I have been home for a bit now. When I arrived, my girlfriend Jane arrived the next day to stay for two weeks. We had a ton of fun together and it was great to have company. We enjoyed several meals together and even took a trip to Santa Barbara on the train for a day of wine tasting. We had a blast together! On her last night earlier this week, we went to Dal Rae for a final feast!
I was able to go wine tasting to Paso Robles with my buddy Gerry over the weekend. We went to several wineries and had a great dinner. We also went to the Santa Rita Hills area and tasted wine there too.
Later in the week I met up with several friends for dinners. I met my friend Louise and we had wonderful Italian food! We were able to catch up quite a bit. The food was AMAZING! Totally awesome Italian place that I think may become a regular place for us! I met my new friend Patty (whom I met at the James Beard Dinner in October) and we had an awesome dinner at the Sunset Strip. Lastly, I met up with my good friend Ray in Pasadena and we enjoyed awesome sushi on Colorado Blvd. I'm so grateful to have friends available for foodie adventures!
It is Thanksgiving here in the US. A day where we stop to think about everything we are thankful for and acknowledge people that play a significant role in our lives. And of course, it includes a bounty of food! If you’re reading this, I hope you had a wonderful day surrounded by love.
I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my immediate family. I started with brining the turkey two nights ago. My friend from high school, Jane, is staying with me and she saw me do all the prep work. She saw me massage the turkey, clean it, put it in the brine, name it (Mr Gobble), and tell it he’s a good turkey and give it encouraging words. She insisted I save her a piece, then she looked up casting calls for Master Chef. Funny thing is, Chris used to tell me to audition too! Anyways, today I made garlic & cheese mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, biscuits (Anthony Bordain recipe), stuffing, and cream scones for dessert (Renee Erickson recipe). Here are some pictures of my prep work.
And the final dishes.
I am so happy my family came over and we all enjoyed delicious food. My parents have always been there for me, taking me to the airport for all my trips, providing encouraging words and emotional support. My brother and his wife have always taken care of my house while I’ve been away, even setting up my DVR to record tv shows while I’m away. And I’m so happy to have a new little sister (in law)! Most importantly, I have an abundance of love. That’s worth more than anything. I’m so grateful and blessed.
I thought I’d combine my last two travel days into one.
Monday, my aunt Iris and I went to her dentist appointment, then had breakfast at a french cafe. I enjoyed a chocolate almond croissant with decaf coffee. It was lovely. We walked around quite a bit and I was able to see a lot of the city already decorated for Christmas! It looks like this year’s theme is Disney.
We had a good time going through some of the shops, and then enjoyed lunch. I was able to try different foods from Singapore, it was great! After random errands we returned to Michael’s apartment and rested a bit. I said my goodbyes to my aunt and I left to explore the city. I walked about half way to the Gardens by the Bay and went through two areas. They Gardens were amazing!! It was perfect timing as it was pouring rain outside.
After it stopped raining, I continued my exploration to the Bay Sands hotel and went to the top where the night allowed me to see the city full of lights. So awesome!!!
I had my fill of pictures at the top so I returned to the lobby area and decided to treat myself to dinner. I enjoyed a nice cocktail and a great meal!
After dinner I took a cab to Michael’s place and began packing. He ordered a taxi to pick me up at 5:45am the next day. After three weeks I accumulated a bit of stuff so Tuesday to board my flight, I checked in two suitcases. I arrived home yesterday around 1pm and began unpacking. I took a nap and then went to dinner at my parents house. It was nice to see them again after a long time.
I can’t believe my time abroad has ended for now. As I look back at the beginning of my travels, I feel amazed that I was able to do so much and see the world. I met some wonderful people along the way, some who I got to see again during this trip current trip! I am grateful for this journey in spreading Chris’s ashes all over the world and fulfilling his wishes. I feel my heart is wide open. I am ready to be home and move forward with my life and see where the journey takes me. Thank you to my tribe (you know who you are!) who were available to me throughout my travels... I’m so humbled by your support and friendship.
Have passport, will travel! Love & Light!
This morning I woke up and got ready to go to dim sum with my friend Hong-Miao. We met during my trip to Greece last month! She met me at my hotel and we went to Chinatown. Dim sum was delicious! We walked around Chinatown after dim sum and I was able to see the shops and stalls selling cool stuff! Hong-Miao gave me a nice gift and we said our goodbyes. I really hope she (and Jessy) visit me in LA!!
I caught a cab and returned to my hotel where I promptly checked out and took a taxi to my cousin Michael’s place. I met up with my aunt Iris when I arrived. She flew in from Jakarta in the morning. We settled in at Michael’s place then aunt Iris and I went out for a walk to the main shopping area of Singapore. While we were walking, it began to POUR RAIN!! We ducked out in front of a store and waited for about half an hour but the thunder and lightning just kept going. We had to meet up with Michael across the street so we just decided to make a run for it with my tiny umbrella. Our feet were soaked but we were able to dry off rather quickly. We met up with Michael and his girlfriend Samantha and went to a restaurant in the mall. Afterwards we went grocery shopping then took a car back to Michael’s place. We hung out and watched a movie. After a while we all went to a restaurant called Long Beach and had an amazing dinner. What an awesome day!
Today my aunt took me to a grocery store where I was able to see every day life and culture in Jakarta. We also went to a unique store that had many items that were very unique. We returned home after shopping and had a wonderful lunch of fish. It was so delicious!!! Soon afterwards I had to get on a plane to fly to Singapore. I am so grateful to my aunt and uncle for their generosity, but more importantly, their love. I have enjoyed becoming close to them over the past two years, since back when Chris was alive. I’m excited to see them next month when they’ll arrive to LA and I will make a wonderful lamb dinner for them. I’m so blessed!
