Sunday, April 30, 2006

London, pt. I

Back in London now...

...but to recap the rest of Helsinki:

We cooked a Finnish meal, saw Antie randomly on the tram again, and saw Ron and Claire in Estonia (two people we met in the sauna). RANDOM. Anyhoo, we saw some lovely cathedrals and we visited Tallinn for a day which was interesting. We always are with the old people. It's supposed to be a fun boat but the young people go on Fridays or Saturdays and we went on a Tuesday. Sad. I already can't remember some things...let's move on to London.

It's been fun and busy so far! We arrived on Thursday and made a really good Marks and Spencer meal at home. M&S here isn't like the ones we used to have in Canada. They have really good grocery food too! I guess it is like a Whole Foods. Anyhoo, the next day I woke up "early" to see St. Paul's Cathedral (gorgeous!) and stayed for a service and communion (I think it has been 2 years since I've done that last...) and then I proceeded to grab a bite to eat at Pret A Manger (?) which is a sandwich shop that is as abundant here as Starbucks in Vancouver. Anyway, I then went to see the Tower of London. It was soo interesting! Our tour guide was hilarious. He's called a Beef Eater. I don't really know why and no one knows why either, he said. It might mean Queen's protector or something like that. Also, they used to get paid in beef and beer. Anyway, he was funny. And I saw the crown jewels too! They were SO beautiful. I went into the White Tower for the museum part - it is where they used to house the gunpowder and for storage. Then I went home and Scarley and I cooked some dinner. We met up with Hanna for drinks and to wait for Joanna and Afsaneh to arrive from their flight from Toronto and we chatted a bit then went home.

Yesterday I went to Green Park with the intention of reading my book (Guns, Germs, and Steel) and hanging out. Too bad it was freezing so I stayed for an hour and then was planning to go to the Museum of London. Unfortunately my connecting tube was closed so I didn't know how to get there. Instead I just left the station to walk around and end up somewhere. I got to Russell Square and the British Museum, both which are lovely! I didn't look at the British Museum thoroughly yet - I just bought a map and planned my walk. It is huge - I want to see it all (I don't know if that will be possible). It is like the MET in NYC. I heart. I'm excited to go back this week. So Scarlett really wanted M&S curry because she saw me eating it for lunch so I tried to walk around the area of the Museum after but I couldn't find one. So I thought I would hop on a bus and it will be easier for me to spot it and I won't get so tired from walking. Sound like a good idea?


I got so lost because the bus went off the map I was carrying. Humdinger. So when some guy got off the bus I got off too and starting wandering around. It was kind of a sketchy area...people handing you running on the streets. I dunno. Anyway, so I kept walking and then finally asked a guy at a bus stop if his bus went to a tube station. ANY of them. He told me I was pretty close to a tube station so I walked there. I went to Liverpool Street station to get Scarley her curry and to pick up other stuff for dinner and then got on the tube to go home. Lo and behold, I heard someone calling my name. WDH?

I had hopped on the tube and then hopped off because I realized it was the wrong line, but Taylor (a girl I used to work with at the Gap in Kingston and who goes to Queen's) was calling my name. Weird. This stuff happens to me all the time. Anyway, I sat on the Circle line with her for a bit and got off and took the tube back to Scarlett's house. We had another M&S dinner and then we went to Bar Chocolate to meet up with her friends. Afterwards, we went to the Roadhouse. Reminded me of a Kingston bar or something. Ha ha.

Today I am meeting up with a friend of Scarlett's because he is going to show me around town today! I missed Hillsong, which is the church service he goes to. I will try to make it for the next week. Europe is making me churchy again...HD. Current religious views will be the next post.

So today I am going to see Big Ben. I will update you soon. Sorry this is a rushed post I have to get ready for the day!


Sunday, April 23, 2006


Välkommen/tervetuloa (welcome) and moi (hello) from Stockholm and Helsinki!

It has been a pretty crazy week so far. I can't believe I've only been here for 7 days! So much has happened and I'll try to recap the highlights as best as I can. I'm going to try to write one long blog entry for each of the countries I visit (so one for Scandanavia, one for London, one for France, and one for Italy).

Where do I even begin?

