week — so I was very much looking forward to recuperating with some alone time during the weekend.

I wouldn't be entirely anti-social for the weekend, though, since Mom's friend had planned a get-together dinner on Sunday night. I checked with Grandpa on Thursday to make sure he was free, since he'd mentioned that he'd be gone on a business trip from Friday to Sunday. Grandpa decided to return to Taipei earlier than planned on Sunday night so he could talk business with Auntie Wenny's husband, and I told him we were meeting at the department store across from Taipei Main Station, sixth floor, the restaurant named Shin Yeh. 5:30pm.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Links! Photos! Stuff!

{In which there is much randomness}

Ugh, I suck at updating now. Sorry. :( I can't believe I once posted every weekday! *is full of nostalgia for those long-ago happy days*

Anyway, I still have thousands of photos to sort through and process and upload, and you'd think that given how much time I've been holing up in my room lately I'd have more to show. But no, I've been taking advantage of my recent bout of anti-socialness to work on other projects. Like Camp NaNoWriMo, except I got stalled because I have this terrible habit of needing to have everything planned and outlined before I can write (left over from my days of writing one-draft English papers the night before they're due). Soooo I've been plotting (and reading about plotting) instead of writing, which is good for my sanity but not so great for my word count.

Since I'm here, I thought I'd share some random photos as well as awesome links I've come across lately and would love to discuss with someone. So go read these articles and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August 8th

{In which I celebrate a special day}

Lots of things going on these few days! August 6th was the Asian equivalent of Valentine's Day (July 7th on the lunar calendar). And today is Father's Day in Taiwan since 8/8 sounds like "dad" in Mandarin. My coworkers were surprised to hear that Father's Day happens in June in the States!

But neither of those is the reason for today's post. My dad already got his Father's Day post for the year, and as for Valentine's Day... well, if I ever get a boyfriend, that's when I'd feature photos of him as a kid or something. Because what are special occasion posts for, if not sharing old photos?

Look at this one and see if you can guess what's so special about today:

Yup! Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad! Here are more photos of my gorgeous Mom and handsome Dad looking young and in love:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


{In which I make you all insanely jealous because my friend is THAT gorgeous}

So, way back in May (yes I know how behind I am with photos), Christine came to Taiwan for a family friend's wedding. And I was SOOOO EXCITED to get to see her! :D We bought a ton of Taiwanese snacks at 7-11 and had a fabulous sleepover filled with lots and lots of girl talk. And then the next day we spent the morning primping and then had photo shoots around Taipei. :P This is one of my favorites:

I love having Christine around — not only is she fun and free-spirited and adorable and kind, she's also a wonderful friend and lovely model (her eyes are beautiful).

Friday, July 22, 2011

June Food Post

{In which I am horribly late with the food post}

Yikes. I seem to take longer and longer with these food posts each month! How can July be almost over already?? Sigh.

Anyway, here are photos I like of stuff I ate last month:

This is a mini 粽子 (zongzi). At least that's what I thought it was, until my coworkers told me it's a fake one, because what's inside isn't glutinous rice.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why I Won't Tell You to "Be Yourself"

{In which I give advice on, well, advice}

Be yourself. I see this all the time, and I'm rather tired of it; I find it much too vague to be of use to anyone. If I were ranking pieces of advice, I would place it somewhere below "do three jumping-jacks every day" (which is concrete and specific) and above "eat mushrooms" (because mushrooms taste gross).

What does "be yourself" even mean? How can you tell when you're being yourself and when you're not? Am I more myself when I'm having a bad day and let everyone know it, rather than trying to hide it with a smile? Am I less myself when I strive to adopt a virtue or trait I've observed in someone else, rather than embracing my flaws?

Sure, the phrase may sound good, but it is so general and abstract on its own that I wish people would stop saying it without explaining what they mean or suggesting how to go about it. And if they mean to say something else entirely, such as "stop ripping off my stuff" or "I don't approve of plastic surgery" or "I'm positive you can  be successful by doing only the things you feel like doing" or whatever, well, I wish they'd say that instead.

I'm guessing that some people use the phrase as a shorthand for encouraging individuality, which is nice, but still not that helpful unless the concepts are more fleshed out. I don't claim to know all the answers, but if I were to offer an alternative to the "be yourself" cliche, it might look something like this:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mid-July Update

Yay, I finally have all of June's food photos selected and processed! They'll be posted soon. Gah, I'm getting later and later with the food posts. And here I'd thought they were the one thing I did consistently on this blog. Maybe I should try posting a photo every weekday again? Diane seemed to like that, and one photo wouldn't be too hard, I think. Maybe. We'll see.

And I totally meant to do something special for the six-month anniversary of my blog (and one year in Taiwan!) in the beginning of July. Oh well, it can be late. But I'm not sure what to do. Q&A? Giveaway? I'm hoping for something that involves participation from YOU. :)

Oh and while I'm here, some updates:
  • I went to see the Picasso exhibit with Brandon and Phoebe! I'm not a fan of the art but had a blast hanging out with them and catching up (we got shushed three times in the first five minutes, haha). And we totally made fun of the paintings when we weren't chatting about other stuff. And then Phoebe's uncle took us to the Youth Park and I took tons of photos of the two of them with my new lens! Definitely a happy weekend.
  • I went to 師大夜市 (Shida Night Market) and bought so many new clothes. Being in Taiwan is making me like shopping a lot more, because things are actually affordable! Except there aren't many vendors that let you try on clothes before you buy, so there's a bit of a risk involved. But still, I'm excited about my haul as a whole, and I would totally be tempted to post my outfits or start a style blog or something if I thought I knew anything about fashion. (Which I clearly don't, as evidenced by that time I asked this salesgirl at Sogo about an item she informed me was so last season.)
  • More hangouts planned for the weekend! People I met at last year's Ecamp are back in Taiwan so I'm excited about seeing them, as well as mentors from the camp. But I'm a bit wary about the weather since I heard a typhoon will hit this weekend. =\ (And I totally got caught in the rain without an umbrella today. AGAIN.) Still, the rain isn't so bad. Preferable to the heat, in my opinion.
That's it for now. I just felt like posting something, since I haven't posted much lately. (Need to fix that!) 

