Why I feel like a prick/douchebag: the clothing edition

26. November 2014 | Category European posts, Geneva, On vanity :( | 0 Comments »

According the the Urban Dictionary, a prick is
1. A word that can describe a penis (I did not know that!)
2. An ungrateful piece of shit of a person

A douchebag is
Someone who has surpassed the levels of jerk and asshole, however not yet reached f**ker or motherf**ker. Not to be confused with douche.

(That’s a bit much in my opinion but let’s go with it!)

LOL well if I look at these meanings, I don’t think I feel that bad about what I’m going to write about today…but I do feel like something is wrong/strange with the way policy people dress at my work meetings sometimes.

Now I’m talking more about myself than anyone else. I don’t know their shopping habits but I do know this: EVERYONE LOOKS PRETTY GOOD, especially the ladies. SO FAR SO GOOD.

And well, government officials have to represent their countries and so, they gotta look good. I get that.

But sometimes, people look so good that I get distracted by the outfits during the meetings. OH I GET IT: this is a Cathy-specific problem. OK so scratch that, this post is about WHY I FEEL LIKE A PRICK at work sometimes.

So everyone’s cool and they look good.
A friend told me that there is even an anonymous Instagram run by a UN intern who snaps pictures of very well dressed ppl inside HQ. I haven’t seen it but I can understand why it exists.

Now honestly I do like dressing up—most of the time. I appreciate that I can use my vanity and shopoholic ways to add to my professional life. It is fun BUUUUUUUUUUTTTTT fancy dress in a fancy city is FREAKING $$$$$$$! Men can get away with a few suits and ties but ladies, oh no, we gotta have LOTS MORE STUFF: multiple tights, heels, purses, dresses etc. And I just don’t have a high ‘work outfit’ budget so I make do with what I can but yes, I gotta shop.

And it matters at work too. Since everyone dresses up, if you don’t, well, you really stick out. Perhaps this is b/c this is also Europe where sweatpants are rarely seen in public (why guys why?!) My jeans = barely worn in GVA btw….

Must I really dress up if I want to walk in these halls and see this art?

So here I am prancing around in all this fancy dress that I wouldn’t wear much in Canada. AND I LOOK DOWN and quickly SCAN THE PRICE of all the things on my body and I KINDA FEEL SICK.

I did this the other day: OUTFIT COSTING
dress = $7 cheap, got it in Istanbul
cardigan = $50 actually FREE gift from mom
jacket = $200 it’s winter and jackets are just $$$
tights = $20 Wolford brand, German and a splurge but still too much!
ring = $15 gorgeous and secondhand!
boots = $125 and this was with a ‘friends’ from the gorgeous boutique owner
purse = $100 mine are not so fancy but as you know, this item can be in the 1000s for those who like luxury

TOTAL = $517 (JH did I get it right? :P )

And that’s why I feel like a douchebag sometimes. B/c my clothes cost so much and it feels strange that I work in the migration and humanitarian/refugees section yet, here I am all decked out.
AND I’ll admit it, that’s a cheaper outfit day b/c with dresses and jewellery etc. you can pay A LOT MORE :(

Should I feel kinda crummy? I think sometimes, that this is just part of the trade. When working internationally, sometimes it calls for fancy dress. BUT sometimes I think, why do I have to wear such nice things? DO I EVEN HAVE TO? Kinda if I want to be taken seriously….in GVA that is!

[SIDE NOTE: I DID NOT have to dress up like this in VN. Seriously, my old MOTORBIKE costs less than this OUTFIT---frick! :(
Nor was it like this au Canada.
Paris, oh yes, it was like this to step outside my house... :( ]

CERN probably doesn’t have this problem :P

OH the lame dramas of me. WOE IS DEFINITELY NOT ME.

Any thoughts or comments?

Dare I post a pic of my work clothes now? I already feel a bit like crap and trust me, this is not a post to say, “hey look at me, I’m so pretty” :P

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(An ODE to) Honesty & being oneself

24. November 2014 | Category French, MY ODES to...., Thoughts | 0 Comments »

What an adventure life is….if we are so fortunate to live a long life, what discoveries each additonal year brings!

