Nights I spend alone, I spend ’em runnin round lookin for you, baby. Lookin’ for love. Cause there’s something that I get from myself, And there’s something that you give to me. And if I’ve got one without the other, Then it’s not enough to be – I need your love

My blogging absence has been shocking. In all fairness though, I’ve had my grandparents, aunty, uncle and three cousins visit us from Taiwan for Chinese New Years, so most afternoons (once I wake up, haha) and evenings are spent entertaining the little ones, and letting them follow me around. As of today, my aunt and uncle have gone back to work overseas, but the rest are still here until the 2nd. Good news is, I’ve started (too slowly) working on a new theme for this blog because words cannot express how sick of its appearance I am!

But I really wanted to make a post before the month was out, and most importantly, because I have a big four days ahead of me. Monday is the Laneway Festival, and the boy and I couldn’t be more excited. We’re also really disappointed with the unfriendly timetable, and so a lot of sacrifices will have to be made on the day… I just don’t understand – why would they overlap Washed Out and Toro Y Moi?! And Twin Shadow. But especially the first two – they’re the same genre, and if you like one, then you pretty much will definitely like the other. Why couldn’t Feist or someone else (and I’m going to get shot for saying this in public) who I couldn’t care any less about, clash with one of these more “minor” acts, so that the crowds would be shifted away? Haha. That’d be the day! So by the looks of it, I have to sacrifice seeing Twin Shadow and The Horrors, but luckily I’ve already seen and photographed the latter before. A quick search showsjust how much I’d been looking forward to Twin Shadow. Sigh.

The other really big deal is that the boy and I have our one-year-anniversary coming up. All of my friends have commented on how much looonger it seems that we’ve been together, and I’ve been surprised to hear a few “it’s only been almost a year?!”, although I guess we’d been a long time coming and are very, very close. And we both feel that it’s just flown past; but in all seriousness, I’m kind of freaking the fuck out. A year’s a really long time. To me, at least. To the both of us. We were never quite the “long term committed relationship” type – and in fact I hate that label, but I guess we’re not “just for now, goodbyeee in a coupla months”, so hmmfph, yeah. Just ask any guy who’s ever been in a room with me, and you’d know what a freakish, unplanned and unpredictable piece of nature this relationship has been for me. I’m terrible at relationships and I’m just plain terrible. But I’d like to keep thinking that my crazy antics and mental instability is made up my sheer awesomeness. We still haven’t made concrete plans yet, so that’s a bit annoying, but oh whatever, it goes with the spontaneous territory that I am.

I’m super sad and pissed off at myself because at dinner last night I accidentally opened the back of my camera up since I’d forgotten that I’d put a roll of film in there already. The only two black and white photos I’d taken were of the boy and the cat sleeping… my two main men were angled just right, so fucking magically… but now they are forever lost to the grave of exposed films. It’s doubly sad because the boy totally hates the idea of sleeping with my cat, so it was a rare accident that he was in such deep sleep and the cat had slept next to him, rather than tried to sleep on him. Argh!

And yes, the travel photos and stories will be coming soon… for now, some film photos from the end of 2011, right before I went overseas:

2nd hand bookstore: self portrait #1.

2nd hand bookstore: self portrait #2.

Reflection of the sky tower. Managed to get this shot riiight before the light went green.

Post-exam celebrations at Non Solo Pizza.

Then he had to cut his hair for work :(

The boy’s room.


True and everlasting that’s what you want, True and everlasting that’s what you want. Do you remember when 21 years was old?

It’s finally mid-semester break, signalling the long-awaited two weeks of pseudo-holiday that we’ve been longing for – before this semester even began. The boy and I just got back from our half-secret trip to Rotorua yesterday, and it’s no surprise that I’ve taken hundreds of photos that took forever to sort out. It’s been three of the most relaxing, beautiful and unforgettable days of my life, spent with the most unforgettable person I know. I can’t wait to get my films developed so I can see the rest of my photos! And I also can’t wait to do something like this again… summer, please don’t be too long.