Here, a random photo for you:

More posts to come!

with love,

Friday, July 8, 2011

Flying Fish

How can it be a week into July already?! Craziness! I've been terrible with blogging lately. Still in the process of collecting all the food photos from June for the monthly food post; hopefully I'll get that done over the weekend (but then I say that about every weekend). It's starting to get hotter and hotter here, but a lot of friends from the states are visiting, so I've been meeting up with people and planning get-togethers and basically enjoying summer despite not having an official summer vacation for the first time in my life. Plus I didn't even get July 4th off!

And of course I take tons of photos at each hangout, and since I haven't done much photo-processing lately, that means I'm super behind. But then what else is new?

Anyway, here are a couple shots from when I visited Keelung with relatives way back in April.

Hope you had a good Fourth of July!

with love,

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

SYS Memorial with Victoria

{In which we have way too much fun with an umbrella}

So after brunch at Omelet to Go, Victoria bought an umbrella and we strolled through the grounds of Sun Yat-Sen Memorial to talk and take pictures.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Spring Snowman

{In which we discover how useful orange microcentrifuge tubes can be}

In case you didn't know, I work in a lab. We keep stuff like proteins and DNA and buffers cool by placing them on ice, which we get by putting ice cubes through a shaved ice machine. It's not a huge leap to imagine the hill of icy goodness with all sorts of delicious toppings — mochi, ripe mango chunks, condensed milk — but since the ice is made of tap water, I'm never tempted to dig in even though it's been getting hotter and hotter (besides, all the toppings would be imaginary anyway).

During spring cleaning we got a lot more ice, thanks to the -20C refrigerator; basically moisture freezes out of the air inside the refrigerator and attaches itself to whatever surface is available. That ends up being a lot of ice.

The ice got dumped into the sink by the bucketfuls so it could slowly melt away over the weekend. But it was Friday afternoon before a long weekend, and all that ice proved to be too tempting. So one of my brilliant coworkers (I forget who) decided there was only one thing to do. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Windshield Wipers

Saw this in a parking lot near the office and asked my coworker why all the windshield wipers were up. "So they won't melt onto the windshield," he told me. 

Yup, Taiwan summers are sweltering. I'm starting to love rain; I used to hate how inconvenient it made everything, but now I'd be grateful for a respite from the heat.

Hope that, unlike me, you're enjoying summer weather!

with love,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Omelet to Go

{In which you get to see my Chinese handwriting, which looks worse than that of Taiwanese kindergartners)

Way back in April, my high school friend Victoria and I went to Omelet to Go for brunch (except we didn't get it to go, haha). It was a really cute place near my uncle's apartment and the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

My daddy as a boy:

All these years later, he still retains that boyish charm:

Thanks for being a wonderful dad — I know you will always be young at heart. :)

Love you and miss you!

with love,

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Volleyball at NTHU

{In which there are photos of people in mid-air}

I love hanging out with NTHU FHL since being with them reminds me so much of the good times I had with Berkeley ICA. They're fun and quirky and kind and refreshing. I always felt relaxed and happy and cared for with my friends from ICA, and it's so comforting to find a group of people in Taiwan that can recreate that feeling for me.

So when I was a little stressed out over the wedding photos, way back in March, I decided a change of scenery was in order and made my way to 新竹 (Hsinchu) to see them. I was excited when I found out people wanted to play volleyball — I'm not that good at it, but I have fond memories of taking volleyball class with Brian, David, and Helen, and getting tips from Danny, and playing for fun at Willard Park.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

May Food Post

{In which there is Taiwanese food — well, more than usual, anyway}

I think this is the latest I've ever been with a food post. Oops. Also, the photos aren't as good this time either. I guess I've just been an all-around slacker this month. But there are a lot more Taiwanese foods in this month's posts, so I hope you enjoy it!

A Taiwanese delicacy, 豬耳朵 (pig's ear). A yummy side dish.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Still Alive!

{In which I share what I've been up to lately}

I'm back! Did you miss me? :D It's sort of funny how I get more comments about my blog when I neglect to update it as often. I didn't realize people actually notice when I don't post! But it's nice to know that you care and want to see more, and I'll do my best to get back into the swing of things. I've been (kind of ) busy and (very) distracted and (incredibly) lazy lately, and it's so hard to fight inertia. So I'm making it easier for myself by starting with a quick update.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


First of all, hello to new followers! Though I admit that I was at first confused about why writers who blog were getting directed here (my personal blog) instead of my other blog, but then I realized I'd neglected to add a link to my new blog in my Google connect profile. Oops! So if you're a writer and would be more interested in writing-related updates, it would be amazing if you could check out my writing blog. Thanks! :D 

In other news, I've been super busy lately. On Wednesday I decided to do laundry instead of post photos like I originally planned. Good thing too, as Christine decided to come to Taipei a day early. Thursday was my boss's birthday so my coworkers and I went out with him to celebrate. 

