Saturday, 30 October 2010

Good news!


Looks like one of my friends here in the Penh is going to have her hands full designing and distributing baby shower invitations in the coming weeks. I just heard this exciting news today from straight from my dear friend, who I met some years ago when she just arrived in the country with her husband and baby. News like this always creates excitement amongst us and is always greeted with much enthusiasm. My friend used to be a Postcrosser before coming to Cambodia but had to stop because they had to relocate, and with their eldest son still a baby then, it was impossible for her to continue while adjusting to a new environment and with an infant in tow. Congratulations, another munchkin on the way. It's about time, I say, because demolition boy was already asking his mum and dad for a baby sister!

Friday, 29 October 2010

A bit of laugh here tonight

I was looking at my Blogger stats a while ago and I was surprised to see a referral from Google; the referral is from a Google search for "Chippendales", you know, the popular erotic male dance group. I can only guess why some hits landed on my site. And I was right. It's because of this:

Chippendale chair made in Philadelphia between 1760-1765
Can you imagine????????? That's  hilarious!
Well, to those looking for the gyrating Chippendale dancers/models and ending up in this blog, sorry to disappoint you. No such "show" exists here. Only the Chippendale chair on a stamp, as seen above, can be found. 

Allow me to give you a piece of information about the Chippendale style of furniture. This is not an ordinary piece of furniture. The Chippendale style was named after the English cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale whose book on design was very much influential to designers and furnituremakers from America and Europe. As most of his designs are very stylish, intricately designed furniture that costs a fortune. The Chippendale chair depicted on the stamp above is a stylized rendition of an American designer named Lou Nolan, based on a chair that is a part of a decorative arts collection found at the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the US State Department in Washington, DC. Sounds like it's been used like a modern office furniture - too artsy for an office, don't you think?

Rainy season fashion in Phnom Penh

IN, or, OUT? Regardless, it did a good job keeping me dry.
Yesterday, the weather in Phnom Penh was mostly cloudy with scattered rain-showers throughout the day. So most of my plans for yesterday were canceled, including a trip to the post office. I, however, pushed through going to the market for some fresh vegetables.  Instead of grabbing my umbrella (which I could not find, by the way), I opted for a plastic rain coat -- the choice of rainy season gear of most Cambodians. Umbrella? Nah. Only monks use it. Most Cambodians prefer rain coats over umbrellas because it is more convenient, especially that they go around on small motorbikes. Imagine the stress, holding an umbrella, while on a zooming motorbike? That's inconceivable here.

And so, as wise folks say, when in Rome (in my case, when in Cambodia), wear what the Romans (Cambodians) wear... and so I abide by that saying...

What do you think? Don't you just love the itsy-bitsy-tiny-yellow-polka-dot rain coat? It is cheap, for only 1,500KhRiels (that's about 40cents), and lasts one wear or two, and comes in different colours, dotted or plain.

And you know what - I've only worn this raincoat for under two hours and I was already sweating madly when I took it off. I reckon it's the best fat burner, with the same kind of effect when you get out of a sauna. So, what do you think of my outfit? *lol*

Thursday, 28 October 2010

D'oh!!

Are you bad at remembering important dates, such as birthdays? Well, I am... and I am pretty horrible at it. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I suck at almost anything that involves numbers.

I feel awful to have missed my little darlings' birthdays this month. Bad Auntie. So here, please allow me to make it up to them.
Happy birthday, my little munckins!

Time flies so fast - they have grown a lot since the last time I saw them both. I miss being there on their birthdays... 

I remember the time when Joshua, the very first grandchild in the family, was born, his dad (my brother-in-law) was a nervous wreck and my father was anxiously pacing back and forth at the waiting area at the hospital's delivery room. There was a bit of situation - Joshua's umbilical cord was strangling him causing his heartbeat to weaken. So the inevitable happened, he had to be delivered via C-section. When the doctor emerged from the delivery room to announce the good news -- both father and grandfather collapsed on the chair, relieved, and grinning. Then somebody shouted from somewhere -- one of my cousins -- when are we going to get the it's a boy cigars!?!?!? Everyone laughed, but the nurses didn't. *lol*

Four years later, another bundle of joy came. She is Denise Lorraine, we fondly call her Chappi. She takes after her father (my brother). At three years old, she is the girl-version of Dennis the Menace. She creates havoc wherever she goes -- and always have witty retorts whenever she's in the right mood. Chappi, Joshua, and Chappi's elder sister Beebop, always make me laugh. When I call home or chat via YM and talk to them, it makes me forget my homesickness, body aches and pains. I feel a pinch in my heart every time I see them via webcam blowing kisses and waving back at me. Being far away from home can give you this gut-wrenching feeling of sadness and many, many family milestones missed.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Russian stamps

