It’s been a very busy fall so far, haven’t had a lot of time to update here. But here are some fun local adven­tures from the start of the fall :)

We vis­it­ed a new cat cafe in the city one week­end, apt­ly named Meow Cat Cafe. All the cats live with the own­er of the cafe. photo-2016-09-24-12-29-09-pm

When we got there a very fluffy cat made sure that we were read­ing the rules.


They’ve got very cute cup sleeves :D


It was a warm, sun­ny afternoon. The cats were quite relaxed. Look at that paw~


*heart eyes x1000*


The shop own­ers are very friend­ly, looks like they have a few locals vis­it­ing reg­u­lar­ly with the cats, which makes for a very homey envi­ron­ment. Though I start­ed sneez­ing quite a lot while I was there and had to leave (reluc­tant­ly).

One might ask why I like vis­it­ing cat cafes if I were aller­gic. The answers being: 1) I’m aller­gic to some cats but not oth­ers. I’ve vis­it­ed oth­er cat cafes but haven’t had aller­gic reac­tions that was severe enough that made me need to leave, so hav­ing aller­gies does­n’t stop me from being with cats; 2) I love cats, but I don’t have the time or space or expe­ri­ence to make me feel com­fort­able about com­mit­ting to car­ing for a cat.

But some­times I do won­der about vis­it­ing cat cafes. I won­der whether I was intrud­ing on the cats’ space, dis­turb­ing them when they just want to relax or sleep. And I don’t know how to play with cats, because I’ve nev­er had pets (aside from my office beta fish, who died an unex­plained death and made me vow to nev­er have beta fish pets again, but I digress), but some­times feel weird about sit­ting and just look­ing at the cats when oth­er peo­ple are enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly try­ing to get the cats to play.

My favourite cat cafe was one we vis­it­ed in Mon­tre­al. The cats were just wan­der­ing about as peo­ple chat­ted. Peo­ple would pet them if they hap­pened to walk by under the table, or if they were sit­ting still some­where. It was like sit­ting at a cafe that hap­pened to have a few cats in it, rather than vis­i­tors chas­ing the cats to coax the cats to play. Much more relaxed.

Any­way, maybe one day we’ll meet a cat that wants to live with us.

We decid­ed not to go to Nuit Blanche (annu­al overnight art event in Toron­to) this year because the past cou­ple of years have been dis­ap­point­ing. There were just so many peo­ple and many of the instal­la­tions took hours of line­up to see. But we vis­it­ed a cou­ple of exhibits at Toron­to City Hall, which stayed up for a week or so after the event. This one was called Death of the Sun by Direc­tor X.


The sculp­ture changed as it goes into dif­fer­ent phas­es. Here it looks like a giant lantern (or pearl onion, I kept thinking).


And even­tu­al­ly it turned dark.


Which reminds me that noth­ing is for­ev­er. Not our impres­sive build­ings, not our earth­ly achieve­ments, not even our sun.

Across the square there was a video pro­ject­ed onto the water foun­tain, called Pneu­ma by Flo­ria Sigis­mon­di. My favourite part was when the owl emerged.


Because it reminds me of the mag­i­cal Hed­wig.

Hop­ing to have more time to spend here now that my busiest week is over. Wish­ing you an awe­some start to the week!


hello from eganville

Eganville, Ontario is a com­mu­ni­ty about an hour and a half dri­ve west of Ottawa. It was also recent­ly fea­tured in an episode of CBC show, Still Stand­ing (of which we’re huge fans! :D) We were going to Ottawa to vis­it fam­i­ly and to see the Bon­nechere Caves near­by, and then we saw the Still Stand­ing episode so we decid­ed that we would stop in the town to explore.

But first, the Bon­nechere Caves! The fam­i­ly that main­tains the Caves offers dai­ly guid­ed tours in the sum­mer months into Octo­ber, and our tour guide was very friend­ly, knowl­edge­able, and quite ani­mat­ed :) He explained that the net­work of under­ground caves and tun­nels were carved out by the Bon­nechere riv­er. The walls of the cave were imprint­ed by the move­ment of the water.



See the sta­lac­tites near the ceil­ing of the cave?


Just across the road from the Bon­nechere Cave site there was a nice view of the Bon­nechere Riv­er, we stopped for pic­tures :D


We then head­ed to Engine House Cof­fee for lunch, because we saw it on Still Stand­ing :D It is a love­ly place indeed, roasts its beans onsite, stocks an excel­lent selec­tion of organ­ic teas, and has a sun­ny patio with cof­fee plants.


