What to eat in New Zealand (South Island)

I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT IT HAS BEEN MORE THAN ONE MONTH SINCE I’M BACK FROM MY TRIP TO NZ!

Where did time go? Well, although one month has passed, I am still thinking fondly of that beautiful country. I had such a lovely time there, enjoying the crisp spring air and majestic mountains and lakes in NZ’s South Island. I think I may take some time to blog my trip itinerary down but it’s ok, I think I will blog about food first! So, people often wonder what they should eat in NZ. Is it going to be fish & chips all the way? Well, here are some recommendations!

1) Fergburger, Queenstown

Just try their classic – The Fergburger (NZ$11.50) and you will be an advocate! The lettuce and patty were so fresh, the aioli sauce so tasty and the burger buns so pillowy soft, I wondered “What food sorcery is this?” The burger was amazing. I wolfed the whole burger down on my own. Good thing is this burger shop opens till the wee hours of the morning. 

2) Taco Medic, Queenstown

At NZ$7 per taco, this is a hearty meal if you order 2. I ordered The Bushman (recommended by the staff) and The Stockman. Both were delicious but I personally prefer The Stockman. This meal is awesome when you sit at the lakefront and enjoy the sunset while eating.

3) Eden Alley (Korean food), Riccarton, Christchurch 

Riccarton is unofficially known as Chinatown of Christchurch due to its large Asian migrant communities. DR and I had our Airbnb stay for 2 nights around this area. Recommended by our Korean hosts, we trooped down to Eden Alley for some Korean food… The weather was cold so we needed soup to warm our tummy. And little did we know we would return again for the 2nd time because their oxtail and beef ribs clear broth (NZ$18) was sooooo awesome! I also enjoyed their kimchi jiggae (NZ$15). These soups came with rice and side dishes. Price-wise, I dare say that it is much more affordable than some Korean restaurants in Singapore! 

4) Kohan Japanese Restaurant, Lake Tekapo

Sushi. With a view. Of the gorgeous, oh-so-blue Lake Tekapo. Enough said. The Lake Tekapo Roll you see in this picture costs NZ$17. The portions are huge and I enjoyed having some rice, after eating steak, chips and burgers for the past many days. You can skip the sashimi (NZ$15) though because there is nothing special to shout about. There are better ones with decent portions in Singapore. 

5) Creme Brulee fudge at The Remarkable Sweet Shop, Queenstown

Sorry, no picture of the fudge but I find it interesting that the Kiwis like fudge. Fudge is soooo sweet but I understand people usually enjoy eating it with tea or coffee, like a dessert. I thought others might not like it due to its saccharine sweetness, so I only bought one. Never did I know the creme brulee fudge (NZ$6.80 per slice) would grow on me. I really enjoyed it after I brought it back to Singapore. The Remarkable Sweet Shop sells nougats too. I bought the nutty one which I gave to my mom. 

So, this is the introduction for now. I will add more to this list when I have some time. Hope this post has been useful if you are planning for your trip to beautiful NZ (:

Another eventful day

It is highly unlikely that one will meet with a terrorist attack when living in Singapore. Just like a plane crash, while the probability of being killed in a terrorist attack is low (unless you are living in conflict-torn areas, but that’s another story), the impact is catastrophic if it happens.

To me, losing a loved one in terrorist attacks was distant, until last year and today. I see it on TV or read them in the newspapers, but I will never imagine that it can be possible. This possibility drew so close, when my sister was due to land in Paris ALONE, the day after the Paris attacks on 13 Nov 2015 and right now, she is staying near the downtown sites of the Jakarta blasts that happened this afternoon. Two times – so close to a terrorist attack! I will never want to imagine the consequences should this – losing loved ones in a terrorist attack – happen.

This is when we learn how to trust in God when our lives seem so fragile. Much as we want to protect our loved ones, we know their (and our) lives are not what we can control. But our sovereign God, who is ever-present, is a great “I AM”, whom we can trust and take refuge in. We rely on His promises that His protection will be around when we call upon Him, just like in Old Testament, when God delivered Israel from harm during the Egyptian exodus.

