This is derived from the recipe in cooking Hainanese chicken, but I personally decided that I will not be able to make this dish perfect enough to be rightfully called as Hainanese chicken. I have tasted the said delicious Singaporean pride and it’s one of my favorites, one that I always should have every time I set foot in Singapore.
Now, with respect to this dish that I love so much, I made my own in the comforts of my French home because I miss it so dearly.
It was dark. She almost could not see anything. The closed-door of the closet where she was hiding was blocking her from everything was the only safe haven she could have at this moment. She was shaking. She was scared. Another loud shot rang outside, and her hands immediately flew to her mouth, avoiding so much as not letting any sound to come out of her lips. She was void with the ability to speak since she was born, but being deaf would not stop her. She could not scream, but maybe her wails could get anyone’s attention. She could not do it yet, however. Not while the assailant was still outside, roaming the hall.
Hands in her mouth, she felt the cold metal on her finger. Angrily, she slipped it off, regretting the day that someone put it on her. Salty tears streamed down her face, wetting her hands as she continued to cry quietly. Sweat trickled down her face, as well. It touched the hands, covering her mouth. She has been hiding inside for so long. Nobody expected it. They didn’t see it coming. He was the kindest man she met, whom she thought have accepted her despite her disabilities. She loved him, but she has been wrong after all. He was an opportunist who wanted nothing but power and wealth. And he would get it, even if it takes him to murder her entire family, including her.
To say that nobody expected a global pandemic to happen this year was an understatement. Like it always does to many of us, I had so many plans in early January about the things I look forward to be doing for the rest of the year. I was even planning to send my parents here for vacation in March and take them around Europe.
The first quarter was a mixture of many things. I had a scary bus accident, and thankfully came out with nothing but a bruise. Things were looking fine at work. And, it may have sounded cliché for some but I met a good man on the day after Valentine’s Day 🙂 And then, the half of March came and things have never been the same.
It was Christmas two days ago, my favorite time of the year. This time, I celebrated Noche Buena, a traditional Filipino Christmas eve dinner with a few friends here in Antibes. Of course, in observance to the safe health protocols, we were only four. 🙂 But it was divine. I got to enjoy my time with these few but dear people, and I am fortunate to have them especially at this time.
In our Noche Buena, we prepared a fusion of our Filipino and the western culture, as we live through it now. We had paella, lechon, embutido, salad and roasted vegetables. The night was full of shared memories of the country we miss so much, laughter, a bit of games, wine and coffee, and of course, the exchange of gifts. 🙂
A few weeks back, I attended a coffee break meeting with some of my friends at work, and we had this topic about what are the things we are grateful of. We took turns to share the things we love and thankful to have. For me, it’s just simply that for everything that has happened this year, I am grateful for the good health and welfare of my family and friends, a job that I still have and love doing, and food on my table. It has been a very challenging year for everyone, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I guess, it was not enough to say that we should look out for each other. I think that it should always be something that we have to do to each other, because at the end of the day, our sense of humanity is fulfilled with simple acts of kindness towards each other in order to get through everything, especially at this time.
On the night of Christmas, I finally got to enjoy Bridgerton on Netflix. I have been looking forward to this since it was announced that the book series by Julia Quinn will be adapted into a Netflix series. To say that I binge-watched was an understatement. I love it so much that I am watching it for the second time today again, haha. At the end of the eight-episode series, I am very much looking forward to Anthony Bridgerton’s story (enjoy the Viscount’s wink below). I love him in the books and I love him more in the series. Actually, I love this Bridgerton family that I can’t wait to hear the announcement of Season 2.
Reading. A regency romance novel by Julia Quinn, because I cannot get enough of the Bridgertons that I have to read them again.
Writing. None. I’m busy reading. 😛
Listening. The faint noise of my neighbor’s TV, wherever that is. And occasionally, a car or a motorcycle passing by the road – during curfew hours. 😛
Wishing. For this pandemic to be over, so, I can go home and visit the family in spring.
