Sunday, December 7, 2008


Ever since I was a teenager, I've been reading horoscopes and taking them seriously to varying degrees. Whenever things get tough or uncertain, I turn to horoscopes ever more often and take them ever more seriously. I guess it's like religion, you reach for some form of reassurance when time are tough. Same reason why I went to the fortune teller a couple of months ago. And this year, I have leaned on horoscopes more than ever.

And I am aware that I shouldn't take horoscopes too seriously coz they make you start looking for those signs in your life as described in your horoscope. For example, I am taking this guy I met a couple of weeks ago far more seriously than I should even though a) he lives in a different city b) he is 40 and c) he is divorced. But then I a) met him on the weekend that my horoscope said I would b) my horoscope said that the one I met during that particular weekend is very likely the one and c) the fortune teller had said my guy would have been married before.

And now my horoscope is warning me of a big work-related conflict coming up this week. On website says that I may have been complacent about something which will come to the surface this week. Another website says that although conflict is expected, my starsign should be insulated from it. And yet another says that I will have to make an unpleasant but ultimately right decision. With all the unpleasantness already at work, I find it hard to not to believe all these predictions. I am dreading the week already. And I know I am being silly and I am trying hard to dismiss these thoughts.

Argh I am so done with 2008. It's been a loooooong year. Bring on 2009!

Sun sign Capricorn, Moon sigh Aries and Chinese zodiac Monkey if you must know.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Office politics

I found out a couple of pieces of office gossip recently which are basically about people stabbing each other in the back. That has left a seriously bad taste at the back of my mouth. Not that I love-love-love my workplace in the first place. I have not enjoyed my work for some time now. And the people I get on with at work have either left the firm or just become too up their ars*s. I have known for some time that I will not be staying there too much longer. Right now, I am just treading water, hoping to stay afloat for as long as possible before I go.

Our office Christmas party is on the 11th of December. I have tickets to see Gotan Project that night. I have a tonne of friends going to watch Gotan. And the last time I saw Gotan, I had a really fun time. So it's really a no-brainer for me to ditch the office Christmas party in favour of having fun with my friends.

Or maybe not.

I am now thinking that I should probably show up just to maintain appearances if anything. Even though it won't come as a surprise when I leave next year, I shouldn't probably NOT make it so obvious that I am leaving. Argh, office politics. I am trying to leave on a good note. But every additional day I spend at work makes it so much more difficult to stay positive.

How are you guys getting on at work? Any sage words on dealing with office politics?

On another note, I am looking forward to roasting my 6.215kg turkey tomorrow.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What a surreal weekend!

Two lessons I have learnt this weekend:

1) Viagra works for alleviating altitude sickness as it promotes circulation. Apparently everyone at Everest Base Camp is popping these.

2) The best way to get over a guy is to get under a new guy.


I had a pretty crazy weekend, almost to make up for my totally chilled out weekend in NYC last week. I partied harder than I have for a looooooong time. Two nights in a row until half 3. Haha, I am not sure I believe I am still capable of that!

The other thing I did this weekend was to revert to my old self. I hooked up with a guy who is my typical kind of guy. After having strayed off with the last guy, I had almost convinced myself that items on my checklist would not matter for the right guy. But this weekend's guy - tall, tick; successful, tick; intelligent, tick; mature, tick; unavailable (lives in NYC), tick! Maybe after all these years on the dating scene have taught me a thing or two about what I actually want in a guy and maybe my checklist is actually what works for me. Except the unavailable bit, that, I have been burnt enough times to have a strong view against that.

I have realised that my brain isn't actually working very coherently to write a proper blog entry, but I just wanted to get that down somewhere. I promise to write properly next time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shopping for men

K is one of my best friends in NY. Imagine a 6-foot-tall modelesque tough-as-nails black girl. And imagine her dating a guy 20 years older and about 4 inches shorter. And then imagine her completely walking all over him and him thinking that his purpose in life is to serve her.* K's awesome!

Anyway, K has a great piece of advice:

"If you have to ask your friends about a pair of shoes [or a guy], then it [he] is probably not worth keeping."