In addition to the previous post, the following stamps were used to mail the postcard:



On top, middle: A definitive stamp priced at 10P (rubles) and issued in January 2001, showing a Russian ballet dancer who, I am assuming, must be the legendary Anna Pavlova. She was one of the most celebrated ballet dancers of her time. Look at a ballerina's body -- so slim, so svelte, and yet strong enough to be able to do those pirouettes, en pointes, and plies. I was tempted to say that with the strenuous routine these dancers have regularly, they have no problem with losing weight or considering Lipofuze to maintain their svelte figure. But since ballet is a performance dance that places great emphasis on aesthetics, most ballet dancers are at risk of image problems and eating disorders.  The Russia is home to two of the world's renowned ballet companies, the Bolshoi Ballet and the Mariinsky Ballet. 

Top, left: A definitive stamp, one of the 5-sets issued in January 2006 under the Aviation theme.The featured plane is an OKB Plane AH-74 by aircraft designer O.K. Antonov (Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov, or in Russian, Оле́г Константи́нович Анто́нов). Mr. Antonov was the founder of Antonov ASTC, a world-famous aircraft company in Ukraine.

Below: Last but not the least is a definitive stamp. One of the 5-sets issued in December 2002, it features the splendid Pavlovsk Palace. The palace is a fine example of a classical architectural design with magnificent interiors and great art collections that sit on a 1,500acre beautifully landscaped property. This 18th century palace was the residence of Paul the First, son of Catherine II of Russia, and his wife Maria Feodorovna. Today, the entire property - the palace and the huge garden - is now a Russian state museum and a public park.

Flowers from Russia, with love

Just want to make another quick post. Today we have a beautiful, sunny weather. The sun finally showed itself and the sunshine is just making me want to go out! But before that, I want to share a postcard I dubbed as:

From Russia, with love
In keeping with today's lovely weather, I chose to post the above postcard today. The invigorating bright orange colour of the bunch of  flowers gives off a warm, sunny energy, giving me a renewed sense of energy to go out and enjoy the day. But before I could be able to have fun today, I need to visit acnetreatmentguide.org site for some zit-remedy. I know, I know, I'm already past the teenage years and I still have zits :(

The postcard came from the far eastern Russian maritime region of Primorsky. It's administrative capital of Vladivostok is a popular starting point for for surf trips in the province. If you look at it in the map, Primorsky is surrounded by China, North Korea, and faces the Sea of Japan. With annual average temperature of near 1°C in the North and 5.5°C in the South, I just wonder about how cold the water can get and how surfers  endure the cold when they are surfing? I really want to know!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Marmite and Me

Okay, this is just another of my random posts. I can't help it but I was going to write a post about another postcard but then got sidetracked after feeling a bit hungry. So please excuse this food-related post.

This is my favourite fix - marmite sandwich! Have you ever had it before? 
It is so easy to make - just spread butter on your toast or sandwich and spread marmite thinly (depending on your preference). I love my marmite thicker, but not as thick as you would a jam. Yumyum!

It wasn't exactly a love at first bite between me and marmite. It was something to new to me, and when my husband opened a jar -- I immediately turned my nose up at it. It tasted awful! For a Philippine-born, marmite is so alien to me. I avoided it big time. But for a British-born like my husband, they grew up with marmite and loves it up to this day. I don't exactly remember when and how I got to finally come out of my comfort zone and give marmite another try. To my surprise, it wasn't as bad as the first time I tasted it! hahaha.

I'm sure my friend Sheila (A Postcard A Day) knows what I'm talking about =) 

Marmite is a thick, brown savoury spread made from yeast that is a by-product of brewing industry. It has a strong, salty, strange flavour, but it's actually packed with good nutrients. So now, I'm not ashamed to say that I'm loving marmite like a true-blooded Brit. Not an easy feat because it is definitely an acquired taste! You either love it, or hate it.

I know, I've been eating marmite sandwich a lot these days like a comfort food - so my dieting is put on hold. Again. So when I go asking questions, again, about what's the effective way to lose weight, or, does nutrisystem work - you'll know I'm in a lot of (weight) trouble. Again. But I am just a human, prone to temptations, to make mistakes... so for now, allow me to exercise being a human and let me just enjoy another marmite sandwich.



