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,