Reconnecting With My Birth Story – The Meaningful Dragon

I thank my mom for making Mid-Autumn Festival an extra special day for me. A day she wasn’t worried about how heavily pregnant she was to go out and celebrate the wonderful festival with her loving husband and her little princess right inside her tummy. A day she wasn’t worried about the troubles that may cause her if I decided to see the world on that day. All she wanted was to show me her love by taking me on an adventure to enjoy the spirits of the festival.

The curiosity of seeing what she saw on that day has been haunting me for a long time, but I never take the time to go out and enjoy the spirits of it until this year.

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I was trying to keep my expectation as low as possible, but the beautiful lights from Chinese wreath kept me thinking what would happen as I explored.

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Drum rolling perked up an exciting ambiance while keeping me awake from dreaming too much. Performers all started to entertain us by holding festive lanterns one by one.

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Fire Dragon Dance finally began after much anticipation. The smoke from the Dragon permeated the place while a thousand of people cheered the performance. Photographers ran up and down to capture the perfect moment. The place became much more chaotic than usual, but nothing could stop me from connecting with the Dragon. The Dragon that I saw as my mom – a powerful woman who lights up my life with laughter, love and kindness…whose Chinese horoscope happened to be a powerful Dragon as well…

The dance was short but memorable. People might forget it after some time, but the feelings of it kept growing on me.

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The smell of the smoke, the image of the dragon and the noise of cheering never seemed to fade away until I saw chains of festive lights shining in the darkness. A moment reminded me of the magic of the Universe. There are billions of people in the world, but I was long destined to be the daughter of my loving parents.

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Exploring the place with how proud I was to be their daughter made my adventure truly special. I didn’t know if it was coincidence. The place was somehow decorated with a traditional theme to make me feel as if I traveled back in time when I was still rolling inside my mom’s tummy. Neon signboards with some names that could only be seen back in the day and lanterns designed in a traditional way were presented in front of me all at once. Such a scene added a delighting note to my beautiful memories.

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I thought the delighting scene already wrapped up my night beautifully, but a joyous moment came in suddenly when I saw lion dance lanterns. It was colorful and moving that seemed to celebrate my birth.

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It was also a moment when I seemed to see my mom smiling and crying happily. Holding a fragile little me gently in her arms without forgetting to act as a powerful dragon to protect me from day 1 until now.

*Post note: You all know I already shared my birthday post here on WordPress. Mid-Autumn Festival is actually my lunar birthday. Although I rarely celebrate it, I think it would be amazing to dedicate this post to my parents especially my mom.

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Overwhelming Birthday Love

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I believe I was the luckiest birthday girl. Before my clock was hitting 12am HK time (my official birthday 18th September), a good friend of mine from Sydney already said me happy birthday via whatsapp at 12am Sydney time. Then, I received “red eggs” and red pockets from my mum early in the morning. My birthday blessings had never stopped. In fact, it was just the beginning. I was overwhelmed to receive tons of birthday messages from friends, family, relatives and you guys (my fellow bloggers and Instagram friends). I even got lovely friends doing birthday prayers for me. Can someone pinch my face and tell me it was real?

My lovely friends took me to a popular restaurant later that day. I rarely go to pub/bar/club as I don’t usually drink. Even if I drink, I tend to choose cocktails with a light amount of alcohol. However, I must say the mini bar section of this restaurant looked pretty cool.

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Starting my birthday night with drinking a glass of pineapple infused iced tea. Can you believe that I actually stayed sober on my birthday? πŸ˜€ In fact, I ordered Mojito as my drink at first (I would love to order Virgin Mojito if they have). It tasted nothing like a regular Mojito and all I could taste was alcohol which I wasn’t a fan of. JK insisted to swap the drink with me since it was my birthday. How lucky I was!!! The pineapple infused iced tea didn’t disappoint me at all. It was ice-cold and a bit tangy exactly how I liked it.

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I thought it would be cool to show you some of the food we had that night. However, the color of lighting kept changing a whole night and I wasn’t able to take a good shot of all the food. Well, I guess you already had an idea of what we had by just looking at these few pictures.

