Thursday, December 4, 2008

Father's heart

I just remembered something from Sunday's service. So most the kids in our church are really young-like toddlers, and during worship they usually roam freely amongst the adults, or stay with their parents, and they're suuuuuuuper cute, so you can't help but look.

Anyway this particular Sunday, one of the girls started to tear up a bit, and her mom just swooped her up in her arms and although she still had tears in her eyes, you could tell that she wasn't anxious anymore and felt secure in her mother's arms. That's when I realized that in the same way, God never wants to see us hurt or scared and He only wants the best for us.

I mean yeah, of course I knew that before, but my thoughts and actions didn't reflect that truth. There's been so many times where I've taken over the wheel and tried hurrying things along, because nothing seemed to be happening and I was getting anxious.. when I really just needed to sit back and let Him work things out in His perfect way and timing.

Like this job thing. It's driving me nuts, because I know He wants me to stay here, but I haven't the slightest idea of when/what/where/how....and I want to know so badly so I can plan things out, but I can't, because I don't know! I really admire people with great faith-it definitely takes a LOT to believe in the unseen.

Monday, November 24, 2008

a sign from God

that is one of the signs you'll see a lot in Vancouver, especially along the beaches and around Stanley Park, indicating a bicycle route. and now i have one sitting in my living room!

there's been a lotta crazy stuff happening lately.. and after much struggling, going back and forth from being fully confident that God will provide a job for me to being overwhelmed by the nature of the music therapy field, i finally made the decision yesterday to lay down my roots here and let go of everything and just trust Him.

so tonight, my friend Lina called me out because she couldn't eat @home. we went to dinner around Kits and then took a walk afterwards around the beach. after walking for a bit, i noticed a sign on the ground, leaning against the pole, and then Lina told me we could pick it up after we finished walking. i kept thinking about it as we walked, slightly worried that someone else might pick it up before we did, since there were some people walking their dogs etc. anyway, Lina proceeded to tell me that God already has a job for me, and it is confirmed, because as she prayed for it, God was asking her why she was still praying for it because it's already been done! she didn't tell me until tonight, because of some personal issues, but it was totally God's timing, because i might not have been able to receive that as openly if i were to have heard it before while i was still struggling. she also said that when i was telling her about my anxiety around my job situation, she felt that it wasn't even an obstacle i had to jump over, but i just had to step over it!hahahah.. it definitely didn't seem like that to me, but i believe that's the last of it, and now i just need to face my parents.

after walking for about 15-20mins, we went back to her car and then picked up the sign BAHAHAHAHAH! it was definitely a sign from God, because why would there be a sign just sitting on the ground..and it was by the beach too, my absolute favourite place to be in the city, and partly why i fell in love with Vancouver...and now i actually own a part of it! haahahah. i think it's pretty significant, because i don't have anything i own here.. unless you count my bed and clothes? but wow God is just so ridiculously crazy, it was like He just gave it to me-easy as pie, and all i needed to do was take it! and now i really believe that anything is possible.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

love, love, love

He has been pouring it over me ever since i came here...but i have never experienced it so tangibly and intensely before, and i'm only starting to realize it. i mean, i knew He loved me before, but THIS MUCH?! now it's just getting ridiculous.

this past year has been like a fast-forwarded chapter in my life.. i found a church community i love in just a little over a month (while it's taken a year for others), tried out whatever i could to put myself in the shoes of a vancouverite in the last 9 months of my internship only to discover how much i love the city, and established friendships almost as close as the ones i made in 4 years.

but God has been upping the ante during these past few weeks and it's undeniable. 2 weeks ago when i was feeling kinda lonely, one of my friends texted me, saying that God told her to tell me that He loves me, because she got a sense of loneliness and He wanted me to know that He's next to me right now so i don't have to feel it anymore. that just completely blew my mind, because i don't think God's spoken to me like that so tangibly before, and i didn't even talk to her the whole day (we work together)!

