The Europe Escapade: Bonjour! Paris ☆

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Bonjour à tous!

The lazy morning in Paris was spent at a pious and quaint breakfast buffet followed by ceaseless yawns and a few dozing sleepyheads. The morning air was exceptionally refreshing and gentle on the skin, as we were distant from the busy hustles of the town and encircled by a kaleidoscope of pastel-tinted cobbled apartments. It was nice to stay at a place void of crowds especially in early wee morning.

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The french pancakes are famous for being extra thin, or generally better known as ‘crepes’. The french have upped their home-made pancakes game to a whole new level for better enjoyment. Best way to enjoy this is to spread a generous dollop of nutella on a side and roll it up like a crepe! Breakfast is indeed the happiest meal when in Europe, in my opinion.

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Lusciously thick and buttery pound cakes
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Pain au Chocolat or better known as “Chocolate croissants” among English-speakers.

I discovered many new novelties during my stay in Europe and one of them is conveniently slicing off a chunky piece of baguette off the table top and chewing them on the go (not forgetting the butter yeah?). And i’m not even a fan of baguette bread in the first place, but why does it taste so good over there?

Now, we can’t spend all day yapping about how good breakfast is when there’s so much others to explore! Time to move on!

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Presenting, the one and only…

Arc de triomphe

The famous monument was unbelievably huge in person and holds a meaningful history behind it. The Arc was built in the honor of ‘Grande Armee’ and in remembrance of their victory of war where they conquered the majority of Europe under the lead of Napoleon. Napoleon once proclaimed to his army, “You will return home through archs of triumph”, and thus the birth of the name of the monument.

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The crisp morning air, china tourists parading around every corner (they’re everywhere honestly) and the addictive smell of caffeine wafting in the atmosphere.

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The view from the shuttle bus.

And of course,

the trip to Paris will never be complete without the visit to the…

Eiffel Tower

I was glad to have met a guide who was wise enough to bring us here in the wee hours of the morning due to the fact that the crowds normally pour in the later time. Even by then, a queue of tourists was snaking till the outsides of the court beneath the tower.

As soon as I exited the bus, my camera clicked away furiously at every possible angle of the tower. The intricate detail of the construction amazed me and the first sight of it blew my mind away. To think this was built in 18th century, I failed to understand and decipher the great minds of the architects, more specifically Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel (the tower’s designer) himself along with the rest, and how they came up with such a brilliant historical figure.

Although its long-standing reputation as the tallest tower in the tower was eclipsed by the Empire State Building, the Eiffel tower could never stop inspiring millions of people in its own way every year and being the Parisian icon representing France itself.

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There was a mime drawing attention from a crowd in the distant. They seemed to be filming some broadcast or so!  IMG_3896
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Europeans, Americans and Asians basking under the intimidating glory of the tower.
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Even the ticket stubs are beautifully designed. It makes the tower look like a dazzling celebrity. Well, it sort of is, just that it isn’t a living one!
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The vows and promises of love of millions across the globe locked firmly onto the iron pieces, in the hopes of lasting as strong as the magnificent structure itself.

As usual, I’ll let the photos do the talking for a while!

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The landscape of the ever so elegant Paris.
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Father and son admiring the view in silence.
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This furry little cutie patootie bravely gripping onto the iron bars and looking down the terrifying and breathtaking height.
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European school kids listening intently to guided audio tours with gadgets in hand.
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Travelers from all across the globe mingling in the crowd.
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Little kids taking their turns patiently at looking through the binoculars.
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“I’m done here!”
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:”)
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THE EIFFEL TOWER LOLLIES

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…I’ve had a gut feeling this woman posed for the photo knowing that I was directing the camera in her way, or maybe that’s just how Parisians roll the classy way.

It was heartening to see people of all ages and races – be it loving couples, school children or ordinary tourists – gathering in an inspiring place that holds a great history.

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Farewell, we’ll meet again!

au revoir

 

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don’t cry, I’m here

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under the showers of the autumn rain
I saw you looking up to the sky
under the umbrella by my side
unanswered questions hanging on my mind
when tears sprang from your precious eyes

I held onto the tight fists of your hands
my warmth be the only comfort
in the coldness of this world
and told you it’s too heavy so
leave them all behind and let’s go

I wish I had the right words to say
to make you feel better
tell you we’re gonna be okay
just hang on and we’ll be on the way
to the place we dreamt that day
where sadness fades away
towards the endless yonders of the blue sky
that’s where we shall lay.

