Photo-Dump 1

Hi! I’m back in New York after a very refreshing trip in Wyoming!! Never have I been so close to nature, and far from urbanisation haha. But being away from cellular network, traffic noise and smelly subways have done me a lot of good and I’m starting to think that city-dwellers need these getaways every once in a while to detox. Anyway, this post gives a pictorial overview of what happened in the last few weeks of this semester!


Domingo – ’nuff said. He was amazing in Verdi’s La Traviata! Also, the MET production features an interestingly modern and minimalist set.

The Legend – Placido Domingo. Audiences were already clapping (and some even gave a standing ovation) BEFORE he even started to sing. 
The cast taking their final bow

The soprano (in white) –  Olga Peretyatko – was a last minute replacement for Carmen Giannattasio who was ill. She did AMAZINGLY despite being asked on the day-of if she could sing the title role. She had to go through a bout of costume fittings, briefings and rehearsals, but nonetheless she came out a shining star that night!

One of the operas I was most excited about this season was Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier! I was also very glad that I could watch Renee Fleming sing the role of the Marschallin and Elīna Garanča as Octavian. The MET orchestra was also phenomenal on this one (horns!!)

Renee Fleming!! I also recently discovered her recording of “O Mio Babbino Caro” with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and it might be my favourite rendition of this aria!
The cast! Elīna Garanča with the crew-cut to the left of Renee Fleming. Yes she had to act as a dude.

And the final opera that I watched this season was Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. It is such an interesting opera because it is one of the few operas based on mythology, and it also has much symbolism in it! The MET’s incoming music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the orchestra in this opera and he is a really exciting musician (:

The cast with maestro Yannick leftmost in this picture

I hang out a lot with pianists in MSM (V and D I’m looking at you two) therefore I inevitably learn a lot and listen to a lot more piano music than I used to. This semester I discovered the godlike-ness of pianist Marc-André Hamelin. He played two concerts in Carnegie, the first a duo-piano concert with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes who by the way is also very god-like; and the second in replacing Yefim Bronfman with the Emerson Quartet for Brahm’s Piano Quintet.

They played a full Stravinsky program for their encore!
Hamelin + Emerson Quartet

It definitely felt a little strange to not be in Singapore on my birthday – I don’t think I’ve ever been overseas whenever it came round. But thank you friends for remembering and celebrating with me hahaha

Museum-ing with CR!
This was taken just before WR headed off to JFK airport and then back to Singapore!
CJ and IF!
Birthday dinner at Toast!
Running into MJ at the subway

Thank you Jesus for giving me this life and friends to share it with!

Jabez came over!
The thing with LDR is that Paktor (physically, that is) doesn’t happen for many months, then suddenly when the two people are together it’s paktor on steroids. So we were tourists for those 3 days when he was here, and then he left and he’s now in some corner of the Earth being a farmer. 

Coney Island’s Luna Park. We wanted to go in – but it was closed to the public ):
New York Aquarium!
See top-left of picture.
Ok we did NOT do the contest haha but we did try Nathan’s Hotdogs and they were really good!!! There’s also a Nathan’s stand at Columbus Circle for anyone who’s interested.
This was in Eataly at the Flat-Iron district. He was amazed by how big this onion is, or things in USA in general. 

Bonus Picture
Are you hungry now?

Oyster platter at the Oyster Bar Grand Central – thank you Uncle K and Aunty C for the treat!!

OK the next photo-dump will feature snapshots of Wyoming!

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17



Where on earth is Charity?

I am in Wyoming!! Wyoming is a state in the middle of the USA, just north of Utah and Colorado. My friend, K who’s also a harpist at MSM, has a ranch there that consists of a beautiful house, and several cottages (that her family lets out for Airbnb btw!!). After spending almost the entire of the academic year in the bustling metropolis of NYC, I thought that this is a much welcomed break from city life – and to emerge myself in nature and fresh air once again. Wyoming is also home to the Yellowstone National Park which is THE first national park in the USA and possibly the world!!

Wyoming bordered by Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Montana etc. Also it is home to Yellowstone National Park!!

I just arrived today after a flight from NYC’s LaGuardia Airport to Denver, Colorado then from Denver to Cody, Wyoming. So far it’s been open spaces, mountains, horses, K and her wonderful family and their adorable dog that I’ve been hanging out with.