1. Took an overnight flight to London on April 17-18 on British Airways who served us dinner (Toronto time) and breakfast (London time) so that was the beginnings of my jet laggedness that is still present at this very moment, a week later. I landed at 630am London time and proceeded to take the bus to the tube (subway) and the tube to Scarlett's house. Some observations at this point: London is not wheelchair accessible (aka I was lifting and pulling my 25 kg suitcase plus my backpack), Brits don't like our "American" accent like we like theirs, and there are a lot of people in a rush on the tube. Also - no one talks much on the tube and they are all busy texting on their cell phones. Every single person reads the free newspaper (similar to the Metro in Toronto) in the morning and all the men wear a pinstripe suit! They are quite fashion forward and no one wears sweatpants or vests or anything like in Kingston (although I think Kingston is a different civilization all in its own). Oh, I also met this really Jewish guy at the gate in Toronto. He was so odd. I just wanted to listen to iPod and read my book but he wanted to chat about everything. Well, more like he wanted to talk about himself and wanted someone to listen. So he is a math grad from Waterloo and he's on a summer backpacking adventure to Asia and India. I'm so glad I didn't have to sit beside him or I might have gone nuts. Anyway, so London was pretty cool and Scarlett and I went to the shopping district (Bond Street I think) to look for a cell phone for me (e-mail me if you're going to be in Europe the next few weeks) and some stuff for Sweden and Finland because we were leaving the next day. We went out for dinner at Brick Lane where they apparently have really good Indian curry (it was the sketchiest subway station ever - we were waiting for other people for about half an hour and in that time we saw a guy get arrested for jumping the gate at the station and not paying and we also saw this woman pushing a stroller without a baby inside and talking to all the other sketched out people walking by). We went with a bunch of Scarlett's GapKids friends and her Asian friends from Vancouver and their friends. The co-workers were SO DRUNK. They said "I feel so old - I'm 19!". Sigh humdinger. So it was quite a random bunch of people. Curry was good but by the end of the night (about 11pm) I was ready to keel over as I left Toronto the previous day at 6:15pm and slept about 3 hours since. We talked, showered, and wasted time until about 3am when we got home and then woke up at 530am to catch the tube and train to Stansted airport for our 8:35am flight to Stockholm...

2. So due to a number of unlucky circumstances, we missed the flight. The tube was late and then just sitting at the station while the minutes ticked by, the train was late and then it was going very slow too (it said 45 minutes but it took 1.5 hours). We were flying Ryanair which is the ghettoest cheap airline in Europe so if you don't check in 40 minutes prior to departure you have to pay 40 GBP for another flight. So we got to the airport 10 minutes late and of course, the people wouldn't let us on the plane. We were willing to pay the 40 GBP but the next flight wasn't until 1:35pm. As if that wasn't bad enough, it was full so we had to be on standby (there was only one person on the list at this time). We couldn't decide what to do because we could have flown to Gothemburg, which is also in Sweden, and take the train to Stockholm from there but we couldn't find the internet cafe for a really long time. Once we finally decided to just go on standby, there were 4 other people on it already (two of them were the people in line in front of us...) and we were numbers 5 and 6 on the list. Didn't sound like good chances, so we asked when the next flight was after the 1:35pm flight if we didn't make it on standby. They said 6:10pm. And there were only 8 seats left...

Good news - we all got onto the 1:35pm flight and I don't think we could have been happier. We were so scared we wouldn't get onto the flight and then we'd have to be on standby for the 6:10pm flight too and if we didn't get on that one we'd have to wait until THE NEXT DAY...brutal. I hate Ryanair. I don't care if it is cheap. They make you pay so much extra money. Like when we arrived at Skavsta airport in "Stockholm", we had to take a 1.5 hour bus to the real Stockholm. It was like flying to Ottawa thinking you're flying to Montreal and then landing and realizing you're in the countryside. Anyway, a cute doggy greeted us and sniffed us for cocaine at the airport and then finally we got to the Skavsta airport. Afterwards, we took the bus to Stockholm and then a city bus to our hostel.

Cost of trip to hostel in Stockholm from London:
2.20 GBP for the tube to the Stansted "Express" train
19.80 GBP for the return ticket for the train
30 GBP for the original 8:35pm flight
40 GBP for the missed flight
130 SEK (7.5 SEK = 1 USD) for the 1.5 hour bus ride to the real Stockholm
30 SEK for the citybus to our hostel

A lot of money for a supposed "cheap flight". Sigh.

