Brighton • Oliver

The week after Copenhagen, we as a group collectively decided: “Yep, it’s time we took a break from flying into the EU”. We wanted to explore a city close to our campus city. Funny thing is – there was a larger town close to Bath called Bristol: 15 minutes away by rail. After researching options such as: Cornwall (very beautiful – disappointed I couldn’t visit before disembarking the UK…) and Manchester (a tad far…) – we decided on Brighton; one of the most noteworthy cities to visit while in the UK. We somehow implicitly believed it would be close to Bath…

3.5 hours of rail later, we’ve arrived! It’s a coastal city, and we felt this right when we stepped out of the rail station. The air was filled with the sandiness of the beaches and freshness of the roaring waters. The day we went wasn’t the best as it was grey skies and mild rain; albeit this unpleasant weather, I do not regret this day trip. It progressively  introduced me to hidden gems that were scattered throughout the UK.

Brighton is a city of wonder. There are numerous small shops, delicious restaurants, and a mix of tourists and locals. We aimed for the coastline as we had seen the beautiful pictures of the Ferris wheel and amusement park by the sea.

B115E46C-F19A-47F5-8FF7-931C40F483FD.JPGThe Regency Restaurant right by the coast is what I would recommend to all whom pass by Brighton. It is a seafood shack that cooks up delicious grilled or iced seafood. Out of all the seafood, paellas, and spaghetti dishes I’ve consumed over the 4 months – this restaurant tops it all. I think it might also be the cheese that is slathered on top! Other than eat, we frequented the little arcade that lay right outside the carnival park. I think we spent about 1.5 hours in there, playing games until our hands tired and our jaws sore from belly-laughing, and ultimately- winning a Brighton snow globe.

A funny little story is: I had been told by a friend that there were rainbow huts on Hove Beach, in Brighton. I googled it and led our group in circles beyond circles. When we walking along the coastline, I had a sinking feeling we were going in the wrong direction… but I kept going. It was fun not knowing if we were going the right way, but as I had everyone with me – it was okay. Just thought of it as time together.

After googling intensely a bit more, I realized… there was Brighton and a Hove Beach with rainbow huts – in Australia. We asked around some more and realized the rainbow huts were a bit of a secret – only locals knew of this little strip near the coast.

Here’s some rad pics of us jumping up and down… and up and down – like maniacs high on colour. That day became more sunny (and hot) as we walked up and down the few strips that lined this city.

Brighton remains one of the top cities I would go back for. Not only for it’s quaint and calming city-sphere, but also the feels of being by the sea.

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When I look at this little beauty, I think of our times there. Times where we grew closer by chatting with each other, getting to know each other’s pasts, and having fun at another city explored.

To the Good Ol’ Days

After the excited initial feels of being in a new country, the stark surroundings and lack of familiar faces started to strike…

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It was only in the first few weeks that I met the other exchange students. The first friend I befriended was this one guy whom I would come to know, at a medium level (RHS – Sunny Sun). The smartest guy around, but also the goofiest and is often all over the place (literally). He introduced me to other people, and I will always remain thankful for that. Too smart for his own good, and too silly to realize that. Always bringing laughter in every sitting.

The other 2 are my mains! POPO and FIFI will always have your back. Whether it is in the form of sharing cake with you, cooking food for you, or just travelling to wherever you want. They are down.

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Sight: Charles Bridge, Prague
Mains: Popo & Fifi & Gigi
“Why walk when you can selfie?”

I am also thankful that in the beginning I was able to befriend some of my roommates. It was cool being able to live close to friends whom you could cook and chat late into the night with. They were older, wiser, and most often than not, very fashionable in an eccentric way. Overall an awesome role model for me. We all come from different backgrounds, but we’re also to meet during this term at the same University. Although I believe the best of times are often had at the most spectacular places, it is most likely the people whom are around, that make those days extra special. I learned to cherish this fact over the course of my exchange.

Here are some snippets of the residence I lived at while in Bath. I am also glad that I was able to find a family in Church and grow closer to each one of them. There is too much to say about everything that happens on exchange, but I would like, day by day, annotate it to you.

Although I’ve walked this path multiple times. That day I took these photos, I could sense that when the day came I took my last step away from this place – I would miss it dearly • Thornbank Gardens: during this period, I learned to fend for myself. This will always be my home away from home. Close to P, J, S, F, M, S, S, J, P, G & A.

