The Best Wanderlust of Them All: Peilin Corbanese- Coming Soon this Fall

I had an interesting text conversation with three friends this morning. I asked the question, “I think I want a new last name. What should it be?”

A quick background: I have got three distinct identities, two passports, and one divorce coming up shortly. I was born Taiwanese and 1/3 of time I feel like Taiwanese or more precisely I feel like Tsai Peilin, 蔡沛伶. I am also a Corbanese, a name I have used since the beginning of my career and has given me both the French and the Italian cultures and motherhood. I feel like a Corbanese 1/3 of the time. The last 1/3 is the person I am putting together that will integrate the first two and carry me forward.

One of my friends is a Taiwanese American married to a Taiwanese American, living in Jersey. She wants me to revert back to my maiden name, 蔡Tsai, which no one can properly pronounce in the US. Plus “Peilin Tsai” is really not who I am anymore and gives out the wrong impression.  I am only 蔡沛伶 Tsai Peilin when I return to Taiwan. But my friend insists that I am always 蔡沛伶Tsai Peilin, no matter what I think or feel.

The other friend is also a Taiwanese American married to a German-Indian, living in Dallas. She wants me to pick my favorite movie star’s last name (imaginary husband, she says) or a character I can identify with from a book. It’s a big no no on the imaginary husband – Oy! I have come too far to take someone else’s last name. Then I put Caulfield after Peilin and that did not sound right. She then suggested a heroine – yep, we are doing better. Then “Clinton” came up! OMG, that’s also a husband’s last name! What are we doing, girls?  Why do so many strong independent women take on their husband’s last name?

My third friend, another Taiwanese but not an American. She is married to a Swiss-German or German-Swiss (Sorry, Amay, I don’t remember.) living in Holland. She suggests that I create a new word using my Taiwanese last name. She also suggests that it does not have to be “English-Made.” All three of them feel that I need to merge my identities instead of keeping them separate.

Being a marketer, I can totally see myself blogging and advertising,

“You may think you know her but you don’t. Peilin Corbanese- Coming soon this Fall, Peilin ??????”

Just like a movie preview with a soundtrack of a racing car vroom vroom vrooming. This is the best wanderlust of them all. #WanderlustPeilin Corbanese

Wanderlust Taiwan: Seven Eleven Cafe Mocha, Best Taiwanese Cafe Mocha

I have been told that I am too critical of food and restaurants. So not true – I just need to love it, like I do for the Cafe Mocha from the Taiwanese Seven Eleven.  For $25 TWD (less than $1 USD), this is the best Cafe Mocha in the world even if it comes from Seven Eleven. Chocolatey, creamy, easily accessible and value oriented. Click here to read my other post for authentically European Cafe Mocha.

Wanderlust Taiwan: The Usual First Meal Mistake @Apple203 in the Xinyi District in Taipei

I was really hungry and dehydrated when I headed out for breakfast. This time, breakfast is at 9am Taiwan time.  I believe I ate six hours prior in flight but was still famished. Chasing the darkness from the U.S. to Asia for 16 hours tends to be dis-orienting. As such, the first meal is usually a mistake as I succumbed to my hunger and jet lag.Apple203 is a breakfast restaurant and is right around the corner from where I’m staying. The cafe owner called out to me from across the street and that was how I made my poor decision.
My daughter was clear on what she wanted.  She wanted the Japanese charcoal grilled pork, ham, eggs, veggies and rice. She pointed to the picture on the wall. She was wise.In contrast, I read the dense, multi-page menu the owner handed me.  Let me let you into a big secret now… Even if I consider myself fluent in the language, menu reading is more cultural than language.  In Taiwan, menus are structured like a matrix- each action taken will contribute to creating an unique final dish. So I chose this item that roughly translated as “Spicy chicken leg meat with egg on toast.”

Shame on me for forgetting that toast is always white and thin in Taiwan, unless otherwise indicated. I ended up getting a Taiwanese version of “Wendy’s chicken patty sandwich” in very thin bread and placed inside a paper bag!

