Asiatique, Poolside and Nahm

Hello Friends,

After our canal tour, we rested for a bit at our hotel. We ended up walking down along the river to a small touristy attraction called Asiatique, where there was a ferris wheel, shopping and food.

We were so hungry at this point, we basically were getting cranky. We stopped at this place called the Dishes and the parents said it sounded good. In we went. We ordered a soup and pineapple fried rice.

We walked around the outdoor and indoor stalls and explored what they had to offer. We wanted something sweet to finish off our dinner, so we stopped by a dessert place, where I got a coconut popsicle and Annie got the mango dipped in chocolate with almonds. The parents got a strawberry toast.

On our way walking back out to the street, we saw this amazing wall of locks, very similar to ones hanging on the Pont des Arms in Paris. We walked all the way around and it was very charming.

Our second official day in Thailand dawned bright and early thanks again to jetlag. I was up at 4:30 and really really needed a cup of coffee. I got dressed and Annie and I went downstairs to check out this buffet that we heard about from one of Annie’s friends. It was pretty tasty. So tasty in fact that we ate there again today. But after eating the buffet and feeling very full, we decided to lounge by the pool for a little bit.

Armed with sunglasses and sunscreen we made our way to the 6th floor, where there’s a lovely view of the river as you sit poolside (see below photo from our balcony). Both Annie and I blogged and then popped into the pool to cool down. It’s been around 85 with full humidity and only an occasional wind, which was stronger by the pool, less so in the city.

From there we stopped by the hotel cafe to fuel up on quiches and tea before walking to a Thai massage place. Despite the unique name, it was a good place.

Annie and I walked back to our hotel where we freshened up for an evening out. We called an Uber for all four of us and off we went to Nahm, which is in the Como Metropolitan Hotel a few miles from our hotel. Nahm had recently been named the 5th out of the 50 best restaurants in all of Asia by the S. Pelligrino.

Annie and I ordered six dishes for the table, and man was it good! The flavors were great, and there was only one dish that was on the spicier side. We all agreed that the pumpkin curry was the best dish there.

We ordered dessert, one I was familiar with (mango and sticky rice!) and one new one with corn, rice, mangosteen and coconut cream. Our service was great, and the whole restaurant was very modern and elegant.

As we arrived and still as we left it was raining hard. We were lucky enough to have covered entrances or else we would have been soaked! We all were pretty tired at this point so we called it a night and went to bed.

Love,

-S

 

 

Teak Boat Tours

 

 

Hello Friends,

Our first day in Bangkok we rose early thanks to jetlag. Bangkok is 14 hours ahead of California, so our bodies hadn’t quite caught up yet to our location here halfway around the world. 5:20 am my brain was wide away, so Annie and I showered and got ready for the day. Luckily there is both a Starbucks and a 7/11 on the same corner as our hotel, so we popped down for coffee after getting dressed. I tried to order my usual, but I’m not sure that the barista understood my order as I got some fruity green iced tea instead of my normal chai. It was tasty though not what I expected.

 

We had a teak boat tour scheduled for 8:30, so we left the hotel and took the river taxi down to the local metro called the BTS, and our stop was the  #7 Saphan Taksin Station. Each station was labeled by numbers as well.

Annie had taken the canal tour before and had secured the same tour guide named Nui for a 5 stop tour. We would explore a floating market, a pagoda, a garden temple, the orchid farm, lunch and an artists studio.

Our first stop was at the Wat Sat floating market, that due to flooding in the canals and the consequent building of flood locks was permanently moved to land. We were blown away by the exotic fruits they had: mangosteen, rambutan, pineapple,dragonfruit, lychee, and longan.

They also had people cooking and making prepared foods, like grilled meats, bananas and rice in a banana leaf. There were various rices in large bags and tons of flowers. We tasted the grilled banana wrapped in rice, as well as a freshly cut pineapple.

From there we hopped back on the teak boat and drove through the canals to the temple Wat Paknam, which is a popular attraction in Bangkok. Wat Paknam is a large, royal temple where many come to meditate.

We saw many monks dressed in bright orange as they went about their practices. We saw many golden Buddha statues and one large statue of a former abbot, but my favorite was the 5th floor glass statue and the ceiling. Airy and brilliant with color, you can also walk the balcony’s to get a great view of the city and the various canals.

From there, we jumped back into the teak boat and went to the garden temple. It was a totally different feel, very quiet, but closer to nature. Nui explained the Buddhist principle of karma, which is the closer relationship between cause and effect of the individual.

