Friday, January 30, 2015

ahh summer school, this stress. crying again because i can't watch this epic semi finals 5th set decider and crying because i yet again do not have time to finish the assignment. doesn't help that i have to wake at 5am on monday, so i can't pull an all nighter. only option is to bring my work with me, but then there's no internet.

spent the whole day switching topics. argh, can i finish it in 7 hours? doesn't help that i have work on both days this weekend...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hillside Hotel

met up with a friend whom i haven't seen in ages! we both go past this place often, but never actually went inside.

$10 steak w/ chips! mushroom sauce extra $3, but pretty big, enough to share

T bone steak, but it was alright for the price. ordered medium rare, and she got well done, so it shrunk a bit...

so good catching up on travels! talked for about 3 hours. so good to hear what other people saw and yay for photo sharing.

need to start on my assignment. don't no what to write about D= the thing i first thought of is too generic and would be hard to specify stuff, then this other topic is also generic.

went to the dentist today, and the bill was about one way to america! so expensive! had to get this coating thing, which i last got in 2002 luckily it's not a yearly thing. wow, that money made in half an hour....but i could never be a dentist. so painful for the patient and quite gross for yourself, but obviously you would get used to it if you're a dentist...

have to go back again since i forgot to bring something ): that time wasted. but catching up today wasn't really a waste of time since i actually have no other times which we are both free

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

almost there

i can't believe i finished it! never ever thought i would.

writing a 4000+ word report in 3 days with work from until 4 or 5pm, then a family dinner on one night which i couldn't skip since they asked ask a few times to go over for dinner...i already had to skip meeting up with the group, and missed another family dinner, since i was that screwed. couldn't really start the assignment until saturday since we had to collect info for three days. the lecturer said if you spent 10 hours on it on sunday, then you could actually enjoy your monday public holiday. no way, all of us (well those in my group) fully kept going, where some people actually did all nighters...

if i didn't have work, it meant approx extra 8 hours each day, which is another day to spend the assignment, but i couldn't skip work...the assignment wasn't super hard, it was just very long and since the instructions were quite broad, you could focus on anything, and then keep talking about it. probably rambled on, but on the day/morning it was due, submitted it at 2am. first time staying up that late for an assignment. luckily i didn't have to pull my first all nighter, and survived on 5 hours of sleep on monday night.

then tuesday day/night was the first time i ever started another 30% assessment the day before it was due. it was group work where our tutor assigned another random into our group, but since he didn't reply to us, i emailed the lecturer and tutor and got permission to kick him out of the group. he didn't turn up to presentations today, so he lost 30%. then we are only allowed to skip 1 tute without any medical certificates, but he's already skipped two, so i'm pretty sure he failed the course. i mean, why would you even do a summer course? it's not cheap at over 1000 compared to our other subjects during semester. and he was an international student, so would have easily wasted 4k or something. don't even know why summer courses are so expensive for 7 days worth of learning.

presentations were ok i guess. people interacted, well kind of i guess...even brought my laptop to work since i was scared i wouldn't finish. but just the amount of stress chucking a random person into out group and not sure if he would even turn up... but i don't think it should be worth 30% since i only spent a few hours compared to the other assignment where i spend a few days with heaps of hours.

now another assessment due next week, another 30%. well actually, i only have 2 days to do it, since i'm working sat and sun, then next week i'm going on a road trip and as if i would bring my laptop with me. yes, busy busy. after i get back then there's 3 weeks which is mainly filled with work, then uni starts again. that's why i have no time in the holidays (again). no time to even bake when i have all the ingredients at home. and kind of have to book in advance to meet up with people since i', busy, but so is everyone else...

it's kind of weird, this last assessment you only write 1000 words, but you have a whole week (must finish in 2 days), while the other one is 4x the amount of words, and that's not even including the extra stuff we needed to record and calculate, and that needed to be done in 3 days, whilst todays presentations technically only had 1 day to do...i should actually do the CATEI for the course.

the good thing is that there are no finals, hence the lecturer is really friendly and the stuff we learn is quite general. but never been so stressed about assignments before, not even for optom. only super stressed about failing in optom...i guess what puts more pressure for this summer course is the aim for at least a d since i really need to pull up my wam before end of third year.