I personally LOVE GETTING OLDER! Not b/c my hair turns grey (seriously dreading the day where I’ll have to dye my roots :P ) BUUUUUT b/c my mind is gathering experiences and I FIND MYSELF GROWING UP AND BECOMING A MATURE ADULT!!!??? It is so weird but I have noticed and enjoyed that my thoughts are more well, thoughtful or how I can put this, well more developed and nuanced than when I was a younger adult, like fresh out of university. Now that I have worked for several years and actually have diverse job & life experiences, I finally find myself to be a somewhat rational human being :P I said SOMEWHAT b/c I know that sometimes, I am non-sensical and WRONG and well, actually an unpleasant person but isn’t that the ‘joy’ of being a human being? We are all flawed and NO ONE IS PERFECT. Whewf, low/no pressure!

Imperfect Cathy: squinty not smiley :P

So if that is not like super abstract, let me try to confuse you even more. (To readers: if you don’t understand what I’m saying, it is NOT a problem b/c I think I have an idea/theme to share here, but as I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog, my style is WORD VOMIT without drafts so this is just stuff that collects in my head until I can write it down.)

So anywayyyyyyyyyyyyyy, let’s talk about honesty. I think the link/connection/relation to my rambling introduction above is that, as one grows OLDER, one knows oneself better aka (also known as) matures as a person and as one matures, then one is more comfortable at being honest in one’s conduct with oneself and with others.

Now does that make more sense? (To tell the truth, speaking in the third-person / ‘oneself’ format is kinda vague.

So let me attempt to break it down even further in a more personal way: HONESTY means accepting YOURSELF. As a younger person, I was less confident but in the past few years, I have found myself making connections among a lot of my life choices and have seen the commonalities more clearly. For example (#1), I have loved learning French for a very long time & then I discovered that my grandfather who passed away before I was born was a great lover of French songs and poetry. But my mom is not a French-speaker; she just remembers hearing her dad sing to her in Vietnam (a country with links to France through colonialism) while she was young. BUT then I speak French b/c I was born and raised in Canada, another French-speaking country. Another example (#2) is that being a language-minded person, my passion for French led me to want to learn Vietnamese more seriously after university b/c as a kid, I had gone to VNese school for a few years, but it just didn’t stick. The French grammar and syntax made me keen to learn VNese grammar rules. (Yes, I know this is like UBER DORKY.) And since I also had a degree in International Relations (IR), which made me want to work in developing countries, the French + IR background made Vietnam the perfect place to move to—one where I could learn VNese and also work in humanitarian or development organizations. So off I went and the rest is HISTORY! I got to do IR and be linguistically fulfilled and also found pockets of French in VN so I was really using all my skills at the same time…it was awesome :)

OK so I hope the examples clarify this concept of life connections that become more obvious to you as you mature/grow up and as time passes.

So basically, I’ve been seeing my mind evolve over time….and I like it! AKA that MATURITY AGAIN :P Granted in this world, we have our physical attributes and culturally people like to look young and I’m not gonna lie, I think being Asian is great for this aspect of life b/c I look at least 5 years younger than I am. (Sadly when I was 16, people thought I was 12!!! LOL and I always get ID’ed in Canada even though 19 was awhile back :P ) That ‘young-face thing’ is just part of being Asian. Now in contrast, for my mental age, I don’t want to seem younger than I am. I enjoy having worked for awhile and earning money and being past that student period in my life. I am somewhat knowledgeable in my field now and have a certain confidence that just didn’t exist like 6 years ago. I’m still a young professional, but one with more experience. It is GREAT!

