Days 112-113: Catching Up

I'm trying to catch up on all the different outfit everyday posts that I have missed in the crazy periods I was home between trips. Here are the outfits I wore for those days. 

I must say I'm very thankful for all the opportunities I have had to see the world due to work. Many of these places, I would not have even considered going if not for work. I am also thankful for the grace and protection I have enjoyed on everyone of the trips. But I am also thankful that the crazy traveling schedule of the last month have come to the end for now, well at least until November. And that I will have a little more time to settle the stuff for my new home. Much catching up is in order.

Watch out for my Beijing post coming up next!


Day 114: SCGS Girls

Xian and I showed up at the office one day looking like twins. 
I guess SCGS girls never get little blue sleeveless dresses out of our system. 


Day 128: Lunch Time Shopping

In the midst of all the craziness, one thing I always thank God for at work are my peers who are smart, hardworking, honest and fun people. 
On Friday they bowed to my request to go 2nd hand shopping at lunch time. 
The total haul among the 4 of us were several dresses, an economics textbook, and a set of golf clubs with a rusty 7 iron. All at rock bottom bargain prices. We all went home as happy shoppers. 

Tip for 2nd hand shopping: wear something comfy and fitting so that you can easily slip on stuff over your clothes to see if they fit. I had my striped maxi dress on which was perfect. And I threw a vest over to make it slightly more work appropriate for casual Friday at the office. 

Days 117-119 and 123: The Weather Man Lies

Last week I was in 20 degree Bonn, wrapped up in 3 layers of clothes and still freezing.
I must confess I didn't take my daily photo cos I basically looked like that during days 117-119 with my black and white coat on. Not to mention, it was close to impossible to find a german who could take a decent iphone photo. (This photo was taken by an sq staff at the airport) But I promise I was wearing very different and pretty outfits below. 

Today, I landed in smoggy 20 degree Beijing. I was in my black spaghetti strapped dress with my shawl and feeling just fine. 

Now, one of these weather men must be lying to me. 

Day 116: Sunday in Bonn

Hello Bonn, we meet again. 
Despite the cold, I had to have my favourite 0.80euro gelato. 
Apart from indulging in some gelato, What is a girl to do in Bonn on a Sunday, when all shops are closed?
Well it seems many Bonn residents spend their Sunday strolling along the Rhine river. So I took a Home and Decor magazine and spent the afternoon browsing my magazine, watching the boats sail by and people watching.
Watching friends, lovers and families stroll along really made me miss home. It didn't help that a road along the river shared Mr Kwek's name.
Thankfully, this is a short trip and I'll b home soon enough.  0 comments

Day 115: I'm Off Again

After a very productive day of confirming my renovation plans, sending mooncakes to the parents and choir, I'm off again to Bonn. See you all soon!

Day 111: Aspiring Super-Wife

Introducing Super-Wife. She cooks, cleans, and comes complete with her home sewn apron to protect her office clothes! 
By God's grace, maybe I'll get there some day. And if God blesses us with children, I hope to be able to bring them up to love Him too. 

In the mean time, I'm still an aspiring-super-wife, often overwhelmed by the stresses of work, laundry piling up and a messy home. But I'm glad Mr Kwek plays his part as well and recognizes my efforts. 

So here's the answer to my little question in my previous post. The latest addition to my wardrobe all the way from London is a new bag! 
While I'm still an aspiring super-wife, I can pretend to be a tai tai :) 


Days 109-110: Mr Kwek is Back!

Mr Kwek and I are finally back in the same country again! *rejoice*
So the Different Outfit Everyday posts continue.
Mr Kwek came home bearing gifts! 

Try and spot the addition to my wardrobe :) I'll tell u guys about it tomorrow.


The Mountains of Sapa

Sapa is only 380km north of Hanoi. But to get there, our journey started with an 8 hour overnight train from Hanoi to the town of Lao Cai. Being the long national day weekend, many Vietnamese were also travelling and we had trouble getting our train tickets. Thankfully, our Sapa hotel hosts managed to find us 2 "soft-sleeper" tickets on one of the tourist carriages. I wouldn't describe the beds as "soft", but the rocking of the train along the tracks lulled me into sleep soon enough.
Boarding the train at night from flat form 5
The narrow walkway on the train
Upon reaching Lao Cai, we found our bus and took a picturesque hour long drive to Sapa Town. We were soon at our hotel- Sapa Unique Hotel, run by 2 young, ambitious, and extremely nice men Hung and Viet. Since our room was available, they let us check in early (7am!!!) at no extra charge. While the room was basic. The view from the balcony was one of the best views I have ever had from a hotel room- rolling mountains slightly covered by mist, plunging into a gorgeous valley, with every slope manicured by rice terraces.
That's me on our balcony
Jan and I, with our amazing hosts Viet and Hung
 After a shower, Hung set us up with a map and simple instructions on how to walk to the nearest village and other sights of interest. And we were off.

