Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Give me a kangaroo instead.

My skin is crawling, my throat is hoarse from shouting and it doesn't help that my carpet is grey, like that mouse.

I'm gonna sound like an ignorant spoilt prat, but yes this is the first time I've seen a mouse.

Comments so far:

"Better get them before they eat your dresses.."

" big deal...once the cold comes more mice will hibernate in your room"

"you look traumatised charissa"

"So you didn't find it cute?"

"hahahahahahahahahahah.......that's kinda a non funny kind of way"

"Yeah we had a mouse in our room...we put a mouse trap there and it never came back."
"Yeah you know why.....cuz the freaking mouse is in my room right now!!!"

Nik printed out a notice that says "You have no mice whatsoever" and stuck it onto my door.

I called the mice people. I'm convinced they were sniggering as they took down my details. They are so not coming I assure you.

I gather the general consensus is: Suck it up princess, the plague is nowhere near yet.

Monday, November 28, 2005

My thanksgiving journey...
Posted by Picasa

In Bryant Park ice skating rink
Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

Deb and I
Posted by Picasa

In dan's house
Posted by Picasa

Steph and Nish
Posted by Picasa

My new friend...
Posted by Picasa

Before the dinner begins...
Posted by Picasa

another drinking picture...
Posted by Picasa

The Big Turkey Buffet

This thanksgiving weekend has been the most exhausting weekend i ever had since coming here. Managed to touch the soil of four states in four days. Considering i sleep about 9 hours on any average day, i managed to survive through it with about 4-6 hrs of sleep a day.

Wednesday night: Left Philly to New Jersey with Mike and Claire. Drive took 2.5 hrs. It would normally take less than 1hr. Drove through the most dangerous city in America. Camden, NJ. Didn't get shot. Happy. Visited Claire's family to load up on chinese food. Claire's mum had an indianchineseamerican accent because she was a chinese girl born in india and immigrated to America. interesting. They were hakka. They spoke hakka. I'm half hakka. I had no idea what they were talking about. Feel bad betraying my chinese province. Feeling lasted for 3 minutes.

Drove to Debra's home in holmdel, NJ. Feels good to be back. Went to some mexican restaurant for drinks and to listen to lousy karaoke. Ordered peach magarita. Waitress shouted "BITCH" at me. Took me a few minutes to realise she meant peach. Listen to conversation about people i don't know. Saw deers. Went back. Slept.

Thursday (Thanksgiving day): No snow. Grumpy. Woke up early to watch macy thanksgiving parade. Laughed at performers in their skimpy costumes on a freezing morning. 10:10am. Watch RENT in the movie. Cried a bit because Cary Shields was so hot. Five people in the cinema. Walked out. Ran into the original actress who played Maureen in the broadway version of RENT. Found out she use to date Cary Shields. Told her i needed to pee and excused myself.

Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potato, corn, salad, chocolate banana pie and alot of alcohol. Family gossip. Conversation went into breast implants and other unmentionables. Laughed so much i got high on oxygen. Funniest dinner i ever had. Visited Deb's extended family. First time in a house with 30 Jews. Felt slightly awkward. Family friend asked me if i was jewish. Was stuck in a corner with a towering man talking to me at too close a proximity. Rainshower of spit. Went home. Wash face. Watched Dave the movie. Slept.

Black Friday: Woke up. Still no snow. Was about to get grumpy when i realised today is national shopping day. Sped to the mall. Spend $250 on unnecessay stuff. Went bridesmaid gown shopping with Deb. Shoke my head and made faces at most of the dresses. Made a new friend. I would put his name down except he wouldn't tell it to me. Went to Manhattan. Had chinese food which took 3 minutes to arrive on the table. Watched the worst musical in the world. The sacastic comments shooting between Deb, her mum and I were more entertaining than the off key singing and uncoordinated dancing. Started doing retro dancing in the middle of a slow song. Show over. Told Deb's cousin who was acting in it that it was "Awesome". Felt bad for lying. But there was an awkward pause after she asked me "How was is?" Took the train to connecticut. Went to Dan's house with a forest for a backyard. Met up with Nisha, Justin, Steph and Dan along with Deb. Watched Wet Hot American Summer. A movie about 13 year old's making out in summer camp. Scarred for life. Slept.