that was kind of a wake-up call (literally haha) for me, because loneliness has always been of my bigger struggles, and i guess it never completely goes away, cuz i still feel lonely and i just try to ignore it by distracting myself with other things ie. tv/movies/shopping/going i halfheartedly mentioned that maybe i should do a tv show fast, and 2 of my girlfriends were planning to fast too, so we started on november 3rd, and the end will be indefinite. but God is good, because He provided the accountability for me even before i had thought of it.

another funny thing is that the day before, two women prayed for me after church, because a month ago, one of them really felt that she needed to pray for my job search, but a major part of their prayers were about God's love for me-His BIG, larger than life, unconditional love. she also said that she's never prayed for someone and felt so much love for them that her heart just broke. at the time though, i didn't get why they kept telling me that God loves me over and over again cuz i knew that already, but i guess i didn't..

this past weekend i went to the church retreat, and He just poured out His love on me. the first night i was kind of distracted for some reason, so i wasn't fully 'there'. i told one of the girls there, and then she prayed for me-and did she EVER. what i thought would be a short prayer turned into a full-out Spirit-led prayer that just broke me down. everything she prayed about in my life was SO accurate and covered basically everything i'm going through right now and more. like how things always change and so i try to control whatever i can, and it's become my friend..but God wants me to just let go. and the thought of letting go just terrifies me, because i'll feel like i'll have nothing left, but that's what He wants me to do-to be emptied and broken for Him. and how i always like to know what's coming up, and i worry about how i'm going to get from point A to B, but He's telling me to let Him worry about it, and He just wants me to lay it all down. this season is a time for me and Him, and He's asking if i'll just let Him pursue me, because i'm worth it.

that's only half of what she prayed, but i barely even know her and the Holy Spirit used her to bring things to the surface and open my eyes.

pretty ridiculous right? that's God for you!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

some kind of incredible...

the story of how i fell in love with the west coast... it's been 1 year, 1 month, and 7 days. an incredible year to say the least. so much has happened and changed. guess that's life.

when i heard about people moving away or friends leaving as i grew up, i always thought to myself that i'd never be one of those people; i could never move from Toronto and leave all my friends! but now that i've tasted and seen the west coast, i've slowly changed my mind.

i was really homesick recently, when i heard about things that were happening back home, and as much as i longed to be home, i had no means to do it, since home wasn't just an hour and half drive away anymore like when i lived in Waterloo. i hadn't been this homesick for a really long time-usually it's just a moment here and there triggered by reminders of home, but this time i even thought about moving back. as much as i miss my family and friends in Toronto, it was hard to imagine myself being back; i couldn't really see where i 'fit in' anymore. which further confirms my decision to stay here (as long as i find a job) because moving back didn't appeal to me, even when i felt extremely homesick.

this past year has been full of new experiences, adventures, challenges, learning, and growth, but overall, it has been a journey of discovering God in fresh and new ways, and a renewal of my relationship with Him. as my friend observed, God has been capturing my heart here in Vancouver. i have never felt so consistently loved by Him alone, and He has awakened my heart and my mind to understand old and new truths about His character. going to New Joy was the beginning of it eyes have been opened to how BIG He really is, and how powerfully the Holy Spirit can move in our lives.

so although my parents have given me only until December to find a music therapy job, i have faith that God will provide, because i don't think my time is up here yet, which has also been affirmed by others. it's gonna take a lot to tear me away from the mountains and ocean here!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

plan to be surprised.

4 years ago, i posted this picture up, and wondered where in the WORLD would i find cherry blossom trees? i thought they only existed in japan, so i'd probably never see them since they only bloom for a few months each year. i was completely ecstatic when i found out that they also existed in vancouver earlier this year. just goes to show that God cares about even the smallest details in my life, in addition to the big things...

when i first arrived here in Vancouver, people told me that i wouldn't want to leave this place by the time i finished my internship, but i didn't believe them. actually, friends back home said that too.. but i was so sure i'd be returning to Toronto after a year, because i was leaving my family and all my closest friends behind-basically all the people i love and care about. i didn't think it'd be possible to live over 4,000km away from them for a year, much less over a year. i felt like a big part of me was missing without my friends-that i wasn't fully "me" without them. it was strange, meeting all these new people who knew nothing about me or my past-i felt a little lost, since everyone was connected in some way back in Toronto.

