Tuesday, 30 October 2007

I almost did a "Britney"

I did something terrible, something I had never done before. Blame it on faulty equipment, blame it on me being careless, but I almost had a heart attack when I saw that I shaved off a little too much of my right eyebrow!!! Girls will understand my despair; guys, go away - it's not remotely funny.

What are you lookin' at?!

Can you see where I almost shaved off my eyebrow the way Britney shaved off the hair on her head (click to see it more obviously)??? What a nightmare! But ok, depending on which angle you're looking at me from, I guess it's not too obvious... . Thank goodness.

Happy again...it's not that bad after all!

I can also feel some stubby hairs growing back at the spot I shaved too much of, so hopefully within the week I will be regenerated... .

Btw, did you know that your nose and ears are the only parts of the human body that continue to grow until we die? Probably more obvious in men, but women are not exempted. Old women ears can at least be hidden from view with their hair, but how do you hide the size of your nose??? I already dislike the size of my nose...so if it should keep growing for the next 70 years (assuming I live to the nice ancient age of 100), I'd be an elephant! Or worse, a pig if it grows wide instead of long!

"Oink! Oink!" says Miss Piggy

Why can't it be boobs that don't stop growing instead? That way, the older we get, the bigger our boobs; then we won't need to complain anymore that it's easier for dirty old men to get young women because old women will now have big boobs to attract young men. Saggy and wrinkly maybe, but big ;o).

Monday, 29 October 2007

Homemade carrot cake

I present to you, my yummilicious carrot cake baked by yours truly yesterday. It was a looooong time ago that I last baked this, so I'm glad it turned out rather successfully.

Yeah, yeah, I know I missed covering the bottom edge with cream. Was in a hurry to take pictures of it and then eat... .

Want this slice? It's yours.

Very easy to do, so go ahead and try it at home if you want. Receipe's here (I just didn't bother with the pineapple, but every thing else was accordingly). Quick, easy, delicious - 3 key words for me whenever I enter the kitchen to cook or bake... .

Hint to the ladies (all males, you may stop reading from this point on):
I think that the most tedious part in baking this cake is shredding the carrots. Therefore, if you have a hubby or boyfriend, just make him do the shredding, but don't make it into a command. You should instead feel his arms and go "My, my...what strong arms you've got! They're just what I need in the kitchen! Will you be my hero?" and then BAM! You've got yourself a fully equipped carrot shredder ;o).

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Winter is official!

We changed our clock 1 hour backwards at 3am this morning since summer time has ended. That means 1 hour more of sleep for me :o)! It is however, quite depressing to know that it is now "officially" winter. Sure, the snow is not here yet, but it is now "brighter" in the mornings (not that the sun really shines anyway) and darker in the evenings.

Can't wait till 22nd December is over, because that will be the "shortest day", or "longest night" depending on your perspective. I prefer to call it the "longest night" for hanky panky reasons ;o). But yeah, after the 22nd of December, it will start to get brighter and brighter again... . Not that you can really tell right away since it's more or less just a minute of difference each day, but oh....it helps a lot psychologically.

I've tried before to just keep my bedroom clock at the old "summer" time so that when my alarm rings and I see the time as 08:45, it would in reality be 07:45, which means I trick my mind into thinking that I'm still waking up at the "usual" time but end up 1hr earlier at work so that I can leave 1hr earlier than usual... .

It really sucks though to have my mind in the same body as the rest of my body parts, because my hands and eyes can't even discuss this excellent plan with each other without my mind eavesdropping on them and knowing that they're going to try and trick it! So when my alarm rings at 08:45 (07:45), the "conversation" goes something like this:

*LOUD MUSIC PLAYING* (it's a clock radio I have, so it doesn't actually ring)

Hand slams the snooze button.

Eyes: Damn, it's 08:45 already. Time to get up.

Body: Oh, come on - 5mins more! Pleeeeaaaase?

Eyes: But look at the time! If we don't get up now, we'll ALL be late for work! We've already been snoozing since 08:00.