Friday, November 7, 2008

New York, New York

I have just come to realise that New York is the city in which I have spent the second longest period of time in over the last eight years.

May 2000 - First visit with my ex; my wallet got pickpocketed on Broadway on a busy Friday night; we did all the tourists sights including the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State building; I add to my magnet collection one of the Twin Towers

Sep 2002 - Last-minute change-of-plans to come to America for the rest of my summer holiday after having broken up with my Ex; I hang out with friends in Columbia and spend most of my time uptown; I receive marriage proposals after having cooked for some starving homesick Singaporean students

Jul 2003 - 3 weeks in NY for "training" where the UK kids ended up colluding on our final project; I watch a Yankee game and decide that baseball isn't my thing; we stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria and got a real kick from telling cab drivers our address

Nov 2003 - I visit my ex (another one) and the trip culminates in us deciding to break up; my first Thanksgiving in the States and I brought pumpkin pie to the party; I get picked up by a 50-something Austrian-Italian model while sampling apples at Union Sq farmers' market

Oct 2004 - I pop over to visit my best friend; I remember cinnamon-scented coffee at brunch at Florent's; on the flight back, I meet the guy who is going to plague me for the next 3 years

Apr 2005 - I pop over for my best friend again; it snows the first day I arrive, surprising given the time of the year; I went up to the Cloisters as my first NY touristy activity in 5 years; I remember brunch at Florent's again

2006 - there are no NY trips this year as I focus on moving to SF

Feb 2007 - I come to NY with Ming and CY; we stay at Chris' ridiculous $10k a month corporate apartment on Times Sq; we go to a Fashion Week show and an afterparty at Soho Grand; we also go to Jersey for dinner and admire the NY western skyline from there

May 2007 - Mar 2008 - I live in an amazing one-bedroom apartment in the West Village with lovely doormen; I shop more and end up with more pretty dresses than I can wear; I fall in love with Waverly Inn; I go on more dates than I ever did in London, with not much success; I battle the advances of my boss at work; I learn to cope without my friends and also to spend time with myself; I get a huge-ass fire-engine red Kitchenaid mixer; I attain Flying Club Gold after making too many trans-Atlantic flights; I finally rid myself of a ghost (see Oct 2004 trip)

Nov 2008 - I am recharging batteries after a pretty draining month; I revisit my haunts in NY and remember all the little things I miss about it; and since I am still here now, the rest of the story still needs to be written...

Monday, November 3, 2008

How to be a sleazy Eurotrash banker

It's pretty simple, you could try one of these pick-up lines:

"I am a guy and sex is good for me all the time. You are girl, you tell me when"


"When was the last time you came?"

I haven't hung out with sleazy Eurotrash bankers for so long, I'd forgotten how entertaining they could be.

Saving the world

I went for my first-ever Halloween party on Sat night. Yes, I know! How could I get to the age of 27 and 10 months without having been to a Halloween party??!! One has to start somewhere I guess.

The invite came from this guy I saw casually about four years ago. I haven't seen him since but I recently added him to my Facebook. Ah the wonders of Facebook! And I got invited to this party along with a bunch of random flopsies to up the boob count.

The pressure was definitely on for me to come up with an amazing costume. a) I haven't seen this guy in four years b) he was and probably still is the best looking guy I ever went out with and c) his friends on Facebook looked cute. OK I guess you're impatient to know what I went as. Well, the title to this post should give you a clue...If not, maybe this will help.

From How to Make New Friends

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I was preoccupied this week with a drawn out text exchange with the Ex (not technically since he never got to Boyfriend status, but let's call him that for convenience). Ex starts the week with an email saying he would like to stay in touch. And somehow we agreed to meet up on Fri night. Fri night rolls along, wham bam, a long emotional conversation later, I'm at his place and we're having frenetic intense ex-sex.

The long emotional conversation went along the lines of: him - I really like hanging out with you and I think we have a great sexual connection. I would like to continue spending time with you, but I really cannot commit at this point; me - yes, me too. And I want to keep it simple - we like hanging out so we hang out and we will get in touch with each other when we think of each other, nothing like marriage whatsoever. him - yes, we can continue spending time and having fun together just like we did before, but you have to understand that it will not progress further. I won't do anything romantic or even tell you things like 'I miss you'. At which point I caved and reached over to kiss him...

