Columbia Flower Market

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Columbia Flower Market only opens on Sundays. Two Sundays ago was probably going to be the only day with lovely and sunny weather for that whole week, so I planned a trip there for some photographs.

Wandering around alone in London gave a different experience but could be rather difficult if i plan to have lunch in a crowded cafe with self service (which obviously, I did). The flowers at the Columbia Flower market were very fresh and cheap! The atmosphere was very lively with the sellers shouting out the prices. On normal days, the road looks very colourful with different and brightly-coloured shop frontages. Each store has their own distinctive style, and altogether they play a big part in defining the characteristic of the very lovely local neighbourhood.

This road is now one of my favourite spots in London.

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Personal career satisfaction

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I have been pondering upon the meaning of career achievement recently. It is a question I think I will ask myself when I retire. I know for sure it will not be the amount of money I make, and I am uninterested in climbing the corporate ladder.

Last week was my last working day and it was a very hard and sad departure. In hindsight, it showed how much I really enjoyed working there without even realising it. I am extremely grateful to have made this choice to come over and weather the tough recession and win myself a job here. It has been an amazing journey and wonderful to meet such interesting people in my team.

I work in the international feasibility team which consists of my director, 3 associates and a landscape architect. Being the youngest, I was taken good care of and am grateful for the trust they had in me to work with them. Knowing that I would be leaving eventually, they still continue to share their knowledge and skills with me until my last working days. This inspired me to keep the same attitude if I come across to work with any fresh graduates or juniors in the future.

While most farewells end with words like ‘’We are happy and glad to have you in our team’’, I am lucky that my work was appreciated and I had a team that valued me. My company has never sponsored any foreigners a work visa, but I was offered the option if I have chosen to stay. Instead of looking for another graduate architect or a Part II architectural assistant, they mentioned that they wanted another Flora, which made me feel special in my own way. I do not wish to sell myself, but these reactions from my team were beyond my expectation. I wonder what I have done to deserve to be able to meet such nice people.

It has been nearly 10 years since I first stepped into the working industry whether in a part time or full time role. There were moments I was worried if I still have any enthusiasm to show interest at work like how I did when I was still fresh in the working industry.

The recognition from my colleagues was an important assurance to myself that I have not lost this enthusiasm and reminded me to continue keeping this spirit in the future. It should be the ruler of how I measure my personal career satisfaction in my own way in the future, as I questioned in the beginning of this post. I assume the secret to have an interesting life is to be interested in the things we do.

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Paris and my feet

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The masterplan of the Paris city was redesigned by George Eugene Haussmann in the 17th century. The restructuring of the city shaped the Paris that we recognise today – long tree-lined avenues with cafes, wide boulevards aligned along axes and expansive parks and green spaces. These were significant elements that helped give the impression that Paris is a romantic city.

Although Paris is an old city, it is not so walkable as many other old European cities. Walking between two places that seem to be just a few blocks away on the map, or share the same avenue name usually takes much longer than expected. Once, we were so glad to have finally arrived at the street of our destination. Never did we know that we had to walk for another 30 minutes just to reach our destination, which was located at the opposite end of the street from where we were.

DSC00794To cross a junction like this would take me at least 5 minutes!

Paris has a very extensive and dense metro network. There is usually a metro stop within 10-15 minutes walking distance no matter where you may be in the city center.  It always seems wiser to walk if the destination is located only one metro stop away, but it is a different matter if the travel distance is more than two stops.

For instance, there was an evening when we decided to walk to a restaurant located a metro station away from our hotel. Being careless with my navigation skills, we walked towards the wrong direction and then only realised it when we reached the next metro stop (and found out that it was the wrong one). To get back to the correct way, we had to head back to our origin point, and further down to another metro stop in the opposite direction. When we finally reached the restaurant after 30 minutes of walking, we saw that it was closed on the weekends.

We found another restaurant located another metro stop away further down the same road. We obviously decided to continue moving on our feet. We finally found our food after spending nearly an hour of wandering around the Parisian streets. All four metro stops that we passed by were located on the same “street”.

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Me vs food

Now that Alex is back in Malaysia, I need to deal with heavy bags of groceries on my own again. Alex forbade me to do groceries when he was here, as I always came back with 90% junk food and 10% proper food. Doing groceries on my own again reminds me of the days when I first arrived in the UK and Alex and I were not together yet. It is a good ending of this chapter where I have to go through the same routine, only to know that I have grown up by being wiser in shopping for my groceries (10% junk and 90% food =D)

People around me might have predicted that without my personal chef (who else), I might be relying on takeaways heavily. Unexpectedly, this has not happened so far. Perhaps it was me realising that no one will be taking responsibility of me except for myself, that has made me more conscious of the choices I make. The food poisoning incident last week has alerted me to be more careful in dealing with my food – checking the expiry dates and making sure not to overbuy groceries. I try to have a proper and healthy meal every evening despite a long day at work, and learned not to rely on the instant noodles. As it is not easy to cook for a single person, I tend to cook for two and keep half for tomorrow’s lunch in the office.

Now, I will also need to check that I have all my ingredients ready before cooking. Once I forgot to restock the kitchen foil, so I roasted the chicken on the baking tray without any foil. It took me ages to clean the tray afterwards. I went to the supermarket the next morning and bought the cheapest one available, only to realise that those were fine gauge foils not suitable for oven use – something I never thought existed!

x

London..

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