Mind: Hey! I'm sure you guys probably think I'm stupid, but I know Hands didn't turn the clock 1hr back yesterday like they should have done, so it is now in fact only 07:45! We can still sleep another freakin' hour!

Body: Hear! Hear!

Ears: We're listening!

Hands: Hey, don't drag me into this - it was Eyes' idea not to set the clock 1hr back.

Eyes: FINE! WHATEVER! We'll shut for another hour then. You guys are all hopeless.

Body: Yay!!! 1 more hour! More than what we had bargained for!

Mind: So much for trying to psych me up, huh? Same trick every year, so why not just give up already?

All: SHUT UP! We're trying to sleep!

So yeah...that's what basically happens whenever I try to trick my mind like this. Never works, therefore I've stopped this. Doesn't help anyway when all the clocks in the other parts of our home are showing the correct time; gets really confusing. The clock in our living room is already going anti-clockwise, so I shouldn't confuse my mind further with a different time zone in our bedroom. I like our anti-clockwise clock though - it's so cool ;o). Wish I have an anti-clockwise watch too... . If anyone sees such a watch, please, please tell me 'cos I want it!!! Swatch designers out there, please take note!

Btw, for those of you who can never figure out whether to turn the clock forwards or backwards during the summer / winter "time change" day, here are several ways to remember:

1. Spring forward, Fall backward.
2. Summer = garden furniture out, Winter = garden furniture in (for those who have gardens).
3. Summer = outdoors, Winter = indoors.

So yeah...just some easy word association ways to remember when it's 1hr forward and 1hr backward.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Swimming like a mermaid... .

I finally pulled myself together today and went swimming. I can't play tennis during this cold season since the outdoor courts are closed, and the indoor courts are very limited, not to mention, pricey to book. Therefore, swimming seems to be the only sport whereby I do not need to commit to for 1 year, unlike dance aerobics in the fitness club (which I'd actually like to do but without that long commitment to it).

So yeah...I tried out swimming today at DGI-Byen, and since the water was not that cold at all (28 deg C), I think I'll go ahead and buy the 3-month card and start swimming twice a week :o). I did 10 laps today (1km), so that's a good start. Will just suffer the aches on my body on Saturday then.

Funny how our body usually aches only the day after, isn't it? I mean, it gives you this false hope that maybe this time, you managed to trick it into thinking that it had always been doing exercises. And then BAM! The day after, you just feel like a truck had hit you hard and your body mockingly goes "Naah, naah, naah, naah, naah -I gotcha...again! Sucker."

Hmm...I actually now remember another culture shock today after my swim... . I will go update my previous post on it. But yeah - stay healthy, people! We've only got 1 body, so be good to it... .

"Straight from the mouth"

Ivy: I'm not old and I'm not young.
Esben (puzzled): Not old and not young?
Martin: She's timeless... .

The only other person I know who is timeless is God... .

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

"Change" is a big word

Have you ever had 1 of those days where you just feel like you need a major change in your life, yet at the same time, you're afraid of such a change? Such a change can sometimes promise to be exciting, perhaps also more challenging, but oh....the fear of shaking your comfortable, secure ground can really hold you back.

Questions, questions, questions.... . "What if" is a marriage of 2 words that should never have been allowed together. "What if I can't handle the change?" "What if I fail?" "What if I don't like the change?" "What if this?" "What if that?"

So yeah...if every one live their lives filled with "What ifs", I don't suppose we'd be able to boast today about having had man walk on the moon, would we? You either do or you don't. If you sit around and conjure up imaginary "What if" scenerios, then someone else who's in "ready to go" mode will simply overtake you.

When that happens, or when the opportunity passes you by without you taking any action because of your hestitation, then you're left with yet another pair of useless words that should also never have been allowed together:

"If only"

Monday, 22 October 2007

Birthday feast!

We were celebrating Ivy's "25th" birthday yesterday. It wasn't a wild party since it was Sunday, but we did have a very "hyggelig" time, as one would say in Danish. The closest word in the English language for that would be "cosy", but as most Danes will argue, "hyggelig" is more than just "cosy".