Since it was still ear­ly in the day, and if we drove back to Ottawa to wan­der around town we’d have to pay for park­ing, we thought we’d con­tin­ue explor­ing Eganville. We picked up a brochure at the Caves with infor­ma­tion about the geo-her­itage/­fos­sil hunt­ing trail at the Bon­nechere Muse­um, so we decid­ed to visit.


The friend­ly muse­um staff told us that the muse­um build­ing used to be the com­mu­ni­ty’s post office. It now hous­es a very well orga­nized dis­play of arti­facts from Eganville and area.


Admis­sion to the muse­um includes the geol­o­gy and fos­sil trail. Since Eganville is known as “the Ordovi­cian Fos­sil Cap­i­tal of Cana­da”, the muse­um staff let us know that fos­sils are rel­a­tive­ly easy to find on the trail (and we’re allowed to take one with us per per­son). She gave us a map and some direc­tions, and we set out on some unplanned wilder­ness explor­ing :D


There were signs along the trail direct­ing us to the “fos­sil pit”.


And we found the fos­sil pit! I think this was a hon­ey­comb coral.

We fol­lowed the trail to a cliff area where we could see caves from across the river.


There was also a trench that we could walk down into and look at the lay­ers of sed­i­men­ta­ry rocks.


All in all, we find Eganville to be a love­ly place for a day trip when one is vis­it­ing in the Ottawa area. We quite enjoyed it as city dwellers; it was away from busy urban cen­tres, with a love­ly cafe for a leisure­ly lunch or tea, and it’s got some relaxed (read: grav­el paths, board­walk and stur­dy stair­cas­es) wilder­ness exploring :)

Hope every­one’s hav­ing a good weekend!


adventure at the inn

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Last time I men­tioned that I had to pick up what I made at a work­shop that’s pret­ty far from where I live. So I was look­ing for some­thing else in the neigh­bour­hood at the same time. The Mont­gomery’s Inn muse­um was just one sub­way sta­tion away from the work­shop, so I thought I’d stop by. AND it hap­pened to be a Wednes­day, there’s farmer’s mar­ket going on every Wednes­day until Octo­ber, and the entrance to the muse­um is free dur­ing mar­ket hours! Lucky me :D

The muse­um docent was busy lead­ing anoth­er group when I went in, so anoth­er friend­ly staff gave me a self-guid­ed tour pam­phlet and sug­gest­ed that I walked around on my own. I’ve always had trou­ble with maps and direc­tions… so I found myself pret­ty much just wan­der­ing around in a huge house with no one else in it, which gave me the chance to take as many pic­tures as I want­ed, and to take as much time as I need­ed, wait­ing for the right light­ing and so on.

The one tak­en above is of the din­ing par­lour, viewed behind the door from the kitchen. I’m quite hap­py with it because it actu­al­ly looks like an old pho­to­graph with a fil­ter from the Cam­era+ app on my phone.

The Mont­gomery’s Inn was built about 1830 for Thomas and Mar­garet Mont­gomery, and it served many trav­el­ers, new­ly arrived immi­grants and labour­ers until about 1855. The cou­ple’s descen­dants sold most of the inn’s con­tent after they passed away, so the muse­um is restored with col­lect­ed fur­nish­ing to the peri­od of 1840s-50s. I sup­pose some of the only things in the house that were orig­i­nal to the house would be the bricks around the fireplaces…

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… and this sign for the inn and appar­ent­ly the grand­fa­ther clock :)

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Tea set, and sewing box by the win­dow in the sit­ting room :D

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Rise and shine in the chil­dren’s room.

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One of the things that’s very dif­fer­ent from oth­er his­toric house muse­ums I’ve vis­it­ed is that the inn has guest rooms! It looks quite cozy.

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If you haven’t noticed already, I par­tic­u­lar­ly like how light comes through the win­dows in his­toric hous­es. Because the hous­es usu­al­ly don’t have arti­fi­cial light in them, and sun­light looks par­tic­u­lar­ly warm on old wood­en floors, hand­made cur­tains and linens, weath­ered furniture.

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There were these love­ly hand­writ­ten labels on the bot­tles in the pantry.

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And on the staff room’s door :)

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Water­ing hole. Not so dif­fer­ent from a bar today, minus the cage I guess.

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If you’re ever in the neigh­bour­hood, it’s quite an inter­est­ing place to vis­it! Like I men­tioned before, there’s a farm­ers mar­ket on Wednes­day after­noons until Octo­ber, and it’s got live music, BBQ and food truck, plus of course local pro­duce, baked goods and sweets, and free entry to the muse­um. Then on Sun­day the muse­um’s tea room serves after­noon tea, which I hope to catch one day. And there are lots of oth­er arts and cul­tur­al events too.

