This is a story all about how my life got flip turned upside down. Pt 1: the beginning.

As I hung out in some modified headstand with my feet resting on a foldable chair, my mind wandered to my yoga journey: the beginning, how far I’ve come, and where I’m heading next.

Let’s begin even before yoga entered my life: I was a fat kid. I hated gym. I spent recess begrudgingly playing (American) football with my friends and avoiding the ball like the plague, or more comfortably, chatting with the gurls on the swings or the playground (#gayforeshadowing). The point is, I never found my voice to express myself physically…until the Wii Fit entered my life.

Did I mention I’m a huge fucking nerd? So it should come as no surprise that in the summer after freshman year of college, I was introduced to the world of yoga by way of a video game. Yes, the poses were very simple (and not even connected via flow), but the seed was planted. I was incepted.

Over the next 9 years, yoga would play a minor, but recurring role in my life. In phases where I was actually mindful of my physical self, yoga became a way to tone, sweat, and stretch my body. Whether it was in my room watching my favorite 30 minute “Yoga Sculpt with Maura Barklay” vid, a free class in downtown Vancouver’s Lululemon store, or on the banks of the Delaware River in Philly on the Race Street Pier, yoga was the one physical exercise that I could actually get into.

Ok that’s enough for now, I’ll finish this post over another cocktail another time. Next up: how far I’ve come.

Namaste y’all!

P.S. I’ve always wanted to start a blog post with that song lolllllll


Why do I travel?

This is something I’ve struggled with over the past year –

Do I travel to escape? What am I escaping from?

Do I travel to check off some nebulous list? Will checking these things off really make me happy?

After much reflection (and three beers), here is a (working) list I’ve come up with:

  1. To create new memories with people I know and love.
    1. Nothing revitalizes and challenges a stagnant relationship like putting it in a new, uncomfortable context.
  2. To meet new people or re-meet old not-so-new people.
    1. Storytime: an “acquaintance” I “met” in LA (we chatted in the parking lot for 5 minutes after an SUP yoga sesh, then communicated via Insta for the next few months) invited me to meet up in DGTE, PH. OMG did I have reservations about this trip (so many unknowns! who is this girl! where will we stay! etc!) but it was one of the best weekends of my life, and I walked away with a new lifelong friendship (Moana, you know who you are ūüėČ
  3. Increase compassion.
    1. New experiences, aka putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, are not only fun and exciting but also burst your little bubble and show you that there is more than one path in this journey called life. Whether it’s donning a pair of heels, exploring the largest dumpsite in the Philippines, or whatever my next chapter may bring, these experiences connect me to others and make me more human.

Namaste bitches.

P.S. be patient with me as I navigate this thing called blogging/wordpress ūüôā

I’m a barbie boy…

We’ve all heard the phrase “throw some shrimp on the barbie” (which is incorrect, because shrimp are actually called prawns here), but why does one of the biggest Aussie stereotypes revolve around the Australian barbecue?

It’s because they’re everywhere here. ¬†During orientation week, there were barbies everywhere serving free food and heaps of people waiting to get some hamburgers and¬†snags (sausages, which are particularly good here) on white bread (no hot dog buns or hamburger buns here). ¬†Of course no barbie food is complete without a smattering of tomato sauce (that’s ketchup for you Amuricans…our tomato sauce is their tomato paste…and I’m still trying to figure out what our tomato paste is in OZ). ¬†And curiously the hardware for barbies is more often a flat top than a grill with grates and charcoal.

We had a barbie in the courtyard the other night for Arni’s birthday. ¬†Along with the snags, steaks, chicken breasts, and kebabs (pronounced the way its spelled, NOT “kebobs”) that Arni brought, I made some kangaroo steaks with mango salsa. ¬†Yum.

My 11th floor U.S.A. crew (plus Kah Ngee) enjoying the food. ¬†For once, WE were the obnoxious people in the courtyard ūüėõ

Can’t wait for another barbie!!

Bourdain Hunt #1: Queen Vic Market…

No Reservations is my absolute favorite show on the Travel Channel. ¬†The premise of the show is Anthony Bourdain, a New York City chef who’s seen the good and the bad of the restaurant industry, travels around the world to eat the best that each country or city has to offer and tries to understand what makes up their food culture. ¬†He’s also a chain smoker and a borderline alcoholic, which makes the show very entertaining.

Naturally, when I go to a new city I watch the episode of that city and follow his food trail. ¬†When I was in Chicago last summer, for example, we hit up Hot Doug’s and Avec and both can’t be missed if you’re in the city.

