The Reading Journey

I’m not much of an avid reader when I was growing up. I would just read the required readings in school. The love for reading wasn’t instilled among us siblings. Our cousins have tons of books and I was amazed how much they have read. Both our parents are not that keen in books collection, usually they would read magazines and newspapers. At some point, we would borrow books such as R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps and some Sweet Valley High from our cousins. At most, we would read at a very slow pace and the books took longer to finish. We would read our elder cousin’s collection of Archie’s and that’s about it. Later on, she would lend us the Harry Potter series and I was able to read the entire series later on bit by bit. I could not find enough time to read in college because there are too many readings for the courses we’re taking up. I would borrow some books from the library and end up not reading them, but my sister was able to read those titles such as John Grisham’s novels. I like exploring books in the library, that was a place where I could pick up a title and read some chapters during my break time. Somehow that was an opportunity to read. Several times, I picked up Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude but until now I was not able to read the novel but we do have a copy now at home. I finished his The Chronicle of a Death Foretold as a required book review in Lit class as well as Shakespeare’s Tempest.

My journey in finding good books to read after being immersed into the fiction and fantasy world grew. After exploring the young adult series novels like Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, Cassandra Clare’s shadowhunter’s series, reading some Geronimo Stilton, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid and other books we borrowed from our niece, I began to explore more titles. I have read some literary works and different genres of Asian, European, and American authors and it was fun how I was taken to the different worlds and experiences of the authors. I have read Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Roy Arundhati’s The God of Small things (as recommendation by a professor in college), The Little Prince, The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime, some detective/crime novels, the books of Neil Gaiman, Jostein Gaarder, David Sedaris, Terry Pratchett, John Grisham’s Innocent Man, etc. I told myself that I’d like to read some non-fiction books too. Then we found books by Malcolm Gladwell, titles like Finding the Next Starbucks, Lexus and the Olive Tree, the Dollar Meltdown, and Falling Leaves.

Right now, I’m still enjoying Rick Riordan’s adventure nto-read booksovels, Haruki Murakami’s not so bizarre novels, and I have more pending books to read in our shelf. My goal this December is to finish the books that I’ve started reading but never got to finish. I just finished Buffetology, The Miracle by Michael Schuman, Guns, germs and steel by Jared Diamond which took a long time before I reached the last page. I still need to finish a novel by Giddens called You Are the Apple of My Eyes (already watched the movie) and Ng King Kang’s book called On Board@2359, one of our professor’s books entitled Connect the Dots, another Chinese book and Michael Gerber’s E-Myth, two of Kathy Reich’s titles are all on my current list. Of course, while sorting our shelves, I found more books to add to my immediate list. I hope I could find the time to finish all these.

I enjoy visiting bookstores and because of that, I get new book acquisitions now and then, thus my list is unending. On my previous post years back, I have featured a few book shops that we visit. Just right now, my sister and I are careful in choosing the tiles as there are no more space in our shelves and we’ve become more critical readers. We told ourselves to just read what is worthwhile because there are many enticing titles out there that I’d like to pick up. With the advent of e-books, we also have some titles in this form, though I prefer holding the book and flipping the pages with my hands. I need to increase my space since I still have a lot more titles to go.

Reading does help widen our perspectives, deepen our knowledge, help us reflect and meditate. Somehow our inner voice is awakened when immersed in reading. We’ll develop some realizations and the possibilities become endless.

I Want It Black

brewed coffee with cane sugar

I want my coffee black if it is brewed coffee or Americano, no milk and no sugar. There was one time though that my professor forced me to try this “panocha”, a type of cane sugar you can add to your coffee. She asked a friend to buy this from Vigan and was excited to let everyone to try it with their coffee. I wasn’t able to protest much as she dropped a whole piece of it to my coffee that easily dissolved. It’s amazing how it dispersed in the coffee, just stir it a bit and take a sip. She placed two pieces on her cup and I was surprised. It was quite a good blend of coffee and cane instead of the usual taste of white or raw sugar in your coffee. Due to that instance, I know now how to use that cane sugar to pair with coffee. On one occasion, I was able to share my knowledge on that to my family while having after coffee at a local dinner place. Some would think that it is a type of cookie or candy placed on the side of your coffee cup, but it’s an option that you can take to put it in your coffee. My professor reminded me not to bite it, but I was too late in warning some of my relatives who got the opportunity to try this cane sugar. They did find out afterwards how they would use this “panocha” and were amazed at this. My professor was happy to know that what she shared to me was put to good use.

