(Traveled from January 18 to February 16)
After a break from blogging caused by misplaced priorities, I am eager to write about one of my favorite topics: castles! I hope you are eager to read too. 😉 The Kokorin Castle is a small Czech castle (as you can see) in the middle of a forest. Unlike the elegant castles I have featured on this blog, the Kokorin Castle is an abandoned fortress which has lost its beauty through the years. Before you blame the Czech government for its “abandonment” of such a historical architecture, here’s an excerpt from the Czech Tourism Website:
Why it has been declared ‘cursed’ – I will leave that assignment to you.
The Kokorin Castle may be lacking in grandiose, but I believe it is still worth visiting. A little hike through the woods will lead you to a castle that is easy to capture whole due to its size. It might help to know that there are stairs leading to the castle. And did I mention that it is a few hours drive from Prague? Not bad if you are up for a side trip huh.
Gasing, or top spinning, is a popular traditional game in Indonesia. It is also a traditional game in the Philippines. In the Philippines, we call this ‘trumpo’, and is usually made by local craftsmen. The common gasing or trumpo is made of wood, seashells, hard fruit, and iron, and is spung with a string or a thin rope. To be able to play gasing/trumpo, one must know how to make a good throw.
The ‘trumpo’ has declined in popularity in the Philippines. The emergence of the Beyblade and with the shift to digital citizenship(? )may have contributed to its decline. When the Beyblade came to rise, almost every kid in the Philippines owned a Beyblade. I had a wooden ‘trumpo’ and two Beyblades (one large and one small) back in primary school too. Now, even the Beyblade fever has been completely wiped out, but it seems that the iPads and gizmos are here to stay.
(Traveled from January 4 to February 17)
A simple potato pancake may consist of potato, flour, egg, and chopped onions. Mix all the ingredients together – and you’ve got yourself a sumptuous appetizer! You know what the best part is? You can prepare this in approximately 10 minutes! Okay, I don’t cook. But when I was 14, I learned how to make croquettes by observing my aunt who introduced this food to our family. (Potato Pancakes and Croquettes are one and the same, right?). I was too shy to ask her about the ingredients. But when I got home, I looked for the recipe on the Internet. I didn’t put onions though, ’cause I hate them. Instead, I put a good amount of pepper, cheese, and bacon, sometimes ham, to add flavors. You can top it with sour and cream or catsup to make it even tastier. It tastes like hashbrown actually – but better!
I received this postcard from an anonymous sender from Belarus. 😦 I hope to still discover the sender so I can thank her/him for this gastronomic postcard.
POSTER FOR THE ‘WAVERLEY CYCLES’ (1898)
BY ALFONS MUCHA
(Traveled from February 6 to February 26)
Although this postcard came from my pen pal in Luxembourg, Alfons Mucha (1860-1939) is a renowned Czech Nouveau artist. Mucha leapt to fame thanks to his theatre posters of Gismonda (1894). His works are reproduced as postcards in Czech Republic due to their large demand and as a result Mucha is quite a famous name in the Postcrossing community. People would make swap requests for a Mucha postcard. In fact, one copy of this exact same postcard can be bought on e-bay for $3.59! So I guess you can all me a lucky gal. 😉
CHRISTMAS (THE SHEPHERDS)
Reproduced from a stamp designed by Fritz Wegner
November and December 2014 had been my most active months on the Postcrossing Facebook page, and this postcard from Wales made the cut! It arrived a bit late because it was missent to Thailand. But with snail mail, you can expect mail to take months before it reaches its destination. You know what people say: Better late than never!
Before I check back into the world of books (ergo, less time spent on the Internet), allow me to share with you two works of art by my pen pal from Beijing. Her name is April, and she just turned 19! Instead of her getting a birthday present from me, she sent me her works instead. First thing you need to know about me is that I’m unemployed. Nyaha. April said she had just recently picked up a paint brush. Recently? Psh! Oh, come on! Second thing you need to know about me, is that I actually struggle with making art – in general – but I have learnt that I have an appreciation for all things art! Do you think this is ironic? Let’s just say I put a good deal of effort in designing my postcards even though my artistic cousin, who I have also recruited to Postcrossing, usually gets dissatisfied with my work so much that she does it all over again to save my postcards from further damage. :p
On a more serious note, I am trying to re-assess my life and see where I can try my hand at. If I love art but am hopeless to make one, then what am I good at? I picked up Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. I have had it in my shelves for two years but I never bothered to read it because I am not a big non-fiction reader. It contains monthly tips for a happier life. The author’s tips were based on other people’s studies and on her personal experience as a Yale Law School graduate who’s found success (and happiness) in blogging and writing. For the month of March, she focused on the work aspect of life. Her tips for the month for March are as follows:
- Launch a blog – CHECK! I am a fast thinker but not articulate enough to translate my thoughts creatively into writing. I start with a good idea. And then some how I get lost in the middle. And I can’t figure out how to end my posts. Though I am a long way from mastering these writing tasks, writing six to seven days a week, every week sounds like a good idea if I want to see progress in my writing. “Even if I did something wrong on the blog, it wouldn’t be a disaster.”
- Enjoy the fun of failure – I have had my share of failure. And I can tell you, it’s not fun. Enjoying failure does not equate to not taking mistakes seriously. It is about taking risks and being able to move forward. The author wrote it better. “When I thought about why I was sometimes reluctant to push myself, I realized that it was because I was afraid of failure – but in order to have more success, I need to be willing to accept more failure.”
- Ask for help – I am proud to say I am one of those people who think it is okay to ask for help. I don’t pretend to know things I’m clueless about. But I am putting this here for others to benefit.
- Work smart – For the author, this means getting up early and making the workplace look pleasant. Ha! Here’s where I get the GUILTY verdict.
- Enjoy now – When my life does not go my way, I have the tendency to imagine some happy future. If I can have this…, if I can move to this town…, if I can have this person as my husband… this can go on. Getting a scholarship abroad. Learning German. Getting a flexible job. Marrying a rich Christian. Having the perfect destination wedding and month-long honeymoon in Italy. Buying a House. Getting a Baby. Driving the kids to school and being a part-time faculty member at a prestigious university. I need to shut up now before this post leads to me reaching old age and having a proper burial. With this, I’ll end this post with a strong point from the author. “If I can enjoy the present, I don’t need to count on the happiness that is (or isn’t) waiting for me in the future.”
*The ones in quotation marks were directly lifted from the book “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin
Here’s a little confession: I don’t mind receiving ad cards. There are certain ad cards that appeal to my brand-conscious self. I have swapped for ad cards, and this Tiffany & Co. ad card from Kimmy of Hong Kong is an example.
Word vomit: I am one of those girls who think only a Tiffany & Co. engagement ring would fit their finger perfectly. (Speaking of engagement rings, for future reference to my future husband, I have been drooling over this Tiffany Enchant Yellow Diamond Ring.)
Tiffany & Co. does not only remind me of my favorite classical Hollywood actress (Audrey Hepburn), two of my favorite books have the name of this jewelry line in their title (Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and James Patterson’s Sundays at Tiffany’s). AND, if I were rich, I would love to be spending breakfasts and Sundays at Tiffany & Co. – who cares whom I am with! . 😉