Take me to the Circus!

Last night, D, D’s mom, D’s brother, and I went to see Cirque de Soleil’s “Kooza” playing at our local stomping grounds. It was a fantastic show, surely worth the price of admission. I had been to Cirque’s performance at “O” at the Bellagio a couple years ago but this one was totally different. We all piled into a giant circus tent and were heartily entertained by clowns, contortionists, musicians and acrobats.

When these guys came out, my first impression was, "Okay, a guy on a unicycle and a pretty girl to dance around him." Clearly I was wrong. They flipped and turned and leaped...all while balancing on a unicycle. Snap judgment retracted.

I've always been fascinated by contortionists. These ones did not disappoint. As D mentioned, I'd love to see those spinal x-rays!

And if there were any lingering doubts about the legitimacy of these guys, I can contest (after seeing a guy nearly fall off the wire) this is the real deal, folks.

Fortunately, I was not recruited to join the crew at the end of the show but it was a great way to spend a Sunday evening nonetheless.

All images sourced from Cirque de Soleil.


Mid-Autumn Festival

One of the great things about D and I being from such diverse backgrounds is that we can celebrate different holidays that we may otherwise not partake in. Yesterday, for me, that holiday was the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Otherwise known as the Moon Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival is an important Chinese holiday celebrated every year to commemorate the end of summer harvesting. It is a time for families and friends to gather in reunion. People may hang or carry bright coloured lanterns, burn incense or fire dragon dances. The festival has dated back over 3000 years and parallels the autumn equinox when the moon is the biggest, roundest and brightest.

D’s family and I all gathered to admire the bright harvest moon (albeit through the blinds and in the comfort of their living room). While there were no lanterns or dragon dances, we did enjoy a meal of char sui (barbequed pork) and nibbled on on lycee, longan, and plums. Apparently pomelos are also popular choices but we didn’t have any of those on hand.

Another treat shared among family and friends during the Mid-Autumn Festival is moon cakes. Now my experience with them has been quite limited. For those of you who don’t know, moon cakes are made up of a thin pastry-like crust filled with thick lotus seed paste (or another variety) and contain the yolk/s of salted duck eggs which are supposed to represent the full harvest moon. Moon cakes are considered an indispensable delicacy. D’s family loves them.

The problem is that I had, in fact, tried them once before and strongly disliked them. The potent saltiness of the duck egg combined with the sweetness of the dense lotus filling is just too foreign for my western taste buds. It is definitely an acquired taste. But I could also recognize and respect how important eating moon cake as a family was integral in celebrating the Mid-Autumn festival. Not doing so would be considered disrespectful.

So I held my breath, popped a piece on the back of my tongue, and after minimal chewing, tried to swallow as much as possible. I wish someone had this on film because despite my efforts to be subtle, I’m sure it was hilarious. In the end I survived, managed to keep it all down, and my eyes only watered for a minute or so.

At the end of the day, I was grateful for the experience, for the opportunity to celebrate a festival on a day that would otherwise be just another Wednesday. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll become accustomed to the taste of the moon cake one day too.