Now brewing: Christmas Blends

Brewing coffee is my favorite morning routine. I enjoy making cups of coffee to start the day.

Come the holidays season, we tried out coffee beans that will add to the Christmas feel. First was Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s Holiday blend that has a spice and twist on it.

cbtl holiday blend The bean we are currently brewing is Starbucks’ Christmas Blonde Roast. We were able to try the blonde roast before (the willow blend and veranda blend) that’s why I picked this one out. This has a refreshing and lingering taste that is good to accompany with pastries like chocolate cupcakes, oatmeal cookies and food for the gods.

Christmas Blonde RoastWhat’s your Christmas blend?

The Liebster Award: Discovering the scripts of life

It is my first time to receive an award here and indeed an honor to be nominated for the Liebster Award. Sandi Fleming, of what oft was thought nominated me, who I follow through her sappy as a tree. And because of this, I found her other blog that I can follow as well.

liebster21

Writing for me is a form of therapy. It heightens my thinking and I get to reflect on many things about life. When the road gets rocky, I turn to writing as if making marks on the sand and allowing the wind to blew them away. The difference is that the words stay in ink or in this case, forever stored in the World Wide Web. After some time has passed and I re-read what I’ve written, I find myself smiling at times of how simple or small things were. Then when I read about my past experiences and the lessons I’ve learned, I saw how my feelings have evolved and how writing has comforted me.

Reading different posts has helped me see the world in different perspectives and tones. It was nice to find different scripts written by various people all over the globe. We find that everyone is working hard, living life and learning each day. Blogging has helped me find some sort of direction even though I still feel lost sometimes.

As stated in Sandi’s post, here are the rules for the nominees who would like to accept the award:

1. Acknowledge and accept the Liebster Award by leaving a comment on the blog where you were nominated.
2. Copy the Liebster Logo and paste it onto your own blog.
3. Inform your nominees by leaving a comment on their respective blogs.
4. In your blog post about the Liebster Award:

>>Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
>>Answer the 11 Questions by the person who nominated you
>>List 11 Random Facts about yourself
>>Nominate, and link to three- eleven(11) other blogs which you enjoy and have fewer than 3,000 followers.
>>List 11 Questions for your nominees.

Here are my answers for Sandi’s questions:

1. What is your ideal vacation? My ideal vacation would be staying on the mountainside or the beachside for some time and get the chance to go out and take photographs. Then after gathering some inspiration, I go to a café and start writing. I like taking walks.

2. What was your first job? My first job was a research assistant for my professor while I’m still taking my undergraduate course.

3. What motivates you to post on your blog? When I get a good snapshot or read a good book, I would be inspired to post something.

4. Name a book that you recently finished reading. I recently finished reading Jared Diamond’s Guns, germs, and steel after a really long time.

5. What is your opinion of reality T.V. shows? I’m not a fan of reality T.V. shows but I did enjoy watching cooking shows such as the Master Chef series and a couple of seasons of the Voice. One of the reality T.V. shows I liked best is a China production of Ba Ba Qu Na Er Season 1. It shows the relationships of the fathers and their kids, isolated with their mothers, they get the chance to strengthen the bond between them as they are limited to work with them. Some concepts of reality TV are good and fun to watch while some look scripted.

6. How do you feel when a snowstorm hits your area and everything is cancelled for the day? We don’t have snowstorms but it is devastating to be in a country where there are numerous typhoons every year and frequent flooding even with little rain. I have experienced being stranded several times in the middle of pitch darkness while we’re headed home. Due to the flood, we could not move much for fear of plunging to the water or hitting a rocky road, so we wait for the water to subside.