And then Christine was in Taipei! So we went to 7-11 and bought a ton of random snacks and had a lot of girl talk in my room. :D Then yesterday we hung out all day, shopping and having random photo shoots and generally having a blast. I'm so glad I got to see her! I miss her already.

Oh and Christine is WAY better at haggling than I am. She's more patient and determined, whereas I'm not good at being in it for the long haul. I tend to get antsy and want to just buy it and be done with the whole thing when tenacity is key to getting a good deal. But her mom is the real master -- she told us she haggled the price of a purse from NT$5000 down to NT$1600! Wow, I still have such a long way to go. Time to go practice more. :P

I'm having dinner with my mom's friend tonight. Auntie Audrey is a lot of fun so I'm sure I'll have a good time. But I'll try to process some photos before then so you have something to look at next week. 

Have a great weekend!

with love,

Monday, May 16, 2011

How to Haggle in Taiwan

{In which I learn to save $$$ while shopping in Taiwan}

I used to think that haggling is something practiced only by Asian moms and grandmas. It seemed a fussy, cheap, and uncool thing to do; why not just pay for the thing and be done? Besides, I was pretty sure that you'd have to be cutthroat or very skilled in order to save any money at all. And I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself or seem too pathetic.

But as I shopped more in Taiwan, I realized that sometimes I could get a discount without any damage to my pride. Salespersons will tell shoppers "if you see something you like I can lower the price." A few times, sellers lowered prices even without my asking. And it would be silly to pass up those savings when they offer so nicely, right?

After vendors repeatedly showed me that prices are more like suggestions, it became natural not to take price quotes at face value. And if the price can be lowered, it seems like a smart move to remind them of that fact before buying.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I know posts were sparse this week, but don't worry, there will be a more substantial post on Monday. Also, I've decided to start another blog in addition to this one. I really enjoy blogging here about whatever comes to mind, but I also want to try blogging with a focus. So you can visit my new writing blog, but don't feel obligated to follow if it doesn't sound interesting to you (it's kind of boring now, but I'm sure it'll be awesome in the future :P).

Hope you have a great weekend!

with love,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Baby Sis

Posting a photo of my sister since I posted ones of both my Mom and Dad - might as well complete the series, right? :)

Also, putting up one photo takes a lot less time than the posts I'm supposed to be working on. This week's Monday Musing will be bumped to next week, and as for this week's Photo Diary post... uhhh we'll see if that happens. Feeling so lazy lately.

Meanwhile, you can admire the photos of my beautiful family. I took this one of Diane on our 2008 family vacation to Death Valley.

Thanks for modeling for me and for being such a great sister, friend, confidante, and inspiration. Miss you and love you, baby sis! (And email me more often! :P)

with love,

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Hi Mommy,

Happy Mother's Day! Hope you're treating yourself to a facial this month. :)

Thank you for being such a great mom. You not only gave birth to Diane and me (I can't even imagine how hard that must have been) but also nurtured us, taught us, and loved us all these years (but maybe that's even harder). I know you always have our best interests at heart, even when it's difficult for us to see things from your perspective. You made so many sacrifices for our family, even when we weren't always grateful. Thank you for supporting us when we want to go on adventures far from home, then reminding us of important things we'd otherwise forget. I don't know what we'd do without you!

I'm learning to appreciate everything you've done for us more and more as the years pass. Thank you so much, and I love you Mommy!

with love,

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Dear Daddy,

Happy birthday! Wish I could be there to celebrate with you, but I'm sending lots of love from Taiwan.

Thanks for being so encouraging and for always believing in me. Your passion for violins inspires me to find my dream and make it a reality too. I know my dream might not match up with what you've envisioned for me, but I'm grateful that you support my pursuits nevertheless. Thank you for working so hard to provide for our family. Here's to many more years of health and happiness.

Hope you have a wonderful day today. You're a great dad and I love you!

(My dad and me June 2010)

(My dad as a stylish twenty-something :D)

with love,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

April Food Post

{In which there is more Taiwanese food than usual, and I rave about salad}

I know you guys tend to be more interested in seeing photos of uniquely Taiwanese food, which makes sense considering that I'm in Taiwan and most of you are not. But when I do eat Taiwanese food, I like to go for the same staples. Either that or the food isn't particularly photogenic. Which means not many of those photos make it into these posts, as this series isn't so much a record of what I eat as a collection of photos I like that happen to have food as their subject (and I wouldn't have had all these photos of food lying around had Diane not requested them). But this week, you're in luck, as more of the photos are of  Taiwanese food.

Monday, May 2, 2011


I get a secret thrill whenever someone thinks I'm a vapid, gossipy Valley Girl.

It's not the most flattering description, but it nevertheless evokes the same sense of wonder in me as when someone mistakes me for a glamorous fashion model. Or considers me a vivacious optimist. Or expresses admiration for my outgoing, bubbly personality, sure that I am beloved everywhere.

I'm always amazed that these people are talking about the way they see me. Me.

I try to hide the surprise and muse to myself, "So this is what it feels like." To be someone else, I sometimes add, even though it's not true.

This is how I remember myself:

She's a gangly tomboy with glasses, braces, and zits — the triumvirate of dorkiness — and dressed awkwardly in jeans and a worn hoodie. The tall one, not the beautiful one. The smart one, not the popular one. Serious and quiet, she'd rather escape into a novel than suffer the inane conversations of those girls as they chatter about clothes or music or parties. Her parents worry she's antisocial; she rarely bothers to ingratiate herself to others, preferring the solitude of her own thoughts.

