Oh, the places you’ll go!

Look at that! Two blog entries in one week! This must be some sort of world record! I kid, I kid… But before I dive into today’s blog, I just wanted to let everyone know – because obviously, my blog sees loads of regular visitors, so that’s why I’m using the word “everyone” – which reminds me that I haven’t set up Google Analytics on this new domain yet – that I reread my previous blog entry and made some edits to it. My blog entries are statistically unproven 99% word vomit, which means I don’t reread or edit my blogs after I click “publish”. Apologies if you’ve noticed any pronounced grammar errors in my past entry!

Anyhow, I met up with two of my longtime friends today, and on my way home, the get-together made me daydream about all the places I wanted to visit in my 20s and 30s.

I have been friends with these two ladies since I was 13-years-old. We first met online on a Neopets forum called “Dizzy Cafe”; in later years, it was called “Delirium” and “Aura”. They were the first ever online friends I met in person. This was back near the beginning of university, in 2007 or 2008. Now, at 25-years-old, the three of us are moving into a brand new stage of our lives. I recently graduated; Jess just finished teaching her first year in Korea; and Niki just got engaged. On my way home from the get-together, I counted the years that we’ve known each other, and I couldn’t believe that I have known these two women for over a decade of my life. We met up today because we all recently came back from a trip overseas, so we decided to meet up so we could catch up on each other’s lives. At The Drake Hotel’s Sky Yard patio, we chatted Hungary (Niki), Korea (Jess), Brazil (me), along with general updates about our lives.

It was the discussion about the countries we recently visited that stood out to me the most. Ever since I’ve been back from Brazil – it’s been a month since I’ve been back! Can you believe it? – I’ve been bitten by the travel bug. Today’s conversations really had me thinking: What are the top places I want to visit before I turn 40?

So on my way home, I made a mental list, which I will publish here, in no particular order:

  • Australia: Mostly because I really want to visit the Great Barrier Reef!
  • Egypt: I want to do a double whammy of both Cairo and Alexandria. Alexandria because I was obsessed with the Ancient Library of Alexandria when I was a kid. How grand it must have been, to carry so many culturally important scrolls and documents within its rooms. Although it’s no longer standing, it still fascinates me (and saddens me) that so much was lost in that fire. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could somehow time travel to a day in time when the library was still standing? Its semi-replacement, Bibliotheca Alexandrina looks to be a worthy of a visit though. I am not entirely sure why I want to visit Cairo, but for some reason, that Egyptian city fascinates me too. Also, Egypt has the pyramids! An obvious must see.
  • Tibet: I have an impression of Tibet being a naturally stunning country. I am not sure if it would be an ideal place to visit when I am young and loving cities, but from the photos and videos I’ve seen, Tibet just looks beautiful!
  • London, England: Their long history and their modern culture are so interesting! Plus, London is a rather short flight away from Toronto. Very do-able for a 20-something-year-old.
  • South Korea: Food. I love Korean food. I also want to get LASIK surgery done there.
  • Japan: I think I might leave this place until after my 40s. I’ve heard Tokyo is very expensive, and I don’t think I can afford that right now, especially with OSAP payments coming up!
  • Greenland: I definitely want to visit Greenland one day, and hopefully before my 40s too. The photos and videos I’ve seen of the country are absolutely stunning, and it seems like one of those naturally beautiful places that would take your breath away!
  • Hong Kong, China: I have never visited Hong Kong since immigrating to Canada when I was a kid, so I have no recollection of what it is like as a city. As a city lover, I define Hong Kong as the city of all cities. Its skyscrapers, huge population and superb transit system are things I would like to experience. Plus, I can almost speak the language fluently, so that’s a huge advantage for me!
  • Shanghai, China: I have heard stories about Shanghai’s smog problems, but regardless, I would still like to visit the city. It looks like a stunning, up-and-coming city in China, so I want to be able to be apart of it as it grows! I also want to visit a city where I can learn and practise my Mandarin.
  • Taiwan: Mainly because of their food.
  • Sao Paolo, Brazil: I wasn’t able to leave the Sao Paolo airport when I visited Brazil this summer, but because I’ve heard lots of great things about it as a city from my friends in Brazil, it has entered into my list of places I want to visit! I hear that it is the most multicultural cities in Brazil, and is much much bigger than Toronto in size. I love cities, so these characteristics are something I want to check out!

The list is obviously incomplete because I am sure there are dozens of other places I’d like to visit but I can’t think of them right now! What do you guys think of my list? I’ve contemplated on adding places like Venice or Rome on to the list, but I feel like they can be left for a later stage in my life rather than in my 20s or 30s.

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  • First goodbye dinner with my first friend in London! I'm going to miss you, @justsarahdoes. I'll miss our random kitchen chats at that shitty godforsaken house. 😂 Can't wait to see you finally leave that place!