Maybe I am not in a position to date someone properly myself, but I don't think I could see on a regular basis, someone I couldn't be sure whether or not he cared for me. I think I should have accumulated enough good karma along the way to deserve to have someone who is crazy head-over-heels-in-love with me. The f-ed up arrangements the Ex proposed just doesn't work. I am not sure I could be friends with him either. And I am going to be honest with myself about that.

This wouldn't be a single girl blog if I didn't spend some column space moaning about Ex-es, but we have to move on.

I have a Halloween party tonight. Guess what I am going as? :P Wonderwoman!! I am looking forward to the party already! Pics may follow, if you're good and drop me a comment if you're reading this blog.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Crystal ball gazing

I went to see a psychic/fortune teller yesterday. She wasn't the gypsy in fringe-y layer-y clothing you'd have expected. Instead, she was a perfectly pleasant elderly Dutch lady.

With psychics, it is always hard to tell how much they are saying is really your fortune or whether they are just extremely perceptive people who are able to read people well. I guess the best approach to take is not to ask questions at the beginning and just let them ramble. I think they work best when they don't know what they are expected to say.

So why would an educated and highly intelligent young woman go to see a psychic? Well, because I needed to pay some nice old lady 50 quid to tell me that the sky wasn't going to fall in and that I'd be OK. Seriously though, I think she made a few good points:

- I have been moving around a fair bit and will continue doin so for the next little while
- I probably won't be in London in the long term, something about the climate doesn't agree with me
- wherever I end up in the future, I will have two homes
- I will be settled at some point, but it will be linked with a partner
- the man I will end up with is someone who will want to take care of me and will possibly have been married before
- the match I end up with will be as much of a rational decision as an emotional decision
- i will start a new business venture soon and I have to bear in mind that this is only the first step, not the be-all-end-all
- next Spring will be a very important period for my big change
- I will retain some connection to the States, possibly Florida
- I should consume less dairy
- I need to have more fun!

What I got out of this was reassurance rather than anything else. I have been feeling very unsettled recently, and possibly also a little down. And I needed someone to tell me everything was going to be OK. And that's what I got.

OK, it's time for me to go out and have some fun now.

p.s. why must all scenes in CSI be shot in mostly darkness? How do you operate a scientific lab without fluorescent lighting?
p.p.s. one thing that sucks about being single is not being able to laze in bed with a warm body beside you and the prospect of spending the day in bed having lots of hot sex. oh well, moving on!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Picking myself up

This has been a long week. I ended things with this guy I have been seeing. There were a lot of things going for us, but ultimately I don't think either of us were ready to commit properly to a relationship.

I learnt a lot from it. This is kinda the first time I have properly attempted a relationship in my four years in London. Most of the guys have been short-term flings, or relationships which were doomed from the start. This one started with good intentions and probably ended with good intentions as well.

Anyway, I need to stop dwelling upon it because I have a greater tendency to remember the good things rather than the bad things. I have to move on and I think maybe starting to write again might help me with that.

There are not many "single girl blogs" out there, mostly coz most single girl blogs start and either end up with singleton finding true love and turning into sappy relationship blog or the singleton getting so cynical and jaded she stops writing altogether. I don't know where this one will end up, but let's see.

I'll propose a toast to this blog of mine with my gin and tonic. And if you will excuse me, I've got some CSI to catch up on before I end out for some Friday Frolics.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The sky hasn't fallen in....yet

It's been a long week. The global financial markets are in effective meltdown. I don't even want to think about how my equity investments are doing coz I know I sure ain't going to get a bonus next year. The good thing is that I still have a job nd enough cash to tide me over for a while.

I have friends who are talking through all sorts of doomsday scenarios. The sky is going to fall in...I am going to lose my job...I won't have any money...I won't be able to enjoy the same standard of living.... and it goes on. I don't want to listen to any of that because it's precisely this kind of mass hysteria which is driving the market down further. People no longer have confidence in the financial system and worse still no confidence in governments' abilities to solve the problem. We'd be all better if we got given two weeks off to spend chilling out by the beach in the sun. By the time we get back, life will be fine again, financial crisis solved, jobs saved.

