Friday Finds ☆ Peshawri at ITC Hotel Maratha Mumbai

Peshawri ITC Maratha Mumbai-3

Even though I live in India, I don’t often go out to eat at an Indian restaurant. It’s ironic because when we lived in Jakarta, Indonesia my family and I used to go to an Indian restaurant maybe once every couple of weeks or at least once a month. We do get to eat delicious Indian food at home which might be the reason why.

I was lucky enough to be part of a girls night out and had a chance to eat at Peshawri at ITC Maratha Mumbai. One of the lady friends I went with knew exactly what to order. If you ever go there, I highly recommend the dishes we ate there. I don’t remember the names of the dishes, but I think you can figure them out by seeing the photos I have posted on this post. Every single dish was really nice and looking at these photos make my mouth water. I loved them!!

If you ask whether I would go back to Peshawri, I would definitely say yes. It’s not a place where I would bring my little kids, though. The reason is because it is located inside a 5 star hotel, ITC Maratha Mumbai, and it’s an upscale restaurant. Just to give you an idea, the least expensive dish to order, a small bowl of dal, which is a thick stew prepared from lentils, cost 700 Rs. (about US$12). A bowl of curry type of dish, which would serve 2 people or one male customer as a main dish was about 1700 Rs. or more (almost US$30).

We paid 4,300 Rs (US$70+) per person for the entire dinner. Who said it’s cheap to live in Mumbai? Ordering alcoholic beverages in India at restaurants is costly, so the bill might be less for you if you go without alcoholic beverages. However, when you go out with friends, why not have fun? Since the restaurant is inside a hotel, that might have also contributed to the higher cost due to a specific tax for a restaurant inside a hotel. It was an exquisite Indian meal not to be missed, though!

I imagine that Peshawri would make a great entertaining dining for business dinners, date nights or girls nights. If I go back, I would pick a special occasion to go back to Peshawri. By the way, the ITC Hotel itself was stunning! The door men in a traditional Indian uniform made the experience to be there as a foreigner so exotic and fun as well. I highly recommend visiting the hotel at least if you have a chance.

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Peshawri ITC Maratha Mumbai

PESHAWRI

ITC Maratha, Mumbai
Taj Ganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India
TEL (91) (562) 4021700
FAX (91) (562) 2331730
EMAIL reservations.itcmughal@itchotels.in

How Yoga Got Me Through A Stressful Week Feeling Tranquil

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetPhoto taken at The Yoga House

This was how my week went.

MONDAY
My toddler son woke up at 3:30 a.m. He threw up in his bed. I slept on the floor with him. He had a stomach bug.

In the afternoon, he threw up projectile when I was holding him.

TUESDAY
My middle child, second daughter, spent her half day in the nurse room and came home with a headache.

WEDNESDAY
She missed school and stayed home.

THURSDAY
I found head lice on my second daughter. (14 Facts About Lice & How To Treat) I spent two plus hours with her to treat her head lice.

FRIDAY
My son threw a huge tantrum. I cancelled my morning plan.

SATURDAY – VALENTINE’S DAY
On Saturday morning my husband came down with a stomach bug. He stayed in bed all day. I cancelled our dinner appointment.

Normally I would’ve felt flustered, exhausted and frustrated at the end of a week like this. I did not feel any of them, though. I was able to keep my calm. Honestly the only day I felt stressed was on Friday when my son threw a big tantrum.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetPhoto taken at The Yoga House

I thought to myself “why is it different this time?” How have I kept myself unshaken from my eventful week? The only explanation I had was the yoga class I have been taking. A yoga teacher training course I signed up for started at the end of January this year (2015) and it is ongoing. It’s been an eye-opening experience.

There are several reasons why I signed up for a yoga teacher training course. The opportunity came is one thing. The hype about yoga always made me curious why people loved it so much because I never got it. I’m turning 40 this year and I wanted to do something special for myself. I thought this would be very special. Not only do I get to learn yoga in the birth land of Yoga, India, I get to have a yoga teaching certificate. When I have to leave India, which will happen in a couple of years, I will be able to take a piece of India with me. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my 40th birthday.

Mumbai Water

Now back to the question. How did yoga changed my attitude towards my daily life?

