Friday, November 29, 2013

Wine & Cheese - Szeretettel!

Facebook Swap, Sender: Veronika
Sent: 5 June 2012 from Szeged, Hungary
Received: 21 June 2012, Traveled ~10,000 km in 15 days
Much to my disappointment, I don't have any Thanksgiving - related postcard to share. Oppss, that first sentence just sounds so wrong ... What I truly wanted to say to open this post is that, I'm grateful despite my lack of Thanksgiving-related postcard, I have this one with a glass of wine - to suggest a toast in celebration of Thanksgiving!

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the Philippines. I don't think that's a reason though not to join my American friends in expressing gratitude for the blessings we constantly receive. Especially this time of the year, I feel the most grateful; with many of the important things I wished for this year coming true.

I'm currently in Singapore by the way. It was Friday last week when I learned I need to go back for an urgent appointment. I was here also during the first week of November. On Monday I flew back in and that evening, celebrated one milestone in my career, courtesy of the beau. (N.B. The urgency of coming here and the celebratory dinner aren't connected.) And lookie here what we had, wine and cheese, same as in the postcard!

When the wine and cheese on the card is from Hungary; the wine and the cheese platter on my photo is from a French resto called Cheese Bar by Wine Connection. It was a new experience for me trying different kinds of cheese (and foie gras, too!) For the first time, I tasted the hard cheese Gruyere "12 months" from Switzerland, which according to the menu is of raw cow milk, aromatic subtle and fruity. The soft cheese, bloomy rind Chaource from France which was pasteurized cow milk, crumbly, fruity, and mushroomy. And the goat cheese (which became my favorite from the 3 selections we had), Crottin de Chavignol from France, raw milk, smooth, lactic, and peppery. The wine were Pradio - Pinot grigio from Fruili Grave, Italy for me. And for the beau, it was Herve Azo "Chablis AOC" - Chardonnay from Burgundy, France. 

I believe I'm starting to fall more in love with French food (who will not, really?). Yesterday evening it was another cheese and wine affair, being invited for dinner by another French-Filipina couple. We had the soft-washed-rind, smear-ripened Reblochon from Haute-Savoie, France with nutty taste on croziflette. For the wine, it was Domaine du Bois-Malinge - Muscadet Sevres et Maine Sur Lie.

On top of what seemed to be a wine and cheese feature for this post, I'm thankful for the new friendships I'm starting to build here in Singapore. Meeting new people teaches me many new things and makes me know myself a lot better. It's nice also being able to share about myself that hopefully is something inspiring and useful for the people I meet. I'm positive that once I find a job here, adjustment won't be too hard for me with the friendships I've already established prior to moving in.

So long for now. Again, Happy Thanksgiving to all! Cheers!

~ maria

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and Paulita's

Friday, November 22, 2013

Postcards from Magda

This week was started by talking about colorful houses in Alsace, France.
Let me end it today with colorful buildings from Poland, all cards from Magda.

Facebook Swap, Sender: Magda
Sent: 19 July 2012 from 
Zabrze, Poland Received: 16 August 2012, Traveled 9,613 km in 27 days
Krakow is one of the oldest and well-preserved old cities in Poland.
It's listed as UNESCO World Historic Site. On a separate post from
the past, I have a postcard with an aerial view of its Main Market Square.
Magda, wrote: I took the photo of Krakow early morning when it 
was still quiet. A few hours later it became crowded and lively.

Facebook Swap, Sender: Magda
Sent: 10 April 2012 from 
Zabrze, Poland Received: 27 April 2012, Traveled 9,613 km in 17 days
Gdansk Old Town kamienica are featured on this second card.
Kamienice are similar to the half-timbered houses in Alsace, France.
This is in the manner that they are also commercial buildings
on the first floor and residential on the second floor. 
These ones however are made of brick and stone.

Facebook Swap, Sender: Magda
Sent: 10 April 2012 from 
Zabrze, Poland Received: 27 April 2012, Traveled 9,613 km in 17 days
Another beautiful old town in Poland is Torun. Its medieval part is listed
as a UNESCO heritage site in 1997. It is one of Poland's oldest cities,
together with Krakow. Torun is the birthplace of the famous Renaissance
mathematician and astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543).

After France's colorful houses from Alsace and Poland's colorful buildings,
I'm curious now what similar colorful structures I can share from my collection.
I am yet to properly sort the many pretty cards I've received. 
For now, I'm sharing these colorful structures with Beth 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Letters To & From Finland

Tonight I was writing a letter to my Finnish pen friend, Tuija.
I noticed the design on the letter set I'm writing on -- lots of hearts!

There are hearts on the blue flower pot.

