10 random things you didn’t want to know about me

LiebsterWhat a fantastic way to start the new year – when you log in to WordPress to write your first post of 2014 and are greeted with a nomination for the Liebster Award… passed on to me by Patricia Moed, writer, award-winning creative artist and expert in change management (over-achiever alert!) at Pilot Fish.

What is not fantastic however, is spending over a week trying to research the award, going through the blogs I follow to determine which ones to nominate, finding that there aren’t nearly enough that have the requisite number of followers, and then desperately searching for new bloggers who may be worthy of nominations. In the meantime –  getting distracted pinning décor ideas for our new place, browsing each and every online furniture and home décor store, ruing international delivery costs, agonizing over the right rug, finally deciding on a new sofa, panicking when it doesn’t match with our existing couch, rushing to find someone who could reupholster the couch, gawking at the I-could-get-a-new-sofa-for-that-much-quote, going back to pinning more décor options… etc., etc.

You get the picture 😛

Anyways, so I finally am down to writing this post, and graciously accepting this award. Mahalo Patti, you really did make my day.

Now, what exactly is this AWARD you may ask? I did too, and turned to the trustworthy Wikipedia, and…

Drew. a. naught. Yes readers, in this day and age, it IS still possible, to not find a Wikipedia entry on random stuff you may be researching.

BUT, Batman Google and Robin other bloggers as always, came to my rescue…

Basically, it came down to this – the Liebster Award is a glorified chain letter (not MY words). There is no jury, no voting,  no “winners”. In the tradition of modern education, we all get a trophy for participating.

But, I’m never one to look a gift horse in its mouth (not to mention the fact that I have seen multiple award widgets proudly displayed on other blog sites and I’m frankly tired of being left out of the party).

If you take it for what it is, this “award” is simply recognition & appreciation – passed on from one blogger to others. And that encouragement in itself is a great gesture.

Hence, I happily accept it and would like to pass it on (unlike the fate that befalls the email, whatsapp and BBM chain forwards sent to me. If their predictions ever come true, I am doomed for eternity).

Zealous fellow bloggers have gleaned that over the course the rules of the award have changed somewhat. I will add a bit of my own twist as well (see later).

Now, for the 10 questions Patti asked me to answer:

1. What was your first job?

I hate to say this, I never had a job through high school or college or business school. My first job was after graduating business school, as a financial & operations analyst in a financial services company. Oh, and the job happened to be located 7,500 miles away in a country I’d never visited – the US of A.

2. Why did you start blogging?

It’s the best way to combine my passion for travel, love for food, interest in photography and the need to just write. I had been an obsessive Tripadvisor reviewer for a few years, and started my first restaurant review blog in 2012, which I abandoned when I moved from Singapore to HK. Last year, on a break from the corporate world, I suddenly had a lot more time on my hands to indulge at leisure in my passions, hobbies and interests… and this blog was born.

3. What kind of family did you grow up in?

I grew up in a ‘joint family’ in Delhi – with my parents, brother (V), grandmother (bhabho), 2 sets of uncles and aunts and 5 cousins. We used to live on the first floor, above the bulding that housed the clock-manufacturing business that my grandfather had started… and our favourite pastime as kids was playing hide and seek in those huge grounds. My father’s half-brother’s family lived nearby, and V and I spent a lot of time being indulged by our older cousins, especially GG. Our summer holidays were almost always spent at my maternal grandparents’ (nana and nani) place, with my uncles, aunts and cousins. When we were away, our dog Tito (the handsomest German Shepard ever) would often refuse to eat, and sometimes we had to come back home for a short while, just to assure him that he hadn’t been abandoned.

4. What is the best present you’ve received?

A pack of beautiful handmade paper, presented to me by my dear friend R with the suggestion that I not waste my talent, merely doodling intricate design patterns on the edges of notebooks. The “works of art” I created based on that inspiration, now proudly hang on the walls of my family members’s homes. One of the designs also adorned my wedding invite.

5. Tell us one guilty secret.

I love Reese’s peanut butter cups. I always have a bag of them in my refrigerator and I can never eat just one. Has to be two at least. And mostly likely I’ll sneak in a third and a fourth in quick succession.