the first few months were the most difficult, but expected since i needed time to re-adjust to a new environment and people. when i came back to Vancouver after going home for Christmas, i was ready to fully experience life here, and i made a conscious decision to make the most of my time here by trying out all the city had to offer. and boy did God show me! He turned my heart around and blessed me with girlfriends and an amazing church community, who opened my eyes to see more of God...which were, looking back now, what i needed the most.

but God doesn't just give the minimum-He pours out His love in abundance! after going to the beaches here, i was completely hooked. summer didn't begin until july, but once it arrived, it has been sunny everyday except for maybe one or two rainy days at most! a record for the rainy city. but i've been able to go to the beach almost every weekend at least once-i just can't get enough of the ocean and the mountains.

it's as if life propelled forward since i came back after Christmas, and God turned it all around so quickly. now i don't want to leave-i'm having way too much fun here. guess you'll just never know what will happen when you walk forward in obedience. i came so that i'd be more independent and grow and discover more about who i am... i'm comfortable with doing things on my own now, actually even prefer it sometimes, which is surprising to me, since i love being with others. God has really blessed me here, and i don't want to leave anytime soon. His plans are so much bigger than my plans-who am i to fight that?

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, June 2, 2008


i think that just about summarizes the last two months.. with my sister visiting in late april and vicki for the last 2 weeks.. it's been non-stop fun. i haven't really had time to just sit and reflect. i can't seem to catch up with how fast time is going.

besides having visitors, there's been a lot of things going on at church too.. there's been numerous healings (uneven legs becoming even, lactose intolerant people can drink milk now, bodily pains disappearing..) and it seems to be moving forward quickly.. when the pastor started praying for healing at church, and stuff began happening, i was really really taken aback, and skeptical and o_O since i've never known anything like that before.

but after today, i don't want to be afraid anymore. i don't want to be scared to experience all of who He is and i just want to see Him and act through the Spirit's power in me. i was praying for Him to fill me up, so that others may experience His power/presence through me.. and when the pastor's wife, sonya, prayed for me, and she said that God has already given me the power and the authority-i just need to claim it and be obedient to whatever He calls me to do.

interestingly enough, a few weeks ago, the pastor came to our cg to 'de-mystify' the recent happenings in our church, and to answer any q's we might have.. afterwards he prayed for each of us, and when he prayed for me, he said something about me being a woman of authority, and that i'll speak of things w/weight and authority. when i heard that i was kind of having authority?! LOL.. i'm probably the last person to be that.. but in sonya's prayer today, she said that God uses anyone...soo who knows. i just need to do my part and let Him work through me. nothing to lose, but everything to gain.

it was just so good to pray and sit in His presence today. i felt so peaceful.. for a change, since i'm usually rushing around to one thing or another. i really can't believe it's june already. only a few more months until i'm done my internship i HOPE! and then maybe some travelling......i can't wait to see what He's got in store for me in the coming months :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

pieces of home

in the last few days i've been able to talk to people back home, moreso than usual. yesterday, i got a call from an old friend from waterloo, during his stopover in Vancouver, and i discovered that an old hs friend is currently in, i was on the phone with one of my best girlfriends from hs, who's coming to visit in May!!!!!, so i'm trying to plan a road trip to Banff (along with white water rafting hopefully!) and another friend who may be visiting in July too..such exciting things to look forward to:)

speaking of which, i've been doing some recording once a week for the past month with my newly adopted irish uncle Alastair, doing some covers and songs he's written. i could listen to him play guitar all day..can't wait until we have one completed song. despite the 34-year age gap, we clicked instantly-maybe because of his sarcastic humour, or maybe because of his youthfulness at heart. he also has the two cutest dogs who compete for your attention, and a stylish wife (lululemon sweatpants and black uggs!), Glenda, whom i've also adopted as my aunt, as we share the same love for food, especially dim sum and seafood:) although i've only started getting to know them better, they feel like family to me already.

for more pictures of what i've been up to lately, click here:

