About Flying

So I’m back from my Great Adventure. And November 2014 is a month to be remembered.

I didn’t get a chance to write here while I was away but I did write notes on my phone with the intent of posting later so here are some thoughts pondered as I flew myself around the whole world in 30 days.

F L Y I N G
  • I forgot how cold it is on the plane! Even with my air vent turned off completely, it’s still freakin cold. And the blanket I had on my United flight to SF was too short to cover me shoulder down to toe. But as it turns out, United must have been the only airline to have freezing cold air pumping through their planes because on every other flight (flying a mixed bag of airlines) I was fine.
  • A face oil is the perfect thing to use when on a long haul flight. My skin usually gets so dried out from all the air conditioning pumping through that normal moisturisers and hydration sprays have never really helped but a Rosehip oil does the job and locks in moisture for 10+ hours.
  • I felt intimidated at the thought of new and unfamiliar airports but it’s actually really easy because you just follow the signs, or listen to the PA for announcements. Or you can ask a staff member. Security is a bit here and there though because each airport has its own standard and regulations on what items need to be put through the scanner separately. The No Liquids Exceeding 100mL on Carry On Baggage applies everywhere I flew in/out of but Heathrow was exceptionally insistent on presenting your liquids, gels and pastes in a clear ziplock bag when passing security. Which was a bit of a pain for me as I’d packed my liquids/gels/pastes into a velcro detachable clear makeup travel bag but I was asked to empty that and transfer all my products into the ziplock bag. Boo.
  • Make sure you check, double check and triple check your flight times!! Fortunately I didn’t miss any flights but I was a whole 24hrs early for my flight from Heathrow to Hong Kong via Frankfurt. Luckily, Dayna is a gem of a friend and came all the way back to Oxford to pick me up and hang out with me for another 24hrs before dropping me off back at the bus station all over again. Missing your flight because you’re late is devastating and often due to unforeseen circumstances preventing you from getting to the airport but being über early is just embarrassing. But funny.
  • I flew a mixed bag of airlines which meant that not all of my flights were eligible to earn Frequent Flyer points but it was great opportunity to test out a few different airlines I’d never flown with before.
    – I flew Qantas from Melb to Syd which was really quick so I really don’t have too much to say there as it felt like as soon as I buckled my seat belt we were making our descent into Sydney. Qantas is pretty standard these days. The flight was on time and no meals were served so I can’t comment on how bad the food was.
    United had a bad rap even before I stepped on board. Many friends were saying that the airline was still in the dark ages not having individual in-flight entertainment available – a travesty since I was flying with them for the longest journey from Syd to SF. But to my delight they did have screens on the back of the chairs so you could watch movies and play games. Which may have been more of a curse than a blessing because I was landing in SF in the morning so technically I should have treated my plane ride as night time and slept. But I’d be lucky to have slept 3 hours on that flight. I also flew United from SF to NYC which didn’t include access to free in-flight entertainment or free food but the flight was short. The only comment I will make is that the flight attendants were a little rude in bitching about a difficult passenger to each other still within earshot of that passenger, and other passengers. I don’t think it’s respectful and it doesn’t represent the airline well at all.
    – I most looked forward to flying with Swiss Air because my uncle and cousins fly with them all the time! My flight from NYC to LDN (via Zurich) was only 6 hours but in that time I got a hot towel (!! I didn’t think they did this anymore), lemon cake, 2 beverages, and a Swiss chocolate! *nom* I also noticed that the upholstery of the seats were very sophisticated – even in cattle class. Unlike the jacquard type fabric that most airlines I’ve seen go for, Swiss opted with a simple camel coloured fabric with white and red trimmings. In-flight entertainment wasn’t accessible on such short flights but you did have the option of USB charging your devices which I hadn’t yet seen on Qantas or United.
    Lufthansa was a great surprise and I would have to say is my top pick out of all the airlines I flew in this trip. The seating design wasn’t hideous, they offer you a glass of champagne on board and give out menus prior to receiving your two meals. They had really friendly staff who were multi-lingual. My flight with Lufthansa was from LDN to HK via Frankfurt so I had a Chinese girl serve me who spoke Mandarin, German and English fluently. There was also an older air steward who just epitomised the perfect German gentleman who was very friendly and charming and took delight in being able to serve you and made every effort for you to enjoy your flight. Food wasn’t amazing because a German airline was trying to do Chinese food. But the charming air steward offered me a white wine to drown the flavour.
    – My parents organised a quick side trip to Taiwan when we all met up in Hong Kong so Mum booked us flights on Hong Kong Airlines who were a nice surprise also. They gave out refresher towelettes and the food wasn’t bad. You just have to be patient when they do the announcements in Cantonese. Then English. Then Mandarin.
    Cathay Pacific is an ol’ faithful. They had the best in-flight entertainment because they had touch screens and no remotes to confuddle with, and their touch screens were sensitive enough that you didn’t find yourself poking the screen so hard that your front neighbour keeps getting woken up by a sharp prod through their seat. The dinner was good – I had a beef stew with mash and other veggies which I enjoyed. The breakfast, however, wasn’t my favourite because I opted for scrambled eggs over the congee as on the morning that I left, I already had a bowl of congee with Dad. I knew the eggs were a mistake but I thought I’d take the gamble. I lost. The seating was hideous though. Their brand colours are that green, white and red and yet their seats were in shades of screaming cyan!
  • I was quite disappointed that out of all the airlines I flew with not one of them had a kick-ass safety video/demonstration like Delta and Virgin America do :(
Advertisements

