Brainless

What's the rush on commitment?

Category: discover (Page 1 of 4)

Mijn leukste plekjes in Gent

Onlangs ontdekte ik een leuk winkeltje dichtbij mijn faculteit. Ik had het al een paar keer gespot, maar nog nooit was ik binnengegaan. Toen ik zocht naar een leuk cadeautje voor een goeie vriendin dacht ik ‘laten we de stap wagen en eens een nieuwe winkel ontdekken’. Nog iemand die eigenlijk een beetje stress heeft als je een nieuwe winkel binnenstapt? Stress is misschien een groot woord, maar toch zo dat gekriebel van wat zal ik hier ontdekken. Lol, ik klink hier precies gelijk een seutje. Ahja, ik vind duidelijk geluk in de kleine dingen haha. Dus toen ging ik de ‘yay’ binnen.

Yay verkoopt leuke party goods en cadeautjes. Alles ‘blinkt’ er waardoor je op het eerste gezicht alles wil kopen. Ze verkopen er ballonnen tot piñatas tot leuke cupcake kits! Ben je niet van Gent of niet vaak in Gent? Yay heeft ook een winkel in Antwerpen of je kan online shoppen. Voor mijn vriendin kocht ik de leuke vlaggetjes uit stof als decoratie voor op haar kot. Ik gaf wat kleine knijpertjes van de Ava erbij zodat we er polaroids aan konden hangen. Wat we niet hebben gedaan want ik was mijn polaroid vergeten en kon dus geen foto’s nemen. Oeps. Het is het idee dat telt hé.

Als ik ‘s middags honger krijg ga ik soms naar de Aula. Ik eet eigenlijk de hele dag door, maar ik bedoel als snelle lunch raad ik de broodjes aan van de Aula. Ella leerde mij de gerookte beenhamsalade (ofzoiets) kennen! Heerrrrrlijk. Wel alleen maar voor dagen wanneer ik wat overschot heb op mijn studentenbudget want de broodjes zijn duur (ik denk dat ik vorige week 4,50 euro heb betaald). Zeker als je het vergelijkt met de prijzen van de UGent voor een broodje. Wel ja, alles is duur in vergelijking met de prijzen van het studentenresto.

Paard van Troje en Take Five zijn leuke koffieplekjes. Ik geef misschien eerder de voorkeur aan het Paard van Troje want als je boven zit in de Take Five galmt het. Eenmaal binnen bestel ik altijd een chocomelk (want ik drink geen koffie en nee, ik wil het niet leren drinken). Het Paard van Troje is trouwens ook een leuke boekenwinkel. Soms zou ik wel een stuk taart bij mijn chocomelk durven eten. Durver dat ik ben. Hoewel ik je zou aanraden naar Julie’s House te gaan als je een yummie stuk taart of cupcake wilt eten. Dat zijn pas caloriebommen en als je er een hebt gegeten vult het je maag net zoals een (heel ongezonde) avondmaal. #student

Bal infernal op de vrijdagsmarkt is ook een gezellig plekje. Je kan er een boek uit de rekken halen en lezen of vragen achter gezelschapspelletjes. Ik leer er soms overdag zodat ik eens wat anders zie dan de muren van de bibliotheek.

‘s Avonds wat gaan drinken met friends doe ik duuuuh ook graag. (En ik vraag mij dan af waarom ik niet toekom met mijn wekelijks budget …) Op dit moment vind ik de Alchemist het leukst. Een leuke, relaxte sfeer, je kijkt op het eerste verdiep uit op het Gravensteen. Waarom zeg ik dat; het uitzicht is echt niet zo mooi. Ik bedoel gewoon dat het echt gezellig zitten is. Misschien ook wel de plek bij uitstek voor een eerste date? Mocht je eens wat nieuws willen proberen dat niet het Spijker is. Bal infernal is in de avond in ieder geval ook een aanrader! Ik heb ze alle drie al eens uitgetest op eerste dates haha …

Ben ik de enige die vindt dat het Spijker een écht date-café is? Je moet er eens op letten als je iets gaat drinken daar. Couples everywhere.