Sunday, March 30, 2008


march has been an incredibly fun and busy month, with Nancy visiting for 1.5 weeks, dinners, recording sessions, work, etc... i'm only home for maybe one night, or two nights per week at most, so i've been keeping pretty busy...and this month just flew by.

i really feel that God is calling me to stay here in Vancouver. He has blessed me beyond what i could ever imagine, and i've experienced Him in ways i never even thought of. going to New Joy has been an eye-opening experience for me, and it is home for me, even though i do not know 75% of the church, but God speaks to me there, each and every sunday. there is no denying of His power or presence-He is moving. i cannot even count the number of times i've broken down and cried during service because of what He convicted me of, in the deepest and inner parts of me, and spoke into my life. it is incredibly bone-chilling and i am left shaking in awe and wonder.

today was just like that. the sermon was on God's authority vs. the authorities we submit to here on earth...and keeping our eyes focused on the prize ahead, and forgetting everything... carrying the cross daily. i've been trying to shop less,
and not give into the consumerism, but i fail every time. it's near impossible, living across the mall and working there too. i don't think i've gone 2 weeks without buying at least one thing, big or small. and yesterday was probably the worst failure. i bought a used DSLR for $600 on Tuesday, and i resolved to not shop for a month, since it was such a big purchase. but what happened? i spent $100 when i went to seattle with my friends. it was a planned road trip since january, so i couldn't back out. but i felt so guilty and ashamed and disappointed in myself afterwards.

i just want it to stop, but i do not have the power to do it myself, as seen in my numerous failures. so all i can do is surrender it to God, who has ALL the power, over all the other authorities in this world. although it probably wouldn't hurt to take my credit card out of my wallet too.

i think my only regret about living here is that i don't have a spiritual mentor. someone i can talk to about my walk and hold me accountable and provide spiritual guidance and support.

sometimes i think that maybe i'm meant to go at it alone, without a partner or companion, as much as i hope and desire for one, and it'll just be me and God.

whatever the future holds, i'm open to it, for it's all in His mighty hands.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

so many questions

but no answers.

how am i going to find a job here? what if i don't finish my internship by the end of August? what will happen to my car if i don't find a job by August? what if i have to stay longer? will i be able to find a good roommate? will i be able to support myself? will i be able to maintain a balanced diet without my parents? will my retail therapy ever stop? am i going to be independent enough to handle living here on my own?

i don't know! time is passing by too quickly-it'll be April in less than 2 weeks...o_O

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

the best snowboarding trip EVER

if only i had went earlier...but i can now say i have been snowboarding @Whistler!:)

if it wasn't for Nancy's visit, i might not have made it up there this winter. it was my first time boarding in BC, so it was quite the treat to say the least. i was planning to drive, but i got worried since my tires were pretty worn out and i didn't want them to turn our car around halfway there... so we took the greyhound after church on sunday, and it was a 2.5 hr drive up the mountain. the roads turned out to be clear, besides the construction, but i was so glad i didn't drive, because i was exhausted after boarding, and i had to leave right after to get back in time for work @5pm.

anyway, we booked our hotel online on friday, and the cheapest one turned out to be the Westin,a 5-star hotel, for $205/night inclusive. it was amaaazing. it was right next to the lifts, and they have ski valet, since they don't allow any skis/boards in the rooms.

here's some pics of the room:

oh, and they had a whole PAGE of things you could request for your room... like contact solution (travel size opti-free!) and shaving cream. we made 3 separate requests within 12 hours.. hahahahah. we're so chinese.

after we settled in, we went to catch the Fire & Ice show by the lifts. it was so awesome, and the energy and crowd was great. i felt like i was in a completely different country, it was exhilarating. we watched the snowboarders and skiiers warm-up and basically they jumped through a huge ring of fire while doing backflips etc. pretty nuts.

after the show ended, we did some grocery shopping and went back to the hotel and went to check out their fitness center, the avello spa & health club, which was super nice.. the work-out machines were facing the windows facing the mountains, and they had an outdoor pool (STILL open for winter!) which led to a smaller pool indoors. there was also a hot tub outside, so we stayed there for a bit before it closed at 10pm. pretty stinking awesome. they also had a eucalyptus steam room, but we discovered it too late :(

it was a very relaxing night at the hotel, we made gong jai meen for dinner, and blueberry pie for dessert. because there's no night boarding @Whistler, we had to go early the next morning.