Some­times, I won­der why I don’t work in a muse­um. Hmm.

Hope every­one’s hav­ing a won­der­ful week! :D


summer wanderings — doors open

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It was Doors Open Toron­to at the end of May. We try to vis­it one or two build­ing every year. This year we decid­ed to take the long trek to Fool’s Par­adise, the for­mer home of Cana­di­an artist Doris McCarthy, who lived to be 100, and donat­ed her home to be an artist-in-res­i­dence cen­tre after her passing.

Her home was the first one built on this stretch of the road. She designed and draft­ed the blue­print for the house.

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As soon as we entered the front door we were greet­ed by this rug, made by McCarthy.

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Paper owl guard­ing her desk and all her tools still. “Like she nev­er left,” said the tour guide.

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“The Chap­ter Room”, which she built to write her mem­oir. It is the cozi­est room I’ve ever found myself in.

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Per­haps a sun­ny read­ing nook.

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Her beau­ti­ful chan­de­lier and her beau­ti­ful arc­tic landscape.

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The tour guide told us that McCarthy built all the cup­boards in the kitchen by mak­ing card­board mock-ups.

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Neigh­bour­hood chil­dren used to skate on this pond in the winter.

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And at the edge of the back­yard is the cliff of Scar­bor­ough Bluffs.

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There were vis­i­tors picnicking…

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And paint­ing :)

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After our own pic­nic we explored a near­by park. The dan­de­lions were like glow­ing orbs lin­ing the path.

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Look­ing down from the cliff. The water was so blue.

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Next time we’ll vis­it the bluffs from below the cliffs so we can see the lay­ers of sediments!

Hope every­one is hav­ing a good weekend!


diana in seoul and hong kong

Final­ly got all the 3 rolls of film from our Asia trip devel­oped! They were tak­en with a Diana Mini in lomog­ra­phy style (a sort of extreme­ly low-tech pho­tog­ra­phy style, the Diana is basi­cal­ly a plas­tic toy cam­era with no elec­tri­cal mech­a­nism in it. Even the viewfind­er isn’t accu­rate. One would nev­er real­ly know how the pic­tures will turn out — a fun kind of sur­prise). Here are some of my favourite shots :D

These are from the palace in Seoul, it was a rainy day when we vis­it­ed, but cher­ry blossoms!


I was just so amazed by how these stones have been on the ground for thou­sands of years.


Pic­tures from the tra­di­tion­al Kore­an vil­lage turned out great! It was a real­ly sun­ny day.

These are kim­chi urns :D


This one’s my favourite from all the rolls <3


So in love with the architecture.




And here’s a side street in Seoul we walked down to look for a mar­ket. Mope­ds every­where and no side­walk :S quite an adventure.


Hong Kong is sim­i­lar, with more high-rise!


Some sights from the streets. The sign says some­thing about express bus stop, veg­etable, fresh fish, chick­en, eggs, whole sale mar­ket (read­ing from left to right, sen­tence reads vertically).



Yarn­bombed on Stone Slabs Street, a street with fair­ly steep decline paved with stone slabs and with ven­dor stalls on either sides of the street. I imag­ine the rail­ings are nec­es­sary espe­cial­ly when it rains!


Sai Kung Pier, in an old fish­ing vil­lage to the east of the city, ven­dors sell­ing seafood from their boats.


The vil­lage where I spent my child­hood. The alley­way is still the same :)


Leav­ing the vil­lage, pedes­tri­an path and bike lane lead­ing to an underpass.


To the west of the city, we vis­it­ed Tai‑O, also a fish­ing vil­lage on Lan­tau Island, famous for its stilt hous­es, also known as “Venice of the East”.


It was an over­cast day, but this pic­ture of the red bridge turned out so great :D


And I love the light leaks in the begin­ning of the roll.


We’ve been back for a while now, get­ting the pic­tures back lets me relive the trip a bit and for a moment I wish I were still there. But going on that trip also reminds me that I could approach my sur­round­ings with the same curios­i­ty and enthu­si­asm wher­ev­er I am. There’s much to explore and so much I haven’t seen just a few bus/subway rides away. So, the explo­rations con­tin­ue, and more pic­tures to come! :D

Wish­ing you much joy in your adven­tures this week!


hello summer!