Je kan natuurlijk ook een avondwandeling maken langs het kanaal want dat kost helemaal niets hihi. En in de zomer kan je langs de graslei zitten met wat vrienden en een flesje rosé, witte wijn of, oké, fruitsap.

Als iemand nog leuke plekjes kent, let me know in the comments below!

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-It’s refreshing to bring back all those memories. I stored everything I did on my calendar so I could look back and know when I did what, but writing about it brings back feelings and even more memories …-

Arriving in Bangkok is a bit much. A friend of mine had told me that already but I choose to ignore it, only to regret it afterwards haha … though I did appreciate it more at the end of my trip.

As I told you in my previous blogpost, I wanted to get out of Bangkok as fast as I could. I thought Chiang Mai would be better, and in many ways it was. I needed quietness and I guess most of all nature.

I feel people romanticize backpacking. As much as there are benefits to it there’s also a downside. For example, arriving at 4 am in Chiang Mai at a random bus station after taking a night bus. There weren’t (a lot of) taxis around so I sat there again thinking ‘what am I supposed to do now?’. You rely on yourself during these trips, which is good. You trust your judgement more. You know what’s best for you.

I found a cab and shared it with 2 other travelers whose hostel was close to mine. Here’s another thing about Thailand, they’ll always try and get the most out of you. Sometimes you have the energy to bargain, and other times (like at 4 am in the morning after an 8 hour bus ride) you just go with it. I also suck at bargaining.

I didn’t stay at a good hostel. Mostly because there wasn’t a good communal space where you could meet people. If you decide to go to Chiang Mai, I would recommend Hug Hostel. The people I met in Bangkok stayed there and I hung out there too. That day I met up with Emma & Daniel and we decided to go to the Sticky Waterfalls in an attempt to escape another busy city.

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We were thinking of scootering there but Daniel was the only one who could drive one. Emma was scared of driving one and I considered trying it. I was allowed a test ride … we ended up taking a ‘red truck’ for the afternoon to the ‘Waterfalls’.

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Red truck to Sticky Waterfalls

A red truck operates as a shared taxi in Chiang Mai – picking up passengers along the road. You pay around 20 baht a ride within the same district. Sometimes you can rent them for the day for a higher price, of course.

I was happy being out of the city. Nature, water on my feet. Yup I needed it.

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The second day I just walked around and visited some markets – which you end up visiting many times in Thailand. Temples and markets everywherrrree.

Still feeling anxious but less tense, I decided to move further North with the intention of finding some more peace of mind. SPOILER: I did.

TIPS:

  1. Stay longer in Chiang Mai than I did (I stayed 2 nights). I was just anxious because of Bangkok but there’s definitely more in Chiang Mai that you can visit. If you love temples, go visit them. I actually went back and spent an extra night before I crossed the border to Myanmar.
  2. Try and find a hostel with good communal spaces when you travel solo.
  3. RELAX, you’ll be fine. (I said that to myself a bunch of times that first week)

 

 

Arriving on Thai soil

– The first thing I realized about myself arriving in Bangkok is how bad I am at making decisions. It took me over an hour to decide whether I was going to use public transit or a cab to get to my hostel. –

On the 26th of January I left Belgium and on the 27th of January I arrived in the morning in Bangkok. After that hour of debating how to get there, I took the Skytrain to the Yard Hostel.

The Yard Hostel is pretty good. Considering Bangkok is incredibly busy and warm, it’s nice to escape to a quiet place with a little garden to relax.

The Yard Hostel - Bangkok

The Yard Hostel – Bangkok

I had to wait before I could go in my room but in the meantime I was able to shower (which after a 16 hour flight makes everything better). There were some people sitting at the entrance of the hostel and I thought ‘ok, how am I going to approach them and ‘make friends”. I had to think of a strategy cause I am in Thailand, all by myself.

I took a chair and asked ‘can I join?’. So far my big strategy. Cause in fact you don’t need one for solo traveling. You’ll always meet people. ALWAYS … Even when you don’t want to meet people.

