Saturday, 29 March 2014

A to Z, love in California!

Leaving a place that we've been residing for some time swarms me with a sea of mixed emotions. I'm really excited to be heading homeland, but a little upset that we've to abandon a life that seemed so ideal to live by. The less hassles and buzz, the well sparse malls, spectacular nature and terrific weather. They were just too tough to wave goodbye.

Our house is now bare and empty, but our hearts, filled with much joy, happiness and great memories were the best takeaway. A time we will remember for the rest of our lives. 

"Dear Monterey, it had been a good time with you. Our stay had been fabulous, your hospitality warmed us too much, we thought it might be better to stay a little longer. But, we have to go."

Here's my tribute to California, Monterey. My A - Zs of what we will miss in you:

A - Avocados and Artichokes are my say. The man says Abercrombie. Yes, it's way much cheaper getting our favourite brand of fashion here. And avocados are widely and cheaply sold here, great find can be as good as 7 for $1. Artichokes, fried artichokes took my breathe away for a moment. It is a taste that will linger for long in mind.

B - Berries! Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries and Strawberries! Freshly and cheaply sold here. California grown, the best and freshest we could get. So refreshing that I fell in love with these berries gradually. Definitely a great miss for its price!

 photo fc275b78-6bf9-4e51-aa25-ee9ca645a67b_zps3b290ff6.jpg
Our almost daily fruit platter
C - Cars! Having Singapore made its way to the World's most expensive country to live in, we appreciate the cost of living here. Cars are highly affordable, it's a common asset in almost every household. Ownership of more than 1 car here isn't uncommon here. Wave installments goodbye! So affordable that we decided to own a car each, a luxury that we enjoyed briefly here. Farewell mini cooper and Mazda 5! 

D - Disneyland! Need I say more? It is so heart-aching to know that we won't be back for a very long time. A 7 hours drive brings us to the dreamiest and happiest place on earth. It had been a pleasure to be staying near it for some time.

E - Extreme couponing! It's crazy how we shop here. Don't ever go shopping without those coupons. It can be huge savings. On days when I forgot about coupons, I would start grumbling about these merchants, why can't they give the same discount to everyone?! It somehow teaches one to work and source for deals. An effort pays off.

F - Farmers market! So starting to miss them already. A must visit in our weekly routine, or at least, most weeks. The local grown earthy food, unprocessed and non-factory is one of the best markets that ever existed. We have farmers market near us, different locations and different days of the week. On Friday mornings, as much as we could, we would always catch our dose of extremely fresh oysters from our familiar stall, so fresh that Js made it their first taste of raw.

 photo IMG_8169_zpscf55111d.jpg
Yummy osyters
G - Gilroy Outlet! A 45 minutes drive from our place to outlet shops, Which in desperation, I motivated myself to drive this far, just for good shopping buys.

H - Horizon milk. A daily affair Jazz has with this organic white liquid. Simply, it's so much cheaper here!!! How about an organic Milk bath?!!

Happy Hollow - At San Hose! A place of full day fun for kids and grown ups. Because you witness how happy the kids played, you know it makes parents happy too! A child friendly theme park with a mini zoo.

I - Ice cream! Haagen daz, Magnum, Ben and Jerry, they're all way much cheaper here. And yes, our freezer is always well stocked with them, ever ready for occasional cold feast. 

In - out Burger's good too! Fries with freshly pressed potatoes before your eyes! And the burger? Wait till you try it! Yums!

J - Jelly Belly. Not that we're great fans of jellybeans, but ever amazed at the seemingly thousands of flavours they carry in stores. Too colourful to not enter sometimes.

K - Krispy kreme! We get our doughnut dose only when we drive past San Hose, the nearest store to us. Which is about 1.5 hours away. It's usually what we can indulge when the store is on our way. No long lines for it. Ever good.

L - Library. On the non-school days, we make it to the library, almost faithfully every week! Js love books and their captivating storytelling sessions. What's best is, the sky is the limit. Borrow as many books as we want, with a period of 2 weeks grace. Can't make it to return or need extended time, just renew online! Awesome deal, with no battles on which books get to the check-out counter.

M - My museum. A little indoor play area where I bond with Js while the man is at school. Entrance is priced at $2 per person on the first Tuesday of each month. It was always well-worth fun!

N - National Parks! The natural remedy of all woes and aches. The nature here is all to good to be missed.

O - Oysters! It's a breakthrough that the man fell in love with oysters here. He testifies how fresh and cheap they are. The man was an oyster enemy back in Singapore.

P - Parking. It had served us conveniently and affordable with being able to park FOC at most places alongside the road. Even with time limit, it was a good enough time frame. Days without cashcard, parking coupons and ERP are probably some of the easiest days in our lives.

Q - Queues? Hardly see them forming here. Good for us, coming from a fast paced country.

R -Ross Dress for less. A store that sells some variety of good household, dresses and toys brands more cheaply than the regular store. One of my mum and my favourite hang out.

S -Shopping! Both offline and online. Just too good to miss out the deals and good brands here. All you need to remember is, coupons and coupon codes. All the time.

Smiles! Folks here are extremely friendly. You get smiles, greetings and even compliments from stranger. Such little acts really make your day

T -Tommy Hilfiger! If you need to decide between Polo Ralph and Tommy, go for the latter. In my opinion, it's give a more lasting wear after numerous of cycles in the washer and dryer.

U - Universal studio! A 6 hours drive from here. I know we have one in Singapore, but the one in California should not be missed for it's studio tour. Absolutely awesome with deep introduction into the World of movie!

V -Vacation! This was the longest vacation, in our lives ever!

W -Walmart. Compared to target, I love Walmart for its low and competitive prices. Other than Amazon, Walmart is our next source of price check. They carry almost anything you need.

Weather! Cool weather, cools the mind. Surely, a sweat free weather throughout the year made spouses feel better when it comes to home chores.

X -eXcitment! Yes, endless of it. Every corner awaits a discovery.

Y - Yosemite National Park! The gem of California, which is a 4 hours drive from our place. Visiting it at the timely season gave us great experience with snow!

 photo DSC02510_zps4ce156c3.jpg
Spring and water falls
Z - Zumba! This is where I had my first experience with it and it became my rather irregular exercise routine. Oops! It's a fun exercise though.


So gonna miss this place and the people. The friendships fostered made our stay even more exciting and memorable! In due time, we'll all gather back in Singapore! Yay!

Alright! All set and ready for our long flight to our tropical home! And I thought we just got here not too long ago. How did time creep away?!!! Enjoy every moment!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Pretty Poppies

It's been weeks of intensive packing, and in midst of consuming our possessions into boxes, we're glad to have welcomed spring.

Our barren backyard that only bore green grass last spring, flourished with a pleasant surprise. We are now greeted by beautiful California poppies each morning! These poppies unfold an interesting life of theirs.

 photo IMG_8089_zps8dcf7a30.jpg
Beautifully bloomed in the day
 photo IMG_8077_zps8c73e149.jpg
Sleeping poppies as the sun is setting

Their petals unfurl with daylight and close tightly at night. A life pretty much like humans, shut down in the night and opened beautifully when the day brightens. Along the days, I've also realised that daylight is not the only prerequisite for it's opening. The petals remained shut even near late morning, and seem to only unfurl when its surrounding is of a certain temperature. Cloudy days don't get warm enough for it to bloom open. Interesting I find. A sight we don't see in the tropical.

These poppies are so therapeutic to gaze at. A beautiful nature we'll definitely miss after leaving a place that we have called home for 18 months. How could time creep by us just like that?!!! Oh well, there's a due time for everything. These poppies will farewell too, in time to come, when the season crosses.