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We were very full after having our dinner and it was time for us to enjoy the beautiful view here. Well, I wish they cleaned their windows properly so that you could see how beautiful it was.

Honestly, I was already very happy that they treated me to a nice dinner. But, they decided to make me even happier by giving me a birthday bouquet. I was speechless to see how stunning it was and it even had my favorite white roses in it.

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The most speechless moment came in when they asked the waiter to serve me the most beautiful birthday cake I’ve ever seen. Massive thanks to JK who designed the graphic and got it tailed-made at the cake shop. It was not only beautiful, but it also had wonderful meanings behind it. As they know how much I love traveling, hot air balloon and the globe were especially designed to wish me travel around the world as my job. Honestly, my eyes were getting teary to receive this meaningful birthday cake. I was completely stuck in the moment of awesomeness.

P.S. All the birthday wishes and surprises I received truly made my birthday an unforgettable one. I’m beyond blessed to be spoiled by all of you. My sincere thanks to you all for making me the happiest and luckiest birthday girl!!! ❀

Porto Trip – Part 2

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Waking up in the morning, the first thing I think about usually not my breakfast but lunch. (weird right? lol πŸ˜› ) I’m not a big breakfast person, but I’m a dinosaur when it comes to lunch πŸ˜€ .Β  Being in a western country can be a bit challenging to me sometimes because some smaller restaurants/ cafes only serve sandwiches or burgers. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the taste of sandwiches and burgers. However, I prefer to have either rice or noodles for lunch as I personally find it much more filling.

Being the only girl in a group of gentlemen I worked with, I had the privilege to decide where I wanted to go and eat. Obviously, I took the advantage to choose what I wanted to eat to satisfy my stomach. When I saw rice on the menu, I didn’t even think twice and instantly ordered Portuguese seafood rice. Honestly, I had no idea what Portuguese seafood rice looked like. The portion of it came out way bigger than I imagined. It was soupy, but in a good way. The rice had well absorbed the seafood flavour and I really enjoyed it.

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Apart from the rice, we also ordered octopus to share. In fact, we didn’t plan to order one but couldn’t resistant the temptation by seeing how much others enjoyed their grilled octopus around us. Seriously, it was a simple dish but tasted divine. The chef didn’t season the octopus much, but the freshness of the octopus was the magical element to make it delicious.

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I’m not going to lie…I was already full after having the rice and octopus, but I still wanted to have something sweet to satisfy my greedy stomach. What to do when I didn’t want to order a heavy dessert to put on a few extra pounds just to satisfy my greedy stomach πŸ˜› ? Aha there I found a fresh fruit salad on the menu. (What a perfect solution to accomplish my mission lol!!! πŸ˜€ )

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I was truly a lucky one not only having an awesome opportunity to work with a group of gentlemen, but also being able to enjoy beautiful sunny days throughout my entire trip. Look at that gorgeous blue sky! It made everything look picture perfect.

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Although the clear blue sky was beautiful, Porto Cathedral (SΓ© do Porto) was actually the main attraction we would like to visit on that day. I don’t know about you, but I rarely have a chance to visit Cathedrals in Hong Kong. Cathedrals in Hong Kong aren’t usually opened for sightseeing purpose and therefore I was thrilled to visit the one in Porto.

Porto Cathedral (SΓ© do Porto) was a twin-towered cathedral with Romanesque rootsΒ built in 12th century. It has undergone numerous architectural and design changes overtime, but it didn’t stop visitors from visiting this historic landmark.

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Sorry for the bright lighting! This is the best my Canon Powershot S90 can do :(
Sorry for the bright lighting! This is the best my Canon Powershot S90 can do 😦

A sense of solemnity came in mind when I stepped into the Cathedral. Whatever it was on my mind seemed to fade away, I was simply fascinated by the sophisticated interior and stories behind the Cathedral. Although the Cathedral was too stunning to capture, all I wanted to do was to respect the Cathedral itself and its religious followers by not taking too many photos.

