October – Does long-distance make or break our relationships? | Rotterdam Diaries

I’ve always been close to my mom. Typical Asian family, you’d say. What might make our relationship special is that she underwent a heart transplantation when I was 9, blood cancer when I was 16 and leiomyoma removal surgery when I was 20. She takes about 10 types of medicine everyday at the moment, including antidepressants, has migraines, sleeping problems and back problems.

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So naturally, she was always home with me because she was not able to work anymore. At the age of 9, I had no idea what are the consequences of a heart transplantation. All I knew was that I could no longer have a pet because my mom’s immunity system was weakened. As I got older and taller, my mom seemed to get smaller and smaller. I slowly started realising that my mom is a little fragile human and that she could pass away any day. I was trying to suppress that thought. And I was good at it.

I never told any of my friends about my mom’s condition. I would start crying whenever I started talking about it. Heck, I’m even crying now as I type this. However, not so long ago I’ve learned it’s a crucial part of me that I need to stop avoiding.

So, my mom was home every day. I got used to that quickly. I’m naturally a quiet person just like my mom. Our typical conversation wouldn’t last longer than 10 minutes. It was very silent at our home, especially when she had headaches. We knew we loved each other, don’t get me wrong. But somehow I started taking her presence for granted. There was not so much to talk about. And right now, I just I wish we talked more about the little things.

Fast forward, I was going abroad for my exchange semester. I was used to not seeing my mom for a month or so and 5 months is not forever. Right now it has been 2,5 months of my exchange. We chat, whatsapp or skype with my parents about three to four times a week. Sometimes it’s 5 minutes, sometimes it’s 30 minutes. And I realised something. Of course, long-distance couldn’t break us. Nothing break Asian family’s bounds. But I did not expect the distance to make our relationships stronger. We actually talk now. About the little things. I told them how I set my boyfriend’s kitchen on fire, how I bought new raincoat or even how my butt is getting firmer from biking. They tell me how they feel, what they are working on right now. That’s the things we would not discuss if we were living in the same household.

Sometimes it’s good to take a break from each other. Look at things from distance.

Does the same apply for romantic relationships? It’s funny, but even though me and my boyfriend are together for almost 5 years, I can’t say for sure. Ironically, sometimes it’s short-distance that breaks people, not long-distance.

September – when people threatened to break into my room and take my stuff | Rotterdam Diaries

Prague Airport - last pic of me before leaving my home country!
Prague Airport – last pic of me before leaving my home country!

On August 17th I flew to the Netherlands as a part of my exchange programme within CEMS – International Management. We could pick 8 schools we would like to do our exchange at – of course Rotterdam was my first choice. I was quite lucky to get the spot, one of my friends ended up in a school he did not list at all.

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Of course, first thing I got myself was a bike. I got it even before I found my room, which is a bit crazy. There is a huge demand for bikes, but even bigger for rooms. I love my bike! It really is the most convenient way of transporting yourself in Holland. I’m thinking of getting myself a bike in Prague too… my butt is getting extra firm, haha!

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Many people told me Rotterdam is an ugly city… and it is true. But what really drives me crazy is the weather here. Since I arrived, there is no week without rain. Sometimes it would rain for 5 minutes and then get sunny for 5 minutes, on repeat. Once it caught me when I started biking to school and because I live 4 kms away, I had little pools in my converse shoes and my sweater was dripping. Worst day ever!

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On the other hand, when it gets sunny, it has some charm to it. I love watching/walking/biking the Erasmus Bridge. Although there is a little hill and I always get ridiculously exhausted and I breath like an asthmatic there. There’s just something awesome about bridges – Golden Gate Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, Charles Bridge..

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When in Holland – visit Belgium! I can’t stress that enough. I have visited The Netherlands many times – Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague, Breda. And probably my favorite place is the city lying at the border with the Netherlands – Antwerp. We went there one sunny weekend with my boyfriend and his papa en mama. They think it’s gezellig and I love shopping. My favorite shops there are definitely Brandy Melville, Jutka&Riska and a second-hand called Think Twice.