– Junzies

writer’s note:
just a short write up dedicated to lonely souls needing a word of encouragement and love. you are not alone.

The Europe Escapade: The London Labyrinth

London Bridge didn’t fall after all, but standing tall and proud majestically in its glory.

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The tourist site was located far off the path of the bridge where we captured a good view of the grandiose landmark. Being able to mingle in the hustle and bustle of working Londoners rigged out in their handsome, black attires was truly a golden experience. I too was awed by the architecture near the bridge! The stunning city landscape conjoined with the historical bridge seemingly signified the harmonious co-existence of the past, present and future.

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Londoners of all ages were seen either relaxing by the water fountain, strolling by or catching up on their lunch nearby while relishing the light-hearted atmosphere.


NEXT STOP: THE BRITISH MUSEUM

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Never thought that I would encounter a vintage ice cream van in London. As ordinary as it seems, it was rather intriguing to see it live after merely seeing it from a children’s picture book since young.

And here stands the monumental British Museum.

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I wouldn’t want to bore you with lectures of the historical artifacts so I shall let my photo do the talking for now, with occasional interjections.

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Supposedly, there is a real corpse of a cat inside the mummified figure that was ‘buried alive’ with its master. It wasn’t exactly pleasant knowing that fact (o_o) imagine the horrifying fate that poor cat faced in those ancient times.

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I was very amused by these passing Americans and their antics. I was charmed when they thanked me with their shimmery smirk and a gentle tap on the shoulder.

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There were quite a number of budding and experienced artists studying and imitating the intricate statues on their sketchbooks. Some were even painting them out on large canvases, not at all bothered by by-standing crowds of tourist! It is a wonder how they are able to work neatly with wet paint without splattering any stains on the artifacts by accident. I was pretty much inspired by freedom of expression in the arts scene at Europe although I’m not that into arts myself (if you exclude literary writing that is).

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For the greek mythology nerds out there.

The carvings on the rows of stone canvases bricked up on the walls illustrates the bloody greek history of wars. Most of them were people getting torn apart by animals and stabbed by spears. Pretty much game-of-thrones, don’t you think?

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After conquering the unceasing maze in the museum, I chanced upon this adorable grey graffiti van selling tidbits and simple refreshments. Little things like this are what makes London seem hugely interesting. I found it hard to get sick and tired of sightseeing in London. There was simply so much to see and experience!

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It wasn’t Kings Cross station – a great pity it was – but we boarded a train at Eurostar that was right next to Kings Cross, which is the wall built of red bricks against the large golden clock in the photos. The station was literally packed like a can of sardines but I didn’t mind doing some people-watching while waiting for the arrival of the train.

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I have to give it to my brother, he had the guts to play his favorite classic tune – Für Elise by Beethoven – right after the guy below performed an unknown complicated score in public, and to think he was some random businessman tinkering with the piano for fun’s sake.

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Onto Paris! ☆

soulless

Those questions come back to haunt inside her head as the sun disappears and darkness sets in. Clawing her porcelain-ashen skin nor screaming at her loudest have done the trick but allowing them to swirl in the murky depths eased the insane throbs in her mind. Monster beneath the bed is just a figment of a fear but far more fearful than the real thing itself. Desperately foraging for anyone or anything to hang onto, she unknowingly throws her faith into the void and makes the greatest mistake of turning her back on them. Ignorance becomes her best friend but soon morphs into her greatest foe. The tranquil evening, once her safe haven, is now the time of the day she dreads, as the lonesome lil’ flower wilts to the nippy hard ground with bits of soul sapped out every ticking second.

She flutters her eyes open when the morning shine seeps into the creaks of her curtain. The numbing cream instinctively shoots into her veins, chases after her dormant blood and she rises from her rest once more.

blues and clues

Post-grad left me hanging with no clues but no restrictions as well.

It kinda feels like being stranded in a tiny sailor boat right smack in the middle of the vast ocean – triggers a sense of adventure, curiosity and a good pinch of anxiety. You’re free to head in any direction but the catch here is that there’s no map or clues to getting anywhere and you tinker that rusty brain of yours to conjure up an imaginary map or something as fantastical as that.