Ivy had cooked us what felt like a hundred course dinner! You can see all the food she had prepared in the 1st picture below. We were around 13 people all in all, so we did manage to eat up most of the food like a pack of hungry wolves.

Ivy's boyfriend actually owns a farm in Jutland. No, he's not the farmer from the "Old MacDonald had a farm" song, since he's actually young, tall, handsome and Danish - totally opposite of Old MacDonald, whom I'd imagine to be old as his name suggests, scrubby-looking, and definitely Scottish. Much like this guy below:

Anyway...what I wanted to say was that if I could choose to be an animal, I'll choose to be an eagle. It's such a majestic bird, plus I like that it can fly. However, I'll also be willing to be a cow on Esben's and Ivy's farm if it means that I can get to eat a LOT of good food from Ivy's kitchen to fill up my 4 stomachs ;o). I'll have 1 stomach for starters, 1 stomach for main course, 1 stomach for dessert part (a), and 1 stomach for dessert part (b).

In return, I'll make sure to produce 4 kinds of milk - full cream, skim, chocolate and strawberry ;o). Tell me, which cow can offer such a good deal???

Ok, ok...I should stop daydreaming... . Here are the pics from yesterday!

Wouldn't you want to be a cow too, after looking at all this food??? Click to see mouth-watering details.

As you can see, VERY happy chompers!

Japanese/Korean-style of eating.

Wagma and me.

Prezzies time!

Martin and my gift to the birthday girl.

More prezzies... .

And yet more prezzies... .

Isn't she cute?

Looking on excitedly.

Daddy and baby girl.

My Mickey Mouse ice-cream. What? Why are you judging me? I already told you I have dessert part (a) and dessert part (b)! I did give one of my Mickey ears to Shi Hua, though... .

Satisfied cows.

Ivy and her cowboy. So sweet... :o).

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Ivy once again! May you stay young and beautiful ALWAYS!

Fire season

Autumn is definitely here now. The leaves on the trees are no longer green, the birds are no longer singing their songs in the morning, and the sun may be shining it's fire on us but it's not burning us 1 bit.

Yes...autumn. It's a cold season, but oh the colours are beautiful! Orange, yellow, red. How ironic that it makes you think you are standing in the midst of a huge fire, but yet you need your coat, gloves, hat, scarf and boots on.

The front of our apartment

The ground will soon be covered in all those fiery leaves. So fun to kick them around when they pile up ;o)! Good we don't have a garden, though. I mean, I like kicking them around and making the leaves fly around me as I walk on the path, but I definitely don't like sweeping them up ;o). I'll leave that to our care-taker.

Hmm...I wonder if he will come after me with his rake if I kick a tempting pile of leaves which he has so painstakingly sweep aside... . I guess I should find out first if he is a teddy bear kind of guy, or a Snoop Dogg kind of guy, who is apparently going to rake leaves as part of his community service after pleading guilty to a felony weapons charge... . I don't think I'll want to mess with a guy who might have more than a rake as a weapon, if you know what I mean... .

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Denmark vs Latvia: 3-1

Last Saturday, the score against Spain was with the same numbers, except that Denmark had 1 goal and Spain had 3. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for Denmark's qualification to the UEFA EURO 2008 finals? With just 2 games left to play and the need to win both, plus the need for Spain to lose both their games (highly improbable), it would seem that the light at the end of the tunnel is just an oncoming train... .

I was at the national stadium, Parken, yesterday to watch the Denmark-Latvia match. I would not have gone if my ticket was not for free. Though the match ended well with a win and a total of 4 goals, the atmosphere at the stadium was not that intense. Fans wanted a rampage of goals, we wanted to see a better effort from the team (the 1st Danish goal was from a penalty shot anyway), we wanted to see a fighting spirit....but alas! It seemed like the Danish national football team were playing like they belonged to the female cheerleading squad... .

I feel for the Danes... . Of course, I'd like Denmark to qualify for the finals next year, but come to think of it, Sweden and Spain deserve to go through in this group more than the rest. Sorry Danish readers....but if I want to see an exciting Uefa Euro 2008 with all the best teams against each other, then I'd rather have Spain playing than Denmark ;oP.