I look to my mom as my role model during this time of uncertainty. While she worries, I can sense that she is collected and did not ask for hourly updates about my sister when the Jakarta blasts happened. There is an inner peace within her, knowing that God will protect. I believe having Sarah based there in Jakarta with ZH for the next 2 to 3 years is a worrying thing for my mom, but I trust that God will give us the peace from above, and reveal to us that He is our strength and protection.

 

 

8 things I’m thankful for

8 days of 2016 have passed. 2015 whizzed by, and here I am in year 2016. Wow.

2015 has been an eventful year – both for the good and bad. But God has been so gracious to me that amidst the bad, I have been blessed with so many good things. Here are 8 things I am thankful for in 2015:

1. Deren graduated. Sanity restored for him, and for me. We could finally go overseas, head to weekend movies, watch tv dramas at night, and not worry about incomplete assignments.

2. My new house. Remember my post almost 3 years ago (check it out here)? I was still thinking about it and now, here I am, living in it. I love chilling in my house on evenings, sitting beside my window and gazing out to the peaceful park and flowing river. I love nature, and I believe Heaven would be so full of flowing rivers and green pastures. So the view outside my window is like a tiny, little glimpse into eternity in Heaven.

image

Relaxing at my reclining sofa, admiring the calm evening outside

3. My mommy and sister. They have been such great help in easing me into my new house. I suffered terrible adjustment issues when I first moved. I doubted my abilities to manage a household and felt completely at a loss when it came to household chores and handling of bills. I didnt know how to cook, the appropriate detergent or cleaner to buy etc. Basically, I felt dumb and helpless. It was darn scary, I tell you. Worse still, I had to separate from my mom whom I have depended so much on for all my 28 years. This means, no more home-cooked food and cleaning my own house *bawls. I dunno how to do it* but, thankfully my mom and sister stepped in and helped to buy many household products to settle us in, cleaned our house and bought pretty bowls and decor to bring cheer to the house. Now, my mom comes over every other week to help us iron our clothes and cook dinner for us before she goes off for work in the afternoon. For that, I’m really, really thankful.

4. My new workplace. Someone told me that when you dread going to work every day, it means it’s time to leave. Leaving, it was, from the job I had for the past 5 years and one that I no longer found joy in. In fact, I sometimes woke up feeling nauseous last time. I was amazed how God opened paths so smoothly and quickly for me to go to my new workplace. There are new challenges in this new place, but having gone through the heat at my last workplace for the past 2 years (late-night rushing of major papers to fault-finding, perfectionist bosses; piled-up projects that were waiting to get started and never-ending work), I feel that these challenges are not as daunting.

5. My parents’ health. I thank God for watching over them and keeping them safe. Because they do not have any major health issues, I can concentrate on managing my work and personal life. I pray that they will continue to be healthy and enriched through God’s Word. Gotta admit, now that I moved out, I go back home about once every 2 weeks (as the other week is spent at Deren’s parents’ home), and darn, I miss my house and the comfort of being with my parents. I realise time is limited with them. So I do want to spend more time with my parents.

6. My friends – JC gal pals and C Girls. They kept me sane and human. They were understanding when I told them I felt too tired to meet up due to work. They allow me to be who I am, and cheered me on when I was going through a loooong rough patch last year.

7. My Nainai’s recovery after hospitalization. My nainai had a pacemaker inserted near her collarbone late last year. Thank God she recovered relatively well, but I really do hope I can help her more to ease her daily life in her twilight years.

8. God. I was torn down, ripped to the core of my identity, both at work and in my serving in church last year. DR said I probably was going through depression last year. But on hindsight, I believe God allowed it so that my identity could be rebuilt, rooted in Christ Jesus and not on my own supposed abilities. I remembered the many tears I cried, on Sundays during church, at home.. Oh, they still bring tears to my eyes as I think back on those days last year. God was so good, because He helped me up and sent so many different angels to encourage me in different ways, including healing me through the Pixar movie, ‘Inside Out’. For this, I am thankful that when I realise I had nothing, I still had God. He was and is really all I need.

So yes, this sums up the 8 things I am thankful for last year. Onward to 2016!! Can’t wait for the 1st exciting thing to happen in 2016 – our trip to Taipei in February!! And I will make Trip NZ happen soon, preferably by this year…must save $$.

Hello again!

Hello there!

I’m going to breathe a little life to my blog. So much has happened since I last blogged.