we woke up @7am and after getting our gear and packing up, and i FINALLY had the vanilla bean latte i'd been craving forever (since there's only 3 Second Cups in Vancouver), we were on our way up the gondola before 9am. the gondola ride was around 15 minutes. it was rainy at the bottom, so it was snowy as we went up the lifts. we were pretty soaked by the end but it was worth it. we went down 3 or 4 runs, which took us about 20-30 minutes each. there wasn't enough time to go on all the runs, but my last run was the most brutal, because it was windy and narrow, with the mountain on one side, and a kind of cliff on the other. that one probably took us around an hour to get down.

too bad i had to leave right after lunch to rush to work that night, but it was the most glorious snowboarding experience i've ever had! boarding on a huge mountain, with a view of mountains, it was beautiful even though it was rainy/snowy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

halfway point

time really flies. i've been here for 6 months already -that's half a year! i don't even know what i did, besides working 6 days/week, shopping, and eating sushi. i really need to make better use of my time.

i just received 4 calling cards from my parents, and oh it's been SO good. i got to talk to efu twice this week already!:) she helped me put things into perspective...and at this point, things could go either way. even if i were to return home, things wouldn't be the way they were before, and i would still have to find a new community, etc.

so here i am, 6 months later, open to the possibility of staying here, and uncertain about returning home.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

6 weeks and 4 days

that's how long i lasted before i got homesick-it's practically a record.

i don't know what it was..maybe spending time with my relatives on friday, maybe realizing that my best friends are at least a 4.5hr plane ride away. despite having an incredibly fun week and going out almost every night, it finally hit me, especially with the cards/packages in the mail and texts on my birthday.

don't get me wrong, i had fun on my birthday and my friends were incredibly sweet and spoiled was just missing my family-friends i got to know over the last 4 years who became closer than my actual family. they taught me how to love like Christ, encouraged and supported me endlessly, and spurred me on in my walk with Him by being brutally honest with me.

they made it extremely difficult for me to leave and make new friends over here. even with all the communication technology that makes it easy to keep in touch, nothing can ever replace being with them in person.

God has blessed me with awesome (and very interesting) new friends here, so i'm slowly warming up to them and i try to focus on all the amazing things He's blessed me with here...

it's just that sometimes i can't help but wish they were here to experience BC with me too.

Friday, February 22, 2008

one random monday

as promised, Min took me out around Vancouver this past monday, along with her high school friend, Ting, and her friend, Mike, visiting from San Fran.

we went to Memphis Blues for lunch, and it was pretty good for what it was, but i'm not a huge fan of the southern-style food (re: bbq/deep fried).

then we went snowshoeing on Cypress-my first time on the mountain in the winter!:D
my snowshoes!

lumberjack dude:

climbing up a 90 degree hill

the view was amazing. those are the clouds and the ocean.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

10 degrees celsius

that is today's high. yesterday it was 7 degrees, and it felt like spring was just around the corner, with sunshine and clear blue skies! in the middle of WINTER! i can hardly believe it myself. i'm so excited for spring and summer, cause it's going to be gorgeous here. and cherry blossoms in march!

but i haven't gone snowboarding here yet. i know it's crazy, but it requires time and $$, both of which i don't have much of.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

my first dinner party

since my roommie went back to china for a few weeks, i decided to invite some friends over for dinner, as a way of thanking them for helping me integrate into churchlife here. they're the closest friends i have here.

it's been a weird experience having to make new friends everywhere-at the internship, work, and church, but it's turned out pretty well, in spite of my shyness.
so let me introduce you to the people who made BC feel like home for me..