In order for me to be able to explain how yoga helped me, please allow me to write a little about Hatha Yoga. Here is a quote from my text book.

“The process of Yoga is not merely a pursuit of fitness but a process of refining towards a steady state of peace and contentment. One cannot expect the “benefits” of Yoga if one is not ready to invest in dedicated and diligent practice.”

Hatha Yoga
I’m learning traditional Hatha Yoga. Its belief lies on the connection between breath, life energy called “prana” (I think prana is like “soul” in a sense that it is what makes a difference between a body with life and corpse) and the body. The breath connects the mind, emotions, physical body, and energy body.

Asana
Asana, “yoga postures” or “yoga positions” in the Western notion, is an instrument in Hatha Yoga to connect the above mentioned elements. Asana works on the body with the breathing and pursues the spiritual discipline. In my own words, aligning the body and staying still in asana with breathing creates a pipeline for the mind, emotions and body. (As a side note, Asana without the breathing element is mechanical and a mere stretch exercise. That is not in the true principles of Hatha Yoga.)

I still have so much to learn, but my breathing has changed the way I am. I’m more aware of my emotions as a result of paying attention to my breathing. The asana practices (yoga posture practices) have been my time to escape from any noises I have in my head, face my inner self and listen to my body. The emotional sways that I experience in my daily life seem to have lessened and do not affect my mind as much.

Another thing I learned in the class is to surrender and accept. I have never known about acceptance and surrender in Yoga philosophy until now. It helps to hear in the classroom that there are things that are out of our hand and there is no point of getting worked up about it. When it happens, surrendering to the situation and breathing slowly and consciously can calm your mind.

In asana there are so many postures with a quality for surrender and letting go. By doing those postures with conscious breathing it feels that it reaches my subconscious mind and removes some clouds that hang out there if this makes any sense. It’s hard to explain because it’s not the tangible process.

This is just a small part of what I have learned. It’s been very rewarding to have yoga in my life. I’m also grateful for this opportunity to be in a classroom to learn something new. I realize how I love learning and indulge in the joy of learning. I wish I was this dedicated to education when I was in college.

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14 Facts About Lice ☆ How To Treat

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This is not what I normally like to write about, but I believe that some parents might benefit from the information. I just went through the lice treatment on my child again, so it gave me a motivation to write about this now.

What do you do when your child comes home with lice when living overseas? Since I have never seen lice till last year, it came as a shock at first when I found nits in my child’s head. I had goose bumps running through my arms and neck when I saw them. Luckily there are pharmacies in every corner in Mumbai, India and treatment products for lice is readily available. I hear it’s more emotionally damaging than anything to have lice, but the good news is that you can treat lice and you know that it will go away quickly if you treat it properly.

I’m not a doctor, so please consider this post as two cents from a mom who went through a head lice treatment on her children. Please find other websites such as American Academy of Dermatology for professional advise.

I have used these two products by Mediker in the photos on the top and bottom of this post for my children in India. Apparently there are different products for kids and adults. I got referral for the Indian brand Perlice, but when I went to a pharmacy in Mumbai to buy it, I was told by the local pharmacist that it was for adults and not recommended for the use on children. My husband supported the products that came recommended, but my mother instinct told me no. I did not want any chemical prescribed for adults on my child’s head because it will enter the body through pores. The Indian pharmacist recommended me this Mediker shampoo with natural ingredients, so I bought it. However, I was not successful (partly my fault). I went back to the pharmacy and asked for other recommendations and then I was recommended to use the oil version. I believe I did not do a good job the first time with the shampoo. I think that both products are good, but I think the oil is a bit more powerful and thus more effective. I would use the shampoo first and if the shampoo did not work, I would try the oil.

Here are 14 facts about lice that I learned. I find them helpful to know when treating lice and make kids understand them so that there is no hurtful words would be said to children who have head lice.