Photo diary with chronological commentary:

We stayed in a log cabin for the first night. Since I accidentally (stupidly) revealed to Daniel a couple of weeks ago as to where we were going, I’m glad I’ve managed to keep the more special parts secret – where we are staying, precisely. It was definitely worth the effort just to see the delighted look on his face as we drove up to the cabin and stepped inside – we’d been talking about wanting to stay in a “log cabin” for a while now, so I’m glad that it’s turned out to be exactly what we were after. It was the coziest, cutest thing – perfect.

The boy setting the GPS, before we had quite figured out where things were in Rotorua.

Luggage. Mostly consisting of towels and cameras.

We decided to visit the Polynesian Spa first, and this was the view we spent our first afternoon with. A worthwhile $21.50 for the Adult Pools, albeit the all rude staring men (and some asian girls that followed me around with their eyes). Where Daniel exercised territorial glances and I translated the ridiculous conversations of self-righteous Chinese tourists who decided it would be okay to include me in their conversational topics, without realising that, yes indeed, I may just understand every single word.

There were a lot of seagulls as the Spas looked out over Sulphur Bay.

The stunning view that the 41C spa had – if only that spa had been cooler, we wouldn’t have had to sit on the edge the whole time, whilst I got chilly shoulders and mozzie bites!

The golden, hard-to-pry-for-a-photo smile.

He took a photo of me, taking a photo of him.

The aforementioned spa. It was the most crowded one, as it had the best view.

View from where we bought burgers and fries for dinner.

Eating dinner, lakeside, with the last fading rays of sunset.

Lake Rotorua.

Back inside the cabin, where we devoured Shingle Peak Reisling and chocolate biscuits.


We woke up the next morning to a shock score of Arsenal losing 8-2 to Man U. And spent much of the next couple of days returning to “OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT HAPPENED!!! EIIIGHT-TWOOO!!!”

We brought a pot of dumplings to cook for breakfast… but the fridge kind of froze the pot.

Locking up the cabin.

This was an absolute failure of a stove. Several attempts and a change of stoves later, we finally cooked the dumplings.

Back to the cabin we go…

…with rather destroyed-looking dumplings.

Trying to eat with a plastic spoon.

The dumplings were all mushy and stuck together because they had been sitting in warm water for far too long, before the stove decided to heat up enough to achieve boiling point.

Teeth brushing.

All packed up and ready to leave. I miss this cabin already.

At Hell’s Gate Thermal Reserve.

Kakahi Falls, “the largest natural hot waterfalls in the southern hemisphere”.

Unsuspecting photo by the generous camera-bag holder.

The landscape was so desolate and other-worldly and we loved every minute of it. Also, thanks largely to my photographing ways and knack for pointing out and staring at every nook and cranny, we stayed much longer than the prescribed 45-ish minutes for the walk.

At first we complained that it was cloudy and the weather wasn’t great, but then we decided that it made everything look far more volcanic and appropriate.

Another unsuspecting photo taken by the boy.

Black mud. Really, really hot stuff.

More hot stuff. Haha.

Caught-off-guard photos.

I think I like this one the best.

And then I attacked with a flick of the scarf.

The “steamy photo” of the boy. We had a bit of a misunderstanding about that phrase later on… haha. I made this photo black and white because I think it makes it look far better. I also took photos on black and white film, but I won’t get to see them for a while yet. Well worth paying $30 to enter the reserve, just to get this photo.

Apparently this mud volcano is still growing…

Hand holder.

Playing with the grey mud that we were allowed (and recommended) to touch. It felt really good on the skin, too.

Instead of visiting the Red Woods, we hit up Hamurana Springs instead – where the water was clear and purely amazing!

Makes me think of the Forbidden Forest. I’ve always preferred “forests” over “bush”, but New Zealand is mostly covered with bush – that’s why I enjoyed this so much. Although it was largely a blend of the two.