Ji-Hae: older sister of Min-Hye, i first met her at our community group. she had just returned to Vancouver after 2 years of doing her master's @Columbia, so she was sort of 'new' and re-integrating, finding her way in BC again..sort of like me, so i didn't feel totally alone in making new friends.:P too bad she might be leaving again soon, to do her PhD somewhere in the states. such a smart girl. she also has a permanent smile on her face so it's very easy to talk to her. but she is not a fan of the camera...
Marie: we first met during a girls' dinner that lasted for 4 hours. and then she asked if i wanted to be a hair model for her friend's interview. she has a big family, i just remember she has 4 sisters. and a brother? her parents are atypical asian parents, which may account for her weirdness. she's invited me to her house twice, and there's always something going on:) she always has something to say/can't stop talking hahah but she's also very sai sum. she's
always ready to jump into something new/crazy.

Min-Hye: also met her at CG, she was one of the few girls there. she was very polite, and after getting to know her better, she talks about the most random things and thinks creatively. she loves cats, and wants to be a vet. i've met a lot of other people through her because she's super friendly and sociable. my first girlfriend in BC lol. i stuck to her like glue at first, so much so that people thought she was the one who brought me to New Joy, when it was actually someone else.

Wilson: the one who brought me to CG first and then New Joy. he was a random contact of Alex's, originally from TO, and we first met in the upper parking lot @Richmond Center to go to dinner before CG. it was surprisingly not awkward, but more like i was catching up with an old friend. he even paid for dinner, which was completely unexpected since we were still strangers, but he told me that other people did that for him when he first came here, so he wanted to do the same. he has wisdom beyond his years.
can't forget about the foood:
smoked salmon on romaine lettuce
stuffed potatoes (green onion + real bacon)
beef short ribs and bacon-wrapped scallops (in the middle-they weren't as pretty as the other dishes)
and meringue cookies for dessert
and as always, i had much help from chef steve in preparing this delicious meal, thanks!:P

Monday, February 4, 2008


i love them. for all that they can capture-whether it be planned or spontaneous-they immortalize a moment in time and take you back every time you look at them. you remember the time, the place, the atmosphere, the emotions surrounding that moment, and you can practically re-live that experience again.

after looking through a friend's recently updated pictures and video clips from last year, it really made my heart ache for all the things that were a part of my life in the last four years. not to say that i've lost friends-God gave me friendships that will last through eternity- but some were meant to exist only within that context.

i miss that life i had in waterloo. lccf, the spontaneity and freedom, the many firsts. through serving God and studying together, i learned how to share my life deeply with people other than my family.

however much i miss those times in university, i know that they cannot be replicated no matter how much i wish for it. the dynamics and connections have changed since, and though we can try, they can never return to their original state.

that's probably why i cherish photos so much-because pictures stay the same, regardless of time and changing circumstances. but i think i've come to accept the way things are now, which likely played a major part in dismantling my homesickness. even after being home for 2.5 weeks, i didn't get homesick (as i expected) when i returned to the west coast. for those who've known me since first year, that's a huge deal.

it's strange to watch those videos's a taste of home, and yet it's not anymore-it just resides in the back of our minds now, but i'll always remember.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

work = fun? o_O

i had to pick up a part time job here while doing my internship at the same time, since i don't get paid otherwise, so i've been working at a clothing store in the mall for the past 4 months where i made some new friends. that definitely made things a lot more .... interesting. from making nina try on the ugliest clothes in the store to me going on food runs during my 4.5hr shift...makes working fun. too bad stupid karen had to quit :(

good thing i just happened to have my camera with me tonight..this is some of the idiocy that occurs after the store closes:

i wasn't allowed to post on fb.

Monday, January 28, 2008


where is home for me? right now, it is still Toronto, where my family and closest friends are. but when i'm content and well-fed, i don't mind entertaining the thought of staying in BC after i finish my internship. but what happens when i run into difficulties? at this point, i can't say that there's someone here i'd call for my emotional distress like i have in TO, so there's been more of that between God and i...

maybe it all just comes down to fear. the fear of getting involved with people here (makes it harder to leave), fear of letting others in and trusting them with the things on my heart, fear of loving the west coast.....because it will lead to uncertainty if i decide to stay, and i can't deal with that.

not knowing if i'll be able to find a job and support myself, a reasonably priced place to live, or even have a car here....scares the heck out of me. and i think that's the main reason i want to go back to TO after my internship ends-so i don't have to worry about all those uncertainties since everything's taken care of already, and not (entirely) because driving sucks and it's too expensive to live here.

but first, i need to truly immerse myself and give this city a fair chance before i can legitimately reject it.

dim sum

there's quite a few places to have good dim sum in Richmond, although they are two times the prices in TO, but i find that they are a bit more creative in the way they make it.

my favourite place: Sea Harbour Restaurant ("hoi gong") @3711 No. 3 Rd.