10 Lifetime Goals

1. Reach my golden (50th) wedding anniversary
I was gonna say Get Married as my goal but that’s pretty easily achievable to do that much; walk down the aisle, say vows etc etc. So I’m going one (or 50) up and looking to reach my golden anniversary with my true love.

2. Meet one of my great grand children
I was gonna say Give Birth but again, I think that goal is easily reached. To live as long as being able to meet the fourth generation of my family would be really cool.

3. Create my own stationery line/brand
A la Kikki K but better! Well, different – obviously. But it’d be so fun to experiment with typography, printing techniques and papers to create stationery that people will love and buy to use for their daily journaling/planning. Just gotta put my head down and do it!

4. Travel to at least one place on each continent
I’ve been to at least one place in 4 of the 7 (I think it’s 7…) continents so I’m doing well!! The remaining continents I’ve yet to visit are South America, Africa and Antarctica…quite a challenge I’ve set myself.

5. Own a house
I’d love to position myself financially to buy a house before I’m 30. I might be paying off the mortgage for a while but I don’t want to reach the third decade not having any assets to my name!

6. Work overseas
Not just a casual/whatever job but a career-building, career-defining job. My dream job would be to work at a London-based design studio called Construct – I love, LOVE, their work and their style encompasses everything I personally like in design and aspire to create.

7. Go on a Missions Trip
I’ve put my hand up to join the missions trip to Cambodia with my church next year so this goal is very achievable. I’d love to do this because I’ve been fortunate enough to travel extensively for vacation purposes but I think to travel with a team that will go out and do work amongst the needy will be an eye-opening, heart-breaking and humbling experience that will give me an even greater perspective on my time here on earth and a better understanding for the heart God has for the lost and oppressed.

8. Help lead someone to salvation
No doubt I’ve already done this in small ways that God has used me. I don’t think you’ve achieved nothing if the friend you’ve invited/brought to church doesn’t stick their hand up to receive salvation on the day because the invite alone would have brought them a little closer towards God, I’m sure. But it would be great to be that Someone who prays with The Friend who has decided to commit their life to Christ. I know so many people who need God/Jesus in their lives so to be a part of their breakthrough/miracle would be humbling and rewarding.

9. Remain friends for life
In life there will always be people who come and go but I have a pretty good idea on which friends I know will be around forever. So my goal is to make the time to see them regularly and to maintain the same closeness as the beginning of a great friendship. I’d love to be someone who can go through different life stages knowing I have a great support group around me, and being able to support my long-time friends just the same.

