Coffee and chocolate babka

If we were having coffee, we’d be pairing it with Trader Joe’s Chocolate Brooklyn Babka bread. It’s so indulgent.

It’s a hot weekend. I planted my olive tree in the front yard. Though it was sold an indoor plant, my yard is the ideal place for my olive tree. Olive trees do need a lot of sun. Since we like to close our curtains throughout the day over the summer, keeping the olive tree indoors may be incompatible. I may consider getting another olive tree — maybe keep it in its container — for the deck area. Or maybe get a bay leave tree instead.

Speaking of hot, stay tuned for more tomato dishes. This month’s tomatoes theme is coming to an end. I was planning to make some hot pasta or some curry at some point this month, but it’s been too hot to make either. I’ll table those another time. I learned few cold dishes that have become home cook staples.

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Postcard pastime

Here is my postcard collection. This is only a fraction of it. I get postcards from friends when they go on their vacations and I return the favor. Plus, when I travel I sent postcards to myself. It’s my little souvenir.

I also do this thing called Postcrossing where I would send a postcard to someone in the world and I would get a postcard back. I did this in my early 20s when the thought of travelling somewhere was just a dream. At the time, I was working an entry level job so I was not making a lot of money — just enough to pay for rent, food, gas, student loans, some fun, other debts, and some savings. Receiving postcards kept my dream of travelling somewhere alive — a reason to go on vacation. I guess I did a lot Postcrossing in my early 20s because I felt like I was in a funk.

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Five things Friday: Greetings from Vallée de la Loire

Five Things Friday is a post where I share five things that either made my week, what I am thinking about, or would like to share with all of you!

Learning a foreign languages

I saw this quote on my Facebook feed, “If a child can do advanced math, speak three languages, or receive top grades, but can’t manage their emotions, practice conflict resolution, or handle stress, none of that other stuff is really going to matter.” Of course the person who shared it on my feed is obviously a mom.

I do have to argue that learning and speaking a foreign language (though not perfect) opens you up to a lot of opportunities. It helps you deal with people better. I work in a hospital where a lot of the patients we serve are non-English speakers. I find it unacceptable when an employer or a volunteer at my work turns away a patient or a visitor because they “only speak English.” That’s not good emotional intelligence, that’s just plain ignorance. When I am in a foreign country or a place where I am the only English speaker, I do try to speak that language. I struggle and it really shows, but I have never been turned away from a service.

Paris Syndrome?

Today (Thursday) I just left Paris for Loire Valley. The last time I was in Paris, it was almost 15 years ago. It may be an unpopular opinion, but my second visit to Paris exceeded my expectations. Why would I want to come back if I already done every touristy thing back in 2005? Well, my husband has never been to Paris. As a Vietnamese person, he wanted to visit the country that heavily influenced the Vietnamese (vietnamien) dishes he has grown up with. Paris was great, I do expect to come back for more visits.

Anyways, back to “Paris Syndrome.” When I was planning for our trip to Europe, I was writing different itineraries. A lot of people advised me to avoid Paris for a variety of reasons. My husband’s coworker went to Paris a week before is and felt “embarrassed” because it was dirty and he thought the food was not that great. Some people had an awful time to the point where they never want to visit Paris again. Anyways I learned this type of disappointment and it is called “Paris Syndrome.” Maybe a better name is “culture shock.” Paris is like any other major city with its fair share of problems. A city is not a theme park.

Avoiding to post my photos on social media

So far I have not posted a single thing about my trip on any of my social media. Well…this photo below has so far been the only thing I’ve posted from my travels. In previous excursions, I would post up-to-moment stuff we were doing on our trips. But I thought it would better to put it off. After all, we do not have the most reliable cellular network everywhere we go. If we thought posting on social media was important, we’d probably be camping in a McDonald’s everyday for free Wi-Fi.

Sending postcards

I have a really good friends — far beyond what I deserve. When they travel, they send me postcards of each of their destinations. For me, I had the intention to send and it slips my mind (ugh!). This is why I made sending postcards to friends when I travel a thing on my 20 for 2020. For this trip, I bought postcards and wrote a short story that happened at that location. Now I need to find a post office to send them them out.

Row

A row of lanterns in Chinatown Milan

I thought participating in another weekly photo challenge could liven up my weekly recap. I am participating in the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge hosted by Something to Ponder About. This week’s theme is Row. I think what will make this Friday Photo Challenge a little different from my Tuesday Travel postings is that my Friday Photos will be a bit more recent and will not always be related to travelling. Some of my Travel Tuesday photos dates back many from many years ago.

This week, I just happened to be travelling so I am posting a travel photo. We were passing through Chinatown Milan on Sunday. It looks like based on the lovely row of lanterns they are still doing Chinese New Year festivities.