Pork and red wine stew – a perfect Sunday night meal

Here I am, sitting at our kitchen table, writing this post as I wait for the stew that I’m cooking to finish. I’m making a pork and red wine stew for Siofra (my flatmate) and I and I hope it would taste yummy and we will not get drunk from it 😛

Pork and red wine stew

Siofra made potato wedges (spuds) too.

Potato wedges/spuds!

An hour later and a 20-minute Skype chat with my sister, our Sunday dinner looks yum yum and ready to be eaten.

Sunday night meal – pork and red wine stew with potato wedges

Siofra enjoying her meal!

I do find cooking oddly therapeutic especially after a long day at work. It’s nice to come home and spend an hour or two just cooking and eating my homemade meal. Hence why I decided to have a new goal during my time here in Nuremberg: to be comfortable with my cooking and be able to openly share it with other people. Siofra lent me her Jamie Oliver cookbook and I’m on a mission to be a better cook and baker by six months time.

My cooking guide for the next 6 months

Here comes Debbie, an aspiring chef! My dad will be happy to hear about this.

P.S. I’m tackling on an Indian curry dish this week. Let’s see how it goes! Tschüs 🙂

Nürnberg, a new home.

Just a quick post for tonight before I head to bed and get ready for another busy week. It’s been three weeks since I first came to Germany and a week since work started and I must say I’m starting to get used to it. I like what I’m doing and I’m slowly falling in love with this small city called Nürnberg. Spending a Saturday afternoon in a café in the old town and getting lost through the small alleys and discovering tiny shops are my favorites so far. Here’s a sneak peek to what it is like in my new city!

Hauptmarkt and its markets with Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in the background

Body of water near my place

Loving the flowers on the balcony of this building

Schöner Brunnen (Beautiful Fountain) in the city square

Reflection

Cool water fountain

Heilig-Geist-Spital (The Holy Spirit Hospital)

Sunset over the city ❤

Gute Nacht, Nürnberg!

Leaving on a Jet Plane…again

I’ve been thinking for quite some time now on how I should write this post. I know this post represents a big part of my life, another milestone. Having these 3 months off from school and work has made me dedicate my time to think about the rest of my life. There’s no more structure of what’s going to be next. There’s no high school or university to look forward to. There’s just a journey full of different paths to take. Whatever I do and whatever that happens with my life from now on are products of a hidden timeline that has yet to be revealed until I finally come across them face to face.

People might have wonder what I have been up to for the past few months or even when I got right back from exchange. I must say my exchange to Manchester turned my life around. The perspective I have on life changed and I grew to greatly appreciate what I have for the past 21 years of my life up to now. The most important change for me was the new found relationship I have with God. I was baptized when I was 1 years old but I never got the chance to practice my faith. When I moved to Canada, I attended Sunday masses and that was it. I never took the time to figure out the difference between the Old and New Testament, the stories behind the apostles and saints, among others. After experiencing life-changing challenges throughout the year 2011 and the most eye-opener one while I was on exchange and getting through it, I knew it was time to put myself in His hands and everything from then on is as sweet as it can be.

to recognize our complete dependence on God and give him thanks, doing all this not for the reward of religious experience, but simply out of earnest love for God. Then we’ll be prepared for religious experience. The rest is up to God.

Source: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/06/how-to-have-a-religious-experience.html

And this brings us to now. I’m currently on a plane to Nuremberg with stop-overs in Toronto (to pick up my sister) and Dusseldorf. It is a start of a new chapter of my life – a journey that I’ve been picturing for a long time and has finally come. I’ll be leaving in Nuremberg for the next 6 months and I’m beyond excited and at the same time, totally scared. But what getting me through this is this quote: “It is during the uncomfortable times that we grow the most” and knowing me, I’m a big fan of growth and self-discovery because knowing who I am, what I value and what I stand up for are things that are really important to me. I’ll be working as a Product Marketing Intern with adidas by Stella McCartney. I’m super stoked with this position and I’m looking forward to meeting my team and working at the adidas headquarters in Herzogenaurach. Thank you to my loving and supportive family and friends. Taking the time to form better relationships with you all during the past 6 months was the best decision I’ve ever made. I will miss you all and especially my home, Vancouver, Richmond and the beautiful British Columbia. Continue to check out my blog for posts about my life in Germany for the next 6/7 months. Here comes Debbie, the explorer, signing off as the plane takes off.