A Hundred Or So Things About Me

  1. I am a Designer in a large energy company based in Canada.
  2. I used to work in a photography studio. It was a family business.
  3. My current job requires me to do event photography and portraiture from time to time.
  4. I also take photos in my spare time, mostly when on holidays.
  5. I have a degree in Visual Communication Design with a minor in Psychology.
  6. I use my Psychology minor much more in my life than I had expected to.
  7. My main squeeze, D, is a Radiologist in his fifth (and final) year of residency.
  8. I’m immensely proud of how hard he has worked to get to this point.
  9. I strongly dislike (okay, I’m scared of) needles which he finds quite funny… but in a sympathetic, non-judgmental way.
  10. D and I come from very different backgrounds. He’s Chinese, I’m a mix of English, Irish, Icelandic and Ukrainian. It brings out marvelous contrasts and more than a few humorous moments.
  11. I had no idea what ‘Dim Sum’ was until we went on our first date
  12. Now we can't get enough of the stuff. I love me some char sui bao.
  13. I grew up in a smallish sized town but now am living in a bigger city.
  14. I love to travel. In the past two years I have been to Dallas TX, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Toronto, ON, Washington, DC., Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, London, Paris, Nice, Monaco, Pisa, Florence, Rome*, Vatican City, Bologne, Venice, Austrian Tyrol, Munich, Vienna, Prague, Rhine Valley, Amsterdam and Vancouver, BC.
  15. I spent my entire trip to Rome in a hotel room, violently ill. Seriously, I didn’t see a single site.
  16. I grew up with cats but now just have a Siamese fighting fish named Finn.
  17. D has a small green-cheeked conure (parrot) who can say her name in both Cantonese and English.
  18. I’d love to have a dog one day but not until I have the time to care for it properly.
  19. I prefer big dogs to small dogs.
  20. I rarely drink coffee but I love the smell of it.
  21. When I was a kid I hated the smell of it.
  22. The most common word strangers use to describe me is tall (I’m over 6 feet!).
  23. I was the shortest kid in class when I was in grade six.
  24. I reached my full height at the age of sixteen.
  25. I also wore braces when I was thirteen and fourteen.
  26. I have a lot of awkward yearbook photos.
  27. I love breakfast food, especially waffles.
  28. Yet, I eat the exact same breakfast five days a week (banana sliced in yogurt).
  29. I’m not a very good cook but I love to bake.
  30. I’m going to make a concerted effort to cook new recipes more often.
  31. Last night I made roast chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, salad etc. I know this isn’t much of an accomplishment for many but for me it was pretty huge.
  32. I absolutely hate the taste of raw tomatoes but will gladly eat them cooked in any form.
  33. I can’t eat spicy food – my mouth literally hurts but I love Thai.
  34. I’m borderline obsessed with architecture and interior design.
  35. When my cable network included HGTV in my regular lineup I did a happy dance.
  36. I took dance lessons for thirteen years and taught for four of them.
  37. Unfortunately my knees are in bad shape so I can’t dance much any more.
  38. I’m kind of a germaphobe.
  39. Every time I enter my home I immediately drop everything and go wash my hands.
  40. Fortunately D is exactly the same way.
  41. I would rather ‘hold it’ than use a public washroom.
  42. I also avoid opening doors as much as possible. If I can push the crossbar open with my hip, all the better. A benefit of being tall, I guess.
  43. I’m (secretly) very competitive but prefer to be perceived as non-threatening.
  44. I don’t like playing board games unless there is a very high likelihood that I’ll do well, striking from behind at the last moment, of course.
  45. I also don’t particularly like doing crafts which surprises a lot of people because they may assume designers are artists and artists are crafty. Not so true for me.
  46. I cringe at bad grammar and poor spelling.
  47. My grammar and spelling are far from perfect.
  48. D and I love to watch sports in our spare time.
  49. Football and hockey are my favourite sports.
  50. We have season tickets to this year’s hockey season but probably won’t be able to attend many games as our schedules (mostly D’s) are so crazy.
  51. I am a summer-born baby.
  52. Summer is also my favourite season of the year.
  53. Ironically, I live in a climate where it is freezing cold ¾ of the year.
  54. My feet and hands are perpetually cold.
  55. I love the mountains and the fresh mountain air.
  56. I grew up on the prairies so this is quite a contrast in landscape.
  57. Some of the best ski/snowboarding resorts are only an hour’s drive away from where I live.
  58. But haven’t gone skiing for years (this must change).
  59. Hiking and snowshoeing are also lots of fun.
  60. I have no known allergies.
  61. I’ve never been stung by a bee.
  62. Perhaps I am allergic to bees.
  63. I enjoy reading. This is a post-university development.
  64. I still believe that I am going to be quizzed at the end of a book.
  65. Most of my nightmares are about me being ill-prepared for an exam.
  66. Most people would describe me as a planner.
  67. I can be a bit high-maintenance at times.
  68. I’m fairly self-aware.
  69. I’m not a big risk-taker.
  70. But I did do a 25K mountain bike ride, white water rafted and parasailed off the top of a mountain in less than a 24 hour time span.
  71. These were all firsts for me.
  72. I think skydiving would be much less terrifying than bungee-jumping (something about that spring back makes my bones turn to jelly)
  73. I get extremely motion sick, even on short distance car rides.
  74. I’ve never been sick on a roller coaster and can ride it 10x over (go figure).
  75. I like to sing but rarely in public.
  76. I played the piano and flute as a kid but couldn’t read sheet music.
  77. I ‘faked it’ by playing by ear. Eventually they caught on and I quit.
  78. D, on the other hand, has is ARCT in piano and played with the philharmonic orchestra.
  79. I am right-handed but always wished to be left-handed. I thought it looked cooler.
  80. My left-handed friends tell me to be grateful that I’m not because the world is set up for right-handed people.
  81. I’ve never broken a bone.
  82. I did jam my pinky finger once, playing basketball. It is permanently enlarged.
  83. I am not a good basketball player, don’t let the height deceive you.
  84. I met my best friend when we were still in diapers. We lived one block away from each other. She was much better at basketball.
  85. We have remained best friends ever since even though we now live 6 hours apart.
  86. I once bit her for not letting me have a turn on the swing-set. This has been our only fight.
  87. I’m a conflict avoider and can be passive aggressive at times.
  88. This being said, I think I would be a total ‘mother bear’ if necessary.
  89. Sometimes I wish I had the guts to say what I really wanted to.
  90. I have my mom’s emotions.
  91. I have my dad’s composure.
  92. I like to listen to foreign music, even if I don’t understand the lyrics.
  93. My iPhone is currently playing a selection of 150 classic French songs
  94. I’m a Mac geek. Love Apple.
  95. I dislike feet, especially if other people’s feet are near me.
  96. I’ve never had a pedicure but am warming up to the idea.
  97. I chew a lot of gum (sugar free) but nevertheless, it is probably not so great for my teeth.
  98. I love the idea of long mornings but am definitely more of a night person.
  99. I hate not finishing tasks, I’m a bit of a completionist.
  100. I’ll probably re-read this list and edit half of it as time goes by.


An Introduction of Sorts

I’ve never been the kind of girl to keep a journal, profess my undying love in a perfumed letter, or write much more than, “Hope you have a happy birthday” in a greeting card.

I do, however, like to explore new avenues whether it be baking, reading, traveling or sampling the latest and greatest vermicelli bowl down the street. I have varied interests and although I stumble through some of them, I try and let go of my perfectionist tendencies and just have fun. There is so much to experience (both good and bad) and I hope to share some of those adventures here.

Looking forward to the journey and hoping to connect with some great people along the way.

Oh, and the flowers? They’re just a little token of welcome…and who doesn’t like flowers now and then?