10. Be content
To be satisfied and settled with what I have in my current circumstance. Not to live my life complaining but to approach everything with the right attitude and with gratitude. I don’t think I can truly achieve this goal until my last day when I can look back and know deep in my heart that I was content with how my years on earth were spent.

10 Things that Annoy Me

Warning: Content includes a whole bunch of #firstworldproblems

1. Being able to hear people eat.
I understand if your carrot sticks are crunchy and I can hear you munch on them even as you try to eat them quietly, but I can’t stand when someone is being lazy/rude by chewing with their mouth open and I can hear lip smacking kinda noises as you enjoy the taste of your food while I’m repulsed at the sound of it.

2. Incorrectly using should of/would of/could of
When it is in fact should have, would have, could have. Confusing you’re/your and their/there/they’re etc are also cringe-worthy but the Ofs take the cake because it doesn’t even make sense when you follow should/would/could with of – never mind even putting it into a sentence.

3. Getting gum stuck to my shoe
In the words of Yzma, These are my best shoes!! I mostly get annoyed at myself though for not looking at where I’m walking and what I’m walking on.

4. Not being able to sleep/getting woken in the night
I wouldn’t say I have a sleep problem but compared to some I appear to be a light sleeper. The main living room is just outside my bedroom so I can often hear the tv still on and my family laughing (like hyenas), or I can hear my brother using the bathroom which shares a wall with my bedroom when he finally calls it a night at 3am.

5. Boring AS Facebook statuses
Ok, this really shouldn’t bother me because I have the power to ignore them but Ergh! Don’t clog up my news feed with mundane comments about your day. As a result, I hardly ever update my status unless I think it would make someone laugh or think more deeply about the world. I think it annoys me because whoever writes these dull-as-dog-poo statuses probably think they’re gold nuggets but they’re not!

6. Not having enough boob
to fill out swimwear. I can get away with it wearing everyday clothes because I wear a bra underneath but there aren’t many swimwear options that comes with support and a confidence boost.

7. Waxing your legs and then discovering you’ve missed a lot of hairs!
But not enough that you’d start the waxing process again so then you resort to shaving the remaining hairs which completely defeats the purpose of choosing to wax instead.

8. Bad exchange rates
The AUD only seems to go down when I’m planning on going overseas and need to get money exchanged. Go up to 90 already! Please!

9. Freshly painted nails that you are so careful not to knock and then BANG!
And the 2 hours you just spent painting them from base to top coat is RUINED!

10. When people are jerks.
No further explanation needed.

10 Embarrassing Moments

1. When the cubicle door of the public toilet swung open…
and someone walked in and saw me pants down, on the john. I was only early primary school-aged so I could kind of get away with it without it being trashy or publicly indecent but I was still old enough to feel mortified. I remember it was at some outdoor festival and the toilets were in a trailer. I was busting to go and my particular cubicle had a faulty lock/door but I thought if I shut it gently it would stay closed but a gust of wind must have come through the trailer, and swung open my cubicle door – presumable when this older girl walked in and saw me and was just like …whaaat?

2. When I started the song in a completely wrong key…
song-leading at church one morning. I’ve done this on a couple of occasions now. I sing it fine during rehearsal but then something happens during the service, the sound goes all muddy and I can’t hear the chord/key that the song is in but I have to start singing so I just sing in what I think is the right key and soon enough I hear myself and realise I’m in the complete wrong key. I look around to the band members – or my brother – for some help but they give me nothing so eventually it gets to a break before the pre-chorus or chorus hits and I get a chance to re-tune myself.