But enough about Wyoming for now, my 2 month blogging hiatus is now broken yey. Past months were really busy due to the end of semester rush as usual haha. But that’s all over now and I thank God for relatively good results and a semester that I’ve learnt so very much. Not just about harp, but also about jazz, Puccini, artistry and patience. And as usual, I count myself very lucky to be living in NYC where the world’s greatest musicians perform frequently – and there were some phenomenal concerts I attended since I last blogged!!

Jabez also came to NYC to celebrate my birthday with me and to visit me in general ehehe!! LDR is not the easiest thing in the world but he is the most patient and kind person ever and being able to go through this with him is a blessing :’) Also, I thank God for Aunty CL, Uncle KS and PAL and family for visiting NYC also! Always such a joy to see fellow Singaporeans and to share with them this wonderful city that I call my second home!

OK I DO HAVE SO MANY PICTURES TO SHARE. Unfortunately, the wifi is not the fastest but it’s ok! I’ll do a photo-dump in my next blog post so that you may feast your eyes.

But for now, a sleepy, jet-lagged Charity must go to bed for tomorrow a long day awaits.

Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4




Why on earth am I still wearing my winter coat in April?

WHY? While most of the northern hemisphere (save for the Yukon territory.. or the alps.. or Oymyakon, Russia the coldest city in the world ) is busking in a balmy spring climate, NYC is still experiencing below 10 degrees celcius weather with strong winds!! Ok granted the strong winds are a year-round NY thing, but one would think that because NY isn’t that up north in terms of latitude that warmer weather would already be here! I wanna wear my shorts and sandals again!

Anyway my landlady’s cat got neutered two weeks ago haha! It’s interesting to see the difference in behaviour before and after the surgery, they really do mellow down after.

Wearing the cone of shame so that he won’t lick his surgical wounds. And yes, always trying to steal human food.
Loki is an atas cat so we got him a blow-up donut to substitute for the cone. This is so that his vision is not partially blocked and he can also eat more easily.

Ok everybody real talk – taking care of Loki has made me realise that one should never get a pet unless you are 100% sure you have the time, money and emotional capacity for it. It is not only expensive to own a pet (thankfully I’m not paying for his vet trips, food and toys), it also requires a lot of emotional investment. Because animals are like human babies, they demand your attention – they want you to play with them, and pat them every now and then to make sure they are growing up happy. And if you don’t shower them with the attention, they will demand it in various ways. Cats might meow at you, knock down display things (like standing photo frames), climb on you (especially if you’re seated down) or poop in places they are not supposed to. Basically they WILL do things that annoy you to get your attention. Then you will also start to realise the need to cat-proof the house – like making sure you don’t leave the pot with food uncovered or leave your wires around because they will play and chew on it. And all these are in addition to the basic needs – making sure their food bowl is filled, and be observant to  that they are not developing signs of sickness. Once, Loki started sneezing a lot and one of his eyes started ‘winking’ like it’s constantly irritated or something. So I brought him to the vet and that trip costs $222. One trip was not enough as his sneezing did not go away. So I brought him back the next week to get an antibiotic shot – another $200 spent. Plus, because of his eye issues, I had to give him eye drops twice a day. This was such an experience because Loki is a feisty cat and getting him to let me put eye drops into his eyes took a WHOLE LOT of patience and insistence. SO, DO NOT get a pet unless you have sufficient time and money and love in your heart because it takes a lot more of you than you might expect!!

Ok but that being said, Loki is a very cute and sociable cat so I enjoy his company very much. I just know that I won’t ever own a pet (fish maybe, like ONE low-maintenance fighting fish or guppy lol) because I don’t have the love and patience for them. Because to be honest I get angry at Loki a lot – but that’s another blog post for another time.

His new obsession: Paper bags

Cat stories aside, these past weeks have been very musically satisfying! I had the greatest pleasure to see some very wonderful concerts featuring some of my favourite pieces!!!