Saturday: Woke up. Went shopping at nine west factory outlet with the girls. Had no money to buy anything. Took Dan's car to Manhattan. Car sick. Went ice skating in Bryant Park. So many crazy kids. Nominated it as my favourite sport for now. Met Alex. Left to Manhattan chinatown to take chinatown bus back to philly. Walked like for one hour dragging a heavy luggage through chinatown which was bursting with the thanksgiving crowd. Found the freaking bus company. Told me they only go to boston not philly. Refused to tell me which company would bring me to philly. Walked around aimlessly. Finally found a small sign which said "Chinatown bus to philly for $12". Bought ticket. Counterstaff spoke broken english and couldn't tell me where the bus was parked. Walked around somemore. Found bus like 6 blocks away from company. Sped back to philly chinatown. Met Singapore claire, david and other friends. Had good vietnamese food. Got back to campus. Called Mike. Was told that he was only one street away from me in new york chinatown and i should have just called him to pick me up. Went to asian party at marbar. Danced. Drink. Got back at 5:30am. Slept.

Sunday: Woke up at 8:30am. Had 3 hours of sleep. Went to church. Had brunch at RX. Very good. Brought Claire, David and Dennis down to liberty bell and independence hall. Walked down south street to penn landing. Had philly cheesesteak for the 3rd time. Convinced now that i hate it. Chatted on the phone and on msn till 1:30am. Slept

Monday: Woke up at 1:30pm. Missed all three classes. Realise that essay is due tomorrow. Decided to have lunch and blog instead. 4pm now. End of blog entry. Have to start on essay.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I can feel my arteries tightening as i looked at my plate...for the gazillion time in the last three weeks, i made myself a stack of french toasts fried in bacon fat, strips upon strips of fatty bacon(i have no money to buy the lean heart smart ones) and eggs piled with melted cheese, once again fried in bacon fat. Yellow oil drips slowly from each piece of bread i hold up. Then i wash it down with orange juice just in case. That was for lunch. For breakfast I had bread slapped with lots of peanut butter and jelly.

Yesterday: i had cheese crepes swamped with corn-syrup and preserved strawberries for lunch. For dinner, I had a chocolate cake. A whole chocolate cake swimming in warm chocolate sauce and ice cream.

I think i need to change my diet. Or go to the gym. Or stop eating.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Eat me!! The Chocolate Bento Box at Buddakan
Posted by Picasa

The beautiful ceiling of the kimmel arts centre
Posted by Picasa

Totally ghetto...eating sandwiches at the lobby of a pretty glitzy hotel
Posted by Picasa

The meal begins...
Posted by Picasa

Just one sip....
Posted by Picasa

Is he drinking or kissing the glass?
Posted by Picasa

And again....i stole Jeremy's sugar cane to chew on
Posted by Picasa

Eh...this one is about food again...

Yeah....i kinda didn't do much all weekend except eat....I managed to catch the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra at the Kimmel Center. So beautiful!! Mike and I were totally ghetto tho. We were decked out in our best suits, him in a suit and shirt and me in the only evening dress i brought here, my black tube dress with stockings and boots so I wouldn't die in the cold of -3 deg celsius. We rocked up to the Kimmel Center, went to the ticket counter and said, "Can we use this buy one get one free voucher?" And then we asked for the cheapest tickets. Now if that's not cheap enough, we also doggie bagged Cosi sandwiches, sat at the lobby of a posh hotel and happily spread out our food across the table and munched away. It's like eating macdonald's at the lobby of the hilton. Then we were late for the concert. So we had to wait 34 min till the end of the first movement before being allowed in. But it was amazing. We heard four contemporary pieces by Kellogg (shock shock, he's still alive. That's why I bet none of you have ever heard of him) and symphony No. 4 in B-flat major by Beethoven. Then a fat guy sat in front of me and I ceased to see the orchestra. But besides that, i was blown away by the music.