As my taxi drove from the airport to my hotel, I saw parts of Singapore and it looks AMAZING!!! I can’t wait to explore!!
I spent most of the day with my aunt going to different areas in the city. As we drove through different areas of the city, my aunt shared historical information about Jakarta. It is fascinating to me to see everyday life and culture. First we went to the ports they have old ships and my aunt explained that there are still pirates in Jakarta waters that take over ships and other sea vessels. We walked through the area with our driver because some of the sea men that were working on the ports may have been pirates. I did see some men that were eyeing us quite intensely. I’m glad our driver was with us. The boats were made of wood and mostly falling apart. These boats are not allowed to go to international waters, they can only stay within the Indonesian border and travel to other islands. The city is also sinking a bit, so the water level is actually higher than the area where we were waking. There is a wall that high about 3-4 feet high that keeps the water from running over and flooding the area.
We continued the tour of the city through the old Dutch area called Batavia. My aunt told me about how when the Dutch originally settled here, they were horrible to the Indonesian people, killing hundreds of thousands of them. They also took their coffee and transported it all over the world.
Jakarta has a wet and dry market. A wet market (where I went on Wednesday) had fish, and chicken, etc. Water everywhere. A dry market sells things like clothes, shoes, etc. We went to a HUGE dry market. The best way I can explain it: and indoor swap meet many stories high. You can probably spend an entire day there and not see everything. It was fascinating!! My mouth was hanging open the whole time so I forgot to take pictures.
We left that market and went to another outdoor market where they sold antiques. These are not like US antiques. These are old pieces that may have come from the original Sutxhbsettlirs, as well as Indonesian objects used in wedding ceremonies such as silver hair pieces. It was so amazing!
We went to a great restaurant for lunch where I was able to try some great Indonesian food. It was so great!!!
After the late lunch we drove in traffic for about 1.5 hours to get home. Traffic is its own phenomenon here. I’ve never seen anything like it!!
Back home we rested a bit then got ready to go out to dinner. We went to a great place called Mr Fox. It was really fun and delicious!
We finished off the night going to the roof bar at the Fairmknt Hotel. I enjoyed beautiful views of the city. It was beautiful from up there! What a great evening to finish my time here!! I’m so grateful for my aunt and uncle who have shown me so much generosity and love. I’m excited to cook dinner for them when they visit the US next moth!!
Today we enjoyed breakfast outside and then took a walk to the local market. They sold several types of meats, kitchen products and other goods. Very fascinating! We walked back to the house and got in a taxi to head into town for a tour of the Chinese area of Jakarta. We met our tour guide Vera and then took a taxi to the Chinese area. The tour was awesome and very interesting. There was so much to see around every corner! We also had the opportunity to taste some interesting snacks along the way! En route, we came across a Catholic Church. It has Mary outside so I decided to spread Chris’s ashes right in front of Virgin Mary.
we continued through various areas of the city then ended our tour having some brewed tea near the old Dutch Square. After the tour we got in the bus and I dropped off Orshi at her hotel, then I went home to my aunt and uncles house by taxi.
Another full day, so happy!
Today was mostly a travel day. We had the same driver as yesterday who took us to Ubud, this time he took us to the airport. We flew a couple hours to Jakarta. My aunt and uncle love there so we were headed there to stay with them and visit. Their driver met us at the airport and drove us to their house. It was such a great welcome and I was super excited to see my aunt and uncle again! We arrived and relaxed a bit, then had a wonderful late lunch of vegetables, tofu, and peanut sauce. It was delicious!!!
We got ready and then went to a charity event at a hotel where we enjoyed cocktails and small bites before enjoying a violin concert. The violinist was great!
When we arrived home we had this DELICIOUS lentil soup which was made in a Moroccan style. It was a wonderful first day.
Today we went to Ubud and it was amazing! We began with a healing sound bath at a place called Pyramid of Chi. What a beautiful release and what a great place! It was magical. Afterwards we went to lunch at a place called Clear Cafe. You can totally feel the love of the people who eat there and work there. The food was wonderful!! The entrance even had a door as if it were a hobbit house. I loved it!!
we went to the monkey forest after lunch and it was great to see the monkeys run around in the jungle!
We continued to a healing waterfall in a place called Subatu. It’s a waterfall where you go down several flights of stairs and arrive to a healing waterfall that is said to heal anything you pray for. Orshi and I got into our bathing suits and we went in to the water. We made our prayer in front of an altar then walked under the waterfall and allowed ourselves to receive. It was a beautiful, sacred moment with my friend Orshi I will never forget.
We returned to Ubud and went to an amazing restaurant called Zest. We very much enjoyed dinner and cocktails. The restaurant was fully vegetarian, and I didn’t miss meat at all during this meal. DELICIOUS!!
We went to the city a bit to explore, then returned to our hotel for the night. What an awesome time in Ubud, we agreed we would need about a month there to really soak up the city!
I went to a beautiful temple by the ocean called Taneh Lot. I was able to see a holy man do an offer ceremony as well.
Coffee is a big deal I’m Bali, so I did a coffee and tea tasting. I bought some tea that I really enjoyed and had never tried before. At the same place, they also had bats. VERY random. They also told me about the coffee beans that are fed to weasels, and then they are passed through a bowel movement and processed like normal coffee beans. Apparently this is a delicacy. I’m not into poop coffee.
The highlight of my day was to hang out with monkeys!
I returned to my hotel and went to the pools and beach. I spent a lot of time enjoying the resort. I enjoyed a sushi dinner then met up with Orshi and we took a long walk along the row of hotels near us. It was a beautiful night.