On that Friday I did almost nothing except for hang around the hostel, eat and in the evening the hostel arranged for us to get the best Pad Thai in Bangkok (Thip Samai) taking a famous TukTuk and after we would visit the Khoa San Road. I wish I could tell you more about the Khoa San Road but there isn’t more to say than it being a big, dirty, noisy party street with people selling scorpions on sticks – yikes. My first Pad Thai on the other hand was delicious! Was it my best? No, not really. There were a lot of places up North and South that sold streetfood Pad Thai just as good (and cheaper).

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Pad Thai – Bangkok – Thip Samai

The next day I felt like I had to visit a lot. I could hear my dad’s voice saying ‘You HAVE TO visit everything you can’, giving me a lot of guilt if I wouldn’t have visited all of those ‘great things’. I can assure you at the end of my trip, I was fully capable of ignoring that voice.

I visited the Grand Palace with ‘my new friends’ who weren’t allowed to go in cause they weren’t wearing long pants (you need them to enter many temples/sacred places in Thailand + they’re comfortable).

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Grand Palace – Bangkok

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Grand Palace

So I went in by myself. Either you know or you don’t but the King of Thailand died in October 2016. Thai people have been remembering him for quite a while by putting up (younger) images of His Majesty, wearing black clothes and putting white/black ribbons along roads. I don’t think anyone would care as much about the Belgian King dying as they did in Thailand. Then again King Bhumibol Adulyadej was very loved by the people which the Belgian King isn’t. Anyway, because of that, some parts of the Grand Palace weren’t accessible. People wearing black were lining up to honor their King. That same day I visited the reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) as well .

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Grand Palace – Thai people mourning the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

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Grand Palace

The big Reclining Buddha, hard to see how big it is on the picture but take my word for it - it's BIG

The big Reclining Buddha, hard to see how big it is on the picture but take my word for it – it’s BIG

In the afternoon I visited  the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arut). To get to the Temple of Dawn you have to cross the Chao Phraya River by boat. Eum you know, the thing with temples is … that there are a MILLION of them everywhere in Asia. Hate to say it but once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all … Except for that time in Bagan, Myanmar that was pretty impressive.

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Temple Of Dawn

The next morning we went to the Chatuchak market. It’s a big weekend market. I didn’t spend that much time there cause it was quite chaotic but apparently there’s a system (that I didn’t know of when I visited the place). The market is divided in sections and each section is part of a category:

  • Clothing & Accessories (sections 2-6, 10-26)
  • Handicrafts (sections 8-11)
  • Ceramics (sections 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 25)
  • Furniture and Home Decoration (sections 1,3,4,7,8)
  • Food and Beverage (sections 2, 3, 4, 23, 24, 26, 27)
  • Plants and Gardening tools (sections 3, 4)
  • Art and Gallery (section 7)
  • Pets and Pet Accessories (sections 8, 9, 11, 13)
  • Books (sections 1, 27)
  • Antiques and Collectibles (sections 1, 26)
  • Miscellaneous and Used Clothing (sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 22, 25, 26)
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Chatuchak Market

In the afternoon I visited the Jim Thompson House. Apparently Jim was an American spy who ‘retired’ in Bangkok, reviving the Thai silk industry. I’m not really into horoscopes but just enough to mention it in my blogpost anyway: according to his Chinese horoscope (he’s a horse), he had to be very careful at the age of 61. The same year he disappeared … WHERE IS JIM? Also, he had a lot of broken buddha statues in his house which in Thai culture is bad luck so maybe … it was Karma?

Jim Thompson's House

Jim Thompson’s House

Jim Thompson's House

Jim Thompson’s House

When I booked my hostel somewhere beginning of January I thought I wanted to relax in Bangkok after such a long flight so I booked 5 nights. You do NOT WANT 5 nights in Bangkok when you arrive. I repeat: YOU DO NOT WANT THAT. Bangkok is BUSY BUSY BUSY and HOT HOT HOT.

I stayed 2 nights instead, wanting to leave that busy city as soon as possible. I booked my night bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai the same day I visited my good old friend Jim.

