2016// Review [PART 3]

February // Went up to Grouse Mountain to ski and for the first time in my life I thought I was going to die. Celebrated CNY with friends from all over the world – yum cha for brunch and hot pot for dinner! During spring break, I set off to Mexico with a bunch of new friends and had a fantastic time! I was also the only person who didn’t get food poisoning after  eating street tacos. Came back to UBC only to be bombarded with 3 consecutive exams (all of which I passed – thank god!!) Went up to Cypress at the end of February.

March // My first frat party was rather….underwhelming. At least pre’s was fun 🙂 Had the time of my life at Blank Canvas though 😛  Also went on my first hiking adventure in Vancouver – one of my regrets is not going on enough hikes during my time there. Celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by getting woken up at 6am by drunken neighbours and then spending the rest of the day periodically drinking. Watched my first UBC Thunderbirds Basketball Game (too bad we lost!!) Went up to Cypress again and tried snowboarding for the first time. I failed badly, but at least it was fun!! Later in March, the crew and I went on a cruise hosted by the Exchange Society and then spent hours at a nearby casino.  Joined my curry mates for an arvo full of fun at Holi! During Easter Break, I went to Victoria with a bunch of other mates; it was honestly the most boring place ever and tbh, I never want to go back hahaha.

April // Started off April with a bonfire with the ENTIRE crew. Everyone was sad about our inevitable departure. Went skiing one last time at Whistler and had a blast! Celebrated the end of another semester by  attending this music festival-esque event hosted by UBC. Exchanged ended with fine dining and dress ups (men in suits, women in dresses and heels). Took one last group photo with the UBC sign. Went hiking at the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge park. Wrapped up April with Jessie, Ben, Simona and Zacq by flying off to the States for our West Coast adventure!!

2016 // Review [PART 2]

In my last post, I mentioned that my life had changed. 2016 has been the best year of my life so far, and I’ll forever be thankful for all the ups and downs that happened this year.

January // January 1st – I embarked on an adventure of a lifetime (literally). I left my parents at Shanghai International Airport and ventured into the unknown. To be honest, I can’t remember how I felt. I’m sure I felt a multitude of emotions inside – excitement, fear, nervousness, joy, anticipation and trepidation all at once but a year later, I honestly can’t remember exactly what was going on in my head. I met a high school student from a small city/town? near Toronto and we chatted about Canada. I was surprised everyone recognized my ‘Australian accent’ as in Australia, an Aussie accent…isn’t an accent.

I arrived in Vancouver on the 1st of January and I remember thinking the streets were so empty. The taxi driver said it was because it was still early and/or people partied hard the night before so they were all inside asleep. The streets, buildings and trees were all covered in layers of snow and I’d never seen anything so beautifully fascinating. The motel I stayed at looked tiny from the outside, but I was given a whole apartment to myself. It was literally an apartment!!  I spent the first and second day wandering around Downtown by myself. I bought instant noodles, and ordered pizza at 2am in the morning. I still remember after uttering 2 words, the pizza guy was like “are you Australian” and I just felt kinda exotic???

I wandered around Stanley Park and walked 15km each day. This is why I love travelling – I don’t know what public transport to take so I just walk and absorb every little thing around me. Nothing goes unnoticed; not the benches with writing carved on the back support – a dedication to a family member/friend/loved one who had passed away, similar to an epitaph; not the exquisite colour of the water and the families strolling leisurely through the park. While I enjoyed experiencing all this by myself, it was another story when I went inside a restaurant. I’ve never liked eating alone inside a restaurant – I feel so lonely while everyone else is chatting away and I always feel like I don’t belong. I remember because of that, I bought food from the local supermarket and ordered takeout.

