Category Archives: Canada

The greatest adventure in my life thus far…

And so begins my time in Germany.

It’s pretty cool. I was reading through my journal the other day. I looked back to the very beginning where I wrote down the things that I wanted to see God do in my life this year. I think this will be the first one to be fully answered, “allow me to study abroad” πŸ™‚

I actually arrived on the 22nd (though I was planning on arriving on the 21st) in Frankfurt to first visit my new friend Eileen at her university. I haven’t had much time to journal or rather blog in a coherent sense because the last few days have been relatively busy and I didn’t have wifi, making it difficult to write into a blog. I did however jot some notes on Word and all over the place. I’ll probably have to slowly update as I put thoughts together. Unfortunately,Β  I’m a pretty boring writer so I’ll try to include some pictures and bold certain things so you can just look at the pictures and jump over the rest.

I fit everything into my backpack… except the camera πŸ™‚

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Following the advice of my brother and Tynan, I have decided to make this 5 week adventure relatively luggage free. I have a Deuter 28L backpack which is sizable yet isn’t as big as the majority of hiking backpacks. Inside my pack contains 1 shirt, 1 tanktop, 2 sets of undergarments, jeans, a belt, PE shorts, toiletries (this includes 3 types of lotions), medicines, other feminine things… and then pens and pencils (as I will be taking classes), chargers for both cameras as well as my phone and laptop, my laptop, 2 books for my classes and a spiral for notes, my journal, my bible, a purse to carry around during the day, my water bottle, my wallet… and a few other random things like thank you cards and a first aid kit. I couldn’t fit the DSLR into my backpack without fear for its safety so I also brought the camera bag. I also brought my mini Winnie the Pooh my sister gave to me last year for my birthday. He’s been to SB and Canada, so I thought I would take him to Germany. Good thing he’s small enough to pack (see how he doesn’t take up any inside space) and large enough to not loose. I also brought this little tofu guy I recently got at the quarter machines at the Puente Hills mall. A group of my Genesis girls all got one and we all had matching colors (except Amy… sorry Amy). One of them is going to China, so I figured one should come to Germany.

Adventure 1: Stranded in Canada

A very pretty view of the cloudsSo the plan was to fly into Toronto and connect to another flight to Frankfurt. There was a one hour gap. The first plane was delayed more than expected I guess because I missed the second flight. It was quite embarrassing really. I went to the connecting flights line to have my passport checked and all that. The guy looked at it and simply said “… did your plane already leave?” He then directed me to exit like everyone else. Sad. So I went almost all the way out and talked to the first Air Canada person I could find. The next flight to Frankfurt wasn’t until Tuesday at 5:30pm. They gave me a free room in the Hampton Inn and free breakfast, lunch, and dinner to make up for it. Not a big deal – being stranded in another country is fun and it gave me time to calm down before coming to Germany. I have to say though I was a little afraid. The first little hiccup in my plans. Oh well.

_MG_3950It was definitely something I’ve never done and this trip is really about things I’ve never done. I had a whole room and two twin beds to myself. So what did I do? I gchatted home πŸ™‚ I also checked to see if there was anywhere I could go in the morning since the flight wasn’t until late… but apparently there is nothing within 20 minutes of the Toronto airport (unlike Vancouver where you can train yourself anywhere).

As fun as having a whole hotel room to yourself sounds, it was a little lonely, good thing Pooh and Tofu was there with me.

Four towels and only one will be usedThere was a nice set of everything ready for four people, but there were only 3 of us and only one of us uses a towl 😦 too bad. I wondered if the cleaning lady still had to wash everything. I hope not, that’s a huge waste of water. I tried to make sure they could tell the other bed and these towels were untouched.

Thanks to everyone to talked to me on g-chat that night, it was fun.