I remember freaking out so much. That very first week I was stressed. Stressed about missing my bus, thinking cab drivers would kidnap me, not meeting people, not having fun, not seeing enough … After Bangkok and Chiang Mai I found my flow though.

Honestly looking back, I’ve never ever trusted so many strangers as then. For me being a bit paranoid that’s something BIG haha.

I could tell you all about the beautiful places I’ve visited (which I will, just not as much) but let’s be honest when you go backpacking it’s about the journey, not the destination. (Cheers to clichés!!)

TIPS:

  1. The Yard Hostel is a really good hostel but ‘quite expensive’ in comparison to others. Breakfast is included, staff is very helpful, clean rooms and bathrooms.
  2. Always have long, light and baggy pants in your backpack (so you can pull them over your shorts). You can buy them easily in Thailand for 1,5 EUR.
  3. Do not stay longer than 2 to 3 nights in Bangkok when you arrive!
  4. Relax, it’s all about the journey.

Next blogpost: going up North of Thailand, trying to escape all that’s busy! 

Meet Emma and Daniel

Meet Emma and Daniel

Pre backpacking

I do what feels right. It led me to my exchange to Toronto and it was about to lead me to my backpacking trip.

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Toronto

Many of my friends would confirm that I like traveling. Then again, I surround myself with people who like discovering as well. Common ground. I guess I realized what exactly I like about traveling during and after my exchange to Toronto. For me it’s encountering different cultures, and with that come different perspectives and for myself a change in attitude and mindset. I like how it enriches my state of mind and my personal growth. It’s a bit addictive.

Looking back it wasn’t that much of a surprise that I wanted to travel again by myself. I won’t lie, I was s c a r e d of booking that ticket to Thailand. People make you scared of backpacking – alone – by yourself – as a woman. Even though I had experience in traveling alone, backpacking was different. It was also on a different continent. In Canada there was a sort of set up for me. I had a school surrounding. Even though you’re worried that you won’t meet people, you will during an exchange. You meet a ton of people. All those other exchange students are in the same boat and want to meet other people as well.

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Myanmar

Traveling from one place to another by yourself through SEA is another story. It seems like you won’t have enough time to meet people cause you hop from one hostel to another. You’re afraid you’ll feel lonely or for that matter that you won’t meet any people cause you think you’ll be the only one traveling by yourself. On top of that, I’m a 22 year old woman and people were scared for my safety and so projecting their fears on me. In return it made me doubt my decision even more.

But, you know, I like a challenge even though it scares me so I booked that damn ticket to Thailand a month before I left. I didn’t really engage my parents. I did tell them I wanted to but I guess they thought I wouldn’t. Or maybe they thought I was going with friends. Anyways I didn’t really involve them cause I thought they’d talk me out of it. They were supportive but as every parent they were afraid for my safety.

The moment I arrived at the Yard Hostel (great hostel) in Bangkok I realized those fears were irrational. More on my next blogpost on how my first day went.

My time has come

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These last couple of months have been crazy. It feels like I’ve been here for only one month … I remember at the beginning thinking ‘oh wow, I still have another three months’. What a big fat lie, three months is n o t h i n g.  It’s gone in a split second. It’s nothing in a human life. But for me it was, because those three months are one of my best memories and learning experiences ever.

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One month before leaving Canada, I somehow was ready to go home. I had seen everything I wanted to see, learned a lot about who I am, how there are almost no limits but that we only impose them upon ourselves and how I was not at all openminded (though I thought I was). I accepted the fact there was an end to everything but being here, spending my last days it made me realize you’re never ready to say goodbye. I’ve cried a lot more thinking about leaving Canada than I have going to Canada. I keep thinking ‘let me stay a little longer, let me experience just a bit more, give me just a little more time.’ Alas, time has come. I have to close this chapter to start another. That’s life … I’m finishing up here to start again somewhere else carrying a luggage full of experience with me. I’m grateful for everything. I couldn’t have asked for more but yet here I am … wanting just a bit more time.    

