Magical Moscow

My blog has been relatively quiet for the past 20 days. I apologize for the lack of updates as I've been enjoying every bit of magic that Moscow had to offer. It took me some time to finally believe that I have not fallen into a deep slumber, apparate and wake up in Russia. It's real!!! But it still feels like a dream.

I flew to Moscow for work with two of our bosses. I was there for almost a week for a meeting with our Russian counterpart. It was really tiring, but it did not feel like work at all. Seeing Saint Basil's Cathedral wiped away the exhaustion of almost 18 long hours of travel.

I still cannot get over Moscow. Had it been an alcoholic beverage, I'd say I'm hungover. So pardon me if my thoughts are still all over the place. Moscow is sooooooooo incredibly beautiful. During those five days in the city, I ran out of adjectives to describe the place. Our hosts took us to the Kremlin and the entire of Red Square was a sight to behold. It was like a day dream happening in real time. Promise I will not make this entry long. In two paragraphs you'll see photos taken in Moscow. 

One thing about Russians is that they do need some time to warm up. They are serious, non-smiling individuals, but when you get to know them (say, after a day or two), it's nice to see them smile and share tidbits of local life. Locals make excellent tour guides as they are well-versed with their country's history. I believe I had an encounter with a babushka (Russian granny with a handkerchief tied over her head) and I looked at her in the eye. Her eyes were soulful, as if she was trying to speak to me. I hope she's a real Babushka- our guide said there are some fakes who dress up for photo ops and ask for money. But why would they fake being a babushka?!

After the trip I had one important realization: I have so many wishes in life. God knows my prayers, my heart's deepest desires. But experiencing this trip (although it was for work), I realized that God has already given me so much, yet I fail to recognize His blessings. Maybe this is His way of saying 'I can give you so much more, you don't have to ask for it.' I am really truly grateful for this. My heart jumps and sings of joy, of happiness, of gladness. I should not ask for more, because You know what is best, and You make it happen like magic.

And now the photos. 

State Historical Museum, Red Square, Moscow

The entire of Red Square- Kremlin, State Museum, Gum State Dept. Store, Saint Basil's Cathedral

Moscow River Cruise

Inside Gum State Department Store

Annunciation Cathedral, Moscow Kremlin

The Moscow Kremlin

Taipei Series: Callalily Farm

One of the things I like most about living in Taipei is that everything (or almost everything) is accessible by metro. It is very easy to go on a spontaneous weekend escape because some places wont really need tedious planning. 

Last week, I learned that the Callalily Festival will be coming to an end. Callalily season usually falls on March to late April, so it was perfect timing. We took the MRT to Beitou Station, and from Beitou, we boarded  shuttle number 9 which stops at the Callalily Farm (竹子湖). The view was magnificent. Calla lilies everywhere!  

We picked flowers and enjoyed the scenery. The flowers were priced at NT$10 apiece (around Php 15). The farm owners will wrap them like a bouquet and you can ask for an extra plastic bag with water, just so the flowers can stay fresh for your commute. When we headed back to downtown Taipei, we saw a lot of people carrying bags of calla lilies. There is something with flowers, especially calla lilies, that make you smile even if you're feeling down in the dumps.