Sometimes I forget that she has changed, that she’s no longer limited by the stereotype she'd pigeonholed herself into.

And that's why I love being confronted with any view of myself, complimentary or not, that challenges the one I've held for so long.

It reminds me that the-girl-I-was can, and did, stretch herself beyond what she'd once thought possible.

And so, I let myself dream — of how she will continue to expand her repertoire, wider and wider, until it encompasses everything she's ever wanted to be.

with love,

Friday, April 29, 2011

Doggies in Taipei

Even when I was a kid, I loved pointing the camera at cute, furry animals. My mom preferred the standard Asian tourist photos with everyone lined up in front of the point of interest. She didn't understand my obsession with photographing every squirrel, duck, or chipmunk that came into view, especially since I usually showed little interest in the photographs once they were developed (yes, this was way back in the days of film).

Anyway, I seem to have retained that compulsion to photograph animals, as evidenced by my swan, cat, and parrot photos. This post features dogs I've seen on the streets of Taipei.

I love this shot. The dog's eyes seem so expressive. 

Do dogs have eyebrows? This dog seems to be lifting one.

The wall was not particularly high, which probably explains the sign. It reads: "Will suffer diarrhea. Do not feed. Thanks. Sincerely, the Nutritionist."

Have a great weekend!

with love,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wanhua and Monga

{In which I visit Wanhua District with John and Mavis}

After going to the Flora Expo with John, his friend Mavis arrived and took us to historical 萬華區 (Wanhua District), the oldest district in Taipei.

Monday, April 25, 2011

In Defense of the Good Guy

{In which I rant about the animated movie Sinbad, anti-heroes, and Brad Pitt. Warning: it's a long one.}

A month ago I came across this awesome Disney medley video by Nick Pitera. And then after that I got sucked into the world of animated feature film fan videos on Youtube. Like this Disney Mean Girls trailer. Or this Disney "Love Story" MV. There are also a ton of crossover videos where romances are created between characters from different movies. Those are pretty cool, when done well (the quality of those videos vary, obviously).

They're not always all Disney, either; Anastasia, The Swan Princess, Quest for Camelot, and other animated films from various studios also appear in many of these videos. And after watching all those tantalizing clips I realized there were some movies I hadn't seen in a long time, or even ever, and that was something I should fix! So I did. And it was awesome.

One of the (more-than-I'd-like-to-admit) movies I watched was Dreamwork's Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, which was the only movie that wasn't a rewatch. While watching it I laughed and yelled at the characters and rolled my eyes and predicted the future and cried my eyes out - you know, normal movie-watching behavior for me.

But there was one thing that pissed me off so much that I needed to blow off some steam. Namely, why-oh-why does the good guy have to finish last?! Argh. Fortunately I have this lovely blog on which to express all my frustrations regarding the film, so that's what this post is about.

Friday, April 15, 2011



Had a buffet dinner with my grandpa, aunt, and uncle in 桃園 when I had a four-day weekend a couple weeks ago; after I was too full to stuff myself any more, I wandered around the hotel lobby and took these photos. (Yes, that was when that lady was certain I had to be a model and asked to introduce me to her son. Unfortunately, we didn't exchange contact information. Oh well.)

Hope you fish fans out there are happy. :P

with love,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Taipei Flora Expo Part II

{In which John and I are interviewed by a Taiwanese reporter}

Continued from Taipei Flora Expo Part I.

The photos above are from the Korean pavilion. For some reason the Taiwanese seem to hold some prejudice against Koreans. While we were there, a reporter and cameraman from Taiwanese TV station 民視 approached us (well, John, actually). Probably because there was no one else in the area.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Taipei Flora Expo Part I

{In which John and I go to the Flora Expo, inadvertently annoy a volunteer, and learn to pose like Taiwanese students}

So like, I was actually not planning on going to the Taipei International Flora Exposition.

I'd seen the ads everywhere since I arrived, but it didn't sound all that interesting to me. I don't like flowers enough to want to stand in lines to look at them (although I wouldn't mind if you want to buy me some! :P). My parents went to the Expo when they were in Taiwan over Thanksgiving break and weren't exactly impressed, so I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything. Plus, I already got a photo with the entrance sign — good enough for me!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why I Blog

{In which I reflect on the benefits of blogging in hopes that more of my friends will start blogging too}

So ever since that time self-induced stress resulted in an interview with myself, I've been thinking more about why I blog. I mean, blog posts don't materialize spontaneously. It takes a lot of effort, and I strongly dislike energy expenditure (read: lazy). I can totally see why most people who blog give up within the first few months. But fear not! I'm not in any hurry to quit, and you'll see why.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Three Generations

Grandpa, Mommy, and Diane (aka my baby sister). As you can see, they all have these huge, gorgeous eyes. For reasons unknown to me, I failed to inherit that particular bit of genetic material. Ah well. I guess I'll just have to be content with being tall. :P

with love,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bonus! March Food Post II

{In which there are even more food photos to salivate over — especially those adorable slices of cake!}

On February 25 (yes, the day before the wedding; it was quite a packed weekend) our company had a spring banquet at 饗食天堂. I knew it was a buffet, and my coworker showed me someone's blog entry about the place, which looked very nice, but I wasn't all that excited (typical apathetic Linda).

But once we arrived, my apathy melted away.

