Look for the Bright Eyes

Next time I do a presentation or if I need a response from a group, and if no one puts up her hand, I will start looking for bright eyes in the audience and solicit a different, more positive response.  From the New York Times article:

He (a Japanese colleague) continued: “In Japan, we don’t make as much direct eye contact as you do in the West. So when you asked if there were any comments, most people were not looking directly at you. But a few people in the group were looking right at you, and their eyes were bright. That indicates that they would be happy to have you call on them.”

We can all try to remember not to use our own lenses to interpret other cultures but to use many dimensions to understand cultural behaviour – to look for the bright eyes in the room.

You can read the fascinating article about cultures here.

Bright eyes


(courtesy of Pinterest)


Part of a Historic (Food) Movement

Got your attention, right?  I was heading to the Farmer’s Market this morning but was mesmerized by a Filipino Food Movement with food booths and entertainment on the way.   In San Francisco today, the Filipino Food Movement launched the first food event in the whole of the U.S. to bring the Filipino food to the main stream.  We eat Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and of course Indian and Chinese food, but it is true that we rarely talk about or eat Filipino food.  So I was part of this historic movement today.  The Filipino culture is  family-oriented, warm and fun, great at singing, and extremely food-loving (especially rice and meat).  I have many Filipino friends, and I believe you have quite a few as well; but this food movement really gets me interested to learn more about their food and culture.  Here are a little something of what I have found:

Adobo Chicken or Pork – one of their most well-known national dishes.

- meat marinated/cooked with the Adobo sauce: vinegar, salt, peppercorn, salt, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and oil; also popular in Spain and Latin America.

adobo - chicken

Courtesy of http://salu-salo.com/chicken-adobo/


- better than Chinese Spring Rolls

Lumpia - shrimp

Courtesy of http://www.potatochipsarenotdinner.com/blog/2013/2/13/shrimp-lumpia, and they look even better than the Chinese Spring Roll; also try this recipe from Steamy Kitchen.

Sizzling Pork Sisig

- cooked with pork parts (head, cheek, liver, belly, etc etc ) that’s been braised in vinegar before being grilled, diced and served on a sizzling hot plate; served with chilli, calamansi and an egg in the middle.


Courtesy of the Hungry Excavator

Kare Kare – their famous oxtail stew – an appetizing recipe here.

- their famous oxtail stew, often served with tripe and pig or cow feet – an appetizing recipe here.

Kare Kare 2


Courtesy of The Domestic Man

Delightful Ube Ice-cream (purple-yam ice-cream, also used in their famous Halo Halo dessert.)

- everyone I saw had a cup in her hand, and so here is a nice recipe.

Ube icecream

Beautiful picture courtesy of Ang Sarap

On My Way Up

Exercising is so much fun when you can combine it with sightseeing.  Not too far from where I live is the Filbert steps in Telegraph Hill, one of the most famous stairways in San Francisco.  Along the stairs are beautiful scenery of the San Francisco Bay, gardens, and very old, classic San Franciscan buildings.  All these were a labour of love when a former resident, Grace Merchant, cleared the trash which used to fill the hills along the stairways and re-planted a public garden during a span of 30 years.  The Filbert steps and all its surrounding beauty is truly one of the free gems of San Francisco.

filbert steps
377 flights of Filbert Steps – all worth it!

Flowers filbert

Steps beautiful

The Art Deco Building - Courtesy of Map of Google
The Art Deco Building – Courtesy of Map of Google
Coit tower
Coit Tower
City view
Must be my most favourite City view.
The Alcatraz from a distance
The Alcatraz from a distance.
Perfect positioning of chairs!
Perfect positioning of chairs!

How to Connect

How to be in touch with nature at any time?

Look at the Sky.

Feel the wind and air movement.

Water is everywhere – give thanks to water when you drink, shower.

Mentor yourself – give yourself constructive feedback.


Go outside and greet the sun.

Sing and pray – to connect with our spirit.

Treasure and appreciate.

Kindness towards ourselves and others.

(Wisdom from thedetoxsummit.com – August 4-11, 2014)


Finding Tranquility in an Indian Restaurant

Why am I always amazed about life?  It is really the simple things in life that give us the biggest pleasure.

A friend and I decided to have Indian food in San Mateo, and we discovered this new restaurant called Vedas serving Northern Indian food after Googling “Best Indian Food in San Mateo” (love the people who have asked this question before us.)

Vedas restaurant(Courtesy of Yelpers)

Like a lot of Indian restaurants, this one’s decor is simple, but the smaller details show that the owners pay attentions to the eaters’ experiences – hand-made decorations on the vases on the table, infused water with cucumber and lemon, putting an extra table next to a table for two for us to have more space, etc.  The owner ordered the food for us and constantly checked our needs.  The garden patio at the back also makes this place tranquil and special.

What we had were delicious: Anokhi Chaat (Crispy tortillas (ours was crispy eggplant for non-gluten eater) with avocado, herbs, chopped veggie), Scallops ke Sooley (grilled scallops with coconut and balsamic), Avofruit Salad (Avocado with seasonal fruit and veggie), Basil Makhmali Tikka (boneless chicken pieces, nicely-spiced), Bhindi Do-Pyasa (okra with onions, tomatoes, cilantro), the oh so wonderful Vegetarian Biryani (chunks of veggie cooked in spices, saffron, garam masala-flavoured basmati rice infused by naan bread on top), and Rosemary Naan.  And yes, the owner gave us two small mango lassi for free – perfect taste and not too sweet (the secret was adding a little salt to it!)

The whole experience was not just about the food, it was the tranquility of the place, the attention of the owner and the waiter, the conversation with a good friend, the appreciation of the ingredients of the food, the discussions with the owner (the wife is from Venezuela with Italian and Spanish parents – how interesting), which have made the experience joyful.

In Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, he said, “Stillness conquers heat. Tranquil and calm set the rhythm of the world.” (Translation of the last 2 Chinese sentences below.)

There are many things that can bring back tranquility, calm, and balances to one’s life – one of them is the pleasure of a flavourful meal with a friend.  Simple cherish at its best.


From Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching

July – National Watermelon Month

An article from health.com caught my attention because it is about my and many others’ favourite fruit in the summer – watermelon.

In the “5 things you didn’t know about watermelon”:

At 46 calories per cup, watermelon offers 20% of your daily intake of vitamin C and 17% vitamin A, according to the USDA.

It has more lycopene than raw tomatoes. That can stop free radicals from damaging your cells and immune system. But store it in room temperature to maximize its antioxidants before slicing, according to the nutritionist.

The juice can relieve muscle soreness because of the citrulline it contains, especially in the rind.

It’s a fruit AND a vegetable and can be traced back to the squash, pumpkin and cucumber family.

It is 91.5% water, said the USDA.

I should add that although watermelon is a sweet fruit and has a high glycemic Index of 72 (GI measures how fast the carbohydrate turns into sugar; over 70 is high), it has a glycemic load of only 4 (GL also takes into account how much of that carbohydrate is in a serving; below 10 is low.)

It is a superfood for everyone that is cool and tasty, too!

20140705-171309-61989970.jpg (photo courtesy of bingwallpaper.anerg.com)