Anyway back to food. Because I have been eating the whole weekend, and I want to procrastinate finishing up the last two pages of my essay, I shall do a mini food review of some of the restaurants in philly. Philly is known for its restaurants and food. When outside of the campus dining hall at least.

Asian Fusion
I had: Peking Duck and Wasabi-encrusted filet mignon with wasabi mash potatos
It was: Excellent. I'm a huge fan of wasabi so this filet mignon definitely packed a steamy punch. I was amazed at how well the wasabi complimented both the filet and the mash. The taste was smooth and fluid and added to the heartiness of the steak. The peking duck wasn't as mind blowing but it was tender and juicy with a tad too sweet sauce. And the edamame (steam soy beans) was the best I've ever tasted. Moist and salty.
It looked: Funky. Like a space ship. Pictures are in earlier blog entry.

Marathon Grill
I had: Filet Mignon with blue cheese sauce, grilled vegetables and mash. Had a taste of chicken penne, tuscany chicken soup and chocolate pudding.
It was: Very disappointing. I heard pretty good things about Mar Grill before so I was pretty surprised that the food tasted so bland I might as well carried my meal in the dining hall. The filet mignon was so small it might as well been french. I had a tough time trying to find it. I finally found it under ONE slice of grilled pepper. Which isn't saying much. The blue cheese sauce which resided inside my grilled veggie was definitely not the sauce for the steak. The combination was so disconcerting that I had to scrap the sauce off and just eat the steak plain. Tho' i asked for the steak to be medium done, it came out rarer than i expected. The mash was too hard and the veggies were just lacklustre. The soup tasted so bad I'm not suprised if its a combination of msg and dried chicken. The only redemming factor of the meal was that slither of brownie I had. But i've forgotten how it tasted, so it wasn't that good.
It looked: The lighting was terrible and the acoustics of the space made normal dining chatter from other tables sound louder than it should. And also, too cramp.

I had: Chocolate Bento Box and dessert wine
It was: Heavenly. If it's Stephen Starr restaurant (also owner of POD), it has to be good. The bento box consists of six petite and delightful chocolate desserts: chocolate sorbet with hazelnut and crystalized ginger, chocolate panna cotta, cocoa-dusted almonds, chocolate cake covered with warn chocolate sauce and seseme seeds, ginger chocolate biscotti with chocolate pudding and mocha something (I can't remember cuz' I don't take coffee). It was chocolate overload but so orgasmic. Each small dish of chocolate complimented the other. It was obvious that they didn't just use some corn syrup laden chocolate but actual pure dark high qualtity cocoa. The chocolate cake was my favourite. Totally comfort food that just transcends class. And they go so well with the dessert wine.
It looked: Besides the fact that I was reclining on the black and white photograph of a woman's face and the lamp in the middle of table made conversation slightly awkward, the surroundings were very surreal. I'm slightly cynical of restaurants that embark on this trend of making Buddha the theme of the restaurant (e.g Tao in NYC, Indochine in Singapore, Chocolate buddha in Melbourne), this one did looks similar to the rest. It was ostentatious enough without giving me a headache, but zen enough to make the huge golden statue of the Buddha look good.

Vietnamese Thai
I had: Grilled lemongrass pork and chicken on broken rice, ice rainbow, a bit of glass noodles in tom yam soup and some make-your-own rice roll thingie
It was: It has to be the best Vietnamese food you can get in philly. The broken rice was fragrant and fluffy, the meats were well marinated in the lemongrass and tasted oh so juicy. The tom yam was definitely authentic enough to be considered Thai (unlike pattaya grill where you get soy sauce in water and thai singha where you get water). The ice rainbow which is basically alot of beans in coconut milk was too coconutty for my liking, but decent. Best part: It was very very reasonably prized. $5.50 got me my massive plate of rice and meat.
It looked: Come on, it costs $5.50, expect sketchy surroundings, grotty dishes and odd blue lamps sticking out of nowhere. Very faux luxury.