Hoping. For a focused mind this week. Only three days at work, and only a few people in the team in the last week of 2020.
Loving. I just had coffee and cake. I love cakes, and ordered the yule log version of my favorite Saint Barth from Lilian Bonnefoi for the holiday season.
Needing. I plan to go back to that book I am reading. It’s relaxing to read on this quiet Sunday night.
Also, on the night of Christmas, there was a bit of commotion that happened in this part of France. We had an unexpected hail storm. I looked outside and my balcony was a bit full of water and I thought there was some stones, before I realized that it’s hail. Oh, well. I hoped that everyone is fine now after that night. It was unexpected and I know that it’s dangerous to drive out in that storm when the car is not well-equipped with such weather.
Two years ago, I made another big decision in my life by accepting that position in my job and moving to an entirely different world, aka Europe. For those who may not know yet, Europe is VERY different from Asia, in many aspects. To be culturally shocked might have been an understatement, even from me who’s always been a lover of world history and a regular in libraries to read and study it.
I decided to list down the things I learned and observed, and please be reminded, that these are only based from my experiences and it could be different with others. 🙂
I have always wanted to go to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar the first time I heard about it. Located in Bagac, Bataan, it is a re-constructed Spanish colonial village where you can find actual heritage houses that used to be found from all over the Philippines. I applaud the genius who decided to collect these houses to preserve our history and culture this way, Mr. Jose Acuzar. There are accommodations, restaurants and shops in the village, too. Me and my friends decided to stay overnight. We chose the Executive Suite: a three-storey suite with loft, three queen beds and an extremely large bathroom. The restaurants nearby offers a fusion of delicious Filipino and European dishes, and they sometimes have musicians at night, serenading you with enchanting Filipino songs (I miss those times). The village can also be toured for a day and there were several heritage tours offered. For more details, you can check on their website.
Last night, France watched and listened to President Macron gave the details of the current COVID situation in the country. I waited in bated breath (yeah, I was really anticipating this the whole day. It’s what we all talk about in the office earlier) on his announcement on what will be the next measures to protect everyone from the virus and to help the healthcare workers from oversaturation of French hospitals.
And there, he said it.
France will be back into lockdown this Friday, October 30, until December 1.
I woke up this morning, somehow disoriented because the someone perhaps decided to fix the roads around my area and ended at 3am. I went out to drop the clothes and other stuff that I want to give away, and passed by the nearby boulangerie. I need a fix of some good baguette and pain au chocolat to start this day.
As the day continues, I could feel the people’s reaction from last night’s announcement. Traffic is everywhere. It’s a bit noisy outside, and when I went out for a quick grocery run (I did not buy toilet papers, I have enough), there are lots of people outside, too!
After work, I decided to go around my place, too. I walked down the road of Albert 1er and passed by people who seemed to be in a hurry. There was a queue in a store for hair products (I understand them. I bought a box of hair coloring, too). There were lots of people at the sea front, most seemed to be like me, looking out at the sea and appreciating the moment while we’re still not in lockdown. I took some photos (I shared some of those in my IG) and continued walking. I reached the old town and walked around, too. There were lots of people going their way, preparing for the lockdown for sure. I dropped by Antibes Books, the English bookstore and bought a couple of books to read at home. I continued going around, wherever my legs could take me. I ended up buying myself a smoked salmon sandwich for dinner. I had it wrapped so I can enjoy at home. Asia Freres, the Asian grocery, was also full when I decided to drop by. I bought a few items and then, went home.
I’ve been telling myself, this will only take a month, although some news say that this was only the initial plan and may be extended. I don’t know. But what I hope is that this second lockdown will help the health workers. I hope this lockdown will work. I hope this ends soon.
How about you? What did you do to prepare yourself for the lockdown or quarantine in your area? 🙂
This week, I downloaded Tous Anti Covid, a tool here in France that was created to trace the chains of contamination of the Coronavirus 19, especially in areas that are high in numbers of circulation. This can be downloaded in Apple or Google Play.
