Charming Victoria B.C.

After spending almost ten days in Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, I decided it is one of the best places to have a relaxing vacation.

Victoria, the capital of B.C., is actually on the Vancouver Island not Victoria Island and is famously known as the City of Gardens and, if I may add, the City of Bikers, as 10% of residents bike to work! The city was named after Queen Victoria and was established as a Hudson’s Bay fort in 1843. The first Chinese in Canada settled in Victoria due to the gold rush. Its food scenes are not only British but also very diverse, and locals and visitors enjoy cuisines with the freshest ingredients including seafood, veggie, and fruits.

Although it is on an island and has a population of about 350,000, there are direct flights from its international airport to cities such as Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Cabos and also Cancun. The airport is extremely friendly.  There are more cool facts about the City here.

What I enjoyed the most is its natural, untouched beauty, its relaxing pace, friendly faces as well as its Britishness. I was fortunate enough to stay with my Dad’s high school friend, who lives a 10-minutes walk from woods, park, and beach! Compared to Vancouver, Victoria has milder temperature and less than half of the rain with precipitation falling between November and February. No wonder it is popular with retirees.

Here are a few moments that I have treasured:

Ferry ride (1 hour 40 minutes) from Vancouver to Victoria
Rock and sand at Mount Douglas Beach
Beautiful flowers with the Parliament in the background
The tourists’ favourite – Empress Hotel and the Inner Harbour
Strolling in Downtown
Sunset in the Harbour
Along the Oak Bay Marina
Horse carriages all over roads lining the Inner Harbour
Rural beauty along trails in Mount Douglas Park
Breathtaking Ogden Point Breakwater – 1 mile to the lighthouse at the end – photo credit to Melichard at

The Galloping Goose Trail, running on the previous Canadian National Railway, weaves through rutal, urban and wetlands

Simple Rituals for Happiness

Happiness depends upon ourselves.

~ Aristotle

Eric Barker, one of my favorite writers about science-based awesomeness, wrote this piece today about what simple daily rituals (neuroscience-based) that can make one happy.  He said, what if I tell you 8 glasses of water do not make you happy (but just make you go to the bathroom a lot) but 8 hugs do?

From my experiences, happiness and kindness are contagious. One of the best ways to spread happiness is just to smile at people.  And now, a touch on the arm will do that too.

Read here to understand why touches, hugs, massages can bring you more happiness but also why kisses can likely bring you more salaries!

What Chronotype Are You?

Who doesn’t want a better night of sleep?

I recently heard a wonderful interview with Dr. Michael Breus about sleep – in order to get better sleep, you need to know if it is your drivers/initiators of sleep (something called “adenosine” that is built up in your system to cause you to feel sleepy which then gets dissipated after you have slept) or if it is your circadian rhythm/biological clock that is giving you problems.  He also advocates natural methods rather than necessarily a pill to fix the problem.  Also despite conventional advocate of 8 hours a sleep and a bedtime by 10am, actually everyone needs different amount of sleep and has a different “right” time to go to bed.

As he is launching his new book, the Power of When, in September, he is sharing a quiz to identify what chronotype each person falls into.  His book will go into details the best time to do anything – the time and how much for sleep as well –  for each chronotype.  Sounds interesting, and the quiz is fun to do.

It turns out I am a Bear.

Let me know what type you are!

Hong Kong Night and Day
Are you a night owl or a morning person?  Day and Night in Hong Kong photo.


Flower Piano in the San Francisco Botanical Garden

To a piano player and a garden lover like myself, when I heard about the Flower Piano event (July 7-18) at the San Francisco Botanical Garden at the Golden Gate Park, I was overjoyed and could not wait to be a part of it.

With the sponsorship of Sunset Piano, 12 pianos are tucked among flower-filled gardens, beautiful ponds, redwood trees, all free for the public to play. There are scheduled performances as well. The garden has become a public concert hall, and with the beautiful surroundings of over 8000 kinds of plants, it is hard to imagine a better way to spend a leisurely Saturday afternoon.  It was amazing to hear all the talents coming out from the audiences to play their favourite music – classical, jazz, self-composed music, or just kids trying their hands on the piano. Some of the ambiance and acoustics were just surreal. Though I have seldom practiced my piano these days, I still managed to play in 6 of the 12 pianos today, performing Debussy and Yiruma’s works, basked in the audience’s appreciative claps, to which I was equally grateful and pleased.

These are some of the flower pianos I have played on today – no photos of mine but nevertheless still very fun and memorable.

How your iPhone can hold all your music scores!

And here is one of the pieces I played – the First Arabesque by Debussy. I have a feeling I will go back at the end of the week to play again and participate in a community sing-along, too.

Is this person meant to be in my life?

Good stories and videos can move millions. Lately, my Mum has been recommending me to watch Ralph Smart’s videos, and I love it!

Ralph is a psychologist, counselor, writer, and a humanist. He talks about anything that helps people to become a better version of themselves.

Who are those people supposed for you to be friends or in relationships with? He shares a few criteria. Watch this one, and give me a Hello! 

courtesy of