Philosophical blabs aside, here i am marking my milestone in time just after my graduation. Despite the grand affair of occasion, it still doesn’t hit me that i have officially transcended the realms of adulthood but the thrilling sense of freedom is certainly rushing to my head. At least for now, all there’s left are the agonizing wait for university responses for a little more than a month and emerging job opportunities/interviews at the horizon.

I’m trying out this new habit of constantly finding things to do and currently it is working very well for me. Although not all my plans are set in stone yet, the possibility is very promising and things are seemingly looking up on my side.

As some of you might be aware, I used to be a huge fan of the J-pop culture craze and admittedly, I still am, just not expressive as back then. As influenced by my close sister-friend, I jumped on the j-dance bandwagon along with her and never regretted the decision ever. The novelty never wears off and j-dance proved to be one of my biggest passions in life. The only issue is the concealed embarrassment I have to bear when people quiz me about that part of my life. It has come to an understanding that non-fans find this sort of interests rather intriguing and odd, and I fear for my reputation of becoming a clumsy freak. As to eradicate this phobia, I started dancing once more! I even made plans to film some of the covers with like-minded friends.

Looks like life will be much more exciting from now on.

✨ Positivity (+) Talks ✨

How appropriate it is that i’m gonna talk about positivity (among other things) to bring comfort to my troubled heart and hopefully, to the readers of my almost-dormant blog.

As some of you might be aware, I am near-reaching the finale of my diploma course in Mass Communication and till then, most of the time is spent holed up at home. I have to admit, confinement period was one of my darkest phases in my life AND an unexpected hidden blessing in contrary to the grumbles and complaints I spew ceaselessly to my friends and close people.

Never did I expect myself to be exceptional at dishwashing, to find joy in doing (only) certain chores like grocery shopping, capable of running more than 5km on the thread mill for less than 40 minutes with Pilates exercise and rustling up my all-time favorite Italian recipes that are rather unpopular in my household as only Korean cuisine can be found at my dining table unless I request otherwise. In other words, I’m trying out new things and changing my lifestyle to utilize my time well, other than being swamped with university applications and adult responsibilities (ew).

But on my bad days, you’ll find me deeply submerged in my solitary pool of gloom and melancholy, loads of times to the point of missing bits of my thriving life in school. I miss the freedom of being able to just go out and join my friends for lunch after lessons without getting hounded and scrutinized by my strict Asian parents and mostly, doing productive things that counts beside university applications (which does not guarantee results anyway). Even the once dreaded part-time jobs seem very attractive to me, just to make myself useful in the world once again and earn some pocket money. Financial restrictions is the biggest crisis I’ve had to deal with as my ‘exciting’ new decade emerges. Due to certain responsibilities and obligations at home, I rarely get a chance to slip away and relax or just to chill with my friends, nor am I allowed to work part-time to rake in my own expense for the time being. Now you know the reason for my ‘confinement’ period but the occasional ‘you-are-pregnant!!’ jokes my friends make are sorta funny for a while I guess 🌚. Fair enough, my weekends are strictly dedicated to fun time and relaxation, be it with my friends, family or purely me-times, which makes this holiday totally worth the trouble.

Social media fast became my ‘best’ friend but ironically, it made me very unhappy and this is where the aphorism of ‘misery-loves-company’ fits to a T. I truly realized this to the deepest pit of my bones only after a long time of suffering unfortunately. The analogy of a leech is apt to this – it is a parasite that feeds on your self-confidence and growing doubts about many things which could endanger yourself and your relationship with people. Dealing with loneliness provoked by encountering photos/tweets/posts/blogs/etc. of my friends having good times in their new-found freedom, youngsters of my age embarking and succeeding on/in their new chapter and just witnessing people moving on with life without me could top it off as the toughest battle I fought in the two decades of my life. Soon after, the veil of jealousy, pent-up frustrations, doubts and depression came to settle in and i was just barely surviving in my own dark world. Surviving, not living.

I was basically feeding myself with negative (-) thoughts, taking away the happy vibes and letting these mental viruses kill my once-happy-go-lucky soul inch by inch. It costed me my health (emotionally and physically) and incur seemingly unrepairable sleep debts – a self-destructive lifestyle it was. When this happens, you barely find anything to be thankful for and grow to be blasé about all the blessings in your life. People used to say inexplainable joy and happiness resonates within me and they liked that part of me best but i felt sad that this cruel reality even forcibly took that away from me, as if i had any other good things left to spare. It is no coincidence that the negative sign is associated with process of elimination. If only I could choose to eliminate the bad things and negative people willingly from my life… but alas, things are not so simple.

