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By now you must have sensed that I have a strange obsession with hotels

My previous post was a fine example for #FirstWorldProblem.

The kids and I survived. Of course. More than survived, we had a grand old time taking it easy playing really layback tourists in Chicago. The kids apparently inherited my love for hotels: we spent one morning inside the hotel watching the History Channel.

My view now by the pool on the 40th floor… #nofilter #sky #clouds #Chicago #hotels

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View from the rooftop. #Chicago #lake #sky #skyline

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Night swim. #swimmingpool #swimming

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As I lay on the lounge chair watching the kids frolicking in the pool on the top of the hotel under the moon and surrounded by city lights, I had to admit, with embarrassment, that I could no longer complain.


I am going to be staying at yet another hotel tonight. BlogHer 2013 is here in Chicago. I hope to see some of you in 3D. Be warned: I am hashtag awkward.


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July 17, 2013

in random

My co-worker once told me that my family should have a reality TV show because ridiculous things happen to us all the time. Actually, I admit: what he really meant was that we are a family of ridiculous inclination and we make ridiculous decisions and do ridiculous things.

“Hilarity ensued.”

I should have a plaque of these words hanging in our family room.

We are putting new floors in for the house this week. We did not realize that we had to completely vacate the first floor before the workers could start.

No problem. We all got a rude awakening early Tuesday morning. We moved everything (except the large pieces of furniture) off the floor, the china cabinet, the buffet table, the wine cabinet, bookcases and shelves in a record time of 3 hours. I was tearfully grateful to have a teenage son that morning.

Then I was told that starting today, we had to vacate the house because of the sanding and the staining.



I really do.

I love them so much that when I am on a business trip I often miss the chance to explore the city fully because I spend most of the time enjoying the hotel, that I used to bid on Priceline for $50 or less a night to stay in hotels, sometimes within 5 minutes drive from my house, just because.


I have fond childhood memories of my mom hiding me in the laundry cart or under the service cart to sneak me into the hotels that she worked at when she could not find somebody to watch me. Hotels to me at that time were fantastical places where super wealthy people stayed when they were not at home. I did not know the concept of vacation back then – I don’t remember my parents ever taking any “vacation”, and my family certainly had never taken trips together to faraway places for fun. The guests at the hotels always looked so grand and happy. Some frequent guests even brought me candy, and sometimes even chocolate truffles [worth their weight in gold to a child]! The ladies dressed beautifully and spoke in soft voices, and plus, they smelled nice, like flowers.

Hotels were where you were taken care of, where your towels and sheets smelled like sunshine, your bed was big and soft and bounced when you jumped on it. My mother was an expert bed maker (she kind of had to): she made beds with perfect “hotel corners”, and they looked like rectangular boxes with sheets pulled so tight that you could see the sharp angles at the foot of the bed.

Compared to the regular cramped apartments in Taipei, hotels seemed like palaces with modern amenities. The bathroom itself was a wonder – a toilet that worked perfectly, tiles with no dirt or moldy spots in between, and a bathtub so big and CLEAN that you could soak your entire body in.


and the most wondrous thing of them all:


To this day my favorite thing about staying in a hotel is to sleep in a cool room with a soft comforter pulled over my face.


Thus began our adventure in three different hotels on three consecutive nights.

Renaissance/Marriott tonight.

Tomorrow onto Starwood.

On Friday, we are checking into an IHG hotel.

Collect all three!

I guess my co-worker was onto something.

“Hilarity ensued…”

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I feel so naked without a working cellphone with me when I am out and about. Vulnerable. I did not know how dependent I have become, at least psychologically, on having instant access to the world.

They changed the configuration of the plane: I was able to get a window seat in the Economy Plus section. After I settled into my seat, I started Instagramming. I stopped when I saw a long string of rosaries dangling near my face. No way.


It was a real Sister. I don’t know why I was so surprised. Sisters fly. My Sister immediately took out her well-worn Bible, with margins filled with notes in neat handwritings, and started reading silently to herself. When she put the Book away, I thought, what’s she gonna do now? She took out her rosaries and a tiny book filled with pictures of saints (I assumed) and continued to pray.

I felt so safe on this flight. And so content.

Sister is not going to steal from my bag when I go use the bathroom. Sister is not going to judge that I have not one ounce of makeup on. Sister won’t care that I have an erupting pimple at the base of my nose. Sister probably won’t judge me. Period. Besides Sister is all skin and bones and she keeps to herself physically so I have both armrests! Sign me up from now on!

Maybe it was as a test for me that soon I found out that my seat did not recline at all. And the new personal screen I was so psyched about was broken. Somehow I was not agitated. I probably would have felt really embarrassed if I threw a tantrum over something trivial like this after overhearing that Sister was flying to China to work in an orphanage. #TrueStory


Luckily I’d packed every single electronic gadget I have: Android phone, Kindle, iPhone, iPad, and a Mac, even though what I really wanted to do on the flight was to sleep.

So far I have seen the airport and the hotel.

I broke my glasses so I am in trouble at night after I take out my contact lenses. I have no idea what I am going to do for my return flight as I cannot wear those dastardly things in my eyes for 13+ hours. My eyes will be like dried plums.

Anyway, it is almost 2 am, and I am supposed to be up 4 hours from now.


But before I jump into this,


I need to take advantage of this:



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