Four years and counting at Sauder! Where did the time go?

I can’t believe the past four years are coming to an end. Even though I’m not walking the stage today, most of my friends are and it is wonderful to see all of their hard work being celebrated by families and friends. I still remember the day when it all began, Frosh 2008. I hopped on the 99 B-line to UBC with my small luggage to get ready for a weekend away from home to experience some “Sauder” orientation. We all know what happened during that weekend. After party at that ghetto East Van skateboard building, yup. From that day on, I met an amazing group of friends – people who shared long hours, tears, worries, laughter and most of all, stories with each other. Thank you everyone for all the lessons, memories and inspirations. Knowing that I have a great support system of friends to bounce off ideas and opinions with is beyond awesome and I am forever grateful. As this chapter of our lives closes, I am looking forward to seeing and hearing from you all as our “real life” world opens. Even though we are not in the same building/place as we continue on with our life journey, we are always just a Facebook, Twitter status and photo updates apart. Keep in touch, Sauder Grads 2012!

To round it up, I leave you with 5 tips that I have accumulated from my past four years at UBC and Sauder School of Business. Enjoy!

1. 5 is the new 4. It’s OK to graduate in 5 years. I wish I knew about this earlier because I would have planned things better and took opportunities that being a student can have. Having more time also gives you the opportunity to try different things and see which ones you have a strong passion for.

2. Exchange – heck yes! I cannot stop raving how much my exchange mean to me because it is still so surreal how much I have grown just in 4 months. Exchange is all about experiential learning. It gives you the chance to learn outside the classroom and learn from different situations you are thrown into every single day. Plus, you gain a bunch of friends from all over the world, which gives you an excuse to travel and visit them.

3. Get out of your own bubble. Be involved in other clubs/organizations outside your faculty. It’s a great way to meet other people who have different interests and experiences than you during university life.

4. Explore the most beautiful campus on earth. Living at home did not give me much of a chance to experience university life at UBC but seriously we have the best campus ever – the mountains, the water, the gardens. My favorite view is the one facing the mountains and water with the rose garden. Morning walks to Anthropology building for a 10am class was a sweet way to end this semester.

5. Spend time with your university friends! Everyone is leaving and is off to their new adventure and honestly, it is going to be hard to schedule a lunch or even a dinner date with everyone together (having the same problem right now :P). Make sure to spend time with them as much as you can while you’re still in school together. For me, this past semester was the best because not only did I reconnect with some of my friends whom I have not talked to since first year, it also helped me to continue building the strong friendship that I already have with them as the years come.

Congratulations Sauder Grad 2012! The butterflies must be running endlessly in your stomach today as you cross the stage. I can’t wait to experience it next year and share the moment with the rest of the graduates.

“Don’t be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.” – Richard Bach.


Time to explore this city like a tourist

As most of my friends are out of the country doing their grad trips, I’m kinda sad that I’m not off somewhere to travel too. But, a friend of mine has suggested, instead of thinking I could be in Asia, Europe or South America, why don’t I explore my country, in particular my province, British Columbia, The Best Place on Earth! I have decided to take on this challenge and found a list through Inside Vancouver on 125 Things to Do in Vancouver. The list can be seen below (some of them require a bike and I can’t bike so I would have to improvise) and I will cross them off when I have done them. I only have two months (May and June) and the goal is to do as much as I can. Please leave a comment below if there is something that I MUST do/eat/experience that is not in this list. I will also write blog posts of the things that I have done and share how it is like. Here’s to May and June! Time to explore this city like a tourist.