It was a warm day, roughly 88 with humidity, but the cool air and light spray from the water was great on the boats. Standing still and listening to Nui at each spot was a little warmer. My hat kept me cool and shady, but we had to have covered knees and shoulders for the various temples. The sun slid in and out of the clouds as we tried to stand in the shade of the trees. From the forest temple we jumped back into the boat, and on our way to the next stop, we passed some boats that were cooking food. We stopped and tasted two different dumplings: chive and taro with a chili oil sauce. The dumplings were steamed and then pan friend right before eating to ensure a crispy taste. They were served in a banana leaf bowl and were delicious! I almost wanted a second one, but I knew there was more food coming.

Then we continued on in the teak boat along the canals over to the orchid farm. It was rows upon rows of different flowers and different types of orchids. Apparently the farmer cuts of the top orchid and sells that, and the plant continues to grow more flowers. They had a tiny concrete walkway in between the rows for us to walk on. Nui kindly snapped a few pictures of us among the flowers.

At this point in the orchid farm it was far less breezy and pretty warm. Annie had gifted all of us with these mini fans for Christmas, and us two got them out. They were a lifesaver!

We jumped back into the boat and Nui and our boat driver steered us over over to our lunch spot. We had the best cashew chicken I have ever had in my life along with a tasty Panang curry. I had a pineapple smoothie, but Annie got a passionfruit one which had better flavor. Our coconut soup was delicious.

From there we walked down the walkway and over to the artists studio for a puppet show about Hamuman the monkey king and his love of this mermaid.After that many people took pictures with the puppets, but I was too shy. I instead took photos with the statue by the water. We drank iced coffees and Nui told us about the history of Thailand and King Rama.

From there we went back to our drop off point and walked to catch our train. Nui was absolutely the best! She told us funny jokes, took so many pictures of us, and directed us to all the best spots and food.

Nui handled all the talking, ordering and purchasing of everything. I totally recommend booking a tour with her if you are ever in Bangkok. Also she walked faster than any of us and was the smallest!Love her!

-S

3 Days of Travel

Hello Friends,

Last summer Annie and I were discussing travel and we decided to plan a trip to Thailand. She is a great travel buddy for me, and luckily enough with both our teacher schedules we have a large block of summer off. We researched flights, hotels and restaurants, and finally in July of last summer we booked flights. The trip was officially on! A few days later she texted me and told me that her parents wanted to join us on the trip. I love her parents, so that was an easy yes!

Annie researched hotels, restaurants and I looked into various activities. She had been to Thailand twice before, so she has some recommendations. She was planning to travel with her husband to Japan before our Thailand trip, so we ended up booking her parents on my flight, and I am so glad we did. It was nice to have a friendly face to sit next to, and to double check all the flight details with!

Singapore Airlines:

So flights were pretty tricky. Most of the ones we looked at took off in the morning from the US, and landed in Asia somewhere in the evening, with a layover until the next morning for the second leg. After a few hours of looking, we found a flight that left super late from SFO, and a short layover in HongKong, and finally landing in the evening in Bangkok. That was the winner for us. We flew with Singapore Airlines, which was a great experience. We checked into SFO around 9:30pm on Saturday for a 1:15am flight ( i didn’t know they even flew that late!).

The flight was long (14.5 hours!!) but great. The food was tasty and there were so many choices! They had a bunch of great in-flight movies and entertainment, but for the first 6 or so hours I slept. We had a quick layover in HongKong where we got Starbucks and freshened up. I felt like a new person with freshly brushed teeth and hair and a clean shirt. We had a much shorter flight (4hrs) to Singapore where we had our longer layover (4 hours). It was middle of the day when we arrived, so we decided to get some steps in at the airport and explore. I was blown away by how many shops, interactive displays and interesting decorations the Singapore Airport had.

Singapore Airport had 3 terminals: one that had a butterfly garden, one with a magnetic sand exhibit, and one that had these orchid/koi pond gardens. There was lush flowers everywhere! We ended up grabbing some food just before boarding.

We landed in Bangkok around 4ish. We picked up our luggage and met the driver from our hotel. It was rush hour traffic on a work day (Monday) so it took about an hour to get to Chatrium Hotel.

It was beautiful evening when we arrived, as we looked out over the balcony into the city lights. We were finally here!

Have you ever been to Asia or Thailand before?

Love,

-S

Life Lately

Hello Friends,

June has been a month of many small but fun things. Farmers market’s, beach days, birthday parties and visits to SF. With long summer days and early mornings I can fit so much more in. Here’s  little bit of what I’ve been up to if you don’t follow along on my instagram. 

I went to an alumni picnic at my school and found this blast from the past picture of some of my girlfriends from my middle school. We look so young!

A co-worker invited me to her unicorn birthday party and at the end of it we all walked to 7/11 for slurpees. What a great way to celebrate a really hot day!

I’ve had so many to-do things for my apartment that have fallen off my to-do list (coffee-table, console table, hanging artwork, etc!) that my dad came over a few days after I was out of school and we put up these two great pieces above my desk: a picture shelf and my desk organizer. I’m ashamed to say they have been leaning against my wall since purchasing them this past September.