US_469027: The King of Rock 'n Roll

Hello. I am glad that my consultancy work is wrapping up this week so I'll have time to update as much as I like. Just a quick update today though as I have some paperworks that I want to finish before the deadline.

So anyway, last year, I received an Elvis Presley postcard from a Postcrosser who is from Jackson, Tennessee. 

The many faces of Elvis Aaron Presley, a cultural icon and the undisputed King of Rock 'n Roll
I am posting this with special mention to Flo2008 who admits she is a HUGE fan of the King! Although Elvis was born in a small town in Mississippi, his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee where he grew up. Memphis is about 85 miles driving distance to Jackson where Flo2008 lives, which is about an hour and half drive.  

Flo2008 is definitely a fan through and through, growing up listening mostly to Elvis's music. Back in Asia, in the Philippines, my parents also grew up listening to Elvis and, although not as avid fan as others are, my mother especially, was able to collect postcards and cassette tapes sent to her by her American pen pals. (You should see how my dad makes an impressive rendition of Elvis's Hound Dog!*lol*) Amazingly, more than 50 years later, the King's incredible popularity has remained high all over the world.

I can see why girls during Elvis's time had fallen head over heels with him. I mean, just look at his image above - not only that he had a quite versatile voice, controversial unique moves (leg-shaking and hip thrustsaka, gyrations), but he also possesses the valuable assets making him the heartthrob of his time -  good looks, magnificent blue eyes and a beautiful set of long lashes, and a great skin complexion that obviously didn't need an anti acne cream. My, watta guy!

The stamp used, on the right, is a 98-cent definitive stamp for international airmail featuring the state of Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park



Friday, 22 October 2010

Coffee and Peluka sisters

I was supposed to drop by the Post Office last Tuesday but discarded the thought right away when the Peluka sisters scheduled a coffee date on the same day. Of course, collecting the postcards from the post office is important, but catching up with friends is more urgent! hahaha. As if we didn't already meet the previous week. And the week before that... and so on... even our husbands are starting to get curious.

Well, I love drinking a cup with my Peluka sisters. Some of us may no longer be career women (by choice) but we are busy with our own lives that we make it a point to meet at some point at a coffee house to catch up. We never run out of stories to tell - from blogging, to hobbies, to all kinds of mundane things, i.e., to lose weight naturally or to buy diet pills online, to the latest gossips. I think more than anything, my Peluka sisters are not only those who I hang out with, but they are also whom I can always share with - everyday challenges, hopes and fears, successes (and failures) big and small, fun and laughter. Being with my Peluka sisters has definitely helped ease the homesickness of living in a foreign land.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Versatile Blogger Award!

I was checking out my friends' blogs and saw this award that included me. It was awarded to me by two of my blogger-friends and Peluka sisters, Mumsified and PinayMum, who is also a Postcrosser.  Thanks to you both! 

The award was originally intended for my Sreisaat Adventures blog but since I've had this before there so I decided to post it here instead. Without further ado, here it is:

But of course, there has to be rules. And the rules are:
* Be sure to thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
* Share 7 things about yourself.
* Pass the award to other bloggers who you think deserve it.
* Be sure to let the bloggers know you chose them to receive the award.

Okay, that's it for the rules. So here's 7 things about me:

1. I was a premature baby.

2. I have a lot of hobbies - postcards and stamps collection, pen pal writing, crafting, crocheting, blogging (with a bit of photography on the side), just to name a few.

3. I prefer sunflowers more than roses. The showy, yellow blooms never fail to give me the ooh-ooh-yeah-yeah-yeah feeling =)

4. I dream of doing the El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, on foot.

5. I can cross my eyes and roll my tongue. At the same time. I can demonstrate it to you, if the price is right :P

6. I love food, and I have this penchant for hot and spicy dishes. One of the things I love about living in Cambodia is that there is no shortage of restaurants offering genuine international cuisines. Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, French, Indonesian, Russian, Korean (both North and South!), Chinese, Filipino, Malaysian -- name it, Phnom Penh has it!  Good thing there are over-the-counter dieting pills available for, you know... hihihi.

7. I hate queue-jumpers/line cutters. My blood boils whenever I remember this unfortunate incident that happened to me in a grocery store years ago. It really pains me to see that there are some people on this planet who cannot follow simple etiquette.

So there goes some trivia about me... I am actually passing this award to everyone in my link list, special mention to Ana of My World of Postcards, Sheila of A Postcard A Day, Chris of Girls Go Postal, Myron of Filatelia sa Filipinas, Carol of Carol Postcrossing Journey, and Iris of Postcard Diary. I want to know you all a bit more, so I hope you'd play. 