IMG_1904That time I couldn’t stop playing with my phone. I realized my pictures would be nothing without knowing the stories of the people who litter my every album and populate the places I’ve been to with their smiles.

Thanks for coming along this ride with me. Europe, you’ve instilled a spark in me that I thought had long been put out. I know I’ll be back soon, don’t forget me just yet!

Tune In

Almost 2 months of this new year has past. So many things have happened so far. Most of them I would be proud and happy in saying I am glad that they had taken place. I see so many of my friends and family achieving great things; inspiring and being inspired in all that they do.

There have been struggles and worry, definitely. Would life not be life without free will and uncertainty? The many things in life that make us disappointed and joyous, go hand-in-hand. Always chasing, always running; it seems that time will stop for no one. And it doesn’t, really.

Upon meeting the people I did over the course of this new year, I have come to appreciate my strengths and weaknesses. As no one is perfect, we all have faults that we share with others, whom can hopefully lift us up when we need it most.

Never to take advantage of those whom lend you a helping hand. But always to pay the hand forward.

A truly beautiful image of purple flowers. There are like these that sway in the wind, following the beating of their own steps, never falling into that of someone else. Unique and special, in their own way. 

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What If

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The original movie title had been coined “What If”, but in theatres throughout North America, it had undergone the name change to “The F Word”. For some, upon first hearing the title may believe it to be implying the swear word, however, in actuality, it is referencing “friend”.

This movie revolves around the friendship of two Torontonians – Wallace & Chantry. After Wallace discovers Chantry has a boyfriend, he decides to not continue the friendship, as he believes nothing will come out of it. However, circumstances bring the two back together, and quickly, the audience is drawn into the depths of the pairs’ instant connection in everything: Fool’s Gold, magnetic word conundrums, Whip Cream.

At parts where it is apparent the love that Chantry and her boyfriend of 5 years share is genuine, you cannot help but also root for Wallace to win over Chantry. It is also apparent that the pair occasionally work to restraint themselves to never cross the limits that are there out of respect for Chantry’s boyfriend.

Sadly, a friendship between a girl and a guy almost always, does hit road bumps.

It is bittersweet sometimes as throughout the movie you can feel the problematic thoughts that Chantry internally faces when she is around Wallace. Questions of following her heart or following her mind. Sticking with what is familiar or trying something new. We all face these dilemmas now and then, but never truly getting a definite answer of whether the choice we make is the correct one or not.

A simple and funny romantic comedy. Does it end happily? Or bittersweetly like many endings as seen before? I think this is a movie that deserves a solid 7/10 and for those new couples, or even for those friends whom are borderline “dealing” but know something more will inevitably emerge – hit the theatres for this Radcliffe-Razan love story, maybe it’ll be the push that opens up something new.

A short clip from the movie on how to make “Fool’s Gold”

Nighttime wonders

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Nights are where I seem to have the most to say, because I’ve collected thoughts throughout the course of the day. Sometimes I wonder, what if I hadn’t been born as me? What if I had been born as someone else, somewhere else in this world. Would I have met the people that I have? Would I have done the things I’ve done? Would I be happier? Or not quite as? There are so many “what-ifs” in this world that I’ve grown accustomed to not wishing for any over-dos.

To be honest, I’m content; very, for everything that has happened. Either if it had been happy, sad, overwhelming, regretful, or even tiring and wishing I could forget that moment entirely. But sometimes it’s the fact that we are humans, and not having everything that we wish for to happen that makes us different; more special. We have to remember the memories of our past, continue that which we are doing in the present, and look towards the future.

It’s these times at night that I look toward the stars and somehow see a map of how my future will look. I always have the feeling that it will be “bright, unknown, and overlapping with many that I love and will love”.

I hope you all have a wonderful night. Tuck in and pull those dreams that much closer.

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Pillars of strength

Like the many pillars that surround this tree, holding it, supporting it, against all that may try to break it down, we all have close ones that do the same. So don’t ever take advantage or forget them, because one day they might just give up on trying, as it seems to make no difference anyways, they presume. 

Like the many pillars that surround this tree, holding it, supporting it, against all that may try to break it down, we all have close ones that do the same. So don’t ever take advantage or forget them, because one day they might just give up on trying, as it seems to make no difference anyways, they presume.