1. Lice can survive in the water for several hours (some say they can survive for a day). (I wish humans can do that.)
2. Lice hold onto human hair tightly when under water.
3. How lice spread is when an uninfected head touches the hair, hat, bedding or whatever that is hosting the live lice, they could crawl up and move to the head.
4. Lice do not jump or fly.
5. It has nothing to do with hygiene. (Point 2)
6. Lice can survive up to 2 days without a food source (away from the human scalp = blood). Usually they die after 3 days without eating.
7. Live lice die at the temperature of 40 degree Celsius (104 degree Fahrenheit) after 10 minutes.
8. Nits die at the temperature of 60 degree Celsius (140 degree Fahrenheit) after 10 minutes.
9. Nits are often found on the sides of the head behind the ears.
10. Nits are usually found close to the scalp (I found them about 1 cm away from the scalp).
11. Nits take about 7 days to hatch.
12. Nymphs (baby lice) mature after about 7 days.
13. Female lice can lay up to 8 nits per day! (Insane!! You can imagine how fast they can multiply.)
14. Lice move fast and they are good at hiding. (They are sneaky!)

(Some information via Q&A on the Center for Disease Control & Prevention home page, CDC Head Lice Biology, Kids Health, あたまじらみ.com, しらみガイド)

I would like to provide a little more detailed instructions for how I treated lice on my child’s head. You can see a video of how to treat lice on American Academy Dermatology site if you prefer a visual instructions.

Shampoo

What you need: Mediker Shampoo, Special Comb (You can buy it at any pharmacy in India)

You can find the instruction on the bottle, but the instruction on the bottle is very simple. I realized I need more step by step instructions.

1. Wet the child’s head with warm water just like you do so for a regular hair wash.
2. Apply the Medikar shampoo (anti-lice shampoo) generously and lather up well.
3. Use fingers to gently massage the lather into the hair close to the scalp (make sure there is no patches that did not get any lather. Lice can go hide in those spots. Yes, they are smarter than you think.)
4. Let the Medikar shampoo/anti-lice shampoo sit on the head for a few minutes for better effect.
5. Rinse well.
6. Comb the hair with the special comb for lice treatment. Each time you comb, dip the comb into a tub of hot water to release the lice. (I bought a comb from a pharmacy as the shampoo did not come with one.)
7. Repeat the process 7 days later. It is important to follow up.

After I combed the hair, I searched for nits and removed them with my fingers by sliding them on the hair between my nail and finger. You can remove lice with a comb, but I found it hard to remove nits with it. You do not have to do this process, but I felt better if I searched for nits and removed them one by one with my fingers. After you remove nits, you have to squeeze them with your nail. Live lice and nits that have not hatched would make a little noise when you press them against a hard surface. With two of my kids, both times, I found a live female louse crawling the day after I treated their head with the shampoo. For some reason I could not find them right after I treated their head when their hair was still wet. Female adult lice must have a very strong survival instinct. After killing the big cause, the female louse, then the problem went away in our cases.

You also have to either wash all the bedding, towels, pillow cases, stuff toys, hats and any fabric that the child’s head has touched. If you can’t wash some items, then you have to keep them in a plastic bag for a week or so. Putting them in a dryer would work as well. I find this process much more painful and tiring than treating the head. The beauty of living in a country like India where one can afford a help is that you have someone to help you with cleaning to exterminate lice from items. I have spend some time cleaning some beddings and pillow cases myself at night as I did not want to wait till the next day.

Oil Treatment

What you need: Mediker Oil, Comb, Shower Cap

There is a simple instruction on the bottle as well. I recommend this treatment!

1. Apply the Mediker anti-lice oil thoroughly on the head.
2. I made sure the oil is evenly spread out on the scalp and hair by gently massaging the oil into the hair especially the area close to the skin. Make sure there is no patches where the oil did not get to. You don’t want to allow lice to hide in those untreated areas. They might have a small brain, but they are smart (smarter than you think!)!
3. Put a shower cap (try to remove air between the shower cap and the hair) or wrap saran wrap on the head. This way you can suffocate the lice.
4. Have your child sit with the oil in the hair with a shower cap for an hour. (The instruction says leave the oil for an hour.)
5. Comb the hair with the special comb. After each time, dip the comb into a tub of hot water to release any lice.
6. Rinse the oil.
7. Comb the hair again with the comb.
8. Repeat the process 7 days later.

I find this method more effective.