Ciao da una bellisima Citivella Casanova!

The beautiful provioncial town of Citivella Casanova is located in Pescara and home to the wonderful Renaissance Church of Santa Maria della Cona. It is a small town that sits on a hill about 400metres above sea level.
Citivella Casanova has Roman origins and, in medieval documents, was referred to as the Civitellia dell'abbazia, or Abbey's Civitella.
This is such a beautiful, green landscape of rural Italia. Civitella Casanova offers tourists a pleasant holiday experience, immersed in nature and history. No wonder local and foreign tourists, like the sender of this postcard, flock to see and stay for extended periods of time in this charming little town. Finding accommodations here is amazing, she told me. If you don't like to stay in hotels, the choices for villas with everything you ever dreamed about are everywhere - stone-houses with breathtaking mountain views, that  also come with rural tranquility. You know, just like those nice vacation homes that she and her husband rented during their US holiday. 

Although the postcard shows the Italian town, the postcard was sent from the Spanish town of Castellon
The stamp above, featuring the Centro Astronomic de Yebes (Yebes Centre of Astronomy, in Guadalajara)  is a self-adhesive stamp and one of the two stamps in the Ciencias de la Terra Y del Universo (Sciences of the Earth and Universe) series issued by the Oficina de Correos Españoles (Spanish Post Office) in February 2007.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Ho-ho-ho-ho! Santa Claus is here!

Red seems to be the colour for the day!
Santa Claus came very early to me in the form of a postcard - in fact it was there in my mailbox, along with dozens others, stranded over the holidays. The pleasant sight of this stout, red-suited, bearded, jolly old fellow with his little aides was enough to make me jump up and down on the day I opened my mailbox. And who doesn't -- Christmas is merely months away and millions of children around the world (including myself who still is a child at heart) are reminded by the joy and happiness this magical character brings during the Yuletide season. 

So this postcard below is a very special one. It was sent by my new friend Sari who lives in Kemi, Finland.
See the mark on the upper right hand side? This is the mark of an official Arctic Circle-card, sent from the Finnish Lapland region of the Arctic Circle, and the home to the beloved Santa Claus.

I love the fact that my friend Sari works with Santa Claus during the busiest season of the year. Yes, she sees Santa Claus very often -- now beat that! She is actually a tourist guide for foreign VIP-guests at the, you guessed it, SnowHotel. I want a job like hers, oh dear, Santa. She tells me how she loves her job working with Santa Claus and how she looks forward to going to work because the place is simply magical, like the ones we see on fairy-tales. With a workplace like that where everybody is happy, I don't think she will ever need treatment for wrinkles!

Dear Santa, I like the red gown but please, can you give me a Wii first that I could use to lose enough weight to fit in the dress? 

The stamp used is part of a booklet of six first class stamps showcasing Finland's outstanding women, issued on March 8 this year, the International Women's Day. The stamp above features a stunning creation of the multi-awarded Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen, a jewelry, clothing, and art designer.

Friday, 15 October 2010

In search for a new laptop

Hello, just dropping by to say I'm still here, you know... and slowly getting back to regular blogging.
We had a wonderful holiday - we just sat back, relaxed, and ate whatever we liked. Our landlord and his family went to Sihanoukville, Cambodia's beach town, for a few days so we were spared from choking on incense smoke. Just kidding.

Since I made a trip to the post office just before the holidays, I had several postcards waiting to be labeled and scanned before I put it away. But I wasn't able to to just that because my husband, who was busy with his webbie-project, was hogging the desktop computer that's connected to our scanner. So this weekend, he promised to give me some time to do the scanning. I also plan to make some backups of all our files in the desktop just because the computer is old. We are looking at replacing the desktop with a new one, but looking at the laptops available in the shops here in Phnom Penh have changed our minds.

After years of service, it looks like my  husband's computer is going to retire soon. We looked at several high performance notebooks that are, surprisingly, below the $500 range. My husband is kind of difficult to please so he said he is going to go back to look for more options. He is not looking for a particular brand but something that is durable and functional to have his school works and webbie projects done at home. Of course, laptop accessories included. Is there any brand you can recommend?