Cat Cat Village was just several minutes by foot from Sapa Town, and after surviving some of the most persistent touts (young girls from the nearby villages trying to sell us handicrafts), we were there. The village was not quite the authentic experience, but it gave us a good introduction to the black Hmong people who lived in the area.

Shops selling almost identical handicrafts lined the paths

Weaving and embroidery of traditional Hmong clothes

We thought the views from Cat Cat Village and our hotel room were amazing. But we stood in awe of God creation when we went for our guided hike to Ta Phin Village. Our guide was a young lady from the Hmong tribe who brought us on a trek through paddy fields, streams, vegetable farms, and several villages.

The journey begins
Crossing gentle streams (getting our shoes very muddy since we were slipping all over)

Photos don't even begin to capture the majesty of the mountains
The crisp mountain air, cool weather and gentle paths made for a nice easy trek. While the stunning views of the mountains in a million shades of emerald and gold left an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of us 2 city girls.
Cradling the very useful plant which provides hemp for clothes, marijuana, and lovely smelling flowers 

Unlike Cat Cat village, we saw no other tourists around and the villagers were all just minding their own business in their farms. We were joined by 2 ladies from the Red Dzao tribe who followed us throughout our journey helping us along the more difficult paths and pointing out interesting things to us. But we were of course obliged to buy some handicrafts from them at rather marked up prices at the end of the walk. They were a tad too pushy for my liking and I would have been much happier with the arrangement if I was forewarned, but well, that's the way the wind blows.

Joined by many more Dzao tribes people at the end point of the trek

After the trek, we went back to our hotel and prepared for the long journey back with complimentary use of an empty room to shower. Our wonderful hosts were so apologetic for the noise from the nearby temple the night before that they packed 4 packets of food for us to take along on our train journey and supplied us with many bottles of water. They really went above and beyond the call of duty.

Unfortunately, due to heavy rains resulting in landslides the night before, there was a backlog in trains leaving Lao Cai for Hanoi and the train station was chaotic. Our wonderful hosts called several times to make sure we were safely on our train. So sweet right?
 Finally, we boarded our train and were back on the hard beds, back to Hanoi.
 The day we left Vietnam was a rainy rainy day. We were so thankful for the wonderful weather, journey mercies, amazing people and stunning scenery that we got to enjoy during our stay :)

Beautiful memories to treasure

Summer School

One of the things I love about me job is getting to meet people from around the world who are passionate about what they do, incredibly bright, immeasurably loving, and lead extremely full and interesting lives.

Despite the many hugs and air kisses exchanged at negotiations, nothing beats being cooped up for 10 days together at Summer School to really get to know people. I've learnt so much from them, beyond just the head knowledge of different approaches to deal with climate change.
Friends from Panama, Kazakhstan and Korea who were so much fun to be with
Lovely ladies from Brazil, Argentina and UK who taught me what it means to pursue what you love
Posing in the wilderness with friends from Panama, Chile, Dominican Republic and Kazakhstan
At our visit to the cement factory to understand how they reduced their emissions
Thanks for the memories :)


Different Outfit Everyday Hiatus

Dear regular readers of this blog, sorry for the absence of posts the last 2 weeks. In that time, I have been in Vietnam, first for a 10 day summer school, then for a quick trip to the gorgeous  mountains of Sapa. The day after I got back, Mr Kwek was off to London on a work trip. With my star photographer and I in different countries, it has been a little difficult getting my daily outfit posts. So I decided that different outfit everyday will take a break for a bit. 
In the mean time, I'll b posting about my time in Vietnam, which included 2 bouts of food poisoning, the flu, long journeys, and gorgeous mountains. Here's a sneak peek: 

What's Vietnam without Pho?
My favourite communist inspired cafe
Did I mention gorgeous mountains?