I just wanted to share my experience so that I can help other expat parents out there with the same issue. Once you get a grip of treatment, it’s actually not that bad. I don’t mind sitting with my child under a lamp and go through the hair section by section like some monkeys do.

At the end of the day, you know that you can treat lice. It’s not a disease. It’s treatable. There are worse things out there.

I hope my post is helpful!

mediker lice treatment for kids in India

This was written voluntarily and all the products were purchased.

Yilan Taiwan 4 ☆ Fan Ge Tian Weng ☆ Famous Roast Chicken in Yilan

Fan Ge Tian Weng Roast Chicken in Jar Yilan-7

When we went to Taipei to visit our friends, they organized a two-day trip to Yilan. The main activity there for us was the National Center For Traditional Arts, but there are other things you can do. For example, we went to a Spring Onion Farm. If you ever travel to Taipei and would like to see outside of the city, I highly recommend Yilan. You can make a day trip to Yilan from Taipei because it’s only an hour train ride from the central Taipei, but we stayed one night at Forte Dong-Shan Villa which was wonderful and easy with young children. For dinner we went to Fan Ge Tian Weng (番割田甕缸雞 in Chinese), which is very popular for roasted chicken in Yilan.

The dining at Fan Ge Tian Weng was really fun and delicious. It is famous for the roasted chicken, but there are also many delicious vegetarian options at Fan Ge Tian Weng restaurant, so even for vegetarians there are dishes to enjoy the dining experience at Fan Ge Tian Weng. We ordered the signature roasted chicken. The customers are given a pair of gloves to pull the meat apart which makes this dining experience more special and entertaining. We enjoyed every single dish and I think we all licked our plates.

I usually don’t care for the taste of beer, but I had the Taiwanese grape beer and I quite liked it! It was kind of sweet and mild. It was a great night and we went back to Forte Dong-Shan Villa with a full stomach just like the night of Thanksgiving.

台湾に住む友人たちを訪ねて行った時、台湾から1時間程の所にある宜欄という街にある国立伝統工芸センターを見るための1泊2日間の旅行を計画してくれました。日帰りも可能な距離なのですが、小さい子供も居たこと、また国立伝統工芸センター以外にもすることがある宜欄をゆっくり見れる様一泊することになりました。一泊したお陰でリラックスでき、とても有意義な時間を過ごせました。台湾に行かれることがありましたら、宜欄への小旅行をお勧めします。私たちは、国立伝統工芸センターの敷地内にあるホテル、フォルテ・ドンシャン・ビラに滞在し、夕食は、壷でローストされるローストチキンで有名なレストラン、番割田甕缸雞(ファン・ゲ・ティアン・ウェン)へ行きました。

番割田甕缸雞の野菜のお料理もとっても美味しかったので、菜食主義者の方でも楽しめるレストランだと思います。
私たちは、このレストランのご自慢のローストチキンを注文しました。このレストランでは、ホールチキンがテーブルへ運ばれる時に、手袋も渡されます。お客様が自分で手袋を付けて鶏の肉をバラにします。それがまた面白かったです。鶏料理を始め、全部とても美味しかったです。

私はビールは口に合わないため好んで飲まないのですが、台湾のぶどうビールはとても美味しいと思いました。ビール独特の苦みは無く、ほのかな甘みがあって飲みやすかったです。アメリカの感謝祭の夕食後の時のように、たらふく食べ、満腹のお腹を抱えてフォルテ・ドンシャン・ビラへと戻りました。

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Fan Ge Tian Weng | 番割田甕缸雞

No. 191, Sec. 3, Wujie Rd., Wujie Township, Yilan, Taiwan
TEL: 03-960-6666

Yilan Taiwan Part 3 ☆ Spring Onion Farm

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On the same day we traveled to Yilan, Taiwan from Taipei on a fast train, our friends, Josh and Kara, took us to a spring onion farm because Yilan is famous for spring onions. (Please give me a few more days to check the name of this place.) Kids got to wear boots and go pick spring onions. As you can see in the photos below, after picking some spring onions, they washed them and then made spring onion/scallion pancakes. Those pancakes were delicious!!! The crispy outside layer has a lovely texture and an accent flavor of scallions spreads in your mouth with each bite. We all scarfed them down.