Great food at @busabaeathai by the way. Probably the best Thai I've eaten in London so far. The shrimp/crab pad thai was delicious, and the shrimp crackers were super flavourful. Don't get the "Chinese broccoli" though. The dish is cheap on the veggies, especially for £5.
  • Probably one of the best perks of working at @mediacomuk. You get free theatre tickets! (If you're fast enough.)⁣
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I was lucky enough to watch a free showing of @comefromawayuk late last month. It was amazing. Easily my favourite musical so far. It was funnier than I expected, with catchier music, and a way more touching storyline. I thought that since it's such a Canadian focused story, people in the audience wouldn't understand the jokes, but I looked around the theatre from time to time during the show, and there were definitely people (Brits!) laughing at the Canadian-specific jokes. Everybody was clapping along to the songs too. I especially loved how the stage musicians would join the other actors "on stage" in some scenes.⁣
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Such a great show! I highly recommend it. After the show ended, the people around me all stood up and immediately started talking about how much fun it was. Two girls raved on and on about the writing, the acting (the accents!!), the music, all the way 'til they finally split up at the train station. This is the feel good musical everyone needs right now. This is a must watch!! 🎵
  • We have another El Clasico today! To mark its significance in the typical Real Madrid fandom, I am finally sharing photos from my trip to Santiago Bernabeu back in January.⁣⁣
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My Madrid weekend consisted of a trip to the stadium for a game on the Saturday, and then a full stadium tour on the Sunday. I have so many photos from both visits, but the photos you see in this post are ones I took on Sunday during the stadium tour.⁣⁣
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1) Raphael Varane's locker in the change room! I high-key hightailed it to his locker area when I walked in. My French prince, mon petit prince. 😍 Please never leave us so you can be club captain! (Just typing this puts a smile on my face. Love love love him.)⁣⁣
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2) The lockers are arranged by numerical order, of course, so of course he's situated right next to Sergio Ramos.⁣⁣
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3) Champions League trophies! There were so many people standing around waiting for their turn to take a selfie with the trophy. I took a selfie with the trophy too, but the lighting is terrible, so I gotta do some editing before I can share it. 😅⁣⁣
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5) My Brazilian prince, Kaka, has a couple of his trophies here at the stadium too!! ❤️ It was such a pleasant surprise to see his face still remembered at Real Madrid, even though the club basically destroyed the rest of his career. 😭 My all-time favourite player ever.⁣⁣
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7) Luka Modric's brand new Ballon d'Or was there at the award showcase too! Considering that he had only just presented it to the club one or two weeks prior to my visit, I was really surprised to see it on display.⁣⁣
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8) Some weird-looking trophy called the Super Ballon d'Or given to Alfredo Di Stefano in 1989. Apparently the only one in the world. Reminds me of aliens.⁣⁣
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9) A photo of the bathing area in the change room, hahah. That's a bathtub, I think! So many logos around the bathing area, I had to take a photo.⁣⁣
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10) Finally, a photo of the stadium! I took many more during the game I went to on the Saturday, so I'll share those later.⁣⁣
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#RealMadrid #SantiagoBernabeu #HalaMadrid
  • Took a walk through the City of London and came across this beautiful plaza. So pretty. Love love love the floor tiling. 🇬🇧
  • I am so terrible at sharing my travel photos on Instagram. 🙈 I'm trying to stagger them throughout the year because I know that it'll be difficult to go back to some of these places... So fyi, most of these photos will be throwbacks!

This was one of two K-Pop related things I did in Korea over the winter break. I'm not much of a K-Pop fan anymore – who has the energy to keep up with 17-year-old pop stars anymore?! – but I couldn't resist visiting this building since so much of my teenage years was spent obsessing over this company. (Damn you, @smtown, for wasting away @zhangliyin0228's youth.) It was also a good location to meet @_starwish for the first time. We first met over our appreciation of #ZhangLiyin!

Funny story about arriving at this building though... There was a huge line in front of the building before it opened. Me being me – someone now living in London, UK, and thus who Iikes a good line – I queued up, thinking that it was the line to enter the building... Nooope! It was a line to buy photo cards. 😂 When I reached the shop upstairs and realized that I had wasted like, 40 minutes in line to buy photo cards of artists that I no longer care about, I let out this really dry dark laugh that probably everyone in the shop heard... 😂 Can't help myself. My bitterness towards SM extends to their stupid photo card shop that doesn't even offer a single photo card for the #CSJH #CSJHTheGrace members. The staff member downstairs had said that /all/ artists were included. That was a total lie. 😑
  • Accidentally walked into the @bloomberg office building over the weekend. Managed to snap this photo of their main lobby before I found my way out. Stunning architectural design.