New York

Pre-tryout nerves and how travel has made me feel (almost) invincible!

This weekend marks the start of the tryout season for club teams in my sport of ultimate. Commonly known as ultimate Frisbee (but for trademark reasons officially “ultimate”), this is a pretty intense sport that has dreams of someday being a part of the Olympics.

Featuring full field 7 on 7 gameplay, this is the sport I’ve played for nearly 16 years now. Time and experience doesn’t mean I’m spared from nerves and butterflies, but if I can travel the world solo, then I can do this!

At the top of Lion Rock Fortress in Sigiriya Sri Lanka

Me at the top of Lion Rock Fortress in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

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Lessons from living in 3 of the most expensive cities in the world

Sometimes where you live determines the standard of living you can afford. It can be a harsh reality, or something you deal with and plan for.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve lived in 3 of the most expensive cities in the world: New York, Singapore and London. Although salaries are generally higher in these cities to match the cost of living, if you are a poor student like me then you still need to be a bit careful with your money. Here’s what I learned from living in some of the most notoriously money-sucking cities of the world.

Snow covered Riverside Park in New York City

Snow covered Riverside Park in New York City

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On living at home into my thirties

I’ve been home in New York City for about three full weeks now. Home as in the hometown I grew up in, but also home as in with my parents in the apartment I grew up in. Although I’m living at home and in my thirties now, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be. I haven’t gone completely insane yet, but I might be reaching my limit. There are some cons, but the pros outweigh them by far!

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I got home in time for a few snow storms in New York!

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Scattered leaves on grass

Leaving London, life and moving on

That’s it, I’m done with London! Although my student visa for the UK goes until May 2017, I’m leaving London in 2 months. Not that there is anything wrong with London. It’s just not working out for me at the moment given life and circumstances.

How I got here

I’m in a joint PhD program that allowed me to spend half the time in Singapore and half in London. I lived in Singapore for most of 2013 and 2014. In January 2015, I moved to London with the intention of staying through until I finished my PhD. I kept my mind open to the idea of staying in London, but wasn’t sure either way. Now a few short months from finishing, I had to decide how I would deal with my living and financial situation. Continue Reading

Inside the Meow Parlour cat cafe in New York City

Back in December, I wrote about going to the first official cat cafe in New York City as being one of the things on my to do list when I visited home. This past May, I finally made it there…for about half an hour.

I thought I would want to stay for hours. But I didn’t. The cats were beautiful and cute enough, but it just didn’t feel like the cat cafe that I’ve been waiting for. (And maybe this cat feels the same way). Continue Reading

A chandelier with rows of lights I'm...gonna swing...

A New Yorker’s bucket list for the holiday season in New York

New York is less smelly this time of year, and generally happier. You might still witness a cranky commuter or two (or a few million), but the overall atmosphere quietly shifts during the holiday season. Maybe it is the shopping high that everyone is on.

My toes tell me it’s cold, but my hair couldn’t be happier to escape the humidity of Singapore. I’m back in New York, and I have a few things I’m looking forward to this holiday season. Continue Reading

Feet in yellow shoes tiled floor Taking a look at myself

Women wear what they want to in Singapore, or How awesome it is that there is no catcalling in Singapore

Sure, you have heard that Singapore is a safe and clean city. Or that it’s the most expensive city in the world to live in. (This is mostly skewed by the price of cars, which are not essential, but that is another story.) But what you may not know is that women wear what they want to in Singapore. It’s remarkable, and simultaneously a sign of old stereotypes/gender roles and a sign of hope in the face of gender issues in Singapore. There are a few things that I really like and admire about Singapore, and this is one of them.

The recent video of a woman walking in New York City has gone viral because it shows just how much harassment a woman can receive just by walking around in NYC. I’m glad that they are drawing attention to this issue, because this is at the root of what I don’t like about NYC. Catcalling is nonexistent in Singapore, which one reason why I think women can have the freedom to dress as they wish.
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New food habits and food shopping in the city

When it comes to food, I’ve been shifting towards a whole-food, plant-based diet over the past 3 or 4 years. The first few changes were to stop forcing myself to eat mean (or animal protein) when I didn’t feel like it, and to start eating more different types of greens than the ones I grew up with. Now that I’m in New York City for a few months, I’m also really excited to try local products like Granola Lab. There are so many cool things coming out of New York, Brooklyn especially!

What I have trouble with is how to balance all of the possible adjectives: seasonal, local, sustainably harvested, whole, unprocessed, unrefined, fresh aka not frozen or canned, non-GMO (genetically modified organism, usually corn and other plant products), no preservatives, organic, raw, natural
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Aerial fabrics…harder than it looks!

Aerial fabrics, or aerial silks, is really hard! I don’t know what I was expecting, but it is tough. Last weekend, I took an intro class for aerial fabrics, or aerial silks, at Body and Pole in New York. Although I wish I were more flexible so that I could do real splits and things, I got a really great upper body workout, much of it being in the forearms. Continue Reading

The stage for Book of Mormon The stage is set for the Book of Mormon at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York

The Book of Mormon! Finally won the ticket lottery!

Last night I saw the Book of Mormon at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. I won the rush tickets for $32 each through the lottery that they hold 2 hours before the show. It was funny, lively, and an interesting look into Mormonism. The show pokes fun at the history of the religion and how it started, as well as their methods of door-to-door salesman-like recruitment of believers. My favorite number was “Turn It Off,” where the missionaries sing about ignoring any bad things that happen in life by turning off that part. They also touch upon some serious realities of civil unrest in Uganda and how women are targeted.
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