Nearly a Year Ago

Nearly a year ago, you welcomed me back.

I had just landed back in Toronto after a 2-week trip to Japan, and the first person to welcome me back was you.

We first started talking 3 weeks earlier, just before I went away on my solo trip. Right from the beginning, I enjoyed talking to you, which was why I dreaded that my vacation might mean I wouldn’t be able to talk to you for 3 weeks. Would you even remember me after I return?

Little did I know, I would spend my entire trip messaging you.

When I woke up each day, I would wonder if you’ve finished work. Going to dance class? Had dinner yet? I couldn’t wait to talk to you. How often did I stand still on the sidewalk, totally absorbed in our conversations?

I remember one time, we had just finished an hour-long conversation, and when I stood up, I almost panicked because I forgot where I was. I really like the feeling of losing track of time because of how much I enjoy talking to you.

If I saw anything remotely interesting, I would take a photo and send it to you. Food? Send photo. Bug stuck between windows? Send photo. Places that make me wish you were here to experience together with me? Send photo.

I remember my first trip to Japan. I have always enjoyed the freedom of solo trips: go where you want, eat what you want, sleep and wake whenever you want without having to accommodate others…

But this time, traveling solo felt lonely.

The afternoons were the most productive times, because you would have gone to sleep. The afternoons were also the most painful times, because you’re not there with me.

I missed you so much when you slept, and always feel selfish when I secretly wish you’d wake up in the middle of the night to say hi. When you actually do wake up in the morning, I feel like winning the lottery every time! Serena is awake! Serena said good morning! Serena sent a smiley face to me!

You make me so happy…  When people asked me what were the highlights of my vacation, I told them it’s getting to talk to Serena every day. I would explain that there’s this girl I can’t stop talking to (and can’t stop thinking about), and it’s because of you that I had such a memorable trip.

So on November 17, 2016, when my train from Pearson to Union was delayed, we made a last-minute decision to meet up and have dinner. I wanted to pay for the meal, but you wanted to treat me as a “welcome home” gesture.

More than just a welcome home, I felt like you welcomed me into your life.

Even after returning to our daily work routines, we still messaged each other all the time. We had opposite sleeping schedules since I worked nights, but we still found time to chat.

You make life so much more enjoyable. You amplify how good a meal tastes, how exciting a stroll down the street feels, and how happy I am to have you in my life.

I want to spend every waking moment with you.

In the winter, I would finish work and call you on Facetime while still in my car, and talk until it’s either time for you to go to work, or until I start shivering. I enjoy our time together so much, there’s never enough time!

A customer gave me a bath bomb once. He works for the LUSH warehouse, so they get to take home products with minor defects. He always brings soaps and such to my coworkers. This one time, he said while handing one to me:

“Give this to your wife.”

We had only known each other for 3 months by then. I knew he only assumed I was married, but I was too giddy to correct him!

Only a month prior, I became dissatisfied with addressing you as “my date” and asked you to be my girlfriend. By January, I also became dissatisfied with calling you “my girlfriend.”

Some people think we are moving too fast, but the reality is, we are already such integral parts of each other’s lives. You’re so important to me.

You asked me back in November what I wanted…

I want a future with you.

I want to make you happy.

I want you to feel safe.

I want you to say and do whatever you want and know that it’s okay.

I want you to feel loved all the time.

 

My darling, Serena

I love you

 

 

 

You see, I can’t wait to ask you to marry me either 

The first time we met was at our university, and there, I want us to start the next chapter of our lives.

You took 1 specialist program and I had 2 majors over 7 years. Although classes were all over campus, each of the 3 programs had its own building. Coincidentally, the 3 buildings are right next to each other, and in their centre is a court yard.

See you there at 11:00am 😀

2017 August #1

Thanks to a work scheduling accident, we got more time together this week!