3. Anyway, once we got to Stockholm it was really cold but a nice day. We washed up and went out for dinner and drinks. We ate kebab to be cheap and went to this bar for drinks that ended up to be quite expensive. The kebab made us feel sick. We got home around 1am and slept until 1030am and woke up for the best breakfast ever! Herring, salami, yogurt, juice, cheese, was a smorgasbord of food! By the way, Sweden was another hour ahead. I'm exhausted.

4. The next day we went to Gamla Stan (Old Town) and walked around and ended up at this really cute cafe. Of course, we missed the beautiful day before and ended up with a rainy and cold day in Stockholm. I was SO COLD because I didn't bring a winter jacket or anything. So Scarlett and I went to a cheap store and I bought a really warm coat for 25 USD. It's great. We went to the Vasamuseet where they have this viking ship that sunk after 25 minutes of sailing and was almost perfectly preserved 333 years after it sunk. Then we went back to Gamla Stan to this traditional Swedish restaurant and we ate salmon and herring and swedish meatballs for dinner!! It was totally like Ikea. :)

5. We had the most amazing walk back to the hostel (we could actually see stars and we were walking along the bridge by the water). How romance! By the way, Stockholm is surrounded by water patches all around. It's quite interesting actually. Anyway, the hostel was superb and if anyone decides to visit, let me know. It is very Ikea! It was very clean and the breakfast was awesome. Except - the showers were very cold. The next day we had to catch our 9:05m flight from Stockholm to Helsinki. We didn't want to miss this one too so we woke up at 530am to catch the 6:12am citybus to the Central Station to catch the Arlanda Airport Train (deja vu?). Good thing the bus and train actually came on time. Hence, we were 2 hours early for the flight. Scarlett ate a bit and we went to the duty free to look around. We waited forever at the gate (but I suppose - better early than late...). I wished the flight was longer than 45 minutes because I was SO exhausted at this point.

Thoughts about Sweden: IT IS SOOO IKEA, the meatballs and salmon are very good, the people totally ignored us (maybe because we're Asian...or they thought we were American...or both?), the city is BEAUTIFUL and clean, and the McDonald's are like 4-star eateries.

6. BlueOne was a much better flight than stupid Ryanair. Stephen, Scarlett's friend, came to meet us at the Helsinki airport and we went back to his apartment and rested for a bit before we headed out to the sauna and ice swimming, two traditions of the Finns. It was a smoke sauna, which was the hottest sauna of them all, exceeding 100 degrees Celcius (literally). If you leaned against the walls, your back will turn black from the heat and smoke and we were told that your friend will have to scrub you. Imagine a wooden hut, dark and filled with fat red-faced Finnish men in Speedos. Help. The idea of this excursion was to stay in the sauna for 20 minutes and then going into the lake covered with ice. They usually crack a hole in the ice but we were in luck that day - the ice had melted a bit and the water was a scorching 4 degrees Celcius. You are expected to go from the sauna to bobbing in the water (some intense people even swim laps). I was able to go about half way into the water but it was friggin' cold. It was quite odd, hanging out in our bathing suits on the dock next to the ice lake in Helsinki, Finland in 5 degree weather. That night we had dinner at this film-themed restaurant and ate good pizza and chicken, Finnish-style (with berries and goat cheese). We went to a very chic lounge called Ahjo where one of the guys we met called it "a lounge for corporate suits". We bought a house wine and sat down on one of the sofas. The design was soooo cool and everyone was dressed so nicely. The three of us definitely looked as young as we were. :-(

All they play here is house music. It all sounds the same. Just when we thought we were getting bored, we had some lively entertainment by a bunch of investment bankers and CEOs who probably don't get out too much. I can't even explain it in words, but the dancing was the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. It's not European, it's not's like Elaine from Seinfeld times 39493493498324. People were jumping up and down with their legs wide open, one girl was dancing by herself looking the mirror and smiling at herself, and one special man ran like long jump onto the dance floor and landed in the middle, jumping with his legs in a squat position. There was also the star of the show, who we refer to as the white shirt bald man who looks like an uglier version of Moby. It is important to note that these people looked normal sitting down, however, once they got onto the abandoned dance floor (which did not help their crazy dancing) they looked like fools who didn't get out enough.

While Scarlett and Stephen were dancing to Madonna, I was sitting, enjoying my drink. Finnish Fabio, who sat next to me, asked me where I was from. He was with another dude, who we call figure-skating yellow fever Antie (Anthony in Finnish). He asked if I knew Elvis Stojko and Conan O'Brien (if you saw the episode of the Finnish President who looked exactly like Conan, but is a woman...). He also asked Scarley and I to speak Chinese to each other. Sketchbombs. We ended up leaving the lounge at 4am, half an hour after the lights turned on. They told us that there is nowhere fun to go in Helsinki. I asked them where they go to party at night. They said Spain. HD 2006.

