My Christmas To-do List

Merry Christmas ‘errbody!

I have a feeling that most of you are having at least a wee bit different kind of Christmas this year, as am I. Usually, I will be either on the plane on Christmas day or celebrating the festivities at my cousin’s house, eating my aunty’s delicious cooking, and taking multiple selfies with all my cousins in front of the Christmas tree.

Today though we went to St. Ali for a boozy brekkie and came home to a long list of a to-do list that I need to tick off before we leave to the farm tomorrow.

My Christmas day to-do list includes:

Organizing my perpetually messy closet and witchy drawers, major packing, update my bu-jo diary, research cocktail recipes, watering the eight houseplants, recover formatted pictures from the USB, update my goodreads (I have six more books to read this year to reach my 36 books goal), get a straw hat from Cotton-On (if they are open), upload Meletos staycation trip photos, wish people on my contact list a very merry Christmas, clean the house, research about Echuca (bookstores, cafe, Indian restaurant, bar, new-age store, winery and hiking trails) where we will be spending our new year holidays at and the trip tarot spread before we leave; which means I gotta start early (like immediately!), to tick off as many items as I can from the list before our “official” holiday tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I wish you a lovely to-do-list-less Christmas and happy new-normal-ish holidays!

The Nine of Swords Depression Moon Void Tarot

The Depressing Nine of Swords

I pulled Nine of Swords from the Moon Void Tarot deck today on my last working day of 2020.

Though it might be unusual to pull the gloomiest card on the tarot deck a couple of days before Christmas, I wasn’t surprised at all. I have anticipated my workday would be hell, and it was. Alas, it’s done now, and I don’t even want to think let alone elaborate about it anymore.

Let’s talk about the Nine of Swords itself. A card that dominated the year 2020 collectively ━ at least for most of us ━ included me during the large-part of #isolife.

The Nine of Swords is a card of sadness, depression, despair, helplessness, and inability to escape reality.

Whenever I pull the Nine of Swords, especially as a stand-alone card say as a card to describe my day, I feel like the air around me has been sucked and making me unable to breathe normally.

As I shared here before that I am not deterred when I pulled The Moon, The Death even The Tower card but Nine of Swords always want me to shove the card back into the deck, take a nap to restart my day and redo the reading.

There is no two-way about it, the Nine of Swords put a fear in me.

Aside to the depressive general interpretation of the card above, the image of it is also unpleasant.

The traditional Rider Waite Smith tarot deck depicts the Nine of Swords as a girl crying alone in her bedroom. Eek!

Also, I don’t particularly appreciate that on the most tarot deck I have seen, the Nine of Swords, if it has a person on it, is usually shown as a woman instead of a man. As if depression, crying and showing vulnerable emotions are more of a woman thing. It’s not. It’s universal. Let’s change the narrative!

Yes, I am sure the Nine of Swords also has some redeemable qualities about it and like all the card in the tarot deck, is here to guide and or teach us something. Maybe I can start a quest on Nine of Swords. An in-depth study on it so I can understand better and learn from it. But for now, I am just glad this card comes to me very rarely, and if it’s a stand-alone or where I wouldn’t want it to be the likely outcome or solution, I usually pull a clarifying card to ease up the pain of the many, MANY, swords.

Japan Shrine

I Miss Japan

We have celebrated both Christmas and New Year in Japan the past three years.

If it wasn’t because of Covid, by now, we would have bought the tickets, applied for the visa and booked our room at One@Tokyo hotel in Oshiage.

In a pandemic-sans world, by now, I would have made a complete itinerary on what to do, eat and see day by day in Japan. I would have started counting my days before our trip. Today would have been day-30 as we usually travel on the 24th December.

Like how it was in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

I know, in a grander scheme, I am not allowed to complain given how good life is going at the moment.

But I also know something will feel incomplete on the 1st of January when we are not ringing in the new year with sushi and sake. And that I won’t have the usual Japan Trip: The Good, The New and The Culture post published on the blog on the first week of next year.

I also can’t help but wonder if we had gone to Japan this year, what kind of things we would have gotten to experience there.

Maybe soaking in the Kusatsu Onsen or eating the famous Nozawana pickles. Maybe we would have gone to Tottori or at least Hiroshima. Maybe I would have the chance to practice the language I have been dedicating 10 minutes a day to learn for the most part of the year.

Maybe I would get to tick off from my ultimate Japan trip list or maybe add more to it. I would be okay either way because I will always miss Japan.