OUT: 21 November 2013 to Finland
The flowers of different colors and design are heart-shaped, too!

IN: 5 November 2013 from Finland
Sent: 24 October 2013, Traveled 9,160 km in 11 days
It was a lovely coincidence that this most recent letter of Tuija,
to which I'm writing a response for, is written on a stationery which is
adorned with hearts too with the most appropriate message on it:
"You will always have a special place in my heart."

All in all, perfect for Clytie's Guest Heart Thursday!

I realized, there should be more random hearts in past letters Tuija
sent to me and in remaining leaves of letter sets I used to send messages
for her. I'm happy to discover tonight that now I've got these letters to look for hearts
in addition to my postcards and stamps collection. I wish you'll keep on
visiting Clytie's and my page for more hearts on Thursdays! =)


Monday, November 18, 2013

Dreaming of Alsace, France

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting not just the big shots in my profession 
from all over the world. I also had the chance to meet and spend some lovely time 
with a very nice woman, Khadoudja. She's the wife of the chairman of the meeting
we hosted here in the Philippines. Her and I share the same sub-specialty.
She's also Diagnostic Radiology Medical Physicist, but is no longer practicing.
She's now teaching Mathematics and traveling with her husband instead.
She's born in Paris, later moved to Algeria, and now resides in Vienna.
Her husband and her generally speaks French. I had a great time learning
some French words and phrases from the two of them.

Meeting Khadoudja was a very rewarding experience for me.
She's very down to earth, I didn't know she's got a doctorate degree
until I looked her up on Google for the papers she published. She's gentle
and soft-spoken. There's a spark of warm kinship between us since day one.

We talked a lot about many things French and of course Paris, her birthplace.
I told her I am curious to see the "City of Light" on Christmas season. At the same time, 
I'm also very keen about visiting the Germanic region of France, Alsace in the east.

Facebook Swap, Sender: SébastienSent: 9 Sep 2013 from Cadillac, France
Received: 18 Sep 2013, Traveled ~11,526 km in 9 days
Alsace is made of two departments, the Upper Rhine and the Lower Rhine.
Colmar is the capital of the Upper Rhine. It is the best preserved historic city centre
in Alsace. On the postcard above is La Maison Pfister, a historical monument in Colmar.
It was built in 1577. The name Pfister came from the family who occupied it from 1841-1892.

Facebook Swap, Sender: Sébastien
Sent: 9 Sep 2013 from Cadillac, France
Received: 18 Sep 2013, Traveled ~11,526 km in 9 days
The most beautiful villages in France are found in Alsace: Eguisheim and Riquewihr. 
Apart from being famous for the half-timbered houses, Alsace is also famous for its wine. Riquewihr is part of the Alsace wine trail. On the postcard above is shown the Hotel- Restaurant Dolder
in Riquewihr that boasts of serving the best Alsatian dishes and wine.

Facebook Swap, Sender: Ulla
Sent: 19 August 2013 from Marly, France
Received: 1 September 2013, Traveled ~10,900 km in 14 days
More than the delicious wine and the sumptuous dishes, Alsace is famed for its villages
which are 'une symphonie de couleurs'Alsace is of brightly painted, steep-roofed, half-timbered houses. Historically, the paint color of the houses were significant; the houses
are painted according to the type of shop or boutique they have 
on the ground floor. Nowadays though, they are free 
on what color to paint the their houses.

Merci infiniment to Sébastien and Ulla! They are my postcard swap
partners who introduced me to the beauty of Alsace!

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wild Flowers

FI-1911627, Sender: Sokal
Sent: 30 Oct 2013 from Kuoio, Finland
Received: 7 Nov 2013, Traveled 8,736 km in 8 days

Not that I want to classify this pink flower as wild flower, but this pink flower that I can't identify very much describes my recent found love of wild flowers -- which I also can't identify!

On Thursday, I was junior tour guide to our foreign guests. As mentioned in my previous post, where I also have a photo in the entrance of one place we visited. They were here for an International Atomic Energy Meeting, hosted by the Philippines. Some guests left Thursday and Friday, some left only today. And earlier, prior to their flight, I was once again, a tour guide. Wow! I think I should probably consider changing profession.

On these tours, I believe I literally "stopped and smelled the roses". Where in this case, are not roses but wild flowers. Here are two snap shots I got:

My thoughts wandered on those places damaged by the typhoon. I know rehabilitation will be an extremely long process, but I wish it won't take too long for flowers to bloom in those lands once again!

Lovely weekend to everyone!