Jan 3rd – I moved in to UBC. I remember tipping the taxi driver $10 because we couldn’t find the entrance to my house and he went around asking for me. We eventually found an entrance (not the entrance though haha) and I walked with all my luggage from the other side of Fairview to my house. That day was probably the most homesick I’ve ever felt in my life. I walked in to a house with 3-4 people lounging in the living room. They were polite and we exchanged pleasantries. One girl was actually from Melbourne and she lived in my room the previous semester, so we talked a bit. Then after a while she said she was going to leave to go to a bar. I felt….lonely. There was no one else in the house – the girl downstairs is a local and she left the house early, another local girl lived upstairs with me but she was at home with her parents, and the last girl hadn’t moved in yet. After reading all my YA books and watching romantic comedies, I had envisioned moving in with someone I’d become immediate friends with. Obviously that didn’t happen. I remember leaving my doors open to seem ‘inviting’ in case anyone came back home. No one did. I suddenly realized I didn’t know anyone at UBC – not my roommates, nor anyone from UNSW. I started imagining spending my entire semester at UBC locked in my room because I didn’t know anyone. I can’t begin to describe how traumatizing that was for me, but because of the sudden epiphany that I could end up wasting my time at UBC without any friends, I decided to message the only person from UBC who had messaged me several months back. Luckily, he was nice and agreed to meet up with me the next day. Turns out, he’s one of my closest friends now 🙂

Early Jan – Met a bunch of people from around the world who will later become some of my closest friends.

Mid-January (exact date is engraved in my memory) – I met a guy; a guy who was vastly different from all the guys I’d previously liked. He stood out amongst all the other guys I laid eyes on at the pub. This guy was very….different, which was probably why I found him so intriguing. He was self-assured in a way that people might mistake for cockiness; he knew how to have fun and didn’t give a crap about what anyone else thought of him. I initially thought he was the irresponsible type who actively sought out attention but after observing him I realized he was the opposite. There’s something so attractive about a guy who knows what he wants and doesn’t try to impress those around him. He was straightforward and sometimes too blunt and honest, but he was real . Not once did he try to be someone he wasn’t, nor did he pretend to be nice to the people he didn’t like. I’d never seen someone who could talk so easily with everyone and knew how to have fun the way he did. I fell for him…and I fell for him hard.

Late January –Went skiing for the first time in Canada and second time in my life!!!!!!!

 

5 tips to save money while overseas

When I travelled around USA, Canada (Toronto and Montreal), Mexico and Europe earlier this year, I kept a very strict record of all my expenses. I was travelling on a budget as I’d spent the majority of my savings in Canada (all those ski trips and parties emptied my bank account) so my budget at each leg of my trip was around $AUD1000-2000 (for a minimum of 2 weeks).

To be honest, it took a lot of self-control and sacrifice to ensure my expenses were kept within my budget range. Occasionally I wanted to splurge on a succulent meal or purchase a souvenir but in the end, I was glad I managed to suppress my impulsive buying habit.

These are some money saving tricks I adopted while travelling:

1.Be flexible about your accommodation

I know a lot of people are very inflexible or uncompromising with their accommodation; some of my friends need a nice and comfortable bed to sleep in at night, especially if they’re driving the very next day. And that is completely fine. But what saved me a lot of money was not being overly picky about where I slept. Whether it was in Canada, USA or Europe, I was content to sleep in the cheapest hostel and share a room with 5 strangers or if my plane landed at night, I would stay overnight in the airport. In the states, my friends and I camped out in the National Parks for several days and this allowed us to save up and splurge a little in Vegas.

2. Take public transport/Walk

So I know when I go back to China (or anywhere really) with my parents, we would always take a cab to get from A to B. Cabs are generally extremely expensive, and ubers aren’t that much cheaper either, especially when you want to go to the airport or train station. At every destination in Europe, my friend and I took public transport to the airport/main train station and i’m not going to lie, that was tiring as hell. I had two massive backpacks that weighed a tonne and it would’ve been so much more convenient for me to grab a cab but I sucked it up and took public transport (even if it meant I had to run for the train or change trains a billion times.) Also, when touring around the city, I preferred to walk. Even if I ended up walking more than 20km a day, it was definitely worth my time and effort!

3. Don’t impulse buy plane tickets

This my friends, is one of the most annoying things about travelling for me. If I’m planning to go somewhere, I would HOURS researching and comparing different flight prices then decide it was still too expensive and come back the next day. I remember spending a whole week monitoring flight fares from Prague to London and then finally buying the cheapest ticket that I found! Also, be sure to keep updated on sales, discounts (e.g when you download the site’s app, you may be eligible for up to 15% off).