Two glorious beach days with friends have already happened and I can’t wait for more. Santa Cruz is gorgeous in the summer!

I discovered these great snacks at TJ’s. Yum.

I like to walk to Pier 39 in San Francisco. I went up a few days ago and had the best SF weather I’ve ever had, warm and windy but not too hot.

What all have you been up to lately? Any adventures?

Love,

-S

Class of 2017

 

Hello Friends,

Roughly a week and a half after prom, we had graduation. This year was the 166th graduating class of Notre Dame. It was held at the California Theatre in downtown San Jose, which was a gorgeous historical building. A few days prior we had had baccalaureate mass at the Cathedral Basilica in the evening and it was such a special moment seeing my first seniors in their blue cap and gowns.

June 3rd was a hot Saturday, but the theatre was cooler than outside. This year was my first year teaching almost all freshman, so my few seniors were very precious to me. Most years prior, I taught juniors and senior exclusively. I know they are going on to amazing school, but I will miss these friendly familiar faces. Congratulations class of 2017!

A few days later I was invited to see a few students from my old school graduate at City Hall. It was such a bittersweet moment seeing a few of my juniors as about to graduate seniors! I wish I had been there during their senior years.

A few of my students had selected to finish out their senior year with a combination of online and college course. The above student stuck together in a cohort class. It was fantastic to see Joe, the very man that had hired me to teach at this school four years ago at the last graduation ever for LPS San Jose.

These two students were my most troublesome, and I was very hard on them. I was very hard on them because I knew they could do better, and I knew how smart they were. I didn’t want them to waste their education or their future with silly actions. I am so proud of all their work and can’t wait to hear all about their adventures at Evergreen and Ithaca College! 

These five hard working and devoted people brought the 15 students up to the finish line of graduation. I worked beside them for the last few years and I missed them so much during this past year of new experiences and changes as I transitioned to my new school. I wish them all the best as they now go off to new places!

To all my darling students of the class of 2017, I am so proud of you!

Love,

-S

2017 Prom

Hello Friends,

The end of the school year is always a busy time. The weekend after I was in Seattle was prom! Our school hosted it at a downtown location called the Corinthian Ballroom which was a great venue. It had a bunch of rooms on the main level, and upstairs was the photographers for the formal photos.

It was wicked hot that day, and I decided to get my hair done at Drybar just to keep it off my shoulders (it’s getting so long now!). It turned out so elegant. The theme of Prom was Beauty and the Beast, so all the students working the dance were dressed up as little maids and forks/spoons.

Downstairs they had a photo-book room, dinner and dancing in the main ballroom, and a lounge area with the drinks and dessert. Everyone looked their very best, and all the dresses were gorgeous. I was surprised by how many girls went floor-length like I did. Although I wasn’t chaperoning it, I stopped by to say hello to some of my seniors and of course to the other teachers. I snapped a few photos with some of my seniors that are from the class of 2017!

Love,

-S

Vlog of Seattle Wedding!

Hello Friends,

I made a short video about A’s and my weekend in Seattle. I snapped a few fun videos of exploring both Pike Place Market and of the wedding. It was a beautiful day! The song is not mine, but I adore it, it’s by Feist and it’s called One, Two, Three, Four. Enjoy. 🙂

Have you been to any summer weddings yet?

Love,

-S

Downtown Doors

Hello Friends,

When you walk around downtown San Jose, you’ll notice that there is large posters of student artwork on many utility boxes and doors. The San Jose Downtown Foundation has a program called Downtown Doors where it invites high school students to submit their artwork to be printed and placed around various sections of downtown. This is the 13th year, and 189 students submitted work from various San Jose public, private and charter high schools. 20 students are selected, bringing the total from the last 13 years to 252.

We invited students from the school I work at to submit to the art committee, and one of my students was selected! They had a small celebration for all the student winners a few weeks ago. It was a very exciting day, and I was so proud of her work. She had created this piece of work during a graphic design course taught by my department chair. I know this student from my Yearbook class. Her artwork hangs right by a popular Starbucks that I frequent when I need more caffeine in my life. Apparently the artwork Downtown Doors features will hang up for 3-5 years, which is quite a legacy!

I snapped the photo above of all the winners, which was a very exciting day I’m sure. I was a proud mamma standing there with my student!

Have you ever submitted anything to an art competition? Have you ever won anything?

Love,

-S

Montreal Part 4- Fromagerie, Brioche French Toast, and the Biodome

Hello Friends, This post is long, but covers the last two days of our trip. 🙂 On Tuesday of our Montréal trip, we started our day with breakfast at Mamie Clafoutis again. We had tried two other bakeries as this … Continue reading