OK so where does the HONESTY come in? (Why yes, I’m a rambler so no point is ever brief with me :P ) Obviously, if you like to be straight to the point, my blog probably isn’t the right one for you. The paragraph above was about growth in age and with experience. I guess, along with that, I want to say that with this maturing, I find that I can be more honest about what I think and ACCEPT it. This is what I think ‘being true to oneself’ means: just be you means accept yourself and enjoy it. Don’t try so hard to change yourself or please others. Nowadays, if I feel something, I just let it be. I don’t ask my parents if they approve. I don’t need to make sure I’m doing the same thing as my friends. ATTENTION: I think THIS IS FINALLY THE CRUX OF THE WHOLE POST!!! Wow, now I totally understand why my sister always tells me to GET TO THE POINT… but instead of doing just that to please her here, I still let myself process all these meandering thoughts on my blog, as I write. Well, because THIS.IS.MY.BLOG right? So duh, I gotta be me. (SIDE NOTE: my blog is different from a conversation obviously. If I’m talking to my sister, I do try to be brief b/c I know she does not like to meander as much as I do :P )

OK hmmmmmm, is there more to say? Maybe not. SHORT VERSION: as we get older, we understand ourselves better and as we do that, we trust ourselves more and then as a result, we let ourselves be and then we accept and enjoy who we are. Boom! And I guess that is the summary of my post, now over 1000 words but the summary is just a mere 2 SENTENCES LOL.

Now I really should read this over b4 posting but duuuude we know Cathy is lazy. Well I’m telling you that b/c in accepting myself, I don’t want to hide this flaw of mine. LAZY CATHY SHALL PUBLISH BLOG POST SANS A REAL READ-THROUGH. Whatever. Keeping it real!

ONE LAST SIDE NOTE: I guess another example of enjoying being ourselves for me is really relevant to this blog:

A writer’s BIG QUESTIONS: who do I write for? Who is my audience? What is the purpose of my writing?
MY ANSWER IS: #1 I write to share my thoughts and experiences with my friends and family. Since I am not always physically present, I do this to update people I know in case they wonder what I’m up to.

#2 I write for me as well. I think blogging helps me release the bubble of ideas in my brain so I am less hyper. I tend to have a lot of stuff brewing in my head and once I write stuff down, I can kinda ‘empty’ that part of my brain so other ideas can enter. If I don’t write, I am just thinking and thinking and this eventually affects my sleep b/c my mind is always processing the ideas.

#3 HOWEVER, I don’t write to gain new readership. Whenever someone reads this blog, I am honoured. If I receive a comment from a stranger, it is amazing b/c I don’t know you and here you are reading my random blog entries. It is very cool and gratifying YET my focus remains on those I know. Any other readers are JUST BONUS. I don’t do this to eventually monentize anything. I don’t want ads on my blog. I just want to keep in touch with ppl and this is easier than emails. TRUTH!

OK so now I’m totally DONE. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ & mucho smoochos readers (aka ANL & my blogmaster, maybe???)

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ODE to SKINNY mirrors!!!!

Sooooo I love ‘skinny’ mirrors, the ones that just make you look a teeny bit better than you actually do! No they do not ‘morph’ you or stretch you out like the ones at carnival fairs or silly amusement park mazes (I like those too!)

MY FIRST: was at the GYM!!! IN VIETNAM! (as if VNese ppl need to look EVEN SKINNIER!) But anyway, it was my first exposure and I LOVED IT. Yes, you can totally tell that it is shaving off like 3% of your flab but that is what motivates you to keep working out! And yep it works b/c you know that you can actually ACHIEVE the difference if you are consistent.

MAYBE it’s more like a MOTIVATOR MIRROR rather than the skinny one then? :P

And since I left VN, I’ve only had the fondest memories….goodbye skinny mirror :P <3

This led to an interesting conversation with my budding fashion designer sista who said that at her store (where she works NOT owns BUT that’ll come in due time :P ), they have a mirror like that also that makes you look not slim but a little bit more DEFINED…like a sharper jawbone etc…. Hmmm I’m so interested I might have to visit her there :P

AND when I went to the gym in Canada with my OTHER SISTER ANL, I asked her…buuuuuutttt where is the skinny mirror???!!!! And she said, THERE ISN’T ONE SILLY!!!! (me so sad :( )