Her dish was much better than mine.  But both items suffered from the chef being too zealous about black pepper. The traditional breakfast place is much much better, especially because they are equally hot inside!

The entire meal plus a glass of milk and a large black tea was around $6USD.

This experience took place at

營業時間:週一至週日 06:30~21:30

Wanderlust Taiwan: A Quick Stop at the Open Air Market

 Alishan’s (阿里山)famous dishes. From left to right: bamboo shoots, bamboo shoots, seaweed, wood ear, unknown, and unknown.  Duck and chicken.  Bamboo shoots  More girly than a girl can imagine.  This is the universal center of girliness. I asked my daughter to pretend to be interested so I can take a photo. Then two ladies surrounded us and closed us in.

Wanderlust Taiwan: Congee Breakfast on the Eva Air Flight 長榮航空的早餐

Lost this entire post earlier due to poor airport wifi and WordPress upload system…

I was in flight between Japan and Korea when breakfast was served. Wanderlust has begun since I chose to have congee!  As a child growing up in Taiwan, I hated congee. But this was incredible as my first congee in Asia.  The congee included taro root, chicken, shrimps and ginger.  It was warm and slushy, perfect for a tired and hungry body after 12 hours in flight. See the fish floss?
Other than the congee, there was fried tofu with mustard greens, fruits, and fish floss. What is fish floss? It’s 魚鬆。Sprinkle the fish floss on the congee to complete the experience.
Here is the menu in Chinese to support my translation above.This is the steamed bun or 饅頭, a very traditional Chinese breakfast item. I also was not into it as a child… But today I was all over it.  Indeed, I’m transforming and adventurous again. 
Ok, this is the back of the fish floss package.  What concerns me is that the front showed a sorwdfish and the back listed the ingredient as just “FISH.”  Nameless, unknown, type of fish. Quality uncertain, hygiene unregulated?  This is an American thinking too much!

Eva Air (the Hello Kitty Airline), 長榮航空, provides excellent service and non-stop service from JFK to Taipei.  It’s a Taiwanese airline and today was my first experience with it.  It made me proud of being Taiwanese; it was much better than Delta with whom I was a loyal customer for years.

To come full circle, I entered with my American passport but spoke Mandarin all the way!  It is feeling less foreign this summer.

Month Long Wanderlust Trip Starts Tonight- Which Passport Should I Use? Bon Appétit! 好好吃喔!

Time to go. It’s always a question when I am about to leave for Taiwan. Do I enter with the US passport or the Taiwanese one? Who do I want to be? Entering with the US passport affords me the protection of the US and the ease of being an economic power. Entering with the Taiwanese passport affords me the number one universal healthcare in the world, being the majority in the country but with all the cultural expectations of who I should be. Hmm. #Taiwan #BestHealthCareSystem

Come with me while I traverse the streets of Taipei, tour Hong Kong and Singapore, and sample incredible food with the locals. I will make it as much wanderlust as possible while working full time remotely – thanks to my understanding and supportive manager, Dave. #Wanderlust #InternationalTravel

There will sure be some good eating! Bon appétit! 好好吃喔!

Wanderlust – When All Good Things Must Come to an End

This morning, on the last day of my #Wanderlust weekend, I went for a run in the Berlin’s town park.  As I lay down on the picnic table to stretch my legs, I looked up and saw the trees towering over me.  I rarely lie down on a picnic table and I rarely spend more than a few seconds looking at trees.  Today I did both.  
As I prepare to go back to my day job of creating content for profit vs. writing content for pleasure, I realized that there is so much upside to flooding the internet with words and pictures. I have received so much encouragement in the past few days from friends and bloggers, it is a great feeling. Thank you!

As I wrap this up, I know what my next Wanderlust destination will be and I also know where I am at in my head, my heart and my gut. Sometimes, an aimless trip or project may just be the thing one needs to answer most of the questions in life. Come outside the box and play with me! I highly recommend it.

