First Day of Autumn

Another March ━ the the last month of the first quarter. But also feels like I am stuck in 2020. At least it’s officially Autumn now, my favorite season of the year.

Autumn in Melbourne is all about warm cider, book+bed+blanket, trying out new soup recipes, light sweater, beautiful foliage, colourful socks, red nail-polish, home-made porridge, starting a new journal and windy sunny days.

Tulips Pink Flowers Valentine

Lockdown Diary: Day 5

It’s last hour of lockdown. Making it the shortest lockdown I have experienced so far, but didn’t mean it was in any way easy or got easier.

These five days have been a constant battle of staying positive.

I couldn’t take a mental health day off today from work, nor can I anytime soon. And by the end of workday today, I felt entirely drained, like I am running on empty.

Alas, it’s almost over now. For now. This wave.

Ps. After work, I watched Contagion to wind down. Weird choice, I know. It’s a good movie, eerily similar to the current situation.

Pps. Something random, I wondered about the zoo personnel during the lockdown. Some of them still have to go to work every day to feed the caged animals. Strange time we are living in.

Ppps. Tarot card of the day was the Seven of Pentacles from the Fifth Spirit Tarot deck.

Evil Eye Mug Fifth Spirit Tarot Journal

Lockdown Diary: Day 3

When I sat down for the Monday Morning meeting, the first thing discussed was the high probability of lockdown getting extended. Not a great way to start the week, eh?

I tried to push the speculative news aside, along with the thought that I most probably won’t see my parents nor go on Kumano Kodo pilgrimage this year.

Instead, I spent the day working, reading a few pages from the boring CPA textbook, running, practising yoga for runners, texting friends and gentle journaling.

Some highlights of the day include bed coffee, payday (I pulled the King of Pentacles), cozying up on the sofa with Fafa and watching The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel on Netflix, the smell of the burning candle ━ a gift from Jik, getting a package and Wood Frog’s pumpkin seed sliced bread.

Lockdown Diary: Day 2

Happy Valentine‘s Day! It’s the second day of the third lockdown. Gah! As soon as I typed it, I realised how polarising those two first two sentences were. Alas, both are valid.

My morning routine stays the same ━ bed coffee, morning journal and tarot cards.

Today’s card was The Hermit. I also pulled another card to honour Valentine’s day and wrote a semi-lengthy journal about it. I continued with yoga, short exercise and a 5km run at the Albert Park, which thankfully is still within the 5km limit set by the government.

We then stopped by the South Melbourne Market where I got free-range eggs, honey-lemon potion, pumpkin-seed bread, and other things to make a typical Aussie brunch menu: chill scrambled eggs on toasts with smashed-avo on the side.

I quickly prep the food back home, declaring it as Valentine’s day meal made with lots of love when I served it to Fafa. He got me a bunch of gorgeous pink tulips and pre-ordered a tarot deck (I KNOW!) for Valentine, the least I could do was to cook the man a warm meal.

After lunch, Fafa went to study to read up on his upcoming project while I did a bit of reading. Then I started watching Contagion and dozed off half-way before waking up to Fafa sitting beside me, watching the finale of Your Honor.

There is nothing much to share about the lockdown nor my feelings about it, except maybe it looks like it’s going to last more than five days which gives me a bit of anxiety. But I have decided no point in dwelling about it today and ruin my restful Sunday.

Before I leave for the day, let me share one of my favourite poetry about love by one of my favourite poet, Bianca Sparacino:

My god, I hope you find love. And I don’t just mean that in regards to someone you wrap your tired bones around at night. I mean that I hope you find love in every aspect of your life. I hope you find it tucked into early morning sunrises, and the smell of your favourite places. I hope you find it strung between the laughter you share with your friends, I hope it bounces off of you when you hug the people you care for,  I hope it swells within your ribcage whenever you hear your favourite song, or discover something that moves you. I hope you fall in love with growth, and change, and the messiness and the beauty of fucking up, and making mistakes, and becoming exactly who you want to be. I hope you find love in places that were once void of it, in places within yourself that you could have been softer to, kinder to, in the past. Because if there is one thing I have learned, it is that love is so much more than a boy, or a girl, who holds your heart. Love is everything around you. It is everything.