And I was also MEGA DISAPPOINTED that my gym in Geneva didn’t have one either!!!????? Like WTH people, hello, you are the most expensive gym I’ve ever been a member of and you DON’T HAVE A SKINNY MIRROR?????!!!! Is it out of your budget? OHHHH I get it, I was going to the ‘local’ gym NOT THE FIVE STAR and it’s probably there that they have the super mirror cuz we ‘lay people’ aren’t worthy :P Oh EXCLUSIVITY SUCKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! LOL but that’s another rant for another time :P


A: It is the door of the Bank of the UAE! LOL!!!!!! So when you go in there to do your banking, you see yourself in the super mirror and think, damn I look so hot! And then you’re in a good mood and then will be nicer and happier right as you step into the bank!!! LOOLLLOOLLOLOLO :P And that’s psychology for ya!!!!

I LOVE IT and my sweet Greek friend Katerina told me that she and her friends would just stand in front of that door (never going in, we don’t have that kinda cash!) and just look at how HAWT they were…but trust me, this gal is gorgeous and doesn’t need a flattery mirror AT ALL!!!!! <3

Miss you Kat!

I only hope you shall be so lucky in your life to come across such an awesome mirror. ME LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!!!

xxoo ciao friends!

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Streets where I worked: outside VAREMBE aka UN area

21. November 2014 | Category Geneva, Streets where I've worked | 0 Comments »

Now this might be cool or maybe you’ve been to GVA before but it is the headquarters of several United Nations agencies and I have been so lucky to be able to work right in this neighbourhood!

So Rue du Varembe is like 5 minutes from HQ and like 1 minute from UNHCR (refugees aka Angelina’s agency :P ) so here goes!

What’s on the street?

1. Ariana’s Pizza shop which says it’s the UN’s pizza shop (I think) as its advertising…why not, cuz if you pay that rent, then you really need to flaunt it!

2. the NGO building, that’s where ICMC-GVA is located along with a billion other (ok maybe 50?) NGOs or in modern language “civil society organizations” cuz NGOs is old-school though better recognized I suppose.

3. Across the street is the ITU: International Telecommunications Union (UN-speak is soooooooooo many acronyms!!!!) which has a decent cafeteria and a pricy parking lot (too afraid to check prices and too poor to have a car in GVA bien sur!)

4. CICG is the Centre international des Conferences a Geneva! Yes I remembered that one…basically another venue for international meetings but more like a convention centre so not only UN-related. I once saw an expo with lots of cleaning products and wished I could go there and get samples but alas, work gets in the way of fun sometimes :P Gotta keep it responsible rite? :)

NOW JUST FYI, NONE OF THESE BUILDINGS ARE LIKE ‘GORGEOUS’…IT’S JUST BEIGE OR GREY SO NO PICS OK? Snooze! And I guess they are on Google Maps streetview for those who are wayyyy too curious :P

(Oh no fingers hurting again! Too much fast typing but can’t stop mid-post! NOTE: my freestyle is just rapid word vomit, very light editing and I don’t think much about what I write. It just comes out in one go…I don’t like to pause and go back to my posts. No plans or drafts, just straight from memory so maybe it sounds like a rant b/c that is kinda what it is. Oh well!)

Brain fart! It’s kinda late…. OH but here it gets interesting….

5. Like I said, 5 minutes from VAREMBE is NATIONS, the UN compound. So we gotta cross the street near the tram and then if we are lucky, we will see the SPRINKLERS on but sadly they are not on all the time (fine fine save your water I get it :P ) but in this post, they are!!!!

WATER sprinkles in fancy dress? Why yes indeed!

And in the distance we see the “good ol’ Broken Chair” the GIANT monunment to landmines (see its splintered leg?) that helps us reflect on the destruction that results from these often hidden bombs :(

6. And behind the chair, or rather across the street, we have the main entrance to the GVA HQ of the UN which b/c this is part of work, I ACTUALLY DON’T HAVE A PIC OF IT! I have snapped a few pics for friends as visitors buuuuut this is work and so I gotta run inside in my heels (keeping it professional…sometimes!) so I do not snap pics there…weird rite but true :P

OK so that’s a glimpse of the neighbourhood. There are other UN buidlings in the vicinity but I can’t describe all of them…and my fingers hurt so good night!!!!!