Well, it’s not offi­cial­ly sum­mer yet, but I think most Cana­di­ans see the Vic­to­ria Day long week­end as the first long week­end of sum­mer, and we’ve actu­al­ly got extra extra nice and warm weath­er this week­end after a rather cold spring, this week­end is such a gift! :D

We did­n’t want to let such nice week­end slip away, so Mike sug­gest­ed tak­ing one of the Dis­cov­ery Walks in Toron­to. We picked the Hum­ber Riv­er, marsh­es and Old Mill walk because it looked like there are a few dif­fer­ent things to see even if we did only half of it (the entire trail involves about 2 hours of walk­ing and it goes in a loop, but I’m not able to walk that long due to chron­ic foot pain >_< so we just did half the loop) and it’s close to pub­lic transit.

Parts of the trail was orig­i­nal­ly a trad­ing trail used by First Nations peo­ples trav­el­ling between Lake Ontario and the Upper Great Lakes.

In case you’re inter­est­ed in tak­ing this trail, we took the Queensway bus from Keele Sta­tion and got off at Queensway and Kingsway South. We then walked north along River­side Dri­ve towards Old Mill, then hopped on the sub­way home from Old Mill station.

We first came across the Hum­ber Marsh­es. We could­n’t quite get down the river­bank but we could look down from a hill. There were peo­ple prac­tic­ing drag­on boat­ing! :D

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Then we pret­ty much just walked through a res­i­den­tial area. It was a nice walk through a neigh­bour­hood with real­ly nice hous­es, but I did­n’t take any pictures…

At the north end of the trail we arrived at Eti­enne Brule Park. There was the Old Mill Bridge and peo­ple fishing…

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… and geese com­ing back to the north.

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It was a nice walk along the river.

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Then we stopped in the his­toric Old Mill Inn to look around…

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It’s called Old Mill because it is built near the site where the first sawmill in Toron­to was built in the late 1700s. The prop­er­ty was built about 100 years ago, looks like an old tav­ern, but it was first opened as a tea garden :)

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Speak­ing of tea, Vic­to­ria Day week­end is the per­fect time to play tea par­ty with my dear child­hood friend :D I’ve been want­i­ng to go to the after­noon tea at Duf­flet Beach for a long time, because it’s one of the more afford­able places in Toron­to and I’ve nev­er had tea ser­vice like this before. Check out our spread!

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And the fan­cy table set­ting! I did­n’t expect a table cloth! We each had copi­ous amount of tea. I espe­cial­ly love this sweet tea timer.

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Close up of the sweet treats… and I was so glad that the scones were served with clot­ted cream :D

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It was a nice expe­ri­ence but my friend sug­gest­ed that next time we could make our own after­noon tea :D Look­ing for­ward to more fun sum­mer adventures!

Hope every­one has a great start to the week!


HK love

This place will always be my home <3

But I haven’t been able to be there as much as I’d like in the past 20-some years. So, even though there’s so much to see and do and so much fun to be had, it always feels a bit emo­tion­al to vis­it. Child­hood mem­o­ries, and such.

We crossed the har­bour between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Penin­su­la almost dai­ly. Usu­al­ly we take the MTR (sub­way), but real­ized that we can also take the Star Fer­ry, so we tried that one day. The Star Fer­ry has been in oper­a­tion since 1888. It used to be much busier when the MTR was­n’t as exten­sive. I remem­ber tak­ing it every time we vis­it­ed my grand­par­ents, and it would make me sea sick (it still does :P). It’s an excel­lent way to take in the views of Vic­to­ria Harbour.



Near the Star Fer­ry pier we could see the smi­ley Fer­ris wheel ^_^ We did­n’t go on it though. It was very rainy that day.


Aberdeen is one of the neigh­bour­hoods where my fam­i­ly used to live. The Aberdeen har­bour is home to many boat hous­es, and the many peo­ple who live in them.


Peo­ple could cross the har­bour with the com­muter boat, it costs $2.20 HKD (about $0.35 CAD) for the 3‑minute jour­ney. So of course we went for a ride :D It was also a nice way to look at the boat houses.


The hotel we stayed at was very close to the North Point Pier. There were quite a few peo­ple fish­ing at the pier. This is one of my favourite pic­tures from the whole trip.


Spring­time is very foggy.


Mike recent­ly start­ed read­ing Moomin comics and was very excit­ed to find a Moomin Cafe :D We had lunch there one day. The serv­er would bring over giant Moomin (and friends) plush to sit at the table with people.


And we found not one, but TWO Stu­dio Ghi­b­li stores! (Donguri Repub­lic at Har­bour City and Times Square)



We also found the BEST cat cafe ever!