We watched Despicable Me 3 on Tuesday, and it was great in 3D! Compared to IMAX 3D, I actually prefer the regular 3D much more. The screen is brighter, the sound volume is less deafening, and the framerate seems smoother. It was a good movie.

Wednesday morning, Serena made some chocolate chip pancakes, loaded with lots of dark chocolate chips! It was surprisingly filling, that after eating about 1 pancake, we were already full…

For the rest of the day, we ended up eating out, but I forgot to take photos, so totally forgot what we had…

Thursday, as has been the trend for the past few days, I try to make shrimp scampi once again.


I should have blanched the beans instead of hoping they would cook as I stir fried the rest. The tiger shrimps were nice, but do seem to cause more allergies for Serena. I guess we’ll stick with smaller white shrimps in the future.

That night, we cooked long beans (more thoroughly) and sweet glazed chicken. The long beans came from Serena’s mom’s own garden, so they were really fresh and fleshy.



For Friday’s lunch, I whipped up some a quick pan-fried steak, and some cauliflower stir fry.


After lunch, the dumb bells arrived. Ah, let me tell you about the dumb bells. We first ordered this 2 weeks ago, which Canada Post was going to deliver out of Mississauga, then rescheduled for the next day, and got marked as “Delivered” without us ever receiving it. So after that happened, and Canada Post not being able to give us a good answer on what happened, Amazon sent out another set of dumb bells. So yesterday, it once again said “Out of Delivery” followed by “Rescheduled by carrier”. Fearing a repeat of what happened the week before, we called Canada Post, who put in a note to be sure to send it over to the right address.

Thankfully, it arrived today. They rescheduled it because they needed a two-men team to send larger or heavier parcels. I didn’t think 2 x 20 lb dumb bells were that bad, until I saw the packaging and had total sympathy for the postal workers… The shipper packed the two dumb bells into a long tube box, which was unnecessarily long, then bent and sagged in the middle. Well, at least they arrived, and were in quite excellent condition.

In the afternoon, we went to Sephora to spend $40 to get a free bag of samples. It was so crowded in there! Yikes, business is good there.

We had a Godiva soft serve ice cream before we left Eaton. It wasn’t that good. Their chocolate ice cream tasted just like the cheap no name brand of Napoleon ice cream from Food Basics, while the vanilla part tasted slightly better. The only part of that I liked was the waffle cone. Crispy, and with peanuts.

To be honest, Godiva doesn’t taste much different from Cadbury chocolate to me. The samples they gave us tasted just like Cadbury.

We rushed up to Koreatown and met up with my classmate again. We went to Tacos el Asador, which was right next to the Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu that we went to last time.

I wasn’t impressed with how salty everything tasted.

We ordered a goat burrito, which was okay but salty.

We also ordered a platter that consisted of pulled chicken tacos, mashed beans, guacamole, instant-noodle-flavoured tortilla chips, dry ground pork, grilled onions, and some leathery steak. I would have given the place a 1/5 or 2/5 rating, but Serena liked the platter enough.

We couldn’t let the evening end on that note, so we went to ShareTea for some drinks.

I got the Kiwi Fruit Tea with Aiyu Jelly.

Serena got the Ruby Graperuit Slushy.

It was a nice little cafe. Good for a drink and chat.

This weekend was full of food events. We went to St. Lawrence Market and to the Waterfront Night Market, but not to the Taste of Danforth.

But first, we went to G for Gelato and Expresso Bar.

We asked for 2 flavours, the pistachio and cookie & cream.

My goodness, pistachio flavour was strong! It was one of the richest we’ve had in any pistachio-flavoured product! On the other hand, I wasn’t a bit fan of the cookie & cream. It just tasted overly sweet.

At St. Lawrence Market, the actual food festival part didn’t have much. The interior regular shops were quite nice though, especially their fruits and vegetables. So fresh and ripe! We picked out some shiitake mushrooms to use for dinner that night.