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If you have a chance to visit Porto Cathedral, please make sure not to miss its Gothic cloister. It was covered with blue and white azulejos tiles built in 14th century. Β To be honest, I saw how it looked like on the internet even before travelling to Porto. However, the feelings it gave was complete different when seeing it in person. You probably don’t believe me, but seriously you don’t need exceptional photography skills to make your pictures perfect. It was already beautiful enough to make it picture-perfect for you.

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The Gothic cloister wasn’t the only part worth visiting. When you keep walking along the cloister, you will find there are different small entrances led you to different small rooms where they display various religious items.

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Remember I made a promise to take tons of pictures for you guys before travelling to Porto (hehe i found a photo to prove I did take my promise seriously πŸ˜‰ )

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I couldn’t believe my visit to Porto Cathedral almost came to the end. All I could do was to gaze back and keep this mesmerizing picture in my heart.

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Just came out from the Cathedral, there I found a veranda allowed me to get some suntan while enjoying a gorgeous view from the top.

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Wasn’t it too amazing to see all those orange roofs right underneath you?

Travel Throwback Series – Amsterdam Part 1

JK and I decided to have breakfast to start off our day before heading to see Dutch windmills.

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My oh my! We both didn’t expect the breakfast to be this ginormaous, but glad we managed to finish it at the end πŸ˜€

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Right after having breakfast, we quickly took the train to Zaanse Schans. It is a windmill village (some think it is an open-air museum) perfect for tourists to spend a half-day trip exploring everything traditionally Dutch with iconic windmills, a traditional wooden shoe workshop, a cheese farm and so much more. It only took us 20 minutes to reach there. However, there was something really embarrassing happened Β right before we got off the train. We got used to Hong Kong metro system with door open automatically at each stop, but the train in Amsterdam wasn’t the same at all. We happily prepared ourselves to get off the train once it arrived Zaanse Schans, but we couldn’t figure out why the door didn’t open for us. We just kept staring at the door and wondering why. The time when we found out there was a door opening button, we already missed the stop. How stupid we were!!! We had to get off at the following stop and take the train back eventually πŸ˜›

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Who cares we had such an embarrassing experience? At least we learnt something new, right? πŸ˜€ It was well worth it once we saw the first windmill before entering the village. πŸ™‚

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Once we entered the village, the statue already started playing trumpet for us. How welcoming it was!!! lol πŸ˜›

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Tourists needed to do touristy stuff, right? Of course, we headed to see how cheeses are made. It was very interesting for us especially we Chinese have no idea how cheeses are made πŸ˜€

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I totally admired the wooden shoe maker spending a massive amount of time into making each shoe. ❀ I could imagine how satisfied he was when finishing each shoe.

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I was acting like a child playing peekaboo to break up the serious shoe making atmosphere πŸ˜› I have always been this silly…refuse to grow up lol πŸ˜€

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Being indoor for a while, we had to go out to see some greenery and this scenic place. It was extremely sunny and stunning there, but sadly my camera didn’t do it justice to show the real beauty of Zaanse Schans. 😦

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Look what we found when we wandered the village! How adorable this ice-cream car was! ❀ I was tempted to drive instead of having their ice-cream, but I don’t even have a driver’s license πŸ˜›

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Please excuse my messy hair! It was too windy there, but I just had to ask JK to take a picture of me and windmills together to keep it as a wonderful memory. πŸ™‚

*Thank you PhilΒ Β for suggesting me to post some more photos from my Amsterdam trip! ❀ I seriously wasn’t planning to post it as I didn’t take a lot of photos and JK was busy taking pictures of me. I didn’t want to post pictures of myself only, but I guess it would be fun to share some of it.

