Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hello, blog

Are you there?

It’s me, Aimie.

This is kind of old news, but I’d like you to know that we’re in the 2012 now. I know I shouldn't have abandoned you, but there will always come a time in anyone’s life when priorities just.. shift. And as luck would have it, you've been placed in the back seat of things lately.

I know it’s wrong for me to do this to you, blog. You have been a loyal friend of mine, a friend with whom I will always feel comfortable.

Yet?
Silence.

It’s like in the pre social networking days when two best friends who used to braid each other’s hair, used to share their deepest secrets, slip notes under each other’s text books and make paper stars together and have the cutest nicknames for each other until one of them moved out of town and then one day whilst shopping for shoes at some mall, they awkwardly run into each other and then..

Crickets..

But blog, I know you’ve been sending out hints to tell me that you miss me. I have to read at least ten emails everyday and they all are asking the same questions about you. You make me feel so loved, and for that I thank you.

Honestly, it’s not that I’ve forgotten about you, blog. It’s just that 2012 arrived at my home with a suitcase full of to-do-lists, along with a raging case of busyness which was induced by general holiday fun and travelling. And before I knew it, we’re racing towards the half of the year already and judging by the look of things? Life isn't going to slow down anytime soon.

So blog? I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.

I have just been very, very busy.

Busy living. Busy growing. Busy loving.

instag


p.s. And blog, I guess you already know by now with whom I’m having an affair with (uhmm.. since 34 weeks ago). His name is Instag and we’re madly in love.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Packing..

Two hundred and fifty-four outfits. Millions of diapers and wipes. One thousand pair of jackets and blankets. A huge suitcase with nothing but toys and story books inside.

Bottles of lotion.

Passports.

We are going on a holiday again! Our flight leaves tomorrow and as usual, I'm still wide awake (when will I ever learn not to drink coffee at night?). But what's making this holiday an even more joyful experience for us is because..

Little Z is going too! And we are going here to visit his grandparents where it is now winter! Double joy!


Do keep us in your prayers for a safe trip, and do take care while I'm away. My eyebags and I will see you when I get back.

Till next time!

Friday, December 16, 2011

In Florence..

Walking through the streets of Florence is like traveling back in time – the very cobblestones that Michaelangelo and the Medici walked on remain essentially the same here. So, when I say everything is old, in Florence it really means old.

Considered the cradle of the Italian Renaissance, Florence is truly one of the world’s most beautiful places.

We stayed at a small family-run Hotel Joli just a couple of blocks away from the Santa Maria Novella station (where the father is in charge of the hotel’s reception with his son helping out with the translating, and mom? She prepares the breakfast, naturally) Overall, the hotel was decent, nothing too fancy but most important of all, clean.

Well rested for the night, and a few toasts with two cappuccinos in the morning later, off we went for yet another picturesque day.

With gorgeous panoramic view of Florence, Piazzale Michealangelo is a great place to let the city unfurls before you. The bus ride there took roughly about 30 minutes (so we had plenty of time daydreaming about owning a property there after seeing so many beautiful houses on the journey up) and Piazzale Michealangelo is also the home of the two faux David statues which were satisfactory in our opinion, as we didn’t want to pay to see the original one at the Galleria dell’ Accademia. And there are literally hundreds of historic places, museums, and galleries that are fantastic in their own right in Florence. From the thronged halls of the Uffizi to such open air troves as Piazza del Signoria, this city will keep art lovers busy for days.

And, if art isn’t your thing just as it is not ours either? Florence is worth explored just for the architecture alone (or in our case for the pizza, pasta and gelato too).

Oh, and the shoes.. Being the home-based of Salvatore Ferragamo, shoes and leather are a big thing here and I must admit, there’s nothing quite like an Italian leather handmade shoe. So, while you’re better off walking around the city in flats, don’t let that stop you from bringing those gorgeous high-heeled shoes home!

Arrivederci, Florence!

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In Venice..

The grand canal, the colours, the Byzantine mosaics, the mysterious alleyways, the gondolas, the pastries, the Venetian masks, the rich history that is palpable in the streets and squares - I was overwhelmed by it all.

Venice is something else. 

I know anyone would feel the same way as they begin to explore this water-dependant city. A bit overpriced maybe, a bit too crowded maybe, but we still couldn’t find it in our hearts to not be in love with Venice.