PS. I'm linking with Beverly's Pink Saturday. Perhaps a blog hopper can help me identify what these flowers are ;-)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Outpouring love and compassion

DE-2151770, Sender: Uwe
Sent: 5 May 2013 from Speyer, Germany
Received: 23 May 2013, Traveled 10,337 km in 18 days

I am a bit lost as to where to start for this post... I've been extremely busy since last weekend. I'm not feeling well. Last night that the gravity of the tragedy brought by Typhoon Haiyan is sinking in hard to me... Some noticed I'm zoning out the past few days; I'm frustrated I can't really do much more to help because of professional responsibilities.

The good part is that the outpouring love and compassion from many parts of the world is overwhelming, too. I consider myself lucky that I'm able to witness in grand scale, such admirable characters of the human spirit. In my personal experience, I'm grateful for all those friends I've made through blogging and postcard swapping who expressed their warm thoughts and concern over what happened. It's also a beautiful surprise that some random postcrossers sent messages to check if I'm 'ok'. 

Except for the physical and emotional toll of the events lately, I'm 'ok' here in Manila. My family in the province were affected. The damage on our part is insignificant though, compared to the damages in provinces of Samar, Leyte, and Palawan. Chills run down my spine every time I hear news of the situation there. Yet again, I get re-assurance that things will get better because the whole world is helping.

On a different note, for those who are constant readers of my blog: I'm happy to share that by Saturday morning last weekend, the typhoon was past Manila. We're able to push through with the second part of our celebration of the International Day of Medical Physics. The sky was still gloomy but I was impressed with the number of attendees. The discussions were very informative. All in all, it was worth the effort on our side, the organizers!

On Sunday, I was finally able to take the board certification exam for my sub-specialty. I'm really anxious for the result now. From Monday to yesterday, the Philippines hosted the consultancy/ assessment meeting on the implementation of the clinical residency training programs of the International Atomic Energy Agency. It was such an honor to brush elbows with some of the best individuals in my field coming from different organizations.

I got several unattended tasks because of these recent activities so I gotta run for now. I'm sharing this for blog hops of sisters Clytie and Beth -- thank you so much to both of you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers, and asking about my situation after the typhoon. My sincere apologies if I made both of you worried due to my lack of posts.

Happy (belated) Guest Heart Thursday and Postcard Friendship Friday! Wishing all of you a nice and quiet weekend!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Marie Curie's Day

US-1821803, Sender: Amy
Sent: 16 Aug 2012 from Louisville, KY
Received: 16 Oct 2012, Traveled 13,529 km in 61 days

The Philippines' medical physicists community is joining the world in celebrating the first International Day of Medical Physics. The date is 7 November 2013, birthday of Marie Sklodowska-Curie. She's a Polish scientist, whom with her husband Pierre, won the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics for the isolation of radium and polonium. In 1911, she became the first person to receive a second Nobel Prize, for further research into the properties of radium.

We're doing two programs for the celebration. First we had unveiling of portraits of the Pillars of Medical Physics in the Philippines on 7 November. Then tomorrow, we'll have a colloquium on radiation protection and safety. We're currently experiencing the strength of the super typhoon Haiyan. Hopefully tomorrow, the weather will be better and that we can have another happy photo like the ones we had yesterday.

I'm off to bed for now as it's gonna be a long and busy Saturday for me and my colleagues. I'm on the scientific committee. There's a high chance that my committee-mates won't be around ... 1 is stranded at fieldwork because of the typhoon, and another 1 is strapped to a wheelchair due to a recent ACL surgery. Wish me luck! 

But oh, before I finally sign out for tonight, happy Postcard Friendship Friday folks! I wish us all many nice postcards to view and a great weather for the weekend!


A Red Rose

AU-317018, Sender: Tristia
Sent: 27 Oct 2013 from Wollongong, Australia
Received: 7 Nov 2013, Traveled 6,285 km in 11 days

I feel special receiving this maxicard today. Tristia, the sender, wrote: I have been keeping it for someone who collects flower postcards. I'm lucky she didn't send it before to someone else! This is my second maxicard flower postcard. And two beautiful coincidences:

1)  The first maxicard flower postcard I have is also from Australia. I posted that one in this entry, Thou has brought me many flowers. Third postcard in that row of five.

2) The petals of the red rose is charmingly forming one heart inside the other. Perfect for Guest Heart Thursday! How lovely!

For more hearts, hop on to Clytie's Random Hearts page, just a click of your mouse on here.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gzhel Porcelain

RU-2046225, Sender: Nataly
Sent: 29 Sep 2013 from Korolyov, Russia
Received: 5 Nov 2013, Traveled 8,247 km in 37 days

Today, I am back in my apartment from a 6-day vacation in Singapore and found 3 pretty cards on my study table. One of them features this lovely blue and white Gzhel porcelain teacup and saucer.