Have a beautiful day all my beloved fellow bloggers! πŸ™‚

Day 4 – 5 Day Black & White/ Monochrome Photo Challenge

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About a month ago, my friend and I went to one of favourite spots to chit chat and have some cocktails. It was very cloudy and raining pretty heavily, but glad we could still see a stunning view like this under a terrible weather. The view somehow initiated my thoughts about Hong Kong. I always complain how crowded and polluted Hong Kong is, but I don’t seem to appreciate Hong Kong enough. It may be very crowded. It may be highly polluted. However, it certainly has its own beauty and uniqueness (e.g. the food, the skyscrapers, the diverse cultures, the infrastructure, etc). Instead of complaining, I should focus on the good to generate more positive energies in order to live a happy life. πŸ™‚

Day 3 – 5 Day Black & White/ Monochrome Photo Challenge

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The first time I traveled to Amsterdam, I instantly felt in love with it. I can hardly explain the love I have for this unique place and therefore I created quite a lot of artworks using Amsterdam as the background of my artworks to express my feelings and love. I saw tons of beautiful scenery and architectures there, but nothing could compare to its canals. I remembered when I was sitting on their famous dinner cruise exploring the city, I saw one of the most gorgeous scenes I have ever seen in my life. It was when the canal lights started to light up and its reflections hit the river created one of the most gorgeous abstract arts. It’s 2 years already, but this scene is still stuck in my mind. ❀

Magical Instant Boost

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I always try my best to stay as positive as I can, but I must say I also have one of those days not feeling my best…feeling moody…feeling a bit down…Whenever I encounter such an unpleasant mood attack, I usually take eating as a kind of therapy to cure my mood swing. The day I shot this picture was exactly the day I was feeling a bit down because I wasn’t really happy with my job searching situation. Β So, same as usual I just wanted to eat. I felt like eating fish meat siu mai all of the sudden even I just finished having late lunch not long ago. The moment I stepped outside the train station to go buy siu mai was when the magical moment happened. I saw a marvelous sky doing its dancing show beautifully. Seriously,it has never happened in where I live before. I felt like God has well listened to my inner voice which he knows how much I love beautiful skies and therefore he made it happen to uplift my mood. I’m honestly blessed and grateful for this wonderful gift. It somehow told me no matter how bad the situation can get, there is always something positive waiting for you. πŸ™‚

As promised before, riddle answers will be posted this week. Here it is:

1. Dragon

2. Goat/Ram/Sheep

3. Thermometer

Congratulations to those who got all of them right πŸ˜‰

Unexpectedly Festive

I couldn’t believe I actually went out and celebrated Lantern Festival yesterday as I didn’t like any crowded places. I was very surprised that it wasn’t as crowded as I imagined and it was way more festive than I thought it would be. I felt like having a dream when I was surrounded by all these stunning lanterns. ❀ I guess I shouldn’t talk too much and let you enjoy its beauty. πŸ˜›

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Apart from the lanterns, there was an amazing 3D light show also. Look at the pictures down below πŸ˜‰

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Hope you enjoy this post! πŸ™‚ So sorry that some pictures were looking pretty ugly as it was raining yesterday and I didn’t have a DSLR camera to take pictures with. πŸ˜›

 

 

 

My recent trip to Thailand

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I took a trip to Khao Lak (Thailand) few weeks ago.Β  I’ve been to Thailand twice before, but I’ve never been to Khao Lak. Khao Lak is just an hour something away from the famous location Phuket. After landing, I couldn’t wait to get into the car and go straight to the resort. However, it took me more than an hour to clear the customs before I could step out the airport. Poor driver who picked me up from the airport has waited me for a long time and he could still greet me with a nice smile. πŸ™‚

I couldn’t believe what I saw from the lobby, the pools and everything when I reached the resort. It looked even prettier than what I saw from the website. Everything at the resort was nicely designed with a relaxing vibe. ❀ All the rooms closer to the main pool were pretty much in family style. The other side of the resort was full of villas which were much more laid-back in style. The villa I stayed at Β was absolutely stunning. πŸ˜‰ The interior design was modern without losing its relaxing vibe. Whenever I was in the villa, I just felt like sleeping. I guess it was all because of its comfortable low platform bed. A lot of time I was struggling to decide whether I should go outside or keep hugging my comfy bed. πŸ˜€