Munich Philharmonic with Valery Gergiev

Ravel- La Valse
Ravel – Piano Concert in G featuring ft. Pierre-Laurent Aimard
Beethoven – Eroica

San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas

Cage – The Seasons
Shostakovich – Cello Concerto no. 1 ft. Gautier Capuçon
Bartok – Concerto for Orchestra


The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

Britten – War Requiem with Kent Tritle, David Rosenmyer, Bryan Zaros

MSM Symphony
MSM Symphonic Chorus and Chamber Choir
Oratorio Society of New York
Cathedral Choristers.

ft. Susanna Phillips, soprano
John Matthew Myers, tenor
Matthew Worth, baritone

Hearing the requiem in the cathedral was quite a moving experience, the acoustics made everything sound very reverent :’)

Anne-Sophie Mutter with Lambert Orkis

Currier – Clockwork
Mozart – Violin Sonata in A Major
Respighi – Sonata in B Minor
Saint-Saens – Introduction and Rondo capriccioso

And some portraits from Carnegie hall hehe:

The Joffrey ballet Company from Chicago, with the Chicago Philharmonic, invaded the David Koch Theatre last weekend with a pretty modern taken on Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. I really enjoyed it, the music especially.


AND, I managed to catch Beauty and the Beast with C and D! I LOVED IT SOOO MUCH!! I remember watching the cartoon version when I was younger so seeing the remake did bring a sense of nostalgia – especially how the movie producers did try their best to keep some parts of the script, action and scenery. I also appreciated very much the addition of the backstory about Belle’s mother and the new songs yay!

At our favourite Szechuan place before the movie

Random picture dump:

Found this randomly in school one day – very cool!
Filming takes place EVERYWHERE in NYC
But actually cold outside

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and gave me joy.” Psalm 30: 5, 11-12




The first day of Spring

Some of you have been asking why I post so infrequently! Well the main reason is that  most of my days consist of going to school, work (yes, I have a job now refer to previous post) and practice so I don’t really want to have tonnes of posts talking about how classes, practices, and work went. So yes, what you read on my blog is a carefully curated version of what actually happens in reality haha. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t actually spend all my time going out, or watching concerts – I’m very much a school-going student, trying to figure out what all of this can amount to someday.

Last week, the North-East got hit by Blizzard Stella and up till yesterday NYC has been crawling back up onto its feet. Piles and piles of snow everywhere – and c’mon! It’s march already, I’m so done with wearing winter gear.

Heaps of snow!
Sakura Park in the wintry weather

But now that’s all done and today is the first day of Spring! It’s very interesting to see how the seasons come and go and how the light changes with the seasons. Coming from Singapore I never thought about these things – I never even checked the weather app to find out that day’s forecast. I just knew that I had to bring my umbrella everywhere I go and I’ll be fine.

Two weeks back I had some really good Korean food with the YST gang!! We had dinner at Soju Haus in Ktown and the price was not bad too. It’s barbecue food but the chefs barbecue the food for you so you don’t have to walk out the restaurant smelling like oil and pork belly. We also went shopping for an aloe vera moisturiser hahaha

Buy 3 get 1 free! 

I also managed to take a trip to the Natural History museum with L and M! It’s my second time there and it’s still very interesting (:

The African plains exhibition
The best part about the museum!!

Last week, my harp teach invited us to watch harpist Xavier de Maistre’s dress rehearsal for his concert last Wednesday. He was playing on an 18th century harp owned by queen Marie Antoinette of France!! The harp is smaller and less chromatic than our modern day pedal harps.

Xavier de Maistre with the Les Arts Florissants baroque music ensemble

He played two harp concerti by Krumpholtz and Hermann. It was SO lovely to hear these pieces played on a period harp! We can finally hear how it actually was for audiences of the 18th century to listen to harp music – everything then is much lighter and has a more natural bounce.

Checking out Xavier’s harp. And he is SUCH a great harpist I have so much respect and admiration for how he plays

Last Friday, I brought my Surface Pro charger to the Microsoft store on 5th Ave as it wasn’t working properly. I was touched by how the staff there, upon checking that my charger was truly not working, simply proceeded to giving me a brand new one! I was in and out of the store in 15 mins! Thank God for such kind people around (:

After my trip to the Microsoft store I decided to take a leisurely walk back to my apartment! It was a nice walk to savour the last few days of winter. It’s a peaceful feeling to see the landscape blanketed in white.