Sun Sui Wah (102-4920 No. 3 Rd) and Top Gun (Unit 2020, 8766 Mckim Way; order before 11am and you get 30% off) are good too, but nobody can make lau sah baos as good as SH. actually, TG doesn't even make them. lau sah bao=buns with runny egg yolk filling. best. bao. EVER.

they seriously make the best baos. there's the hoi gong dai yut bao: similar to cha siu chan bao, but with other ingredients like green onion etc, gwai fay bao: also similar to cha siu chan bao, but with the 'mexico' bun topping, and bor loh bao: LITERALLY, with pineapple chunk filling, it actually tastes like what it's called! that's them below:

today i went to a place with my relatives called Shun Feng ("smooth sailing") @Parker Place (4311 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond), and ate a lot. the following are some of what we ordered:

i forget what they called it exactly, something about 'snow', but they're basically gwai fay bao:

the inside:
no idea what these were called, but there's a scallop on top..
with taro and portugese sauce underneath. very interesting and good to eat!
bune tong gao? with shark fin. this tiny little bowl cost ~$15?
loh bak goh (turnip cake): really fried, with some wasabi on top. it was pretty soft inside.
lau sah bao!
unfortunately it wasn't runny :( so it was more like a lai wong bao, but the outside was very crispy so the topping didn't break off as easily as mexico bun toppings do.
this was supposed to have foie gras in it, but my relatives said there wasn't even the slightest trace of it :T i've never had it before, so can't judge, but it was like siu mai, wrapped in pastry form.
can't remember what this was called either, but it's fried sweet potato drizzled with some honey and peanuts. it wasn't very sweet at all, and the texture was like leen goh. pretty good.

i need to go to Sea Harbour again and remember to take a pic of their lau sah bao.

Monday, January 21, 2008

natural beauty

the thing i love the most about Vancouver are the mountains. my favourite drive is going to church every week on Willingdon because i'm driving towards them, and the view is just stunning. you don't have to drive very far to catch a glimpse-just head north. there's really not much else to say, you just have to see for yourself.

the following were taken from my apartment on 9/18/07, 1/15/08, 1/20/08:

abundance: overflowing fullness

after talking to my mom on the way home from dinner with my relatives, i was reminded again tonight (for maybe the millionth time) of how incredibly lucky i am to be here in Vancouver, enjoying all the good food and meeting great people and just living it up.

i have a nice apartment with a gorgeous view of the mountains (when it's not cloudy/rainy), and the mall across the street (which i love and hate), i have a car so i can go anywhere whenever i want, i have a roommate so i can actually support myself (and then some) with my part-time job, i have relatives who invite me over for dinner at least once a week (plus a chef i can question endlessly for all my cooking crises), i have a church i can call my home church, i have friends i love spending time with...i'm totally ready to go.

God has blessed me richly ever since i arrived over 4 months ago, and He has provided for me time and time again even if i was undeserving of it. but that is the beauty about Him-He cannot stop loving even when i have stopped. that is just His character and there's nothing i can do to ever change that.

even at my internship, He's blessed me with a caring supervisor and supportive colleagues, and residents who make my heart smile. not to mention my talented guitarist-songwriter friend whose music = chocolate for my ears.

i can keep on going about the many "little" things that are 'unnecessary' that He's given to me, but the list is never-ending.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


my favourite hobby, besides shopping, is eating. i loooooooove food, so i've tried out some restaurants here and there, some i've been to more than once (obviously the good ones) but sushi/japanese food is the best thing Vancouver's got going on.

there's a ton of jap places, but not all of them are great. i've been to all-you-can-eat restaurants mostly, and they usually have late-night specials for $13-15 after 10pm but selection and sashimi is limited. however, sashimi seems to be pretty good all around-think 1-inch thick pieces of smoothness.

