Wanderlust

- Taipei, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai -

I'm finally back with another update. Three months later, keeping it up! Time's been flying like the ones swarming inside my November cave. November was a routinised chaos filled with busy schedules every day, and my energy level was sucked dry by the end of the month. Another thing that got sucked was my iPhone down a public squat toilet, but that's too traumatic for me to talk about right now. Those who know, knows (and probably wish they never knew.) November was a month full of good and bad experiences. It sure made December feel like a dream.

In December I was ready to get my life back on track. All the project deadlines was finally over, lectures were terminating for the semester and I began planning my holidays! Or 'self-revision week' as they call it since that's when we are supposed to study for the upcoming exams in January. My first trip was with Sadia in mid-December. Straight after her visit to North Korea she agreed to make a last-minute booking with me to Taiwan. We initially wanted to go to Laos, but tickets were way too expensive for us. Living the champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget. Our time in Taipei was short, but so good it exceeded all my expectations. 

Two days after Taiwan I was off to Hong Kong. Now for those who know me this has always been my dream destination. With all of Rickie's recommendations, Hong Kong was my next tick off the bucket list and I couldn't wait for our reunion. The duo days of dim-sum feast in Edinburgh and London was finally hitting the upgrade. 'Dim-sum in Hong Kong': check! 

I spent my first Christmas without my family this year, which made me feel a bit homesick. But luckily I was somewhere that felt like home away from home, so I feel very grateful for that. During my time in Hong Kong I also got to see some of the best sights and eat my favorite dishes, which I will be sharing on a later post. Hong Kong was my happy place and I'm already looking forward to return at the end of February. 

My New Years Eve was spent in Shanghai overlooking the Bund at Bar Rouge's Golden NYE Party. Unfortunately due to last year's stampede, many of the city's famed celebrations got cancelled last minute and so there was no fireworks when the clock hit midnight. Such a party pooping moment, but understandable as safety comes first. Looking on the bright side I got to spend the last minutes of 2015 and the first moments of 2016 with my favorite people and we had a great night regardless. Not to mention the overall amazing Westin Weekend experience I had while in Shanghai. Ending the holiday in the clouds (almost literally) made it so much harder to say good bye and return to campus to a freezing room, canteen food and four exams.

The morning after my last exam on the 15th of January I travelled to Seoul to visit Eujena whom I know from Scotland. We met up in Boston last summer for our sister’s graduation where we casually suggested I’d come visit her hometown next. I love how it actually became reality. My first time in South-Korea was nothing but good vibes, delicious food and amazing hospitality. I’m so, so grateful and lucky to experience Seoul the ‘extraordinary’ local's way. Despite waking up at 5 AM to catch a delayed flight, a long lay-over in the middle of no where, an emergency landing (my biggest nightmare) hence a total of 15 hours of travelling that day, Seoul was so worth in the end. However this kind of budget travelling... Please God, never again. 

After a good four days in Seoul, I was ready for Japan! At this point my body was feeling exhausted. Life on the fast lane was getting more and more intense. Lack of sleep, hours and hours spent on the travelling road and with no actual rest after the exam period. On arrival to Tokyo it was straight off the Hakuba to spend the next three days at a ski resort in the Japanese alps. Another six hours on the trains and I started to doubt how my body would possibly handle the next three days of skiing. But it all went well and I had a great time in the slopes. It almost felt like I was back home in Norway, minus the snow monkeys and the hot springs. Then after Hakuba we travelled back to Tokyo for a couple of days, because I couldn't leave Japan without having tried the sushi there. Literally a dream came true! I’ll tell more about it in a separate post later.