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Sunday, June 28, 2020

Going on a student exchange is definitely up there as one of the best decisions I've ever made. I have so many fond memories from my time away but if I had to narrow it down to a list of truly standout moments, this would be it;

Meeting my roommate
Choosing to have a roommate while on my exchange is another decision I'm glad I made. Before I met her, I had no clue what to expect. The first day I arrived, she'd set up already and was no where to be seen. So I spent the entire day not knowing who she was. It wasn't until late that night that I finally got to meet her. The first thing we talked about was the lizard that had decided to inhabit our room. Lizards are everywhere in Singapore! She seemed so easygoing and nice to talk to that I instantly liked her. Now I consider her one of my closest friends from the exchange! 

Exchangers Night Out
This was an event organised by the student exchange coordinators at my host uni. There was a group of us that travelled by MRT to the city. It was a really nice night - typical for Singapore - and it was my first time seeing the Marina Bay Sands and Merlion since the start of my exchange. The event itself was okay but we ended up leaving early and walking around the city doing our own thing. It was still a very memorable night and I definitely wouldn't have interacted with so many different exchange students had I not gone. 

First time in Tiong Bahru
Tiong Bahru is my absolute favourite neighbourhood in Singapore. In fact, if I were to live in Singapore, that's where I'd like to live. I first heard about it from a friend who mentioned a really nice bookstore being there. I decided to go check it out and I instantly fell in love with the area. It was so quiet and quaint. Not chaotic and busy like the city parts of Singapore. Also the bookstore was one of a kind! There was a vending machine outside that dispensed mystery books wrapped up like presents. So the book you pick is a complete surprise! 

Jetskiing in Langkawi, Malaysia
During the recess week, I went to Malaysia with two of my friends. That entire trip in itself was a standout memory but the one evening I especially remember was on our second day when we arrived in Langkawi. In the airport was an advertisement for jet skiing so on a whim we decided to ask our taxi driver to take us to the closest beach. It worked out so well because by the time we got on the water, the sun was starting to set and the sky was a canvas of colour! 

Every ballroom dancing class
This is a bit of a cheat answer because it's not a one time thing but I really loved all my ballroom dancing classes. I made it my goal to join at least one club while on my exchange and because I used to really enjoy watching Dancing with the Stars, I decided on ballroom dancing. It was also something new and challenging so I thought why not? 

Thanks for reading!

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Friday, June 19, 2020

Travelling alone was such a learning experience for me. Before my student exchange, I'd only ever flown by myself once and that was a one hour flight to another city in the my home country. Travelling 12 hours total to Singapore was definitely a step up from this and while it was quite scary and daunting at the time, I feel like I took so much away from everything that happened. I know travelling is a bit of a touchy subject at the moment, but I feel like I have so much to say about my student exchange, I just really want to throw out as many blog posts as possible while the experience is still fresh in my mind.

1. It's okay to feel lonely
As freeing as it is to travel by yourself, there's no denying it can get pretty lonely. I really missed having a familiar face sitting in the seat next to me on the airplane. When you're so used to travelling with other people, the first flight alone can be really hard. Feeling lonely is completely normal and it's totally okay. This was something I had to keep telling myself on the way to Singapore and by the time I'd landed, I felt a lot more comfortable with being by myself. 

2. Do your research
Make sure you know what is required of you at the airport in terms of travel papers and documents. I feel like this is something people do already but don't forget to check your info is up to date and if possible, keep checking that none of the information has changed up until the day you leave. I remember in Singapore, I was going to travel to Vietnam with two of my friends however there was a last minute change to one friend's visa requirements which meant she couldn't actually go. This was amidst everything that was happening with the virus so things were already very susceptible to change however it just showed me that this sort of thing does happen and that checking online is really important. 

3. You have to be adaptable
Don't expect everything to go as planned. Not to sound contradictory, but even with all the research and preparation, you can't exactly predict what will happen next. There are some things that are simply out of your control. Travelling during a pandemic definitely taught me that. Learn to be flexible when things don't go the way you want them to. The situation is not always ideal and definitely frustrating at times but I'm a firm believer in things happening for a reason and sometimes you just need to go with the flow. 

4. Don't be afraid to ask for help
When you're flying solo for the first time, there will be things that maybe your friends and family helped you do in the past so you don't really know how to do yourself. Thankfully there are a lot of other people to talk to for assistance. Normally all the airport staff and flight attendants are more than happy to help. In fact, that's one of the main reasons they're there. To point you in the right direction. Also airline companies. I remember when booking my flights home, I called my airline company almost every single day leading up to my departure. In retrospect, that may have been a little excessive however getting reassurance from them was super important to me at the time. 