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Also, they have the best waffles in the world.

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Back to Rotterdam, eventually, I found myself a room. I was really lucky, found a great roommate and the location of the place was perfect. What was my surprise when 3rd day, after I moved in, someone put a letter underneath my door. It was addressed to a previous tenant. Apparently, this woman owed someone 2000 euros and they wanted it back. On the letter it stated: “We’ll come with police and a lock-man and we’ll take your stuff.” Signed by those Hollywood-like gorillas. It scared the crap out of me. Especially because the previous tenant was a Chinese woman and you know, if they come and see me, another Asian, they will just assume it’s her! I was really worried.

I ordered my boyfriend (who doesn’t like bothering people even though it’s their job to be bothered) to call those gorillas. The woman on the phone was pretty pissed. Apparently, this debt goes back to 2012 and she has been sending the letters for at least a year. However, the people who lived here before me, just kept ignoring them and were throwing them away because at that time, there were no threats written on the envelopes. They told me to call my rental agency. So my BF called them. They told me it’s not their job and to sort it out myself (in case you are wondering, it’s Stadswonen). They kindly told me to go to a city hall of Rotterdam and announce there that miss Xu no longer lives at my apartment. So my boyfriend had to call the city hall. There they said: “You have to get a BSN number first to get an appointment to start an investigation. BSN’s a citizen number. But we are full for those appointments, sorry.”  So we decided to go to Breda (1 hour away by train), where we knew officers in city hall basically have all the time to think of meaning of the life and whatsoever. The woman there was really nice. She calmed me down and told me to send back the letters I have received with “return to the sender” written on it. Also she gave me my BSN number.

So with a BSN number, we set up an appointment in Rotterdam city hall. I had to wait for a week. And every single day I was worried that when I come home from school, there might not be anything in my room anymore. I mean, I know there wasn’t much but there was my pineapple lamp I was emotionally attached to and also my awesome Jeffrey Campbell shoes. Do they take such stuff? Anyway, on the day D, I finally arrived to the city hall of Rotterdam to start the address investigation. I was happy that finally we’re getting somewhere. The woman at the desk looked superbored. She stared at me, at my BF, at my BSN number and then slowly whispered: “Where’s your registration?” MY WHAT????!!!! “She’s here only for four months, she doesn’t need it.” Thanks, Spike! “Ja, but without registration, we cannot start the investigation.” I was THIS close to exploding. Then we decided to fuck this shit.

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Eventually, the city hall started the investigation itself so now I’m safe. But man, those few days  of stress and errands were challenging.

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To balance this a bit – I witnessed an awesome fireworks by the Erasmusbrug. It was part of Port World Days festival in Rotterdam and it was beautiful! Also, there was a live orchestra playing from a boat. I love how there is always something happening in The Netherlands. I’m afraid I’m missing out so much because of school, haha!

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Speaking of missing out, this place is a must! I have been 5 times to De Ijssalon: probably the best ice cream store in Holland. It’s crazy good and relatively cheap! About 2euro per scoop. My personal favourites are “grandma’s apple pie” and “white chocolate”. Yum!

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Another favourite of the month: Ter Marsch & Co. burgers. I first heard of this place from my American teacher who said “this is the best burger I have ever eaten in my life”. And he is American, right? It must be amazing, I thought. And I can confirm as well – the meat was super juicy and real deal. What I liked about those burgers the most: you can actually see they cut it so that the bun on the bottom is thicker. That is because usually the bottom bun gets soaked and it’s not that good anymore. This is such a simple yet brilliant thing. BIG LOVE.

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And yeah, I’m enjoying it here with my CEMS schoolmates! Rotterdam is starting to grow on me.

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Vietnam part II.

Hello from Hanoi!
Hello from Hanoi!

