Postcrossing Haul – Feb 2/14

Happy mailbox dance!!

Six postcards including my very first mail from Turkey!

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Here are the cards in no particular order:

The sender of this postcard from Germany is a lover of crime stories. This is the first time I’ve received a card like this and I’m quite intrigued by the metaphor shown in this picture! Ooooo…..

This peaceful place is of the Wulingyuan Scenery  in China – Imperial Bush Peak (according to the postcard since I can’t really read Chinese) Breathtaking view!

My very first mail from Turkey! This place reminds me of the rice terraces of Philippines but the snowy version. I researched more about the Pamukkale and I am adding it to my list of places to visit now! Hot springs on terraces…cool!

This giant stamp set takes up almost ¾ of the card!

This second card from Germany has an enchanting palace. So much art and the architecture…makes me want to take more Art History courses ❤ The happy face sticker made me crack a smile ^_^ and she even wrote  the date and a picture of the weather. Love it!

This abstract card comes from Taiwan. She gave me a tip that I want share: the Taiwanese dumplings is a must try! Yuum… who doesn’t love dumplings!

Last but not least is this gnarly looking card from my neighbour down south (USA). The sender’s favorite winter sport is wave running…on a nice warm beach. While my favorite winter sport is snowmobiling…in the cold snow. So close but yet such big  differences in climate. Thanks for the introduction to this sport!

This postcard came in an envelope. Here are the stamps and stickers:

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Asian Celebration – Gastropost Mission

Gong Hei Fat Choi 2014!

Chinese New Years is celebrated pretty well in Filipino culture. Philippines has a lot of Chinese friends as China is  a close neighbour. See here for colorful pictures of this year’s celebrations.

I missed out when I was living in the Philippines because there just weren’t any held in our itty bitty island. However, I do remember the treats and the food that came along with it around this time of year.

And now that I’m in Canada, it’s our tradition to partake in the Calgary celebrations held in the Chinese Cultural Centre in Chinatown. However, when my friends and I went there today (Saturday, Feb 1 – ONE DAY AFTER the actual Chinese New Year), we were disappointed to discover that we were a week late!!! What!!?? Is it just me or does it make sense to hold it the day after instead of a week before the actual holiday!? Craziness!! I missed my Chinese fortune too which was my favorite part T_T

Yes the food and the performances are great…but really it’s all about those sticks and the excitement of finding out what I will get for this year’s fortune.

Okay back to the food…

So to appease our disappointment, our friends took us to a dim sum place we’ve never been to: Ho Won. My review of this place is at the bottom of this post.

I was so hungry that I only remembered to take a picture AFTER we’ve pretty much devoured everything! *gasp* How very non-Asian of me!! *hangs head in shame*

Photo copyright: Gracelyn Masangkay/mgracelyn.wordpress.com. Please ask permission before use.

I do not know the Chinese terminology but my best description of the dishes from top left to right are:

  1. Steamed Shrimp Balls
  2. Steamed Shrimp Wraps
  3. Ho Won Fried Rice (in house special)
  4. Deep Fried Squid
  5. Pork & Shrimp Balls
  6. Tea

My friend also ordered a tofu, eggplant and meat ball dish but we inhaled those right away so there were no leftovers to snap a picture of.

After the meal, we walked around Chinatown hunting down bakeries with leftover moon cakes. Tip: Don’t delay buying this stuff. They will laugh at you when you ask the day after.

Although we didn’t find any there, we did come across the Dragon Dance as it blessed the shoppes. It brought my spirits back up as it felt like we were part of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

We headed to T & T, an Asian supermarket in the NE, to see about the moon cakes. Success!! There were 3 left *hallelujah!* We ended up buying so many treats but it was all good. It made my Mom very happy and later that evening, her and I bonded over these yummy treats. She used to live in Hong Kong “back in the day” so she told me stories of her experiences there and what the treats signified according to the Chinese culture. I ❤ my Mom. I definitely get my sweet tooth from her.

Treats
Photo copyright: Gracelyn Masangkay/mgracelyn.wordpress.com. Please ask permission before use.

From top left to right:

  1. Assorted rice cakes
  2. Hopia bean cake package
  3. Citrus (round fruit)
  4. Hopia bean cake (round with Chinese characters)
  5. Egg tarts (my Mom’s favorite)
  6. And the three moon cakes! (lotus)

These sweets are heavenly! Enjoying them with tea/milk and great conversations, it is a great way to learn about a culture. May you all have a very prosperous year.

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My review of Ho Won: 1/5✩

We came in 30 mins before closing time so they were already shutting down operations and judging from their expression, they were non too happy to see us. However, money is king so they seated us anyway. I was not impressed. The food was mediocre and the service horrid. The rice was really salty on some parts. There is a server (an older man) who seems to have forgotten that his job description is to serve the customers. He would ignore us (there were only 4 tables occupied) and when a friend who spoke Chinese finally caught him as he attempted to breeze past us again, he would glare and then leave before were even done telling him what we needed. Rude! We looked at each other wondering if we would even get anything at all! We did get them but the wait was long and we had to repeat our request to another waitress. He brought us the items but there was definitely no “Service with a smile”. It put a damper to a meal that I was looking forward to. On the positive note, the women servers are not so rude so should you visit here, maybe stay away from the guy waiter. From what I’m told, that’s how he is all the time. Also, come early so there’s a better selection. My friends say it is cheaper but I’d rather pay a little bit more at another place where the service is good. There are far better places in Chinatown so I would suggest checking those out first.

LetterMo Go! – A Month of Letters Challenge

It’s February so let LetterMo commence!

January’s Love Letters for Seniors project (Cards of Caring – Valentine’s Edition) is coming to an end. With one more week to go until Calgary Meals on Wheels’ deadline, the quota has been filled with extras thanks to the help of friends.

For a week now, I have been getting ready for the start of a new month-long project for February that combines both my love of snail mail and the ever budding hobby of crafting.

lettermoHow it works: After signing up, a LetterMo participant sends out mail for 23 days in February excluding Sundays where there’s no postal service in some areas. It also includes any reply mail if your recipient decides to send you a letter back.

I am SOOOO ready for this challenge! I found out about this 2 years ago but I had so much going on at the time that I didn’t go through with it. February is going to pick up for me but to help offset the stress, I have a list and I have a plan ^_^ And of course…I’m adding my own twist to this.

I will follow the rules by feeding the mailbox daily (min of 23 days if excluding Sundays). However, the mail will not consists of just letters. Creativity will guide me and it will be a surprise what the recipient will receive. There’s an added twist that I’ve decided to keep private for now too 😉

If you would like to receive a little something from me in the mail, please add your mailing address to my Postable at https://www.postable.com/mgracelyn. I will send mail everywhere in the world as long as there’s postal service available. However I do have a few rules:

I will NOT be sending out the following:

  • Money
  • Application Forms/Sponsorship to come to Canada (I don’t work for Immigration. As a regular citizen, I do not have that kind of influence to pull any strings. Best of luck though!)
  • Personal information (No I do not wish to cash that cheque for you)

Other than that, if you are also a LetterMo participant and are looking for someone to send mail to, please comment below. This is going to be an exciting month and I’m excited for what happens from this challenge!

Click on photo for LetterMo website.

A thought: If everyone sends mail out/into Canada, will it put a dent in helping with Canada Post’s woes?