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I had no idea where the hell I would end up. I just booked my flight, booked a hostel and I knew my school was called Ryerson University. For fuck’s sake, I even ordered the wrong tourist guide before I came here. I bought a West-Canada tourist guide and Toronto is East of Canada. (I know …)

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People ask me why did you pick Canada? I have no idea, I probably chose the place to be as far away as possible from my parents. (I’m sorry mom and dad but you know I mean well) One of the things I’ve come to realize here is that my parents aren’t all knowing, they don’t always know better and they do make mistakes because well yeah they’re human. But I had a very hard time accepting that because as a child you see your parents as an example, they know better because they just know but I started to see that they do make mistakes – even in the small things – and I had such a hard time accepting that, that it made me angry. Angry towards them, how can they make these mistakes, aren’t they supposed to know better? Well no, because they’re just human like me.

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My dad said he thought I was too young to do such an exchange. Well dad, I disagree and I think he might agree with me now. This has been my best experience so far and if you’re reading this and you’re doubting whether to go on an exchange, please don’t doubt. The world is far more bigger than your home country.

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It’s funny how I’m also at the end and how I look around more when I walk the streets of Toronto, how I take in everything because I might not see it again (soon). Saying goodbye is really really hard but like Winnie the Pooh says: how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. 

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I wish I could describe more on what I’ve experienced but the best way to know is to do it yourself. I’m grateful that my mom and dad supported me in doing this and if you’re a mom or dad and you’re reading this, I honestly don’t think you can give your child a bigger gift than that (except for giving life).

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So here I am, my last 2 days asking for just some more time but no, time has come. Leaving one chapter to head to another. Whatever lays in front of me, I’m heading your way. Be prepared.

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This has been one hell of a journey and I can’t emphasize it enough. I have cried, laughed, experienced, loved and now I’m leaving. What I’ve learned is that I will always return home but I’ll never stay. I cannot wait for another journey to head my way. Cheers to those who wander but aren’t lost. 

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CN Tower

It’s funny, I kept the most touristic thing to do in Toronto for last. Last weekend I went high up the CN Tower. We decided to go full out so we did the fancy dinner too. When Felix, Marianne, Jack & Jack, Dale and I arrived, we couldn’t see anything because of the fog. We entered when they told us there was zero visibility. So, we wouldn’t be able to get a nice view because of the fog but either way we booked so we went up. They weren’t lying, we couldn’t see anything.

It reminded me of that time in Italy. I climbed the Vesuvius but I couldn’t see anything either because of the fog. That aside, we stayed, we laughed, we chatted when suddenly the sky cleared up. We started to see more and more … I think we stayed there for almost 4 hours.

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Foggy Cn tower

That’s how foggy it was when we arrived. For a second I thought we were going to cancel but I’m glad we didn’t because the view was breathtaking …

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Nom nom fancy dinner

I really love Canada because they’re in the Christmas mood so early. They already had a Christmas menu so that’s what I took. I drank a little too much the night before so my stomach couldn’t really handle a glass of wine but for dessert there is ALWAYS room. It’s a fact, I’ll be able to float back to Belgium because of how much I ate here (Who cares, I got to eat a moelleux au chocolat).

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Felix, marianne and me

This picture is actually more or less a fail haha. In the CN Tower there is glass on which you can stand and look down. We wanted to have a picture of us sitting on the glass while also showing people how high up we are but well yeah as you can see …

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View by sunset

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It was really breathtaking and I had a sad moment too. My sister texted me asking me whether I already started packing. It made me sad. I don’t want to pack, I don’t want to go back home? I’ve made friends here, started a life from scratch here. It’s crazy when you to think about. Leaving that life behind. I will see my friends I’ve made here again but we’ll never be here again in Toronto all together, going to Lou Dawgs or the Gaslight …  I’m trying my best to not be sad considering these are my last days but it’s quite hard 🙂 .

While I was looking at this breathtaking view, I just realized I’d never see it again. Or at least not in the near future. What I’ve experienced here, not many will understand. Nonetheless it has changed me and I couldn’t have asked for more. Thank you.

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Credits to Felix for the pictures.