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Obviously, I still chose to go outside to explore here and there not to waste a wonderful opportunity to see all the beautiful things around. I discovered a beach with gorgeous sunset was just few minutes away from my villa. Β There were few restaurants near the beach and it was where I loved to have my lunch and dinner. The most amazing thing having my meals there was to see how the color of the sunset changed. It changed everyday (from reddish to orangey, from orangey to yellowish, sometimes purplish with a hint of blue and sometimes a mix of all these colors). It was like an art gallery on live. Apart from that, I also loved to observe how Thai live their lives while enjoying my meals. They are incredibly polite. πŸ™‚ They always have a niceΒ  smile greeting others with “Sawasdeeka” (means “Hello” in English) whether they are stranger to them or not. They are very laid-back and live a simple life. Majority of them don’t stress too much about money, but to focus more on happiness. The food there was pretty decent. If you ever have time traveling to Thailand, I would highly recommend their fried stuff. Their pineapple and banana fritters were what I enjoyed the most. They were very crispy, but not oily at all. Moreover, they were not overly sweet and heavy. πŸ˜›

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After few days of relaxing at the resort and a day of shopping at Khao Lak Centre, I decided to explore Tachai Island. Tachai Island is a relatively new tourist spot for snorkelers and scuba divers in the world famous Similan Islands. Before I joined the local tour for this trip, I thought I would only go there to sunbathe. I never thought I would go for snorkeling because I seriously can’t swim. However, this trip has completely changed my mind about snorkeling. Everyone was wearing their life jacket and ready for snorkeling once the speed boat reached the middle of the sea. They jumped into the sea one by one when I was still struggling to decided whether staying on the speed boat. Eventually, I made one of the bravest decision of my life was to wear the life jacket and try snorkeling. I tried my best to swim properly in the sea, but I kept rolling like I was put into the washing machine. 😦 The tour guide had to send a swimming expert to help me at the end. Honestly, I couldn’t be more thankful to have him to help me with snorkeling. πŸ™‚ If he wasn’t there to help me, I wouldn’t be able to snorkel. He gave me an extra life jacket to hold on so that I could stay balanced. Then, he kept pulling the life jacket from the other side to lead me to different spots in order to see the sea corals. During that 40 minutes of snorkeling, he used only one hand to pull my life jacket and the other for swimming. Whenever he saw beautiful fishes and sea corals, he would instantly ask me to look down to see how beautiful they were. ❀ Whenever he saw water going in my mask, he would help me clear it. Although I’ve never snorkeled before, I knew how difficult it was to do all of these things in the middle of the sea.

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After the snorkeling session, we all headed to the beach to relax. The moment I stepped on the sand, I could feel how soft and powdery the sand was. It was nothing, but a soft cushion wrapping around my feet. Β Need not to mention, the water was incredibly clear. The spectacular view from the beach was completely surreal.Β  I felt like I was living in a calendar printed with a gorgeous beach. No wonder the Island is often referred to as the Maldives of Thailand. ❀ πŸ™‚

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To summarize my entire trip, It was truly an amazing trip. The resort itself was impressive. I couldn’t find anything to complain from its design to facilities. I could stay at the resort my whole trip without getting bored. Everyone I met during my trip was very polite whether they were complete strangers on the street or serving me at the resort and restaurants. Their willingness of greeting others not only impressed me, but also brightened up my day. Obviously, the trip to Tachai Island was the highlight of my trip. ❀ I was beyond blessed to be taken special care by the swimming expert. I wouldn’t know how beautiful the view from underwater could be if he wasn’t there to help me. As a person who can’t swim, I’ve never dreamed to see that view.Β  Honestly, the clear water and white sand at the beach had blown my mind away. I never thought the actual view could be this vivid and stunning. It looked way better than what I’ve seen from TV, magazines or promotional leaflets. πŸ™‚ After this trip, I learned to appreciate the nature more. With all the digital gadgets we have now, we often forget how wonderful the nature is. Nowadays, I love to look up to the sky and take a moment to appreciate the nature and what I have. πŸ˜‰

I wonder if there are some beautiful places you would like to recommend. What do you like the most from the place/ places you recommended? Please feel free to let me know in the comment session.

With love,

xoxoxoxo Khloe

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