I like to call my second day of adventures the day of eating. On Monday I ate two bagels and a small bowl of oatmeal. I didn’t even get to eat an apple 😦 I missed lunch because of the first flight and then I missed dinner because the Hampton doesn’t offer dinner and the flight came in late anyway. I woke up relatively hungry on Tuesday. I went down to the complimentary breakfast and ate. A lot. It was almost a feeling of β€œI don’tΒ  know when my next meal will be so I better eat all I can now”. I wasn’t sure which meals were offered on the plane and I wasn’t sure how the meal situation would work out since the Hampton didn’t serve meals. I made myself a waffle, had two omelets and had a bite of a muffin that I soon decided wasn’t worth eating. Then I took a nice long bath and thought about life.

100_2549Check out was at 12pm so I went back to the airport. I didn’t have much to do so I bought lunch. It took me about 3 hours to eat a roasted vegetable sandwich. Then I checked in and bought dinner. Instead of a real dinner I bought 6 muffins and a smoothie from Tim Horton’s. I only drank the smoothie and I couldn’t finish it. I basically ate 400 to 500% more food than on Monday and didn’t move at all. In the small times in between I walked around and read books from the airport stores. I saw that there was a larger selection of Christian books in the US airport than the Canadian on even though the Canadian store was larger and contained more books in general. I also noticed that the only Christian book the Canadian store had was The Shack which is of questionable integrity. In the US store I was able to read the first 6 chapters of 90 Minutes in Heaven and saw a few other books that we already own at home. I don’t know if that has any indication of the religious beliefs of either country, but perhaps it does. I didn’t have much interest in reading The Shack because it was a little dry in my opinion. I tend to be a little picky about writing styles.

Anyway, it’s 12am now which I deem now to be my bed time. I suppose all the posts on what is going on will be slowly uploaded and slowly written. You will probably hear about my flight to start my classes next week or the week after. I seem to have a lot to say because there seems to be a lot I want to remember about this trip. It is of course the greatest adventure in my life thus far. If you have any suggestions on how I might make this more interesting to you, let me know.


Scootering and Gardening

Red Fish Blue Fish

Today was super exciting! Since it rained yesterday, we barely went out at all and had to squish everything into today πŸ™‚ [Though yesterday we did get to buy a really really cool backpack from a mountain co-op… that’s yesterday’s highlight… and also seeing if we could stuff all our stuff in it like Tynan].

So we started the day with lunch! We went to a little place called Red Fish Blue Fish, supposedly the best in town for fish and chips (the guy who recommended it said it was stupidly ridiculously good…). And indeed it was delicious!

Oyster Tacone!We ordered tacones (taco-cones) with oyster and fish and chips (using salmon) mMMMmmmmm, the tacone was delicious and so was the salmon.

Then we headed off to scootering! We rented gas powered scooters to travel around town (well it was mainly wanting to ride scooters and so then we traveled around town) since someone back at RCEFC recommended it (excellent recommendation by the way).

Scootering by the coast!Luckily they gave a bit of free lessons (well… basically he taught us how to start it and then had us practice in the parking lot) and then sent us off into the city!! It was so much fun! People should ride scooters in our area more πŸ™‚

We rode on the coast and saw beautiful views of the ocean. We took a couple of stops to look at the view, watch dogs… and poke jelly fish πŸ˜€

Then we scootered back by going through the city. Driving through the city and driving by the coast are both fun and very different experiences.The beach was gorgeous, but the city driving was exciting πŸ™‚

Nice scenic beach viewJelly fish!

After a nice scooter ride, we headed for the Butchart Gardens (since everyone says that you need to visit the gardens if you’re in Victoria).

At Butchart Gardens!It was well worth it! The gardens are beautiful! At first I though it would be like Huntington Library, (and thought it had some similarities) but it was actually very different. At Huntington, the gardens are indeed arranged nicely so that they resemble the gardens you would see in a particular country or area (it is also ridiculously large and you get pretty tired after a while)

But in these gardens it was more like taking flowers and plants and arranging them well… did that make sense? The colors were extremely vivid and complemented the flowers surrounding them. There were many fountains and even little water shows scattered around.Β  A lot of the flowers I had never seen before (or smelled… we smelled this one that smells like chocolate!). Much fun much fun πŸ™‚ And It was fun again just to hang out with my cool bro! Tomorrow we’ll be heading home 😦 πŸ™‚ mixed feelings.


