Tuesday, 23 October 2012

what is this feeling...?

been feeling not myself lately... and i dunno how to describe it, nor why i'm feeling like this. wish to talk to someone but dunno who to talk to, nor what to talk about! 

whatever it is, hope it goes away soon! 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

the 2 year mark...

it was a few days after the date that i realized... i've been here in the sandland for 2 years! time really does fly. so just thought of penning down something to put a mark on the timeline.

so... 2 years. i feel this 2nd year has gone by rather quickly, as compared to my 1st year here. i've fallen into a routine, and the days and weeks and months run by like clockwork most of the time. looking back at my 1 year post, i think most of the sentiments still stand. but as with all of my previous jobs, i've been getting rather restless and ready for change. i've never gone past the 3 year mark in all my previous jobs! 

actually, i've been sorta looking around a bit to move. the good thing about my current company is that the group has many properties and we're encouraged to move around within the group. in fact, i've applied for 2 or 3 positions, all back in asia. yeah, i've been looking to move closer to home, and my most recent application was within home itself, tho' further north. but the thing is, the moment i applied and realized that i have a good chance of getting the position, i started regretting it! i even panicked a bit, enough to go speak to my immediate boss to ask for his advice on how to reject an offer if ever one was made! LOL...

i guess deep down inside, i'm not really ready to leave here yet. here're a few reasons why:

1. location - it's really great being in the middle, between asia and europe. i'm so much nearer to europe that it's opened up more traveling options for me. looking to venture more to the west in the near future!

2. money - ok, i admit that money plays a big part in my decision for now. if i go home, i don't think i'll ever be able to get what i'm getting here, with all the added benefits and remunerations, not to mention tax free income. need to put aside more for my retirement fund! :P

3. job - tho' i always tell people that this is not what i want to do in the long run, but i guess i can live doing this a little while longer. also, there has been some slight change in my job scope, where i have the opportunity to branch out into a slightly different function (which is handled by a different position for other bigger properties, but since my company is quite small, the function falls under my jurisdiction). so in the future, i'd have the option to move to a bigger property to solely handle this function in my current level or higher, and don't have to start from bottom (in order to enjoy the benefits of this level).

4. people - no, i don't have anyone that i can't leave behind here. by people, i mean the lack of a significant other to spur my desire to go home. other than my parents, of course. being single gives me the freedom and opportunity to explore more of the world out there. in a way, i only have myself to answer to. on one hand, there's  the issue of my clock ticking and time running out. of course the idea of a more settled life back home is tempting, but that can come in due time. i do see myself settling down with a man (?), kids (?) and a dog perhaps, in the near future, but if that doesn't happen, at least it's my choice. i chose this path. tho' i'd always regret not having a kid of my own, at least a dog or two would never be out of the question later on, right? 

phew, this is getting a tad jiwang, huh? well, these are the 4 that i can think of at the moment, so better leave it here for now. and would i be able to hang on for more than 3 years here? we'll see... ;)

Saturday, 6 October 2012

homemade pearls for bubble milk tea

have not been blogging much lately, just updates on my travels. hehe... been getting quite lazy. so today, i thought i'd share with you what i made a few weeks back.

as mentioned previously, i was on home vacation recently and while back, i took the opportunity to fill my stomach with all the yummy goodies that's so hard to come by here in the desert. one of my favourite is the bubble milk tea. this trip home, i found that so many outlets have sprung up, and so many brands too! every time i go out and see a stall, i'd be sure to join the queue to buy one.

fav brand of milk tea so far...

after my vacation, of course there's some sort of withdrawal syndrome from suddenly not having my fav drink in my system. actually while back home, i did wonder if these pearls are sold in the dried form, where i'd just need to take them out from the freezer and boil them up, much like those glutinous rice balls (tang-yuan) that's being sold here. then i remembered reading something in kel's place about homemade pearls. after putting it off for sometime, i finally decided to give it a try.

but first i need to go to the chinese grocers to get the tapioca flour and black sugar (or "red sugar" if translated directly from chinese). our typical grocers here dun really cater to east-asians, so it's quite difficult to get the ingredients we need.

so following the instructions in kel's place, i started kneading the flour with the melted sugar. i missed the part about having to pour the sugar mixture into the flour while boiling hot, so not sure if that's the reason for the difficulties i faced later on.

anyway, i found out that tapioca flour is SUCH A BITCH TO KNEAD!!! it's not like our typical flour at all. when kneading, it'll turn hard and powdery, as if it's too dry. but when i held a big lump in my open palm for a while, they'll melt all over my hand, like really watery mud! it's like putty! argh!!! so frustrating... so i wasn't really sure if i've used the correct ratio of sugar water to flour (i used the "agak-agak" method).

the worse part is when i was trying to shape it into balls. that's when the real nightmare began. first i pinched a small amount of dough and started rolling it with my palms. but it very quickly crumbled and disintegrated, very much like trying to roll dry sand into balls! ggggrrrr... not sure how to salvage the situation, i ended up pinching and squeezing and compacting the tiny dough with my fingers first before lightly rolling them into a ball. so means i had to do it all INDIVIDUALLY! luckily i only prepared a small amount, as i managed to get about 20+ balls out before my fingers couldn't take it anymore and i decided to throw the rest of the dough away.

anyway, the boiling part is also a headache. according to kel, we only need to cook it in boiling water for 5 minutes and then turn off the fire and let the pearls sit in the covered pot to let it continue cooking. well, maybe it's because she used potato flour and i used tapioca flour, but my pearls seem to take forever to cook! i think i cooked it for 20 minutes over the fire, but when i tried one, they still seemed quite hard in the middle. i also let it sit in the covered pot for about 10 minutes, but that didn't seem to soften them.

looked ok, though a bit pale coz i used less black sugar to avoid consuming too much extra sugar.

verdict: should have cooked it longer, and way too much work! may not attempt this again, as SO not worth the effort!