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Michelle Chan’s Top 5 cities for 2011

December 25, 2010 1 comment

Now is a good time to promote and plan your travels for the new year. With my most trusted and relied upon source and brand for my travels, they have released Lonely Planet’s Top 10 cities for 2011 which has nudged me to keep up my travel writing.

Michelle Chan’s Top 5 cities for 2011

1. Istanbul

Istbanul is a city that touches both Asia and Europe, the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. Religion plays a big part in Istanbul, you can hear prayers being broadcasted over the loudspeakers all over the city at different times of the day such as prior dawn, dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset and evening. Mosques are frequently visited by locals and tourists, and they have women only sections.

I would highly recommend you visit the Turkish bath houses also known as hammams, althought it is very basic and simple – nothing glam or fancy at all. Finally, of course you can not leave without tasting some very colourful and high sugar dosage Turisk delight then buying a Next time I visit Turkey, I definitely want to go to Pamukkale – just google it for pictures then you will know why.

2. Marrekesh

Since Morocco had a period of French control, it has a touch of french influence. Of interest is that you can stay in hotels which they call ‘Riad’ which is like a house with a garden, I found it very pleasant, relaxing and lovely – a completely different world to the old city just outside the alleyway of the old town

The main market is like a circus and adventure park all in one. You can see people performing, preaching, getting hanna tattoos, selling food and orange jucie, whilst the side streeets are filled with small stores selling all kinds of goods such as leather shoes, bags, musical instruments, glass lamps and clothes etc. Bargaining is huge and food also comes in its range of diverse varieties. You would think the Chinese has tasted all kinds of creatures and animals, but there was one thing i found intriguing- snail soup. Not very tasty I might add! After we finished our food at one of the outdoor street stalls with skewers and other BBQ sorts, one kid came to ask if he can have the left over bottle of coke. There are many beggers or people who just come up to you and ask for money on the streets also.

3. Budapest

Funnily enough, Budapest has two parts to it being Buda on the West bank of the Danube River and Pest on the East bank. The Danube – Europe’s most celebrated river – runs majestically through the center of Budapest. The city has taken full advantage of this and it now offers some of the finest panoramas with magnificent buildings and architecture adding flavour on both sides of the river.

4. Dubrovnik

With coastal views together with rich cultural heritage, combined with magnificent natural beauties, Dubrovnik keeps its visitors happy with what is has to offer. The old city is surrounded by City Walls which are 2km long which historically offers protection against its enemies.

5. Reykjavik

Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland, the northenmost capital city and one of the three coldest capitals in the world. The place was named Reykjavik – “Smoky Bay” – after the columns of steam that rose from the hot springs in the area and made such a profound impression on the original settlers.

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You are not me

December 21, 2010 1 comment

Sometimes I get frustrated when people just dismiss the idea when I mention to them that I have adult ADHD because in their heads they are thinking about crazy kids running around the room. It’s just because they really don’t understand the effects that is has on one’s life.

When people read through the below symptoms, they think well many of these apply to me as well and I don’t have ADHD, but I’m telling you imagine you have ALL of these symptoms all at the same time and they occur every 15 minutes or so. Then can you try to imagine what life is like for us?

Disorganization and Difficulty with Task Completion-

– Poor organizational skills
– Chronic procrastination or trouble getting started
– Working on many projects simultaneously
– Trouble with follow through on promises or commitments
– Changing plans, enacting new schemes or career plans and the like
– Difficulty structuring time and setting priorities (e.g., chronic lateness)

Impulsivity-

– A tendency to say what comes to mind without considering the timing or appropriateness of the remark
– Difficulties with self-control
– Spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment behaviors or comments
– Frequently interrupting others when they are talking
– A tendency toward addictive behaviors

Hyperactivity-

– Physical or cognitive restlessness
– Craves excitement, frequently searching for high stimulation
– An intolerance of boredom

Attention Problems-

– Easily distracted, trouble focusing attention (e.g., tunes out or drifts away in the middle of a page or a conversation)
– Chronic forgetfulness
– Inaccurate self-observation

Emotional Instability-

– An ongoing tendency to worry excessively, that may alternate with disregard for actual dangers
– A sense of insecurity
– Mood swings
– Chronic problems with self-esteem
– Frequent boredom and discontent
– A chronic sense of underachievement, of not meeting one’s goals, regardless of actual performance

Low Stress Tolerance-

– Impatient, doesn’t deal well with frustration
– Easily flustered, tense
– Exaggerates the significance of negative events (i.e. makes “mountains out of molehills”)
– Short temper, likely with a history of explosive episodes

Others think that this is just an excuse for my flaws or underachievement, which sometimes is easy to turn to but to try to turn these weaknesses into my strenghts is totally a different story. I have lived with ADHD for 30 years now and only in the last couple of years was I introduced to this term and learnt about it. Luckily enough I am just a borderline case and I can pretty much get on with life with only mild disruptions, although that is not to say that my aspirations and goals have not been affected drastically by this. Also fortunate is that our minds are smart enough to teach ourselves mechanisms to cope better and to mitigate the damaging effects but some things are just out of our control and we must surrender to professional help.

I’m a big fan of Jodi Picoult’s books and couple of months ago, I read ‘House Rules’ where Jacob has Asperger’s Syndrome and his behaviour can be related to most teenager boys. I quote below line from the laywer, who tries to mock the symptoms of Asperger’s displayed in Jacob’s behaviour. “Not connecting with his peers,Being the centre of his own universe. Self-preservation is the one inviolable rule. Temper tantrums and anger management issues…Sounds to me, Dr. Murano, like Asperger’s is the new selfish.”

Even those closest to me who witnesses my symptoms on a daily basis and tries to cope with my behaviours can never really truly understand, because in the end they are not me.