To Victoria!

On our way onto the Ferry!Today we left for Victoria!

We moved out early in the morning and headed down to Tswassen where the ferries dock is.

The ferry terminals are just like the ones at the airport, it almost felt like we were going to fly home!

The BC ferries are so large that they carry not only people, but also trucks, buses, and cars! The ride was smooth and we didn’t get sea sick at all πŸ™‚

Yay ferry ride!We also got to hear a few interesting facts about Vancouver Island and the islands surrounding it. I came a little late for the session and didn’t hear it all, but I did get to hear about how they made their first lighthouses! It’s quite spectacular really. The method of using lenses to magnify the light and send it out 25km! We even got to look at one of the lenses. When shining light on it, the lens brings all the light and focuses it at its center making the beam that comes out extremely strong! So well engineered!

In dowtown VictoriaWhen we got to the island, we took the bus to downtown. Unfortunately google isn’t in sync with the buses in Victoria so finding our way around using public transportation is a lot harder. We got off at the wrong bus stop and then just decided to walk the 40 minutes to the hotel with our luggage. It was a great way to see some cool parts of downtown πŸ™‚

Once we got to the hotel we made sure to look up the bus schedules and figure out the best way into town.

On the Galloping Goose TrailBut regardless, we decided that it was a nice day so we took the Galloping Goose trail into Chinatown πŸ™‚

We were quite amazed by the restaurant we ate at. There was almost no Chinese on the menu and the waiters all had perfect English. The tea pots had tea that had already been steeped and had no leaves in it. If it weren’t for the semi-rude old Chinese lady staff, I wouldn’t have known we were in a Chinese restaurant at all!

At the Ghostly WalksAfter a yummy dinner, we headed over forΒ  Ghostly Walk. Apparently many cities do tourist walks like this, but I’ve never heard of it. According to the guide, Victoria is one of the most haunted cities because so much has happened here. Every night of the week they go through a different part of the town telling ghost stories and telling a little history of things that had happened in the town in the past. I don’t know if I believe all the stories or how much about ghosts I believe or understand, but it was a fun and interesting tour anyway. We got to learn a little of the history of the town and look at some buildings we probably wouldn’t have noticed if we hadn’t joined in.


Last full day in Richmond

RCEFC

Today was our last full day in Richmond and it was well spent πŸ™‚

We started the day off by going to RCEFC πŸ™‚

It seems like everyone there is getting engaged… last week there was announcement about a wedding and someone’s engagement…this week there was lots of talk about another engagement…fancy that!

BBQ at Emily's!Then after church, Emily invited us over to join in the H&C (Hospitality and Care team) BBQ!

Tons of fun, tons of delicious, tons of friends (well.. not tons of friends, but lots of new friends πŸ™‚

They’re silly just like us. They make weird jokes, just like us… but they all speak a lot of canto… not like us.

Kevin on the small BBQThe boys playing Deall

Then at night we had dinner with…well sort of… with the nice Japanese couple that’s staying in the room we were staying in before. They’re really nice and have traveled many places. The husband took an English class in Toronto and now their in Richmond just for vacation, going back to Japan on Sunday. The most interesting part of our conversation when he stopped and asked why we didn’t bring our own chopsticks… they brought theirs all the way from Japan!

The other day I bought a pair of traveling chopsticks that I’ve been wanting for a long time πŸ™‚ now I can bring them everywhere like them!


New Friends at UBC!

A lovely path by campus So we try to do one new place a day. It’s a good pace. Today we went to UBC.

Amazing! I really enjoy how green everything is here compared to home. Right next to campus there’s this nice foresty area with nice paths and everything.

Everywhere I look I seem to see green. The best!

Anyway, we went with the intention of trying to be like normal college students… too bad classes weren’t in session or else we would probably go to one.

