Anne Claire and I took advantage of the “study break” to discover mainland China, before actually using the break for what it is supposed to, aka study to finals. We were lucky enough to have the perfect timing, managing to avoid the Amber storm in Hong Kong, and arrive to Yangshuo just by the time rain ended. We’ve not been blessed with weather lately in HK culminating to the previous weekend, resulting in floods over the city. Afraid of this, I decided to leave my camera home and regretting it immediately in clear-sky Yansghuo, having to live the memories through iPhone pics…
The village turned out to be bigger and more touristy than we expected. However, I fell in love with the unique landscape, which is often described as most beautiful in China. The village itself was cozy, a blend of westernized yet Chinese.
We spent our days cruising a river on a bamboo boat, bicycling around the town, took a mud bath followed by hot spring in a cave, tea plant visit, hiking to a view of Li River… We discovered the most delicious vegetable curry ever and returned to the restaurant to have it for almost every meal since… On the last night we ordered a bottle of wine which ended up being more than just one bottle. I have to say I have not felt as bad the next day in years, but we for sure had fun. I already look forward visiting this French beauty in Paris next summer, followed by a trip to French countryside to their family summer house. I can clearly imagine us sipping wine and enjoying cheese on a sunset….
Skin was an issue for a long time for me. Like many others, I had the perfect skin all my teenage years, until the day I quit taking hormonal birth control. Since, I tried everything to from natural to not-so-natural medicine, studied nutrition and have gone through some fundamental lifestyle and diet changes (and suffered from some of them along the way) . Even though my skin has been much better for a while now, I still suffered of an infection at my chin. I know this kind of condition is a cause of something beneath the surface and in my case it was a sign of hormonal unbalance.
A major healing happened few weeks ago. I am lucky to work in a health food company with some nutrition experts. We got a speech on nutrition which basically had two main points – most of the conditions in our body are caused either by weak immunity system or unbalanced hormonal system, both of which I know to have problems with. Herbs and medicinal mushrooms have a bigger role in healing these condition than most of us are aware of. I promised to try our Princess blend, whose benefit is to support the hormonal system. Within a week, I noticed that the infection on my chin had healed itself and the excess oiliness I’ve been suffering of, is gone. I’ve never seen effects of any individual product that clearly, which is why I want to share this. I would not write about anything I didn’t believe myself in.
I was worried that living in a polluted city like Hong Kong would make my issues worse. Luckily, this has not been the case, but I can only imagine how it looked like if I could breathe the fresh air in Finland, eat all the wild berries and have my daily smoothies…Sounds like excuses but maintaining a balanced diet really feels hard at this point. You just got to do your best and enjoy all the adventures my lifestyle enables right now:). My skin (or hormonal system) is still not yet as its best, but so much better than in years.
Of course there are countless causations behind skin issues, but balancing hormonal system and strengthening immunity system are something to seriously give thought to.
Dinner after another with both best friends and new acquaintances made my birthday week feel very special. The actual birthday day we started appropriately with Bellinis, followed by dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant, ChomChom. I had high expectations for this place, and the salmon and chicken salads, eggplant dishes and beef rolls proved to be beyond delicious. Best part, however, was the huge chocolate cake served to the table by the waiter, which completely threw me by surprise, and made me feel touched by the people I have got around me in a new city.
The dinner next day was not less mind blowing. Emily took me to Grassroots Pantry, an organic food serving restaurant that I had wanting to go for ages. Soba noodles with tofu did not sound that appealing to me, but as it is Emily’s favorite dish and she goes there A LOT, I wanted to give it a try. I’m so glad I did. The dish was amazingly tasty and made us beg for the recipe and have long discussion with the lovely waiter. At the moment, several days later, we are texting with Emily and sharing our cravings for the soba noodles and the veggie dumplings…
As for Friday night, unfortunately I don’t have any pictures as this was one of those nights that it is better to leave the camera to bag and just enjoy. (might partly due to the fact that I did not want to make my date feel embarrassed shooting in a crowded restaurant..) We ended up in ChomChom again as either of us didn’t mind going back. I had told him that I’ve been avoiding meat here as I find it suspicious in most places. He was convinced to turn me back being a meat eater and so the table filled up with all sorts of dishes of chicken, meat and fish, which I found quite cute. I can not describe how delicious the chicken wings, beef tenderloins and kaffir lime chicken tasted, after such a long break. I realized how much I had craved for meat and chicken. So, despite all the nutrition I’m studying at the moment, no way I’m turning a full-time vegetarian.
My photo diary from past few weeks includes:
1. Junk Boat Sunday – by no question the best way to spend a sunny Sunday in Hong Kong 2. Breathtaking views at the infinity pool 3. Countless dinners at Mana which I will never get bored of 4. Experiencing the only-in-Hong Kong kind of Halloween 5. Snails and french fries at Pastis 6. Dinner of raw dishes and desserts at Maya cafe with gorgeous Emily 7. A perfect Friday night at rooftop of Sevva, with live music and friends from home 8. Enjoying the views at Ritz-Carlton with another gorgeous friend, on a pitstop from NYC to Japan, Nadia (I’m hopefully visiting her in Tokyo in couple of weeks!!!)
The past days or weeks have at times made me miss many things back home more than before. Obviously, I miss family and friends, more or less every day. I miss having a home with proper shower, kitchen, privacy, space, FOOD. After 5 months dealing with the lack of these, truly makes me appreciate the home I will again have one day. I wait to be able to cook and have space at the fridge for more than 3 items. May sounds amusing, but Mana has truly been my savior. I am well aware that I have at least 7 more months to go, and the worst is only getting started.. Attitude change is really needed 🙂
Nevertheless, looking back the pictures of past weeks makes me, once again, realize how much unforgettable moments I’ve experienced. In a way, I’m also consciously accepting the feelings, and doing my best to treat myself. I don’t feel bad of consuming loads of dark chocolate, taking weekly massages and having cozy dinners with friends. Weekly yoga class is a must. Tonight, Emily is taking me to a restaurant for my birthday that I’ve been wanting to go for ages, Grassroots Pantry. Little things that feel like luxury and will take me over of this period that makes me at times feel ambivalent.
Though this city could never drive me to boredom, I must admit, I am happy the first era of my time here is coming to an end. My internship of past 6 months has enabled more than I could have hoped for in many terms, but I’m ready to continue the adventures. After four years of studying non-motivating subjects for me, working in more or less non-motivating jobs during past summers, I feel like I truly need some time to listen to myself and figure out what I want to do next. I could not feel more relieved and blessed to have no obligations of any sort for two months.
I am more motivated than ever to pursue my true interests and start creating something on my own. The feeling of having an own business has only strengthened in me during the past months. I want to focus my energy in learning new. Here, I’ve constantly been reading books about nutrition, which appeal to me a lot. Also, it is not a coincidence that I eat most of my meals here at Mana. At the same time, I am thinking of how to make most out of my time before starting master studies.
Although Hong Kong still has a lot to give, right now I can not wait for my travels to start. People ask me how come I am not scared to travel by myself . Of course, I am a bit, but more than that, I’m curious of the adventures that await me. And it’s not like I have not done it before, knowing exactly one person before hand in both New York and Hong Kong. Restless by nature, I can’t wait to relocate myself and get inspired in new surroundings.