Back in Copenhagen, again.

There is nothing quite like your first love (in Europe).

Everyone remembers their first love.

It probably happened a long time ago.

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This was taken 8 years ago in 2009, when I was probably 8 kg lighter.

For some, it might have been just a short-lived crush. But for many, it lasted for a few years.

Because for some reason, you kept coming back for more…

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2010

And more…

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2012
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2013
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2014

Continue reading “Back in Copenhagen, again.”

Whale watching in Tromsø, one year ago.

I just met a good friend for dinner, and we realised something.

The last time we met more than a year ago, life could not have been more different for both of us. Especially for her.

The last time we saw each other was in October last year in Copenhagen. At the time, I was wide-eyed with fascination after moving 10,000 km up north, while she had felt trapped living in Singapore and wanted to move somewhere else. That was what compelled her to go on a solo trip to Europe, and I was lucky enough to have her visit me while I was still studying in Denmark.

Fast forward a year later, she is living half a world away in San Francisco, a whole new world of opportunities right in front of her. While what brought her there might not be a job like how she had planned, she did break free in the end and is in the midst of her own kind of adventures.

Whereas for me, I am situated slightly less up north than last year. While I knew that I had signed up for a life of uncertainties when I decided to drop everything back home and enroll into my Master’s programme, it still did not prepare me for just how different and unexpected things could be in a year’s time.

Exactly this day last year, my sister would be arriving at the Central Station in Aarhus and we were about to embark on an exciting adventure in Norway. I would have broken down the night before because my computer had crashed 10 minutes before my exam deadline, forcing me to submit an incomplete paper without the bibliography. I would have feared that I might get expelled for accidental plagiarism and might have called my programme coordinator crying and begging her to still allow me to go to Berkeley even if I were to fail that exam (I passed). I would also have barely recovered from the shock of having my room broken into in the midst of my exam period.

This year, I am having a quiet night in my cosy room in London (theft-free, hopefully) on a Saturday, my legs sore from standing for 7 hours a day for the past 5 days working in a shop in Camden Market. Instead of going further up north for my winter break, I am flying home to see my family and friends again after having been away for only 4 months.

And as I am sitting on my bed overlooking the misty night pondering about this, I realised something else about myself.

That I truly am a procastinator.

It has been exactly a year ago since I went to Tromsø. Whilst I did manage to scrape something up about my successful Northern Lights chase, I have completely ignored writing about another major nature wonder that we did in the lovely city (and had spent equally a lot of money on): the whale watching.

Being a great travel planner that I am, I did not even know that whale watching is a highly recommended activity in Tromsø. It was not until a random guy who came to teach us fishing in the freezing cold on our first night there told us about it that we came to know about such expeditions.

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The said random Norwegian fishing guy.

At first we brushed the idea aside as some kind of tours that tourists get cheated into. However, when we failed to see the Northern Lights on our first attempt, my sister and I resolved that we would not leave Tromsø until we saw something else other than some snow and the all-day darkness.

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Okay and maybe the pretty city lights.

Continue reading “Whale watching in Tromsø, one year ago.”

How to survive the Deer Park in Aarhus.

I know, I know, the title of this post sounds rather absurd. You must be thinking, what is there to survive at the Deer Park (or Dyrehaven in Danish), when it is full of, you guessed it, deer?

I mean, how can creatures who can give such look be even remotely dangerous?

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Okay, you are right. There is nothing dangerous about the Deer Park…

Unless you are an occasional moron like me.

When I was moving to Aarhus, Dyrehaven was one of the top items at my to-visit list. But because it was far and hilly to cycle there I was too busy studying, I put it off until my sister and her friend came to visit me in December. I had the perfect excuse to take the bus instead since it was way too cold and my sister and her friend were not accustomed to cycling on the road in the cold.

It took us quite a walk after dropping off from bus 100 from Banegårdspladsen. We passed by several beautiful winter sceneries like this.

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When we first caught sight of the deer, it was pretty exhilarating.

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HELLO CUTIES.

But soon we realised something was amiss. The deer came to us for a few seconds, and left, looking dejected. Then they came back again and sniffed at our backpack, and that was when it hit me: we forgot to bring food for them.

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This little guy even tried to eat my sister’s camera.

These deer, cute as they were, were much more interested in being fed than being pet. What they wanted was not our love, but our food. I felt rather guilty for seemingly coming to trick them, luring them to me, making them think I had some food and then HA! nothing.

But it was a seriously honest, albeit stupid, mistake from our part. I could not even have given them anything even if I wanted to since I had nothing with me (apart from smoked salmon sandwiches on Danish rye bread, but the idea of a bunch of bambis gorging on salmon just seemed barbaric to me that I decided to save the sandwiches for our lunch). I tried hard to apologise in the most deer-like manner as I could. After a while, the leader of the pack seemed to sense that we were a bunch of liars, so he came and showed himself, angry.

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After a few more attempts to make friends with the deer, we decided it was best for us to leave. Good thing a couple other visitors came and gave them some food. I felt slightly better that the deer wouldn’t go starving on that dreary winter day.

So my only tip for going to the Deer Park is: bring some carrots or apples with you if you want to leave with a clear conscience, and if you were to forget them, please, for the life of you, don’t dress up like a giant carrot.

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They might end up trying to eat you instead.