IMG_0042Of course we had to go to the engineering buildings. We looked around the CS building a bit. Barely anyone was around. We did get to talk to one Grad student. He was really nice.

Then we happened upon the Thunderbird Robotic Soccer Team. They were all so cool, just like my friends in the robotics team at UCLA haha. They were building a small robot that would play soccer. After talking with them a while, they started leaving to their respective places, then one of them invited us over for dinner πŸ™‚ So friendly

BBQ at Jason's place :)It was quite fun πŸ™‚ he has a wonderful Rottweiler and a welcoming family. I could tell though that his mom was a little flustered that he invited over some strangers from California… haha.

We had some delicious BBQ, showed them some of Elliot’s apps and I got to play catch with their dog πŸ™‚


Steveston… not Stevenston

Getting Timothy's delicious frozen yogurt!Yum yum yum! Today Vinci and Esther from RCEFC took us to look around Steveston! We hit the normal hangout places such as Timothy’s! They have delicious homemade waffle cones and delicious frozen yogurt made right there, delicious and fresh! You choose the fruit that you want and they scoop it right in front of you, put it in the grinder and out comes your frozen yogurt on a warm just made cone πŸ™‚ the best!

The dockWe took our frozen yogurt and walked around the docks a bit. There’s lots of boats and the wood looks a little dilapidated, but that’s ok.

Then we went to visit the cannery. We didn’t actually take the tour because it cost $7.50 and I think Vinci and Esther did a pretty good job of telling us what was on the tour anyhow. We also go to look around some of the cute little shops in the area. I noticed that there seem to be more tea shops in Canada than in the US… and they always have lots of fruity teas that I don’t particularly like…

The cannery The museum

I also noticed that lots of their towns seem to have small museums. We went to the town’s museum that used to be their first bank. It’s been made into a post office/ museum.

Coolest Park!Fun... circle thing...

Then we went to the park! It was amazing! They had little zip line like things for the kids, cool little obstacles, tire swings, a water park area, a rock wall, and this cool circle thing that I couldn’t exactly figure out what it was for… and so much more! We spent quite a bit of time there just being kids πŸ™‚

Then after we went to Aberdeen for dinner!! And it wasn’t closed!! We had Strawberry Cones pizza, the famous Japanese pizza. We had one without sauce, potato salad, tuna, and cheese. Quite an interesting experience… it was pretty good. Later we ate one of the coolest desserts!

Frappe!It’s called Frappe! We got a green tea frappe. I want to open a frappe/ bakery now.

We also had a very successful shopping trip. We bought some snacks and things to bring for the BBQ on Sunday as well as some nice organizers for Elliot and cute chopsticks with a case for me (just what I always wanted!)!

I also met this nice girl at the store who asked me to help her decide what color leggings to buy D: too bad I don’t know anything about fashion… I hope I helped her make a good decision.

Then it rained. It was pretty exciting.


G-chat is the best!

Today was an exciting day! We planned for one thing and ended up doing another.

Today we100_9627 were hoping to go to the Vancouver Hacker Space (VHS), so we upgraded our bus tickets and took the skytrain all the way to Waterfront.

Being in the more downtownsy area was pretty fun. It really looks (and smells) a lot like downtown LA. Same look and feel. I wonder if all downtowns are the same.

Anyway, to get to VHS we had to walk down an ally through the back of buildings. It seemed kind of sketchy.

Outside of VHSUnfortunately, when we got there no one was in. Apparently we came at a bad time.

Even though it was in a creepy back alley, I was amazed by some of the art on the walls and had to take pictures. They were beautifully spray painted on… it reminded me of going to the county fair and seeing people selling their spray paint art as they painted it right there in front of you. Really, well done πŸ™‚

In the elevator to the rotating restaurantWe walked about for a bit and looked at stores and went to the mall before we ate dinner.