The buffet was awesome! The dessert table was right at the entrance and there were so many adorable little cakes, not to mention a chocolate fountain, panna cotta, brownies, jello, pudding, tarts, fresh fruit, etc. — a whole assortment of delightful desserts. I absolutely could not wait... to photograph them! I laughed and exclaimed to my coworkers how pretty everything was as I bounced all over the place with my camera. I don't think my coworkers had ever seen me muster up so much enthusiasm for food (and they probably won't again for quite a long time).

But of course, I wasn't really interested in the food because I wanted to eat it. No, I just thought they were pretty and looked photogenic. Haha.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

March Food Post

{In which I showcase my favorite March food photos}

Time for another food post! Wow, the months fly by so quickly.

Fries and shaved ice! The French fries are from the tea shop we went to post-wedding, and the shaved ice from lunch with Phoebe, Brandon, and Dawson.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Poisson d'Avril

魚人節快樂! If you think that says "Happy April Fool's Day" in Chinese, you'd be, well... wrong! Kind of. 

That phrase above is pronounced the same way as 愚人節快樂, which is the correct version. The first one said "Happy Fish Person Day." I feel quite clever for making the connection, since April Fool's is actually April Fish in a lot of other languages, including Italian, German, Danish, etc... the title of this blog post is French. 

So anyway, that's why there's a photo of a fish for today. It's the fish in one of the aquariums at the Taipei Main MRT station. Hard to see how huge the fish is in this photo, but take my word for it, it's pretty big.

In addition to being April Fool's Day today, it also marks the end of my "sucky blog" experiment. The funny thing is that the blog wasn't the issue at all. It turns out that the wedding photos were responsible for my utter lack of motivation for pretty much everything else. Now that they're done, I do feel a lot more motivated to work on blog posts. 

I have a huge pile of ideas and photos for posts that I'm looking forward to sharing with you, but I think it's a good idea not to put so much pressure on myself. So rather than posting 5 times a week, I'm going to aim for 3-4. Even though it'll take longer to blog about everything I'm thinking of (and I'm not exactly super patient), I want more time to work on and edit the posts. It kind of annoys me that that I can't post more regularly, but I've decided it's a price I'm willing to pay for more beauty sleep. :P

Although since I get four-day weekend due to 清明節 (Tomb Sweeping Day, so people can sweep their ancestors' tombs) and 兒童節 (Children's Day, and yes, it is an official holiday, and children get to go to all sorts of places for free), maybe I can catch up on sleep and create a ton of blog posts! (Great, now I'm starting to sound like an optimist.)

Have a great day, all of you, and be nice with your pranks! Hope you survive the day unscathed. :)

with love,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lunch with the Newlyweds

{In which Brandon and Phoebe wear super sweet matching shirts}

Since I didn't have work and Dawson wasn't schedule to fly out until that night, we had lunch with Brandon and Phoebe on 2/28. Due to some miscommunication, we ended up waiting at the original 鼎泰豐 (Din Tai Fung) for Brandon's parents when they'd gone to one of the other branches. While we waited, Phoebe looked through all the photos I took at the wedding, and then we took some more new ones.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Alter Ego

{In which I draw life lessons from a game in an effort to rationalize procrastination}

While avoiding the wedding photos last week, I stumbled across an online text-based sim game called Alter Ego. It's not exactly a super fun sort of game, but since the alternative was to actually process the photos (at a time when they were giving me a ton of trouble and filling me with self-doubt), I found the game distracting enough for my purposes.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Laundry Day

{In which I receive a mysterious message}

As I mentioned before, on this one day a couple weeks ago I did laundry instead of blogging or working on photos. My grandpa doesn't have a washing machine, so I have to lug my laundry ten minutes away to the coin-operated laundromat. Usually I don't stick around and wait, but that night I decided to do some writing.

It was a good idea, except the next day I realized I'd left my notebook at the laundromat.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dawson in Taipei

{In which I explore Taipei with Dawson}

I woke up super late the day after the wedding, then went over to the hotel where everyone was staying and found Dawson. We ate lunch and then somehow stumbled into the 2/28 Memorial Peace garden (I thought CKS Memorial was one stop from Taipei Main, but it turned out to be two. Oops). But it was really pretty so we took a few photos before we left.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In Which I Give in to Vanity

That's me on the day of the wedding, which was held at Alethia University. Yes, you probably saw these on Facebook. Whatever, just humor me (and my vanity :P).

Since I shared my worries about what to wear to the wedding, I thought it only fair to show what I actually wore. (No tattooing was involved.) I bought this dress two days before the wedding at 五分埔 (Wufenpu). The initial quote was NT$880, but I charmed the salesman into selling it to me for NT$700. Not bad, huh? :D

Oh, and here's a gchat conversation I had with my friend about the first photo, which she saw on Picasa.

Annie: I like the picture where the bride's hair glistened in the sun. Or not the bride.
Me: LOL that's not the bride.
Annie: The girl. Whatever.
Me: Um... that would be ME.
Annie: Wait, what?
Me: Yeah, I'm serious.
Annie: OMG THAT IS YOU AHAHAHAHAHAHAH I thought she looked familiar...