I Have a Dream

December 19, 2010 Leave a comment

The media promotes public figures, successful people and stardom like you never get enough of it and sometimes you think just like the slogan ‘Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.’ For example, the co-founders of Yahoo! both went to Stanford so it’s not a surprise that they became successful and CEOs of their own company. Or well Prince Harry is royal blood, so you can’t beat that. Or when you see Nichole Kidman you think she is so perfect her DNA is made up of the Golden-Ratio so you can’t doubt her.

That’s the reason why I love watching competition shows as such So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Next Top Model, X-Factor, UK’s Got Talent and the like. I am always amazed at how ordinary people’s lifes can be transformed over night. For example, Paul Potts was a chubby looking mobile phone salesman before he won on the show then performed for the Queen at her party.

For some of us, our jobs just pays the bills. We don’t really enjoy our time spent there, would rather be doing something else and can not wait to get off work. We envy those who loves their jobs. For some of us lucky ones, we may have hobbies that we are passionate about – photography, music, dance, reading, travelling etc. We sometimes wish if only we could make a living out of doing the things we love. But maybe if we do turn our passions into our daily jobs, it would take the love and fun out of it that it just becomes any other regular job. In the past year I have tried to come up with many ways of making a living other than a regular day job, like opening a cafe or maybe running a wedding planning business, even considered running a teaching centre. But each time there are excuses or knock backs or discouraging words that stop me from actioning. However, today I am reminded of what Martin Luther King once said ‘I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.’

Maybe this new turn of the decade will bring about new challenges and positive change that is nothing like anything I have ever dreamt of.

Self pity

December 19, 2010 1 comment

From the bible Acts 20:35 it reads “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” The proverb in Chinese being 施比受更為有福. I never really agreed with this at all, since I always love to be on the receiving end then the giving end in all circumstances.

I have a friend who takes nothing from a father who have wronged her because she believes she shouldn’t take anything that she didn’t rightly earn, I highly respect her for that. Since it is so much easier to take than to give. Whilst some poeple always love to be on the receiving end either in friendship or relationships as it makes them feel self worthy. Well recently I’m discover that maybe it is more blessed to give than to take. I’m a Queen of Self Pity, who love to feel sorry for myself and make others feel sorry for me as often as possible. On many occassions that leads to depressive behaviour such as crying, hiding, losing self image, and letting yourself go. But attempting to help others whilst you are feeling such self pity takes so much attention off yourselves and focuses on the needs of others, which surprisingly actually makes you feel like you are not in such a bad situation after all.

So maybe you should try it next time, when you are about to burst into tears on the train, maybe offer up seat up to someone. Or when you are sitting on the couch with a tub of ice cream, five packets of chips and two bars of chocolate in hand, maybe see if your family needs a hand in doing something. Or when you are looking at all the negatives in your life, try going online and sponsor a child. I haven’t tried this one out and you might end up with 50 sponsored children under your name by the end of three months, but hey this just might work for you.

Abandoned

December 13, 2010 1 comment

Jenny and Michael had only been going out a couple of months and everything was still in the honeymoon period, sweet and lovely. Michael would always plan each of their dates, sometimes he would buy Jenny a rose when they walk past a florist, or he’d sing her a song with his guitar. But soon enough Jenny began to discover some of Michael’s flaws – his possessiveness and temper were among the worst. Jenny believed that being in a relationship is not about changing the other person and you should accept their weaknesses and flaws, afterall no one is perfect. So Jenny attempted to give more patience and understanding to try to tune into Michael’s head and find out what are the triggers that upsets him so much on occassions that he has to lash out at her. But at times Jenny has no idea what put him off or thinks he is just being so unreasonable.
One time they were having an argument on the way to the cinemas, he started walking really fast and she had to pick up her pace to keep up. But once at the street corner he suddenly just took off and she had no idea which way he went. She felt helpless for she didn’t know which direction he had gone in, so she just stood here in tears for what felt like a century but more like 20 minutes. Then finally she saw him walking towards her from her left, and he hugged her so tight and apologised for being so angry and taking off like that. He wiped her tears and she felt that things were going to be OK again.
Unforunately that was just the first of many times it is going to happen, for example when they were walking to catch a train whilst discussing something. As soon as they stepped onto the esculator, Michael ran off with lighting speed. This time Jenny had to run after him because she was afraid he was going to board a train then she would be stranded on the platform not knowing where to go. He hopped onto the next arriving train and didn’t speak a word to her all journey as the train was pretty crowded and she had to make sure when he got off she also got off in time so that he would not leave her behind on the train. She was too embrassed to cry in front of so many people so she held back her tears and tried to be brave without knowing that is going on.
As the relationship went on there were sweetness and pain all mixed into the pot, you never know what you are going to get. He would dictate when they were going to meet next, even though that would only be once or twice a week and she missed him a lot. He seemed to enjoy time on his own so Jenny tried to adjust and didn’t want to become a clingy girlfrield hence trying to do things on her own as well. It is becoming a daily roller coaster ride and she was getting tired of the emotional ups and downs of not knowing if today he would have an outburst or he would treat her like a princess.
But one day she got the final answer. They had been edgy and not speaking much for a few days as they can’t seem to agree on anything, then after work on  Friday Michael asked Jenny to meet him in the park for a chat to sort things out between them. She had hopes that they can sort things out by talk things through and learning from it. When Michael arrived, Jenny was already sitting on a bench in the park waiting for him. They were both calm and starting to talk about the issues they had. But in conclusion to the conversation, Michael stood up and said ‘Think about how you should change, otherwise I can not go on with you anymore’. With that said he left sitting alone on the bench and this time he never came back.