I truly hope you had a love filled Valentine day. Sending you virtual blessings and love 💌.


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.

A Friday The 13th Milestone

Happy Friday the 13th! I always feel like this day carries more woo-woo energy compared to most days, and the witch in me always gets excited about it.

My first memory of Friday the 13th is when my very hipster music teacher told us about the Jerusalem virus which has been attacking computers all over the world every year on Friday the 13th. A fact that is a bit morbid for a 13yo to remember, but I have always been a bit weird 🤷.

My fascination on Friday the 13th was established that day and it has been growing ever since.

This Friday the 13th is a bit more special.

It is the second Friday the 13th in 2020. Marking the end of the self-isolation period which started on the first Friday the 13th of the year, in March. It was the last day I went to work and living life, as usual.

Today, 7 months later, after passing through, in limbo, the uncomfortable adjustment and somewhat painful learning period, I feel like I am being invited to finally turn over a new page—a milestone.

Officially marking being completely hatched, reemerging fully into and totally embracing the new normal.

I celebrated the day with a fun breakfast date with Fafa at The Top Paddock. It’s the first breakfast place I had been to by myself when I moved to Melbourne years ago. We reminisced our first months here (his was a year before mine) and other travel memories.

I still have to do a massive task before logging off of work. But later, I have a coven meeting for (yes, it’s a thing). And after that, I plan to finish The Alchemist and do some night-journaling accompanied by a mug of hot Gluhwein and both The High Priestess and Death tarot cards (New Moon on Scorpio). It feels like the right way to honor the day—both Friday the 13th and the new normal milestone.

Happy Anniversary To The Man Who…

Happy Anniversary to the man who thought we have only been married for a year instead of two. I take it as the marriage life has been a breeze for you— ditto!

Happy Anniversary to the man who puts so much effort to keep me happy during the #ISOlife — from getting me bed coffee every morning to finding some good crime series to binge-watch together. Who drove more than the allowed 5 km limit to get my favorite Indonesian food a few times during the lock-down.

Happy Anniversary to the man who blames the weighing machine when I complain about my weight, the lighting when I think I look bad in the pictures, the weather when I am in a bad mood, the food when I get a pimple, the type of the houseplant when I kill yet another one. Because God forbid, it’s me who is in the wrong.

You know what bo? I kinda agree with you.

Happy Anniversary to the man who cleaned when I pretended to study, whose default setting is “you are prettier”. Who has been repeating the phrase “okay, let’s do what you want instead” way too many times.

Happy Anniversary to the man who, when I tried and failed miserably replicating an Ottolenghi’s recipe, took one look at the mess I made and declared that “Nah, this looks better than the one on the book” and proceed to eat the tasteless shredded pieces that were supposed to be meatballs.

Maybe I shouldn’t mention that we had to throw a large batch of the leftover the next day because it was that bad.

Happy Anniversary to the man who knows the meaning and difference between piu, miu, tiu, liu, giu, liaw, tiaw, miaw, and other words I invented on a whim. Who wants to frame my primary-school-grade-level paintings. Who calls me the Rice Queen but still puts half of his rice on my plate. Who stalks me on social media. Who respects my me-time but still peeks through the door ten times to see what am I doing. Who celebrates every single one of my minuscule achievements and tolerates most of my shortcomings (except for my loud chewing).

Happy Anniversary to the man who has been saying, “I miss Japan” more than “I love you” to me throughout this year. Me too.

Happy Anniversary Fa, life is good with you. I love you and I love the way you love me. Here is to another year of spoiling me in the name of marriage.


Covid Diary: Month 7

Today marks the completion of 7 months of me going into the lockdown, living the #ISOLife, and surviving Covid. We are at the tail end of it. A week or two more until we are allowed to wash off the Scarlet letters ISO which has been donned on us since four months ago.

And I feel — well almost — okay? I remember how panicky I was last month when I realized I have been living this Covid infested life for half a year. Happy to report that I don’t feel that way anymore. At least nowhere as strongly.

