spring cleaning

When is it officially time for spring cleaning, when there are no distinct seasons in Singapore?       –my current musing

I finally decided to do some spring cleaning with my blog. It’s been almost 5 years since I started this blog and it was in desperate need of a new layout and theme. Over the years, just like the changing layouts of the blog, I’ve shifted from just blogging about my teaching (hence the title), to documenting about my travels(check out the travel tab above), living abroad, food adventures, and more. It has been fun to see this blog morph and grow through the years.

Now that I’ve somewhat cleaned up my blog, maybe I should try to de-clutter my apartment, especially my overflowing closets….


Before arriving in Sydney, I did what any normal foodie would do- searched Instagram Sydney food hashtags for recommendations on places to eat. After finding a few Sydney food based instagramers through #sydneyeats, I had a few places I wanted to try. We arrived on a Saturday morning, and right away we wanted to see things. Dave took us to Paddington market, where we grabbed lunch at a cute cafe (Crate bar & pizza). The cafe was pretty simple, but the sandwiches were amazing. Maybe we were just really hungry, but they were just so fresh and delicious. I instantly knew we would love the food there.

On day 3 of the trip, we were headed to Bondi beach, to do the coastal walk and spend time at the beach. We were getting breakfast at a cafe on the way. In the car, I showed Jenni a picture of these delicious hotcakes I saw on IG. Dave was taking us to a cafe that one of his friend’s works at as a graphic designer. We asked Dave what the name of the cafe was. He said, Grounds of Alexandria. That’s when I flipped out. That was the same cafe that I had just shown Jenni a picture of. Little did I know what it would be like when I arrived. It was amazing. Outdoor seating places, along with a few different shops, stands, and delicious food. I was surprised at how crowded it was on a Monday morning. Along with the lovely decor, the food was amazing.

After breakfast, we made Dave stop at Bourke Street Bakery which we passed along the way to breakfast. A second breakfast- why not? We saved the baked goods for the coastal walk. I could go on and on about our food adventures, but you get the idea. Nevertheless, Sydney, your food is impressive. I’m definitely coming back. 

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from coogee to bondi

If there’s one thing you need to do in Sydney, it’s the coastal walk from Coogee beach to Bondi beach. The weather couldn’t have been any sunnier, and armed with sunblock, a towel, and water, we walked. Within the first few minutes of our walk, Jenni and I were taking out our cameras and iphones rapidly taking photos. After another 10 minute walk, we stopped to take more photos. Our friend and amazing Australian tour guide, Dave, joked that this walk might take a few more hours at this rate.

Along the walk, we passed numerous beaches that were equally breathtaking, all leading up to the infamous Bondi beach. A few hours later(we obviously made a lot of pit stops to take photos, breathe in the scenery, and swim), we finally saw the glorious blue hues of Bondi beach, filled with camera carrying tourists, endless surfers in the ocean, and just beautiful people.  We were here. We awed at the pools that edged along the ocean creating the illusion that it’s in the ocean. Apparently most of the beaches have these saltwater pools right next to the ocean and Bondi is one of the few pools where you have to pay to swim in it. The other ocean pools are free.

After a few hours enjoying the waves, sun and scenery at Bondi, Dave took us to a nearby look out point to enjoy the sunset. Not only are the beaches beautiful, but the sunsets were incredibly beautiful as well. Admiring the Sydney skyline with the Harbour bridge in the distance, I couldn’t help but be filled with awe and gratitude.

Stay tuned for more photos to come from #jandjsydney trip.  Can’t wait to share about all the glorious food and more amazingly scenic adventures.

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a leap of faith

slice of life 2014

“Please jump in with us Ms. Kim, ” the two girls from my class asked me. As the sun in Indonesia was getting hotter, I knew that getting into the water was unavoidable. From the dock, it didn’t look like it was too high up. The students were jumping from the low-dock into the water. We had cleared a mini-run way on the dock for them. In groups of 2 to 3 they were jumping off into the salty ocean water. The fearless students did 360s, back flops (by accident), splits in the air, and some held their nose.

I got onto the line with my two students next to me. It was finally our turn, and I stood in the middle, sandwiched with my fifth grade girls next to me. The teacher cued us to get ready and I started to run. As I quickly approached the edge of the dock, I looked down. My first mistake. The water looked way further down then the view from the side. As I felt an unexpected moment of panic my two students jumped in without hesitation. They were already in the water, and then I jumped right after. I felt like the coyote that chases after the roadrunner and then realizes mid air that it’s a long way down. As I hit the water, the fear increased as I felt the impact and went straight down and took in a good amount of water. I quickly pushed my way up to the surface and realized my jelly sandals I wore had both slipped off my feet.

“My sandals are gone!!!” I yelled out loud. My principal, who was wading in the water, supervising and swimming, came over quickly.

“Did you loose one of them?” He asked.

“I lost both of them. They slipped off. They are orange and only five dollars. It’s ok.” I replied. Then, he dove underneath the water and came up with 1 orange jelly. Then he dove back in and found the second one.  Emergency avoided. I now had both slippers in my hand as I waded in the water. My nose and throat stinging from the salty ocean water I consumed from my jump, I pulled my wet and heavier body up onto the ladders at the side of the dock.

“That was so much fun! Let’s jump again Ms. Kim, ” my students urged afterwards. I hesitantly got on line again, this time, a bit smarter and left my water shoes on the dock.

a weekend in telunas

A glimpse into our service learning trip to Telunas, Indonesia via ferry and longboat with fifty-five fifth graders. One week later, I still feel like I’m recovering from the trip, but it was all incredibly worth it. The students were teaching English in a small village there, and then afterwards we enjoyed some fun at the Telunas resort. More thoughts to come later, picture first! :)

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an unexpected encounter

slice of life 2014

I got off the elevator and headed towards my apartment. To my surprise, I saw the door wide open to the apartment next to mine. The door was never wide open, unlike the other neighbor down the hall that leaves their door open quite often. I could peer into the long hallway that led to their open living room and dining table. Right outside the open door, crouched next to their new rectangular white shoe rack outside their door, was the older auntie tidying the shoes.

My apartment door is literally right next to my neighbor’s at a ninety degree angle. I had my key in my right hand and as I walked up to my door, she greeted me with a hello. I said hi back and then proceeded to put my key into the lock.

“Happy new year,” she said quietly and I turned to face her. This was the first time I met my neighbor. It did seem a bit strange, that I never met my neighbors earlier. They had been living there for a little less than a year.  We literally live right next to each other, sharing walls, and a few steps from each other’s front door, but I never see them. I did like how they were a bit festive and put up decorations on their door for Chinese New Year and also for Christmas.

As I started talking to her she asked me where I was from. I guess she could tell from my accent that I wasn’t a local. Then, she had her daughter come over and we started to chat. I found out she was from Malaysia, and I also found out that her daughter enjoys kimchi (after I told her I was Korean). She hospitably told me to come over for tea anytime.

Maybe I’m just not neighborly enough to introduce myself to the neighbors in my hallway (only 3 other apartments on my floor), but I rarely see any of them. It’s funny because growing up on a suburban dead end street, I knew all of my neighbors. I knew their kids. I knew if they gave good Halloween candy. I would often babysit for them.

Yet, here in Singapore, I’ve found it harder to meet and know my neighbors in my apartment building. It’s probably partly my fault. Maybe the next holiday season I can bake them something? Or will they feel obliged to bring me something in return? Or maybe I can just wait and see if I can run into them more casually?

The slice of life challenge is hosted by The Two Writing Teachers. Join us in this month long blogging challenge!