I moved to my new house. Travelled to Seoul. Survived 2 iterations of this super stressful work paper (but now, praise God, it’s getting some headway). Survived heaps of work and organising of meetings. Celebrated SG50. Voted in the General Elections where all the seats were contested. Settled the spring-cleaning of Nainai’s room so that she can recuperate better after her surgery earlier this month. Turned 28. Learnt how to cook some simple dishes and wash the toilet.

Wow. Thank you, God. You make me realise that I’m blessed because of You, because of who You are and not because of what I can do.

The lessons I faced this year were painful, but I’m so thankful that God placed his angels around me to encourage me when I was down in the pits.

Really thank God for my family, my sis and my mom for being such a great help when I first moved in to my new place. I had difficulty adjusting to living on our own, and felt so sad then, when I went back to my 娘家 (literal translation: mother’s home) and had to leave to return to my new home. I realise how dependent I was towards my mom and truly, it was a struggle to be away from her. It didn’t help that i was also facing one of my stressful periods at work. But yup, survived that, and now I manage things a little better on my own.

I thank God for being my strong anchor when so many things were changing.

To end off, let me share this Psalm from the Bible that brought healing to my bones:

‘Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord , “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord , “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 91:1-16 NIV

The keys are here!

I am getting the keys of our new flat in a couple of days.

Congratulations to myself and DR. 🙂

My wisdom tooth surgery with local anaesthesia

I had a wisdom tooth surgery about 2 days ago, and was given 5 working days of MC. So here I am, having a little luxury of time to blog down my experience. By recording this experience, I hope that it will be useful to those who want to find out more about wisdom tooth surgery procedures using local anaesthesia, and hopefully, lessen the uncertainties and fear of it.

My wisdom tooth surgery was supposed to happen in late January/early February when the throbbing headaches and jaw pain came early this year. But due to work/church commitment schedule, it was arranged to be in end February. Thankfully, the doctor gave me antibiotics to tide me over the pain period. But the pain came back over the CNY. Although surgeries are not something I anticipate or enjoy, I was actually looking forward to my wisdom tooth surgery to finally rid myself of the excruciating pain and painkiller popping.

Choosing a doctor

I went to Popular Dental Clinic (Woodlands) and Dr Kenneth Lee was my wisdom tooth surgeon. I specifically requested a male doctor as I believe that males have more physical strength to pull out my infected and impacted tooth. Since the surgery was to be done with local anaesthesia (meaning, I will be fully awake to feel the tugging of the tooth, the sound of drilling and cracking URGH!), having physical strength to get the impacted tooth out without too much tugging was imperative!

Here’s an approximate timeline of what happened:

2.20pm: I reached the clinic and was greeted with the receptionists’ warm smiles. They got me to fill up forms of my medical history and ensure that I have sufficient monies in my Medisave account to settle the wisdom tooth surgery.

2.35pm: Went into the dental room and saw Dr Lee and his dental assistant, a motherly looking lady. She helped to get the X-ray imaging of my mouth done in a separate small room. It was over in less than 5 minutes.

2.40pm: After the X-ray imaging, Dr Lee gave me a detailed explanation of my wisdom tooth situation, how he was going to remove it, and went through the risks involved in the surgery, including the possibility of long-term or permanent damage of the jaw nerves. Thankfully, from the X-ray image, my jaw nerves are rather separate from my gums = lower chance of the nerves being injured by the pulling and tugging of the impacted tooth. I also found out that I had to: 1) Find another time to mend the tooth in front of my impacted tooth, where the old filling had been chipped off by the impacted tooth; and 2) Remove the right-hand side of my wisdom tooth with another surgery (WHAAATT)!

2.45pm: Signed the paper acknowledging that the doc had gone through the procedures with me and that I was aware of the risks involved. I was given a pair of tinted googles to wear (probably to protect me from seeing those big, bad dental tools) as I lay down on the dental chair.

