Fish SOLD

I expected a lot more yelling at an auction, then again I had never been to an auction before, so I suppose my expectations were solely based on movie stereotypes.

I had never been to an auction before, let alone a fish auction.

 It’s funny how you learn secrets to the tricks of the trade when you started getting into the business of a particular trade. When the doors to our café opened, we started learning a lot of tricks of the café trade – namely attending fish auctions to get the freshest seafood at the lowest cost. This was my first time attending a fish market auction. I know what you’re thinking, “A fish auction? What even is that?” Yeah, I know, it sounds wild. Thankfully, it wasn’t all that wild at all – just a little fishy.

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The road trip it took to get there was much longer than the 15 minutes I was assured when my mom talked me into attending the auction the night before. I had no idea what to expect – chaos most likely, a lot of yelling and hollering. I had mentally prepared myself the night before to either, be slapped by a slimy fish or step into a puddle of fishy water (thankfully neither happened). We eventually arrived at our destination as I voiced my intimidation of the anticipated yelling to which my dad responded, “they don’t yell. They whisper.” The man wasn’t joking.

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We walked up to the circle of auctioneers, spectators, loiterers and fishermen just as 15 kilograms’ worth of large shrimp were dumped on the ground. There it was, the heap of gold we drove 35 minutes into a rural fishing village for. The crowd started murmuring and I could begin to distinguish the ‘regular’ auctioneers from the ordinary crowd. The lanky fisherman was tugged at the arm by a man and a deal was whispered in his ear. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was as if stepping on the auction grounds instantaneously came with the adoption of a new culture – a culture I had never witnessed before. Watching the scene unfold was entertaining and intimidating and marvellous, all at the same time.

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I guess the slight intimidation was mutually felt by my mom too, but mixed in with exuberance, she looked over to my dad for confirmation of the shrimps’ high quality and freshness and dove into the crowd. She was headed straight for the fisherman. She quickly named her price and a second passed while he considered the offer. He nodded and my mom flashed a cheeky, triumphant grin. Cash was traded and Dad carted off our winnings. It all happened so fast. I watched from the sidelines, for the next 30 minutes, as their confidence grew alongside our bucket of fresh seafood. Most of the seafood was carted off to the café’s kitchen, but I managed to snag a crab and a handful of shrimp for myself. Oh, happy days!

Change

A bend in the road, a falling of leaves, the change of scenery. Some dread the evolution that change brings while others thrive on new experiences. Change is something we all have to endure at some point or another.

It’s simply inevitable.

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I often reflect on theories I studied in Psychology for scientific reasoning and evidence as to why certain things happen the way they do. As much as I despise Physics, I must admit, Science is often the only way to objectively visualize life. Being someone who always needs an answer to “why things are the way they are”, it’s also nice to have some sort of ‘logical’ explanation for inexplainable things that often cause me distress. It’s nice to (think I) have the answers for everything.

But what if the answer doesn’t exist? Sure, emotional states and stress can be ‘scientifically’ and ‘logically’ reasoned for, but does it really answer why things happened the way they did?

Change is stressful, regardless of the ‘change’ endured. One second your life is one way, but all of a sudden it isn’t. It is different. Foreign. New. Scary. Yet, exciting at the same time. My father once told me he didn’t believe in ‘stress’. “There is no such thing as ‘stress’, because once you admit to yourself that something is ‘stressful’, you give up. Nothing is stressful. It’s just a motivator for you to be better than you were before.” It’s a beautiful mantra easily forgotten in the face of adversity.

Over the course of seven weeks I have moved across the globe, started a new life, immersed myself in culture, met incredible (and not so incredible) people, been beat down by the hazing of a fraternity, survived on a lack of sleep, been severely homesick, endured an uninvited loneliness, persisted through midterms, joined clubs, explored my passions, loved, hated and learned a lot about myself. Yes, change brings the inevitability of stress and anxiety, but it pushes you to explore something new. So try to embrace it, and remember, Science can’t explain everything, so why not just leave some things up to Fate?

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The ORIGINAL Pancake Kitchen

Summer of 2010 was the first time I had stepped foot into the Pancake Kitchen. It’s crazy to think that almost five years have past and it is still a memory that I hold close to my heart.

My father moved to Melbourne as a seventeen-year-old, in search of independence and his own sense of self – like father, like daughter – a year later, he moved to Adelaide where he resided for the next three years of his adult life. Being a reserved man, my father never talked much about his life in Australia, or maybe there just wasn’t much to talk about. But as my family and I sat around a small table in a corner of The Pancake Kitchen, worn furniture and antique mirrors featuring caricatured images surrounding us, he told the story of the many times he had frequented The Pancake Kitchen as an eighteen-year-old boy. Having worked part-time as a waiter and ‘dish washer’ in a restaurant in Chinatown while studying, that young eighteen-year-old boy didn’t have much for lavish meals and only ever ordered a Short Stack with maple syrup.

‘That was all I could afford.’

This time we ordered the Canadian Feast, Russian Blintz, and a Marshmallow Cocoa – a feast fit for a king.

I love telling people that story, most of all I love visiting The Kitchen to relive that memory. This year, I visited The Pancake Kitchen three times during my short six day stay in Adelaide. The first visit was called for the Canadian Feast as a savoury (and unfailing) introduction to the Pancake Kitchen for my compadre and the ‘IT’ – a combination of the Jamaican Banana and Hot Buttered Walnuts – for myself because I was ‘having trouble making up my mind’ and decided to give into the menu’s convictions. The second visit to The Kitchen called for their newly added special: Red Velvet. And finally the third and final hoorah called for Virginian Pancakes, one cheesy grilled pancake and one ham grilled pancake. Yes, the ham pieces were mixed inside the pancake! Yum.