Since the last Covid Diary, the number of new cases in Victoria keeps dropping. Today there were only two new cases.

The whole state has started to feel hopeful. Holding their breath for Sunday’s lockdown update from our Premier — hoping that he will announce some good news. Anything from lifting the 5KM living/travel ban to allowing indoor gathering will be good enough.

Plans have started rolling in. Or more like reinstated after being canceled at the beginning of the year, which was revived in the middle of the year when we had the 2 weeks of so-called easing-back before being canceled again when we were put back into the longest lockdown compared to anywhere else in the world.

I am no different. My calendar now has different colors on it instead of the perpetual blue which is how I categorize my work stuff. Now, there is a burst of pink here and there. Marking a belated birthday date with Aina, an anniversary dinner at Yagiz, and a picnic in the park with Liz.

But I am not keeping my hopes high. I had done it in the past and kept getting disappointed. So yeah, good news will be good. Bad news will be survived. At least in this corner of the world.

Planning A Brunch? Don’t Invite Me

Yesterday my Melbourne Whatsapp group chat which I named “Lockdown Girls” (yes, I am proud of being the one who came up with such an original name) was busy for a hot minute.

We were discussing the things we miss and couldn’t wait to get back to once this lockdown was over. Whenever it might be.

One of them then said that they can’t wait to have brunch outside again. The same sentiment shared by my other friends in that group chat.

I almost chimed in with: “OMFGGGG ME THREEEEE!!!!!” (the added flair is just my Whatsapp personality), before I stopped myself.

The truth was, no, I didn’t miss brunch in Melbourne.

I guess, today as good a day as any, to come clean that — despite Melbourne donned as one of the cities in the world with the lit-est cafe scene — I don’t enjoy brunch, at least not in Melbourne.

You see, even though I moved here more than four years ago, my Asian tastebud is still loyal to its’ home continent. Meaning, brunch for me still is a bowl of hearty chicken porridge or prawn vadai or two half-boiled eggs or kaya toast or nasi lemak or chicken pao or vadai or chocolate soy pancake or nasi uduk or pastel with chili-padi or idli drenched in sambar. Anything but the fancy-looking-taste-nothing-super-pricey all-day-breakfast served in Melbourne cafes.

So yeah, it’s safe to say, if we are having brunch in Melbourne, that’s because I like hanging out with you. Enough to pay $23.50 for a plate of scrambled egg. In which I can choose to add bacon, hash brown, sauteed spinach, grilled halloumi, and mushroom onto, as long as I pay the extra $5. Each.

An exception to this is Tall Timber’s Shakshuka which I have been gladly paying an extra $5 for the addition of chorizo.

Covid Diary: It’s Not So Bad Is It?

Melbourne lock-down

I made the mistake of checking the news on Covid case updates here in Victoria. It says things like:

the 14-day average (is) higher than the target”, “mystery cases emerge”, “Melbourne won’t take full third step (to ease down the lockdown) next week”. etc.

I have been trying to stay positive as much as I can during this pandemic. I keep telling myself, as long as I can stay afloat, I can survive this. Even when at times it means taking a dip into depression inducing darkness, negativity, pessimism. uncertainty, fear and hopelessness.

“Staying afloat” has been my Covid mantra and pandemic survival mode.

As long as I resurface.

Today though, after reading it (all these came from one single click of a news link) — I came into realization that living in the midst of this pandemic and six months of on-and-off, with the last 6 weeks being a full-on, lock-down feels like being in an abusive relationship.

I would know because I had been in one in the past.

Covid related stuff constantly remind me that it’s not so bad.

That I should be grateful that the government is taking all precautions to make sure it can nip it in the bud (even-though it’s obviously a little too late). That me and my loved ones are healthy. That I still have my job. That yada yada yada..

Yes Covid, it is not that bad. At least not for me. And yes, in the grande-scheme of pandemic I do consider myself, dare I say, lucky.

But I also know and dying to scream out (only from my own balcony, of course, because f-ing lock-down) this is NOT okay. It can’t go on for much longer. I don’t deserve this. None deserve this.

Give our lives back!