  1. Ski in the morning and spend the afternoon on the water
  2. Hike the Grouse Grind on Grouse Mountain  Done: Summer 2011
  3. Walk along the sea wall at Stanley Park Done: Summer 2011
  4. Eat at all the amazing restaurants (this is ongoing…lol)
  5. Shop on Robson Street (window shop counts right?)
  6. Visit Granville Island
  7. Mountain bike on world-renowned trails surrounding Vancouver
  8. Yoga at Vanier Park
  9. The breakfast buffet atop the revolving restaurant at the Empire Landmark Hotel
  10. Visit Crab Park, the downtown secret
  11. Early evening BBQ picnic on Third Beach
  12. Sip Wine at a Yaletown Patio
  13. Go to the Vancouver Aquarium  Done: sometime in high school
  14. Run in the Vancouver Sun Run Done: Grade 10 and in costume
  15. Watch the fishers and crabbers at Jericho Beach
  16. Ride a bike through Stanley Park
  17. Stroll around Steveston Done: Summer 2011
  18. People watch on Granville street downtown Done: everytime I’m there
  19. Take the Seabus over to Lonsdale Quay for lunch Done: May 2012
  20. Ice cream cones at Prospect Point (Stanley Park)
  21. Take the Aquabus to stop, shop and eat along the way: Granville Island, Hornby Street, Stamps Landing, Yaletown
  22. Kayak in Deep Cove in North Vancouver
  23. Take a hike on the Baden Powell trail
  24. Explore the Museum of Anthropology at UBC
  25. Explore the Pacific Spirit Regional Park
  26. Have an espresso on Commercial Drive
  27. Catch the improv show with Vancouver Theatre Sports (Granville Island)
  28. Skim board at Spanish Banks
  29. Relax at English Bay
  30. Take your dog for a walk in Vanier Park and watch the boats
  31. Take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island
  32. Sit on the patio or inside by the window at Carderos Restaurant
  33. Walk through the Nitobe Garden on a nice sunny day
  34. Watch the buskers at Granville Island
  35. Bright Nights train ride at Stanley Park
  36. Van Dusen Botanical Gardens for the annual Festival of Lights Done: Christmas 2007
  37. Enjoy fresh sashimi and sushi (all day err day)
  38. Walk across the Burrard Bridge on a sunny day
  39. Run around Burnaby Lake
  40. Watch the Celebration of Light fireworks at English Bay
  41. Swim at Kits Pool in the summer
  42. Have a picnic at Kits beach
  43. Shop at the unique shops on Main Street
  44. Pitch and Putt in Queen Elizabeth Park
  45. Hike around Lynn Canyon
  46. Hike Hollyburn Mountain at Mount Cypress
  47. Walk on the West Vancouver Seawalk
  48. Sit by a log at English Bay and watch the sunset
  49. See the animals at Maple Wood Farms in North Vancouver
  50. Check out the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival Done: Summer 2012
  51. Spend a sunny afternoon at Ambleside Park
  52. Rent a cruiser (bike) in Yaletown and go cycling around False Creek
  53. Grab some take out fish n’ chips in White Rock. Stroll the sandy beach in your barefeet and take in the scenery
  54. Dine Out Vancouver annual restaurant festival Done: every year
  55. Walk around Lost Lagoon and feed all the birds
  56. Beach volleyball at Kits beach and Spanish Banks Done: Summer 2009
  57. Dine on the patio at Bridges Restaurant
  58. Salmon Festival at Steveston Village Done: Canada Day 2009
  59. Explore the Chinatown Night Market
  60. Soak up the sun at Wreck Beach
  61. The Mountain Ziplines on Grouse Mountain
  62. Listen to jazz at Granville Island during the Jazz Festival
  63. Visit the breweries and do some sampling. Granville Island Brewery… Yaletown Brewery… Howe Sound…
  64. Stand up paddling! Cheap rentals in Deep cove or Jericho beach
  65. Double features and Saturday matinees at the Hollywood Theatre on West Broadway in Kitsilano
  66. Skate at Robson Square
  67. Go for dim sum in Chinatown
  68. Science World Done: Summer 2010
  69. Go for ice cream at La Casa Gelato
  70. Step into the tranquil Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
  71. Fly over the snow-capped peaks of the North Shore