7. Last night, my daughter was telling me about a friend who was applying for dual citizenship in another country. If you could obtain dual citizen in another country, which country would you choose, and why? If I could have dual citizenship, I would choose Taiwan. I feel that there is so much I want to explore there. The transportation is very convenient and there are new developments over the years. After my latest visit, I think this is an inspiring place to write my stories.

8. What type of music do you like?

Ballad or rock ballad songs. I like listening to Chinese singer-composers like JJ Lin, William Wei, Mayday, etc. I’m inspired by their music that speaks much about life and living.

9. Recently, I saw a study claiming that people who read fiction tend to be more empathetic. This study has generated controversy in my household. What is your opinion about this “finding”? I would say I agree to this study, though I have shifted more towards non-fiction books. I saw how friends around us who love to read fiction are more in touch with the emotions of people who are with them. Reading fiction helps us visualize more of the descriptions and situations that the authors have written. It absorbs us to an imaginative world but also parallel to the real life. I can see the clear difference it has when reading business, economics, or finance books. I might need to increase my reading of fiction books.

10. Did you believe in Santa Claus when you were a child?
I guess nothing was shattered in my childhood when I learned that Santa wasn’t real. Our parents didn’t give us gifts the Santa way, so there was no serious belief in Santa, and we just see him in movies and hear songs about him.

11. How do you prefer to learn about world news — through the internet? through the television? through a newspaper or magazine?
I prefer learning the news through the internet where I could search for different links to find more comprehensive story or to confirm if something is real or not. Researching about the news help us more equipped with knowledge so that we won’t easily jump into conclusions or be hysterical about an unconfirmed news. That is the case when watching our local television news.

Thanks Sandi! I enjoyed answering your questions :) I could not thank you enough for nominating me this Liebster Award.

11 Random Things about Xin

  1. I like brewing coffee, trying out different beans, and preparing drinks for people, though I’m not a professional barista.
  2. I like exploring coffee shops and good eats with my sister (but mainly discovering good coffee places) thus this other blog that I have here.
  3. I like brewing tea and sipping that delicious cup.
  4. I could not resist picking up another book even when I haven’t finish reading the one I have on hand.
  5. My English name is Joey (after my father) and I’m a girl, though people mistake me for a guy upon reading my name even when I’m already in front of them.
  6. My favourite bookstores are Kinokuniya in Singapore and Eslite in Taiwan but rarely get the chance to visit. For local bookstores in our country, I enjoy visiting Fullybooked for their wide range of titles.
  7. I recently received a DSLR but have been taking photographs years back.
  8. Since I was a child, I would practice drawing and now have a pile of drawings on my storage bins. But I wasn’t able to fully hone my skill on sketching.
  9. I like watching dramas and foreign films with my sister whether Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Western.
  10. I like cooking and experimenting with recipes though nothing close to a professional.
  11. I enjoy learning languages maybe because I was raised in a multilingual environment.

Here are the questions for my nominees:

  1. What motivates you to write?
  2. Where do you write? Name your favourite places to write.
  3. Do you remember when you started writing?
  4. What calms you down?
  5. When you travel, would you choose to have a definite route or would you want the trip to be spontaneous?
  6. Would you go on a trip with a stranger or travel alone?
  7. What are your frustrations in life, talents or skills you wished you have?
  8. What is your favourite country?
  9. hot drinks or cold drinks?
  10. Parties or movie marathon at home?
  11. What was your childhood dream and how did it change over the years?

My nominees are:

meridethcohrs

onceuponeachday

globedrifting

luvo-photography.com

The little things in beauty

vanillabean

lifeinlightofeternity

theobviousandhidden

personallyredefined

adventureisoutthere

theelementals

I was inspired more to write after visiting these blogs. There is more to discover out there.

double

decorate your bottles

Sometimes we see things in pair. We duplicate something or make a copy, and even encouraged to do a DIY of a similar item. This photo was taken while doing our Christmas shopping. They offered many designs in different glass bottles and containers which was a creative way to make decors.

double latte

Exploring and sharing good coffee with my sister is one of my favorite things to do. It is always fun to find new places to take a sip and chat.

Sports Plus

There are many sports game going on all over the world and it’s nice to follow some of them and impossible to follow everything. Watching sports is therapeutic because somehow it helps release stress while you’re into the game. For me, watching sports is inspiring too because we get to see how far the players have gone to reach this far, and to be able to see the effort they have put into the plays.

