I have so far lived my life believing that I was born to be a jack (or jill?) of all trades. I would be interested in something, learn about it, be somewhat decent at it and move on to new things.
Until I found myself in Copenhagen more than five years ago and fell completely in love with the city. Since then, I found that I can be especially good at something, i.e. travelling back to the same city over and over again just to do the same things that I love.
Till date, I have travelled to Copenhagen on five different occasions, and I have met the Crown Prince of Denmark (here we go again), which is why I think I am properly qualified to give my opinion on what the best things to do in this city are.
So here are my personal favourites, in random order.
Take a stroll at Nyhavn
My absolute favourite place, and this lovely harbour has been featured numerous times in this blog. Walking to Nyhavn from Kongens Nytorv Metro Station is like finding a colourful surprise after a somewhat gray (albeit beautiful) stroll at the heart of Copenhagen.
When it comes to procrastination, I think I’m the queen.
I have been wanting to write this post for a while, and it took me two YEARS to finally get around to it.
I think part of me wanted to make this post perfect, since I felt that this travel story that I’m about to write deserves the best. Everything that had thus far come to my head never sounded good enough – I don’t even know if this post is going to cut it.
It took a terrible earthquake that practically damages Kathmandu to shake me out of this mentality, and I decided to write this post about the kids in Nepal, because I’m thinking of them, and I’m praying for their safety.
I went to Nepal exactly two years ago on a mission. I had never been much of a charitable person, and definitely not someone who would proactively make time in the weekend to help people in need. And for that, I felt genuinely horrible, as if I were a very evil person. So I decided that perhaps a trip to the poorest country in Asia would make me more charitable.
I expected the living conditions and the tough terrain of Nepalese mountains would teach me a thing or two. And I did learn something from them. But the credit for the best lessons learned should go to the kids, really – I went there to teach them some Mathematics and English, but I came home feeling that I have learned so much more from them.
Here are some life lessons that I had the privilege to be taught by the wonderful kids:
Go the extra mile (or two) to learn
I remember complaining in my head when I arrived at the mountains and found out that we had to wake up at 6 AM the next morning to prepare for the materials because the kids are scheduled to start their class at 6 30 AM. Grudgingly I set my alarm, only to be woken up the next day before my alarm went off by the chirpy noise of the kids outside! The kids were there an hour early! What made me feel even more ashamed of myself afterwards was that I found out that some of them lived two hours’ walk away, which means they woke up at 4 AM, just to attend the classes that we were going to teach! I never recalled having so much motivation to learn, even though I had all the access to education right at my doorstep…
Trust me, no one has been wanting to see an update on this site as much as I have. Even though my actions don’t speak as loudly as my words, you have to believe me when I say that it has been hectic three weeks of March. A lot of things claimed my attention that I had no choice but to neglect this blog, but I suppose I could summarise all the madness in one word.
I found myself unexpectedly hanging out with a group of Germans and even got myself jokingly offered a PhD programme in Berlin on Statistics (for reasons that I can’t fathom), which I obviously rejected because I am not an academic person like that.
Which is why you may or may not have noticed that I have sneakily slipped in and changed the Header of this blog and left it there without giving any explanation. So now that I finally managed to squeeze in some time to breathe and write, let me introduce you to the Header for March, the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.
The Holocaust Memorial is one of my absolute favourite memorials, although the word ‘favourite’ may not be very appropriate for something that carries such morbid meanings. I mean this whole thing is actually called Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
February marks the end of my four-month travel drought, and I feel it is only right to attribute spotlight of this month to this million-dollar view of Singapore, a place that has been my anchor when I couldn’t travel.
I would say it time and again, Singapore is a really magnificent place. Take this view of Marina Bay Sands for example. It still leaves me in awe every time I stare at it, the grandness of it all, coupled by the fact that this cavernous structure that is enough to fit a Boeing plane was built on top of a piece of reclaimed land.
One of the best places to have an unobstructed view of Marina Bay is from Lantern, a rooftop bar on top of Fullerton Bay Hotel. I have been to the place three times now (once in a pouring rain), and loving the place more with every visit.
Just dropping a quick line in this space before my personal new year.
I think I should totally win the award of being able to come up with legitimate excuses to be MIA from my own blog. I gave myself a three-week project at the end of December to pull something through. It has unexpectedly been extended to a fourth week now, but it is really the final stretch before I could finally announce what it was, hopefully with some good news. Anyway, this was why I have been absent from the blog because the project involved a lot of thinking and some writing, and I practically exhausted my brain cells and word count each day in the process.
As if as a reward for myself upon finishing this last stretch of the project, a friend of mine invited me to watch Michael Buble concert (OMG!!!). The same friend who posed as my ‘boy lunch date’ and presented me with this too-pretty early birthday present!
I love Christmas markets. There is something very charming and romantic about those rows of little wooden huts with slanted roofs, fairy lights tracing their edges, selling everything from warm wine to cakes and earmuffs.
Over the years, I have visited Christmas markets in Copenhagen, London and Paris and never seemed to get enough of them. They are definitely one of the things that I miss the most from being in Europe.
So imagine my thrill and excitement when I found out that Christmas market has finally come to Singapore. I love it so much that I have been there not once, not twice but three times over the past week!
The Christmas market (or Christmas Wonderland as the official name goes) is located at Gardens by the Bay’s Supertree Grove. The Supertrees on normal days are already very impressive if not somewhat menacing (a lot of people have mixed feelings about the veins sprouting everywhere from the ‘trees’ and I do agree that from afar it looks kind of odd). I always compare them to scenes from the movie Avatar.
Even though I live in a single-season country, I have always closely identified November with autumn ever since I visited Oslo in 2009.
It was my first time coming head on with how autumn looks like and feels, walking on leaves-strewn paths in the park, admiring colourful trees that are in the process of shedding their leaves, and of course going around in a trench coat to keep warm from the chilly weather.
I fell in love with autumn then and there.
I visited Oslo very briefly on a cruise trip from Copenhagen. It was something organised by our university, where they would put all of the exchange students on one cruise and shipped us to Oslo for a day trip. Our cruise departed from Copenhagen harbour on a beautiful afternoon.
It is funny that the moment I published a post about me not travelling for a while, the universe seems to be stopping me from not travelling through clear and literally very beautiful signs.
First came face to face with me when I was tidying up the stuff from my last day madness.
This travel diary was designed and personalised for me by a really talented friend of mine as my farewell gift. She took materials from different things that she had and put together something so meaningful and creative. Everything on the cover reminds me not to lose my sense of wonder, no matter what. Isn’t this amazing?