My son who was 2 at the time was too young to go. Thus, I stayed behind with him. Can you tell he was envious? The spring onion picking only took about 10 minutes. It was really quick.

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I’ve got a comedian in my family.

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The main reason for our visit to Yilan was the National Center For Traditional Arts. Please click here for the post on the National Center For Traditional Arts. As for our accommodation, we stayed at Forte Dong-shan Villa. I recommend Forte Dong-shan Villa if you would like to visit the National Center For Traditional Arts with young children. Please click here for the post about our hotel in Yilan.

Yilan Taiwan Part 2 ☆ Forte Dong-Shan Villa

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Forte Dong-shan Villa

Hotel Forte Dong-Shan Villa was great for our small trip to Yilan, an hour train ride from Taipei. It is located in the same premises as the National Center For Traditional Arts which made our trip so much easier to access the National Center For Traditional Arts. For those who stayed there get some free coupons to do the arts and crafts which was a big bonus for our kids. As for the location, the hotel was about 15-minute taxi ride from Luodong Railway Station and the fare was inexpensive. On the second day we checked out of our rooms on the second day after having a breakfast and then walked to the National Center For Traditional Arts for the day filled with fun arts and craft.

Our friends, Kara & Josh, who live in Taipei arranged everything for us for this Yilan Trip. We were so lucky. The room we stayed was a Family Suite. There was a small living area with a sofa, chair and TV. Then there were two bedrooms. One room had a queen size bed and the other room had a bunk bed with a small attic type of space above the top bunk. Kids had a lot of fun going up and down the ladders. We got two rooms as we were two families. Our rooms were connected on the veranda and it was really convenient for us. We were able to play some games in one room after kids went to bed without worrying about our kids.

I don’t have a photo evidence to prove you, but my son drew on the white duvet cover on the queen size bed with a pink marker. I let my son play with a coloring book with markers. He hasn’t done anything too crazy prior to that point, so I didn’t even think to be with him when he was coloring in the bedroom. I was out in the living area. So was my husband. He was resting on a sofa and I was surfing on internet on my iPod Touch using free wifi. By the time my girls and I noticed that my son drew on the duvet cover, it was too late. He has done some pretty good damage. I immediately removed the cover and washed it in the bathroom, but the pink marker only bled and turned the sheet into pink on one side. I gave up and took it to the reception. I paid 500 Taiwan Dollar which is about US$15. At least it could be resolved by paying. There are worse things that could happen to us.

If you make a trip to National Center For Traditional Arts, I highly recommend Forte Dong-Shan Villa for your accommodation. I only brought 35 mm lens, which is not a great lens to take photos of a room. In case you cannot tell, the rooms were quite spacious and comfortable.

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Yilan, Taiwan Part 1 ☆ National Center For Traditional Arts

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National Center For Traditional Arts in Yilan was nothing short of an amazing and entertaining place for our kids. Thanks to Kara and Josh, we made a quick two-day trip to Yilan from Taipei. We got on a fast train from Songshan Station in Taipei and it only took us an hour to get to our destination, Loudong Station. The tickets were reserved and purchased by our friends in advance. Pretty amazing. From Loudong Station, a taxi ride to National Center For Traditional Arts, where our hotel was also located, took about 15 minutes and it was inexpensive.

There were many activities for kids to do and our kids had a blast. When you explore their website, I don’t think you can tell how entertaining it is for young kids to be at National Center for Traditional Arts to do arts and craft. I find the photos on Tripadvisor explain well.

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We stayed at Forte Dong-Shan Villa Yilan, a hotel in the premises of National Center for Traditional Arts. It was a great choice. It made sense for our kids and us parents. I will write a post about the hotel later just so that you can see what the room looked like. We loved it.

We had dinner at a restaurant called Fan Ge Tian Weng Roast Chicken in Jar in Wujie Township in Yilan. Yilan is famous for chicken roasted in ceramic pots. I will write about this restaurant as well because the dinner at Fan Ge Tian Weng was quite an experience and the food was delicious! Even the vegetarian dishes were tasty. Thus, I think that Fan Ge Tian Weng would still be worth going for vegetarians. Thanks to our fabulous friends, Kara and Josh, we learned about Fan Ge Tian Weng Roast Chicken in Jar and I would love for the future travelers to know about this place although it already seems to be a very well-known restaurant as it was packed when we went there.