OTTAWA

It’s been ages since my last post! So sorry! Two weeks ago I went to Ottawa with Betty, Nina and some other German guys who, I am sorry, aren’t worth mentioning in my blogpost. Let’s just pretend they weren’t there. Ottawa is a 6 hour drive from Toronto.

We rented a car and I was so happy that we did that. We could do whatever we wanted to. Touring around. So, we left on Friday arriving at the Jail Hi Hostel. This hostel used to be a real jail and I can believe it because our room was so small!

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Left side of the room

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And right side of the tiny room

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Hall

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On Saturday I went to my first hockey game! (I forgot who played, that’s how interested I am in sports) Yeah there were some fights on the ice, I shouldn’t enjoy it but I did. Come on, who doesn’t like a small fight from time to time …

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When we got our tickets, the old woman asked where we’re from, of course they said Germany because I was the only one from Belgium. During the game suddenly someone came, giving an envelope with a card, key hangers and tattoos haha. That’s what the card said. It was so sweet! (Oh so apparently the ice hockey group is called the Sens).

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On Sunday we visited a bunch of things. I’ll say you this, Ottawa isn’t very interesting. If you decide to go to Canada, go to Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver. Oh fyi, Ottawa is the capital of Canada (I know, crazy right, I also thought it was Toronto or Vancouver – but no it’s Ottawa). They chose Ottawa because it’s just in the middle of the English speaking area and the French speaking area of Canada.

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me and nina

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Did you see the man behind? I don’t know him. I was photobombing their picture so he did the same with mine. They were funny. I think Italian, not sure.

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Parliament Hill

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Ottawa locks

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Ottawa locks

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Ottawa locks

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Spider at the national gallery – this is joe

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Algonquin

On the last day we went to Algonquin Park. It’s gigantic, crazy! Lovely nature. It’s 2,955.01 sq miles big!! From Ottawa this was a 3 hour drive. Same if you’d come from Toronto, it’d be 3 hours.

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Betty, Nina and me

 

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The Communist’s Daughter

Before I left to Ottawa, I met up with Lina and Qais in a pub called The Communist’s Daughter at Dundas and Ossington (near where I live). Funny name he? It’s cozy, candlelit and powered by body heat. A friend of Qais’, Brendan, joined us later.

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Interior Communist’s daughter

It’s a real small pub with 8 small tables and it can get very crowded. Nevertheless it’s worth going to. The interior is a mix of bohemian, artistic and homey with a jukebox that plays eclectic jazz, indie and some classic rock.

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Interior Communist’s daughter

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Interior Communist’s daughter

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. Lina and Qais called it a night but I wanted to stay a little longer. So, Brendan and I went to a place called After Hours, don’t ask me where it was because I have no idea. After hours is actually used to indicate places that stay open longer then 2 am. Most places (bar, pubs) close after 2 in Toronto.

Once arrived at the place it had the most weirdest vibe ever. It was cold, not cosy, nothing that could possibly attract people to go there. Apparently it does attract people. But what kind of people is another story. I stuck around for 2 hours, I have no idea why I stayed for so long.

I was always curious how it would feel like to do hard drugs (cocaine or MDMA) but after that night, I’m most definitely no longer interested. It was sad. Really sad. I sat there with Brendan when suddenly people just sniffed coke in front of me. It was apparently that kind of place. I cannot exactly explain what I felt except for the sadness. It actually hit me more afterwards. I just kept wondering how the hell I ended up there.

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There were all sorts of people there. There was an old man way to drunk sitting next to me, there were three people doing coke in front of me, there was a gay guy hitting on me, there was a woman with a skirt just covering her ass and boobs jumping out of her dress … The gay guy even pointed out that I was looking way too proper for this place. I’ll take that as a compliment, thank you.

I think what bothered me most is that they asked me if I wanted some. There is just nothing romantic or attracting in doing coke. You’re making a line of coke with a card, closing one nostril while approaching the line of coke with your other nostril to sniff toxic white powder. Sad. I would like to understand it but I just can’t.

So, I sat there for two hours wondering on what drives people to stoop so low.