There was one particular day that we were able to catch games on TV such as the UAAP Season 77 women’s volleyball of DLSU vs AdU, and saw the pro-league of volleyball in the Philippines with team Generika competing with RC Cola. Petron emerged victorious in the PSL volleyball tournament. We also saw the coverage of the AFF Suzuki Cup matches between Singapore and Thailand, and Fox had live coverage of the F1 at Abu Dhabi where Lewis Hamilton secured the win. The other day, I saw a game of golf at Dubai where Henri Stenson won the championship and I finally saw Rory McIlroy play. I don’t know how the game works exactly, but I had fun watching it towards the end. And Vietnam beat the Philippine Azkals in AFF Suzuki Cup 3-1. There were too many sports games to follow and I’m enjoying myself.

The PCCL has already reached the finals game between the DLSU Green Archers and SBC Red Lions. San Beda won the 2014 PCCL championship which concluded today. It was a close match until the last quarter where the gap widened towards the last few minutes of the game. The DLSU Green Archers put up a good fight with the San Beda Red Lions who also showed perseverance in their aim for the crown. The defending champions didn’t get the title this year but it was a good experience to harness their skills and play good basketball.

There are also professional basketball leagues such as PBA and PBA-D League matches that we tune in to. Our local channel IBC 13 shows the PBA-D League. I was quite disappointed with the quality of the coverage but nonetheless grateful for the chance to watch it. I spotted some people we know from collegiate basketball.

The UAAP Season 77 football has began and if there are televised matches, I’ll watch some games too. I remember watching football years back. I was amazed by the way they run on the expanse and the play going about for 70 minutes and on. All I see then was that they were handling the ball very wall, passing it around, and that they have to hit the ball to their goal field. It’s quite a tough game to play.

The Manila-leg of the IPTL has already concluded, the players headed out to Singapore for the next part of the tournament. We were not able to watch live at the Mall of Asia Arena but we did follow the coverage on television. There were four teams in the IPTL: the Micromax Indian Aces, the Manila Mavericks, the DBS Singapore Slammers, and the Musafir.com UAE Royals . The Indian Aces led the overall the tally on the first leg. It was a good and fun game to watch with a new format that the players were still trying to get used to. It was evident that they enjoyed themselves in this team format of the games that were divided to the legends, men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles. Carlos Moya, Sharapova, Murray, Flipkens, Tsonga, Daniel Nestor together with their playing coach Treat Huey comprised the Manila Mavericks. Serena Williams arrived on the last day of the Manila-leg to join her teammates Kyrgios, Berdych, Hewitt, Patrick Rafter, Hantuchova, and Josh. The Indian Aces are comprised of Monfils, Ivanovic, Mirza, Bopanna, and their playing coach Santoro. The UAE Royals which includes Ivanisevic, Mladenovic, Cilic, Zimonjic, John, among others. There will be other players who will be joining the corresponding team.

I owe it to my sister that I have learned to love the game of tennis. The constant updates, statistics and trivia that she gives me is indeed helpful to allow me to recognize many tennis players, not just the top seeds. Last October, we got the chance to watch the WTA live in Singapore. It was an amazing experience and definitely worth watching. We were seated in the media area so we saw some behind the scenes of the tennis coverage. The matches we saw were the doubles Semifinals between Su-Wei Hsieh and Shui Peng and Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova and the Singles Semifinals between Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki. The whole stadium was quiet during the plays even when filled with people.  There were also cheers from the crowd, shouting the names of Serena and Caroline. It was cute to hear kids call out their names.

Thank you to IPTL for bringing tennis to Manila and for all the tennis players who came. I will be following the IPTL for the next few days when I get the chance.

Treasure

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Some treasures are just around us, we just need to recognize it in order to find it.

Some treasures can be colorful, we just have to let the colors blend well.

Looking glass

the marina bay sands

See the difference of the outside world by adding frames to your lenses, and using the glass to capture a different mood.

the station

The glass does provide a window to the outside world but also mirrors our own reflection, our inner self.