I can’t believe it has been two years already since I’ve last visited my home country. This time I stayed for almost a month and no, it was not enough.

The amount of love I receive in Vietnam is overwhelming. Even though everybody loves to pinpoint how fat I am. At first it would piss me off but then I realised that to Vietnamese standards I really was. Everyone there is almost anorexic-skinny and actually being fat is almost a privilege. Still, my ego got hurt. And it didn’t help very much that I was there exactly during Chinese New Year which means one thing: food. Lots, lots of food.

Chinese/Lunar New Year decoration shop
Chinese/Lunar New Year decoration shop
Traditional New Years snack: thinly sliced roasted coconut covered in sugar/coffee powder, sooo good!
Traditional New Years snack: thinly sliced roasted coconut covered in sugar/coffee powder, sooo good!
Visiting a Japanese restaurant was a bit of a cliché...
Visiting a Japanese restaurant was a bit of a cliché…
... and so was the Chinese restaurant...
… and so was the Chinese restaurant…
So of course we had to get the real deal! Vietnamese tofu with spring rolls and rice noodles, omnomnom...
So of course we had to get the real deal! Vietnamese tofu with spring rolls and rice noodles, omnomnom… Yes, real Vietnamese restaurants with the best foods are not too good at food decoration.. or hygiene.. 
I present you the best pho of Hanoi.. which means.. the best pho in the world?! :O
I present you the best pho of Hanoi.. which means.. the best pho in the world?! :O

As you can see, I had plenty of opportunities to eat and I did not hesitate, haha! I gained almost two kilos and as expected my cousins kindly informed me about my chubby cheeks.

This time I also stayed for a week in Hanoi which was the best part of my trip. I love big cities… who doesn’t? Probably only my grandpa and my mom. The difference between villages and cities is unbelievable. The city is always full of people, noises, honking cars, dust and pollution,   whereas the village consists of trees, farm animals and dirty toilets – that’s it. Every time someone forced me to stay at the country side, I died a little. Luckily my grandpa has lots of animals to play with and sometimes a 3G connection … although I barely survived.

oink!
oink!
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Villige life means lots of manual (dirty) work but somehow I was enjoying the bond I was having with my family.

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If I can recommend something, it would be visiting Keangnam Landmark in Hanoi.

The view from Keangnam.
The view from Keangnam.

However, it wasn’t the view that impressed me. It was the amount of fun that was placed in there! The whole floor was full of xboxes and playstations and 3D  Tv’s. And what not: there was a 3D museum! I must say my silly mind was having a blast.

HAHAHA! If you don't think this is funny, you really have an issue.
HAHAHA! If you don’t think this is funny, you really have an issue.
Do try the egg coffee if you have a chance! It is seriously amazing. I still prefer the original Vietnamese milk coffee but this was heavenly too.
Do try the egg coffee if you have a chance! It is seriously amazing. I still prefer the original Vietnamese milk coffee but this was heavenly too.

Last but not least, I also did a bit of shopping  because.. that’s what you do when you are a girl in a cheap country, right?

Got some Japanese beverages to remind myself of how great Japan was. I was really forward to drinking the matcha latte but my little fat cousin drank it before I could open my mouth. Sigh. So that's what it is like to have a large family.
Got some Japanese beverages to remind myself of how great Japan was. I was really looking forward to drinking the matcha latte but my little fat cousin drank it before I could open my mouth. Sigh. So that’s what it is like to have a large family.
My obsession with hats got even more serious in Vietnam. Bought this one for 290k dongs (approx. $15) at Hang Bong street.
My obsession with hats got even more serious in Vietnam. Bought this one for 290k dongs (approx. $15) at Hang Bong street.
Of course, I had to find myself a beret as well. Those are impossible to find in Prague! This one is from a Hanoian chain called Non Son, haha!
Of course, I had to find myself a beret as well. Those are impossible to find in Prague! This one is from a Hanoian chain called Non Son, haha! A bit pricy, around 970K (approx. $50).
Bought this to please my grandpa who kept saying "Don't forget your roots! You have to know your culture, ancestors and history of your country." And he was right. I better start with something funny though, like this little book!
Bought this to please my grandpa who kept saying “Don’t forget your roots! You have to know your culture, ancestors and history of your country.” And he was right. I better start with something funny though, like this little book!
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Pocky all the waaaay!