Central Park
Riverside Park
A synagogue on 83rd and Central Park West

“Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 




The Secret Life of (having) Pets

So as you may have read from my previous post, I am now living with a very adorable but very mischievous Ragdoll kitten named Loki. And now I suddenly relate to all the memes related to owning a cat:

Almost everyday
“Yes yes I’ll get your food bowl refilled!!”
And low-key enjoy putting my cat in awkward situations just to see how he reacts lol
But I only have love for the little guy

Last Sunday I brought Loki to the vet for his regular check-up. He got a rabies vaccination and his nails trimmed. He is such a feisty kitten that he had two nurses hold him down for both procedures! I might have to bring him back again tomorrow as his flu does not seem to be going away despite taking supplements regularly this past week.

Getting his nails trimmed
Loki loves socialising — even with dogs
All the cute animals in the vet!

Last week, it was so nice to be able to spend some time with some fellow Singaporean musicians who were visiting NYC! I spent last weekend with A and XH who really enjoyed how vibrant, alive and yet nostalgic the city can be (I agree hehheh). A had her first Levain Bakery experience and XH his first bagel and Subway ride!
They also gave me my first experience at Brunch place Jack’s Wife Freda – it’s pricey but the food is definitely good (:

Jin Ramen
Lox on an Everything Bagel
~Upper West Side ~
At Jack’s Wife Freda
Beautiful day at West Village

On Thursday, I met PY for breakfast! It’s always an intellectual-humorous-musical discussion with this one.

Signature scarf haha
What I had.. Avocado and Salmon Toast!
My dinner for last week

One week left to the end of Spring Break!

View from the top of MSM

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2





I wanted to blog a week back but I suddenly got really busy – that’s because I got a job! Yes I’m on a student visa but rest assured I am working legally because foreign students can get work as long as the work is on campus.

Since last semester, I was looking for some form of work to cope with NYC’s high cost of living tbh. I interviewed to be a concert usher but got denied (LOL), so I thought of trying again when the next recruitment cycle comes around (which is this month actually). But then I was having dinner with a friend about three weeks back and knowing that I was looking for work, she asked if I can commit to working 10hrs a week. I said yes and she asked me to go knock on the door of MSM’s Office of Media and Communications. And that was exactly what I did and here you are reading the blogpost of MSM’s latest employee haha. So my job has been pretty interesting as I get to see the behind-the-scenes of MSM’s social media and website publishings. The most exciting thing I got to do so far was  to make a Facebook post to MSM’s official page about the 9th Annual Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival that was held in MSM last weekend. It was cool to be the one making the post after having followed MSM’s page for a while now.

Another update is that my landlady got a cat!! Those of you who have been reading my blog may remember me writing about a cat several months back. So that cat actually had to go back to its previous owner because it was sick and my landlady did not feel like keeping a sick cat.. So we got a new one just last week! His name is Loki and he is 5 months old. He is very sociable and active. He is of the Ragdoll breed – long fur and tail!

Two weeks ago we also had a snow day – school was closed. But weirdly, the weather is warming up really quickly and suddenly. It reached a high of 18  degree Celsius today – which is really weird for NYC February weather.

And a week before the snow storm, V and I attended the New York Singapore Association’s Chinese New Year Dinner! It was held in the restaurant “Han Palace” in Chinatown. To be honest, the food and service was not great. But meeting with other Singaporeans and being able to speak Singlish and be understood made it all worth it (:

If you are able to read the fine print for the picture on the right – one of the lucky draw prices is a return ticket NY-SG!! But I did not win it heh.

And of course I must share the great great concerts that I had the pleasure of going to these past weeks!

The first was the Bamberg Symphony with Maestro Eschenbach and violinist Ray Chen. The program was Mozart’s Overture to Don Giovanni, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5! It was a spectacular program and I was reminded of how much I love Mahler.

Ray Chen playing his Pagnini encore

Then I watched Massanet’s Werther at the MET. The tenor Vittorio Grigolo was singing that night and his voice is just phenomenal, and he is so spontaneous on stage too! But what was most memorable for me was how well the set complimented the beautiful music and playing by the orchestra!!

Vittorio Grigolo with some fake blood at curtain call

Thirdly, T’s graduation recital! So proud of him for giving such a fantastic recital and boy, can his fingers really run fast!! He plays an AMAZING Kapustin :O

Post-concert hang!

And finally, Vienna Philharmonic’s Principal harpist Anneleen Lenaerts came to MSM to give a masterclass! She is such a great musician with so much sensitivity :’)

I’m such a fan!!