Oh well, if Denmark doesn't manage to go through, at least my favourite team Portugal is pretty much through already :o). And IF Denmark, by some miracle, manages to go through, then I hope that the history of Euro 2002 will repeat itself :o).

17 NOV will be "Judgement Day" for Denmark's Euro 2008 hopes... . Good luck to the team!

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Black and white

Hmm...the multicolour eyes were actually a mistake, but then I saw how cool they were, so I decided to keep that mistake anyway... .

Looks like a portrait painting, huh? Well, it's nothing compared to what this guy did:

Had the above portrait made in Barcelona in 1999. It was made "live", so I had to sit there in front of him for a good 2hrs! And not just sit, but sit still too! I was afraid to move because...what if that had caused him to make mistakes? My portrait would then end up looking something like this:

So yeah, I had to sit really still, and eventually, people started crowding around us to see the work in progress. I'm sure they liked his talent a lot, because the minute I got up from the chair after his work of me was completed, a guy quickly took over my "hot spot" before anyone else could... .

I just hope that Russian artist was able to get some lunch before he started on another 2hr straight of concentrated work, since it was already past noontime when he completed mine. But yeah, he was very talented indeed... . One can tell by the way he drew out the eyes... .

Friday, 12 October 2007

The Night of Culture

Today is the 15th year of "Kulturnatten" (The Night of Culture) in Copenhagen. It's supposed to be the night for everyone to get in touch with the Danish culture, therefore, museums, parliment buildings, churches, libraries, some shops, etc are opened until midnight for visitors. Of course, this means that the whole of Copenhagen's residents (and beyond) come together at once.

I don't know....it's a great concept to have 1 night set aside to absorb Danish culture, but I don't like crowds too much. It's just too stressful squeezing in-between people, not being able to get in the bus because it's full and nobody gets out, queuing up for longer than usual to get in somewhere, not being able to eat out because restaurants are fully booked (and then you'll probably have to wait forever before your food comes)... . Oh, plus that it's really cold now in Denmark, so it's not that fun walking around outdoors while you're shivering... .

So I guess you can say that I'm not a very cultural person. But then again, if someone does not celebrate Valentine's Day because of all the over-hype on that 1 "day of romance", does that make him/her less loving than those who do?

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Photoshop fun

I've been busy the last couple of days with Photoshop; trying out new things, experimenting, following various tutorials, etc. I'm still a beginner, but I do learn fast so I hope to be fairly good and comfortable with Photoshop by the end of the year ;o). This wasn't a 2007 New Year's resolution or anything, but hey, we need to set goals for ourselves every now and then, right? So why do it only on 01 JAN?

Anyway, the below are some experiments I've been doing... . They're not perfect, but I'm working on it ;o).


I made the fire background myself completely from scratch :o). Am not too happy with the wannabe fiery words, though. Kinda messed up on them a bit, but didn't bother to correct them. Part of the learning process anyway.


I'm really proud of this one :o). Had also made it completely from scratch, and it looks pretty darn good in my opinion ;o). Not perfect, but good... . Go ahead and click on it :o).

A much better fiery text... .

Anyway...as you can see, I like playing with fire ;o). I'm going to go experiment some more now. At least this mad "scientist" cannot blow up her lab. Muahaaha... . Hmm...I hope my laptop is "fireproof" though.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Culture shock, Denmark

Every country has similarities and differences, and you get to see this more as a resident in the new country than as a tourist. There's not much to say about the similarities, but boy do you take notice of the differences, some of which may even be shocking!

I'll try to list a few of the culture shocks I had when I first came to Denmark to live. It's been more than 10 years now, so I might not remember them all since you do tend to accept some of them eventually, or at least get used to them.

Please realise that my list is based on my comparisons against my own culture in Singapore and my own experiences. Someone else might have a different list, so there's no "right or wrong" in this, only what's different.

In no particular order:

1. Definition of an "invitation".

In Singapore, when a friend invites me over to her place for dinner, I am not expected to pay for the food (or anything else). I remember the first dinner invitation I had from a Danish ex-classmate. I accepted the invitation (together with other classmates), and towards the end, someone was going around collecting money on behalf of the host as part of the contribution towards the food! Was I shocked? Oh yes - it was definitely a first for me.