4. Save on foooooooood!

I know we go to different countries to try their authentic cuisine but there are definitely ways to save on food! In the States, the 5 of us would go grocery shopping and cook or make sandwiches for lunch/dinner. Breakfast was either included at the hostel/motel we stayed at or we would find somewhere to grab a quick bite before setting off to our next destination. In Canada, my friend and I cooked very healthy meals for breakfast and dinner every day but would eat out at local cafes for lunch. We would grab brunch maybe once or twice a week but that was it. In Europe, my friend and I splurged once in every country at an authentic diner, but would spend significantly less for lunch and dinner on the other days. Breakfast was once again included in the AirBnB or hostel!

5. Always have cash & DON’T EXCHANGE MONEY AT THE AIRPORT.  

I wasted almost 30 Euros in Milan. I had around US$100 on me but no euros as I never got the chance to exchange any in the US/Canada. For some reason on that particular day, the credit card machines weren’t working and since I didn’t have any cash, I couldn’t purchase a train ticket to get to my hostel. I then exchanged money at the airport and had to sign a paper that indicated a significant portion of my exchanged amount would essentially be eaten up as commission. I was so annoyed but obviously couldn’t do anything about it. So moral of the story: ALWAYS HAVE CASH ON YOU.

Obviously there were other things I sacrificed in order to spend within my budget, but these were the main tricks I used!

Exchange Updates

It’s not Thursday but feel like posting #throwbackthursday posts hehehe

This was written sometime in March.

13/03/2016 – 20/03/2016

Another week has passed, and I’m dreading the last day of exchange. I can feel it creeping up slowly, but surely, and honestly, as cliched as it sounds, if I could do anything to stop time,  or to rewind time to January/February, I would. People are saying how we should go to as many parties as possible, spend as much time with friends as possible, but exams are looming and it’s almost impossible for everyone to be free at the same time to catch up and do things together. I for one, need to study my ass off to pass my courses because right now I’m terrified I’ll fail them.

Over the past month I’ve noticed that I can’t even remember what my Sydney life was like. Was it really so uneventful and unmemorable? All I remember is waking up every day to go to Uni, spending a few hours 3-4 days a week tutoring little kids and high school students and occasionally (how often is “occasional” though) going out to dinner with friends.

I do remember how every time my friends and I wanted to organise a dinner to catch up, at least one person would be busy because of work or some other commitment, and then this dinner would get cancelled and then everyone would forget to reorganise it. There were never any spontaneous dinners or drinks because everyone simply lived too far away. No one could be bothered to get out of the house at 9pm to go to the city for impromptu drinks. But in Vancouver? Since every lives on campus, it’s so convenient to walk 5 minutes to Mahoney’s or someone’s residence and have an impromtu party there.

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Love you guys ❤

I distinctly remember one Saturday when everyone was at home studying or just chilling, one friend messaged “Guys, drinks tonight” in the group chat and immediately, everyone replied with a thumbs up. It turns out one person was a little upset due to personal issues, and a few of us started messaging other friends to come join as well. Within an hour, everyone – and I repeat, everyone we messaged–  rocked up and I was quite literally floored at how supportive everyone was. A few came directly from grocery shopping (didn’t even go home to put everything away), and others turned up in sweatpants because they didn’t expect to go out that night. Thinking back to that night, I’m filled with love and gratitude to have met such an amazing bunch of people who would drop everything to come comfort a friend in need. It’s times like this that I really appreciate what exchange has shown me; back in Sydney, I don’t think it’s possible for someone to say “hey guys, this happened, come out for drinks tonight” and expect the entire gang to arrive. It’s just…not possible. But on exchange? I’ve witnessed it happening and it’s a scene that I’ll always remember.

UPDATE: I think I wrote this while I was extremely stressed and unfortunately it feels unfinished, but these were my naked thoughts at the time and finishing it off now will just smear the authenticity of it so I’ll simply leave it as it is.