And before ending this post I just want to leave a picture of a harp here. Please pardon my sense of pride but I am feeling very satisfied with myself for changing all the strings on this harp including the wire ones!! Ok changing wire strings is HARD WORK. Now I understand why harpists would rather pay the harp regulators to do it for them. But I learnt so much from this project and have now formed an emotional bond with this baby right here.

Yes it may be old, but old is gold.

“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: if our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” 1 John 3:19-20


Supposed coldest month

It’s been a month into the spring semester and things are going pretty swimmingly (: I’m very amazed at how much I’m learning this semester, like I actually feel challenged (in a good way that doesn’t rob the joy and fun of learning and growing). This is especially so in my harp-playing! This month has been a journey of going back to the fundamentals and discovering the reasons and impetus for doing some things that harpists should be doing, realising that I haven’t been doing them – and then learning how to do them.

Highlights of the past 1.5 week include masterclass with great harpist Judy Loman who seems to have a solution for every single problem!! She’s so wonderful and kind too!

MSM Harp studio with Judy Loman (lady on the right of the harp)

Also got to watch La La Land with harp girls D and C! D was RAVING about the movie and since I haven’t yet watched it, and also seeing how many awards the movie won, I had to give it a shot! And I’m glad I did. La La Land is a charming movie with a groovy and moving soundtrack. To be honest, I love the soundtrack more than the storyline because the story seemed slightly draggy and slow to me at some points. But the soundtrack was all sorts of fun, jazz, Fred Astaire and Gershwin all mixed together! What was most unique about the movie was that it was shot entirely on film (not digitally) with Panavision equipment in a widescreen format so the movie had a rustic, less clean-cut feel overall – which is perfect for the retro, fantasy-like quality of the storyline anyway.

D and C!

By the way, watching movies in NYC is SO expensive. A regular priced ticket without student discount costs USD 20 (before tax) and a student ticket set me back by USD 14.59 (after tax).

Before the movie, C brought D and I to a really good and LEGIT Szechuan restaurant on 72nd and Broadway-ish called “Legend 72”. It is really good and authentic! They do not shy away from serving up dishes at their original spicy level – Ma La toufu mm-mmmm. Also prices are very reasonable!


Also managed to make TauHuey (beancurd) – ok la from a pre-mix. But it makes all the difference when you miss Singaporean food ok.

Must eat before taking picture – priorities in life you know
This is the packaging if any of y’all are interested!

It was a really cold day today! But as you can see from the picture below, if you were indoors and looking out the window, very often this would be the colour of the sky and it is so deceiving because it almost looks warm out there.. but it isn’t ): Anyway – meet the New York Police Department’s Mounted Unit, they have been patrolling the streets of NYC since 1858!

Handsome stallions

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7



2.5 weeks

I’m now in the middle of week 2 of the spring semester and contrary to conventions I’m not gonna say that time is flying by quickly.. because for some reason compared to last semester, it doesn’t feel like time is flying by that quickly. Nevertheless, I am having an enjoyable semester so far! This semester I am ‘forced’ to read more – which is always good because I am not a natural reader. This is especially so for my Puccini class which in addition to reading more, it is encouraging me to watch  more of his operas and analyse his arias. I am also taking jazz piano this semester, so I’m also having a lot of fun reading lead sheets and improvising 😀

I feel like winter this year has been rather mild.. maybe I’ll change my mind when February comes but temperatures have been an average of about 5-6 degrees Celsius which is mild for NYC-January standards. And we only had 2 snow days in January.

It’s pretty when it snows!

Well the main highlight of the past week is definitely getting to see Josh Groban live at Broadway’s Great Comet!! Josh Groban sounds as good live as he does on record – and that is rare among singers these days. For me, this musical is a must-watch! It has everything in it – humour, romance, satire, pyrotechnics, dancing etc. It is based on Volume 2, Part 5 of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, which focuses on Natasha’s affair with Anatole, and Pierre’s search for meaning in his life. Tickets were also relatively cheap due to Broadway week – tickets going for 2-for-1!

Josh Groban is the dude at the centre-bottom right (with the coat and fur)

So being a Groban fan, I waited at stage door hoping to snag a picture with him.. and voila!