5. Trust your own instincts
With travelling alone comes a whole lot of decision making. At the end of the day, it's up to you what you choose to do and how you'll go about doing it. I like to think that's one of the perks however with this comes great pressure and responsibility. There were a lot of tough decisions I had to make while I was away and I almost always went with my gut feeling in the end. Of course I liked to get a second opinion every once in a while but most of the time, I had the answer all along. 

Q: Have you travelled alone before? 

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Saturday, June 13, 2020

My bedroom is my absolute pride and joy. When I was away on my student exchange, I missed my family, my friends and last but not least, my room. I've done a room tour post on my blog for 2018 and 2019 and they're both two of my most popular posts to date. Honestly, not much has changed over the years but it's like a game of spot the difference. From a distance, the photos look pretty similar but then you take a closer look and all the finer alterations are revealed. I like to shuffle things around on a regular basis - it's a little bit of a hobby of mine! - so it's not surprising things aren't where they were in previous years. 

I made sure to take these photos on a day where the sun was shining. Unfortunately I only have natural light for a couple hours a day just because of where my room is in relation to the rest of the house. My window doesn't have the prettiest of views but a couple of years ago, I painted a couple of leafy branches on the wall just to give it a little bit of life. 

The black jewellery tree you see above is something I fished out of my drawers a couple of weeks ago. For some reason, I didn't think it fit the aesthetic of my room so I hid it away. I brought it out again and it's now one of my favourite items. I hung all my dangly earrings on it and am so happy with how it looks!



My desk space is probably my favourite spot in my entire room. It's become my ideal place for productivity and getting stuff done. I also think it's the area that undergoes the most changes whenever I'm doing one of my room revamps. Also how cute are the three pigs on my top shelf?! My dad got them for me last year as a farewell present before my exchange and I absolutely adore them!

Q: What's your fav part of your room? 

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Friday, June 5, 2020

It's already halfway through 2020. Usually every time June rolls around, I think to myself where has the past 5 months gone? This year however is different. It feels like it should be Christmas by now. So much has happened, it's scary the rate at which this year has been changing. I didn't get a chance to do a New Year's resolution post and since this is my second post back from my blogging break, I thought a list of June goals would be the next best thing. Here are some things I'm hoping to achieve this month. 

1. Solve a Rubik's cube without help
This random skill is something that I've wanted to try my hand at for the longest time and I figured quarantine would be the best time to do just that. Funnily enough, it was only once I'd finished quarantine that I actually picked up the Rubik's cube for the first time. I found a really good YouTube video that took me through the process step by step as well as explaining the different algorithms to use. I still need to refer to the video from time to time but before the end of this month I'd really like to be able to finish the whole cube on my own. 

2. Get my full drivers licence 
I was quite nervous to get in the front of the steering wheel again after 4 months overseas. It was the longest time I'd spent without practicing my driving. Turns out I had nothing to worry about because as soon as I got in the car for my first drive since being away, muscle memory kicked in and everything came quite naturally. I decided to book my full drivers test for the end of this month, just to have something to work towards. Having an end goal in sight has definitely helped me stay motivated with my driving practice. 

3. Maintain a good workout schedule
During quarantine, I downloaded a workout app to ensure I was still exercising. Once lockdown in my country ended, gyms reopened and I was able to start attending physical classes again. Sometimes, especially now that's it's winter where I live, I don't feel like going into the gym so having the app gives me the option of a home workout which I really like. Having two different workout regimes has been a massive help with my fitness motivation and will hopefully make it easier for me to stick with the weekly timetable I've set myself.  

4. Sketch every single day
I used to not like putting too much pressure on myself to draw but recently I've been turning on Netflix or Youtube while I sketch and it's been a real game changer. For some reason, I feel more inclined to draw when something is playing on my laptop in the background. Since the start of June, I've managed to do at least a little bit of drawing practice each day and I've definitely noticed some small improvements. 

5. Finish 'Little Women' 
I downloaded a whole collection of classic novels on my iPad to read. I'm still a bit iffy towards ebooks but I will say the dictionary function is a really great advantage to this form of reading. It's so quick and easy to search a word definition up and make a note of it so you don't forget the next time you read it. I started Little Women almost a month and a half ago and I really want to get through it this month. I'm really enjoying the story but I think I'm still getting used to reading off my iPad and that's definitely slowed down my reading progress.

6. Get better at touch typing
This is one of those skills that can often slide under the radar. I took a touch typing elective in high school but from my typing today, you wouldn't think it. I remember where the keys are but I sometimes get lazy and just look at what I'm typing. Because I'm starting to get back into blogging, I want to make sure I'm touch typing as much as possible. The more I use my laptop, the better!

Q: What are your goals for this month?

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