Thursday, April 30, 2020

First Day In Malta

It's another stormy day in Maryland. It's been raining since last night and I am hoping we'll get some sun tomorrow or the weekend so that I can work on the garden. Today, I'm taking you on a virtual travel. We will walk through the charming streets of Valletta. I hope you're wearing good walking shoes.


We landed at Luqa Airport early on December 23, 2018.  In fact too early that when we got to our hotel, they're still serving breakfast. Tired and sleepy (since I rarely sleep on flights), the hotel receptionist offered us some coffee and took our luggage (yes, we only have one luggage for the two of us) to the storage room.

After getting our bearings straight, we decided to walk around Valletta and orient ourselves of the city. It ended more as a disoriented walk as we were both sleepy and tired. Nevertheless, we got our first taste of Valletta's charm.

Flying over the Alps never gets old.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

New Normal

At long last, the elusive Sun finally showed up. With this work at home situation, days feel blurry and on most days I don't even know what day it is.

It's deja vu that I'm titling this post "New Normal" because it's not the first time I've encountered these words. "You'll adjust to your new normal soon," Dr. D said on one of my appointments. This was in mid-2014. I was complaining about my hives, a skin graft-vs-host condition, and bone pain. I was then adjusting to my new life as a post bone-marrow transplant patient. I was on quarantine for at least two months at the hospital and an additional two months at home. It's eerie because these home quarantine and wearing a mask orders bring back a lot of scary and sad memories for me. I wonder how long our new normal will last. This is our sixth week of working at home, and we're starting to get used to our "new normal".

It was so windy on Monday and a lot of the flowers from our Kanzan cherry tree fell to the ground. I gathered some of them and placed them in a basin of water. Their blooms lasted for a few days.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Before Spring 2020 Fades

Spring is still my favorite time of the year.

Since we missed the Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin this year, the lovely blooms in the neighborhood surely made up for it. A couple of weekends ago, we drove around our neighborhood and to the next town. We saw lovely blooming trees.

Can someone help me with the name of these lovely trees? They have beautiful white cluster flowers and they bloom first before the Cherry Blossoms.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

A Quick Spring Trip to Charleston, South Carolina

We traveled to Charleston, South Carolina in the spring of 2019. We've been contemplating about moving to the south, as we're starting to get tired of the cold Maryland winters. My husband suggested that we check out Charleston (it's one of five cities we're looking into possibly moving), since his company has a branch there he can transfer to. This was a quick three-day trip to scout the area and see if it is possible to move there.

So aside from looking at houses, we managed to squeeze in a little bit of sightseeing.

At the top of our list is the Angel Oak Tree. This tree is believed to be one of the oldest living oak trees east of the Mississippi River. It stands at 65 ft, 28 ft in circumference, and it's branches cover an area of 17,000 square feet. It offers so much shade and beauty.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Portugal: Fave Sites and Food

MD COVID-19 UPDATE:  As of April 8, 2020, Maryland has 5,529 confirmed cases. According to the most recent press conference by Gov. Hogan, White House is designating DC-Baltimore as "an emerging hot spot" for coronavirus.

Please stay at home, starve the virus and flatten the curve.

This is our fifth week of staying and working at home.

Today, we're traveling to Portugal.

Portugal is truly a delight to explore. We flew to Lisbon in the Spring of 2018. From our past travels, we've learned not to pack so much on our itinerary. For this trip, we mainly picked the places that we're really interested to see and left much idle time people watching at parks, comparing one pastel de nata to another, and drinking tea and munching on pastries at cafes.

1)  Pena Palace overlooks the town of Sintra. Situated on top of a hill in the Sintra Mountains, it offers visitors a sweeping vista of the mountains and the towns afar and below. It is an uphill climb to reach the palace and so truth be told, I was drenched in sweat when I reached the top.

Palacio Nacional da Pena

Friday, April 3, 2020

Christmas 2017 in the Netherlands

On December 2017, Kepi and I traveled to the Netherlands. Christmas was around the corner and we both needed a vacation from our daily lives. Yup, once or twice a year we feel that way. We enjoy being at home with our furry kids especially during the holidays, but sometimes our penchant for travel pulls us away from our love of Christmas trees and lights. We've never been to the Netherlands, so we were excited to explore a new country. Besides, we've always been curious about this city called Amsterdam.

Here are the highlights from our trip:

1.)  Amsterdam, also known as the “Venice of the North”, has 165 canals and 1,500 bridges. Kepi and I spent a day walking and exploring the city with no itinerary. We took so many photos of the canals, bridges and rowed houses, and honestly, they're all postcard worthy. I don't think it's feasible to post all the canal photos we both took so here's one. Amsterdam is charming in winter, and it's a relief that we only got a few snow showers.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

My Utah Adventure

MD COVID-19 UPDATE: On Monday, March 30, 2020, Governor Hogan issued a stay-at-home order for the entire state of Maryland as COVID-19 cases has surpassed 1,400. Anyone caught violating the order will be guilty of a misdemeanor that carries a possible sentence of up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. I think we really need this because in the past two weeks of shelter-in-place, I still see groups of stubborn people playing basketball at the park. What can I say, people love their freedom.

This is our third week working from home, and we're making the most of it.


For this post, I'd like to share my travel photos from Utah. In July of 2019, I traveled to Salt Lake City to attend a committee meeting. This was my first trip to Utah, and since my meeting was on a Thursday, I extended my stay through the weekend. It's one of the best decisions I've made in my life.

The view from my meeting room. I was more excited to go out rather than being stuck in a meeting room. I know, please don't tell my employer.