My mum had a similar incident happen to her. She was invited to a birthday dinner for a friend's husband together with 2 others, and at the end of the meal, the bill was divided amongst them. So on top of buying a gift for the birthday man, she had to pay for the meal, cake, and drinks too!

Conclusion: it is possible in Denmark to have a BIG party, invite 100 friends, and make your guests pay for it at the end of the fantastic, extravagent party. Thing is, I'll have no problem with this as a guest, but on 1 condition: that I am informed of any costs before I accept the invitation, not after.

2. Casual wear at the office

1 hot summer day in 1997, I arrived at work as usual, and for the 1st time in my young working life, I saw a Danish male colleague approaching the fax machine wearing.....BERMUDAS!!! Somethimg like this:

I almost fainted on the spot, and I wasn't even the general manager! However, since he came to work in bermudas again the next day, I slowly accepted the fact that this was an appropriate office attire in Denmark when we do not meet face-to-face with our customers... .

It has therefore been very normal now for me to come to work in jeans any day of the week if I wanted. There is of course some kind of limit, such as no bikinis, no hot pants, no pyjamas/nightgowns, no low-cut/revealing clothing ;o). And when we are expecting special visitors, we do dress a bit more formally for the occasion... .

Conclusion: I'm definitely not going back to Singapore to work!

3. Lunch time at work

In Singapore, lunch time usually lasts 1 hour, whereby you tend go out of the office together with your colleagues to eat at a food court or hawker center nearby, maybe do a bit of shopping if you still have time, and then go back to the office to continue working.

Not here in Denmark. My first day at work was a bit expensive, considering that I was still doing my internship without pay. I didn't really know when lunchtime really was, but eventually, I became hungry.

Me: "So...where do we go to get lunch?"

Colleague: "Hmm...what would you like to eat?"

Me: "Something quick, I guess...since we only have ½hr."

Colleague: "There's a café close by selling sandwiches." (she proceeds to give me directions).

Me: "Aren't you going to eat lunch too?"

Colleague: "Yes, but I brought my own lunch :o)."

Fair enough. I went out on my own to get lunch, which turned out to be a boring club sandwich that costed around 40 DKK (S$10)!!! Hence, I understood why nobody really went out to eat lunch together during lunchtime, and chose instead to bring their own lunch box to work. Plus, going out to eat with just ½hr to do so can be kinda stressful.

Next day at lunchtime:

Me: "Where's the microwave oven?"

4. Unmarried couples with kids

Unheard of in Singapore, and in all parts of Asia for that matter. But here, it's not unusual at all for live-in girlfriends and boyfriends to be parents of their kids without seeing the need to get married... . Those who do eventually get married after they have kids usually do so just to make life a bit easier in society (paperwork with schools, muncipality, etc, etc).

I won't make any judgements on this; just pointing out that this was a culture shock for me upon living here... .

5. Bicycles as a means of transportation

Nothing shocking about that, except when I found out that my ex-manager herself rode a bicycle to and from work! Now that's shocking, because in Singapore, managers usually drive around in their cars, so riding a bicycle to and from work was like many steps backward in the transportation chain.

In fact, it is very normal to see men in nice suits riding on their bicycles. I thought that was funny at first, but I don't even blink an eye now when I see such a thing.

Conclusion: the bicycles do not care who's riding on it, so why should we ;o)?

UPDATE! (25 October 2007)

6. Showering naked openly with strangers, friends, family, colleagues, etc.

I would say, this was 1 culture shock that has taken me a very long time to get over / used to. The 1st time I went swimming in the public swimming halls here in Copenhagen, I was speechless and embarrassed when I entered the ladies changing room. NAKED WOMEN WALKING ALL AROUND!!! If I were a guy, I would be speechless and salivating, but as an Asian girl from a very conservative culture, I wasn't sure if I should look at these women and pretend that they had clothes on, or if I should just look at the ground and avoid eye contact, or if I would be allowed to stare at their boobs and butts to compare and contrast... .