AYCE recommendations:
BC Sushi @2126 W Broadway, Vancouver
out of the 4, 5 places i've been to, this one seems to be the best overall in terms of food, service, and consistency for about the same price as the other places. late night special is definitely worth it.

Tomokazu @201-1128 W Broadway, Vancouver
They have shark fin sushi, which other places don't have, but it sounds better than it tastes. it's mixed with jellyfish and it's slightly spicy. pretty decent sushi, but do not go for the late-night special! it's a huge drop in quality. The shark fin sushi is the top left:

A la carte recommendations:

Sushi Garden @4635 Kingsway, Burnaby
a 5 minute walk from my apartment, this place has huuuge rolls, and is always packed.

AOKI @W 1888 Broadway, Vancouver
cheap authentic jap food, with innovations. (ie. Godzilla roll=deep fried sushi with whole strawberries on top) they use a lot of smoked salmon instead of the usual salmon, which is nice, and i remember there was a salmon/mango roll too. very interesting combinations which we weren't ready to try. we ordered one of the 'love' combos: the roll on the left is topped with smoked salmon

Monday, January 14, 2008

new year, new discoveries

i probably should've started this 4 months ago, but after returning from TO, my new year's resolution was to explore and not waste another moment here in the next 8 months. or more accurately, i was suddenly hit with the desire to see and do new, undiscovered things, and to make every minute count. maybe this is another defense mechanism for underlying homesickness, but it's constructive at least.

i'm going to try and be as detailed as possible when describing restaurants, places, etc., so that if YOU ever want to visit or move here, you'll at least know some good places to eat or see. but it's for my own sake as well, since i have really bad memory.

so let's start with some general things you REALLY should know about Vancouver:

Driving (the only part i really, strongly dislike about living here):
-people don't know how to drive = you have to be alert all the time so you can slam on your brakes when drivers come onto the road even though you're going downhill from 60km/hr
-a blinking green traffic light does NOT = advance left turn!!it only means that pedestrians can cross at that intersection when the light turns red, and the intersecting road has stop signs
-there are no highways (100km/hr) here, therefore, it's ALL street driving at 50km/hr
-there are very few left turn lanes, which means if you follow too closely, you'll probably get stuck behind a car waiting to make a left turn
-people seem to be more passive (they're probably used to all the stupid drivers) and don't honk often. maybe that's why i got the finger and a rude comment after i honked at someone for cutting me off
-there are a ton of red-light camera boxes, usually at major intersections. most, if not all, have yellow signs to tell you as you approach the intersection. however, there are just 30 cameras for the 120 locations in the whole province, so you can decide whether you want to take that $200 risk.
-most parking in vancouver is metered parking, which means parallel parking galore!
-DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING VALUABLE IN THE CAR or else it'll get broken into!

Survival Tips:
-look farther ahead
-give yourself lots of space in the front so you can switch lanes easier if there's a car making a left
-know that drivers will cut you off, so you won't be as pissed when it does happen
-you're facing north if you see the mountains
-carry lots of change for parking

-people generally have a more easygoing and relaxed attitude
-somewhat equally divided between cold/snobbish or open/friendly
-looooooove their starbucks
-more 'small town' feel than city atmosphere
-focus on active, healthy living in the outdoors
-higher cost of living with lower salaries than in TO = rich or poor
-Vancouver's supposed to be a "green" city, so their recycling program is slightly different than TO's: you can get $ back for returning certain things to either the recycling depot or supermarket, but 2 full shopping bags of stuff will only be $2 or so

-there are many small, unique shops vs. big chain stores
-fewer big concerts/events/festivals = less things to do on the weekend
-only GST is charged on prepared food (ie. in restaurants)
-sometimes the cashier at a store will ask if the item you're buying is taxable, which means if it's for someone aged 14 or younger, so they'll just charge one tax
-it's only a 2hr drive (depending on the wait at the border) to the US. it's so close that apparently some people even go across the border every weekend to get gas and buy groceries

i will save restaurants and food for the next post, because that deserves a post of its own.