Yeah, don't know if that's a good thing or not. :P

A big thank-you to Dawson, who took the photos for me! :)

with love,

Monday, March 21, 2011

My First Stint as an Amateur Wedding Photographer

{In which I think about how to improve as a photographer}

This post is an extremely long reflection and analysis of the process of getting those photos done — it's really a way for me organize my thoughts about what I did and how to improve next time, so feel free to skip if it doesn't interest you. And if you haven't already, feel free to check out the photos on Picasa or on Facebook!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Phoebe and Brandon's Wedding

{In which I finally post the photos from Brandon and Phoebe's beautiful wedding!}

Phoebe and Brandon got married in Taiwan on February 26, and I was so honored to be able to participate in their big day! Dawson flew in from China and together with Sungil we repped Berkeley ICA. I was super excited to get to hang out with all of them (I miss Berkeley ICA so much!) and take lots of pictures of everyone looking gorgeous for the wedding.

A big part of me couldn't believe that Brandon was getting married. Still hard to get it through my head now. But I have lots of pictures as proof! And yes, you finally get to see them. Well, a handful, at least.

This was my first time photographing a wedding so I was a little nervous — despite the fact I was just photographing as a guest. But I really wanted to take lots of beautiful photographs for Brandon and Phoebe as well as for those of you who couldn't attend. I know I still have a lot of room for improvement — my inadequacies as a photographer as evidenced by these photos bug me a lot, actually — but I hope you can look past the flaws to experience the moment I tried to capture. Brandon and Phoebe's love for each other really shines through, and that's what's important. Be sure to send your blessings and congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Jue! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chasing Pigeons

{In which there are photos of a cute boy}

Wow, that last post worked like a charm! After writing it I felt a lot more motivated to work on photos (no idea why) and spent hours on the photos this week. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong with some of the ones that were giving me a lot of trouble, so I went back and fixed them. I was really relieved that they don't suck so much any more, even if I wasn't any closer to finishing. But that really helped me not to dread processing as much and gave me the push I needed to keep going. In fact, I made so much progress that I think you'll be able to see some of those photos by this weekend!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

An Interview with Myself

{In which I crumble under stress and start talking to myself}

So, Linda, your blog has been kind of sucking lately. Only two posts last week? Even after you already lowered your bar? Isn't that kind of pathetic?

Jerk. What kind of opening question is that?

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I've been horribly unproductive lately.  On Tuesday I chose to do laundry instead of blogging or working on photos, which makes me feel kind of guilty. But at least I have clean clothes.

I meant to work extra hard yesterday, but I came home, turned on my laptop, and promptly fell asleep. I think I woke up around 2am to turn off the light before going back to sleep.

So far tonight, I've processed another 10% of the wedding photos. I still have a lot more to go. I'm taking a quick break to post a few photos of - you guessed it - parrots. That way you have something to look at while I go back to working on photos. I'm pretty sure the pictures won't be done by this week (sorry!). Maybe next week? Fingers crossed...

My coworkers went to a temple to 拜拜 (make offerings to the gods) and I tagged along to photograph anything of interest in the area. Across the street people were giving out free food in honor of one of the gods' birthdays (I forget which one), and there were three parrots in the room where people were eating. So that's why I have photos of parrots.

Hope you're having a great week! Usually I can't wait for the weekend to be here, but recently I've found the days going by too quickly. Probably because I feel like I haven't made enough progress on on my photos and my blog. Still learning to be more diligent and self-disciplined...

with love,

Monday, March 7, 2011

Death Valley

{In which I process a photo from 2008 instead of the thousands I should be working on now}

Photo taken on family vacation to Death Valley in 2008, with the Canon SD800 from Uncle Eric.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


This is 包子 (Baozi, steamed bun) — my coworker Sandra's cat. So cute, right?

I was tempted to skip posting today as well, but couldn't bring myself to disappoint you two days in a row (sorry about yesterday!). I'm currently swamped with photos, so blogging got bumped down quite a few spots on my to-do list.

Besides the thousands of photos from the wedding, I also have several hundred from each of the other recent events and outings (company dinner, hanging out with Dawson, Flora Expo). I should stop having so much fun; it's messing with my productivity. Oh fine, who am I kidding - these past few days have been awesome and I am so loving it! :)

Of course, the wedding photos are top priority right now. I'm thinking of showcasing a handful of my favorites on my blog and then linking to the rest of the album, which will be uploaded... somewhere. 

I need some input, please! 
1. For the album, what's a good number of photos to include so people don't get overwhelmed (like me)?
2. What's your preferred photo-sharing site (Picasa/Flickr/Facebook) and why? 

I've done a preliminary selection of photos (so you don't have to look at out-of-focus photos, or the fifty pictures of the back of their heads — even if that's what we saw for most of the ceremony), but I'm still deciding on the final number. Hm. Since I need to process and resize all of them, I should probably choose just the really good ones, even if that means missing certain moments. Gah, wedding photography is so tough! I am in awe of professionals.

So yes, it is a lot of work, but I'm excited about sharing the photos with you! My photos might not be very comprehensive or professional-looking, but hopefully they capture the spirit and heart of the wedding.

Thanks for being patient as I process the photos and for putting up with fewer blog posts during this time!

with love,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February Food Post

{In which there is even more food than last time}

Since my January Food Post was so popular, here is the February edition! No preamble this time, go read the January post for my take on food and the inspiration for this series.


Ok, neither of these is especially Taiwanese, but variety is good. Yay for Japanese and Italian!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Tangled Dreams

{In which Disney's Tangled inspires me to dream — one of my favorite posts}
No work today because it's 2/28, so I got to hang out with Dawson and the newlyweds. Brandon and Phoebe wore matching shirts that said "I love my husband" and "I love my wife" in Chinese — so cute!