Nataly wrote, "This is an example of the Gzhel porcelain, the traditional Russia porcelain made in so-called Gzhel cluster, an area extending along railway line Moscow-Murom. The main factory of this trade is the Gzhel Porcelain Factory located in Rechitsy village, Moscow oblast. You can find Gzhel porcelain and ceramics in many Russian shops, but today the most of these Gzhel-like articles are not real Gzhel. As a rule they are imitations made in China. It is rather difficult to find a genuine Gzhel, and it is rather expensive."

This postcard easily became a favorite! I love the blue and gold royal decorations on white. Also the scallop design on the edge of the saucer and the design for the handle are lovely!

This is my first time to join Terri's Tea Cup Tuesday @ Artful Affirmations. Check out her page for really adorable tea cup posts.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Geek it up!

Facebook Swap, Sender: LaraLuis
Sent: 25 Dec 2012 from 
Sao Mamede de Infesta, Portugal Received: 16 Jan 2013, Traveled ~12,178 km in 23 days

The vacation with my beau is over by the end of today. As mentioned in my previous blog posts, my dreaded exam is tomorrow. Time to geek it up! I did my best to revise while on vacation. But I think my body took more on the 'relaxation' mode. I ain't too guilty. I believe it's also necessary to pay attention to other 'human' needs and not just always focusing on intellectual endeavors.

I know. I know. I'm doing my best to justify it to myself, this feeling of unpreparedness. But I guess in the end, it's not just professional accomplishments that matter but also a strong personal relationship with someone you hold so close to your heart.

As such, I'm delighted to share that for a change, my vacation was spent doing physical activities. Very different from the usual me -- wearing my glasses and deep in the pages of my books. Here, let me share snap shots of our activities that I'm really proud I did with him. Imagine, for the first time, I was shouting at the top of my lungs for going so fast downhill on a mountain bike and not because I completed a solution for a Physics problem? That was really cool!

I feel relaxed and just prepared with whatever the result of the exam will be. Deep in my heart, I'm wishing I will pass. But I guess we'll see... I am doing my best to block the pressure of "Will I pass or not?" and I'm just focusing on giving my best once the examination questions are laid out in front of me.

Cheers for optimism! Pressure will always be there but let's not allow it to always make us blue. Blue is a relaxing color. Blue is the favorite color of my beau, and is starting to be my favorite, too.

Happy Blue Monday everyone! I wish us all a great week.

For more nice blue, check out the Blue Monday linky party.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

La Raclette

Facebook Swap, Sender: Sebastien
Sent: 7 Aug 2013 from Cadillac, France
Received: 13 Aug 2013, Traveled ~11,526 km in 6 days

For my readers who have been reading my recent posts, I'm thrilled to share that I'm on my third day of vacation now  with my beau :) It's just crazy how time flies when we're together and how slow they are when we're apart... Moving on ...

On Thursday night, we hosted a dinner for another French-Filipina couple. We prepared a traditional French cheese dish from the mountains, raclette. On the postcard, it's shown under a heater, which melts the cheese and the melted part will be scraped. This scraped melted cheese is then used as topping for boiled potato, enjoyed with cold cuts, and greens.

For the dinner we prepared, we had a modern electric raclette grill. We realized the quantity we had was a bit short to satisfy 4 people. Raclette is really a nice dish and grilling the cheese and the pink and red meat gives a break from chewing -- which makes one a bit longer to feel full from it. (It's really very heavy in the tummy though in the end!)

Our guests brought 2 bottles of red wine. On top of that, we had other alcohol before dinner. The beau brought me back 3 bottles of wine back from France in early August. We served 2 bottles. And that Côtes de Bergerac moelleux AOC Novelum (inset), easily became the favorite. The wine was true to the French to English translation of 'moelleux', it was truly mellow indeed! I loved it because I'm not good drinking red wine.

There was some left of the second bottle, the pink Rosé Coteaux d’Aix en Provence seen inside the bucket above. I was supposed to have a glass tonight but I'm a bit sick. The beau had one glass and saved this quantity on the bottle above for me -- more than enough to get me really lethargic and sleepy but I'm very enthusiastic to enjoy it (again) as soon as I get better. ;-)

I've got 3 more days remaining for this vacation but I've already got lots of happy stories to share from the first 3 days. 

For more postcards, check out Beth's Postcard Friendship Friday, for French-related posts, hop on to Paulita's An Accidental Blog, to brighten up your weekend with pinks, check out Beverly's Pink Saturday linky party.

A lovely weekend to everyone!