Saturday, December 30, 2006

L'Ametlla de Mar

We were hungry for some paella today, so a decision was made to drive down to the nearest southern region which serves a decent paella. After-meal observation: great 'arroces', but for an authentic paella, keep going south.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

WOW!!! :)

our annual Christmas gift ´basket´ from one of Nabí students´parents, oh how I love them: yellowtail, monkfish, galeres (large prawn like shellfish with pretty butterfly tail), squid, and many more

Friday, December 08, 2006

Barcelona: Blue Christmas

Happy Holidays, Everybody!!


El Corte Inglés - green art nuveau ball

People on Portaferissa
Santa María del Pi and market

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Bloomington, Indiana

Monday, September 25, 2006


1st destination: Tamarindo beach

K and N, inspecting a dead dragonfly from the pool

Volcanic beach at Tamarindo

Friends of the beach, these two dogs are ALWAYS following us whenever we walk on the beach, on this day, I saw them 'fighting' and barking up and down the beach with a...CRAB!!

San José city market

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A quick hello!!

Dear Friends,

Sorry for the lack of activities in here. We have been away for most of the summer, and now I'm back home, studying for my doctoral exams. I'll try to get some photos and updates in as soon as time permits.

Meanwhile, I'm home a lot these few weeks, please ring and say hello.

My home number has changed, if you didn't get the address change mass email, please let me know and I will send it to you.

Love, H.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Rita, my beautiful friend who was my best friend in junior high

Emma, the apple of Rita's eye

Budapest, one of the most grand cities in Europe, a true empire

This is for J.L., inspired by her blog, 'you never know where a heart might be', here's one to you from Budapest, my dear friend!

Imgainary citizens

Europe's first underground train system

Rain in Budaptest

One of the many temporary cow sculptures littered across the city

Baruch and Mark, in old Serbian town

The Parliament

Palace of the Arts - a 170-million dollar project, opened in 2005



Freddie (my harpsichord) inside a mechanic classroom (next to the cloister, in which we played a concert)

Tuning in a public square for our final outdoor concert (or else known as a public amusement for passing pedastrians who aren't aware of the upcoming concert)

Last day: students and teachers

Saturday, June 10, 2006

short greetings

Hello Friends!

I know the blog has been idle for a while, and I know some of you consistently check it, so I just wanted to say a quick hello. We have recently moved to the Tiana house (so if you haven't got the email for the address change, please let me know). You can scroll back in archive and look at the pictures of the house :)
I will be away most of this summer, but please let us know if you would like to have a great big house and a cute cat to play with while we're gone. We are exactly one short bus ride (less than 5 minutes) away from the beach :) and just a 15-minute train ride to the center. So, pack your swimsuit and let's go! :)

I will try to post some photos once I actually go somewhere interesting (have been very laden with work lately, but today was the last day!!). Meanwhile, I hope all of you are well and happy, please drop me a line!! :)

Love, H.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

LA TEMPESTA DEL CLAVECÍ - The Harpsichord Storm

Harpsichord Concert Tomorrow ~~~

April 24, 2006
Place: Biblioteca de Catalunya (Sala de Llevant)
Presenter: Alfred Rodríguez-Picó
Harpsichordist: Heidi Tsai

Music by: J.S. Bach, A. Forqueray, B. Storace, J.C.F. Fischer, A. Soler, D. Scarlatti and J. Munday

EVERYONE is invited :)

Lost Voices

I humbly request a moment of silence for the 5 singers who were students at the Indiana University School of Music, who died in a plane crash two days ago. May you sing with the angels and fill heaven with your sweet voices

Rest in Peace.

Monday, April 17, 2006


Scoping out the town where we would like to move to...

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

TORTOSA - Catalunya's own GRANADA

So, the secret destination which I was taken to, as a part of the celebration of our third anniversary, was Tortosa (province of Tarragona). Located in the most southern part of Catalunya, at various times, I had the feeling we were stepping outside of the 'Catalan Nation', and were directly plunged into the deep south of the Spanish Heart, yet, most of the towners, locals and immigrants alike, spoke
nothing but Catalan.

Upon opening my eyes from a drive-induced stupor, and after spending half an hour digging our van out of the sand dunes in the Delta, I was thrilled to see that one part of the secret 'surprise' was a night in the Parador's, a national chain of luxury hotels which were renovated from old castles in various parts of Spain. What struck me immediately after getting out of the van on the highest part of Tortosa, is how much I am reminded of Granada. Perhaps it was the castle/hotel, like la Alhambra, perched high above Tortosa's medival center, surrounded by a shield of Gypsies living among trash and poverty, as in Sacromonte, or it could be the labrynth of narrow streets from the old Jewish neighborhood, which has now been turned into half tourist attraction, half ghetto.
We decided to take a walk down to the center via a ´less traveled road´, contrary to a kind warning from the hotel clerk. In the beginning, we thought it was merely a short stretch of transitional road to the center of the town, but after a few minutes, we realized we were in the dead center of a very questionable neighborhood, where trash was piled high and proud, and children and cats were lounging outside, filthy and suspicious. Somehow as we thought it couldn´t get worse, it did, children gradually gave way to young adults, grouped in threes, hanging around in parks, parking lots, just waiting. Then groups became groups of groups, and curiously enough, no visible women could be seen in any immediate vicinity.
view of the hotel from the Gypsy street

The comercial side of the center is divided by a lovely river, and as with all beatiful cities with a river in the middle, it had a distinct smell and charm all of its own. After the adventures of getting lost in a rapidly darkening city with full of shadows and hidden corners, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice meal in the Parador´s, where we were staying for the night. Although not quite yet in Valencia, I had the best paella of my life, it was made unconventionally, with duck and artichokes, and it was delicious!
River at night in Tortosa

Dark and unknown corner

Gargoyles lurking at night

Freaky smoke

One of the best ways to finish a meal where buttons needed to be unhooked, and zipper unzipped, is to walk around an old castle above a beautiful medieval city (in the comfort and safety of the parking lot, of course). We wandered for a few minutes before we came upon a distinct wailing which came unmistakbly from a Gypsy singer. I suppose due to sounds travel upward and the night was clear, we were able to participate, as voyeurists do, from afar, a unique and unforgettable moment. It came from the same shady street which we took to go down to the center, now shielded by a wall of history, class and culture differences, the same street exuded a mysticism known to me only through books. Yet the daunting cries and sorrowful wails cut directly to the heart where a common bond can only be shared by being human. I could see the group gathered around the opened front door of a dilapitated building, the rhythmic strumming of the guitarist´s arm reflected across the night, children running around, immitating the voice of the singer, which is at the same time hilarious and endearing, punctuated by a few stray dogs barking in the dark distance. Having wanted to see or hear a flamenco ´show´ every time we go down to Granada, and NOT having been able to do so each time, made this serendipity meeting even more special to me, there wasn´t any audience, it is not something to learn in the school or even at home, the children are immersed in it while still in their mother´s womb, and it becomes a way of life and expression, it is vital, not as an aesthetic, but rather, as a integral part of life, to be inhaled, like air. It is crude and unrefined, all too harsh for the ear in the stillness of the night, yet, it brings a sense of ultimate calm to the listener when hearing someone expelling pains which have seized all of us in some point in our lives.
Secret Concert - viewed from far away

Part two to our celebration will be Venice this upcoming weekend, let the mysteries begin!