But yeah, craziest weekend ever!! So exhausted. But I'm sure you're all eager for the photos. Let's see... I took more than 2.7k photos over the past three days. That's not even including the 350+ I took at the company dinner on Friday. Needless to say, it will be quite a while before I finish sorting all the photos so you guys don't have to wade through thousands of terrible shots. Blog posts may be less regular (and more rushed) while I'm working on photos, so thanks in advance for your patience! 


Friday, February 25, 2011

How to Solve All Your Fashion Problems

{In which I have a silly conversation with Brian}

As many of you know, Brandon and Phoebe are getting married in Taiwan this weekend. I'm so excited for them and am incredibly honored that I get to be there for their big day! :D :D :D

And then of course I started worrying about WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO WEAR?! It was quite a quandary.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Boiling Crab

{In which Michelle, Kit, and I eat seafood-in-a-bag}

I was supposed to upload these pictures a while ago, but somehow never got around to it... so now it's a blog post! These photos are from dinner with my high school friends Kit and Michelle at The Boiling Crab (before my mom dragged me off to meet her friend's nephew). The Boiling Crab is a pretty interesting restaurant — basically seafood in a bag. It was my first time, but my friends had been there before and said that there was usually a long line. Fortunately, we arrived early enough not to have to wait at all.

Yay for plastic bibs! Eating seafood from a bag is quite a messy undertaking...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Diane, Summer 2008

I took this photo of Diane in the summer of 2008 in Taiwan at 野柳 (Yehliu) with my Canon SD800 (thanks Uncle Eric!). 

Since my mom loves national parks and scenic landscapes, our family vacations tend to involve a lot of roadtrips to the middle of nowhere (because those types of places have the best scenery). My sister and I were not big fans of those vacations, but we learned to enjoy those trips more once we decided to treat them as photoshoot opportunities. Whenever we stopped at a scenic location, I'd point at a spot and my sister would obligingly begin modeling for me. It helps that she's pretty and doesn't need too much direction from me, although she says I should tell her what to do more often.

So yes, I have a lot of photos of Diane with beautiful landscapes as backdrop. I'll be sharing more of them on my blog. Can't wait until I can hang out with my sister again and take more photos!

with love,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Knights Without Knives

{In which there is a mini Team K reunion in Taipei}

I found out last night that Daniel Hsu, E-camp mentor and NTHU FHL fellowship president, was in a motorcycle accident last week. He wasn't wearing a helmet; his injuries include internal bleeding and subdural hematoma (hemorrhage in the skull). He underwent brain surgery last Friday, and the doctors are keeping him under sedation in ICU. Please pray for him!!

As promised, here are the photos from last Sunday (2/13), when I had dinner with the Team K. Over summer, I participated in E-camp at NTHU, a leadership and English-learning camp for incoming freshmen. I Our team's name was Knights Without Knives (aka Team K, before we came up with the name) and — to be completely objective and honest — our team was the BEST TEAM EVER. I mean, we placed or tied for first in every competition, from camp-wide contests such as the scavenger hunt, tower building, and superlatives game, to the mini-games we had in our classroom (er, not to brag or anything. 'Tis the truth).

But the important thing is that we all enjoyed hanging out together and bonded as a team. Those two weeks were certainly very memorable ones for me. We had way too much fun, what with playing Killer (the card game) all the time, the group nap at Mr. Donut, watching the meteor shower, our long talks... and they are so sweet! I was incredibly touched by the presents and cards they surprised Dennis and me with on the last night of the camp. I'm glad that we can still keep in touch, and that they still hang out together. Sadly, not everyone was able to make the gathering — we missed you, Aaron, Anna, Janet, and Joe! — but I'm really grateful for the chance to catch up with everyone who was there. Dennis was visiting from China, Jerry and Michael came to Taipei from Taichung and Taoyuan (respectively), and Sandy, William, and Willie live in Taipei. It was also good to see Alex and Irene again (they weren't in Team K but hang out with my students a lot).

Monday, February 21, 2011

7 Things I Learned About Photography and Writing by Creating Last Week's Blog Posts

{In which I actually write a scannable, informative post with a number in the title}

Happy Presidents' day to all of you in the States! Unfortunately for me, I had to go to work today, but I hope you enjoy your day off.

Processing and posting all those photos last week was great, but so exhausting! I didn't even finish and I already have another mountain of photographs to go through. I was pretty sleep-deprived last week on account of those posts (though I admit that laundry and cleaning were the culprits for one of those nights).

Friday, February 18, 2011


{In which 偉哲 continues to be ridiculously photogenic}

After the Gauguin exhibit, I had dinner at 西門町 (Ximending) with 偉哲 at the Pasta Bar. It was a cute place — I adored the salt and pepper shakers! (Don't you love how the photos turned out?) The table is tiny, but it felt intimate rather than cramped. "It's small but — how do you say 精緻 in English? —- exquisite," 偉哲 commented. I was impressed; I would not have been able to translate the same word from English to Chinese so effortlessly.