One of the things we took a look at was eating at the rotating restaurant. It costs $15 to go to the look out… or you can eat at the restaurant and the view is the same. So we rode up to the restaurant. When we got there we found out that you have to order an entree and the entrees cost about $20-30 and they’re all fancy and stuff… so we didn’t stay there for dinner… but we still got to see a lot of the view while going up the elevator and standing at the front desk looking at the menu.

100_9636So instead of eating at that very expensive place with food that I don’t really care for, we went to a very cheap Japanese restaurant with food that i really really like :). $17.30 for 24 pieces of sushi (4 with salmon, 4 with tempura yam, and the rest California rolls), delicious tempura, and a big bowl of udon that we couldn’t finish D:

Not only that, we got to use their free wifi and video chat with the fam back at home πŸ™‚ how lovely. Definitely a better experience than eating in a fancy restaurant that spins around in circles while you eat.


The Olympic Oval

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We moved to a different room today (in the same house) because some other people who had booked previously were moving in. The room is considerably smaller, but we don’t need a lot of space. It’s well lit and we have our own little outside patio area. Very nice I like. There are no more baby spiders being hatched around my head.

The pretty outside of the Olympic OvalSo today, other than talking, watching videos of Lego Star Craft, doing things online and such, we went to the Richmond Olympic Oval!

It’s quite interesting. Now that the Olympics are over, they’ve turned it into a sort of very large gym. Unfortunately since we’re not members, we didn’t get to see much of the inside, but we saw from a distance the big room with courts and such. We also got to walk around the outside which has a sort of bog.

We also got to see these cuties πŸ™‚

Cuties!I’m not sure what they are, but they’re Olympic and they’re cute πŸ™‚

100_9610After a short tour of the Oval, we went to the Richmond Nature Park… or at least we tried… all the trails were closed due to the dryness and maybe-ability of fires. Sad, didn’t get to see the bogs.

We did get to see some funny squirrels though. There were about 5 squirrels (at least that I could see), squirreling around and eating from the bird food things. It’s quite an amazing spectacle, I didn’t realize that squirrels could stand completely horizontal. Two feet stuck to the pole and the other two used to eat or grab more food from the bird feeders. Oh silly animals.

For dinner we went to the Richmond Public Market. Dinner there was 1/3 the price of dinner yesterday and we even had leftovers πŸ™‚ yum!


It’s like home… but not

Everyone speaks English… but the majority of the people in the area are Asian. Not only are they Asian, but a lot of them are Chinese. Not only are they Chinese, but they also all speak CANTO! Seriously, I know waaay more Cantonese speakers than Mandarin speakers. They should have Cantonese classes. If you start one, I would come.

Outside of RCEFCIn other news, this Sunday we went to Richmond Chinese Evangelical Free Church! Our other … sister church? I know that Pastor Chan visits here a lot πŸ™‚

It reminds me a lot of home and the people here are wonderful, they’re goofy and crazy just like us. The English congregation seems to know more Chinese than ours though… or at least they practice it more πŸ™‚

Pastor Allen’s message was Lovingly Pull, Faithfully Push. I really enjoyed the message once again! I feel like this is something I’ve been needing to learn more about… and that God’s been teaching me more about. I’ve been going through the book of Job and on Monday I was reading the part (well there are many parts) in which Job showed his frustration with his friends because all they could say was that he was a sinner. He asked or he was looking for a way in which he could rid his life of the sin they might see… but they didn’t see any… all they could say were discouragements. Instead we should be giving encouragements. Job says “my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief”.

Anyway, one cool part was that he read from Hebrews 10 and reaffirmed what I visioned more for our Acts group at home. Two ways to push one another in our faith are 1. To not give up meeting with one another, and 2. to encourage one another πŸ™‚ Hopefully we as a church family can do that together! He specifically said, meeting once a month is not enough. I think he was probably talking about church service as well… but ya, I’m glad we decided to meet weekly πŸ™‚

Connecting our circular tables together!After service some of our new friends gave us a nice tour around the church and then invited us to lunch πŸ™‚ We went to a nice Chinese restaurant. For a while it was just our group so we pushed the circular tables together in an attempt to all sit together haha it was quite a spectacle. Then our nice new friends took us to a store so we could buy more bus tickets and some nail clippers πŸ™‚ Yes, I really really needed to clip my nails haha.