There were cats every­where. Right beside me curled up in a chair, on top of the tables, inside the counter…



Most are sleep­ing, but the ones wan­der­ing about were quite friend­ly :D


And in the same neigh­bour­hood I found a yarn store! (the red framed win­dows with the sweaters) Cause­way Bay is the place to be! I bought some dis­count­ed acrylic but exer­cised quite a bit of self-con­trol — there’s only so much space in the lug­gage and there are so much fun snacks to bring back!!


Switch­ing gears to see places out­side of the city, we joined a boat tour to vis­it the vol­canic rock region in the Hong Kong Geo­log­i­cal Park, which con­sists of sea arch­es, sea caves, and hexag­o­nal rock columns! The tour leaves from the Vol­cano Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre at Sai Kung Pier.


Pic­tures don’t do these moun­tains jus­tice, they are absolute­ly mag­nif­i­cent. Here is a sea arch!


And some sea caves, and waterfalls!


As well as fish­ing villages…


And ven­dors sell­ing seafood from their boats.


Fog­gy days mean low clouds hang­ing in the mid­dle of the moun­tains and this heav­en­ly scene.


Then we went to the oppo­site side of Hong Kong and vis­it­ed Tai O, which is a fish­ing vil­lage on Lan­tau Island, with many stilt hous­es built on water.


The small streets and hous­es are very dif­fer­ent from that of the city.


Res­i­dents mak­ing salt fish, shrimp paste and dried seafood.


We took a boat tour to watch for the famed pink dol­phins, but did­n’t see any :( maybe next time.

Going back in time, we vis­it­ed a muse­um of a 200 year-old restored Hak­ka walled vil­lage, called Sam Tung Uk.


We vis­it­ed part­ly because my sis­ter and I have Hak­ka ances­try. Some of the things in the muse­um indeed remind me of what my grand­par­ents used to have in their home, and still in the vil­lage where they live now, like the ances­tral hall.


Back in the city, we vis­it­ed the his­tor­i­cal Stone Slabs Street (aka Pot­tinger Street) in Cen­tral dis­trict. Some of the stone slabs are restored, and some are orig­i­nal I think. Ven­dors keep stalls on both sides of the street. I remem­ber being there once when I was young, and it being a lot busier back then, but this is excit­ing nonethe­less :D



And guess what I found on these fab­u­lous stone steps? A yarn­bombed railing!


Near­by there is a Star­bucks dressed like an old times Hong Kong cof­fee house :D


My sis­ter took us to the Chi­nese Uni­ver­si­ty of Hong Kong, where she went to grad­u­ate school sev­er­al years ago :D It might not be a place that most tourists would vis­it, but since it’s built on a moun­tain it’s actu­al­ly a good hike, with lots of beau­ti­ful scenery, like this foun­tain near the top of the moun­tain, which seems to be built to blend with and inter­act with its sur­round­ing views.


The tiles make up the words, “spread wings and fly” :)


And so we did, at the end of our trip, flew back to our oth­er home in Toron­to. But sure­ly we will be back :)

I hope you enjoyed the pho­tos! :D Because I have more! :D Most­ly street pho­tog­ra­phy using the Diana Mini. I’m still wait­ing to fin­ish my last roll and for the rest to devel­op, but will pick some good ones to show you.

Have a good week­end, everyone!




hello from Seoul! :D


Long time no see every­body!! :D

Mike, my sis­ter and I went on a trip to Seoul and Hong Kong ear­li­er in the month :D We’re now home and feel­ing dizzy with jet lag, but we had such a good time! Thought I’d share some pic­tures of places we’ve been and loved, in case you’re think­ing about vis­it­ing these cities as well and look­ing for ideas!

We caught the cher­ry blos­soms while in Seoul, the pic­ture above was tak­en at Gyeong­bok­gung Palace, largest of the five palaces in Seoul. The archi­tec­ture at the palace is absolute­ly spec­tac­u­lar. It feels as though every tile, every beam, every brick is thought­ful­ly and mean­ing­ful­ly made and placed.


The palace grounds also has some love­ly ponds. We did­n’t have time to vis­it all 5 palaces, and the ponds were the rea­son why I chose to go to this palace. It’s dif­fi­cult to not get beau­ti­ful pho­tos here.


There were many peo­ple wear­ing han­bok (tra­di­tion­al Kore­an cloth­ing) strolling about :)


We also vis­it­ed the Nam­san­gol Hanok Vil­lage, Hanok mean­ing tra­di­tion­al Kore­an hous­es. The archi­tec­ture of civil­ian hous­es is no less stun­ning than that of the palace. I love the neat, clean, sim­ple aesthetic.