I had: Salad, bruschetta, salami pizza, pasta with shrimp, spinach and sundried in cream sauce, and spaghetti bolognese
It was: Hearty. I wouldn't consider it fine dining Italian food, but it was more family portion (meaning massive), kids friendly with decent slightly better than fast food quality food. The cream-based pasta was too coyingly creamy and bland. The bolognese was well...decent.
It looked: Very quaint. I loved the decoration. They had picture frames of old newspaper clippings from the 50s, profiles of Miss Italy and various other interesting photos and pictures like ancient deoderant ads and pictures of the Pope. Very Serendipity meets Applebee kind of setting. Cute would be a good word to summarise it.

Friday, November 18, 2005

My Virgin Experience

How do guys do it? Pee next to each other. I symphatise with you guys having to go through that ordeal daily.

Was at a party in the bar on 43rd and chester and i needed to pee. I walked into the toilet and lo and behold, there were two toilet bowls. In the same cubicle. With no walls, seperating the two toilet bowls. Just two bowls....and a sink. And it was a co-ed bathroom. Whoever designed the toilet is the dumbest ass on earth.

I just stood at the door and stared. And the girl putting on lipstick at the sink looked at me like i was an idiot. "Close the freaking door," she said.

So yes...that was my virgin experience peeing in full view of a stranger. i couldn't take the awkwardness, so i fiddled around with my handphone while i tried to pee. Which was hard. Cuz' i was feeling awkward. So i looked like i was trying to shit. which might have freaked her out. and i think im putting too much information about my sanitary habits on this blog.

Noel says as long as you don't stare its alright.
And Jonas just introduces me as the girl that tells dead baby jokes.

Wha food!!

I realise this post is about food again. Except this time im the one eating it. It's funny when you put a group of people, who aren't exactly the most proficient in cooking, together. You hear things like:

Me:Eh....the box say we should put the chicken in now. Oh shit...oh no oh no...argh!!

Darren: Eh i got new weapon, pork ribs!! *proceeds to banish pork ribs around*

Darren: Why the hell are you waving a piece of chicken at me?

Ryan (While just peeling potatos): Man...this is so so not made for this job.

Ali: Hey...i brought dessert all the way from morocco. It's called Haagen-Dazs ice cream!!

All (at pot of bak kut teh overflowing): ARGH!!!

But the food was all good!! Or at least we kid ourselves into believing it was. We had Bak kut teh, chicken curry, stir fried beef, stir fried veggie, pasta, japanese beef stew and yes, ice cream all the way from morocco. We ate. Talked about sex. Ate. Talk about sex. Ate. Talked about other stuff. Drink tea/coffee and eh...talked about sex.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

At the other end...

The theme of this week seems to be about food. Actually, every week revolves around food. I plan my life according to what I'm doing for lunch and dinner.

But I discovered something more about food today. It brings life. That sounds dead simple doesn't it. But to us, the ones that actually have food, it's not something that we consciously think about as we dine. We think about what we are having for dinner. Who we are dining with. Where we are going to try out next. We don't think about how much we need food.

I wish I could capture in pictures how I felt while serving in the soup kitchen today. Crinkled faces paper thin, smiling toothless smiles at a salad bowl and warm bread.

Shaking hands, shy smiles as he reaches for a dirty plastic bag and stuffs it fill with salad.

I've never seen anyone smile at bread wrapped in foil like he did, dreamy look in his eyes at how it can feed his children for the night.

There are two groups of people in this world, I concluded, at the end of dinner. There are those who take the bread, drink the soup, demand for more and when the pot runs dry, leave. That's about 98% of people.

And there are those who eat, and then stay behind, silently, to help wash up. A silent sign of gratitude.

I learnt something new about gratitude and service today.

And how food brings so much joy.

And as Mike and I were talking yesterday, its not about some big grand scheme to eradicate world poverty. Because honestly, that is not gonna happen.

All we need is one person who has food, to give to one person who doesn't, and one extra person in this world is happy.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Random snippets of conversation while Claire, Julius, Mike and I are "studying".