The Emperor’s Birthday in Nagoya

Three hour ride from Tokyo later, we reached Nagoya. I was absolutely starving by the time we reach Nagoya because there was apparently no food-cart in the local train. It was the Emperor’s birthday. It was crowded everywhere, we couldn’t find a place to eat. We ended up que-ing in front of Garett Popcorn stall. It was by far one of the best travel decisions I have made in my life, because they had Ogura butter popcorn. It was so delicious. I also bought a bigger Miaw.

Nagoya is so freaking cold that I made Fafa walk a few blocks so that we could find a hidden ZARA and get me another winter jacket.

I don’t feel at home at Nagoya. It seems like a city where people come to do shopping. The streets are filled with cars and people. But at least we are staying in very nice hotel and we just had the most delicious chicken wings dinner. I am writing this from a Starbucks across the hotel. We tried to get our favorite Strawberry cake but there is no more cake available in Takano bakery because everyone has bought it for Christmas.

Joy the Christmas Tree

This year, I am bought a Christmas tree. From IKEA, for $39. This Christmas tree is a little shorter than me and pretty barren. Also, it’s not pink, but I liked it from the very beginning.

This tree felt like a good addition to a minimalist life I have been trying to adapt.

Unlike the first Christmas tree, which was decorated at the very last minute, we have had our Christmas tree up and have started decorating it since the first day of December.

I bought the decorations from IKEA, Daiso, Bath and Beyond, Spellbox, and the internet. Also unlike last year’s decorations, I spent good hours picking some of them. 

I plan to keep several Christmas decorations for years to come as a part of our new Christmas tradition.

In the future, I want to add more travel culture-related decorations, such as the Japanese Daruma Doll believed to grant your wishes.

Some of my favorites are the glass fairy inside the glass bowl and a blushing cat with a Santa cap.

But my most favorite would be the flying witch because I am the unnamed witch in the Harry Potter series.

Another favorite is a classic ornament with the word Joy written on it. It’s only fitting to name our anorexic minimalist Christmas tree after it.

I have a feeling, Joy, the Christmas tree will be up long passing Christmas day, but I can assure you that it will be packed sometime in January or maybe February.

Is there such a thing as a Valentine tree? Have I become a little too obsessed with the Christmas tree?

Speaking of being a Christmas enthusiast. I have another one in the office. A mini version of Joy, in the pot, which I have given a name too. It’s called Mary. I will share the picture of Mary in the pot soon. We will be traveling throughout the Christmas, Anniversary, and New Year. But I know joy will be waiting for us when we are back, all lighted-up. I guess it’s true that the best of traveling is to be back in your own home.

Stay tuned and Merry Christmas month you guys!

Office Christmas Party

Last Friday night, we attended Fafa’s office Christmas party. The theme was Havana, which I kept pronouncing as Havaianas (like the sandals) by mistake.

At first, I planned to wear something pre-owned, you know being born again minimalist and all. But while helping Fafa shop for his outfit, I ended up getting an adorable, totally re-wearable-to-many-occasions-in-the-future, flowery dress from Dangerfield.

It turned out to be a super fun Christmas party.

His colleagues were lovely, the drinks were strong, and the food was finger-ey and delicious. We ate, talk, drank and finally started dancing. I even danced with the party costume winner, the pineapple lady. We finally went home by midnight and immediately passed out on the couch.

So much for being young professionals, eh? What’s your office Christmas party’s theme this year?

Flyng Along Santa to Melbourne

I am on the plane now, which soon will fly off to Melbourne, where I am planning to spend Christmas, Anniversary, and New Year. Wheee!!Before that, I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and happy holidays! I will be either reading that or playing Neko Atsume, which was introduced by Yin to us recently. I like the Japanese house background the cats, obvs, but I still don’t know whether I want to invest my time, heart, and effort into this game. I figure I can decide while being stuck beside a stranger for the next 8 hours.

Christmas Week

I have been soaking in the festive mood and feeling extra joyous because of it, so much so that I have started to burn all my fancy special occasion candles for real.

I don’t feel lonely nor lost anymore. I feel umm.. hanging. I have been waiting for good news to come into realization.

Only today, I got the time to buy Christmas cards and gifts, including one for my Secret Santa person at work. I have yet to write and send the cards (is it too late already? Should I just text everyone and be make up for it next year?), I haven’t bought gifts for the boys in my life. I haven’t set my travel itinerary yet, nor have I packed. Looking at the long list of the to-do lists I have before Christmas, I feel like I am in desperate need of additional days or energy to be able to tick off all of it.