UPDATE 2: OMG I MISS EXCHANGE 😦 😦 

 

TORONTO DAY 3

DAY 3| 29th MAY 2016

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO:
We started off the day visiting the University of Toronto. I remember I used to hate visiting famous universities; in 2014 I visited Boston and the last thing I wanted to do was explore Harvard and MIT. My parents, relatives, friends and basically everyone in the world told me to buy a Harvard cap/t-shirt/souvenir and I was like “WHY???? I DON’T CARE ABOUT HARVARD”. 2 years later, I’m visiting famous universities in every city I go to.

IMG_1452We didn’t have time to explore the entire campus + a lot of buildings were dispersed in other areas so we sat on the grass, read our book (standard) and then headed to Casa Loma.

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THE MASONIC TEMPLE:
On the way to Casa Loma, we stopped by a few open buildings. Toronto had this “open buildings tour” over the weekend where many famous and historic buildings all over Toronto were open for the public to visit. We asked a volunteer for any recommendations as to where to go and he mentioned the Masonic Temple. I had no idea who the Masons were, but after googling it turns out the Masons;
1) are like a modern version of the Illuminati
2) they may or may not control the world
3) are basically a frat for adults (no women allowed)
5) are all over the world
6) there are sub organisations within the Masons
7) collectively agree that there is one God
Overall, it was rather intriguing so Jessie and I decided to pay the Masonic Temple a visit.

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As usual, we got sidetracked on the way there (we went to Sephora and MAC…AGAIN) and ended up going inside at exactly 4:30. (Doors close at 4:30- YOLO life).

So the Masons occupied the building since its construction in 1916; MTV took over in 2006 and is now occupied by InfoTech.

CASA LOMA:
Our final stop for the day was at Casa Loma – A FREAKING CASTLE IN TORONTO.

Well…not really. It looks like a castle but it was simply the home of a financier – Sir Henry Mill Pellatt in the early 1900’s.

Casa Loma was used as the filming location for quite a number of famous films/TV Shows; X-men, The Mortal Instruments, Hemlock Grove and I only just found out today that it was   the location for the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 where the castle itself was apparently “transformed into Hogwarts”.

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TORONTO DAY 2

DAY 2| 28th MAY 2016


NIAGARA FALLS//

My alarm went off at 7:30 today and we arrived downstairs for breakfast at 8:30. Our bus to Niagara Falls (which we booked the night before) was at 9:30, and thankfully we learnt our lesson from the day before so we started walking to the station before 9 and arrived with plenty of time to spare.