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Yup, I had a good time.  I love this country so much. And it might get repetitive but I have to say it. The people of Vietnam are AWESOME! Of course, they have their flaws that I do not appreciate very much. Such as disobeying the law on regular basis, drinking and driving, bribery and often even hypocrisy. Actually, I got so mad one evening, I sat down and wrote an article I call “where is the line between etiquette and hypocrisy”. Though I haven’t published it.

In Vietnam, like in China, customs and social behaviour are very important in order to maintain your “social status/face”. And I had to do it as well. There is this person I do not particularly like yet I had to smile cheerfully whenever I met her, I had to be absolutely polite and my parents would never allow me to express my annoyance. Which was very difficult for me as I am quite honest when it comes to expressing my feelings. In Vietnam, it was perfectly normal to talk to people in the sweetest voice possible and to offer them tea with biscuits. Then, after they would leave, you could gossip about them, their mother and the friend of their cousin’s wife.

But I just sucked it up. Who am I to judge. I conformed. I was the host in this country and if this is the cost I have to pay in order to stay, I’m willing to do so. I want to become a part of this world too.

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So what exactly happened in 2014?

January:
I burst into tears in front of my teacher because he gave me a B. I will never forget this experience and I feel forever ashamed whenever I see him at the uni.

February:
Attended my first Model of United Nations conference and started wondering if I can switch studies. Realised I hate formal clothes. Started questioning my English as well. My mom had an operation and I was crying again because it was so scary. Everything is good now though. Looks like a sobbing year so far.

March:

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Flew to the NL to see my BF and joined the crazy annual carnival again. Everyone was so in love with 1920’s and Gatsby. Have you read the book?
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Also visited Berlin for few days with my best friend, it was the first time she was in Primark and she went NUTS. I almost passed out.

April:
Two years ago I kinda won this competition and so I got to visit the European Parliament and some other stuff in Belgium, like Brugges and Pierre Marcolini sweetshop. Also, I dyed my hair pink which was fcking awesome. Except for the bleaching part. My hair is still recovering from it in 2015.

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Oh and I met Ban-Ki Moon in Prague.

May:

Flew to the Netherlands again; I didn’t realise I was there so frequently this year!

Hahahaha. I don't have a better picture.
Hahahaha. I don’t have a better picture. Hair starting to fade :'(

June:

Another exams period. Got another B. From the CAE preparation course! Continued to question my English.

July:

Then I flew to the Netherlands again ..

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So the world cup was happening. I wore my father in law’s shirt because I literally own ZERO orange coloured clothes. I wonder if he found out.

..just to fly to… NEW fucking YORK!!!!!! The best highlight of 2014 I swear. Probably the best highlight of my life as well, lol. Also visited Boston and Washington. God bless America!

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Back in The NL. Saw Girl with a pearl earring by Vermeer for real in Den Haag and she is indeed very pretty!

August:

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Still with my boyfriend in Holland. I’ve tried shisha for the first time in my life and liked it!
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And went carting for the first time too. It was okay but I do prefer four-wheelers.

September:
Flew to Bari with my parents! Okay I did quite travel this year.

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October:
I volunteered at Forum2000..

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… and had the most expensive dinner in my life with my dad’s politician friends.

November:
Spike and his parents were in Prague and they met my mom and it was just a little less awkward than I had expected. Another milestone in our relationship, haha!2014-11-16 15.51.18

December: 
Took the CAE exam. Got an A. Stopped questioning my English. Had an urge to go back to my ex-teacher and shove my certificate through her throat. Fell in love with FKA Twigs and within few hours decided to buy tickets to her concert in March ’15 in Paradiso. Freaking excited!!!!!