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The streets where I worked: the walk to RUE DU VAREMBE, GVA

21. November 2014 | Category Geneva, Streets where I've worked | 0 Comments »

I’ll try to describe where I’ve worked and see if you can conjure up the images. Then I’ll post some pics once this photo uploader is back in action :P

After a quick 15 minutes walk from the Paquis area aka the RED LIGHT DISTRICT of GVA (not rough at all peeps!), taking my fave lil shortcut thru the tunnel (hello round church and expensive Korean restaurant!) and up the stairs by the fancy condos (I’ve done this a million times so all the images flash thru my mind…)…

Castle or school? It's the latter

Imagine GVA Cathy, a girl in GEOX flats often eating a banana or boiled egg while walking briskly in the streets which is a result of my bad planning (never eat breakfast sitting down) & kinda or probably LATE for work cuz again I cherish sleep too much and plan badly….(but I’m a good worker, ask ‘most’ of my former bosses :P ) and so I rush up those stairs then follow the sun for 2 options: I can either go by UNHCR (the refugee agency) or take the church path which I do when the bells are ringing as a reminder of my LATENESS (presque!) :)

One of my fave buildings in GVA

OK so then I jaywalk across the street b/c breaking small rules is a-ok in my books, and it gives me a lil ‘thrill’ in the morning–ok so I’m a bit of a sad-ass if that is my version of adventure/rebellion! But this is truly what I think: addicted to jaywalking I am!

Now I’m a bit sweaty b/c I never leave early BUT I AM NOT LATE! That’s b/c my boss says I can start my day anytime before 9:30!!! And I’m always surprised but that walk is really only 15 minutes so even if I’m kinda late, I’m not really late! SCORE!!!! (And yes, my colleagues start earlier and yes they judge me:P We have different bosses with different styles and attitudes to work start times!)

So now I’ve run up the stairs and am at the glass door, ready to punch in the code to get in and drink 2 glasses of water b/c by now I am totally thirsty :P

…. and that’s how the day starts…rain or shine and even in snow cuz it is never that much in mild GVA!

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The late night owl edition

21. November 2014 | Category Random | 0 Comments »

I can’t help it. Sometimes, I don’t sleep very well….this often happens to me when I have ideas flowing in my mind. Yet I don’t even feel tired when the adrenaline is running though I must say that all-nighters are now off the table! I need at least 3 hrs of sleep :P

OK so that was a ramble…do I have a focus with this? OK how about this? Let’s play a game…what are you doing at this moment?

Perhaps b/c I have lived in several time zones (EST PST CET and whatever Vietnam is in) and have had to remember who in the world I can call at whatever time…man, time hour conversions always confuse me. But I can definitely describe what I’m doing at this hour, almost midnight.

–listening to Bastille, courtesy of JH and girl I like them! Blond twins moment :P
–still shaking from watching the mid-season finale of How To Get Away With Murder….my oh my that was some intense DRAMA!
–slooowwwllly updating blog components :P My photo uploader is still broken!
–still addicted to FB though I must try to wean myself off it….how many hours have I wasted in the past 8 years???
–feeling a tingling in my fingers b/c I haven’t typed this much in a very long time!
–just nibbled at my yellowed nails…I was mixing fresh & ground turmeric into chicken yesterday and it stained my hands, the wooden spoon, the chopping board etc…(normally I’m not a nail biter so that was weird!)

OUCH ok my fingers really hurt so I think it’s best I end this post and perhaps try to sleep cuz I have an early aquafit date demain matin with a very special person! <3 ANL!