Yet another unsuspecting photo of me and my red scarf.

Self timerrr.

One of my favourite photos ever. It looks really constructed and cropped, but that’s just how the camera happened to drop onto the tree stump that I set the self timer onto.

The head of the spring, which is the largest in the North Island. It’s approximately 15m deep, and can you believe this thing has about 4,500,000 litres of water flowing out of it every hour?!

Don’t fall in.


View from above.


Reflections #1.

Reflections #2.

Late lunch at Thirty1Five Restaurant.

$10 Beef Nachos – sooo delicious and incredible value for money. I think for the first time in my life I had more ingredients than I had chips to scoop it up with!

King Spa Deluxe Room I got a deal for at the Rydges Hotel. The boy looking pretty pleased with himself…

…and pretty pleased with the fact that we then got to watch the football highlights on Sky Sports.

Post-swim complimentary drinks at the Mezz Bar in the hotel. The bartender had just shut down the bar and was delighted that we made his job easy with 2x Monteiths orders.



More indulgence.

The next morning we rocked up to our free buffet breakfast at 10am, only to discover that the buffet shuts at 10am. Luckily they let us fill our plates with as much food as possible, before they cleared the buffet away. Won’t make that mistake next time!

Crazy kids.

The morning after.

We decided to go for a walk around Sulphur Bay – the bay that the Polynesian Spas had looked out on.

Sort of didn’t exactly “stay on the footpath” as signs had warned. The idea of DANGER DANGER was too exciting. Plus, how often to you get to check out boiling pools of water in the ground?!

The whole bay was steaming.

Marbled sulphur.

At the Government Gardens.

Me being ruining a perfectly good photo, haha.


Car ride home.

The corrugated iron sheep at Tirau.

Fucking amazing trip. The End.

This one goes on to you, All the reasons I know. This one goes on to you, I never had a clue.

Meet Kevin Bacon – he’s the award that the player of the day in my hockey team gets to take home for a week. Said player is then also entrusted with the duty of bringing a box of half-time oranges to the next game. So that was me, last week. Although I finally got a goal on Saturday, I’m kinda bummed it wasn’t the cleanest of goals… but I’ll live. I was all too happy to pass Kevin Bacon onto a teammate for her tough efforts in defense this week though. We only drew 1-all, but hopefully it will do the trick we want it to do on the points table.

Isn’t Kevin Bacon cute?

I’ve actually just gotten back from the boy’s house where I was helping him out with his honours presentation that he has to give tomorrow. At first I felt a little picky, pointing out “things to improve” and getting him to re-order and re-structure some things but I’m glad he actually found me helpful rather than annoying. And I feel like I gave him some good points that’s helped to set off some major improvements which can’t hurt. I’ve got so much work I still need to do for my transcription due on Wednesday, which is going to be tough, but in the meantime, I certainly don’t envy being the boy. Which is worse? A 50minute presentation on a hard topic for which ten thousand words is due in a couple of weeks’ time, OR a 64-bar transcription, bebop composition assignment complete with a shout chorus, improvisation playing test, and a jazz combo recital? All of which is really… daunting. Anyway, pointless non-comparisons aside, what’s getting us through these grueling two weeks until our two week mid-semester break is a 3-day trip that I’ve planned for us to take on the 28th-30th August. To be more precise, “I’ve planned” it in the sense that the boy has no idea where we are going, except for the few hints I’ve given him. Two nights away at some mystery spot somewhere south of Auckland, within 5 hours’ drive away. I’ve also told him that we’re staying at two contrasting places for each night, that are only (according to Google Maps) within 6 minutes of driving time from one another. And that we need to bring bedding for the first night. It’s going to be amazing. I’m so crap at keeping secrets and surprises to myself that this is really proving to be quite the challenge, but I’m sure the look on his face will pay off. I think I’m going to end up asking him to drive so that I can take photos along the way. So it will go something like “keep driving, turn here, hold on, are we going the right way? I hope so, because you don’t know where we’re meant to be going”, haha.