Last Saturday was amazing, and I'm glad I have these photos to remember it by. Thank you, 偉哲, for an exquisite evening. :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Date with Gauguin

(In which 偉哲 and I have an awesome time at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and 西門町}

{Preamble, feel free to skip}

Happy 元宵節 (Yuanxiao Jie, aka Lantern Festival)! It's the last day of the Chinese New Year holiday, and it is traditional to eat 湯圓 (tangyuan, glutinous rice balls) on this day. My coworkers invited me to eat some with them, and both the sweet ones and the savory ones were delicious!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

First Working Day of the Lunar New Year

{In which the pyromaniac in me is happy}

The sixth day of the lunar new year is when everyone returns to work, and in order to invite good luck for the new year, many businesses in Taiwan will offer food, drink, incense, and paper money to the gods. I noticed many tables of food on my way to work, and then got to experience a new part of Taiwanese culture at work for myself. Many of the foods on the table have special meaning based on puns in Chinese. Others are there because someone likes to eat them. I had fun taking lots of photos while my coworkers bowed with incense and burned paper money. The fires were fascinating.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Roaming Taipei with Jack and Patrick

{In which we take photos all over Taipei}

February is shaping up to be a super packed month for me, what with New Years festivities, NTHU friends on winter break, and Brandon and Phoebe's wedding in two weeks (!!). I have tons and tons of photos and am slowly sorting/processing them, and wow it's a lot more time-consuming than I expected. Most of my posts in the near future will be photo diaries. But yeah, lots of exciting adventures! :D

Last Monday was my last day of break before returning to work, so Patrick came up from Taichung and hung out with Jack and me for a whole day. Our first stop was Jack's house, where Jack taught Patrick to fly a plane with the flight simulator while I napped or photographed stuff in Jack's room. Afterward, we went to 碧潭 (Bitan) for a stroll and for lunch before going to 美麗華 (Miramar) to ride the ferris wheel. After that, we snapped some photos of the 花博 (Flora Expo) entrance on our way to 士林夜市 (Shilin Night Market) for dinner and shopping. (It was super crowded there.) It was an awesome day of hanging out and running all over Taipei! Thanks for being great company, Jack and Patrick. :)

(I'm playing around with post-processing so that's why some of the photos look funky... I'm just starting out so I'm not great at it but I have lots of fun experimenting!)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Why You Should Write Poetry When You're Bored

{In which you get to read poetry I wrote in high school}

One day as a junior in high school, I got incredibly bored at school. This, unsurprisingly, happened quite often; but that day I decided to write a poem about how bored I was (yes, really).

That might have been the end of the story had my mother not found out about some sort of contest at the local library. It was two related contests, actually — one for poetry and one for art. The library was seeking submissions for their annual teenage poetry book. There were cash prizes — $75 if you won first place in either contest, and $50 and $25 if you placed second or third, respectively, in the poetry contest.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On the Way Home

I was hoping I could manage to rush out a post with photos from this Monday's hangout with Jack and Patrick, but I need more time to sort through and edit the photos. Next week, I promise! Meanwhile, here are some photos I took on my way home from work.

I don't usually walk through this alley - that night my coworker gave me a ride back on his motorcycle (I love motorcycle rides! I laughed the whole way). I like how the golden glow of the street lamps was reflected by the wet asphalt. Though it was night, the sky wasn't black yet; the cool blue is a good contrast for the warm light.

This is the fountain at Dinho Plaza (near Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT). There's a sculpture of hands behind these little lights. I think it might be a Buddhist sculpture? I did glance at the plaque but don't really remember what it said.. I do seem to have a thing for repetition and patterns in photographs.

Yes, this is a trashcan. But I liked the lights and water droplets on the shiny surface, so I took a photo of it anyway. I think the yellow and red lights are from a bus. The sign on the side of the trashcan says that the trashcan is for pedestrians only and that there is a fine of NT$6000 if you get caught disposing of household trash. This is because you have to pay for garbage service in Taipei by buying specialized trash bags.

Can you tell from these pictures that it rains a lot in Taipei? We did have a bit of beautiful sunny weather during the New Year's break though - the first time in years, my coworkers told me. Perfect for an outing with friends. Unfortunately, the weather got dreary again pretty quickly once I had to go back to work. I suppose it's better than if it had been the other way around...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Crab (and Michelle)

I took this photo in Fall Semester 2009 with my Canon SD800 (a gift from my uncle. Thanks, Uncle Eric!). I went to San Francisco for a crabbing trip with friends, complete with giant nets and lots of guts as bait. The tiny crabs we caught were cute, but since we couldn't keep them unless they were a certain size, we would throw them back into the ocean. If the crab was unlucky, a seagull would swoop down and carry it off before it was safely back at the bottom of the bay (poor baby crab!).

We had a delicious crab dinner after we got back to Berkeley, thanks to the people who bought crabs for us from the local grocery store. Although we didn't have an amazing haul of seafood (we caught exactly two crabs of acceptable size), I had so much fun. That was an incredible day of hanging out with Berkeley ICA. You guys are amazing!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Taiwan Film Shoot Update

{In which the filmmakers return}

[Update to Taiwan Film Shoot]

Apparently, one day in the parking lot wasn't enough to get the shots they needed. The Monday after we saw the film set outside our lab window, they were back. They might have been there over the weekend too. This time, though, they seemed to be shooting a wedding scene. I wandered by the window occasionally to keep up with their progress.

Monday, February 7, 2011


This is my cousin! Isn't she pretty? (Yes, her skin really is that good.) She's a year older than me and also lives at my grandpa's for school and studying when she's not in Taoyuan with her parents. She's currently preparing for her CPA licensing test. I took this shot on the MRT on Chinese New Year's Day en route to Danshui with her and her parents (my aunt and uncle) and Grandpa. It was super crowded when we got there, so we walked around a bit, decided the crowd was just too much, bought some food, and then went elsewhere for dinner. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't take tons of cool photos at Danshui, but I really like this one of my cousin. :)