Happy 2K15!
Happy 2K15!

So that’s it. It even surprised myself to see how many awesome things I have experienced in 2014. To 2015, then. I don’t wish for it to be awesome or anything. I know it will be because I am going to make it that way! :D

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P.S. This may come off weird but I am so obsessed with the yin and yang symbol nowadays. The whole philosophy of the opposites being attracted to each other and stuff..It just makes perfect sense!

Bari!

I would have never thought I’ll visit Bari one day. In fact, I’ve never heard of Bari before around four months ago. While I was strolling the Wenceslaw sq. and wearing my sky high Jeffrey Campbells, an American guy stopped me. His surname was Browne and I remember it so well because it’s a bit like Brownie. So he was telling me that he works in a traveling company and as we were enthusiastically talking about traveling, he mentioned this little almost forgotten place, Bari.

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It reminds me Vietnam in so many ways. Narrow and tall houses painted in sunny colors, honking cars, palm trees… even the people are friendly and short just like in Vietnam, lol! My mom with 156 cm is considered average height here.

The main reason why Browne convinced me to come is very simple. F O O D. So what I was expecting were Orata fish – the ones with teeth, shrimps, crabs, mussels..

Fish market by the sea.. and yes we got ripped off!

but there is so much more!

incredibly plump olives / fresh and sweet tomatoes
Of course the sicilian cannolis! Bari is kinda one of the mafioso district.. but that can be easily forgotten while looking at those..
Of course the sicilian cannolis! Bari is kinda one of the mafioso district.. but that can be easily forgotten while looking at those..

Food from the south is just freaking good. Not only the specialities like burrata cheeseorecchiette pasta or gelato. Also very common things like butter, lemons, milk, bread and cauliflower taste better here. I don’t know why. Might be the sun, relatively humid air or just the charm of the Italians? :p

One of the things I had to get used to was the Oratio, in other words (language, haha), Opening hours. Most of the really Italian shops were opening from 9.30 – 12.30 and then again from 16.30 – 20.30. Sometimes it could vary by half an hour, depending on the owner. On the other hand, the street where big brands like H&M or Zara are located, via Sparano, is opened most of the times, from 9:30 until 20:30. Still it was very odd to me and I wish they were all opened 24/7 because Italian fashion, shoes especially, is to die for.

Overall, I immensely enjoyed Bari. Now that I am back in Prague, I miss the old Italians who greeted me “Ciao bella!” in the streets, the smell of sea and the laid-back atmosphere in general. It’s not the holiday I’d go to with my boyfriend or my girlfriends or not at least now. However, for families or old couples who just want to lie on the beach and eat some octopus with white wine.. that’s heaven.

New York

“I love New York, even though it isn’t mine, the way something has to be, a tree or a street or a house, something, anyway, that belongs to me because I belong to it.”

T. Capote

 

I have never been more excited to go on holidays than this year. Not even that time when I was sixteen and was about to travel alone to visit Tokyo. Perhaps it was because I was so young that I couldn’t appreciate it and at that very moment all I wanted to do was to stay in Prague, not to leave. 

I was trying really hard to experience New York, to engrave each moment into my poor memory. And I think I did a good job, by the end of those two wonderful weeks, I got used to the life of a New yorker, my MetroCard was successfully read for the first slide, I’ve stopped answering the omnipresent phrase from all the cashiers: “Hi guys, how are you?” and I have tried all the possible forms of Hot dogs. 

Aunt Anne's Pretzel Dog
Aunt Anne’s Pretzel Dog

 Just like everywhere else, also in New York we experienced some problems. When we first arrived, there was a huge storm, a hurricane somewhere around the corner and my iPhone kept beeping with a “Flash Flood Warning”. That is why we arrived two hours later than expected to our apartment rented through Airbnb. Oh, did I mention we had no maps to find the apartment as well? And that the owner did not answer our messages/phone calls/door bell ringing? And that our meter high bed broke? That the next morning, first thing I saw before entering Manhattan, was a dead rat in the middle of the street? 