7. Scarlett and Stephen slept until 1pm. I slept until 3pm. By the time we finished breakfast and showered, it was 6pm. We went to see about the Estonian ferry, however, it was closed. We don't have any luck with transportation. After that, we went to the supermarket and then bought dinner home. We ate in half an hour and surprise - had to get ready to go out for the night already. We met Stephen's friend Catrin (from Germany) and his friends who go to the university, Anna and Celine, from Italy and France respectively. We went to a bar to meet some of Anna's friends - Camilla from Norway and coincidentally, some girl from Gothemburg. Anyway, the university people had to leave early to study for exams but Catrin, Stephen, Scarley, and I went to Rose Garden, a club that Stephen described as "student-friendly, casual, and a secret, but well known to the locals".

Much to our surprise, we walked in and the first thing we saw was a man with crimped hair and tape on his nipples wearing a corset and a painted face. Then we saw a gothic fashion show with a bunch of photographers and camera men. As we walked into the club, we noticed that us - dressed in jeans and tank tops were the odd ones out. Scarlett says that one of the men looked like an executioner from Braveheart, another had a metal circle on his neck, other men were dressed as women, and one guy had a green face with a clown nose. One woman stood out. She had a gown on with a sash that said it was her "hen"(bachelorette) party in Finnish. It was quite a random lot of people. Scarlett went to the washroom and to her surprise found men AND women inside. The man with the metal circle informed her that it was indeed the women's washroom and looked at her as if she was stupid. The normal people aka the bartenders and coat check people looked at us as if we were quite lost. We had some cider, which is popular in Finland and sat down on the couch. The guy next to me looked at me and looked away and then looked back, so I said hello. He turned out to be a Finnish hockey player and his friend a "Danish" (but really half Swede, half Finn) pilot. The hockey player was QUITE drunk. He told me he liked my shoes and then compared them to his own. He noted that they were "longer" than my shoes. He also said he liked my glasses. He asked if he could wear them. I let him and then he passed them to his friend next to him who didn't want to take them off until I said "I can't see without my glasses"...humdinger. Then he said he liked my watch. He asked me what kind of music I like and I said rap and r&b and he told me I was in the wrong place. (No kidding). He told me he liked Common and I spewed out some mainstream names that he would know as well such as Jay-Z and Eminem. He told me quite angrily that these people were "too much on the surface" and "why don't you know any underground people". So I asked him what he meant by underground and he named al these Finnish rappers. Oh, then he talked about how he is majoring in "sports" at university and he wanted to "play hockey". However, he was impressed when we told him lacrosse originated in Canada. He then proceeded to ask me about what I thought about all the people sitting in front of me. He looked like a Finnish version of the guys from Dumb and Dumber. Quite an interesting night...

We ate kebab (again) but this time it was better. We had a 45 minute walk home because the trains stop and we slept around 4am. We woke up earlier this time - 2pm. We left the house around 5pm and walked around to the cathedral and saw more of Helsinki. Good thing the sun sets late. We bought some more food and had a very good dinner. Tomorrow Scarlett and I are cooking traditional Finnish food and planning our trip for Tuesday to Estonia.

More crazy stories to come...

P.S. I miss Flow 93.5 music and the NBA playoffs
P.P.S. ALL THE GUYS look like underwear models. High cheekbones and perfect hair and teeth. See below for example, Swedish model Marcus Schenkenberg.
P.P.P.S. I will update with my pictures when I get back to London!

Moi from Helsinki,


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Valkommen and Moi from Sweden and Finland!

Hi everyone! I've been thinking about all these things I've wanted to write in my blog since I arrived. I have so much to tell you!!! It's been amazing, exciting, and interesting so far...I have lots of pics and stories...but they will have to wait until I get back to London. I will upload pictures there and try to remember what happened each day. I miss you all!