At the Hanok Vil­lage we par­tic­i­pat­ed in a tea cer­e­mo­ny activ­i­ty. We were served tra­di­tion­al Kore­an sweets as well :D They’re made of crispy rice. In the pic­ture the muse­um docent is pour­ing the tea from the teapot to a tea bowl for the tea to cool down a bit, before pour­ing it into the teacups.


We thought we did­n’t have time to vis­it oth­er palaces, because we were only there for 4 days, and palaces are huge! But found out that there is a rel­a­tive­ly small palace in the cen­tre of the city, which we would pass by any­way on our way to oth­er attrac­tions, so we went in. This is the Deok­su­g­ung Palace. It has new­er addi­tions with west­ern influ­ences, like the light fix­ture and wall dec­o­ra­tions in the picture.


It also has a cou­ple of west­ern style build­ings, which I cer­tain­ly did not expect to see in a Kore­an palace.


Speak­ing of archi­tec­ture, we vis­it­ed the Dong­dae­mun Design Plaza, which hous­es some shops and exhi­bi­tions, as well as a muse­um of an exca­va­tion site of a num­ber of dwellings that were built in the 1300s. This space­ship-like build­ing is just incred­i­ble to look at, and to walk around and underneath.



There is this beau­ti­ful stream that runs through the city called the Cheong­gyecheon. It was a creek that got cov­ered by trans­porta­tion infra­struc­ture in the 1950s, and then was uncov­ered and restored as a city green space in the 2000s.


It was love­ly to take a stroll along the stream. A bit of a rest­ing spot from the busy streets on either side above. A lot of local res­i­dents sat on the rocks and ate lunch, hung out.

One of the staff at the hos­tel we stayed at rec­om­mend­ed going to a mar­ket for tra­di­tion­al Kore­an snacks. So we went, but I can’t remem­ber what the mar­ket is called >_<… it looks like it could have been the Gwang­jang Mar­ket. Once stepped into the mar­ket I was at once amazed and over­whelmed, because it reminds me of Spir­it­ed Away with the peo­ple sit­ting at stalls and the light bulbs above head, and because I’m not so great with crowds.


The staff rec­om­mend­ed Kore­an fried pan­cakes, which we got, it was indeed deli­cious :D

And then through rec­om­men­da­tions from a friend we went to the Insadong neigh­bour­hood, where one could find arts and crafts of all kinds, and a kim­chi muse­um! :D There are videos about how dif­fer­ent kinds of kim­chi are made, inter­ac­tive dis­plays where one could expe­ri­ence mak­ing kim­chi Cook­ing Mama style, and very infor­ma­tive dis­plays about the ben­e­fits of kimchi.


In and around Insadong there are also a num­ber of tra­di­tion­al Kore­an tea hous­es. We vis­it­ed one with a beau­ti­ful courtyard.


And got our­selves some green plum tea and shaved ice, with dried per­sim­mons, dried red dates and red beans. We drink the tea with a spoon.


We stayed at a love­ly hos­tel called the Twin Rab­bit. The staff are very friend­ly and help­ful, the room is very clean, the rate is quite rea­son­able, and the break­fast area has a giant arti­fi­cial tree which is super cute. It’s locat­ed in a uni­ver­si­ty neigh­bour­hood with lots of afford­able eater­ies and hip shops and cafes, and some street arts and music too. High­ly rec­om­mend it!


Here I was try­ing to work on the cro­chet project I brought with me under the tree. I’m a bit sad to say that my project is not com­plete by the end of our trip, and I may have to take apart what I’ve done so far because the yarn isn’t work­ing out the way I want… but that’s a dif­fer­ent sto­ry for anoth­er time. Next stop, Hong Kong! Stay tuned for more pho­tos! :D



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Paint­ed some pet rocks one day. Mag­i­cal spark­ly cats! :D

The white one lives on my desk at work now, gift­ed the yel­low one to my desk neigh­bour. Going to pick up more rocks from the beach when the weath­er gets warmer, and paint more cats :D

Also, final­ly vis­it­ed the very first cat cafe in Toron­to!

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As expect­ed, the cats are most­ly sleep­ing when we vis­it­ed. But it’s still nice to hang out :)

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The Cat Cafe takes in cats from the Humane Soci­ety, and the cats can be adopt­ed. These two are best buds and must be adopt­ed together :)

In oth­er news, I bought some rein­deer moss the oth­er day and made some ter­rar­i­um neck­laces for the shop. I thought they looked pret­ty nice. This one had some agate chips and laven­der in it.