Mike (who is chinese): What is hakka? is it a kind of dim sum dish?

Me: What is a dime?
Guy who asked me for a dime: *blink blink*
Me: He looked at me like I was retarded or something.

Julius: Where do bunnies come from?
Mike: Other bunnies?

Mike: Hey lets dance!
*All bounce to techno in study hall*

Me: You are a terrible studyer Julius, you should just give up and become an electrician

Julius: Ya man, the people on the plane were so fat its like they are going for some save the whale convention.

Me: It's anti-hunger week next week!!
Mike: So we have to eat more?
Me: No...we have to fast for poor people
Mike: But its against hunger.
Me: And so what do you do for anti-drugs week? Take drugs?
Mike: Precisely.

Me: bhsluifhsihfioshfuhfuzshfduioszhfisdhfizdhfish
Mike: Told you australians can't speak english.

Gosh...i love my small group.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Social retard...

I was at a friend's birthday party last night when i turn to my Swedish friend and told him he looks familiar, like my friend Parky, in a very Hitler kind of way.

Yeah cause' my ediquette book taught me the best way to keep friends is tell them they remind me of Hitler.

Everyone in the one metre radius around me was flabbergasted. There was a moment of silence. My friend looked half amused and half in pain.

I tried telling him that he looks like Hitler in a good way.

That didn't help things.

I won't hold it against him if the entire Swedish community stop talking to me forever.

Gosh i'm a social suicide case.

Friday, November 11, 2005

In Class today...

There was a simple graph on the board.

There are two variables. A and B.

30% of households own good A.

30% of households own good B.

40% of households own neither good A or B.

Imagine this data in a block graph format.

Girl in third row in front of me puts up her hand.

Girl: The graph does not make sense...why does 40% of households own neither A or B?

Teacher: Because 60% of households own either A or B, therefore 100%-60%=40%

Girl: Ohhhhhhh.

I could have died laughing.

I think for my intolerance i was punished by not having anyone to eat lunch and dinner with.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

This is most of what i can remember about vancouver..
Posted by Picasa

yeah...when i open the curtains i get to see this too
Posted by Picasa


Yeah...that was mostly what i saw in vancouver...alot of CNN. Caught the flu bug two days after landing in Vancouver and spent my week there sleeping over 15 hours a day. It's hard to catch up with my parents when i can't talk. Very bleh. There must be something in the air in north america, because i have been sick four times in two and a half months.

But in the six hours or so that i was awake...i managed to catch up with hannah, attend her mandarin class (oh gosh, why han?), see granville market, chinatown, seaport, gastown and alot of UBC. Yeah, University of a Billion Chinese.

Most importantly, i got to chill with my parents. And eat homecook food, cooked in a hotel room. It was their second honeymoon and all...but hey..they put up with me for twenty-one years, im sure they don't mind five days with me.

And on a personal note, what vancouver did was made me decide: I'm coming back to Melbourne. Was speaking to Han about staying in the US and what she said left a deep impact on me.

"People leave, especially in university."

That was the main reason why i wanted to stay. I just love the people here. That coupled with the fact that it's an ivy league uni and wil look good on my resume.

But some memories and relationships are best left as snapshots. Vancouver made me remember the relaxing pace of life in melbourne, queen victoria market, fresh fruits, clean air, a moderate winter and deep friendships. Penn is good but i can live without it. However, there is someone in melbourne that i can't imagine a future without. And that's reason enough to come back.

i don't know why, but i agreed to stand on this dome in the middle of UBC....and then talk...because it makes your voice sound robotic
Posted by Picasa

han bouncing on the bouncy bushes...we must have looked like idiots in the middle of UBC
Posted by Picasa

my lonely walk back along the expressway...
Posted by Picasa

Smoked dino bones in granville island market
Posted by Picasa

Food!! Curry chicken, bak kut teh and so much more!!
Posted by Picasa

Han's solo concert by the fireside..
Posted by Picasa

Cranium!!! You can't beat a game that combines four favourite party games into one...
Posted by Picasa

death of the gingerbread man..
Posted by Picasa

gettin creative with play dough
Posted by Picasa

Triangular building in Gastown
Posted by Picasa

The Dr Sun Yat-sen classical chinese garden
Posted by Picasa

Vancouver is used for many filming's one of the many outside my hotel
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