That was just a minor problem, though. The BIG problem was, should I strip like them too? I mean, I could just leave my clothes on and change into my swim suit privately in a toilet cubicle, but showering was a major obstacle. There were NO PRIVATE SHOWER CUBICLES! Everyone showered together in their birthday suits! I didn't even shower with my mum for all of my bodily developed life, let alone with total strangers! And after swimming, you usually want to shower. What a dilemma it was for me.

In the end, I did shower of course, but with my swim suit on. I was definitely the most overdressed girl there. There was 1 Christmas party at work where we had aerobics 1st, and eventually when we all had to hit the showers, it became showtime because that was the 1 time where all of us female colleagues got to see each other's "feminine assets". Also my manager's! No swim suits to hide behind in, that time.

But yeah...it was only around 2 years ago that I started to be a bit more open (pun intended) to this culture. I'm still not 100% comfortable with it, but at least we're only females in there...and ok, small boys too with their mothers.

And for you males out there: it's not exactly "heaven" in the female changing room. I'm sure you all have some kind of fantasy of "accidentally" entering the female changing room and being surrounded by beautiful naked women who look up at you and gasp in initial shock, but instead of chasing you away, they tell you to please come in and help them rub cream all over their soft bodies or something pornographic like that.

Seriously, stop dreaming. Not all women have beautiful naked bodies. I'm surprised that only a handful of women look sexy when they're naked - the majority either have very visible cellulite, out of proportioned bodies, bulging tummies, flat behinds, funny looking boobs, wrinkly skin, or a mixture of two or more of these. Don't believe the magazines or Hollywood. These days, Photoshop and whatever other editing programmes you can get your hands on can really do magic.

I guess that's probaby why it's illegal to walk around naked in public. Most of us women look better with our clothes on, trust me.

Anyway...I think I'll stop this list here. Not easy for me to think of anymore culture shocks after getting used to a lot of the differences here by now. I'll need to talk to newcomers to Denmark and hear what shocked them when they first arrived here in order to get my memory refreshed a bit ;o).

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Facebook - connecting people

I suppose most of you up-with-the-times people are already "in tuned" with this Facebook craze, but I only started becoming a member just about a month ago after receiving an invitation from a friend. I'm a rather passive member, though. I keep getting invitions to join this social utility and that social utility and usually, I just oblige, create a profile and then forget all about it.

I realised how "behind in the times" I was with Facebook when I took a peak in my 17 year old sister, Claudia's, profile and saw that she's been a member of it since March!!! But then again, we working adults have more important things to do with our time like ruling the world than putting up active profiles in Facebook ;o). Students have too much time - they should be given more homework and assignments!!! *evil laugh* Hmm...maybe their teachers are active Facebook members too, that's why... .

Anyway, despite that I am not a very active member on Facebook, I must say that it really does connect people as it claims to do... . I have recently reconnected with 3 Singaporean ex-classmates and an ex-lecturer from my tourism management class whom I had lost touch with at least 7 years ago! We used to hang out quite a lot together before when I was still in Singapore, but over the years after I moved to Denmark, email changed, mobile numbers changed, contact information got lost...and I had often wondered how they're doing and had wished I could meet up again with them whenever I touchdown in Singapore.

Thanks to Facebook, we're reconnected again :o). 2 of them are now married, 1 of them is a new father and 1 is based in Shanghai. Yeah, a lot of things can happen in 7 years... .

Anyway...I've been a bit more active in Facebook the last few days because of my reconnection with these friends. Will see how long this novelty will last for me, though. I kinda prefer my blog , so if I get too active on Facebook, that would mean less time in my blogosphere... .

For my readers who are already my friends on Facebook, I apologise if I don't send back flowers or chocolates or whatever else that can be sent via Facebook to you guys... . All the applications there are quite overwhelming....and I kinda prefer my "book" not to get too cluttered so I don't always add the application in order to send back stuff ;o). I try to now and then, but I tend to mostly just stick to wall posts and messages in my in-box. I know, I'm a really boring member/friend. Go ahead and sue me ;oP.