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Migration post #1 THE PASSION

21. November 2014 | Category Canada, International, MIGRATION, Thoughts | 0 Comments »

I’m kinda embarassed that this is like my FIRST post EVER on migration b/c well, I LOVE MIGRANTS LIKE SO MUCH!!!! It’s just a part of my history (daughter of refugees here) and I’ve always been drawn towards helping immigrants in Canada (integration rules!) and well, I’ve actually lived and worked in 4 countries with 3 different climates on 3 different continents! And Ottawa and Vancouver may both be in one country but they are NOTHING like each other and seriously farther from each other than Paris and GVA, my 2 European landing docks. Wow just by writing that down, I can see how lucky/blessed my life journey has been. I can’t not be grateful for these awesome opportunities. But alas I digress AND I DO NOT WANT TO….

So MIGRATION: it’s a long-time love for me. :) :) :) :) And so my blog should represent…AND IT WILL and that will also be reflected in the name change to this blog that will come….


But anyway, migration is a part of life. I dare you to find ANYONE who has not met someone who was born in another country from them….there are a million reasons why international migration needs attention in all governments’ policy decisions and laws but I think I’ll get to that in due time.

OK so if you don’t care about migration today, I hope you will in due time. I will only try to show you that it is awesomeness BUT I will respect your opinion (maybe :P ) to not agree with me…lolololololol man I am so funny!!!!

So this random post is to introduce migration to my blog and man, it will be EVERYWHERE before you know it! So if you do not like migration, get lost! J/K! I mean, so if you do not like migration, you may not like me :P ANNNNDDD maybe I just don’t care! lol (again I crack myself up!)

CIAO ppl!!!! xxoooxoxoxxoxooxoxxoo

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RESTART: so many blogging ideas!!!!

21. November 2014 | Category Geneva, Random, Songs, Thoughts | 0 Comments »

So this is the problem with me: I HAVE A BIG MOUTH! This is exactly why I can be a good blogger. My sister says that! DUDE I totally believe it cuz I was just born a chatty, chatty Cathy. And my theory is: if I don’t get those words out, I’d drive everyone I know CRAZZZZZZZY b/c of my babbling…..this is also why I have lots of friends b/c my poor family CANNOT and SHOULD NOT have to listen to my million billion stories UNLESS they want to but let’s be honest, I have a LOUD voice so sometimes they have NO CHOICE!!!! (Apologies dear fams!)

And sooooo, that’s why I should BLOG. B/c the stories get out AND readers CHOOSE whether they wanna read and NO ONE GOES DEAF and my voice gets some rest b/c I swear since I talk so much I won’t be surprised if I grow polyps on my vocal chords and have to get surgery (happened to another chatter lady I know!!!!)

My dear doctor friend JL “diagnosed” me as one who should drink like 15 cups of water a day b/c I get so dehydrated from all that talking!!! LOL I knew that already and man, it is HARD to drink that much but that’s the life of a chatter :P

Sooooooooooooo I just RESTARTED the blog and immediately a million ideas came to mind so I gotta jot them here so I don’t forget to write about them later…..

1. features on all the streets I’ve worked on and lived on in the WORLDDDDDDDD…it is tooo many!
2. corruption and shady actions in the GVA
3. guest posts if anyone wants the space
4. butter chicken kim chi and other fantastic and DIFFICULT foods
6. the UN duty free shop
7. CERN underground
8. Migrant voices featuring diaspora
9. Japanese Brazilans, my thesis on migration

So much more to come and it’s a good use of my time too.

I like Sam Smith, just like my bff MKS. She inspired this posting as she recommended this song and oh how appropriate it is! xxoo <3

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RESTART: the Swiss chronicles: perks of $$$$$$$

19. November 2014 | Category Geneva, Lists | 0 Comments »

Flashes of funny memories zip through my mind. Things seemingly unreal. As it’s late now, kinda past my bedtime but I kinda want to stay up til my eyes really tire ;)

So let’s do smthg easy: it’s all about the MONEY! This is la Suisse I’m talking about and we all know or at least have heard rumours about how they make their money. I’m not gonna speculate but I will report on things I’ve observed.


On a personal note, I realize that I have had pretty “boombastic” (yes, I said it!) job experiences here and ones where I got to learn a lot at the UN. So since some UN agencies are based in GVA and la Suisse is kinda RICH!, put two and two together and you get…..FREE STUFF!