As usual, I was passed out on the bus. I’m starting to fear sleeping on the bus because apparently I snore HAHAHHA. Two old ladies sat across from me and as I stood up to get off the bus, one asked me “how was your nap, dear”. Jesus, I’m thinking of buying and wearing a surgical mask over my mouth when I nap on the bus now!
The walk to the waterfall was around 20 minutes from the bus stop. We bought tickets online for the Hornblower Cruise, where we board the cruise and the cruise sails to the waterfall and we basically get to see/experience/get splashed by the waterfall up close.
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We were given pink ponchos – which brought back good old memories from my high school days (my high school uniform was pink, and the two summer uniforms were different shades of pink) – but even the ponchos couldn’t protect us from the water! We literally got splashed left, right and centre and I couldn’t take decent photos because my poor phone was going to drown 😦 Here’s a before and after photo;
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Overall, I definitely had heaaaaps of fun!!! Might not come back anytime in the near future but YAY for ticketing one item off my bucket list!!!
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FOOOOOOD//
Since our bus back to downtown Toronto was at 3, we had 2 hours to chill. We bought hot dogs for $6.50 – Jesus Christ, it’s 2.5 times the price for a normal hotdog.
For dinner, we had Taiwanese food at Tea Shop 168. The beef noodles tasted authentic and YAY for bubble tea!! Too bad they didn’t accept credit cards though, and since I didn’t bring my wallet (only brought my ID and credit card), I had to run to RBC and withdraw money.
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BASEBALL GAME//
Jessie and I bought baseball tickets the night before. The conversation went like this:
Jessie: LET’S WATCH A BASEBALL GAME
Me: You don’t even like baseball/sports
Jessie: But we’re in Toronto, do it for the experience!!!!!!!
Me: #JesusJessie
*walked in to a Blue Jays store that sold tickets*
*asked the girl at the counter for the cheapest tickets for the next few days*
May 29th (ideal time) – $80+
May 28th – $50+
May 27th – $29+
Me: Let’s watch on the 27th? (7pm –
Perfect time)
Jessie: NOOOOO. THE BASKETBALL GAME IS ON THE 27TH
Me: MATE YOU DONT EVEN LIKE/WATCH BASKETBALL
Jessie: YEAH BUT THE RAPTORS ARE PLAYING
Me: WTF YOU DON’T KNOW JACK ABOUT THE RAPTORS.
Jessie: NAH I DO. THEY’RE TORONTO’S TEAM AND CANADA’S BEST TEAM
Me: YOU HAD A 2 MINUTE CONVERSATION WITH ANUBHAV YESTERDAY AND NOW YOU’RE THE RAPTOR’S BIGGEST FAN??
Jessie: I JUST WANA WATCH IT FOR THE EXPERIENCE AND ATMOSPHERE!
Me: #Jesusjessie
In the end we decided to watch the baseball game on the 27th, leave at 10pm and go to a bar and watch the last hour of the basketball game.
So, we uber’ed to the stadium. Turns out, uber drivers don’t like driving ubers, but it’s safer for female uber drivers because they know who they’re picking up etc. But it’s so convenient, cheap and fast for us students soooo THANK YOU UBER ❤
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The Toronto Blue Jays vs Boston Red Sox was surprisingly an extremely interesting game! (This is coming from someone who hates watching sports except tennis) My expectations were insanely low at the start since the last two sports games I watched, I almost fell asleep (a youth ice hockey game and the UBC Basketball game). HOWEVER, THE GAME WENT ABOVE AND BEYOND MY EXPECTATIONS!!!! I think maybe the fact that I knew the rules of the game made it easier for me to follow and it was easier to track what was happening on the field compared to ice hockey/basketball where everyone’s literally running back and forth at the same time or they’re clustered in one area.
My thoughts/highlights of the game:
– The guys all have jock names Hahaha. Like, I can’t imagine a baseball player with the name Benedict or Theodore etc LOL
– Jesus, everyone’s good at catching
– JOSH DONALDSON is fucking good at batting. He hit 2 home runs!
– Felt bad for the Red Sox ’cause 99% of the stadium cheered for the Blue Jays and booed at the Red Sox team.
– A guy/fan appeared out of nowhere during the game and streaked across the field in his boxers. At least 3 security guards chased him but couldn’t catch him ’cause he dodged them easily, before he was eventually pinned down by two new security guards!
DAMN SON, YOU DID WELL
– The BLUE JAYS WONNNNN
– 100% would watch again
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BASKETBALL//
After the game, we walked down a billion streets trying to find a bar to watch the basketball game.  We wanted to go to a dodgy bar with a very patriotic, very loud atmosphere AHHA but the bars were either full or too fancy for us (we were walking near the financial district). In the end we bought ice cream and found a small bar near our hostel.
We ordered a beer each and expected to drink and watch the game, like local Toronto’ers.
But….
After 1 sip, THE FUCKING GAME ENDED.
I was like WTFFFFFFF. I paid $6 for a beer I could’ve bought for $2 and now I was stuck inside the bar and there was nothing to do.
So Jessie and I talked….
And talked….
And talked….
Until we finally finished our beers. And because I was drinking on an empty stomach, I could’ve gone clubbing after one more beer HAHAHAHA
But no, we didn’t go clubbing.
We decided to be boring, responsible adults and walked back to the hostel . (JSKJSK AHAH)
All in all, a veryyyyyyy good day!!

TORONTO DAY 1

DAY 1|27th MAY 2016

MONTREAL//
Jessie and I woke up bright and early on Thursday afternoon to board our 7:30am bus from Montreal to Toronto. Saying goodbye is always difficult, but knowing I’d see Anubhav in Sydney in a few months made it a tiny bit easier 🙂

We took an uber to the Megabus station (freeeee ride ’cause I signed up the day before!) and since Jessie and I are all about the YOLO life we left the house at 7:19am.