3. When I sang in the right key but started the song too early…
– again song-leading at church one morning. And of course at that moment I happened to catch the eye of one of my mates and we had this giggle between each other. Only, I’m on stage and everyone can see and hear me laugh through my microphone. I thought my brother was leaving out the intro riff so we could launch straight into the song, since he’d taken some time to start playing it, so I thought I would start singing the first verse only to have him cut me off by blasting the intro riff. Sigh. *hangs head*

4. When I asked someone new to me at church if it was their first time visiting…
and it turns out they’ve been coming along for 3 months. I am so socially awkward. This is why I’m on the Creative Team (band) and not the Connection Team where you interact with newbies. As a general rule, we are reminded to introduce ourselves with I haven’t met you before, I am [insert name] to avoid panicking and blurting out Is this your first time? I’ve never seen you before only to reveal how little attention you pay to newcomers and visitors.

5. When I found a fat, ugly spider crawling across my steering wheel…
and I totally freaked out with a non-family member passenger in the car. We were returning from a Creative Team dinner out in Warrandyte and I’d been there once before but it was my first time driving out there. In the dark. I was fine with that and we made our way home without having to detour at all, however, 10mins away from home, Mum and the friend were chatting when I see the spider in the passing street light glow through the car, crawling across my steering wheel – centimetres away from my hands!! I flip and let go of the steering wheel letting out a cry and Mum and the friend are puzzled at my panic. I managed to blurt out There’s a spider on my steering wheel!! and Mum spots it too and flicks it off – I see it smoosh against my CD/radio – I fight everything in me that wants to brake the car suddenly and simultaneously veer off the road and manage to safely pull over into a side street where I jump out of the car to take a few deep breaths and see with my own eyes that the spider has indeed been squashed and pronounced dead.

6. When my brother’s mate’s dad pointed out how long my toes are…
and they couldn’t have looked more noticeable than they did then with my toenails freshly painted in red. And there was no quick change of subject because the mate’s dad was amazed and perplexed and proceeded to stare and point at them like I was a circus freak! *cries*

7. When I’ve looked into the mirror and noticed my lipstick has smeared/dried up/unevenly worn away after speaking to an attractive guy…
and I looked like a toddler that had gotten a hold of her mum’s lippy. I like to wear bright bold colours too. And look like a clown :(

8. When my boyfriend at the time told me I needed to clean/blow my nose…
and I couldn’t blame it on a cold. *proceeds to blow nose and awkwardly check in the reflection of my iPhone if all was clear*

9. When I stacked my bike in front of the boy I used to have a crush on in primary school…
and he reminded me when I saw him at school that week. Not even the day after when it would have been fresh in his mind still but a few days after that and he only knew me as the girl who goes bike riding with her parents (who were only walking) and stacks it.

10. When I slipped on a flyer and face planted at Sydney airport…
and an attractive guy came to my aid but handed me back the flyer that I slipped on saying Oh, you dropped this!
ARGH! My life!

10 Essential Beauty Products

Not a definitive list but these products are what I use on a daily basis.

1. Argan/Rosehip Oil
I wanted to simplify my skincare routine and instead of layering products on, I wanted one product that could be used on my face and eye area, day and night. Rosehip and Argan Oil are great natural sources of fatty acids and antioxidants to moisturise skin with age defying benefits – and you can even use Argan Oil in your hair! I was using Rosehip Oil and loved it but have since jumped onto Argan Oil as I was testing stuff for work, and now love Argan Oil too. Argan scores more marks though because you can use it for your hair.
Choice of Product: SHE Anti-Aging Rosehip Oil and SHE Argan Oil Serum (coming soon)

2. Body Oil
My skin can get really dry especially throughout winter but I’ve found that body butters, as sweet and deliciously scented as they are, irritate my skin because I’m too sensitive to the fragrance. Normal sorbolene cream gets a bit boring too. Body oil, however, has a great natural scent and is a blend of natural botanical oils. With body butter/moisturiser, I’d find my skin would be so dry it’d suck it up in seconds and I’d be left feeling cracked and flaky again. However, with body oil, it leaves a bit of a residue – without feeling greasy – and slowly absorbs into my skin after applying it.
Choice of Product: I was using SHE Bio-Active Oil but now I’m trying SHE Relax Miracle Body Oil which is a blend of Lavender, Chamomile Roman, Sweet Orange and Sandalwood.