stress food. so stressed i didn't have time to eat it lol

went to green peppercorn as a reward. wasn't going to go and go home to start on the next assessment, but i figured i won't get anything done tonight since i am way too dead, running on 5/6 hours of sleep for over a week (and helped out with church the week before), so i haven't slept in for a while...and after talking about food and nutrition for over a week, i really needed some good food!

it's really lovely to have friend's friends who drive back from uni to city, especially with sydney's now bipolar weather. walking to the car it was sunny, some blue skies. 10mins later in the city, fully pouring, then sometime later fully sunny.

no idea how much each dish was, didn't even care what we ordered since i just needed down time. didn't stay out too late due to my hourly buses back home =/ some dishes:

the new fried apple pie dessert. so yum! apple pie filling and pastry deep fried with some cream on top and thinly sliced apple prices.

dessert! the best part

wasn't cheap, spent around $27, but we ordered heaps. on our side of the table were 5 people, and we ordered around 9 dishes between us. destressing.

nice to see other people alive as well with blogs popping up!

oh, did i mention the last assessment is a blog post? too bad i don't post good english here, can't practice proper blogging skills lol.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

still crying because federer lost yesterday, and continual crying until tuesday since i can't possibly finish it in time. not having a completed assignment and group project with nothing prepared to say is going to be a first. not. enough. time. regret saying yes to work all three days. so stressed about not finishing. feels almost as stressful as an optom prac exam.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Aqua S

Congrats to Happy Apple and your sister! so, so happy for the both of you! prayers do get answered, just sometimes it might take time (years), or in ways unimagined, but God really has planned out everything :) really happy about that news today. i knew you could do it!

on the flip side, made groups for group work...made my group with people i know, was about to leave then next minute a guy turns up when the tute was almost finished. since we were the smallest group, the tutor made him join our group. we already had things planned, why couldn't you join the other group which also didn't leave yet? it's not that i'm unaccepting to new people, it's just that people who turn up for 1 minute of the tute are those who don't bother putting any effort sand really on the group mark. well 4/5 is individually marked, but still, we have to share ideas with him etc. moral of the story, whenever you make a group for group work, leave ASAP before the tutor alters anything.

so, so sad, so i decided to buy some relatively expensive but good looking ice cream.

lemon tea and sea salt soft serve with fairy floss on a chocolate waffle cone-$5.30


waiting for the bus anyway, so decided to get this. it's not the most expensive soft serve i've had (there was one in america which was more expensive...) but i was expecting to pay $6+ for this type of "concept store" stuff. i think this store only opened on monday, and has flooded up insta since, so i decided to needed to try it out myself, and to cheer me up from the group disappointment. store is run by asians in case you're wondering...

it's actually really, really good! the salt is prominent but not too overpowering that you feel you are eating salt-and it's blue! love eating weirdly coloured stuff. balanced nicely with the slight acidity and some sweetness from the lemon tea. got more lemon tea here i think, but i actually preferred it like that. wanted to get something refreshing, so i didn't choose the biscotti. the fairy floss was completely unnecessary for an extra $1.50, but it looked cool. you could also get caramel popcorn, grilled marshmallow and popping candy for toppings. for all toppings in a large cup, i think it was $8.

kilojoules count skyrocketed after this.

Aqua S on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

keeping track of what you eat is actually harder than you think, especially with asian dishes where a lot of things aren't measured. it's actually hard not to be calorie/kilojoule conscious even though the lecturer said not to worry about lol. impossible. she's actually a pretty funny lecturer oh, and she's a cat lady. randomly showing us cat pictures/photos/memes. i think Iced Trees would approve. everything we learn is actually kind of common sense, but the thing is i have no idea how hard they mark. one of our assignments allow use to choose what to write and how long. first time having no word or page count.

doesn't help i'm working on all three days of long weekend, then dinner on one night, and meeting up with everyone whom i haven't seen in ages even though it's due the next morning...ahh, might have to bring work to do at work...

main round offers out today! my bro does not set high expectations for anything, but at least he got into his first preference.