And you know what, we have to put things into perspective. We re all still healthy and able. And hopefully most of us are surrounded by people who love us and care for us. And we should be focusing on the things that are really important.

Which brings me to the second meltdown this week - me. The guy I have been seeing for the last two months seems to have lost interest. His effort level has fallen dramatically since the first date. And I have put up with a lot of this crap, including him not calling or even texting between dates. I've excused him because his work situation isn't so great. But you know what, if he's not worried enough such that he's still out socialising and having fun with his other friends, then why should I let him off the hook?

But my meltdown wasn't about him. It was about me. It was about me realising that I haven't valued myself enough. I have not made myself enough of a priority in the time with him. And this is exactly how I hoot myself in the foot every time. Well girlfriend, something's got to change. I am a damn good catch and guys need to treat me like one!! Especially some shortie who is a lose in his career!

Yeap, it's been a long week. Next week's going to be better!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Playing hooky

I pulled a sickie this morning. And it's been great since. I slept in - did anyone tell you how amazing three hours of extra sleep is? I also savoured a pain au chocolat and nursed a coffee at Ottolenghi with the yummy mummies and trustafarians. And now I am slumming it at a cafe nearer to Bayswater. The yummy mummies (less yummy than at Ottolenghi) are startin to stream in for lunch now.

3 weeks ago, I went to Brussels to visit some friends I'd met while travelling in Vietnam. They are both TV producers and they produce reality TV shows in Flemish. Think Temptation Island in Flemish? As typical, their jobs aren't as glamorous as most people think. They work bloody hard. But as C put it, he was "doing the job he'd always wanted to do". Which reminded me of the chefs I'd met the weekend before that.

Which then brings it back to me. I pulled a sickie today because I couldn't bear the thought of going into work and having to work. I am sure people have offdays too. But I know that this is not what I want to be doing. So the natural question is what do I want to do?

Some brainstorming
- open my own restaurant
- become a restaurant consultant
- go work for a resort group (e.g. Aman Resorts)
- become an interior designer
- start a furniture business importing furniture from Asia
- become a private chef
- become a lifestyle consultant for rich hedge fund guys with money and little taste

I think my ideal job would
- have a global context
- not be desk-bound
- involve lots of human interaction
- require creativity
- pays for a decent standard of living

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In the moment

Over the weekend, I went to Copenhagen. Primary reason for the trip was to go worship at the temple of Noma, a two-Michelin-starred modern Danish/Scandinavian restaurant.

And what an experience it was! I'm not a food blogger by any means, but this dinner was an experience beyond food.

We got there at 630pm, worked our way through the food and wine and eventually finished eating around 1230. The food was exquisite. The flavours were clean and showcased the ingredients (all sourced in Scandinavia) beautifully, whilst every dish delivered some element of surprise/excitement. We then got a kitchen tour by the wonderful Pontus (sommelier and part-owner of Noma) - "dez eese the Pacojet room..." and some how got convinced by Pontus to stay for a nightcap. One glass of whiskey and one story about "textbook-style crawls on wide-screen" by one very drunk sommelier later, the rest of the chefs had finished cleaning up and joined us for drinks. Before we knew it, it was 430 and one very tired waiter decided to throw us out. 10 hours!

I wrote the following email to thank the Noma team for the amazing experience I had:

"Dear Noma team,

I had a really amazing time on Saturday night, thank you so much for letting me share in the Noma experience. Many top restaurants strive for perfection and lose their soul in the process, but Noma manages to deliver a sublime experience (atmosphere, food, wine, service, everything!) while speaking from the heart. (Not to mention a surreal experience when Pontus starts telling you about his "textbook crawl on wide-screen"!) The ten hours we spent there were for me, one of those rare experiences in life where you're completely in the moment, forgetting where you came from and where you will go next. Thank you so much and I hope to see you all again.