It was not long before my sanity reached the breaking point and I decided to pit myself against these problems strategically by changing myself anew. It meant that I was to limit my social media activity which cut off my source of negativities, alter my body clock (thanks Aaron for reinforcing this rule upon me) to restore my health and determine specific goals for the next few months in order to set my life back on track again.

Once in a while, I believe everyone has to sit down, away from their fast-paced, hectic lives and reevaluate the priorities in one’s life to check one’s milestones and ensure time isn’t wasted. It takes time, a fair amount of failures and itsy-bitty but constant efforts to reorganize and establish such radical revamps in a lifestyle. I have always been a slow learner and slow to progress but determination and willpower have always been my better virtues and I know I’m getting somewhere, nearer to the finish line, slowly but surely. All it takes is just a refreshing change of perspective to muster up some courage and kickstart your plans.

✨ Chase after positivity (=/= blind ignorance) and away negativity (=/= running away from problems) ✨

Compared to the billions of talented people in this world, you may think of yourself as this insignificant minion on this earth and i face this sense of insecurity every waking minute but let me tell you, change starts from within and gradually becomes apparent around you. What you put inside will add up and multiply to a tenfold, just like positivity (+) which is absolutely and unarguably paramount in order to lead a happy and successful life, and negativity too in the form of bad thoughts which does not add up any value in your life. The little steps you take will mount up and construct into something beautiful and meaningful just like a completed lego piece. I’m already seeing the blooming fruits of my efforts in my body as a result of my rigorous exercise regimes that I kept up for months and years (not days and weeks) – a testimony of my own encouragements that I’m sharing with you now, and boy it feels goooood. I can also assure you, you may not reach the destination you initially paved for but you’ll be okay with it. Best part of this is that you can harbor new dreams to fulfill!

If only it was as simple as how i make it seem to be, huh. 😕

It’s okay to fail at things you love to do because what is success without a few hiccups here and there, right? I mean, there are countless times where I churn out sucky, simpleminded writing content, sing horribly out of pitch and neglect my exercise regime which triggers the severe bout of paranoia (e.g. people secretly mocking my singing and writing, fear of putting on weight drastically and the list goes on) but I grew to ignore the evil voices in my head and the negativity that threatens to bind me ensued by many things or in most cases, people. Believe it or not, there were times when I almost clicked the ‘delete’ button in the haste of clearing all my problems at once but I knew I couldn’t avoid this forever anyway and recovering stricter control of my social media activities would be the most prudent thing to do.

cue > Xinyi (my friend): /gasps in anxiety/ …people. 😂

Come what may, but never let it stop you! BE UNSTOPPABLE. *cues Avenger opening theme song* (is it empowering enough hahaha). Be as sexy and sassy as the black widow or the hulk , lol bad idea what was i thinking. Maybe Captain America instead, the Mr. Zero-to-Hero (though he took the shortcut to success-ish). Just go out and be somebody!!

And bless the people who complimented and helped me along this rocky journey. Bless those precious humans/animals and keep them close to you. They don’t have to be friends, pets or family. I personally get my supply of inspirations from bubz, michelle phan and especially cassey ho (blogilates). They taught me to be selfless and turn my talent into a meaningful blessing for others. It is heartening to see such people who’ve gone through as much as anyone else or more, become the bigger person and continue to give back to people out of their talents. Cassey’s long story of on her battle with self-esteem and how she achieved her dream out of that brought me so much comfort and tears, just like how she’s helping me to achieve my dream body virtually as I speak. At least I know I have many potentials to explore and this hope keeps me trudging through life! To give is indeed a blessing 💖

It may take eons to clinch that coveted idealistic life of yours but you just have to keep trying (accompanied with periodic habitual rechecks of your goals), play up to your strengths and someday, it’ll bring you to places and people that you’ve never planned or imagined to be at/with. All the sleepless nights of blood, sweat and river of tears will be made worthwhile and you shall never regret not even a drop of it.

As a wise man once told me (for real), you can spend your lifetime on a bed of 3-leaved clovers (symbolizing happiness) and still be unhappy if you continue your hunt for that single 4-leaved clover (symbolizing luck) 🍀 without stopping to appreciate the moments/people around you.

✨ Good luck ✨

– Junzies