But I digress. ¬†Bourdain’s tour of Australia starts and ends here in Melbourne, the food capital of the country. ¬†(Did that have anything to do with my decision to study here? ¬†Maybe.) ¬†The first No Reservations destination I visited was the Queen Victoria Market, just a 15 minute walk from my apartment.

Known as Queen Vic by the locals, the market spans several blocks and includes an indoor butcher/fish monger stall area, a deli section with wines, coffees, cheeses, meats, and bakeries, an outdoor produce section, and a huge flea market area complete with souvenirs, no-brand clothes, and more food.

There are also “foodie tours” where you can sample some of the offerings in the deli section, pictured above.

My first trip was during a weekday, so it wasn’t as busy. ¬†But around closing time the vendors will do anything to get rid of their goods for the day: the produce stalls will sell huge bags of slightly worn fruits and veg for just a dollar, and the meat and seafood are heavily discounted.

Luckily I was able to catch the last night of the Summer Night Market (yes, summer is just ending here). Same venue, just with live music, more food stalls, and as you can see, heaps and heaps more people.  I reckon there were so many there because it was the last night.

For dinner I had a Shiraz Sangria (my favorite red) and basically a “tourist plate”: a kangaroo burger, grilled crocodile tail, and emu sausage. ¬†The burger was excellent, though I can’t wait to try roo straight up (we’re throwing a birthday barbie tonight so I plan to grill off some steaks). ¬†Croc was okay, but nothing special. ¬†And the emu…well it was kinda stinky.

Needless to say, I can’t wait to hit up more Bourdain spots and make another trip to the Queen Vic.

Tim Tams: God’s gift to Australia…

I love Tim Tams. ¬†So do all Americans. ¬†Every American I’ve met is pretty much addicted to Tim Tams.

According to Wikipedia, a Tim Tam is “composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate.” ¬†Think of them as Australia’s answer to the Oreo. ¬†But there’s heaps more flavors than Oreos: mint, hazelnut, honeycomb, dark chocolate, black forest…

Yes, they’re that good. ¬†Which leads me to my next point…I gave up Tim Tams for lent. ¬†¬†All my friends think I’m seriously crazy, but luckily I’ll still be here after lent is over. ¬†Also I was able to pull a little stunt called the Tim Tam Slam before I decided to give them up.

Here’s the original:

And here’s our attempt:

I’ve heard you can find them in U.S. because my sister did the TTS there, but I have no idea where to find them. ¬†But I suggest you start looking.

A game of footsie…I mean footy…

Had a pretty full day yesterday. ¬†Started out with a quick trip to the Queen Vic Market, went to St. Kilda’s beach again to work on that tan (fewer jellyfish this time!), saw some short plays at the Union House Theatre, and went out to Pugg’s Irish Pub for a few drinks.

But I think the highlight of my day was a trip to Princes Park for a pre-season footy game. ¬†That’s Aussie rules football, a game similar to rugby/soccer/American football. ¬†Basically the point of the game is to kick an oval ball through two posts, and there are different points depending on which ones you shoot through. ¬† There are rules regarding how far you can run without touching the ball to the ground, tackling, etc, but it’s a pretty easy game to follow.

The footy field is a large oval with goals on either side. ¬†If the ball goes between two taller posts in middle its a “goal,” which is 6 points, and if it goes between the outer posts its a “point,” which is 1 point. ¬†See those kids in front of us? ¬†They were pretty amused by us Americans. ¬†Story of my life here.

My attempt at an action shot. ¬†Not really sure what’s going on, but it’s a pretty fast-paced and exciting game. ¬†I had to leave early, but apparently a guy ran up and jumped off an opponent to catch the ball. ¬†Pretty epic in my book.

Kah Ngee (on the far left) is a Carlton fan so that’s how we ended up at this game. ¬†I definitely plan on going to another one and I’ll try to take a better video this time.

Off to the Crown Palladium for dinner and drinks tonight, and possibly a little gambling. ¬†Tomorrow we’re trying to do a day tour of the Great Ocean Road (a stretch of beaches and hiking). ¬†And Monday…classes start T_____T

Bloody lifts…

The lifts have been out at Unilodge for the past few days.  I live on the 11th floor, which means an incredibly long and tiring climb up the fire escape stairwell (especially for us fat Americans, which seems to be a common stereotype here).  One upside though is the great view we have of Melbourne and the CBD.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get a good shot without the safety caging for the fire escape, but I guess it’s there for a reason yea?

The next morning, and the lifts were still broken. ¬†The large dome in the center is the Melbourne Museum, and the launchpad-looking thing to the left is the museum’s IMAX Theater.

Off to St. Kilda’s beach again tomorrow, since summer is officially coming to a close. ¬†After all I’m still pasty from the U.S. winter…

Take care everyone!