We boarded a train from Milan bound for Venice’s Stazione Santa Lucia through Verona. And we started from Piazza San Marco before making our way to rest of the city. This square that Napolean called the “drawing room” of Europe has been the heart of Venice for more than 1000 years and it contains most of the city’s major attractions and some of Europe’s grandest cafes.

Looking back, it was the best decision for us when we avoided the main touristy paths with the exception of Piazza San Marco, and just wandered around the back alleyways instead. Because we got to see a different side of Venice, where the actual Venetians lived, and where it’s way more beautiful and relaxed.

Our last remaining day there was spent sitting at one of the cafes on the outdoor terraces to soak in the scene for one last time. Just sipping hot chocolate and watched the day went by.

And I think that last bit there, is the bit I’m going to remember most about Venice.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

In Milan..

So, we went around Milan. (I figured it's better for me to jump straight to the point as there isn't that much brain left after a half of chicken with rice and a corn on the cob by the side.) And it was wonderful!

We stayed at Aunt Rosy's (my sister's mother in law) cozy crib and she made us feel right at home with her motherly pestering - making sure we come home in time for dinner, calling us five times a day, and even offered to punch anyone who we think is being rude to us. And if there's one important thing you should know about Italian mothers.. is that they will never let you leave the dinner table without filling you up to the brim. To eat, is to simply love.

Now, seriously. She's such a warm and lively woman to be around with really, and it was simply mind blowing to hear about her lifelong experiences of traveling the globe.

Milan in short is just as everyone knows it - a fashion capital of the world and a very work-oriented city. To go shopping in Milan is a must and the beautiful and well-designed Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is just the right place to do so. Both big Z and I had our fair share amount of gawking at all the beautiful people walking in and out of the Galleria. Situated just next to it, is the Duomo di Milano. This gothic looking cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete and what makes it even more unique is the exclusive pink marbles of Candoglia used in its architecture. 

Both of the Galleria and the Duomo are basically the only main attractions here in Milan, and just happened to be so appropriately called by the locals as "The Living Room" of Milan.

Brilliant.

Ps. I did attempt to upload as many photos as I could but my willpower fell in short this time around. So, for more random shots from Milan, feel free to check out my flickr.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

In Paris..

I did mention I was going away, didn't I? Well, now I am back!

It's December and things have gone from good to better, bad to worse, and back to life as usual again. I have far too many things to say about our recent trip. But as much as I want to launch into a detailed perfect descriptions of each places we've been to in one post, I'd figured whittling them down in a few different posts would be less tiring to the eyes.

Europe flew by in a flurry of beautiful sights, croissants, gorgeous people, pizzas, autumn breeze, hospitality, hot chocolates, wet dogs, surprises, and love. So much love. The whole trip was marvelous and it left us feeling so liberated. To be able to breathe in foreign air and to see the world from a different angle was simply amazing. 

And Paris? 

We've all seen Paris from the movies, but I hadn't realize quite how beautiful a city Paris would be. I have been to London, Milan, Florence and Venice during this trip and I must say I preferred Paris to all those places. Big Z and I stayed at a delightfully small boutique Hotel Joyce just a short walk away from the Opera and Sacre coeur. I have nothing but good things to say about this hotel and I would totally recommend it to everyone. 

Walking through the streets, soaking in the view as much as we could, I'd realized how interesting it was just to look at the Parisians. So trendy and glamorous, whilst also managing to be rather helpful and kind. What a clever balance to strike. But these were only from our experience and we've all heard stories about how stuck up they can really be. So, we're just glad we didn't encountered any problems despite of our excellent French.

And one of our main highlights of Paris was visiting the Mosquee de Paris (twice!). And the pleasure of sipping the famous mint tea at the Hammam cafe of course. It's currently the largest mosque in France and the third largest in Europe. Full of greenery and beautiful architecture, it was nice to be able to just blend in with the rest, and calmed ourselves there after an overwhelming day of sightseeing.

Paris was indeed a joie de vivre experience for the both of us but, right now? We're just glad to be back. All the things that happened before and after the trip made us nothing but thankful. Just to be alive and well. And I'd say there is nothing quite like travelling to the other side of the world to learn about life and make one go all reflective.

Till the next post.

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