S xx"

Noma for me was much more than just a meal. It was about the streamlined yet warm decor, the welcoming and friendly service, the food as mentioned before, the wonderful bio-dynamic wines, the company and of course, getting to hang out with the chefs. It was an experience in which I lost myself; I was totally in the moment. Every bite, every sip, every laugh...

Anyway, I have learnt if i-bankers think they have it tough, chefs work far longer hours doing far more demanding (physically) demanding, get yelled at more and get paid far less too. But they still do it, for the love of the job. Of course there are also days when they hate their jobs, but it takes passion to do their job they do. I am in awe of them for this level of commitment and jealous of them for having found their passion. But they have inspired me - there are jobs out there which are fulfilling, I just need to find the one that's right for me.

Man, I really want to go back to Noma now...

p.s. speaking of being in the moment, here's a great article about living in the moment

Saturday, August 9, 2008

From London

I noticed it's been a good 3 months since my last post. And even before that, I'd started to slow down in my updates. I wasn't sure if I had any readers plus my own life was swirling downwards. But anyway, I am writing again today coz I got a comment recently from an anonymous reader, which I appreciated very much.

"I very much enjoyed reading your blog, as a fellow aSWer, your experience very much resonates with my own: Born in China, grew up in Canada, educated in UK, (had long distance boyfriend, now ex in NYC) and then moved to Singapore (for an investment bank) where i did not know a single soul.. it's nice to know that someone else is experiencing the same joys and pains of living a global life... the same optimism when it comes to dating even after you are heart-broken and dissapointed time and again. it makes me feel less alone.

It’s so hard you know, to repeat the same story over and over again; to meet strangers, become friends, and separate like strangers again; to cross oceans and not know much about the place where you will end up, the people you will meet, the joy you will experience or the hardships that you will have to endure.

Thanks for the blog, who knows, maybe see you at some point on an aSW event.

ciao "

Thank you, anonymous reader. It made me feel better that I wasn't just being some pathetic whiny person who over-reacted to what i saw to be the challenges in my life.


The update now:

I am back in London and so happy to be back. I've got a lovely flat in the best area of London (W2 of course!). I've been catching up with old friends, making some new ones and also spring-cleaning some who don't belong in my life anymore. I've re-started my programme of Sunday Night Dinners and they've been super fun so far. I've been going on a number of dates (some good, some bad and some downright funny). I've found myself a climbing partner and am trying to go once a week. I've found an amazing pilates studio and go once a week to get tortured by my pilates instructor. I'm also trying to learn roller blading (finally after 3 years of owning blades!) with a lot less success. I've moved back into my old desk at work and it feels like I never left for NY. I've also figured out what my next career might be and am trying to work towards it.

So the upshot is, I am in a good place right now and I am going to savour every moment of it. :)

p.s. I will blog about my dates coz some were definitely worth sharing

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tomas Maier is a genius

Summer has come and gone. London is back to being cold and grey. And it doesn't help that I have a cold.

But this weather got me looking at the Fall/Winter RTW collections. I know the title of this post says this already, but I will say it again, Tomas Maier is a genius.

Now how do I find a sugar daddy to finance these frocks?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Appropriate footwear

Today was an exceptionally soggy day in London. Usually London rain comes in the form of a light drizzle, which whilst irritating, still allows people to go about most of their daily business without requiring a brollie. But today, the rain decided to fall hard enough to create puddles everywhere. By the time I got into work, my feet were almost soaked. Wet feet are possibly one of these worst ways to start your day (short of the horror of finding a long queue at the coffee store)

Anyway, if this was New York, everyone would be in their wellies. Stylish girls would be in their pastel coloured Hunters or Marc Jacobs wellies. And even the not-so-stylish girls would be in appropriate footwear. (I didn't stay long in NY enough to acquire a pair of these myself, but I certainly had my eye on a pair of baby blue Hunters.)

Now, London being a city which experiences more annual rainfall than NY, why don't people wear appropriate footwear around? Is it because Londoners inherently don't like making life easier for themselves, preferring to have the pleasure of moaning about wet feet instead?

It does seem as though the English pride themselves on a stoicism which on the one hand, represents great tolerance and endurance. However, this pride also allows for self-indulgence in the form of constant moaning about things not working, instead of them getting off their arses to get it done.