 

Ripley’s Aquarium

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Last week I’ve been to Ripley’s Aquarium with my roommate Dekkar. There isn’t much to tell about it except that there are many fish and I paid around 30 dollars but at least I’ve seen the Aquarium of Toronto, right? Right. It is kinda fascinating that so many different fish exist.

The Aquarium is located nearby the CN Tower and when you access the building it smells like fish. Surprise.

My favorite part of the aquarium was the part with the jellyfish. They put blacklight on them so that they are more visible and the effect is great!

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silly man, this is dekkar

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Oh PS: it’s five dollars cheaper if you book in advance!

It’s All About The Money

During my stay abroad I’ve come to realize that school systems are pretty much the same everywhere.

Portrait of little boy dressed as senior teacher in front of bla

When I arrived here I thought Ryerson was the best school: I get to choose my own courses, you leave whenever you want to …  but soon I discovered flaws. It’s like meeting new people. Or it’s actually the same with everything. At first you’re in a honeymoon phase, you like everything but soon you realize it isn’t that perfect at all.

My honeymoon got crushed that moment when I had to make an assignment but I couldn’t access it unless I was on campus. WTF. I can’t make my assignment unless I’m connected to the Ryerson wifi?? Dear god, in what century do we live.

The courses are honestly as boring as in Belgium. And teachers (sorry, if you’re a teacher) still suck at teaching across the sea. Of course, I realize it’s so much easier to criticize teachers and I can truly imagine that it’s hard to hold on to the attention of your students but how come some can do it? How come some teachers are truly the best and the others (most of them) suck? Isn’t there a school for teachers to learn them how to teach? After all, we have to reeducate ourselves each year, that’s what I’ve learned from my teachers when I left high school 😉 .

What surprises me most is how teachers say that education is so important but they stop educating themselves. You see, they stick to their ways/system of teaching. But that’s the thing about systems. It may have been a good system in the time context they started teaching but time hasn’t stopped so your system has to evolve with it.

family, children, money, investments and people concept - close

The other thing that I have to get off my heart is that schools no longer have the students’ best interest at heart. I see it here in Toronto and I see it in Ghent. No, instead they think about the money they receive. It has become a business just like all others. I would say that’s oke because they still have to gain something from it but it’s not oke when the student has to sacrifice something for it.

For example, imagine you’ve failed some courses. In Belgium they oblige you to study one year longer. Isn’t it a bit out of proportion if you only failed 2 courses out of 23? Is it really because you think the student isn’t capable of finishing his or her program within three years? Is it really necessary to prolong their education for 2 courses? Or do they prolong the student’s education because they gain something out of it when students study one year longer?

Insurance Benefits Protection Risk Security Service Concept

What shocked me when I arrived in Canada was that I had to pay an UHIP of 204 dollars. It’s a Health Insurance Plan which insured me ONLY on Ryerson campus. On the introduction day my exchange coordinator stressed how mandatory the UHIP was. If we didn’t pay the insurance we wouldn’t receive our credits at home (this is some sort of blackmail in my eyes). I was already fully insured by an insurance company in Belgium but I was obliged to pay another insurance?? Throughout Canada I was insured so of course I didn’t want to pay an additional insurance? I sent an email to the Health Insurance Plan of Ryerson explaining that I was already insured and that I didn’t see the purpose in getting another one. They said it was no problem and I didn’t had to pay the insurance.

It’s just upsetting because I’ve spoken to other exchange students about it and they paid the insurance even though they already had an insurance because they were afraid that they wouldn’t receive their credits when they’d go back home.

Ryerson has a huge building called the Student Learning Centre. It’s a building for Ryerson students of 7 floors. It’s a beautiful building. You have internet, millions of outlets, elevators, design chairs … There is even a starbucks in the building (because starbucks sponsored the building of course). But do students really need it? Honestly, students over here pay each year 7000 to 15000 dollars tuition. How I see it is that they actually ask students money so that they can build their students a building they don’t really need? Or at least they don’t really need such a luxurious building in my opinion.

I don’t mind, I didn’t have to pay the tuition but I still don’t get it. I thought education was about the human being and not about the money. Guess I’m just wrong.

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