Why the Toronto International Film Festival?

Regardless of the film or the response to the film you’re in, there will always be a love for the fact that you did something creative and that everybody is excited about it. I think that’s the spirit here.
Jake Gyllenhaal

Not only is it the place, but it is also the time. I think it is the beginning of so many wonderful movies coming out. It’s a real stepping point for film makers of all different kinds and all different types of minds to come, and I think Toronto embraces that and loves that. The enthusiasm – particularly the Canadian enthusiasm – is a very particular type of enthusiasm that I think is wonderful for people who put themselves out and make themselves vulnerable in whatever they do, to know that no matter what happens, they’re going to be supported. Every single premiere I’ve been to here is always full of this wonderful positivity, and I love coming back because I know regardless of the film or the response to the film you’re in, there will always be a love for the fact that you did something creative and that everybody is excited about it. I think that’s the spirit here.
Jake Gyllenhaal, at the TIFF press conference for Prisoners (2013)

As a Toronto International Film Festival volunteer for the past four to five years, I play a part in advocating the festival. There are many film industry professionals who have spoken out about how much TIFF stands out as a film festival compared to other festivals during this time (e.g. Telluride and Venice). But since Jake Gyllenhaal is one of my favourite actors, this quote will be most memorable to me. I find him very well-spoken, and although that might give his quote less genuine, the fact that he began his answer with the fact that he has filmed a movie here recently, it feels like he understood the city more than other actors did.

I am glad that one of my favourite actors enjoys visiting my city, Toronto!

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  • It's been an entire week since I landed in Toronto, and I haven't updated my little Instagram photo blog gallery. Lots of wedding preparation stuff have happened so far – my brother's, of course, not me, #SingleLady – but none of them relate to the photo I'm posting today.⁣
I did an epic journey via Uber and train from Canary Wharf, London to Gatwick Airport with three massive luggages and one carry-on on my last morning in the UK. It took me three hours because I had to somehow get all three bags – two of them were overweight, one of which was 31kg – from the second floor of my apartment building to the @AirTransat airline counter. An airline counter that wasn't even in the same terminal as the train station I would be arriving in.⁣
So, from second floor flat, to a 30+ minute Uber to Blackfriars, to the second floor of the Blackfriars train station (by lugging two bags 20 metres, then the other two 40 metres, repeat), to the Gatwick Airport train station, to getting an airport employee to find a trolley for me (by asking him nicely as I stood there waiting by my four bags because lol I'm not going to drag four bags across a busy airport terminal), to somehow pushing my trolley cart onto the inter-terminal train, to finally, reaching the airline counter of #AirTransat.⁣
For three hours, from 6:30 AM, to when I finally had all my bags checked in at 9:15 AM, I was running on pure adrenaline. I don't even know how I was able to do it. I was like a bull on a mission, to get from point A to point B to point C etc. But what I also remember, was my body basically crashing into a damn near anxiety attack while at the counter. I was gulping for air, taking deep breaths, and trying to calm myself down. When I finally walked away from the airline counter, I nearly forgot my carry-on on the trolley, and when I finally had the chance to sit down, my hands were actually shaking. For all the times I've solo travelled around the world in the past year and a half, this has never happened to me before. That morning, I finally understood why airports need therapy dogs.⁣
(Continued below...)
  • Not the most aesthetic of Instagram photos, but tonight will be my last (out-of-home) dinner in London, so I thought I would make it a very British one: Fish and chips, and a pint of cider on tap. 🍟

Photo taken while at a Reddit meet-up for the season premier of "Game of Thrones"! (The UK plays a rerun of it the night after.)
  • Two of four and four of four. Burmese food and Spanish food.

Loved the bants about Asian toilets this evening. 😂 Who knew toilets in Asia were so disgusting! Sometimes the only thing they have for you to keep clean is a hose, and apparently it's so dirty, you don't even want to touch it. Then there'sthe used sanitary napkins just lying around the squat holes... 🚽 Never did I imagine that conversation during one of my last meals in the UK would be about dirty toilets. 😂

I will miss my multinational Asian friends: Malaysia, Australia, and the UK. 🗺️
  • The little prince of Gellert Hill Cave looking over Liberty Bridge in Budapest, Hungary. 🇭🇺 Beautiful view, beautiful day. 🌤️
  • Three of three goodbye dinners. Mushroom risotto, a glass of house white wine, and some good company. See you in August!
  • Well, since I've been sick all week, might as well put my cabin fever to good use and spend the time to edit and share some of the photos I took on my travels.

First up, a photo of the Kálvin Tér metro station in #Budapest, Hungary. Love the architecture at this station for some reason! So modern. More interesting than majority of the #TTC subway stations back home. Did you know that Budapest has the oldest underground train system on the European continent? 🚇