On the day we traveled from Taipei to Yilan, we went to a Spring Onion Farm of which I will also write about our experience later. It was a great fun for the kids. Yilan is known for scallion pancakes, so we had them at the farm. They were chin-dropping delicious pancakes!!! Just thinking about them made my mouth water.

The following morning, we had breakfast at the hotel, checked out from our room and left our luggage at the reception and headed to the National Center for Traditional Arts. All the photos on this post were taken on this day. We did two activities, had lunch and did one more activity and it was time for us to head out to the Loudong Station to catch a train back to Taipei. The day went by fast like it was a fast forward! The train ride home was very smooth and easy.

I can’t say enough good things about our experiences in Yilan. I think it would be so fun to have a place like that in Mumbai as well. I would love to do activities such as wood block printing, rangoli drawing or some other traditional arts from India.

National Center for Traditional Arts
No.201 Section 2, Wubin Road
Jixi Village, Wujie Town
Yilan 268, Taiwan

EMAIL: service@ncfta.gov.tw
TEL: +886-3-970-5815
FAX: +886-3-960-5237
Facsimile: +886-3-950-1177

Hours Please check this page on the home page for National Center for Traditional Arts

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XpatGirls Feature ☆ Fascinating India

To Jump Directly to the Interview By ExpatGirls
Click HERE

My interview is featured under the Special Guest section on Xpat Girls here. Xpat Girls as its name suggests was created to be a hub for all expat girls around the world. The website also represents the voices of any individual who finds a home away from home, in other words, an expat life.

When I was first approached, I looked at the site and I observed that the target audience as well as the writers were younger than my age group. I didn’t feel that I would fit in the image that I thought they were looking for. I was afraid to make them disappointed, so I wrote back and turned down the request. Then I heard back and was told that it didn’t matter and what was more important was being young at heart. I thought that was sweet.

Xpat Girls had some interesting questions on the interview and I hope readers will find my answers somewhat interesting! The photo that was featured on the top was taken at Borobudur, Jogjakarta in Indonesia. Trip to Jogjakarta was one of the trips that I was so glad we managed to make before our departure from Jakarta, Indonesia. I find this photo quite symbolic of our recent expat life. Borobudur in Indonesia received a lot of influence from India through Buddhism in the 9th century. It’s a monument which was created by the two cultures, Indian and Indonesian, which happen to be the cultures that my family and I have lived in during the last 4 years.

I hope you will visit the blog to read my interview. There are other interviews by their Special Guests that are quite eye-opening and entertaining.

Thank you for reading!

Throwback Thursday ☆ Taipei In Instagram & 6 Impressions of Taiwan

These photos pretty much summarize our trip to Taiwan during this past winter break in 2014 and New Year’s of 2015. I have posted those same images of our family trip in Taiwan on my Instagram account as well as my blog’s Facebook Fan Page. I have taken some other photos with my DSLR in order to write our travel recommendations of Taipei, Yilan, a town an hour-train ride from Taipei and Pingxi, an hour-drive or two-and-a-half-hour train ride from Taipei in the near future. If you plan on going to Taipei, I hope you will come back to my blog to get some of the recommendations. I can’t take credit for them, though. They were researched by our friends, Kara and Josh, who have lived there as expats and they know the best places to visit for visitors.

Six Impressions of Taipei

1. Clean
The city looked super clean to me.

2. Biker Friendly
The newly developed area of Taipei had bike lanes next to the pavement which create a very safe place for bikers. I also read that there are bicycle trails all over the city. There were bicycle rental places everywhere.

3. Great Chinese Food
If you love Chinese food, Taipei is the city for you. I have been to Singapore and they also have amazing Chinese food, but they tend to be expensive unless you go to Hawkers markets. I hear Hong Kong has great food, too. If you want some top class Chinese food, though, Taipei is the place to be for its quality and taste without breaking your bank account, which is a key.

4. Safe
It felt very safe. It is a very safe city for women even after the dark. When traveling with kids, there is nothing better than going to some places that are safe.

