YOUTOPIA | 22 before 22!

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Today, YOUTOPIA is celebrating 22 years of existence! Looking back, this past year has been the best year of my life (mainly thanks to my exchange programme):

  1. I spent almost half the year exploring and getting lost in 5 countries – mainly Canada, and then some time in USA, Japan, Thailand and Australia.
  2. I won USD$60 from a random slot machine in Las Vegas’s Treasure Island – it’s my first time winning $!
  3. I had the best ramen in Osaka
  4. I watched Les Miserables live in Toronto
  5. I finally took the yellow taxi in NYC and only to realise how badly maintained they are
  6. I’ve counted down to 2014 in Times Square NYC (but didn’t watch the ball drop)
  7. I went road-tripping to the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend – nature at it’s best, they’re all so amazing
  8. I’ve flown solo from San Francisco to NYC – almost like a dream. And then I flew solo from Toronto to Chicago, and then to Tokyo (longest solo flight in my life).
  9. I’ve experienced 6 different time zones in a year – with 2 additional daylight savings which is pretty cool for me!
  10. I’ve been to a Japanese gay bar in Tokyo thanks to a local friend and it was fun!
  11. I’ve roadtripped along the Great Ocean Road – such an amazing destination if you love the sea/ocean
  12. I’ve gone island hopping in Krabi to Phi Phi Islands – beautiful, beautiful waters
  13. I’ve had the best poutine at La Banquise in Montréal
  14. I’ve stayed 2 nights in jail & I’ve stayed in the best rated hostel in North America.
  15. I’ve had the chance to experience what’s living without your family (being 9000 miles away) and how important your roomies are!! So thankful 🙂
  16. I had at least a hundred cups of Tim Hortons (mainly French Vanilla) while in Canada
  17. I’ve met amazing people during my months overseas: new friends in UWO, friends from NTU who went to NTU, reconnected with an old friend during our trip to Canada/USA, met up with my extended family in Australia and found a cousin!
  18. I’ve been to The Bean in Chicago, but that’s not worth raving about. Lake Michigan is the best ocean I’ve seen, that turquoise water is SO SPECTACULAR.
  19. I’ve eaten Shake Shack in NYC and In-N-Out in LA, but Burgr by Gordan Ramsay in Las Vegas serves the best burger I’ve eaten in my life.
  20. I’ve studied overseas (I really miss you, UWO) in one beautiful campus, although technically I’ve been studying overseas all my life.
  21. I’ve survived -40 degree celsius and I still love winter #winterbaby 😀
  22. I’ve celebrated St Pattys for the first time: once in Buffalo, NY and another in London, ON. The parties are crazy, and people are crazy, and it was so fun to be just there.

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All the things above of course didn’t happen without a price: I’ve missed greyhound buses at midnight for 2 times, I’ve missed a flight in NYC and put to the next flight, only to get delayed for another 2 hours, I’ve lost my Canada SIM card after returning from the USA, I’ve been locked out of my house on way too many occasions because I didn’t have enough strength to open the door (thanks to winter – the wooden door would expand and contract), my hands got so dry that they crack (and sometimes bleed) every other day, I’ve run for way too many transports, I almost got rejected by the Japanese embassy in Toronto to process my visa (I was super depressed) and the list goes on.

Nevertheless, I’m grateful for all the people that I’ve came in contact with and left a little footprint in my life. So here’s to the people – those who’ve loved me and those who’ve made me such a happy not-so-little girl today. Santé!

Now I’m ready for 22! It’s gonna be a life changing year because I’m graduating next year and yup, time to hit up the real society! While I don’t think I’m prepared for that now, let me just soak up being my last few months as a student and travel away during all my holidays! Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo are next! xx

keep travelling,
J

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