People tend to take on the character of the city they live in, or vice versa. Before I left London, I was definitely feeling defeated even before having tried and was ever so weary. This time around, I am feeling revived and energetic and ready to take on this city all over again. But it will be change in small steps and I will pick my battles this time, wearing the appropriate footwear of course!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

2nd post

2 posts in one day after 3 months of radio silence?! Wow, this must be your lucky day! I will have to confess that the double-posting is a little more self-interested than that.

The Flatmate still isn't home. I am wondering if I should call the police yet. His last text message did read
"Sorry for not calling. I had an intense night. I come back tomorrow." Well, at least he's getting some whilst the rest of us (ok, me) are not getting any.

So I am home alone and getting bored waiting for my movie to download from iTunes. (And FYI, there are two versions of the movie Sabrina. You should only watch the 1954 version starring Audrey Hepburn. Watch the 1993 version only if you are Calista Flockhart and are actually in a relationship with Harrison Ford.)

And finally I am trying to get a boy out of my mind. A boy I met only last night at a house party. A boy with whom the conversation started with me telling him he should lie about himself when meeting new people to keep himself entertained if they were exceedingly dull or to keep them entertained if they were exceedingly interesting. For the rest of the night, I was not sure if he was lying in the first place and if he was, if it was for the former or latter reason. Anyway, as I have had so little to do today and my mind so otherwise unoccupied, snippets of our conversation from last night come back to me at random moments. And I realise that amidst all the lying and joking, actually there was a fair amount of honesty. And it's that mixture of lies and the truth which has intrigued me, enough to want to see him again. And I am annoyed that the Boy didn't ask me for my number even after he'd leaned in to kiss me goodnight in the cab. So annoyed that I am going to set up lunch this week with our mutual friend to make it happen. Boy gets my number, we go out on a date, fall madly and wildly in love with each other and live happily ever after. Yes I am losing it.

OK, hope this post has offered me enough catharsis to not come back for a third helping...

April 27th

What a difference a year makes. This time last year, I just arrived in NY, fresh from a month-long break and full of hope and promise about life in NY. This time this year, no month-long break but here I am, back in London, full of hope and promise about life in London.

Not going into details about why I decided to move back, but I think overall London offers a more sustainable pace long-term. And please, I offer no guarantees on where I will be this time next year.

So to follow up on a couple of things...

1) Eligible men in London - Hmmm, this one hasn't quite worked out. Eligible Bachelor 1 turns out to be a commitment-phobe possibly also with a fear of letting people get close. Eligible Bachelor 2 has taken a leave of absence and will only be back in London in August. And Eligible Bachelor 3, we are probably better off as friends. So if you know of any other eligible men in London, I scrub up well, am able to make fairly interesting/funny conversation and can tell my martinis from my whiskeys. Do let me know!

2) I now have a flatmate in London. He's French, Jewish and most definitely a ladies' man. At the time of writing, he was last seen getting ready to go "hunting" and that was about 48 hours ago. He will definitely be an entertaining flatmate...

3) In the past year away, I actually grew closer to a couple of my friends in London than when I was actually in London. Talk about absence makes the heart grow fonder. Anyway, now that I am back, I have managed to catch up with most of my friends. Some of them have moved on, getting married or settling into very long-term relationships. And whilst they remain interesting people and good friends, they're ermm...kinda...less fun to hang out with. So I am on the look-out for new friends in London too. If you know of any interesting and fun singles in London, do let me know!

4) Boy have I missed the English capacity to take the piss! Being back here made me appreciate the English self-deprecating sense of humour more than ever.

5) The restaurant scene around Bayswater has improved like 300-fold! And that is significant given that they already had Gold Mine* when I left for NY. There is now a great little Italian takeaway joint, Arancina, which has fresh pastas and pizzas. There is Bodean's, a great American-styled ribs joint. There's Cafe Anglais, Rowley Leigh's latest venture after Kensington Place. And there is Hereford Road, which has been touted as the St John of the West. Hardly surprising given the chef (Tom Pemberton) used to work there and the menu is strikingly similar. But I have a lot more confidence in the place as it occupies a great space in a very good location; I think it will mature into a very fine restaurant which I will be proud to call 'my local'.