i now have no faith in that males can adjust watches. in a place which sells watches, how can you not know how to adjust it? last time i went to another store, the girl took only 5min, obviously experience at adding a link. taking over 20mins, then not making the links fit in properly, and also slightly scratched a completely new watch, as well as hammering on the glass cabinet when the colleague said not to and going all over the place with it. please, if your colleague asks if you need any help, just be a man and back off something you can't do! there's no shame in saying you can't do it, but it's completely disappointing to see a watch being "dismantled" by completely inexperience hands. all those places have special equipment to "stand" the watch when they hammer out the needle thing, so a lot easier if you try to resize it at home. also, how can you not know where the bags are in your store? and he was completely hopeless, 5 links on one side of the clasp, 7 on the other. so lazy at taking 2 off each side. need to go again to get it re-sized to make it equal, and i will definitely be avoiding him. after all that, i tried to keep my calm, since i'm not really one of those customers who make it difficult for the person working. even when i try to repair glasses which i kind of can do but not really, i still give it to my colleague to repair it. good glasses or watches, they aren't things which are easy to fix and not cheap to buy. completely hopeless. never again. next time i will 100% ask for the watch back and don't care what he thinks when i ask a girl to re-size it for me.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Summer School

can't believe 3rd year already this year! unfortunately, optom subjects are only offered once a year during semester, but we are still allowed 2 general education courses. so the first one i picked started this week, and you basically finish the whole course in one week and no finals! hence why i picked this one. also, it's actually quite interesting, about nutrition etc. i love eating in general and making stuff when i have time, so i think it's quite relevant.

super hectic though, assignments, homework, readings everyday, but that's expected since it's a one week subject but still worth 6 units.

there's this app for a food diary which requires you to upgrade to iOS8 to connect with the apple health kit app thing. i guess it's time after a few months...when i have space...

still need to think what subject should i do for my 2nd gen ed. apparently all the languages clash with our timetables...and the easy business courses as well.

going through travel photos take so much time. will slowly write about travels if i have time. really hoping before uni officially starts that i can bake something-haven't made stuff in so long!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

KFD 2015: Weird Animals

another year of taking care of kids, quite tiring but rewarding, plus the kids were so cute!

even though it's kind of a another week "taken" by helping out with church, i really enjoyed it, and this year was the least amount of volunteers. i guess it's the stage where people are already graduating and moving to full time work, whilst others are still overseas. last year there were 3 leaders per group, this year i was the only leader for 6 kids. so, so lucky our children pastor placed me with super well behaved kids who also participated.

the main points of the week were: 
even when you're left out...Jesus loves you
even though you're different...
even when you don't understand...
even though you do wrong...
even when you're afraid...Jesus loves you

could see where the budget cuts were made this year, like no popcorn during movie time...but i guess with the rising cost of everything (except surprisingly not petrol recently), it had to be done

main hall 

last day feast

animal cupcake

another week of over eating, but the kids morning tea is just so cute! each day they create something related to what their learning. the catering team did a pretty good job feeding all of us lunch as well for the whole week. 

so exhausted, not ready to start uni next week. my mind is still in holiday mood. so many things still to be done.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

America Pt2

didn't realise i took over 4000 photos whilst on holidays. going through them is taking forever.

after over one week, i've finally finished unpacking! when i unpack, i have to take photos of what i bought, then put them where they would reside, and cut all tags etc. finding places to put "crap" as my parents would say, but stuff i like to keep like tickets and business cards if sometimes hard to find when your previous place is already full. still need to order all the food we bought, or else we probably won't even realise we have expired food until a year later...

the most annoying thing about america is their money. the first country i've been to which still uses paper money. what's worse, they are you typical greenish, creamish bills. all amounts are the same sized notes. they have notes for $1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, so to differentiate between a 1 and 100, you have to look at the number. no time to pay attention to the detail/picture on it, so you have to make sure you look at the number correctly. the bills also stick together, and you have to rub them a bit at times to make sure they aren't stuck. i love our currency, it's the most colourful (brighter than NZ notes) and different sized, plus it's plastic. hk have a base colour of white, then add different colours. i remember china thailand also have different colours but were dullish. also, americans still have dimes and quarters. dimes are 10c, quarters are 25c, and they also have 5c and 1c which are completely useless. actually, the only time i remember using a 1c was in DisneyWorld where you pay 51c and use those pennies to press into a memorabilia coin. a lot cheaper than HK Disneyland, where you pay and equivalent of $2.50 aussie dollars, and you only press a button instead of turning the handle yourself and the coins you put in don't turn out to be your printed coin (hence it's shinier and 5 times more expensive but not as cool). america disneyworld is actually not too expensive, but that's a post for another time.