We also grabbed some baked goods from Stonemill Bakery. I liked their raspberry cream cheese, but didn’t like their spinach as much.

Then we went to this Ukrainian vendor, and bought some Boneless Whitefish Stuffed w/ Crab & Melted Mozzarella, which they microwaved to heat up. It was … so full of MSG, and salty on top of that! I don’t know how long it was sitting in the window display, just … eek.

The Spinach & Mushroom Blintz was nicer though. It was wrapped in this egg-like cornmeal, which was slightly sweet. Not bad. I finished that one.

Going more high-end, we went to Pusateri below Saks for some sweets, which once again missed the mark.

The Grapefruit Champagne Parfait had no grapefruit taste at all. It was mostly white chocolate, and the custard inside had a very weird texture and taste…

The Chanel was better. Pistachio and Raspberry flavour in a sponge cake, surrounded by 4 barks of white chocolate.

The next day, we went to Serena’s parents for lunch.

Her mom cooked a lot. Some dishes were made using the air fryer. We’re definitely getting one of those when we get a house! Fast to use, and crispy food without tasting too greasy.

Since we got a day pass, we rode down to Bake Code for some fancy baked goods.

Serena got a cheese tart, which she enjoyed.

She got me a sponge cake. So sweet of her, knowing what kinds of food I like!

Chocolate almond croissant.

We then went to the Waterfront Night Market, which used to be at the T&T Supermarket, but moved farther away to Hearn Power Station this year. This required riding the TTC down to T&T, then either walking for 20 minutes along a dusty road with no side walk, or wait for this elusive shuttle bus. We walked for 20 minutes, and saw no sign of the shuttle bus…

The area was kind of small, but still very crowded.

We ordered some fried squid pancakes. Greasy, taste was actually pretty good.

The guys at the Hawaii barbecue booth had a lot of character, and is used to media attention!

We went for some more squid, in the form of teriytaki squid skewers. Chewy, and tastes just the way you expect it to.

The man cooking up the other meat skewers was such a boss. Just look at him!

 

To finish up the night, we bought some sweet roasted chestnuts.

The next day, back to the grind. McDonald’s for lunch!

Serena’s coworker joined us. He wanted to get just the smoothie, but ended up with a Big Mac combo.

I didn’t feel like burgers, so I grabbed a box from the Chinese restaurant in there. The portion sizes were huge, but unfortunately, the taste was very mediocre.

In the evening, we went to Lee Chen, a more upscale Chinese restaurant along King Street.

The had a special going on for set meals. We ordered that in addition to drinks and side dishes. The embarrassing part was how after we ordered 1 item, the hostess would start taking the menu away from us, but we weren’t done ordering yet! We ordered the set, *tried to pull menu away*, we ordered the side dishes, *tried to pull the menu away*, we ordered the drinks, *successfully confiscated the menus*.

We thought, gosh, we must look like really poor college students or something. Not only did the hostess not try to upsell any add-ons, she didn’t even give us a chance to finish ordering…

To be fair, I was wearing a white undershirt and shorts, with a backpack, while Serena wore a grey tanktop and a $30 skirt. Okay, I shouldn’t blame the hostess…

The salad was fresh, and had a good sesame-based dressing. It balanced out the other greasy dishes quite well.

A wonton soup. Serena didn’t like the fillings inside the wonton, the pork fat taste was too strong.

The steamed buns were pretty good! Juicy inside, and good flavour.

Fried dumplings were very nice too. The dipping sauce was too salty though.

My main course, seafood in a fried spring roll skin bowl. Once again, too salty, but ingredients had a good mix, and I enjoyed the spring roll, broccoli, and rice.

Serena had the ribs, which were quite well done.

The Passionfruit Custard Pudding. Quite nicely done! Smooth custard, and good fruit flavour.

Sesame balls! We ate them the next day, and they were still pretty good.

The atmosphere was quite good there, and if they rotate their set meal menu, we shall definitely revisit!