2.50pm: Given 5 jabs of anaesthesia to my gums (and tongue area, I think). The usual was about 3 to 4 but Dr Lee said that my tooth was quite badly infected, so I needed more anaesthesia to numb the area. The injections were not a walk in the park. Every time the needle went in, I could feel the sharp, sourish tinge to my gum. Shoulders tensed, I just closed my eyes and winced. Dr Lee was nice – before every jab, he would say, “Sorry for the pain”, counted to 3, told me to take a deep breath before injecting the anaesthesia into my gums. Dr Lee’s small, assuring act really helped make the injections more bearable. He also made sure that the left-side of my mouth was completely numb by prodding my gums with some dental tool (this was how I got my 5th jab as I could still feel some sensation of the dental tool after the 4th jab). After the 5th jab, I lay there for about 3 to 5 minutes to allow the anaesthesia to take effect. For those who are not sure how numbness is like, your mouth is supposed to feel tingly, just like how your numb legs feel when you have been sitting in an awkward position.

3pm: With the left-side of my mouth fully numbed, the surgery proceeded. Dr Lee told me that if I felt any other further pain midway the op, I could raise my left hand so that he could inject my gums with more anaesthesia if necessary. Dr Lee was supposed to saw off the top part of my tooth before cracking my tooth into 2 parts to remove the roots. Before every move, he would prime me what to expect, like how I would hear a drilling sound, or that he was going to start with the cracking. I could feel and hear the full glory of the pressure, drilling and cracking of the tooth, but I just closed my eyes to stop myself from imagining nasty things were being done in my mouth. After every move, Dr Lee would tell me to rest my mouth for a while (by closing it). When Dr Lee speaks to me, he would do it in English and to his dental assistant, Chinese. This was how I differentiated the instructions he gives to me and his assistant during the op.

3.25pm: The drilling, the cracking, the tugging, the holding down of my jaw. I felt Dr Lee trying his best to yank out my tooth and his breathing was getting a little heavier. My body was tensed. As my tooth was quite badly infected, I was afraid that more pain might come. Dr Lee mentioned before the op that there might be a need to do another anaesthetic jab if the earlier jabs were not sufficient to penetrate deep into the gums. I prayed and asked God to help me go through this successfully.  Suddenly, I felt that Jesus was beside me, hovering above me and He said, “You are my child, I will not let anything happen to you. You will be ok.” With that, I immediately felt my body loosening itself. And then, came the last yank. Dr Lee declared, “Your wisdom tooth is out!”

3.30pm: Dr Lee asked me to close my mouth to rest again. He then prepared the stitches. I felt the thread at the side of my mouth when he was stitching the wound up, but thankfully, I didn’t sense the needle poking me.

3.35pm: Stitches done. Dr Lee stuffed a gauze into my wound and asked me to bite down hard to stop the bleeding. He told me of the medication that he was going to give me. I was to pop the antibiotics, anti-swelling medication and Panadol as soon as I got home. He gave me a strong painkiller too, but told me to take it an hour and a half later as I had earlier in the afternoon taken Ibuprofen (another painkiller) before the op, and that could not be taken together with this strong painkiller. Dr Lee showed me my badly decayed, bloody wisdom tooth too. It was grrrrooooosssssss! I asked to keep it.

3.40pm: Went out of the dental room and waited for the receptionists to prepare the medicine for me. After explaining again the dosage of my medication, they also told me how I should take care of my wound after the op. I was asked specifically not to use a straw to drink, or rinse, or gargle as these actions might cause the bloodclot in my wound to not form properly. They prepared a sheet of post-op advice which I felt was useful as a reference. I also arranged a date with the clinic to remove my stitches.

3.45pm: Left the clinic and popped by a nearby supermarket to purchase my own Panadol, some yogurt and juice as food.

4.15pm: Got home and rested!

Really thank God for bringing me through this surgery, and arranging a good doctor. Kudos to Dr Lee and the dental clinic team for their professionalism!

 

44

I am weighing my lightest to date. Yep, that’s right, ever since I hit puberty and shot to a height of 1.59m, I was never less than 45 kg. But in the last month, I lost 3 kg and now weigh 44 kg. I knew that I was eating less as work had been intense for the past 4 to 6 months (there’s always something to do and rush for) but I never knew I could lose 3 kg but just like that.

Anyway, I have been trying to eat more to regain the nutrients and weight I have missed out. It doesn’t feel good to know that you have dropped in weight so suddenly. I don’t think it’s healthy.

I need to take better care of myself. Time to stock up on cereals and fruits in office.

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