I admit that it’s scary to activate it, as shown below, because the mobile app requires you to open your bluetooth. When the bluetooth is open, you have an option to activate it. This will enable to detect anyone nearby who uses the app – and reported that they have tested positive with COVID19 – to notify you when you have come close in contact with them. Once this happens, it will send a notification in your mobile phone, sending awareness that you isolate yourself to avoid spreading it out to someone else as well as some instructions on what you can do. It is important to take note that everything and everyone is anonymous. Privacy is still respected here. You will only know that you have been in contact with someone within a meter for at least 15 minutes – but you will not know who. It is now up to you to self-isolate/self-quarantine to protect yourself and others for further contamination. The app has several guided information and what’s good about this? It’s in English! Maybe, it automatically defaults to my phone since that’s my personal preference, but I hope that it also has something in French. This should be easily utilized by everyone in France and it will be very helpful that it is well-understood by most locals.
It is free and voluntary, so we have an option to activate or deactivate. Since the aim is to be able to have an early detection and prevention, this will work only if a lot of people will download and start using the app.
I think that this will only work effectively if a person who took a test or tested positive with the virus was able to download and record it in the app. Otherwise, we will all just be walking around with this app in the background and not knowing that an asymptomatic person have already come close in contact with us.
The government released a whole page dedicated to inform everyone about this new tool and it is found HERE.
Also, since there are now 54 Departments and one overseas territory under curfew for the period of six weeks, the mobile app also has a link that provides the certificate that you need to fill up if you want to go out within the period of curfew from 9pm to 6am. It’s almost the same certificate that we have to fill up during the 3-month lockdown last March – May. I just wonder who walks their dog beyond 9pm…
I hope this information helps. The app still makes me anxious. I try my best to live with the virus, doing the normal things but with utmost caution. I hope that I won’t get any notification from it. Anyway, it will help us protect ourselves and other people. I also hope you would try to download and use this. And hopefully, we could overcome this pandemic soon.
It’s been a year when an idea struck after my sister told me that she’s going to spend the summer holidays in Europe with me. I was racking my brains on where to go, what to do. I find it still amazing that we can go anywhere in the Schengen area with our visa and I was excited about this. For a Filipino who was able to manage to get the Schengen visa, the possibilities are endless! 🙂
I was thinking that perhaps we can go up north, but my sister already planned for a pre-trip with her friend in the northeastern Europe so I would give it to her and decided to check somewhere else in the Schengen map, haha. And with some budget considerations, we ended up on planning to go to Greece. It’s pretty exciting since it will be our first time and it has been something that I would really love to go. I love history and by default, we ended up in Athens as first-timers, haha!
I am excited this week when one of my favorite authors, Julia Quinn, announced that the Bridgerton TV series is finally coming to Netflix on December 25!
To refresh the memory of anyone who also love the book series like I do, this is about the eight children of the late Viscount Bridgerton: Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth. You see that they were alphabetically-named and each has their own story in the series. The stories will be full of romantic entanglements, but also, about love, family, and friendship. I enjoyed reading these and if you haven’t yet, you may head over to this complete list on where where to get it.
I love reading novels set in the Victorian and Regency period, and I really look forward to watching this one when the news came that it would be adapted as a TV series by Netflix. It was created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes, producer of Grey’s Anatomy and Princess Diaries 2. 🙂
Aside from Christmas, I have another thing to look forward to on December 25th! 🙂
If you are also interested in this new series, follow Bridgerton’s accounts on Instagram and Twitter. And most of all, follow Julia Quinn on Instagram to get some deets on the series and also her books.
(banner photo from Bridgerton’s official Twitter 🙂 )
One day, your foreign boss sent you a message out of nowhere, asking about your expertise and what else can you do. The next thing you know, you have been asked if you considered relocating abroad to be part of a team.
This happened to me. It all happened in a span of about two weeks. And within four months (the legal and immigration aspects had something to do with it), I was already on a plane to live in an entire new country with nothing but the expertise I was expected of, some hopes and dreams for an entirely new future.