Later that week, K and I went to watch the NYC Ballet do Bellini’s La Sonnambula, Prokofiev’s The Prodigal Son and Stravinsky’s Firebird! I think my favourite was the Prokofiev – so much dynamism and expressionism – I love!

Steak and Shake!

Oh oh and this week I cooked my favourite soup special thanks to my dad for the recipe, chinese almonds and red dates!! (ok and thank you Jabez for bringing them over) So this  is the apple, pear and pork soup that I have fond memories of my dad cooking it for us fairly frequently, so suffice to say – I do miss it a lot. When I started out boiling it, I was a bit scared that my soup will be disappointing compared to my dad’s because my dad is a great cook haha. But after tasting my soup, I must say that I didn’t fare too badly at all hehe.

After. Had to add water to this.. too much evaporation happened lol. But the taste was THICK yassss

And just yesterday, Yuja Wang came to MSM to give a masterclass!!! I wanted to go take a picture with her after the masterclass (which was three hours long btw and I sat through it entirely) but I was too hungry and wanted to eat dinner so I responded to my priorities lollll

Yuja Wang @ MSM

Anyway, Chinese New Year is fast approaching and to be honest there really isn’t the CNY vibe here in NYC. For me, CNY must include loud (and usually bad) CNY songs blasted from shops, pineapple tarts, seeing family I otherwise wouldn’t usually see, a yummy reunion dinner, watching CNY TV programmes at different relatives’ houses and HONGBAO. Friends and family in Singapore who are qualified to give out hongbao, please don’t forget me!! I’m thinking of y’all!! hahaha

And to move your hearts to give me hongbao here is a video:

Oh and by the way, if you are usually emotional, do not watch this video in public – it might move you to tears :’)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 1-2


Winter break vacation

The second week of school just started and it’s starting to get more busy with classes and my own practice. I’m taking more classes this semester so I need to manage my time well, so that I also have time to enjoy everything this marvelous city has to offer!!

Jabez flew in from Singapore for my Winter break so that was nice.. we did a eastern seaboard tour which comprised New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Unfortunately, we were in Philly from Christmas eve to Boxing day, meaning that most of the attractions and shops were closed! So we actually did not manage to go into the famous attractions like Independence Hall, Barnes Foundation, Betsy Ross house etc. Philly is well-known to be a historical city – it’s where the U.S. constitution was drafted and signed in 1787. The buildings are really cute – short and made of bricks! This definitely gave a rustic feel to the city and it is also really quiet in comparison to New York City.

The Franklin Fountain ice cream shop. We wanted to go in there but it was sadly closed ):
We went to another cafe instead for ice cream and it has a movie theme to it. Jabez and his favourite character
Benjamin Franklin bridge
Independence Hall
Philadelphia cheese steak!!

At Baltimore, Jabez and I stayed with the YST people at Peabody (shoutout to YT, JA, G haha) and it was really nice to have Singaporean company! They were really great cooks and Jabez and I helped to wash the dishes haha
I also learned how to play mahjong here (ma- don’t worry no money involved) and some really fun board games like Catan and Ticket-to-Ride. I feel like I got fatter in Baltimore because YT, JA and G kept cooking/ bringing us to good food.
But yea, Baltimore was one long lepak/hang-out session – we even watched Star Wars Rogue One and Passengers at the local cinema.

Feeding time at the Inner Harbour
Washington Monument – we climbed this thing (spiral staircase in it)
Baltimore is a port town
Fireworks for New Year’s!
Beautiful Peabody library – it is said that this library inspired the library in “The Beauty and the Beast”

Washington D.C.
I really like D.C.! It’s like a more spacious and clean NYC with grander looking buildings. It also has the wonderful collection of Smithsonian museums (which are mostly free entry!) and the National monuments.

We went to the International Spy Museum, Museum of Natural History, Air Space Museum and the Newseum. My favourite was the Intentional Spy Museum – it opened my eyes to the fact that there are actually still spies living among us today :O

But perhaps the thing that I was most excited about in D.C. was getting to see the famous national monuments like the Lincoln memorial, the other Washington memorial, National mall, the Capitol, the White House. But we picked the coldest day to go outdoors to see them and it was FREEZING. I remember my toes started to hurt from the cold after a while.