Yet we were immensely happy. Nothing could put us down. We were in New York. 

Our home in Williamsburg.
Our home in Williamsburg.

Everything was overwhelming in New York. People, smell, skyscrapers.

2014-07-04 00.35.28And especially shopping.

2014-07-09 00.16.42I went to New York with no luggage. The only thing I had with me was probably my toothbrush and one or two dresses. On the way back home, I had super sized suitcase, a backpack and so much more. Literally everything in New York is cheaper than in Europe by 1/3. It is usually caused by the fact that a backpack for example in EU costs 100 euros whereas the very same product is 100 dollars in the US.

The brands I wanted to shop the most in NY were Brandy Melville, E.L.F., MAC, Victoria’s secret, Urban Decay and Benefit. It was mostly cosmetics so my luggage wasn’t really that full when I was returning home but I did spend quite a lot on those! 

SoHo
SoHo

Yup. My biggest love. Food. I was always so jealous when I saw people posting on 9gag or Instagram photos of American food. Everything green tea or Oreo flavored, covered in chocolate, fried in bacon and topped with rainbow sprinkles. I am definitely not exaggerating. However, American sweets were the last thing I wanted to eat. It was so humid there, the sun was shining all day and we were frying ourselves in about 35 degrees celsius. 

Sometimes we would just drink water all day and eat some bagels. You could buy 3 bagels for $1. 2014-07-04 18.10.25

On the other hand, the water bottles were quite pricey, around $3 for 1,5 liter. After few days we realized the cheapest brand is Poland spring so that became our ultimate choice. Just until we found out you could get a $1 sweet ice tea of any size in McDonalds. Don’t judge. We are just students, okay? 

Living in New York on a budget was not as difficult as I would expect. 

Vanessa's dumplings, a restaurant 20m from our apartment, so cheap and delicious! $2 for dumplings.
Vanessa’s dumplings, a restaurant 20m from our apartment, so cheap and delicious! $2 for dumplings.

And there was always something happening. 

Urban Bites
Urban Bites
The 4th of July
The 4th of July
WitchFest
WitchsFest
Summer Stage, a free festival in Central Park, where we saw Bonobo and discovered Odesza.
Summer Stage, a free festival in Central Park, where we saw Bonobo and discovered Odesza.

There were events happening every day, 24/7. Probably that is why they call New York a city that never sleeps. Everything happens in New York. Don’t be fooled though. Most nightlife I’ve seen in NY was happening between 8 – 11 pm. The shops are closing by 6 pm. Achja, I really hoped I could do shopping all the time. The only shops that were opened until 10 pm were those around Times Square (Victoria’s secret, H&M, Forever 21..).  

Times Square
Times Square

Sometimes it gets surreal and you will feel lost.

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So at those times it is the best just to get out.

Coney Island (1 - 1,5 hour by train from the Manhattan centre)
Coney Island (1 – 1,5 hour by train from the Manhattan centre)
Or simply enter some of the city's park. This is Central park with the playground and skyscrapers in the back. I loved this view.
Or simply enter some of the city’s park. This is Central park with the playground and skyscrapers in the back. I loved this view.
Or take a free ferry to Staten Island, take a look at the Statue of Liberty and enjoy the South Beach.
Or take a free ferry to Staten Island, take a look at the Statue of Liberty and enjoy the South Beach.

There is plenty of things to do in New York. I definitely recommend staying for two weeks. Then you can enjoy everything at your own pace, feel the vibes… However, as everybody was reassuring us that a week is enough for NY, we also booked two trips with Megabus. About 2 months ahead so the tickets were around $3 round trip/person.