This picture is a silent tribute to regine: You are not alone as a chicken. I'm sure this little girl had no idea she was a chicken too.
Posted by Picasa

She is soooo cute!!
Posted by Picasa

Also for you regine: Pastor in cow suit
Posted by Picasa

Praise time..
Posted by Picasa

Alot of superheros...
Posted by Picasa

Spider man refused to sit still..
Posted by Picasa

I hope the dentists are happy...

What the movie Mean Girls' said about Halloween being an excuse for girls to dress up slutty is completely true. According to Ed, Halloween is every boy's fantasy. When they were little, it was free candy, and when they grow up, its a weekend of watching girls in the tiniest schoolgirl uniform or skin tight nurse outfit. In America, Halloween is an excuse to party straight through a weekend. We were quite determined to live that one up.

Our halloween festivities started on Friday as Ed, Ar and I trooped down to South Street, land of sex shops and costume festishes. The entire UPENN was there. I scored a french maid costume, Ar scored a little bo peep one and Ed wanted to be a vagina. No really...he wanted to be a vagina. And there was a costume for that. A giant walking vagina. Made of plastic foam. Then someone bought it, so he had to contend with being a fat french maid with pink hair.

Me: That means someone bought your vagina suit.
Ed: Yeah, someone stole my vagina.
Me: Whao..that's depressing.

So we spent most of friday night at the Zigma Psi party and met a terrorist, tina turner, a pirate, a purple hair something and some guy with cups stuck to his back. Went to a Lamda party for a bit which ended with a fight. And ended up at bucks county eating nuts and scaring the studying patrons there. Walked the very drunk pink haired big boobed french maid back. Got pulled over by the police because Mr french maid was trying to pick them up. Funniest image ever: An actual policeman lecturing a guy, in drag with pink hair, on halloween.

Saturday. Swop dresses with ar and became little bo peep. Except no one seem to have heard of that character before. I got asked ten thousand times if I was a french maid, a milk maid, a farmer, red riding hood. I meant yeah, cos' my costume is red and i have a hood. Sigh.

Singapore/Malaysia/Hong Kong party. Alot of drunk people. ALOT of drunk people. Sat in the living room and got amused by drunk people falling over, falling down, talking in cantonese, fighting, falling on coat rack, telling me they are fucking doctors, throwing up etc etc etc. I would have filmed it, except i would have gotten beaten up. Went to philly diner's for supper. Another amazing sight. Imagine a whole restaurant covered with people decked out in the weirdest costumes. It's like the circus is in town. Interesting.

So by the time Halloween actually came, the mood to party has passed. I spent the actual halloween night at Hallelujah night, a program for the the church and west philly kids. We had wordship and games which meant alot of screaming, shouting and shoving. I was in charge of the "Dig for candy" game. It was very easy. Box full of newspaper shreds and candy. Five seconds. Dig. Get candy. But noooooo....they have to dive into the box, pull the newspaper out, fight to get candy and ask me over and over again, what are the rules of the game.

Me: Ok I'm gonna count down from five and you get as many candy as you can. Five, four, tree..
Kid: Haha...she said tree...tree..haha...its three
Me: *stare* Ok you're out..who's next?

And no I did not dress up as a french maid for that. I was highly encouraged not to.

All in all, it was a good experience. Although I still think its all a marketing gimmick by the candy company and costume shops to boosts sales because when else would people dress up to make a fool of themselves and decay their teeth for no reason.

its real!
Posted by Picasa

Note: bo peep's staff/crook/thingie is taller than her
Posted by Picasa

The cat and the pumpkin under harnwell
Posted by Picasa

Mistaken for a sofa...
Posted by Picasa

"Ed your boobs are taking up half the picture!"
Posted by Picasa