on the rare occasions we have dinner at home, my brother's first thing to do is to turn on the tv. in our apartment we had "cheap" cable tv, but there were so many channels! in my uncle's apartment, he has normal cable tv, and wow, there's over 100 channels and it takes over 10mins just to flick through it and quickly glance at the title of what's showing. there's a million news channels, sports, and other channels which only america would have, like channels which screen simpsons 24/7. i love american tv.

canadian tv isn't that great, but still more channels compared to our 7,9,10,abc and abs main channels.

coming back home, we realised how slow australian internet is. maybe our internet isn't that fast, but still overseas is a lot faster. i'm pretty sure we had "cheap" internet at the apartment, as if you would rent out a house with the best internet speed, but even with supposedly "cheap" internet, it was super fast! hk internet was super fast as well even though we stayed at the edge of HK. this definitely reminds me that i need to upgrade and switch internet companies since our internet is just way too slow. brother was all sad since all his video games lag slightly due to out slow internet. i guess he has enjoyed 5 weeks of super good internet.

wifi could sometimes be found in shops, but i mainly relied on my 3g since i had unlimited. phone plans are something which aren't cheap in america, about the same as your standard phone plan in aus, around $70 a month. on the first day, it was a public holiday, so the main mobile provider was closed everywhere, hence i couldn't experience american 4g, and had to go with another provider which only had 3g. they don't even have many 7/11 there, so it took almost half the day trying to walk past a place which sold sim cards. their 3g is pretty good, when you're not in the subway.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

America Nov-Dec 2014

american stuff isn't that cheap. food is only slightly cheaper when you add in taxes and tips. most stuff is  cheaper than aus, and outlets are definitely cheaper, but a lot of stuff aren't really necessary to have. tipping is annoying since you actually have to grab out your calculator/phone and add in 15%. some more popular touristy place include a gratuity since some people don't know how to tip. we tip min 15% since there have been many cases where they may chase you down if you don't tip and ask you what they did wrong when serving you. there were other times when at the end they ask you to write down how much you want to tip, but they don't take back your card. i figured out that they still have you credit card details and then they add the tips amount onto it without using the physical card.

you know how austrlia has changed to pins? well i was surprised to see america still signing off their cards. they don't even have pay wave facilities, hence i don't understand why america needs an iPhone which you can tap to pay if hardly any places even have that function. signing does take time and unnecessary paper...

i do love america! everyone has iPhones! i only saw one samsung my whole entire trip, and that was on a subway away from chinatown.

NYC is super convenient if you know how to use the subway. they have plastic cards which you insert when you go through the gates. NYC is one of the older subway systems, so it's definitely not clean, and most trains aren't that new. down there, no one touches their phone. why? because there's no reception for internet, even if you have the best carrier, no gets data down there as they haven't installed any fibres stuff down there. on newer trains they have an electric panel which tells you how many stops till the stop you need to go to, but older ones don't even have any maps, so you do need to know where you're going, or look out the windows to see where you are. also, since their subways are super old, most of them don't have any elevators or lifts. only about every third stop have access for wheelchair/disabled, so for the elderly, i really don't understand how they can get around with just stairs going down to the subway. even mothers with prams have to lag it up the stairs whilst holding onto their baby. no one to help you there.

their trains are either letters or numbers, and you have to know which ones are express since some take you out of Manhattan into the other boroughs. trains aren't super frequent in places further away, once we waited 15mins for a train, but that was on a sunday...transport is cheap, $23 unlimited train and bus for a week for adult. they don't have concession, only adult and child. here, it's around $27 for a concession my multi. $23US is still pretty cheap.

trains only go up and down town, only about 2 trains go across the city. mainly you either walk/bus it to go across town, so i planned in the itinerary to minimise the across town walking. ended up only taking a taxi once, i.e. going from JFK airport to our apartment. the only bad thing about NYC is that the main airport is about a 45min drive. there's another two, which are mainly domestic flights which is around 20ish min drive.

