Category: Travel

Gwanghwamun, Seoul, Korea

Last songs and last trips

First post of the new year! Hello hello. I’m going to try and make this a New Year’s resolution – to update this blog more frequently, even though I know very few people read it. If any. This is so I keep track of my thoughts and feelings, even if I’m not feeling particularly strong about something.

In terms of new things, I just came back from a two-week holiday in South Korea. I’m broke as fuck now, but not even a week back in London, I’ve already booked my next trip. Madrid. There’s a reason why I’m travelling abroad again though.

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child"

The ups and downs of moving to a different country

Almost forgot about this blog again! I’ve been nursing a migraine on-and-off for the past several days, so I’ve had a lot of time to myself with my own thoughts.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, as I try to settle into my new job and my new country. I think now that I’ve gotten a better sense of how things work in this part of the world, I’ve been trying to figure out if I regret moving across the Atlantic Ocean.

The answer is that I don’t know yet.

In defence of the TTC

I’m one of those people that tries to avoid arguments and heated discussions. I mean, they’re fun sometimes – pretty much when you try to trash my team in front of me. Like nope, only the fans themselves can trash their own team because they’re the ones who actually experience the pain when it happens, therefore they are allowed to trash their own team – but when it comes to netizen comments or social media comments in general, I try to avoid them. In fact, the last time I left a YouTube comment was a positive one.

But today, because of the TTC emergency shutdown during morning rush hour, I came across a friend’s Facebook post who shared a news article about the incident, and commented by saying that the TTC is trash and they’re not doing enough to become a better transit system.

Now look, I ride the TTC five days a week. My commute is 1.5 hours long. That’s 3 hours everyday. 3 hours that I could use more productively. So if I have the right to complain, I have it, but to say that the TTC hasn’t done anything to better themselves in the past few years is a lie.

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.

Having left Toronto, I now appreciate its multiculturalism

A month later, I think I am finally ready to talk about my experience in Brazil. This blog won’t list all the different things I did in Recife and in Rio de Janeiro, but instead, it’ll talk more about the aftermath of it. As I had mentioned before, I had taken a lot of photos of my two-week vacation in the country, and you can simply visit my Facebook photo album here if you would like to take a look. But to be honest, most of it is just me standing in front of a beautiful view looking out into the Atlantic Ocean. There were a lot of palm tree photos too. One of the first things I remember saying to my Brazilian friends when I arrived in Recife was, “You guys have palm trees!” Being Canadian, I have never seen a palm tree up close, and I saw so many of them in Brazil! Some palm trees were so tall, they were deemed the tallest in Rio. (I’m talking about the ones from Jardim Botanico do Rio de Janeiro!) It seems so silly that I was making such a big deal out of seeing palm trees but these little things made my trip more enjoyable.

Extreme over-worrying

I’m about two days from boarding my first ever airplane in over 20 years (which means my first flight ever, because I was 3-years-old on my first one, so I don’t remember anything about it), and I am just so anxious about it. What if I go to check-in and they tell me my seat isn’t actually confirmed, and Orbitz has been fucking with me the past six months?! What if I get some really bad seating partners?! What if they lose my luggage? This is so nerve-wracking.

And I realize that I haven’t even updated my blog yet, about how I graduated from a seven-year-long undergraduate career earlier this month. I’ve been so positively obsessed with the World Cup the past couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll do the next day or so. I’ll just have to get up really early today… In maybe six hours.

Returning to the December days

The past month has been really crazy.

But firstly, happy new year! I’ve committed myself to five new year’s resolutions so far, but I won’t be sharing them here just yet! There is too much to document from the month of December! And I think I’ve already started to forget some of the things that happened, so I am relying purely on my Foursquare calendar check-in history to make sure I’ve got all the important points documented.

Instagram

  • 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.
  • Streets of Madrid on a January afternoon. 🇪🇸 #Throwback
  • Two good-looking and well-dressed British dudes took this photo for me. I was in the middle of doing a jumping pose in front of the stadium, so that's why I'm in that awkward pose. 🤸🏻‍♀️😂 The jump pose photos ended up being super messy though because I couldn't keep my scarves down, so this photo will be the only photo I'll be sharing from this series. 😅

Also, first time seeing @realmadrid play in person!! What a dream. (More photos to come later!)
  • This looks like the most unappetizing dish of food ever, but it's got an amusing story behind it. (Well, I think it's amusing anyway.) So I'm a solo East Asian female traveller, right? Imagine me walking into a Spanish tapas pub of sorts by myself, not knowing a lick of Spanish and trying to understand how this pub works. (It was highly recommended on @foursquare.) ⁣
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I stood at the bar for like, 10 minutes trying to get the attention of one of the bartenders, but he just continued to look over my head. It was packed in this pub – at least two groups of #RealMadrid fans hanging around, decked out in full gear! – so what with busy bartenders and waiters, no one gave a two-shits about this East Asian girl standing and looking helplessly at the bar. Fair enough.⁣
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Finally though, I managed to get the bartender's attention and ordered a mojito. (Also recommended on @foursquare.) The bartender yells at his co-bartender buddy, and I apparently have to wait some more for this mojito to arrive. After a bit, I'm tired of standing around, and walks over to his buddy's side of the bar and looks at him expectantly.⁣
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This guy is cuuute. The top half of his face reminds me of @oscar_emboaba – the eyebrows, the eyes, the hair. But he still takes ages to give me this damn mojito and the free plate of tapas that comes with it. The whole meal cost only €6, but I still want my food, thanks.⁣
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Anyways, after what must've been 15 minutes since walking through the door of this tapas pub, I'm finally served my food and drink. The mojito turns out to be way bigger than the #Foursquare tips said; it's about maybe 3 to 5 times the size of a normal glass of mojito in London or Toronto. The free tapas were decent, but nothing to shout about.⁣
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While I was eating and drinking though, I had to entertain myself with either my phone or the hustle bustle of the venue. That meant a lot of people watching. A lot of people watching that included the groups of local Real Madrid fans – figured that  I should leave for the stadium relatively the same time as they do – and the cute bartender.⁣
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(Continued below...)