3. Primer Primer is a great product but is often overlooked. I like to use primer because it gives my foundation something to adhere to. As someone who gets little bit shiny over the course of the day, without primer I feel like my makeup is sliding around my face. The primer I use helps to mattify my skin and fills in fine lines creating a smooth base before I apply my foundation.
Choice of Product: SHE Pure Magic Primer

4. Lip Balm
This is an absolute MUST-HAVE! Of the 10 products I’m listing, if I ever forgot to apply or pack that product into my makeup bag, I can do without for the day or week but lip balm is the one thing I desperately need when my lips get dry and cracked.
Choice of Product: None in particular – I’ll use any and every lip balm and I haven’t had any allergic reactions to any as yet. At the moment I’m using a Makeup Store Lip Trio which includes a lip balm, lip scrub and lipstick remover.

5. Eyelash Curler
Technically not a product but a makeup tool. A girlfriend once asked me if it was worth the splurge to buy a Shu Uemura lash curler and I said that I used my mini plastic curler I bought in Hong Kong just as much as I used my Shu one. HOWEVER I take back what I said because I broke my mini plastic curler the other day mid-way through squeezing my lashes. I’m lucky that a bit of plastic didn’t ping into eye. This is the second one I’ve broken now.
Choice of Product: Shu Uemera Eyelash Curler

6. Mascara
Fortunately, being Asian my eyelashes are already jet black but anything to make my eyes look bigger and more open! (Hence the lash curler too)
Choice of Product: Turns out I’m allergic to an ingredient in some mascaras resulting in allergic conjunctivitis but my safe go-to’s are Lancôme’s Hypnose Precious Cells, Virtuose and Hypnose Doll Eyes.

7. Cleansing Oil
I prefer using an oil to break down and remove makeup because I find normal makeup removers can be quite astringent. I also find that it removes more efficiently. I can apply it once and wipe off all my makeup without having to follow it with a foaming/normal cleanser.
Choice of Product: Sasa brand Cyber Colors Cleansing Oil – Lavender & Green Tea 

8. Hair Masque
My hair has been so damaged by heat styling and is generally on the dryer side. I don’t ever straighten it or curl it these days but the damage has been done. I’ve since been trying to repair it and the best thing I’ve ever done for my hair is to use a hair masque at least once a week. I still get split ends – I could be washing it too often – but it feels so much softer than before.
Choice of Product: Agadir Argan Oil Hair Mask or SHE Hair Masque with Argan Oil – For Dry & Damaged Hair

9. Gel Liner
I used to be a big fan of liquid eyeliner and would prefer that over eye pencils. I jumped onto the gel liner bandwagon a little late but when I did I couldn’t believe how much superior it was to liquid eyeliner! You still get solid pay-off with gel but without the flakiness, and the consistency is so much easier to apply.
Choice of Product: I currently use black gel liner by Coral Colours and SHE but they don’t make any other shades. I’m looking to buy a cobalt blue and purple in another (more luxury) brand.

10. Pimple Cream
My skin is way better now in my 20’s than it ever was in my teens but the odd spot will appear when it comes to that time of the month. I’ve gotten out of the habit of popping them (somewhat) but the ol’ pimple cream – though it can sting a little at times – is so handy for a quick fix.
Choice of Product: Biotherm Pure-Fect Skin Anti-Imperfections Targeted Solution

Ten

Today is October. And to celebrate the 10th month of the year, but also as an exercise for myself to get into a habit of blogging regularly – I’m going to be listing 10 things about 10 things over this next month before I embark on My Great Adventure. I have 31 days to write 10 posts, so that’s about one post every 3 days. Seems achievable! Here goes…

10 Basic but Interesting (maybe) Facts about me.

1. My older sister named me.
And if it wasn’t for her, my dad would have dubbed me Natasha. And not just the usual way of saying it but it would have been Natarsha (still spelt as Natasha). Thank goodness even a 5 year old had more sense than that! I’ve got nothing against anyone who does have that name – I have yet to meet a Natarsha – but can you imagine what a drainer it would be constantly correcting people. As if I don’t get enough of that (see 3).