Sooo yes, we were late for our bus.

The uber driver knew and since he couldn’t turn into the bus station because it was a one way street, and dropping us further up the road would delay us even more, he stopped at the lights and dropped us off in the middle of the road.

So we got out.

And I almost got run over by a car.

Not even kidding. I grabbed my bags and got out of the car and in 1 second, I processed that Jessie was already on the sidewalk with her bags and the light turned green already so the uber driver needed to head off which meant I needed to run to the sidewalk. In the next second I turned right, and a blue car was speeding down, saw me, honked and slammed on the brakes.

Ooooops.

Anyway, we ran for the bus and made it at 7:31! WOOHOOO

HOSTEL //
We checked into Neill-Wycik Backpackers Hostel which is right across from Ryerson University. Our rooms were on the 20th floor (Hehehee great views from our windows!!) and surprisingly, instead of 6 bunk beds in one room (which was what I expected from hostels), we had our own rooms. It was like Walter Gage at UBC, one apartment with 6 individual rooms, one common area, toilet and shower. We realised this was probably a dorm for Ryerson students during the semester.

Unfortunately, there was no wifi in our rooms 😦 We had to either go to the cafe on the ground floor to find wifi or go up to the 22nd floor lounge.There’s also a roof top above the 22nd floor; Jessie and I went at midnight and the view of Toronto is simple magical 😍

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FOOD //
Tim Hortons – As usual, I bought myself a Nutella cookie and an ice coffee. I’m not sure how much longer the Nutella promotion will go on for so I’m taking advantage of its availability while it lasts 😀

Kimchi House– For dinner, we had Korean food! I ordered a Kimchi stew (as usual) and it was so spicy that I started to fear my tolerance for spicy food has diminished over the last month 😦 The side dishes were THE BOMB. I’m not exaggerating when I say Kimchi House had the best side dishes ever. Usually side dishes complement my dinner, but I liked the side dishes more than my food!

ACTIVITIES//
Jessie and I met up with Marcus after we checked in. Since it was raining we decided to go “shopping” (read: window shopping/putting on make up at Sephora). We stayed in Sephora for ageeees (standard).

I’m still debating whether to purchase the Make Up Forever’s Pro Sculpting Lip Pen and/or Nudstix’s Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil and/or MAC’s Hot Tahiti. Even with taxes and Australia’s weakening currency, It’s still cheaper here compared to Sydney. (AUD25ish compared to AUD36), but I’ve promised myself not to buy anything unnecessary so I probably won’t buy it 😦 The only “unnecessary” things I’m allowing myself to purchase is coffee and the occasional snack/ ice cream 🙂

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We walked through the financial district, the Toronto equivalent of Sydney’s CBD. I felt like the black sheep walking along the street as I was wearing a very casual white v neck t-shirt and baggy boyfriend jeans (ripped I might add) while everyone around me were neat and smart in their suits, ties and corporate outfits. The financial district felt bigger than Sydney’s, and the buildings were strikingly better looking. Just look at the architecture of these buildings!!!IMG_1296

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As per usual, Jessie and I wanted to see the sunset and after minutes of googling, we decided to go to Riverdale Park to see Toronto’s skyline. Apparently, Riverdale Park is one of the best places to watch sunset in Toronto, but we were a little confused as to the actual location because there were different entrances to the park. (East and West). We ended up walking for over an hour, and after crossing a bridge we saw the tip of the buildings but overall, it was quite disappointing.

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Life of an Exchange Student Week 3

17/01/2016-23/01/2016

Sunday 17th January:

Woke up nice and early for yum cha at Golden Ocean Seafood Restaurant. This may be hard to believe, but I’ve only ever tried yum cha once or twice in my entire life , and honestly, I don’t recall the food tasting that great. (Sorry Yum Cha lovers!!!)

We ordered pretty much everything on the trolley and stuffed ourselves with Chinese buns, dumplings, chicken feet, egg tarts etc. We each paid $15, which was reasonable considering how full I was after the meal!

