OWD

it stands for OPEN WATER DIVE!!! whooooooo!!!!

I KNOW!!! Finally another tick from my bucket list (even though now Advanced Open Water Dive has been added to the list ;p) I am sooo so so grateful for this year, that I get to do so many interesting things that are not related with school… xp

IMG_2874So, after postponing it for ages, I decided to get myself into that underwater world :) I have always wanted to dive, but many things kept holding me back. Things like “no one to go with”, “it’s so scary”, “it looks so difficult and dangerous”, and all other kinds of what-ifs (you know what I mean!)

Things changed last year, when I was so lucky to meet this lady in her 60s, whom I admire so much! I met through CouchSurfing in Dresden! (yea, CouchSurfing!!!) She told me that she just did her OWD course in 2011! I was so ashamed seeing how she’s way more energetic and ‘younger’ than I am. She went rock climbing just a few years ago (!!!) and she climbed the tree in her garden to pick up the cherries (because she doesn’t have any ladder, she said) and she cycles to work everyday… Can you imagine now what kind of woman we are dealing with here? and you still dare to say that you’re young and lively and adventurous? think again!! ;)

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When school is over….

yes, SCHOOL IS OVER!!! 

ENDLICCHHHH!!! :D (Well, I’ve got a mixed feeling on this, but for the time being, its a “yessssss!!!”)

I still haven’t felt much of the effect YET, as it still feels like any other holiday… But I’m pretty sure, sooner or later, things will be so different! (5/6 of my life have been spent as a student!!! that’s something!)

Anyway, before everything else (read: working), I finally get the chance to discover a little bit of South East Asia (like, finally!) :D and I am so so so excited! I have always wanted to do this and it’s now time for CAMBODIA and VIETNAM!!! awesomeness!

I’ll be traveling with 3 other crazy buddies, so I’m preparing myself for the most random things to happen along the way ;)

 

*the two ugly travelers are ready too!*

excited!!!

excited!!!

I’m falling with a style!

Another tick on my bucketlist! I was so grateful that to have the chance to skydive. The feeling was just incredible. For some reason, you don’t actually feel that ‘wooossh’ feeling in your stomach (like when you ride a rollercoaster). I LOVE IT!!!

It was in Taupo, North Island – New Zealand. Was so lucky to actually experience going inside the cloud!!! aarrrhhhh I felt and tasted the cloud!!! It’s cold and damp… I’ve always wanted to know how it feels to be on/inside a cloud (if you read Doraemon, i bet you will have this curiosity too!) and the view was just amazingggg! it kinda distracts you from the fact that you’re actually free-falling!

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The Tea Chapter

During the mooncake festival period, I wanted to ask my friend who’s on exchange in Singapore to experience something more about Singapore, or rather, the Chinese culture and whatnots. and I thought, going for a ‘proper’ tea drinking ritual might be interesting for them (and for myself too!) So here we are! (thanks to my friend who knows this place and introduced us to this whole thing!)

As you can see, it’s called Tea Chapter, located somewhere in China Town (not so helpful eh? haha)

Anyway, I never knew drinking tea could be such a long ceremony! Here are some of the steps that I managed to capture. The rest of the time, I was listening attentively (and amazed at the same time) to the lady who explained and showed us the real way to drink tea! :)

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P-I-S-A

it was kind of a sudden change in our plan, to go directly from Siena to Pisa (and skip San Gimignano — i’ll be back there one day!) people have been warning us saying that there are not many things to do in Pisa, except to see the famous tower. Well, to be fair, there are quite a handful of really nice architecture around. We decided to walk to the tower (it’s on the other end of the city) and since the city itself is not so big. and I’m glad we did it, because then we were able to catch a glimpse of the city itself.

and, of course, we took some of the must-take pictures :D

the reason why pisa is still there ;)

and so did everyone else….

