Little-India-Singapore

A short, but excited hello from Singapore. The country (or is it a city state?) is humid, incredibly boiling hot and beautiful. I’ve spent the past two days roaming every part of the island, from the east to the west (where I live). I’ve taken a million photos in Arab Street, tried on Indian dresses (they wouldn’t allow us to try on a sari, so we had to compromise) in Little India, had several coups of kopi, sweated a lot, not gotten sunburnt (yet), and eaten loads of delicious food as always. And I regret not buying that blue dress. Does anyone know what it’s called?

Right now I’m getting ready to explore the Garden by the Bay to see the famous Super Trees and the Cloud Forest, and then later it’s time for some work, followed by an overnight flight back to Incheon and then onwards to Oslo. Any last minute tips for Singapore? Shout out!

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Tomorrow I’m leaving for a 3-day trip to Singapore, followed by 4 days in Norway, and that with only a carry-on. Having squeezed in as many travel days as possible the last couple of years (without failing my classes and breaking the bank), I think I’m starting to get a hang of this traveling-thing. Thus, I was thinking I might add my two cents to the plethora of information on the interwebs about what you should (and should not) do when you travel, while simultaneously getting ready for this trip. These are some of my go-to’s that always make my trips better (and easier):

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noodles-150211-

Living in Korea, it’s probably not a surprise when I say that noodles have become a very essential part of my diet. For the first couple of months here that simply meant heating a pack of ramen noodles (라면) in boiling water, stir in the flavour pack and consume. I would like to say that my habits changed because I finally convinced myself that the stuff is low in nutrition and high in sodium, but the truth is I just got sick of the flavor after having lived off of ramen for about 4 weeks in a row (consequence of a small financial crisis after my October-travels).

Now I’ve basically turned into a budget ramen-aficionado, and I thought I would share some of my favorite (student budget friendly) tips and tricks for turning that cheap ramen into a delicious and healthy meal.

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korean-cool-150306

“If Korea were a person, it would be diagnosed as a neurotic, with both an inferiority and a superiority complex.”

I’m back from Hong Kong and have officially survived the first week of my second round of grad school, this time at Yonsei University here in Seoul. Starting a second master’s degree (instead of getting a job or moving on to a PhD) have had some eyeing me like I’m a crazy person, but I myself am excited to be back where I belong!

This time around I’m studying for a Master in Global Policy and Affairs (it falls under the field of International Relations) and this semester I’m taking classes in international relations, international economics and Korean history. Needless to say I am beyond excited to study all of these subjects, mainly because my level of knowledge does not equal my level of interest right now, and I want to change that.

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When I started to plan my move to Asia, I was torn between two cities: Seoul and Hong Kong. And while I’m happy about my choice, I sometimes find myself dreaming of what life could have been like in Hong Kong. It is without a doubt one of my absolute favorite cities, and I’m thinking of making it an early spring tradition to travel to the humid, but oh-so cool city (pun intended).

If you’re like me, you scour the web for tips and local tricks to whatever city you’re going to visit, even if it’s only for a day. Following that line of thought I would like to add my two cents to what you should do, see, eat and drink if you have the chance to visit Hong Kong.

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I’m currently seated at a table at one of my new Hong Kong-favorites: Coffee Academics in Wan Chai. My plane for Seoul leaves in 4 hours, and I’m savoring the last few moments in this city (and a delicious breakfast). Hong Kong has been a blast, with days that blended into nights, minimal amounts of sleep, loads of great food and new friends.

Tomorrow it’s time to get back to school and the real world, and I can’t wait (even though I need a week worth of sleep right about now). This trip has been a parade of highlights, except for our trip to a foggy Victoria Peak, and one of them were an hour spent walking through the stands in Flower Market Road. The only negative thing about it was that I couldn’t buy all of the beautiful flowers and bring them back to Seoul with me. So instead I ignored the “no photography”-sign (rebel!) and photographed as many of them as possible.

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33 hours has passed since I landed in Hong Kong yesterday. I’ve already managed to consume delicious food, seen my hair turn into a frizzy mess in the humidity and burst my budget. Business as usual in other words. After a trip by the Korean embassy for some paperwork this morning, we took the Tung Chung line to Lantau Island and hopped into a cable car to see the famous Big Buddha, or Tian Tan Buddha. The 34 meter tall structure sits on a hillside above a tourist village of souvenir shops and Starbucks-es, but is quietly serene in the face of it all.

The statute and the surrounding structures and buildings were quite stunning, and Lantau Island is a perfect hiking destination if I ever saw one. No hiking for me today though.

It’s currently 1:40AM here in Hong Kong, way past bedtime in other words, so I’ll leave you with some photos from my wanderings so far. Hope you’ve all had a great week!

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This week my Facebook was filled with the photos of the mangled remains of what used to be a section of one of my favorite Hawaii hikes: the Haiku Stairs, better known as Stairway to Heaven. Notoriously illegal, and a favorite amongst locals, international students and tourists, the stairways have been a kind of institution in Hawaii since their installation during World War II.

As restrictions became more severe the last couple of years a common ritual included sneaking through the woods at 3:30AM to climb the stairs before the guards showed up, and watch the sunrise from arguably one of the most spectacular spots on Oahu.

I loved this hike, and I have trekked the stairs no less than four times during my 3 years in Hawaii, in addition to trying out the much more dangerous route to the top via Moanalua Saddle.

Last weekend a storm hit the island, and landslides destroyed sections of the stairs (and stranded a couple of hikers at the top). Unless a miracle occurs that will convince the state to reopen the hiking trail, this probably means that there wont be any repairs done, which means that reaching the top of Pu’u Keahiakahoe via the stairs will be impossible.

In memory of the stairs, here are some photos from my trips to the top.

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MUSIC This playlist 
FILM Jane Eyre (2011-movie)
TV_SERIES Agent Carter & Constantine are rocking my world
BOOK The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley
FOOD pancakes, banana and kiwi
DRINK homemade iced coffee
PLACE anywhere that serves espresso and free wifi
WWW my pinterest boards
CRAVE norwegian chocolate
EVENT traveling to Hong Kong next week

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seoul

For the past few months I’ve had no less then 5 friends come visit for 20 hours or so, on their way to another part of the world. As a result I’ve become quite adept at guiding people through the Seoul essentials (the way I see it), and I thought I might share the details with you too, in case you happen to have a long layover in this city of mine. There’s obviously a lot missing from this list, and there are probably people who would argue that other neighborhoods should be prioritized over the ones I’ve chosen here, but this is my “go to”-list if you only have a day in the city.

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