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After a very filling brunch, we spontaneously decided to explore Queen Elizabeth Park as it was within walking distance from the yum cha restaurant.

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I’m a pretty crap photographer so the above photo doesn’t capture the beauty of the view, but I can assure you from where I was standing, the garden looked exquisite. It would’ve been better if it wasn’t cloudy that day; the garden would’ve looked even more stunning under the sun!

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Sometime in the afternoon, Jessie and I decided to visit the local cemetery while the rest of the group headed back home.

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At night, Jessie and I joined four other people ( Ben, Sarah, Ivan and Jorge) for a late night screening of The Revenant.

I’m going to be completely honest here, I didn’t think The Revenant was that special but then again, maybe I don’t know how to appreciate good films/acting? The entire storyline was revealed in the trailer, and the 2.5hr long movie could have been condensed into 10 minutes and I wouldn’t’ve missed anything (but maybe the whole point of the movie was to showcase Leo’s impeccable acting skills?) Anyway, I almost fell asleep during the movie but managed to stay awake until I got home at around 1-2am.

Monday 18th January:

CHILL DAY FOR MOI. Stayed at home and studied 😀 (First assignment due on Thursday!)

Tuesday 19th January:

The Sumyuku gang plotted a surprise midnight birthday celebration for Sophie. I went shopping for her cake in the afternoon, and just before midnight we all congregated at Gage apartments to execute the plan 🙂 At first I thought it would only be around 6 us surprising her, but when we arrived, a bunch of Sophie’s “other” friends (who are now friends with everyone hehehe) were there to surprise her as well!

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THE CAKE!!!!

So as you can see, the candles look so disorganised. We were trying to spell out “WA” (Wing Attack) using 20 candles (because she turned 20!); while I managed to write out WA using 20 dots, sticking 20 candles into the cake was a completely different matter. The above is the result of my failed attempt at using candles to make letters.

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Preparing to surprise Sophie!

Right before 12am when I was carrying the candle lit cake,  stupid me decided to say something to someone across the cake and I accidentally blew out all the candles…..Sorry Sophie!!!

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Outside Sophie’s door 

Luckily she opened the door. I know if it was me, I probably would’ve pretended to be asleep and ignored the knocker. HAHAA

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EVERYONE<3 

OH! And we found some random balloons abandoned after some party so we decided to recycle it and give it to Sophie HAHAHAH.

Wednesday 20th January:

SOPHIE’S BIRTHDAY DINNER!

Awesome food + Fantastic people = Perfect birthday celebration 🙂

We had dinner at Romer’s Burgers and then drinks at 12D to finish off the night 😀

LOOK AT ALL THE DELICIOUS BURGERS!!!!!! Also, Canada has this awesome system where they split the bill for you before you pay – so instead of giving you a bill of $57.74 and expecting everyone to frantically take out coins and work out how much change they need, the Canadian waiters/waitresses give you individual bills and y’all pay individually. HOW COOL IS THAT. I remember seeing $1.78 for the chips on my bill and I was like WOWWW. C’mon Australia, time to adopt this split billing system!!

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TABLE PHOTOOO WITH THE BIRTHDAY GURL 

Thursday 21st January:

It’s Thursday, and you know what that means? Yep, PRE’S AT 14D AND KOERNER’S!!!!!!!!

There’s not much to write; A picture is worth a thousand words.

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Yup, it was a great night

Friday 22nd January:

Went shopping, had the best hot dog ever (JAPADOG!!!) and spent the night playing cards and chilling at Fairview 🙂

Saturday 23rd January: 

To finish off the week, we went karaoke in Richmond (almost known as China/Asia/Chinatown etc. because it’s literally full of Chinese people, restaurants and signs.)

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Life of an Exchange Student WEEK 2

11/01/2016 -16/01/2016

Whoa.

I survived my first week at UBC.

To be honest, that first week felt more like an entire month. Imagine going out every single day for 6 days straight (doesn’t matter if it’s simply going out for dinner or drinking past midnight), the point is, I don’t think I’ve ever been out past midnight so many days in a row. 

