DAY 3| 29th MAY 2016

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.


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.


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.

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”.




DAY 2| 28th MAY 2016


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.
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;
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!!!
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.
Jessie and I bought baseball tickets the night before. The conversation went like this:
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)
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 ❤
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!
– 100% would watch again
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.
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!!


DAY 1|27th MAY 2016

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.


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

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 😍


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!

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 🙂


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


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.



Life of an Exchange Student Week 3


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!


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


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!


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


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!



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.


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!!!


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



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:


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!!





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.



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.)


Life of an Exchange Student WEEK 2

11/01/2016 -16/01/2016


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??


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: 


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:


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.


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.


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


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.



Shirley’s Food Adventures 4.0


Selection of cakes from Save on Foods.


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


JANUARY 20th – Dinner at Romer’s!


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


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


JANUARY 22nd – Friend baked us a chocolate cake 😛


JANUARY 24th – Hot Chocolate Festival




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


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


FEBRUARY 1st – Tried Bibimbap for the first time!




Shirley’s Food Adventures 3.0

Food Adventures in Vancity ❤

Food in Vancouver is generally quite cheap compared to Australia, especially the food on campus/at the University village. (The restaurants/shops are similar to the ones on Anzac Parade.) Chinese take-away (rice + 2 sides) is only $6; a massive slice of pizza is only $2.50 and pho is under $10. So yes, I’ve pretty much been buying Chinese takeaway twice a week and since their servings are huge, it usually lasts me two whole days.

The only downside to food in Vancouver is that a soft serve in Maccas costs $1.40. Neverthesless, we’ve been eating Maccas at least once a week. (Sometimes three times a week because it’s soooo cheap and we’re all poor exchange students).


MONDAY 4th JAN – First on-campus meal! (Cafeteria next to the Sauder Building)


WEDNESDAY 6th JAN – PHO at the University Village!


WEDNESDAY 6th JAN – Strawberry & Orea Ice cream!


TUESDAY 12th JAN – Travelling 40+ mins to Downtown Vancouver for this burger + beer. (Totally worth it though!)


I found the Canadian version of Boost!


SATURDAY 16th JAN – Spicy Ramen at Jinya. BEST RAMEN EVER.


SUNDAY 17th JAN – Yum Cha for brunch! (Cuz we’re so Asiannnn)


SUNDAY 17th JAN – Japanese food for dinner before watching The Revenant.







SUNDAY 17th JAN – hehehehehe snacks for the movie!


Life of an Exchange Student WEEK 1

4/01/2016 – 10/01/2016

When you ask someone why they want to go on exchange, chances are their response is something along the lines of wanting to experience a different culture, meeting new friends and embarking on a once in a lifetime trip to somewhere on the other side of the world.

All of the above are most definitely true. But what they probably failed to mention explicitly (but is no doubt implied) is that they want to:
– Stay out every night without worrying about waking up their parents at 3am in the morning
– Go clubbing or drinking every night and not worry about stumbling home drunk and smelling like vomit
– Smoke without having to worry about smelling like cigarettes when they arrive home
– Get high
– Sleep around
– Have funnnnnnn!

The first two nights at UBC were frankly, extremely boring. I didn’t know anyone when I moved in on the first day (Sunday 03/01/2016) and out of my 3 roommates, only 1 had moved in. I literally did nothing on Sunday and just lounged around feeling home sick and deeply regretted not coming here with a mate or two from Australia.

The next day (Monday 04/01/2016) became exponentially better. I met up with someone from UNSW and then found myself in a group conversation with a bunch of other UNSW students at UBC.

Tuesday 05/01/2016 – Had dinner with a Korean girl I met at Orientation and then met up with the other Aussies. I remember I stayed out way past 12 and had to sleep immediately as I had a 10am class the next day.

So, the first few days were quite tame huh? Dinner, hanging out in someone’s living room and chatting until past 12.

Here is where the real exchange life starts.