6. What is your favourite place that you’ve ever visited?

There are so many, I can’t pick one. I cant!! I’ll try – If I were picking a city, it would be Rome…  The history, the architecture, the food, the wine… I just can’t get enough of it. If I was picking a state, it would be Hawaii. The variety of natural beauty that place is blessed with is absolutely amazing. If I was picking a country, it would be Bhutan – The feeling of peace that engulfs you as you stare at the snow-capped Himalayas is impossible to describe in words.

7. What is your favourite movie?

Yikes! I watch a lot of movies, but I really don’t have a favourite. One that comes to mind is Lamhe… a beautifully made, 1991 Bollywood movie, that was way ahead of its times.

8. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Iceland. To see the Aurora Borealis.

9. Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Dog, dog, dog, dog, dog!

10. What is your favourite book?

Gone with the Wind. Scarlett O’hara is my favourite fictional character of all time.


So now, on to my 10 nominees (I have also added what attracted me to their blogs).

To keep things simple (mostly for myself), I have relied on the follower stats that the WordPress reader throws up.  Some of the blogs actually display a much higher number. I (chose to) believe that it’s because followers on other social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. are also be included.  That of course may not be the case… and if that is so (i.e. if it is NOT the case), please, please, please do not be offended, and accept my congratulations (and major jealousy) on having so many followers.

1. Introvert Japan

Nathan was the first person ever to comment on my blog, and I have been (of course!) following his guide to Japan ever since. I love the way he writes about travel, life as an expat, food, language, culture and the various oddities that this intriguing country throws at you.

2. Charu at my niche

A professional physical therapist, Charu’s blog consists of interesting photos, general musings, the occasional recipe or history lesson, etc. I never know what I’m going to be served up on my WP reader, and it keeps me coming back.

3. Traveling Salesgirl

It may have been the pic of Sydney Harbour Bridge (similar to mine) which prompted me to follow this blog. Also, “surviving mundanity” through spontaneous and unplanned travel, simply resonated :-). Did I mention that her photographs are absolutely fantastic?

4. A King’s Wanderlust

Erica will see every corner of the world… consumed as she is, by an innate desire for adventure. In 2014, she’ll be heading to Austria, Ireland, Spain, France, Russia and Israel or India (I really hope it’s both). I haven’t been to half of these places and am really looking forward to traveling vicariously!

5. Bob a Guy

A hungry guy brings his camera along, capturing all the food he ate. His photos are good enough to eat, and will leave you desperately hungry. Since we both thoroughly approved of the seafood at Chuen Kee, I can’t wait to try Bob’s recommendations in the San Fran area.

6. Bumble Fritz

Emily’s feet left 2013 in Bali and began 2014 in Hong Kong. Over the next few months she’ll be traveling across Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Wowza!

7. This Girl Abroad

Wine by the plastic glass anyone? This Girl’s keen observations and sense of humor add a delightful twist to the average day in Hong Kong.

8. Around the World in Eighty Liters

Chronicles of Mike & Hanna’s small detour (i.e. upcoming RTW trip) in between their relocation from NY to Seattle. They have already let fish devour their feet, eaten silk worms and been stuck on an island on their last RTW trip… so this one can only get more awesome.

9. The Moore Family in Shanghai

The Moore family moved from Oregon to Shanghai in September 2013. Moving to any new country is challenging enough. Make that moving with kids, to a developing nation with serious language barriers and the journey is bound to be very interesting.

10. No Foam Please

A traveler and photographer who depends on caffeine to keep the motor running. Check and double check 🙂

Alright then nominees, here are the rules for accepting the Liebster Award.

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.

2. You must answer the 10 questions given to you by the nominee before you.

–       What was your dream job, as you were growing up?

–       What is your dream job today?

–       What is your fondest memory from childhood?

–       What is the one thing that you are seriously horrible at?

–       What place that you’ve visited, would you never go back to?

–       If you could live in one country for a year, which would it be?

–       What is your favorite cuisine and dish?

–       Bungee jumping? Why/ why not?

–       What would be the 10 songs on your travel playlist?

–       Tell us something that no one knows about you.

3. You must nominate 10 any number of your favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers and notify them of their nomination AND mention what you like about their blog.

4. You must come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer, or use the questions above.

That’s it! It’s a wrap.

A very self-indulgent post to start off the new year. I’m not sure if even my most avid reader (i.e. my mom) would have made it this far.

Hmmm…If this was an award ceremony, the music would have drowned me out long back and by now the security guys would be dragging me off the stage.

In the times of Twitter, Instagram and Vine – hope I can keep it shorter and snappier going forth.

Let’s see.