Lifestyle


Today we are leaving our Bangkok apartment for the last time. Everything has been packed up and sold or shipped, leaving behind bare walls and empty spaces. The last couple of days our apartment resembled the same apartment we moved into in August of last year; just a lot of empty space.

As we are saying goodbye to one home…

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… we say hello to some new temporary ones.

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We will be on the road again for a couple of months, traveling to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and potentially Singapore. We have decided it was time to make a move again, and what better way to start a move than by going traveling?

I’m sad about the fact that I won’t be able to bake or sew again. But excited about the new places we’ll be going to and the much bigger journey lying ahead. I will also try to catch up on some old writing during this time and of course update you on our journey.

Goodbye then Bangkok, home for a year, and hello new adventures!

When Alexander first arrived in Bangkok, just over a year ago now, I took him for lunch at Rakk on Pha Arthit. On the previously unused stairs going to the upper level was a big bag filled in which we could just make out the small stuffed toys that it contained. We were curious to know about the contents, but thought it polite not to enquire.

Some days later, while walking down the street, our questions were answered when we saw an old lady sitting at a sidewalk table, the contents of the bag now neatly displayed. She had a collection of small mammals, all handmade from rejected pieces of old cloth. I fell in love with them and since we’ve made a point of always stopping by whenever we’re in the neighborhood and she’s out. Whenever she is not there I feel deeply disappointed and and when she is I have to pick something up.

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In this way we have collected a giraffe and frog, squirrel and kangaroo (a gift from my friend Nicole), a snake and a cute monkey, one of her first bigger designs, that Alexander bought for me. My friend Nicole also bought me a rhino, but the poor thing has decided to slip into my sister’s luggage and move to Pretoria.

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She always has something new, lately she’s been working on a lot of larger toys including a kangaroo with joey in the pouch. Although I really like them too I think the small ones are more appealing, and considering that we are building a collection of these soft toys more manageable in our small apartment.

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The one stuffed toy we did not buy from her is this monkey I picked up in Hanoi. He’s made from cut-off Hmong fabric and with his nose missing was just calling out to me to be taken to Bangkok. I think him and the other monkey get along very well.

I’m back from a pretty relaxed trip to Cambodia. Despite some long bus journeys and time spent at embassies and border control, we still had lots of time to enjoy fabulous Khmer food and good cocktails.

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In a kind of big move both of us have resigned just before we left for this trip and we are now kind of unemployed/freelancing. It was not exactly an impulse decision, but also not something we mulled over for weeks. It felt like the right thing to do though and I am looking forward to having more time to spend on sewing, cooking, baking and writing. So expect to see some more regular entries here. Starting with some on our trip to be published very soon.

Before I get to that though. Can anybody spot something different in the picture below?

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I got the most brilliant Valentine’s gifts from my boyfriend yesterday.

It came in this super funky and retro Thai-style lunch box. It is a tin affair with stacked compartments, usually filled with rice and meat dishes. I’ve wanted to get one ever since I first laid eyes on them, and now I have one. Lucikly mine did not come with rice and fried chicken (not that I don’t like rice and fried chicken, but as romantic gestures go, they are not at the top of my list).

My lunch box came filled with an assortment of chocolates, cookie cutters, cake decorating goods and chocolate-orange hand cream. Each tray held a different surprise! Isn’t it just too cute?

And now I have a really wicked container for some of my old and new baking accessories.

Looking at all of this it is quite clear what his Valentine’s message to me was. More ‘rommel in die trommel’ for me and more cupcakes and cookies for him!

Whenever I am traveling I always try to send postcards from my destinations back home. It’s always a bit of a thrill for me to imagine the surprise when a friend or family member opens their mailbox and there is a postcard from places like Luang Phabang, Las Vegas or Maputo from moi awaiting them.

Here in Bangkok I just feel like sending postcards all the time. There is an enormous variety of hip and retro postcards to be found almost everywhere you turn. So never an excuse not to send one.

Here are some with retro images of the Royal Couple, some kids and the Democracy Monument…

… and some funky illustrated cards!

Sugar cookies with chocolate chips and frosty vanilla iced tea. Enjoyed at the end of an otherwise bland and muggy Tuesday.

Walking home from dinner at a Laos restaurant last Friday we noticed a small nursery. We decided to take a quick look at what they had, seen as our apartment was in desperate need of some greenery.

We left with a large orange heliconia, a banana tree, a plant with big hart-shaped leaves and three orchids. All of this cost less than US$20, including the taxi we had to get to take us and our jungle back home. I feel much better now that I am almost sleeping under a banana tree.

There are numerous pretty parks in Bangkok that we’ve only seen in passing so far. There is the enormous Lumphine Park, the Benjasiri Park near Emporium and Chatuchak Park next to the weekend market going by the same name. We have long been threatening to visit one of these parks, so inspired by an article in this week’s BK Magazine I suggested going for a picnic yesterday.

While I was still being lazy in bed, Alexander made fresh tortillas. I’ve never had home made tortillas before, so I was used to the generic taste of the store bought variety. The ones Alexander made was super fresh and oh so delicious! I was bouncing around with excitement (literally), while being fed bites of warm tortillas.

So into our picnic bag went the still warm tortillas, some cupcakes, hummus and tomatoes picked up at the Emporium Gourmet section and two coffees. We went and hung out at the lush and inviting Benjasri Park. There weren’t too many people and the atmosphere was relaxed. I thought too late about taking a picture of the tortillas, so this blurry image of the best tortilla I’ve ever had will have to do for now.

And of course we enjoyed cupcakes for dessert.

This picture of a used cup was taken by Alexander. I like how the bit of pink icing that dropped onto the bench contrasts with the grayish background.

Out of all the places we viewed around Bangkok as possible new home we decided to settle into a funky new building just off Sukhumvit Road. It is spacious, partially furnished, clean, came with Wi-Fi, located near a sky train station and between two shopping centers.

The one thing our apartment did not have was a proper kitchen. We have shelving and cupboard space in the living room area and a tiny balcony leading from the balcony with a sink and small work surface, but nothing like a working (or workable) kitchen.

This was a problem to us as we were both so hungry for being able to have a home and begin our own cooking again, but we decided to view it as a challenge. We really wanted this place and so we decided we would make it work somehow.

Over the next couple of weeks we browsed around kitchen departments at numerous department stores around town, measuring tape at hand, and came up with some ideas of how to organize the living room and balcony into becoming a working kitchen/pantry/living space for us.

The shelve became our pantry. We searched out attractive colors for our crockery to brighten up the living space and the bottles of sauces and spices added some additional fun colors to the shelve. We bought the stuffed toy animals beside the blender from a lady selling them on her street side table on Phra Arthit.

I bought the large shopping bag for Alexander in Siem Reap, Cambodia and the slightly hidden pink one for myself here in Bangkok. It cost only B10 and it is pretty strong and very funky.

We picked up a camping stove to use for cooking. The large cutting board doubles as a work surface when we are preparing meals outside. I got quite used to cooking outside on the balcony, but it is a bit of a bother when we are hit by monsoon rains sometimes and the whole area gets flooded.

Below are two of my favorite items in the kitchen. I believe the soy sauce brand name translates to something like ‘fat baby’. I love the image and design as well as the colors. The basil plants was a surprise for me from Alexander. It brightens up our balcony and has served us well in the kitchen!