As it is late and I could and will elaborate later, I will make a quick lil list of the best FREE things I experienced while here….

1. a boat cruise along the lake!!! this came in the form of a fancy invite during the July ECOSOC meeting — thanks so much dear CH/host government! Free nibbles n drinks for 3 hours on a hot summer’s nite? Prob the top of the free stuff!

Colleague: you should probably go to the opening session. It’s a big deal with good speakers…
Cathy: ummm ok (in mind thinking oh man, so many meetings)
Cathy: (looks over the speakers’ list…) OH SERIOUSLY Joseph Stiglitz WILL BE THERE????? (bigwig economist)
Colleague: Well it seems like it….
Cathy: I’m so there, man! (in head, thinks ooops that was so NOT professional!)
Colleague: Have fun, Cathy! ECOSOC switches between NYC and GVA so this is a once in TWO YEARS opportunity.
Cathy: Thanks so much for the heads up. Are you going too?
Colleague: No, I was in NYC last year. (No one else from office went…)

….. AND so I go, sit down, make myself comfortable. SADLY, J. Stiglitz doesn’t show (this sometimes happens due to late flight arrivals or scheduling issues on the day-of, especially for high-profile guests) AND within the first hour, they start handing out the fancy invites for the BOAT TOUR WOOT WOOT! Cathy 1, other colleagues 0! But, this might sound odd but the ppl who have worked in my field for several years DO NOT LIKE PARTIES ANYMORE!!!! It is so funny but there are A LOT and they’d rather just go home earlier and see their families….true story & I totally get it. BUT I’m kidless so bring on the parties!!!

on da BOAT!!! free wine bien sur :P

2. On boats, I do love water things. I am an Aquarius so perhaps it’s partly that or the fact that my hometown is oceanside but anyway, another freebie was my first water taxi ride offered by a kind stranger (from Ottawa by chance) that I met on the walk home from work. He asked for directlons and we started chatting. And that’s how I learned that tourists staying in hotels here get free transit passes with their rooms and he gave me his son’s cuz that boy was sleeping due to jetlag so Cathy got on her first boat ride!

First time FREE, well, for me that is :P

3. the WINE BOAT, sponsored by Coop, a big grocery chain here. It basically travels to the towns along the lake and opens up shop where there are free wine tasting nights and you can buy cases for a really good price. They could totally charge $10-$15 for this entry but it’s mostly free!!! UMMMMM OUI MERCI!

So that’s 3 free boating adventures! Perks of being lakeside I guess :)

4. Ooooohhh my, I cannot forget MY FREE TOUR TO THE LHC AT CERN! B/c I have basically learned to appreciate particle physics from scratch (never took it in high school), I was able to woo my awesome PHD friend into inviting me underground to tour the Large Hadron Collider—ummm what? Yeah I know that feeling, for those not into “nerd” science, it might seem foreign but it’s a really good thing. And it warrants its own blog post so I’ll be brief here. BASICALLY ONE OF THE GREATEST DAYS OF MY LIFE!

I LOVE CERN, no im not a scientist :P

getting my geek on!

5. Oodles of free parties at the UN! It was kinda part of my job to errr, socialize/network/discuss policy at these shindigs!!!!!!!!!! The best one was supposed to include a concert by ANNIE LENNOX but at last minute, she was sick :( And bien sur, free wine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6. Along with the parties & receptions, there were the UN sandwiches….gosh they saved my life a few times b/c I didn’t have breaks between conferences and meetings so I just scarfed these down…tuna was my fave but when hungry, I was just appreciative that some govts provided these. Overall UN catering is pretty good but the best were when the hosting countries served their ethnic foods….mmmmm drool just thinking about it!

7. LE CHOCOLAT BIEN SUR! Cailler Choco Factory includes a buffet at the end of their educational tour and when my friend JL was visiting me, she kept getting free Lindt choco ball samples from several shops….as they are so delicious, who could blame her? BTW the Swiss Consulate in Vancouver also had a few cubes of Swiss chocos on offer if ever you need their services :P

drool! no words needed!