At Karis' good bye partyThen at night we had a surprise going away party for our new friend Karis. She’s going to Spain and Switzerland to study abroad! How exciting!

They’re college/ young adult get togethers are just like ours, crazy, random and fun. We played Taboo (their cards are confusing because the cards are in English and French). Apparently they usually play Taboo in Cantonese just to make it more interesting, but we didn’t do that this time because a few of us didn’t know Cantonese :T

We should do more surprise parties.

Then today we stayed in for most of the day, took it easy, I finished up blog posts, learned how to use taskSMASH (which is quite fun) and then went out for dinner at the Aberdeen mall… which would have been really cool if they didn’t close at 7. We got there too late 😦 So instead we went out to eat at a random Chinese restaurant that happened to be open. Seems like a lot of things around here close pretty early.

100_9579Then we stopped by a grocery store to make sure we won’t go hungry tomorrow… we didn’t have much of a breakfast or lunch today. It was a lot like 99 Ranch. The cool thing about it was that their carts/ hand baskets are one an the same!! Brilliant design really, we should have more of these at home πŸ™‚ We bought some food that should last us at least a few meals… and the experience was fun!

I really like spending this time with my bro πŸ™‚ He’s really cool. During dinner and the walk back home we started talking about really exciting business ideas. We’ll see how things work out in the future πŸ™‚


Adventure’s Out There!

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Yay! So now Elliot and I are on our own doing whatevers πŸ™‚
We found this lovely place to stay (through craigslist) with a nice lady named Jennifer and her daughter. They frequently rent out rooms to travelers in the area. We’ll be staying here for about a week because its so nice!

We took at look at two other places before choosing this one.
The first one we saw was $40 for one bed, one desk, shared bathroom… and it smelled like smoke (even though there was a no smoking sign on the front door). It was quite an interesting experience. The neighborhood looked really nice except for that one run down house… the one we took a look at. So then we decided to look at a place; $55 for two beds, a dresser, shared shower, but a private bath… but no desk. Finally we came here! Lucky for her and for us πŸ™‚ $40 for a room that had been made for 4 people to stay in, but they canceled last minute. Nice family, nice room, good price, I’m happy here πŸ™‚

100_9558Quite an exciting first night, Jennifer suggested that we check out the night market which happens during the weekends during the summer, so indeed we did! We took the buses.

During one of the transfers we had a 20 minute wait so we decided to look around a bit. We found this park with lots of geese!! They were very friendly πŸ™‚ I wonder if this is a normal occurrence around here…

100_9561The night market was a lot like how I would imagine the Taiwanese night markets are. It’s a lot like the county fair booths except its free to go. They have shows on the stage and an area of really good Asian food πŸ™‚ In the little booths they sell… mainly Asian cute things. I bought some socks that were a good price and of very Asian design, my favorite! (in other words they’re interesting colors and have cute faces on them)

100_9564The food isles were the most popular and crowded. They had everything from “chicken parts” to “sumo burgers” (which consisted of rice pressed together to look like a hamburger patty and stuff like teriyaki chicken for the meaty area). We bought a few things for dinner and then some delicious Vietnamese drink things for dessert! I don’t remember what they were called exactly, but they were very delicious :3

100_9587 The remainder of our time there we spent looking for a nice iphone case for my new iphone!! Indeed traveling around like this and using public transportation… having a smart phone or some sort of GPS is essential. It’s definitely been fun using it. I really like the cover we picked out. Simple yet elegant. It’s also mostly my favorite color which is cool. A nice pristine white πŸ™‚

Other than that we bought some yummy fruit! My first time having dragon fruit and mangosteen. Both very very delicious.

We ended up coming back later than expected and unfortunately the buses don’t run as frequently late at night. We took one bus then walked 1.7 km home. It was fun. It was cold. It’s a little scary.

I’m liking this adventure