Sunday, 10 October 2010

R and R

This year's Bon Pchum Ben (see post below) halted all businesses for almost one week. No complaints here though, we already stocked on stuffs to last us a few days :)


Pchum Ben is one big reason for most Cambodians to go their respective hometowns to celebrate the holiday with their relatives, and for us expats, it is also one big opportunity to be out-of-town. A lot of my expat-friends have contemplated about where to spend their vacations, some were even dreaming about a Branson vacation package because of the 6-day holiday. Not bad, eh? And off a few of them abroad for the much sought R and R!

As for us, this is the view that we are dreaming of... a perfect getaway!


It's nice to be away for some time, to get away from our usual routine and just relax and enjoy the sea breeze and feast on oh-so-yummy seafood once in a while. Will be back to regular blogging in due time.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Bon Pchum Ben

I'm going to share with you a bit about one Cambodian  holiday so I am not posting about postcards and stamps today. 

A Buddhist Wat just a few kilometers from where I live
Today is the Wednesday before the Bon Pchum Ben holiday, and the beginning of a six-day holiday. Pchum Ben is an important Buddhist holiday, the time when Cambodians pay respects to their ancestors and deceased relatives. People wear traditional clothes for religious ceremony and flock to the wats (Buddhist temples) to light incense or joss sticks, offer food and prayers to the monks and to their dead ancestors.  This goes on for 15 days. The 15th day of the festival - the day of the full moon - is called the Pchum Ben, or the collection of the bens (offerings), the wats become alive with chants, prayers, and music and evokes a fiesta-like atmosphere.  Buddhist-Cambodians are obligated to go to at least one wat every Pchum Ben, but they will earn more merits for their next lives if they complete visits to seven different wats. It has been said that if relatives of the departed do not make offerings, the spirit of the dead will not be able to rest and haunt them in the forthcoming year! Now that is something a lot of Cambodians I know are trying to avoid from happening to them as they are mortally afraid of ghosts! . Like us Filipinos, Cambodians have a strong belief in ghosts and spirits.

Anyways, on the night of the Pchum Ben, a dance is held inside the wat. It is actually more than a dance -- it's more like a concert! And just like any other concerts, you purchase concert tickets to be able to enjoy the revelry.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

FI_855960

I opened my emailbox today and - surprise! surprise! - I found an email from an unknown person asking me this: does p90x work? How would I know? I know I was dieting (still am) but I have not tried anything like this before. Anyways, I replied back telling her to search it over the Internet. I'm sure there are a lot of articles written about its effectiveness.

Okay, back to our regular posting...

Received this last month but was hidden in my old postcard album and laid there for a long time. This one is a welcome addition to my map-card collection :)

I am really drawn to Scandinavian countries. I love the landscape and the culture. I hope someday I'll have a chance to visit this part of the world.
Sent by Juha
Dated 20 July 2010

John is in his mid-forties and lives in a small but bustling town, with his wife and dogs. This town has only about 2,300 inhabitants and is located several kilometers away from the border of Sweden. That should explain why he is well-versed in the Swedish language! He is a candy salesman (must be awesome to have a candy salesman for a father - you can eat all the candies that you want all year round!).  In his message, he also extended an invitation for me and my husband to visit them. He sounded nice and friendly indeed, just like most Finnish people I have met and worked with here in Cambodia.  I wish my husband and I could go to Finland someday -- aside from John, my friend Katja also offered for us to stay in their  house in Tampere, Finland. Someday, my friends... SOME.DAY.

Miten olet Juha? Thank you for the postcard.
Kiitos postikortin ja toivon että voisin käydä sinua maassa tulevaisuudessa :)

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Night lights in Iraqi skies

It's been quiet here for awhile and it's because I was down with a nasty cold virus. It felt like a thousand monkeys dancing to the tune of techno-music in my head, and my nose -- my nose was dripping with you-don't-wanna-know-what substance, like water to Niagara falls! YUCK. I know.

So I dropped everything like a hot potato and gladly took a respite. Tissue paper became my new BFF - best friend forever - while I was dealing with the sniffles, I rummaged through my postcards box and to my horror, found a postcard that I received long ago but haven't posted it here yet. It's a special postcard because it came from a country considered difficult to get a postcard from. Well, not it's not that difficult because my friend from Baghdad, Milad, sent me two postcards!!! Woohoooooo!! This one I love so much:


Milad said that the postcard shows the beautiful night view of one of the popular streets in Baghdad called Abe Nawas. It is overlooking the mighty Tigris River and is famous for parks, cafes and fish and grill restaurants. The whole stretch of Abe Nawas is illuminated by landscape lights every night... what a pretty sight, isn't it?

Many thanks for this wonderful postcard, Milad. I hope you received the postcards I sent in exchange :)


 
Images by Freepik