NYC is filled with police and police cars and police stations, so you actually feel quite safe there, and during events, there are actually police everyday you look.

we stayed in an old style NYC apartment to experience the NYC lifestyle rather than expensive hotels. if you go to a new country, you always want to try immerse yourself into their culture. the apartment was on the first floor, but the stairs to get their were super narrow and small, coming with tall ceilings, the first floor was more like 2 floors. the apartment was very narrow, but there were enough beds for all of us to sleep comfortably. since it's an old style apartment, the heating using some sort of gas was on continuously, so not once did we wear a long sleeve inside, just t-shirts since it was that warm. housing in NYC is expensive, so no one has a place to do laundry inside. ended up wearing the same thing for a few days then washing it in HK. when i go on holidays, i actually wear non-decent photo taking clothing, but clothing which i can run in and is weather proof.

outside of the main city, and into the country, houses are big, mainly 3 levels, but they don't have fencing which i find weird. in florida, all the houses look them same, but most of them are super big as well.

we spent about a week in NYC and that was still not enough. so many things to do! half the time we woke up before 6am and came back at 10pm. everyday you get back so exhausted, but so worth it. didn't actually gain too much weight in america, so you mainly walked everywhere, and basically walked off all that you consumed. unlike super small HK, where the next suburb is a 5min walk away..

it actually is a city which never sleeps. things feel like they're all open when i wake up in the morning  until past midnight. i think since our street was a main street, we would tend to hear quite a lot of ambulances/firetrucks/police throughout the night. if we stayed in a more touristy place, it would be even noisier.

NYC streets are surprisingly not that clean, and kind of remind me of HK. many streets are only way, so each alternating street goes one way, and the other ones go the other way. but it's super easy to navigate yourself! all of them above the financial district (the bottom of NYC where the Europeans colonised the land and gave the street names) use numbers, well most of them. going down you have the "avenues" and going across you have the "streets". occasionally you have tiny streets with names, but as a tourist you can easily calculate how much time you need to get from one place to another just by looking at the intersections of the roads.

customs when boarding a plane in america is stricter than australia. even for american domestic flights, they treat it like an international flights where you have to take off jackets/laptops/creams etc. also, america has the money and they installed a fully body scanner at every customs counter/desk for body screening. unlike australia we don't have this type of funding, so they only randomly select a few people to conduct the test (well in sydney they only have one full body scanner on each side of the airport). surprisingly leaving sydney, i didn't go through the body scanner, because for the past however many times i've been to the airport, they always select me to do it. they did end up selecting me randomly for the bomb check though....i guess all these are for the safety of everyone.

i still love flying, despite what has happened to the aviation industry last year. tbh, i would rather pay that extra hundred, or even few hundred if it meant the safety of your life. how much is a few hundred more for a plane ticket than the cost of your life? normally budget airlines cut out regular/proper maintenance checks on their planes, according to one of my uncles who work with planes. even though they do have checks in place, it's not that thorough, and then some of their equipment is quite old. i think as i grow older and travel more often, i'll still stick with the most trusted and non-budget airlines.

lastly for this post-the weather. i could still survive new york with just a t-shirt and a thickish jacket. -2 degrees is very nice, but nyc tends to have unpredictable weather like sydney. so if there's wind, then makes it a few degrees colder, and snow showers are kind of annoying (yet pretty at the same time). it rained  twice while were were there, and snow showers for part of a day, but i guess you can say we were blessed with good weather. rainy weather prevents you from going out, since new york city is a city made for walking. i remember checking the weather during finals and it was raining continuously. the has actually arrived late for once since it didn't snow during christmas so we didn't have to leave that early to avoid the snow (again, snow is annoying, especially like NZ if it melts/turns to half water), but i guess i was lucky enough to even go there in the first place.

have yet to sort out photos...

congrats if you made it this far about my general thoughts on America. i guess it's some holiday reading for you if you have nothing to do (: going to be quite busy from next week onwards...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Goodbye America and HK, and Hello Sydney!

i'm back! best holiday ever spent with the family (:

i'll probably blog about each day spend in america/canada, and combine hk posts, since i've been away for 5 and a half weeks, which would be too much to back post...

life updates:
- made it safely there and back
- didn't spend over budget
- made it to third year! (tears of happiness)

had work yesterday even though i got back the day before. slept for 14 hours last night...catching up on much needed sleep.

so many things to do/follow up on...have yet to start unpacking, let alone go through my photos.

realised on the plane that i left my ear phones in hk, luckily i have an uncle coming this week so he can bring the earphones back to me.

so sad that i'm back to a hot and humid Sydney, but feeling so happy and blessed that I went on a trip of a lifetime (so far) to my dream destination. (:

really missing the sub zero temperatures in the northern hemisphere...