And last one for today, in a NY-LON comparison, London flats seem to be poorly heated or poorly built for heat conduction. I'm freezing!

* In my opinion, the best Chinese restaurant in London.

Friday, February 1, 2008

February 1st

Last night, I had drinks with some friends who have been in NY for a while and are contemplating their next moves. I also had dinner with a friend who lives in Boston but works in NY for the week. I am not sure if it was because of my earlier conversation at drinks or what, but I just realized that all the comments I subesequently made at dinner about NY and America were pretty negative. How did it get that way?


I had one of my best nights in NY last Sun. I had a bunch of people over for dinner, as I do every so often. What made it different on Sunday was I somehow assembled a group with the right chemistry. The night ended at 1am with 4 of us (out of 7) still at the table, after seven bottles of wine and an evening of great conversation, with many references to "Judith". (There's a looooong story behind that)

Perhaps the food was a sign of how the night would unfold. The food was, if you don't mind me boasting, beautiful! I definitely outdid myself this time. Loosely based around a Mediterranean theme, the dinner menu consisted of tapenade, parsley salad, white bean puree, roasted carrots and the piece de resistance, slow-roasted harissa-marinated lamb shoulder. (Boy I wish I had taken a picture of the lamb when it was served.) We finished with an incredibly light olive oil and Muscat cake served with Muscat Love.

Or perhaps I should have known when W burst into the room, overhearing a conversation fragment about Moscow, and went "I have a great Moscow story". W's personality dominated the evening. It was inevitable considering that he was the oldest at the table, lived in NY the longest and was not a banker/corporate type. The quieter personalities fell away quietly in W's wake, leaving W, K (W's gf), A (next oldest person at table) and myself at the table, or in W's words, "the interesting people".

It was one of my best nights in NY because not only had I managed to achieve some kind of culinary success, but I had also managed to bring together a bunch of strangers to share in a great evening. I definitely cannot say that my time in NY has been all that bad. I have managed to pursue my interests to a greater extent - practicing my culinary skills much more often, even going as far as to take a class at the French Culinary Institute. And even though I have been here only nine months, I have met such a wide range of people, some more interesting than others, many friendly but flaky. I have learned to cope on my own, away from friends who have tried-and-tested and thrust amongst strangers.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

NYLON. I meant New York - London rather than the synthetic fibre. It is a relatively easy crossing to make. From NY, leave in Fri evening, arrive Sat morning, leave Sunday evening and arrive Sunday evening, in time for work the next day. From London, leave Fri evening, arrive Fri evening, leave Sunday evening and arrive Monday morning in time for work. And because you're going for such a short period, you don't need more than a cabin bag's worth of clothing/stuff so you're out of the airport as quickly as customs will permit it.

It does get a little absurd though when you've done your fourth NYLON crossing in nine months. And in the case of the last crossing, I only told less than 5 people because I feared friends were getting a little sick of seeing me back in London again. I was afraid people would figure out that I wasn't all that happy in NY and that's why I keep going back to London to seek refuge.

It does sound a little crazy for one to say that they are not enjoying NY. I mean, what is there not to enjoy about it? The fact that my dry-cleaning gets picked up and dropped off at my building without me ever having to go to the dry-cleaners? The fact that I can get any food I want delivered to my doorstep? The fact that cabs are cheap and plentiful? The fact that I have been on more dates in the last nine months than I did in four years in London? The fact that I have an amazing apartment with an amazing location?

I *have* enjoyed NY. But I have also come to realize that my heart is in London. I have become far closer to some of my friends in London over the past 9 months in NY. And I miss them terribly. I also miss the stoic English sensibility. And I feel superficial and uncultured over here. People seem to be too busy chasing the next better thing. Oh and I also shop waaaaay too much over here - combination of convenient Internet shopping and proliferation of pretty things around. Oh and the boys in London - well, that's for another entry...

I am not sure how many more NYLON crossings I will be doing or where I will end up, but I just wanted to put this down for now.

p.s. yes, I am alive!