I also bought a bunch of stuff, justifying it as Christmas gifts to myself, including Swatch 2014 Holiday Twist (finally, after twisting and turning everywhere for it), Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work! and Ban.do’s 2015 planner. So that’s it, my last and this year’s a week before Christmas.

Meowy Christmas

Greetings humans and such,

I am Miaw of Kal’s miaw aka The Kulture Kat. I am here today to wish you a very Merry Christmas. Kal had an injury recently and has been acting like a total princess-brat about it. Thus, I needed to step up and send all of you, lovely readers, warm wishes on behalf of her.

I am going to let you in on a little secret, I didn’t even know what Christmas was until recently, especially since Kal celebrates Diwali instead. I felt uncultured, a little embarrassed even, that I didn’t know it exists for most of my adult life. I blame Kal for not introducing it to me earlier. We have been a family for what, more than three years now? But she had never included me in any Christmas celebration before; not when she had Thanksgiving-cum-Christmas dinner with her best friends in 2012 nor when she flew home to celebrate it with her family last year. I was not even included in her office Christmas gift exchange party EVENTHOUGH I was there, sitting in her cubicle, readily wearing the cute tiny red hat.

Thankfully, this year, she came into her Xmas senses and promised me that we would spend some quality holiday time together. And we did. We have been watching Vlogmas, which apparently is a not so new thing YouTubers do during Christmas, but knowing how slow Kal is on catching on to trends, I am just glad that she introduced it to me this year. My favorites are Tyler Oakley and Essie Button’s.

Kal got me a book for Christmas. Wheeoow. I love reading, pink and pink books. The title is #88 LOVE LIFE, by an Indonesian fashion blogger who I have been following religiously. I will need help to turn the pages, but it’s much easier than the Kindle thingy, which for the love of Lion I can’t figure out how to use. Thank you Kal for the thoughtful gift. #blessed.

Tonight, minutes before Christmas day, we finalized our Christmas tree decoration. I wish I had been celebrating Christmas all life long because gosh, how cute am I posing beside it?! I almost offered to take Kal’s picture beside the Christmas tree, thinking maybe you guys want to see her, but I changed my mind seeing she looked like the injured love child of Cher and a roadrunner. She said it’s because she is on a heavy dosage of painkillers, I told her it’s because she hasn’t showered in two days.

Okay, now I have to go back to taking care of Kal, which I have been doing whole-heartedly that I am sure I will be on the fat guy’s nice list. Speaking of the fat guy, Santa I mean, he hasn’t left me any gift yet, maybe because the north pole is quite far from here. It’s okay, I can wait, you can even FedEx i, Santa, as long as I get everything I asked for in the letter I sent to you in the early November.

Btw, Kal has been invited to a Christmas party later today. If she is going (I hope she showers first before she goes), I am going to sneak inside her bag and pop out once we reached the place. I deserve a proper Christmas party goddammit! There is a problem though; the host has a dog, Pope, and I really don’t want to end up as his chew toy. Also, if you wonder who would name their dog Pope, well, they are related to the one who lets the toy cat write a blog post.

Wish you a very meow Christmas everyone!

Seoul to Busan

I am writing on the train from Seoul to Busan. My friends are sleeping, and I am trying not to.

Seoul-Busan way is covered with a beautiful snow blanket, I don’t want to miss it, but it’s quite hard to stay awake since it has an uber calming effect (maybe instead of the beach sound, we should invest in snow painting). I will write to you, that way I can also enjoy the snow.

We left Seoul this morning, and I kind of wish we have more time there. Three nights were not enough for Seoul. There are still many things to see, coffee shops to chill out at, and beauty freebies to get. I consoled myself that at least we have covered all the important ones. Vi did her shopping at Myeong-dong, Yin got to see the palace, and I went to Ssamziegil. The only thing that I didn’t get the chance to do was to meet Bri from Chai &Bri. We planned to meet up, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen. It would be tots neat if we had, maybe next time, Bri?

I am going to make use of the iPad mini I got for Christmas (from myself because I think myself is awesome and deserves it and myself agree with it) to do blogging stuff (writing, posting, photo editing, stalking and bloggers envying) which was the main reason I get it, that and to see a bigger version of the cakes in Bakery Story.

It feels cool to publish a post from a train. I love to train. If possible, I would travel exclusively by train because why not? The train is like moving room service to your next destination. I need to sleep, eat (food delivered by pushcart), be cute and maybe whip a blog post, like now, because KTX has Wifi. Not bad, Korail. Not bad at all.

I often wonder if there are train tycoons and if yes, do their kids inherit the trains? Can normal people buy a train? I totally would.