There was a big park around the tower compound with really really nice grass :D Unfortunately (or fortunately?), people are not allowed to step on most of the parts..

defying gravity??

oh, and as we walked around the city, we walked past this book fair. my guess is that the place used to be where the wet market was (or still is)

2nd hand book fair

some tips if you are planning to go to Pisa:

1. you don’t have to spend the whole day there. A few hours will do, especially if you don’t have the luxury of time.

2. whenever possible, try to just walk to get to the tower, and get a feel of what the city is like

3. Pisa can be easily reached from cities like Siena, Florence, San Gimignano… so you can just make a day trip there when you use Florence as your base city, for instance.

last but not least, take that must-have shots with pisa tower! :)

ein besonderer Blick von Mannheim

to many, mannheim would not (probably never) be one of the most beautiful german cities on their lists. I wouldn’t disagree with them, to be honest ;) but if you stay long enough in mannheim, you would start discovering some hidden spots or pretty corners, that make mannheim charming in its own unique way.

One of the best views I’ve got in Mannheim was when my housemates and I went on the TV tower (fernsehturm) for dinner. It was actually a treat for my birthday (thanks all! :)) and only from up there that we realized how green mannheim actually is and it (indisputably) gave us the best Rundblick of mannheim.

it’s about 212 meter high :) and the dining platform rotates, making one round in an hour.

that’s luisenpark and the boats

its helpful that they put labels on the pillars telling us the directions

even though the labels are there, sometimes it still took us a while before we can spot some things :) we had fun playing the guessing game hehe

SPOT THE SCHLOSS!!!

SPOT ULMENWEG! :D

we wanted to wait for another round (i.e. another hour) to get back to the same spot to watch the sun setting on the neckar… but we decided not to do it in the end.

told ya mannheim isn’t so bad after all, eh? :)

Last but not least, I could not be any more grateful for the best housemates ever! They are simply a bunch of amazing people :)

Benedict, Iris, Behrus, me and Philipp :)

happy house

Burano. I have never heard of this place until that day when we were in Venice and tried to find out of the things to do in venice and its surrounding. There’s nothing really special from this tiny island besides its colorfulness! “The colours of the houses follow a specific system originating from the golden age of its development; if someone wishes to paint their home, one must send a request to the government, who will respond by making notice of the certain colours permitted for that lot.” (Wikipedia) and some of the legends say that the houses were painted in different colors originally to allow the fishermen to recognize their houses from afar when they are out at sea. Cool, isn’t it?! :)

The island is really small that you can cover every corner within 1 or 2 hours. It was quite funny to see how the inhabitants are no longer affected by tourist who freely and frequently walk past their houses, sometimes being nosy trying to peek inside or watch them. As we were exploring the island, we saw many people were doing their household chores, and they didn’t look up anymore even when they knew that we (tourists) were there, as if we are already a part of their lives. I’m not sure if I would ever be comfortable having tourists or strangers strolling by every now and then in front of my house…

It is like a small, colorful version of venice :) divided by many narrow canals filled with boats. Once we sat by the canal trying to enjoy the scenery, we were surprised by the appearance of an old woman coming out of her house with a big cooking pot, and threw away some kind of black water (or whatever it is) into the canal and calmly walked back into the house as if nothing just happened. and it happened not just once! she kept going in and back out with something new to be thrown into the canal… sigh… how could she do that? and what would happen if everyone does the same thing?

using my shades as filter :D

anyway, coming back from this happy island to venice, i suddenly found venice to be very dull colored! :D

the X factor

Dresden is one of the best impromptu weekend getaways I’ve ever done til now. Thanks to dum who suddenly told me that she’s going to dresden over the weekend while I was in Berlin and had settled the accommodation (thanks to CouchSurfing!) and thanks to mitfahrgelegenheit for existing and making this trip possible too! Decided to go only the day before the trip means I had no time to do any single research about dresden and whatnots! All I know is that I’ve heard people telling me that Dresden is a nice city (but again, there are sooooo many NICE cities in germany…) and I leave the rest to dum :D the only clue I’ve got about dresden came from my sommerkurs teacher. He mentioned “Altstadt, Neustadt, und Blaue Wunder”. And so I embarked on this life changing journey.

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