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Never failing to impress or serve as a venue for a memorable meal, The Pancake Kitchen will always hold a place in my pancake-lovin’ heart. Did I mention they make the fluffiest pancakes in the world? Visit them.

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The Pancake Kitchen is open 24 hours every day at 13 Gilbert Pl, Adelaide SA 5000

RADelaide

‘I’ve got big dreams in a small city’ – Mac Miller

I hate change and I dread the anxiety that accompanies moving to a different country. I am a creature of habitat, but I think I’ve always had an inhibition to travel and explore. Or maybe it’s my denial of how having found The Place where I can feel like I belong.

My home, my culture and my ancestry don’t always coincide. It takes a while to explain to people, but those who know me know what I mean. Although wandering through life with a mixture of foreign exposures and an abundance of memories from travels around the globe may sound exotic and fulfilling, not being able to place your traditional and spiritual identity can sometimes make you feel very lost.

In a similar sense, I felt my views were outcasted and it felt difficult to relate to many when I lived in Adelaide. This was mostly due to the fact that I was always trying to get out while most had ambitions to stay. In a way, I appreciate the Adelaidians’ unquestionable love for their hometown, it’s very commendable. But despite the love I have for my own little hometown, I still long to explore. Seven months ago, I left Adelaide (covertly happy), not knowing when I would return. On June 27th, 2015 I said my second goodbye to Adelaide – this time (not so happy) reminiscing of the past few days when I was lucky enough to visit my friends, once again not knowing when I would return.

This time I was a tourist – a knowledgeable visitor with first hand knowledge of the city’s hidden gems. After three years, I learnt that T-Chow is still the best dim-sum restaurant in town, that an old favorite, authentic Malaysian restaurant, Nan Yang, still makes the best Hainan Chicken Rice in the world, and that the original Pancake Kitchen in a small alley on Hindley Street will always be home to the most fluffy buttermilk pancakes – ever.

I realized I had rediscovered my love for the city while strolling down Gouger Street one day, after indulging on St. Louis’ fine ice creams, eagerly pointing out the spots I used to frequent to my boyfriend. I narrated stories about the wonders of the Central Market and Adelaide’s Popup Bookstore to his patiently listening ear. And that was when I realized, there no way one could possibly resent a city that housed so many of their happy memories.

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It’s great to travel and explore and seek out your ‘big dreams’, but sometimes it’s also nice to return to the small city you once called home.

What’s In My Travel Bag

It’s that time of year again – the one where high school students and uni kids, alike, roll out of bed knowing full well they have no academic obligations to tend to. Yes, kids, ‘it’s summer time’ now rightfully applies when someone asks you ‘what time is it?’ Despite having lived in Australia for four years, I still have a natural tendency to refer to the June-July months as summer and the November-December months as winter. And yes, this has caused slight confusion during conversations over the past four years. Summer or winter, regardless, semester-break is ensuing, planes are filling, and plans for ‘productivity’ are developing. With all that being said, I thought it would be perfect timing to evaluate the contents of my travel/carry-on (hand)bag.

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As we had established in my previous ‘What’s In My Bag’, I’m not the best at packing light. But make no mistake, overpacking does not/no longer applies to my travel baggages. Having travelled from a young age, I have had one too many unpleasant ‘misunderstandings’ at airport ticket counters where my baggage has been overweight. Whether at the fault of my own or at the fault of the airline’s computer system – I have experienced both, and can successfully conclude that no one is better than the other – I have begun to develop a fear of overpacking my luggages. On the similar wavelength, I like to keep my carry-on as ‘free’ as possible to allow for any excess luggage weight to be transferred over. With that being said, there are still some things I keep with me at all times, whether it be for comfort, relaxation or practicality.

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Being the foodie that I am, I also like carrying my planner with me throughout the day for gentle reminders of dinner reservations and foreign dessert bars to try. Comment below if you spot something that’s similar in your travel bag!

The City Is My Oyster

I’ve always thought that there’s something captivating about roaming through the streets of a bustling city alone at night. With no particular purpose or destination, yet not aimlessly either, I get a swelling sense of content from watching the people around me move and moving with them. In big cities, night’s don’t always feel uncomfortable or sinister, especially from an onlooker’s perspective under the warmth and light of the streetlights, shop lights, billboard lights, car lights, bar lights… All of the lights. Maybe it’s the naïve child in me who simply enjoys the physical comfort of being around people. At the risk of sounding like an angsty, misunderstood Holden Caulfield, there is a meditative tranquility about being still in a busy place.

With three of four finals out of the way I thought I would take some time to reflect on the beauty of the city. Having been caged inside confined walls of concrete study rooms for nine to ten hours at a time for a straight week with pages of notes, flash cards and sympathy cookies baked by a friend’s brother who’s exams were long over, it’s easy to forget there’s a world outside of walls. I often catch myself reminiscing about memories of Hong Kong and New York – cities where the crowds are bigger and the lights are brighter, where the city feels alive and electric.

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I fell in love with New York City in the fall of 2011, my first visit. The intricacy of the gridded roads, grandeur of luxury flagship stores on 5th avenue, mass lands for parks and buildings where colonialism met modernism – it all seemed otherworldly. I knew instantly it was the city I would, one day, love to call home. With a rough estimate on the whereabouts of Up/Mid/Downtown were, I was dead set on familiarizing myself with street names: play the part of the local New Yorker (although daily rides on GrayLine double decker buses probably gave my tourist status away).

Standing in the middle of Times Square, where the lights give off a false impression of day, it was hard to imagine living in a city so beautiful. Is there a point when locals become immune to its beauty? I don’t think New York’s novelty could every wear off for me. I guess, one day, we’ll see.

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