  72. Skate at the Richmond Olympic Oval
  73. Tour the International Buddhist Temple in Richmond
  74. Dance in the streets of Gastown during Jazz Fest
  75. Walk around downtown after a Canucks win (have to wait for this again next season)
  76. Shop at Metrotown
  77. Whale-watching out on the water
  78. Get fresh food at the Farmers Markets in the summer
  79. Hike up to Quarry Rocks in Deep Cove
  80. Spend an afternoon relaxing at David Lam Park
  81. Take the Rocky Mountaineer train through West Vancouver and along Howe Sound on the way up to Whistler
  82. Walk along Acadia beach between Spanish Banks Extension and Wreck beach. Quiet, walkable, rugged, beautiful
  83. Spend the day walking around Coal Harbour
  84. Watch a Canucks game at Rogers Arena Done: saw 2 games and they lost in both
  85. Climb the giant rock and explore the shoreline of Whytecliff Park West Vancouver
  86. Have the Beluga Experience at the Aquarium.
  87. Explore the many unique galleries and antique stores on South Granville’s famous Gallery Row
  88. Take your kids to the huge waterpark on Granville Island right outside the Kids Market
  89. Explore the Steamclock and the funky restaurants in Gastown
  90. Bike the Seawall from Coal Harbour all the way to Granville Island
  91. Explore the Punjabi Market
  92. Taste all the great food at the Richmond Summer Night Market Done: Summer 2011 
  93. Watch the various film crews around town (UBC has so many of these)
  94. Watch a live concert at the Commodore Ballroom
  95. Bike downtown in the new bike lanes
  96. Wine tasting during the International Wine Festival
  97. Watch the streets come alive during the Pride Parade
  98. Catch a movie during the Vancouver International Film Festival
  99. See a unique show during the Vancouver Fringe Festival
  100. Visit the 2010 Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza Done: Christmas 2011
  101. Take a day trip to Whistler along the Sea-to-Sky highway
  102. Watch the sea planes and cruise ships come and go from Coal Harbour
  103. Take in a Vancouver Whitecaps soccer game
  104. Take in BC Lions football game
  105. Check out all the cherry blossoms in the springtime (UBC and outside our house)
  106. Ice skate atop Grouse Mountain
  107. Explore the new Athlete’s Village neighbourhood along False Creek
  108. The Pink Floyd Laser show at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
  109. Explore the city on the Vancouver Trolley
  110. Scuba dive at Whytecliff Park
  111. Explore Horseshoe Bay by boat
  112. Snowshoe + Fondue tour up at Grouse or Cypress Mountain
  113. Hang out in the huge glass bubble at Bloedel Floral Conservatory – one of the largest domed greenhouses in the world and home to hundreds of exotic plants and birds
  114. Have a picnic at Lighthouse Park amongst Douglas firs and eagles’ nests
  115. Find out the darker side of the city’s history at the Vancouver Police Museum or do their Sin City tour around Gastown/Chinatown
  116. Be out in the street and be a part of the summer festivals! Italian Day, Caribbean Days, Commercial Drive Car Free Day.. the list goes on
  117. Cheer on the Vancouver Canadians at a game of baseball at Nat Bailey Stadium
  118. Watch the Super Dogs show, gorg on carnival food, go on rides and experience the atmosphere of the PNE Done: every August! I’m sad I’m missing it this year.
  119. Take a culinary walking tour of Granville Island
  120. Go for dim sum brunch at a huge array of great Chinese restaurants in Richmond (every time)
  121. Eat poutine at La Belle Patate and wash it down at a bar with a spicy Caesar
  122. Finish work and be night boarding up on Grouse Mountain in less than 30 minutes after quitting time
  123. Hang out with the racoons in Stanley Park (if you find their secret place, you could be there for hours!)
  124. Head to Main Street for dinner and drinks
  125. Take a day trip on BC Ferries over to the island to visit Victoria