International Spy Museum
The Hope Diamond – world’s largest diamond at the Natural History Museum in D.C.
The U.S. Capitol
AirSpace Museum
The suit that Neil Armstrong wore when he was the first man to walk on the moon
The White House
Lincoln Memorial
The Reflecting Pool + the Washington memorial

New York City
Most of NYC was bringing Jabez around the places I frequent, to show him how I have been living for the past few months lol. We went to watch Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette at the MET! It brings back fond memories of Aspen (: Another artsy thing that we did was go to the Modern Museum of Art, it is always refreshing to gaze upon Claude Monet’s Water Lilies once again.

Jabez wanted make his ‘pilgrimage’ to B&H – it is this HUGE store selling EVERYHING related to electronics – cameras, speakers, TVs, laptops, drones, you name it – EVERYTHING. And suspended from the ceilings of the mega-store are conveyor belts that send items that customers want to purchase directly to the cashier to prevent any theft!

But I think the most memorable thing we did was head to Chinatown to try Wah Fung. Wah Fung is this tiny store- no seating room, just a shop front for customers to order – selling chicken, charsiew or duck rice. You can order a single type of meat with rice for only $3.75 (you can never get a meal anywhere else in NYC for this price) and they are really generous with the portions. We decided to go for the set that gives the three type of meat over rice for $6 and we shared it! WOW it was really good!!! I hadn’t eaten good chicken/charsiew/duck rice since I left Singapore and I was so contented and happy ((:

Wah Fung!!
Jong Ro Korean BBQ!!!
Making my way downtown, walking fast, faces pass and I’m.. uh downtown-bound?
Subway tracks towards 125 St

And thus the end of Winter vacation…. next vacation would be Spring break! But for now, it’s back to school!

“Such a high priest meets our need  – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” Hebrews 7:26-27



Hi hi! Sorry for the long hiatus from blogging – I was on vacation to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C which I will blog about next time. For now, updates on what I was up to after school ended till when I left for my trip (:

After seeing publicity photos for Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin at the MET, I told myself that I must go see it because the set looks so enchanting. It consists of rows of LED lights that depicts a glittering ocean, and a double-ended staircase.

Photos from the MET Opera

I found this opera to be very deep and I couldn’t help but consider if there is a deeper meaning behind this opera. I don’t find myself doing this for all operas.. only those that have a more multi-layered plot perhaps.

Curtain call

Then I was able to meet up with some friends, those from MSM and otherwise ((:

Mexican food with Dan
Quesadilla for me!

Since it was Christmas season, there was a huge Christmas market at Bryant Park! As with many Christmas markets, there was an ice skating rink and a huge Christmas tree. I have been so impressed with the outdoor markets/fleas in NYC so far because they have been clean (relatively litter-free) and they make cash-less payment so easy. Merchants only need to attach this device to their phones or tablets, for customers to make card-swipe payments:

Square Credit Card reader
I really like the purple hue at Bryant Park’s tree

There were all sorts of things on sale! Garments, board games, Christmas tree accessories, household  deco, jewellery, food, drinks.. you name it! I bought 4 luggage tags, one each for YT, JA, GL and GW who are in Baltimore.

Shout-out to mah bookclub homies Monz, Kenz and Shaoz. This poster is so us we should make a shirt of it or something

Then on the same day, I met some friends from my church’s community group  to go check out the famous tree at Rockfeller Center! It was soooo crowded I’m pretty sure we were really close to creating a stampede with people pushing each other around with hardly any space between once another. I’m not even sure if it was worth it, just to see this tree. But I guess it’s a NYC tradition to go see it and I can tick it off my bucket list now haha.

It’s huge!!

Near the Flat-iron building, there were also some hammocks put up on display as part of an art installation. Had to try it before it’s gone!


Then we went up to the 230 Rooftop on Fifth Avenue. It is famous for having igloos so that people can still enjoy being on the rooftop without freezing from the cold and strong winds! The view is pretty awesome, especially since the Empire State Building is lit up in Christmas colours.

230 Rooftop

After that we walked up Fifth avenue to enjoy the Christmas decorations on the buildings and in the shop windows.


A lego version of Rockfeller Center!!!

The next day……..

Jabez arrived to NYC! And that’s when we headed to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C. Ok more about this next time!

In the taxi, leaving JFK airport for Manhattan

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.” Matthew 12:20-21