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Hope every­one’s hav­ing a good week­end! :D



buttermilk mary

Trip to the sea con­tin­ues! :D


We were so for­tu­nate! We were told by the locals that the leaves in Cape Bre­ton were 2 weeks behind their reg­u­lar sched­ule this year, so we got to dri­ve through the moun­tains when they were the most vibrant! <3

Like many peo­ple who vis­it Cape Bre­ton Island, we drove around the Cabot Trail, which is the upper part of the island, as shown in this map here.

We stayed at the Auld Farm Inn in Bad­deck, I think the largest vil­lage on the Cabot Trail. (We high­ly rec­om­mend the B&B, the rates are very rea­son­able, and the hosts are so very friend­ly and thought­ful. I loved that they took the time to explain the his­to­ry of the farm house and referred to them­selves as cus­to­di­ans rather than own­ers of the prop­er­ty. AND they use old keys for the rooms!)


We aimed for an ear­ly start in the morn­ing, as fel­low inn guests let us know that they took 6 hours to com­plete the trail the day before. It was a sun­ny and crisp fall morn­ing when we set out on our road trip around the trail :)

If I remem­ber cor­rect­ly, we spot­ted this church near St. Anne’s Bay, not far from Baddeck.


Then we stopped at the look-out point at Lakie’s Head, with its rugged coast­line of pink rocks.


We stopped here for the wash­room I think. And I real­ly like the build­ing against the bright blue sky, and the name of the place. So honest.


This is also where we found an album named “But­ter­milk Mary”. I thought But­ter­milk Mary was the artist or the band, and I thought that’s a great stage name (or blog post title, or name for a cat, haha). It was­n’t until after we came back and Googled it that we real­ized But­ter­milk Mary is a set of jigs by the Baroque N’ Fid­dle String Quar­tet, and we total­ly regret­ted not buy­ing the album at the gen­er­al store! We end­ed up buy­ing it on iTunes :P It’s real­ly love­ly, you can watch it played here.

Can’t remem­ber the last time we nav­i­gat­ed by paper rather than GPS or Google Maps. This map was giv­en to us by a friend­ly staff when we got to the High­lands Nation­al Park office. We were ask­ing for direc­tions to water­falls on the trail. She marked her favourite spot on the trail with a heart :)


White Point Beach was her favourite spot and she high­ly rec­om­mend­ed it. Just a bit north of Neil’s Har­bour, which is a very pic­turesque fish­ing community.


This light­house dou­bles as an ice cream par­lour in warmer months!


Obvi­ous­ly Octo­ber is not one of the warmer months in the east coast. It actu­al­ly got real­ly windy when we got to White Point.


And we snapped a few more photos…


But we nev­er made the trek to the White Point Beach, because it was just too cold and windy. So we got back into our warm rental car and con­tin­ued on the trail.

There were many look-out points along the way. Pic­tures real­ly can’t cap­ture ful­ly the vast­ness of land and the majes­tic moun­tains. Can you see the riv­er weav­ing between the mountains?


We start­ed fol­low­ing one of the short­er trail to find the Black Brook Falls, but then Mike spot­ted the Coy­ote warn­ing sign and told me about it. I start­ed to pan­ic, remem­ber­ing sto­ries from our east coast friends about how east coast coy­otes hunt like wolves, in packs. So I con­vinced Mike to turn back. But we did ven­ture into the woods for a few min­utes. I love how moss seems to cov­er every­thing in these woods.


And we came across a riv­er. Mike took a bril­liant pho­to of it, which I don’t think he minds me show­ing it off :D


I also took far too many of these behind-the-dash­board pic­tures with Mike’s DSLR while he was dri­ving. The view is dif­fer­ent behind every bend! And as you can see, the weath­er was also dif­fer­ent minute by minute. It was now hail­ing. But look at the sea!!


One of the last look-out points we stopped at was the most exhil­a­rat­ing. I believe this is at or near Mar­ga­ree. The gusty wind, the sea mist, the salt in the air, the roar­ing sea — it sim­ply com­mands us to be ful­ly present in that moment of being there. I usu­al­ly have a huge fear of deep water and height (because I can’t swim). But in that moment, look­ing down into the sea and the jagged rocks from a cliff, I felt strange­ly safe, like I’ve found my place in all the cre­at­ed beings and things. Like I belong. The expe­ri­ence of that momen­t was one of the best gifts that I brought back with me.


After going around the trail we explored vil­lage of Bad­deck the next day. Aside from Bad­deck Yarns (see pre­vi­ous post :D), we vis­it­ed the Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell His­toric Site and muse­um. I nev­er knew that the inven­tor lived in Cape Bre­ton! (he and his wife are also buried in Bad­deck) And that aside from invent­ing the tele­phone, he also con­tributed to many inno­va­tion­s in avi­a­tion and ship­build­ing. The tetra­he­dron was a struc­ture that he fre­quent­ly incor­po­rat­ed into his inven­tions, from kites to tow­ers to air­crafts, because of its strength. This is a tetra­he­dron shel­ter that he would have stayed in to observe fly­ing experiments.


Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell fell in love with this view and stayed. I wish we could stay too.


Doing a bit of beach-comb­ing here before head­ing to Syd­ney.


And here we are in Syd­ney, cap­i­tal of Cape Bre­ton, home of the big fid­dle and beau­ti­ful pur­ple rocks!


Here we spent the day vis­it­ing a cou­ple of his­toric house muse­ums. At Jost House the upper floor dis­played an apothe­cary exhib­it and a marine exhibit. The house was occu­pied by fam­i­lies of mer­chants from the 1700s until the 70s.


Then we vis­it­ed the Cos­sit House, which is believed to be the old­est house in Syd­ney, built in 1787. It was the home of a min­is­ter, who lived there with his wife and 13 chil­dren. It has a love­ly back gar­den main­tained by the muse­um docents, with hand­writ­ten signs explain­ing the names and uses of the herbs in all the gar­den box­es. It real­ly was a cozy place. But when I took the pic­ture with Diana Mini it turned out sort of dark, and then it has this glow at the door­way, which makes it look like those pic­tures of haunt­ed places… or a house with a glow­ing heart…?


Not sure where the glow comes from, it is also in a pic­ture at the Jog­gins cliffs (pic­ture of my feet), so I’m sure it has to do with the devel­op­ing process or some kind of lens flare, and not the house itself :P

We then drove back to Hal­i­fax to catch our flight home, try­ing to squeeze in a few more strolls in the love­ly city before we had to leave.

Argyle Street, naturally.


If you ever find your­self vis­it­ing Hal­i­fax, and you’re look­ing for sou­venirs that are not in the shape of a lob­ster or light­house, be sure to vis­it the World Tea House and Bis­cuit Gen­er­al Store on Argyle St.!

Also, if you like East Asian food, I high­ly rec­om­mend the Beaver Sailor Din­er up the street from the har­bour! I think it’s pret­ty new, the staff was real­ly friend­ly, the noo­dles are hand­made, the prices rea­son­able, and the logo is cute! (I think they should make buttons/pins of the logo.)


Anoth­er great place where we found awe­some sou­venirs was the farm­ers’ mar­kets. We vis­it­ed the Sea­port Farm­ers’ Mar­ket for break­fast one day at one of the bak­ers’ stalls, and bought quite a few bags of sea­weed prod­ucts from Mer­maid Fare :D (the own­er is very knowl­edge­able about the sea­weed and how to cook them!) Here’s Mike’s pic­ture of a friend­ly fish mon­ger. We did­n’t bring back any fish though.


And then we ven­tured into the His­toric Farm­ers’ Mar­ket in the Alexan­der Kei­th’s Brew­ery build­ing (still haven’t done the brew­ery tour, must do that one day!). We find that it’s a small­er (but equal­ly vibrant) mar­ket with more local res­i­dents vis­it­ing, where­as the Sea­port Mar­ket can be very crowd­ed when there’s a cruise ship dock­ing at the har­bour :S At both mar­kets there are pro­duce, spices, soaps, cof­fee stalls, bak­eries, crafts, art­work, and every­one is hap­py to explain their prod­ucts even if we weren’t buy­ing anything.


This is from one of our ear­ly morn­ing strolls at the Old Bury­ing Ground in Hal­i­fax. I like how the gen­tle sun­light of ear­ly morn­ing is fil­tered through the trees and illu­mi­nat­ing the old graves. It was found­ed in 1749, and closed in 1844. We spent some time there mar­veling at the old let­ter­ing and crav­ings on the headstones.


And final­ly, part of why we were in the east coast in the first place was because I was pre­sent­ing a paper at an art ther­a­py con­fer­ence in Hal­i­fax. That hap­pened before we went on the road trip to Cape Bre­ton. And this was me, basi­cal­ly read­ing out my script because I so dread pub­lic speak­ing. But I hope what­ev­er it was that the par­tic­i­pants took from what I shared would make a dif­fer­ence one day, no mat­ter how small, how indirect.


And that was my jour­ney! I have a feel­ing that I will jour­ney back one day. Just feel strange­ly at home in the east coast. Until then, I will miss the warm hos­pi­tal­i­ty and the sea.

I hope you enjoy the pho­tos and sto­ries and trav­el tips! Thank you for jour­ney­ing with me! :D