Wednesday 06/01/2016:

UBC has these weekly “Pit Nights” on Wednesdays, where students party it up at the infamous Pit Pub UBC. I was invited by a fellow Aussie who lives next door to me, to have pre’s at his house with his roommates. They had bought several cases of Canadian beer (honestly, all beers taste the same to me. I just remember seeing the word “Canadian” on the can). The house became packed after an hour or so and in the midst of drinking and chatting, we discovered that the Pit Pub was full and wasn’t letting anyone else in.

So what did we do?

We went to someone else’s house to drink some more. Unfortunately, by this time people were either sleepy or drunk (and by drunk I mean they were basically so loud they woke up the RA’s and neighbours) and so we got kicked out of the house after an hour or so.

And this concludes Day 1 of drinking.

Thursday 07/01/2016 :

Well, well, well, Thursday was the day that all hell broke loose. The UBC Exchange Student Club organised a pizza social and drinks at Koerner’s (the go-to pub on campus for exchange students.) The pub itself wasn’t that big, but it did have a nice, spacious outdoor section with a few benches and one rectangular section for us to play beer pong.

Yep, we played beer pong.

With lemons.

So, initially there were only 10 people standing around the beer pong table and we divided the groups into Aussies vs. Singaporeans. As there were only 4 Aussies in attendance, we were vastly outnumbered ( more Singaporeans came as the game progressed.)  At first it was just a “friendly” game of beer pong, where each of us took turns drinking from the massive red cup. Then somehow we started to up the stakes.

It became strip beer pong.

And as luck would have it, my team lost.

I’m just glad I didn’t catch a cold as it was like 0 degrees outside.

To finish off the night, we went to a friend’s house and I’m pretty sure I got home at around 3:30 in the morning.

Friday 08/01/2016:

Korean BBQ. More drinking. SUMYUKU SUMYUKU. CLUBBING. Spent too much on drinks. Near-fist fight. Saving a mate. Home Finally. YAY FOR SURVIVING.

There’s this inside joke between all those who came out on Friday about how lucky we are to be alive. Long story short, we met a random guy on Thursday who created a group chat the very next day (Friday morning) inviting all of us to his apartment and then clubbing. We were all like “oh yeah cool, let’s go”. On the bus there, we realised that none of us knew anything about the guy except his name. Basically, A thought he was B’s friend, and B thought he was C’s friend but C thought he was A’s friend. For all we knew, he could be a serial killer or rapist. There were around 7 of us on the bus and we were just imagining all the different ways we could die. Luckily nothing happened to us! HAHAH

Saturday 09/01/2016:

Saturday was spent shopping in Downtown, and then making our way to the ESC Club Crawl. Yep, more drinking! And more clubbing!

Sunday 10/01/2016:

After 4 days straight of drinking, my liver was probably on the verge of collapsing. Sunday was the perfect day to wind down and get my shit together before class on Monday HAHA. I slept in till like 12 & decided to go ice skating with a few mates. However, when we got there, we discovered the ice rink would be closing in 20 minutes, so instead we watched the others skate. For dinner a bunch of us grabbed Chinese takeout and then met up with another friend for a spontaneous coffee hangout.

By around 10pm, 2 people decided to go for a smoke and hang out, leaving me and one other person to hang out. Since it was early (yes, 10pm is too early for us to go home and sleep even though both of us had an early morning class.), we decided to go for a stroll/go exploring.

Unfortunately, the only photos on my phone are drunk selfies and 10 second clips of everyone clubbing. I may upload them later for me to re-watch in like 10 years time, but for now, there won’t be any photos.


Welcome to my Room


Apparently my room is the smallest out of the 4 bedrooms in the house but I still have to pay the fee for a medium sized room.





This will be my crib for the next 4 months It’s almost twice the size of my room and since it’s not filled from floor to ceiling with my books and clothes, I’m enjoying the clean look of it 🙂


I have an awesome view of the other houses as well as snow covered ground. Hmmmm Looks like I can creep on good looking guys 😉 JOKEEEEES.