Playlist of the evening:

1. Dawn – Kordan
I stumbled upon this band and fell for them only a month ago. I remember so clearly when I found them, because I was just about to go over to the boy’s house, but a link had brought me to their band’s website and the video for “Closer” (the song below) was on autoplay and made me sit down and really listen to them. I wish this song was longer. There’s a weird, almost dissatisfying feeling about this song, because I feel like “something” ought to happen in it, but does not. Anyway, I think this is a great album opener, thus a great playlist opener.

2. Closer – Kordan
Probably my favourite song by this band. It’s right up my alley with its dreamy, shoe-gazey sound that is coupled with sweetly endearing lyrics. It’s the sort of music I like to listen to at night either alone or tucked up with the other half.

3. Boxcar – The Embassy
The boy acquainted me with this artist, and I was saying to him the other day how undated and “relevant” this album still sounds, even though it was released almost a decade ago. I can’t think of anything else in particular from 2002 that I would label as having a “fresh” feel even today. It’s a deceptively cheerful-sounding song that actually has rather sad undertones in the lyrics, and is also where this post’s title comes from.

4. All We Ask – Grizzly Bear
I’ve had this album sit on my computer for two years now, and never really gave it a chance until a couple of nights ago. For some reason this song almost sounds-waltzy to me, and it’s really just so soft, soft, lovely. I’m such a sucker for romance.

5. Say Something Say Anything – Blood Red Shoes
I might have even put this song in a much older playlist but I don’t remember. I just have a faint recollection of having blogged about this song at some point, I’m pretty sure. Yeah, yeah, I wouldn’t say this song is musically amazing or anything, but once again it falls under “songs/bands I love for un-obvious reasons”. One might hazard a guess that I like this band because it’s a male/female duo (as I mentioned a couple of playlists ago of my affinity for them), but that’s never a good reason to like a band. They just have songs that snap at me and makes me want to listen and keep listening. They do their style so well, I don’t even care about listening to “similar artists”. To be honest – and anyone who’s been in my company whilst I’ve screamed along to this song in my car will have been told this many times – I really only listen to this song for the line that kicks in about three quarters of the way in, during the bridge, repeated all the way to the end: so tell me, how long, how long, how long can you miss someone?

6. Neat Little Rows – Elbow
Apparently this band is amazing. So I gave them a listen. And they’re not bad. I haven’t quite fallen for them yet though, but they are pretty good. Although, when I went on Youtube to acquire the link for this playlist, I couldn’t sit through the video since… well I am not a fan of seeing fat men sing passionately in a set-up situation, and would rather let the sonic merits of his voice (and the band) shine through, unaffected. That sounds bitchy though. But I always think that if you are going to spend that much money making a video… Regardless, I like their new album, Build A Rocket Boys!

7. Lovely Allen – Holy Fuck
Holy Fuck is definitely one of those bands that I started liking twice as much (if not more) after seeing them live. I especially like bands that can pull off instrumentals, and they definitely do. I have no idea if this song has or not, but I always feel as if it must have been used in a movie or something. It starts and ends so beautifully, too – a well rounded, happy-ending kind of song, thus, bringing this playlist to a close.

And oh yeah, in a spout of madness on Friday, I bought these shoes from Topshop. I had been waiting for them to come out online for soooo long and had checked daily for months – but then they happened to be released on the two days that I didn’t turn my computer on at all and were sold out immediately. They’re now being scalped off ebay and the like for around twice the price. Yikes. So maybe there is an upside to The Department Store now having Topshop after all. I know, I know, they’re incredibly sparkly and to be perfectly honest, little over a year ago I would never go near them, but I think my shoe-thing all began with infamous patent aqua Dr. Martens. I was tossing up between the black glitter and these silver ones, but then thought, oh heck, if I’m going to do glitter I may as well really sparkle. Plus I have black boots anyway.