8. the bikes! They also have the city bikes program that others have BUT this is the GVA man & that means c’est gratuit!!!!! Yup, they take ur ID or info and you get a free bike for a couple hours. I think you pay if you use for more than 4???? On my second trip here in 2009, I used one to find a LUSH store cuz I love their products so much!

9. 2 for 1 movie tix. Duuuude we NEED these cuz a regular ticket costs 19chf which is like $21 and of course, once in awhile, you just have to pay the regular price and get burned. Sadly, it took me over a year to realize that I got Orange Tuesdays with my phone plan and so in 2014, I watched a few more movies. Hilariously, going to a theatre felt like such a treat b/c I hadn’t gone for so long and so I really savoured the movies I watched. And I saw some good ones like American Hustle, Grand Budapest Hotel, Osage August Country & that movie starring Woody Allen and Sofia Vegara….name forgetten :P Oooh found it, Fading Gigolo!

Wow already at 9 and TRUST ME, I got A LOT of FREE STUFF in the past 2 years! Thinking about it all made me realize that I should blog again. So here’s the RESTART, get ready, set, go!!!!

TA DA, yes so much BETTER with pics but damn, takes SO MUCH TIME!!!!!!

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The “almost” completed cooked alphabet project

19. November 2014 | Category Alpha cooking project, FOOD, Lists | 0 Comments »

I do not like to quit things. This can be an annoying trait, especially when it concerns silly things. I have been known to stay up too late to finish small details of a project when I should be sleeping. So last year, I started a project where I wanted to cook foods for all the letters of the alphabet during one month while I was waiting for a job contract to be finalized….

I got close: I cooked up to W but failed to blog all the entries here. So now I’m doing some blog housekeeping before I move on to recounting my Swiss steps since last April :P

In short, I cooked:

A = Aranchini = deep fried Italian leftover risotto balls
B = Bibinbap = Korean fried rice, don’t forget the fried egg on top which makes the dish
C = (Indian) curry, taught to me by my awesome friend KC from Calgary
D = deviled eggs, a simple fave I had never made before
E = endives aux fromages/sauce Bechemel, endives are plentiful in Europe!
F = fajitas, fries & fennel salad, a weird mix that worked :)
NOTE: Pics for the above and deets of the project where chronicled on this blog previously.

G = gnocchi al gorgonzola (notice DBL Gs!) = potato pasta made by hand with blue cheese sauce mmmm
H = honeyed hot wings, stretching a lil on the naming convention ;)

I = man, I forget!
J = ditto, braindead :(
K = Korean kimchi = their pickled cabbage, quite a process but I love my mom’s version so I went for it
L = liver and friend onions
M = minestrone soup
N = roasted assorted nuts (again stretching it but N is hard!)
O = orzo salad (Greek pasta salad inspired by Barefoot Contessa chef Ina Garten)
P = hmmm oh yeah, PICKLED red cabbage
Q = ??? I can’t even think of Q dishes at the moment….
R = roasted veg, eaten with the orzo
S = strawberry tarte with my fave 3 lil kiddies!
T = I think I cheated and counted TARTE for this one
U = ummmm? I think it was something wiht UDON, a chubby Japanese noodle :P
V = very good things probably but slips my mind
W = all that comes to mind is watermelon but obv that isn’t a cooked food


And then there was the wishlist that who knows when I’ll ever get to:
X = Xavier soup, a real thing that I looked up b.c I knew this one would be hard and I have a friend who has Xavier as his last name too
Y = Yorkshire puddings, totally want to make these one day…..
Z = zero zippo diaster…no idea what I’d do here

So that was my “almost” finished list and I guess really it’s kinda a failure but I am happier that I could at least summarize most of the project here….

Project final grade: 7.5 for completeness, 10 for fun and time wasting, 7.5 for keeping to budget cuz some of these things were pricey and you know what, I would even do this again if I had the time!

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