The world beyond that of a public servant is ruthless. Challenging, tense, and surely not for the faint of heart, I am eager to bid farewell to this despicable, dreary post as soon as able.
Larry and Snoopy interactions were observed, and my own Avocado was found to have matching attire with the armless Alonso in Japan. Breakfasts comprised of caffeine and either blue sky bran muffins or hoddeok, which I proudly declare to have devoured in their entirety!
1) Tiger-Themed Coconut and Black Sesame Jelly (虎年椰奶黑芝麻糕)
A conversation that commenced with the topic of Chinese New Year-fitting desserts led my mind to wander to leftover Aroy-D from making nian gao. I was then also reminded of my failed attempt to form tiger stripes from freehand chocolate piping, which spurred an opportunity for redemption.
In review of incoming email volumes, I opted to ladle the mixtures in two separate containers. The process reduced wait time between layer formation and ladling of the subsequent layer, albeit providing an unmistakable deviation even when stacked directly atop each other.
Overall, I was quite satisfied with the result. Not only were the layers relatively uniform in thickness, the slices were bouncy and delicious, radiating nuttiness from the black sesame and a gentle waft of sweetness. That said, they were undeniably satiating, restricting consumption beyond two slices in one sitting.
In spite of careful scaling, one batch emerged rigid, while the other tender and tragically to shape. Blending the portions provided structural integrity and a natural marble effect, though unfortunately also restricted rise.
This experiment further concludes adherence to the original recipe to be the most optimal.
We proceeded with table tennis instead - my first time ever and her first time in ages. Thirty-plus minutes of laughter and 40 credits later, the duct-taped paddles were returned. A few quick games on my faves and we retreated back into the now-empty shopping centre.
The mall was far busier than I would have anticipated. I hadn't hoped for the tedious wait at The Alley and neither the consistent line-cutting while in wait of vaccine record checks at The Rec Room. Sephora and many other retailers boasted lineups on par with early pandemic, pre-vaccination lengths.
Familiar faces welcomed me into the studio - those of my first instructor followed by my second. While the first had updated both hair colour and makeup style, the other had ditched her half black-half blonde lob for a shorter, Maruko-chan style. She also appeared more haggard than other times, noting that she hadn't partaken in much exercise during the lockdown duration and further expressing surprise at the diligence of the three students before her.
Moving onto the Reformer, we were guided through a series of thigh stretches, likely to prepare us for the moves to follow. Starting with the right foot in the right hand strap and leg extended upwards, we tugged gently at the cable for a hamstring stretch, then towards the other leg for the outer thigh/IT band, and lastly outwards for the inner thigh. To prevent rotation of the body, the opposite hip was to attach itself to the Carriage to the best of one's ability. This sequence was then repeated on the other leg.
Moving onto the exercises, both feet were looped into the hand straps and extended upwards. A pilates ring was fitted over the calves for myself and another attendee, while between the calves for the student immediately adjacent. This difference in positioning allowed one to emphasize work on either the outer or inner thighs.
An immense amount of control was utilized to resist tension in the straps and maintain alignment of the legs in starting position. This was then further challenged by pressing out against the ring ("Make it oval!") and by retracting the legs into tabletop and extending back. Shifting between the neutral spine and imprint, we would also lower the legs while pressing out against the ring. The transition between neutral and imprint has come far more naturally given recent practice with Well + Good videos, yet the tension rods and ring contributed an additional level of difficulty.
Shifting to the Long Box pressed against the shoulder rest, we transitioned to upper back exercises. While previously despised to an intense degree, they became more bearable this time around. Perhaps the diligence in posture correction exercises has finally paid off!
Rolldowns were also performed in this configuration, executed slowly for optimal spine mobility.
It was a class much coveted after seemingly endless weeks of stagnancy: reflective of pilates fundamentals while serving to challenge existing strength and results of practice.