Something like a phenomena, baby, You’re something like a phenomena

It’s about to be my 20th birthday. I have mixed feelings about not being a teenager anymore, and it’s scary considering I was still 19 when I went to the supermarket this afternoon and once again didn’t get ID’d for buying alcohol! Earlier this evening, I went over to the boy’s house “for dinner”, thinking it was just going to be another fun but casual dinner. Turns out, they had cooked me a feast of lamb shanks (done superbly with probably the same recipe as mum, score!) and fresh brownies out of the oven with fancy ice cream on the side for dessert. It was such a sweet, sweet surprise, if I wasn’t so takenaback I probably would have jumped and given Donna a hug! I probably should have. Ahhhh. Anyway, I’m still in awe of how nice it was, to whip me up a hearty family meal to celebrate my birthday for me, when my family are away – I will never forget it. What a nice way to round of my teenage years.

Sooo… I decided to spend an afternoon (which turned into evening, which turned into all night) digging out old photos from my years of being a teenager. This is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done because – in case you hadn’t noticed – I rarely post photos of myself. And when I do, it’s usually ones I’ve taken, or got other people to take under my strict strict instructions. So what is beyond that “Continue Reading” link is actually hundreds of photos (mostly of me) showing my transformation during the ages 14-19. There are gazillions more photos somewhere, but I don’t have access to mum’s stash of photos at the moment, so I also don’t have any one hand from when I was 13. Regardless, even if no one is that interested in what little-Amanda looked like, I had a LOT of fun doing this, recalling so many events and memories that I had long forgotten about. I’ve posted things in order of age, and almost in perfect chronological order, so be impressed. It’s a little funny turning 20, because in New Zealand it’s not a big deal like 18 or 21 is, but in Taiwan, 20 is a big deal. It’s like NZ’s 18th and 21st birthdays mashed together, sort of. To put it in perspective, I can’t renew my Taiwanese passport on my own without a parent’s signature until I turn 20 tomorrow. Which reminds me I really need to get onto it.

Looking back, I’ve obviously grown up a lot throughout my teenage years, but I’ve also stayed the same in more ways than I had expected. I’ve done a lot of things that I’m proud of, but also a lot of things that I’m not. But I’m pretty happy where I am right now, and I’m just trying to look towards the future optimistically. And if you know me at all, you’d know that I’m not generally an optimistic person. Like… how I have to spend 13 hour at uni tomorrow on my birthday… I’m sure it will turn out fine though. Also, the exhibition opened yesterday, and I’ll probably post the official photos in the next entry, but there are photos of the gallery at the bottom of this post!

Oh, and you may be surprised to find that I hardly look different at all.

Age 14:

Taken at the house I “grew up in”. I wish my hair was that long again.

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This is more than I can take, I fear my heart will burst or break. If there’s a thing as too much joy, I will be taken away

I’m still completely physically shattered from the events of yesterday, so this is going to be a very image-heavy post. So yesterday I finally played my first game of winter hockey since 2009! The good news is, we won 5-nil and our captain got a hat trick. The bad news is that after five (if not more) shots on goal, I didn’t manage to get a single one in – one flew wide and the rest somehow narrowly got away or were saved, ahhh! And the worst catch was, it was pouring down with torrential rain. It was raining so hard that I had to constantly wring water out of my shirt and skirt so that it wouldn’t stick to me as much whilst I was running. On top of that, it’s obviously not the easiest thing in the world to hold onto, as well as exert force with a hockey stick, without losing grip of it. I put in a lot of reverse hits at the goal, although they weren’t flying high enough towards the preferred far corner, but for now I’m just really happy that I executed them all and didn’t skin my knees too badly in the process. New turf is skin’s worst enemy!

The rest of post and photos follow after the cut off. Photos courtesy of mum, from far far away at the top of the spectator stands where it was nicely sheltered, but you can see on some of the photos just how hard it was raining the whole time. In chronological order (I played as either Centre Forward or Left Wing throughout the whole game, in the #6 shirt):

I have no idea why or how my legs and feet look really awkward there.

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