  • London and Brick Lane
  • Missing the flight to Stockholm
  • Our nice Ikea hostel
  • Unnice people in Stockholm
  • Really hot Finnish guys
  • Ahjo lounge + random Finns
  • Rose Garden + really weird, cross dressing Finns + bachelorette party + gothic fashion show + hockey player + pilot + A LOT MORE...
  • Jet lag x895495945 that I slept until 3pm one day and didn't even realize it

  • Sunday, April 16, 2006



    1. What a great couple days in good ol' K-town! Nothing has changed, just the way I like it. Great to see everyone again, and to get that pesky portfolio out of the way! Gusto's was great to catch up one last time and falling asleep for the second time in a movie I forgot I watched the first time. Haha...good to laugh with the girls again and to have G-Ugly sit in as well. I hope he goes to Queen's next year! Pizza Hut buffet lunch was memorable and Aprile made a surprise visit! Drove back with G-Ugly, Jodie, and Aprile and played the alphabet game with celebs and I suck at cartoons. Maybe I just skipped from being a baby to an adult or something...I don't know anything! Lisa, where are you when I need you? Then when we dropped Jodie and Aprile off G and I played it with NBA players. I was a champ because G couldn't remember Vince Carter for "V". What an idiot. I think I win twice just for that. Aprile's friggin' good at cartoons and poor Jodie..."You know, that girl..." or "L...Lisa...uh..."...hahaha! Mr. T! HAHHAHAHA! I must say, I think Aprile and I win that round.

    2. Saw VChau on Friday night. Ate at Napoli and tried to go see "Lucky Number Slevin" at Silvercity afterwards but it didn't work out. So good to have our routine catch ups and rent-a-movie nights! I'm so happy she's so excited about school and work. I'm verrrry proud of you. Please don't make a career out of liquid nitrogening *AHEM* warts though ok??? HEE HEE. Words of advice: RIP THE BAND-AID OFF! Do it...okay??

    3. Saw J.Lo tonight! She's made an evite for her birthday party (that I'm missing) while I watched Law & Order and then we went to Go For Tea. Good times reminiscing with old pictures and stories. Japan for you...I'm so excited - I can totally see you as a Harijuku girl.

    4. I don't even like ferrets...

    5. Tomorrow is family dinner night. Hi Lindsay. Pot roast! How I love my meat. :)

    6. I'm off to Europe...I'll see you all when I get back. XOXO.

    - Biggie

    Where'd you go?
    I miss you so
    Seems like it's been forever that you've been gone
    Please come back home

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006


    When did the Kingston bubble end and real life start?
    Take me back to my friends and Cambodiana and $1.75 drinks at Elixir and 3am phone calls and 24 hour Timmy's and...
    (Even if I could go back, I don't think I would. Four years...or three and a half...was definitely enough. Although I miss my Goodlife classes a lot. I haven't gone to the gym for a week. Becoming a bum. I walked up the stairs and I think my calf muscles are atrophying. Someone install the movators and moving sidewalks.)

    Responsibility? Accountability? I can't even wrap my mind around it.
    T-minus 6 days until Big Ben, Ikea and vodka.

    "Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way."
    -Theodor Seuss Geisel

    Monday, April 10, 2006


    Thanks for all your prayers.

    I'm leaving SO soon. I bought a new camera. EEEK.


    "Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way."
    -Theodor Seuss Geisel

    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    One day left...

    I CAN'T WAIT! I have tons to do after that but at least I won't be tied down from 8am-4pm every day.

    Line of the night: Would you rather be a skunk or a raccoon?

    That game reminded me of that "game" that Diq and I played last year. Yup, Hell it is.

    Hectic until the 17th. I know I'm going to forget things :(...good thing Lindsay is leaving after me! :)

    Lots to do, lots of people to see before I go. Saw Puneet last night for the first and last time in a long time. Until...who knows when?? :-S

    Good luck on exams to all those finishing up! Miss you guys...

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006




    4 days to go...until salvation.

    Instead of placement, BR, presentation and annotated biblio, I'll only have BR, portfolio and interviews.


    Monday, April 03, 2006


    It's not even 8:30am and I've already had worst day ever. WHY?? I couldn't find my jeans this morning, I forgot to wear my new glasses, I forgot to put on deoderant and I forgot to bring the lunch I made last night. I was in such a frazzled state because I couldn't find my jeans and I was running late for work already. I had 2 mints for breakfast. And I forgot my day planner. Ai ya. Oh, and my presentation is in less than 5 hours and I don't know what I'm going to say yet. :-|

    Saturday, April 01, 2006


    to my G for getting voted Valedictorian!!

    WDH?? Since when were you smart and popular?

    P.S. I cut my hair off.
    P.P.S. My webcam and camera are broken.