Here are some parting thoughts from my trip. Interpret them however you wish.

Cheers to good mental health, a fit body and a happy life.  Live with your heart.

Wanderlust – Chuck’s on Spring Street in Princeton, NJ. A High School Favorite of Mine Where I Had My First Date.

#Wanderlust continues…  to where I went to high school in Princeton, NJ, to where I had my very first date, at Chuck’s Spring Street Cafe, with my first love, an Italian boy from Milano who sang O Sole Mio to me. I remember how he rolled his eyes when I suggested Chuck’s hot wings as the perfect meal for me. I was not so refined then. I would like to think that I am still the girl I was back then. But today I am here with my friend, Danny, the biker chef, who could not believe I wanted to go to this divey place.

Still looks the same, years later. The only difference is the counter is now run by an Asian boy!

This was the hot stuff back then. Wings plus a fountain soda completed my daily nutritional requirements. The only question was how many wings.  In my memory, they tasted like the finest cuisines. Today, they taste like badly made fast food. Interestingly, my first love ordered a rack of lamb on that first date. Today, no special items can be found. Maybe the quality of the wings were better back then and now Chuck’s is just riding on the legacy. Here is Chuck’s menu today.

This is another favorite spot of my high school days, Thomas Sweet, an ice cream shop. The borders from my school, The Hun School of Princeton, would walk to the town center to get wings and ice cream and catch a movie. It was all the rage.

Here are the two cups that Danny and I had today. I blended in mint paddies to my Swiss Chocolate Malt.

We sat at the steps to the Princeton University’s fountain and discussed life and future plans, much like I did with friends back in high school.

This stop was a lot more sentimental than #wanderlust. I think all our wanderlust has a lot to do with where we were, who we were and where we want to be and who we want to become.  It’s only fitting that I stopped at Princeton today. Ciao Bella!

This experience took place at

16 Spring Street
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: (609) 921-0027

Thomas Sweet
183 Nassau St
Princeton, NJ 08542

Wanderlust – Atlantic Hotel Restaurant, Drummer’s Cafe, in Berlin, MD. Dinning for the Big Girls.

#Wanderlust continues and brings me to Berlin, Maryland.  I am at the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin, MD for the night.  What a quaint little town. What a traditional and well-decorated Victorian hotel and restaurant.  Drummer’s Cafe looks like a four-star establishment.  I am dinning at a white-table-cloth restaurant tonight.  A little excited after having the opposite in the past couple of days.

The sea salt on the bread was a wonderful touch. The hotel butter was the right temperature and went on easily on the warm bread center.My 7 Oz Filet Mignon.  Medium, perfectly done.  With buttery potato mash, crunchy elegant and thin onion rings, and asparagus. Rosé. Cinsault ‘Les Jamelles’ 2012 Vin de Pays, France.  Fresh, fruity, crisp and clean from Southern France.Crème brûlée.  This was acceptable.  Had better at Osteria Laguna Bar and Restaurant. Click here for my post on that crème brûlée.

I believe I ate my calories for the entire day in this one meal.  Oh, well.  I have got to run for it tomorrow morning. Highly recommend it. Made a big girl very happy on a Sunday night during her wanderlust weekend.

This experience took place at

Drummer’s Cafe
Atlantic Hotel
2 North Main Street
Berlin, Maryland 21811

Wanderlust – Driving Through Route 13 and the Eastern Shores of Virginia. A Different World All Together.

#Wanderlust continues onto the beautiful Route 13 between North Carolina and Virginia.  This is on the Lucius J. Kellam Jr. Bridge Tunnel.  The darkest blue water connected with the light blue sky, with sunshine on my dashboard and music in my ears, I was lost in my head.  This is honestly the best part of my wanderlust weekend. The drive and the solitude. #Solitude #RoadTrip    

Everyone should have quiet like this. Everyone should have the quiet headspace that comes naturally to a solo road trip. Love and clarity to all.