Random Thoughts

As always, I've been having a great time studying here in Macau with all the friends I've made. Actually, I think I make at least 1 new friend a week. Because I'm popular 😃. Just kidding. But despite all the fun, I couldn't come up with a specific topic for the blog this week; I guess nothing really inspired me. I do have a few things I want to write about, but each one isn't enough for a full post. So this week, you'll be getting a little bit of everything. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Random Thoughts!

Going Shopping is an Intense ExperienceYou know how whenever you walk into a store, you always encounter a sales associate asking you if you need anything and you always say no? Well think of this, but amplify it by 10 here. If I'm just walking around without wanting to specifically buy something, I feel like I'll be jumped by these associates if I linger at their shop for just a moment. This is especially true in local stores and flea markets where …

Top 5 (ish) Differences Between Here and Home

I think that one of the most daunting aspects of long term travel for a lot of people is the threat of culture shock. Upon arrival to a brand new place with different customs and lifestyles, you may feel very uncomfortable with the change, and struggle to adapt to your new surroundings. That, or you may go through a Honeymoon Phase where you are really enjoying discovering and learning the way of life, and then eventually find yourself uncomfortable once the phase ends. At least, that's what other people have told me. Actually, one of the major reasons why I chose an out-there place like Macau to study abroad was because I wanted to be hit with the challenge of adapting since I thought it would be the greatest way to learn and discover. Also, they make for great memories and stories to tell. However, I don't think I've ever felt particularly uneasy about where I am and what I'm doing. Maybe I'm eternally in the Honeymoon Phase.
 I suspect that if I was doing a home…

Top 5 Places in Taipa

It has been a very relaxing week back in Macau after traveling for so long. One of the only notable things I got up to this week was exploring more of Taipa. In case you are confused, Taipa is basically the northern part of the island south of the Macau peninsula. This island is part of city of Macau and comprises of the regions of Coloane, Cotai, and of course Taipa. Fun fact: the University of Macau where I study is no where on this map. It's actually west of Coloane and across the water, on the land attached to the Mainland China city of Zhuhai. But the land is leased to Macau, so it's under Macau laws. Yeah it's a little confusing, but I figured I should explain. Anyway, I digress. A lot of people will say that Macau in general is not a very exciting place unless you're gambling; in that case it's a little exciting. Other than that, there are a few tourist attractions you can visit, but you only need a day or two to see all of the main points of Macau. Especia…

What I Learned in Beijing

At this time, my 2 week Chinese New Year break is coming to a close. It is genuinely crazy to think about everything that has happened in such a relatively short amount of time, especially for someone who hasn't done any extensive traveling before now. Our Airbnb host had been so wonderful to us; she picked us up from the airport, gave us help when figuring out travel plans, offered to cook for us, accompanied us on a couple excursions, helped me get a SIM card (which is SEVERAL times harder to get here than other places), and driven us places where she even spent an entire day doing just that! It's been a wild time, but I'll honestly say that it's nice to be back in the familiar (albeit hard) bed and get back to my routine for a bit. So for the time being, I'll be happy to not worry too much about flight times, packing suitcases, spending money, etc. I'll share some of my favorite photos from my trip here, but this post will be mainly about what I have learne…

My Chinese New Year Travels

I've been off from school since last weekend and I've been trying to utilize this time to travel outside of Macau. So far, I've spent a few days both in Hong Kong and Beijing, and while there is much to talk about in terms of my adventures, I first want to talk about this time of year in China and the cultural experiences I've had over the past week.  All of the schools in China have been off since last week and most if not all will stay off for at least another week. This is because of Chinese New Year, which happens on the 23rd day of the 12th month on the Chinese lunar calendar, was February 16th and the celebration can last several days. Most people go home and celebrate with their families and fireworks, festivals, parades, and big dinners are the minimal expectations during the holiday. If you need a comparison, this celebration is as big if not bigger than Christmas, especially to the Chinese people. All around me are banners with New Year greetings and trees rav…