5. Friendly
Taiwanese people are very friendly to foreigners. As a Japanese individual, I felt very welcomed. I find Taiwanese people are warm towards Japanese people and they are interested in the Japanese culture.

6. Convenient, Safe and Inexpensive Public Transportation
Safe and reliable public transportation made the sightseeing easy and pleasant. Taxis are also inexpensive, so in case of rain or going to some place far, it was worth hiring a taxi.

Taipei definitely made our New Year’s of 2015 special. The best of all, we were able to spend it with some of our great friends we’ve made and our kids got along and played very well. What makes us happy during the trip once kids come into a picture is different from what used to make us happy in the pre-kids time. Simplest things such as spending time with friends indulging in the food and company and seeing kids smile on our side are some of the best moments of our vacation these days.

I hope you will come back to read the recommendations for Taipei and other towns in the future!

All of the photos on this post were taken on my iPod Touch with VSCO Cam application.

Thursday Thoughts ☆ Welcome 2015 ☆ Being an Expat & Taipei Trip

Taipei C Guest Bedroom-2

Taipei C Guest Bedroom Beautiful guest bedroom at Josh & Kara’s.

During this past winter break my family and I went to Taipei to see our 4 good friends, Josh, Kara, Sijen & Bryan, and their kids. Josh and Kara graciously hosted us in Taipei. They moved to Taipei at the same time as when we moved to Mumbai in 2013. We all lived in Jakarta for 3 years at the same time and spent a lot of time together during our posting there. They are the ones who offered to take care of my first daughter when my husband and I flew to Singapore from Jakarta to take our second daughter for her surgery to have a swollen gland removed in 2011. I traveled with Kara to Siem Reep, Cambodia and Ubud, Bali during our time in Jakarta, Indonesia.

As expats it’s lovely that we get to meet many wonderful people, but it never gets easy when we have to say goodbyes. The good thing is that we can visit each other in different parts of the world. The best part of traveling internationally to visit our friends is that we can benefit from our friends’ tour guide which is my favorite. Why? Expats know exactly what foreign tourists want to see. Josh and Kara are the best Taipei experts as far as I know. They know so many fun activities for kids to do and the best local restaurants to go to in Taipei and beyond. I will introduce a few of them to you through my blog. All I need to do now is to get myself organized enough to edit the photos.

As for 2015, this year will become a turning point for me.

I’m turning 40 (Not yet! In a half year)!

Many people have huge celebrations for their 40th birthdays. They make a big trip, scratch something off from their bucket lists, get a surprise party, you name it. When I was in Taipei, I asked Josh, who had a big birthday bash in Bali, Indonesia, why he thought many people would have grand celebrations for their 40th birthdays. To this question he replied “you have lived half of your life if you’re lucky.” That truth hits you hard, doesn’t it? When I was younger I never imagined that I would welcome the half point of my life this fast.

It seems to me that the world likes to focus on younger women. I, on the contrary, think some women in their 40’s are more inspiring and admire them. They make me look forward to the 40’s. Just to name one is Gwyneth Paltrow. I’m going to look at 40 as a rebirth. I’m not even born yet. Joke aside, I will be very grateful for being able to have my 40th birthday in 6 months. I loved and am still loving my 30’s because I gained so much more confidence in myself. My 20’s was awesome, but I remember feeling lack of self-confidence and constantly worried about the threats I imagined in my head. To be relieved from those self-created threats in my 30’s was liberating. Getting old is not a negative thing. If I don’t get older, I don’t get to see my kids grow up. Getting old means gaining wealth of life.

Speaking of a half point, we just completed the half of our tour in Mumbai. How could this be possible? I love our life in Mumbai and I want it to slow down a bit. I am blessed to have the life I have. My life is not perfect, though. I constantly think I could do better and need to make efforts. I sometimes feel lost. I often worry that I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing at this point of my life. I tell myself that it’s perfectly normal. We all have fears. Learning how to coexist with them in peace is the art of life.

All the best and a big heartfelt thank-you to all the people who come to my blog to read it. You are the reason for my motivation to keep blogging.

Here’s to 2015!

Taipei C Guest Bedroom-3