Today I'm sitting in the set up below, listening to some piano on my Sonos speakers before school as I type. Christmas went by in a blur, and up till now I've been keeping myself busy. This week has been a refreshing change. I haven't found myself with so little to do in quite a while! (I shouldn't state this so publicly, I suppose. Team - don’t read into this.) It's not a state that lasts very long for me - I'm already thinking about the myriad projects I want to start. In fact, I’ve started filing my ideas recently. Some of my friends know about research I've done for certain projects that I haven't really kicked off yet. It's true, I've been busy (which is no excuse), but I'm also evaluating my options carefully. And then we’ll see what comes to fruition.
That being said, the respite has been exceedingly pleasant thus far. I typically wake up at 4:30 and start working within the half hour; last Monday I lazily arose around 6:30. I proceeded through the torrential rain to the Korean spa, spending an hour there soaking in various tubs, sweating in various rooms. When I got out after an hour I looked at my watch, did some calculations, and drove to BCD tofu house, getting a soondubujige - spicy Korean seafood soup - before arriving promptly to my 10am class.
I’ve finally had time to read as well. Since last weekend I've already finished a 400-page novel: "The Little Old Lady Strikes Again". A fun and easy read, I even brought the book into one of those rooms at the spa, almost forgetting the intensity of the heat and the profusive dripping of my sweat as I sprawled out over the mat. During one of this week’s team meetings, we were seriously discussing the plight of retirement homes. My very non-intellectual contribution was to bring up the fictitious novel and the old "League of Pensioners" in it that robbed banks and casinos, much to everyone’s confusion. Someone asked if I was quoting the news or something in real life, which was laughable. Are there any books you’d recommend? British books, mysteries, science fiction, or adventure novels are welcome. Nothing too heavy though - I’ve been stuck on Vanity Fair and Lady Chatterley’s Lover for a few months now.
I’m also so very excited to get back into the kitchen - to try out new dishes for fun and not merely for sustenance. Perhaps I’ll finally perfect the onsen egg. Ironically, I've run out of food already this week, and screwed up dinner last night. The pork chops had been frozen too long, the sauce burned the pan, and the flavors that wafted up made me gag. I ended up having two bowls of rice and some plain cabbage, with some scrambled eggs.
But there have been a few successes in the past few weeks. I bought a fresh bass at Quality Seafood on Redondo pier with Sara on one of those rainy Fridays, and made steamed fish. I almost ran after the fish monger to stop him from filleting my fish. The bass was steamed Cantonese style, with my new wok I got for Christmas, topped with green onions and a pouring of hot oil. I can’t wait to make this again.
I also made a Chan household classic (with my own twist): Thai Mango Salad. I brought it to a Chinese New Year Potluck, and frankly made it a bit on the spicy side, so I’m glad it was a hit. It’s a combination of ripe and slightly unripe mango (definitely on purpose), fried minced pork, shallots, chili, fish sauce, and my addition: raw green beans. And, a secret chili powder my mom specially gave me. A labor intensive salad, but I’m happy my friends liked it.
I’m looking to make a dessert, but any recommendations of dishes and desserts I’d love to try, just comment below. Until next time!