Travel newbie

As mentioned in my previous blog, I will be going to the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 next summer! I will be travelling alone for my trip to Recife, but will meet up with a friend in Recife for a couple of games (hopefully), before heading off to Rio de Janeiro for (hopefully) a quarterfinal game. Luck has already been on our side yesterday, when the World Cup groups were drawn, and our only confirmed ticket so far will be for the United States vs. Germany game on June 25th. We got incredibly lucky! I had a feeling we would end up watching a match featuring less prominent teams, but somehow we managed to get the Group of Death as Group G. Insanely lucky.

To watch Brazil play in Toronto was a childhood dream

The first time I saw Brazil play was back in 2002. It was summer, and my dad was hooked on the TV, following every single game of World Cup 2002. I started watching with him, and before I knew it, I became a fan of the Brazilian national team and the magnificent maestro Kaka. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Brazilian national team came to Toronto to play Chile in a FIFA certified friendly. It was a very short trip. They arrived the evening before, and they left the night of the game. They only stayed one night. I wasn’t even planning to attend because the tickets were so expensive – even more expensive than actual World Cup 2014 tickets! – but the day before the game, I realized that I didn’t take this chance now, I may never see them play again. At least never in Toronto – hell, when I was a kid, I never imagined I would even be able to see them play in my home city of Toronto! – and probably not at least until my 30s. So I took this chance, bought a $62 ticket for the nosebleed sections and off I went.

Life is about taking the opportunities as they present themselves to you after all. If not now, then when?

Spreading yourself too thin

Many of us feel as if we need to set ourselves apart from others, or that if we miss an opportunity now, we’ll never get the chance to experience it again.

This article describes exactly how I have been feeling the past few weeks. I am overwhelmed with school, work, and responsibility in general. I don’t know how to stop, but now, from this article, I’ve realized that I must learn how to stop. I must force myself to stop and say “no”.

‘About Time’: Treasure each moment as it passes

I got to attend a super advance screening of Richard Curtis’ About Time last night thanks to Scene Creek! So top secret, there were even Universal Pictures Canada employees in the audience! As Rachel McAdams’ biggest fan in Toronto (hah), this was a huge treat, so I was incredibly excited about seeing this movie! But I’m rather exhausted after a long day of grad photos, group project meetings and classes, so this is a largely unedited review of what I thought about this film…

‘Prisoners’ is intense, dark, and one of the best movies this year

I finally took some time out of my hectic school/work schedule for some “Me Time” – some desperately needed work/life balance – to go watch Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners. Here’s what I wrote in my Rotten Tomatoes review (which generally are more blabbing than proper reviewing – forewarning):

This is one of those movies where you have to pay attention all the way through. The director – who’s Canadian! – makes it easy for you by slowly guiding you through the story.

The performances, of course, should be mentioned because you have never seen Hugh Jackman like you have seen Hugh Jackman in this movie. I was a little wary going into this movie that Hugh and Jake Gyllenhaal were a little too young for their roles, but they both did extremely well. Gyllenhaal, for one, does less of his “Zodiac” I-need-to-know performance, but does a more subtle performance. As for Jackman, he just goes off the charts in this role. There are some spectacular scenes he’s in that really impress you – I would say it’s his most emotionally intense role yet, but I haven’t seen all his movies, so I can’t say that for sure!

This year’s TIFF experience was exhausting

TIFF ended 15 days ago, and I am just writing my TIFF experience blog now. Sigh. I’ve had such a hectic schedule since the end of August, I’m not sure why I decided it would be a good idea to start a brand spankin’ new blog. Perhaps I underestimated the workload for the first month of school… Though actually, it’s less about the “first month of school” but more “first month of the last year of undergraduate school”. I have always been involved with extracurricular activities at school, but because I am in my last year, I’ve felt greater pressure to add more to my resume to ensure I can start my career as soon as I graduate. This meant trying to juggle positions at two part-time jobs, one student group, four school courses, and briefly, a two-week volunteer position all at the same time. Chaos.

Make the most of your 20s

We’ve been called pre-adults, emerging adults, millennials, the defining decade and the lost decade. We graduated during the worst economy in recent memory and pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps to recover what was lost. We’ve been told 80% of life’s most significant events take place by age 35, but listened to other 20-somethings daydream about “taking some time off,” presumably to spend more time gaming. We have an intuitive sense that the foundation we lay now will continue to carry us throughout life. We’ve seen lists on “20 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make” go viral and helped make it happen. One thing is clear: we’re searching for answers on how to make sense of this messy life we’re leading. I know, because this is my generation.

I read this article a couple weeks back, and it made an impression on me. “20 tips to makes the most of your 20s” sounded just like another article formatted as a list particularly for millennials like me who have short attention spans, but the article gave great advice. I am in my last undergraduate year, so the list reminded me of all the things I should do to change my mindset about my future.

But looking at this list, I can confidently say that I am definitely fulfilling at least seven of these suggestions: Be honest, choosing the right friends, start listening etc. But there is also a lot of work to be done: Stop complaining, be revolutionary, make a cold call etc. When I turn 30, I want to have cleared this list!

Begin the end

I suppose it’s very fitting to start a blog today out of all days.

Today marks the last holiday weekend before the start of my last undergraduate year. Today marks the summer Transfer Deadline Day for the 2013-2014 European football season, which my all-time favourite players moved from my team for the past three years to his home team, AC Milan. And last week, I helped participate in organizing and promoting Ryerson University 2013-2014 frosh week on their various RU Student Life social media accounts, which was significant to me because I had never attended the frosh week for my first year at Ryerson University – way back in the fall of 2007. As my Instagram caption for the photo I published on last week’s first day of frosh, “Beginning the end with the beginning I never began with.”

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...)