My take on Sustainability

As this term comes to a close, Kate (our prof) asked our class to write a post about how sustainable marketing change how we view the world. Here’s my personal take on it.

Taking this class has opened my eyes on how sustainable practices are used by companies nowadays. Not just the whole use of recyclable materials or less plastic, but the whole aspect of sustainable practices being applied to the whole value chain of the company. It also gave me a viewpoint on how some companies are really genuine and passionate about implementing sustainable practices to help our society while some are just greenwashing to make us consumers believe they are concerned about the environment. With sustainability being a buzz word among businesses today, companies have to quickly determine if they are going to take their stand and do it wholeheartedly or they would just go with the flow and not put too much thought on it.

As a student/consumer, taking this course made me appreciate the sustainability side of marketing. It’s something that I have not really put that much thought into and I’m glad taking this course has made me do that. I’m also more interested to discover the sustainable initiatives and practices that are being done by companies. There is a quite a lot of them and I want to explore them more hence the reason why I will still continue on with this blog to feature sustainable companies. Last but not the least, I admire companies and people who are so passionate about sustainability. I went to Me Inc Conference this year and I attended the sustainability panel workshop. I enjoyed hearing the speakers (from Fortis BC, MEC, New World Natural Foods and VCC) take on sustainability and how they are still working hard in sending the message out to our society today. I was really inspired from the panel and I look forward to including sustainability in my personal and work life.

 

Comments on Classmates’ Blog Posts on Sustainability

1st Comment on Sabrina’s post on Environmental Impact of Cellphones

I like how infographics are made to summarize the key effects of electronics and e-waste to our environment. It definitely makes it easier to understand at least in my case. I was reading this article: http://www.good.is/post/superb-idea-this-machine-recycles-your-old-phone-and-gives-you-money/ and it perfectly relates to your blog post. In this article, it introduces the ecoATM where you can put your old phone in the slot, get an estimated price for it and cash out for store credit or money. I find this product/service innovative and different. It makes people curious and want to try the machine out. Hopefully, this machine will make its way to Canada!

2nd Comment on Keeptheeco’s post on How far are you willing to?

I think the two points that you mentioned in regards to adidas being in the list of Top 100 sustainable corporations are just a small part of the company’s sustainable initiative. adidas has an overall strategy of reducing its environmental impact 15% by 2015 in all of its areas such as value chain and product creation, among others through a project called Green Company (http://blog.adidas-group.com/2011/12/another-milestone-on-the-road-to-be-a-green-company/). It is an environmental programme that runs in their offices, warehouses, distribution centres and production sites around the world. Several of their buildings are also ISO 14001 certified. The ISO 14001 certification is a framework that assists organizations in developing their own environmental management system and adidas has already aimed in applying this framework to their global locations such as their main headquarters at Herzogenaurach, Germany, adidas North America in Portland and distribution centres in Spartanburg and Indianapolis, US. This effort in reducing their carbon emission, waste and pollution is not something I would consider as greenwashing, as Marco mentioned above. As concerned consumers, we should all take the time to read a company’s sustainable initiatives and programs before we judge them. Here’s adidas Group’s blog that talks about their current sustainable initiatives: http://blog.adidas-group.com/category/sustainability-aspects/

3rd comment on agreennation’s post on Kenya and its ecotourism

Wow, I definitely want to visit Kenya and experience all it has to offer especially the natural wildlife. Since I love traveling, I read travel blogs and I have noticed that eco-tourism is becoming more popular in the tourism and hospitality industry. Especially when it comes to sites that are so old and have to be preserved such as Pompeii, Italy, as tourists, we have to become more aware of how we explore certain parts of the world. Some sustainable practices include making sure we throw our garbage in the bins, we do not destroy the environment and cause as minimal environmental impact as possible. This can prevent the place from being extinct and let it still be accessible to tourists like us.