2. My middle name is my Chinese name.
It is not a direct translation of Natalie into Cantonese but it is a substitute for when I’m being addressed by Cantonese speaking relatives/friends. It was chosen by my paternal grandfather who apparently consulted the stars and his gods above to determine the correct strokes that aligned with my birth date and zodiac year to become the name that is Yee Onn which is how my parents have decided to spell it in English but in Cantonese it is actually pronounced more phonetically as Yu Orn (in an Australian accent that is).

3. My most frequently asked question is “How do you say your last name?”
If I was given a dollar for every time I’ve been asked this, I wouldn’t be driving my mum’s old Toyota. But in all seriousness, although I often say my last name is N.G./en jee, it is properly pronounced just as it is spelt, ng. But not in a constipated way! As that would be spelt nnnnnnnngggggggg!!!

4. I lived out of home for 17 months.
I am back living at my parents’ place now but I always knew my move out of home was only temporary. The experience taught me a lot about budgeting and life skills, and generally gave me a taste of what life would be like once I get married and leave the nest for real. People have commented that moving back home with your parents will be a tough transition but in all honesty, I don’t mind living back at home. It takes the financial pressure off, plus with a semi-retired dad, and a mum who works part-time anyway, I’m very spoilt and a lot of things get done for me. Having fended for myself just means that on the occasion that my parents are away, I can cook, clean and take care of myself.

5.  I can cook. But I can’t cook Chinese!
Despite being Asian, I’ve never really made an authentic Cantonese or Malaysian Chinese dish. Sure, I’ve thrown together noodles and stir fry but that really doesn’t count. I feel more confident making pasta or hipster foods like quinoa-stuffed capsicums and puff pastry calzones. My parents usually take care of the cooking when it comes to eating Chinese but I will often be asked to put together a quick Western meal at other times. I most definitely do not know how to make congee…

6. I have a recurring dream.
I haven’t dreamt it in a while now but it starts off as a dull grey space and then TV static begins to appear and eventually covers the whole space. It becomes more and more chaotic and the static becomes large scribbles and it feels like I’m being pushed into the larger-than-life scribbles that try to asphyxiate me. And then I wake up in a sweat.

7. I taught my younger brother how to ride a bike
After many (failed) attempts by Dad who would do the run-behind-the-bicycle, pushing from the seat then letting it go, I took the task of teaching my bro the tricks of the two wheeler. We are only 2 years apart so I didn’t have the height or speed like Dad to run after the bike but I remember showing my brother what to do on my own bike and when I asked him to copy me on his bike, he did just that and from then on knew how to mount, balance and ride a bicycle. My next challenge is teaching him how to drive. I realise this isn’t really in the same league as a bicycle but I get the feeling I’m better at explaining how to do things than my parents are…

8. My favourite household chore is ironing.
I don’t mind it because it doesn’t involve your hands getting wet, you can listen to music while you iron as it’s not loud, and it just feels so good to get wrinkles out of things!

9. I’ve never broken a bone.
And I thank God for His protection over me because I hate needles and the thought of breaking a bone and seeing a dislocation – let alone feeling the immense pain – is enough to make me wanna vom.

10. I had braces for 22 months.
From the end of Year 11 to mid-way through my first year at uni, my teeth were caged for some time to get them into line. My teeth weren’t horrendous and the reason I wanted braces was purely cosmetic, however, the orthodontist did find that some of my teeth were misaligned to the point where they would grind over each other over time and wear away the enamel. So having straight teeth wasn’t just for my good looks but also my dental health. Because of my experiences with braces, I used to have dreams where my teeth would all fall out into my mouth or that they would suddenly become crooked and worse than before I got braces! A lot of friends who have also had braces said that they’ve had similar dreams – Phew!