Life in Sydney for me was basically:
Monday: Uni + work (arrive home by 9)
Tuesday: Uni + Gym (home by 8)
Wednesday: Uni + work (home by 9)
Thursday: Uni + Gym (home by 8)
Friday: Home / occasional birthday dinner / work
Saturday: Work / occasional birthday dinner/party
Sunday: Chill day at home

So you see, the number of times I went out last week was equivalent to Sydney-Shirley’s one-two months of adventure.

Now, for a brief recount of what went down in week 2.

Sunday 10th January:

Every Sunday (and some other days apparently), between a certain time period, UBC students may go ice skating for free. Unfortunately, this time period only lasts 1.5 hours, and being the poor terrible time managers that my friends and I are, we arrived at the Thunderbirds Stadium 15 minutes before the session was over. So what did we do? We stood outside the rink and watched and laughed at our friends who were falling/struggling to maintain their balance. Yes, we’re terrible people.

A massive group of us then had dinner at the the Village food court (the go-to place for cheap Asian foooood!) & afterwards, a few of us Fairview people went to chill at The Beanery (coffee shop in Fairview).

Sounds like a relaxing day, right? Does Shirley finally get to go to bed before 12??

Nope.

Instead of heading home at 10pm when the coffee shop closed like a normal person, I decided to go for a walk. Around campus. For almost 3 hours.

Yeah, I was a zombie in my morning class the next day.

Monday 11th January: 

YAY REST DAY FOR SHIRLEY.

Tuesday 12th January:

Only highlight of the day was grabbing burger and beer for dinner at this random pub downtown with the Sumyuku gang.

Wednesday 13th January:

WEDNESDAY. PRE’S. PIT PUB.

So the gang finally experienced partying at the infamous Pit Pub. To be honest, it was a bit of a disappointment. I guess since everyone called it the club on campus and how it was basically tradition to go to the Pit on Wednesdays, I was expecting some insane nightclub, but it was just a very spacious underground area with a dance floor, two bars and many, many booths to accommodate those who prefer to sit and drink and complain about life instead of dancing.

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Thursday 14th January:

I woke up nice and early, feeling tired as fuck and went off to class.

Remember how Thursdays = Koerner’s? Yep, that’s right.

Another night of drinking. Another night spent walking around campus. Arrived home around 3am.

Lucky for me, I don’t have class on Friday’s, otherwise I’m 100% sure I’d be skipping every single Friday morning class.

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Friday 15th January:

We decided to be Canadians for a day and went to watch an Ice Hockey Game.

Little did we know we were watching a youth game, and the average age of the hockey players was 16.

The only highlight of the game was witnessing a fist fight between two players.

I guess Ice Hockey ain’t my thing?

Oh, and guess what happened afterwards. Yepppp, more drinking! HAHAHHA

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Saturday 16th January:

I was invited to have brunch with a bunch of people but unfortunately I overslept and ended up staying home the entire day. I did however, go out for dinner at this place nearby [Jinya] that served the most succulent ramen ever.

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Shirley’s Food Adventures 4.0

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Selection of cakes from Save on Foods.

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JANUARY 19th – We decided to surprise our friend at midnight with a Red Velvet cake for her 20th birthday!

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JANUARY 20th – Dinner at Romer’s!

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JANUARY 20th – Dinner at Romer’s [The burgers in Vancouver are insanely good. I can live on burgers for the rest of my life…..]

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JANUARY 22nd – JAPANESE HOT DOG at JAPADOG. BEST. HOTDOG. EVER. They really need to open up a store in Sydney!

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JANUARY 22nd – Friend baked us a chocolate cake 😛

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JANUARY 24th – Hot Chocolate Festival

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JANUARY 25th

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JANUARY 27th – Friend cooked us Japanese curry. IT WAS SO DELICIOUS!!!

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JANUARY 29th – Dinner in Okanagan. Once again, the burger did not disappoint!

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FEBRUARY 1st – Tried Bibimbap for the first time!

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FEBRUARY 1st – I LOVE MY HOT CHOCOLATE 😀

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