Washington D.C., 4 hours by bus from Manhattan.
Washington D.C., 4 hours by bus from Manhattan.
And Boston. Because why the heck not?
And Boston. Because why the heck not?

I loved staying in New York. Hopefully you can sense the atmosphere from all the photos but I doubt it. The atmosphere must be experienced. I saw plenty of movies and photos of New York before but I would never expect it to be soooo … everything. It was an intense experience, surprising and tender, just like losing the virginity. New York is a big and beautiful lover that will love you and spank you and it is really only up to you if you will let yourself go and enjoy every minute.. or not. 

See you!
See you!

To Rome With Love

They say that all roads lead to Rome and so did mine, eventually. We flew to Prague from The Netherlands with my boyfriend on sunday and on tuesday we were already landing in Fiumicino together with my mom and aunt.

The heat during our five-day-long stay was almost unbearable; 37 degrees on the streets (yuup, July). Now imagine walking around Forum Romanum and climbing Capitol HILL .. yeah. That’s why we look sweaty in most of the pictures with a tired smile. Nevertheless, I regret nothing!

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Hiya!

I’m not going to tell you what to visit and what not (although I would highly recommend fountain di Trevi from all the breath-taking places and an international food market at Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele). Italy was never a number one on my must-visit-countries-before-i-die list. Actually, the only reasons why I decided to go was a) my dad went last year without me and I had to beat him b) I had a wizzair premium membership and it was the nicest location that wizzair flies to from Prague. Man, I was a dummie! Italy is so great. Surprisingly enough, I haven’t eaten the best food in my life there even though I love to death sundried tomatoes, caprese, parmaggiano, etc. Maybe we didn’t went to the right restaurants?

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One thing is sure. We had the fucking best gelatos. It didn’t really matter which shop we chose. EVERY gelato in Rome was better than any ice cream I had before (and trust me, I had belgian and japanese ones as well).

I was a bit afraid of Italians, to be honest. They are so… Southern! Lol. I kind of expected them to fight with me because true Italians always fight in my head. Oh! Reminds me.. once I was having a transfer in Rome and NO ONE tried to help me even though I was asking desperately… I mean, I understand that they didn’t speak english (no, actually, why the heck italian flight attendants can’t speak english?!?!!) but they could show me the right gate with the international body language, yah? YU NO HELP ME?

Now, that opinion of mine is gone. We were getting lost in Rome constantly and people were coming and asking if we need help even when we were just studying a map. The strange thing that I noticed was that people who were helping us were solely those who looked like they aren’t… Italians. They were either black or they resembled gypsies. Maybe they have a better understanding for foreigners? I have no idea, but when in doubt, ask the man selling watches on the street, not the lady with Prada bag. :)

What I’d want to highlight in today’s post: the stronger the better. At least in Rome’s public transport, specifically buses. They can get crazily full and what native citizens have learnt is that they hold the doors at bus stops so that no one can enter. Which is not so bad when you are inside already. It gets worse later, when you need to get OUT. First time this happened to us we did not know about this habit so we just tried to get out “normally” by standing close to the doors. Pche! Everybody was ignoring us  and the doors remained closed. My aunt in anger and panic started beating a big guy in front of her, LOL. Some people were even swearing. Eventually we found out. You have to kindly ask the person who “holds” the door that you will need to get out next stop and they will let you. Crazy? Nah.

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Some facts:

  • Italians tend to not smile even though they might be kind
  • even thick dough-ed pizzas are considered good
  • why so many Koreans???
  • the sea is just 40 kms away from Rome
  • they look like they are always in hurry… but they take their time with everything anyway
  • very cheap bus tickets
  • there is no queue at Vatican museum
  • there IS a queue to st. Peter’s – a humungous one
  • Italian girls are so skinny and purdyyy!!
  • nope, 5 days is not enough
2013-07-26 18.14.52
Adiós! Haha, anyways, you can get away with spanish as well, Italian language is very similar. Forget english.. we no speak americano.