milestone: a sigh of relief

June 9th, 2017

I walked out of my Beginner Korean exam at 15:18 feeling such a torrent of emotions, mostly elation at the idea that I would never have to take a university exam again.

I can’t say I won’t ever have any form of test for the rest of my life because we’re meant to keep learning and testing ourselves… but that aside, I am done.

AIN’T NO PARTY LIKE AN EXAMS OVER PARTY.

(okay, that’s my burst of excitement crazy moment over 😀 )

As life is never simple – and why should it be? – I got into my little car and darted down the M1, A38 and along the A50 until I reached my grandparents’ house. I am leaving my car there for the summer as I fly to Canada on my birthday to spend some time with my parents.

Calgary is also one of those places where not many people venture to so I have no excuses to not write my dissertation which is due at the beginning of September. The past few months have felt like a massive countdown clock has been ticking above me. Despite going on small adventures here and there, my mind has been churning up a storm. I really hope that tonight is a night of proper sleep where I don’t dream about everything going wrong and ending up in really bizarre situations. I also relish in the fact that I just have time for the small things. I recently read an article about making plans and how cancelling or postponing them affects our wellbeing. I seem to find that I always have unread messages. But I’m not saying that I’m popular in the slightest, but I admit that I just don’t respond to messages immediately anymore. I am replying days later and it is not something I feel good about. So now, a new leaf can be turned, one that involves my head having the free space to communicate. Hallelujah.

In a roundabout way, I am grateful to past-Georgie for making the decisions that I have and am proud that I’ve stuck it out. I make it sounds like doing a master’s degree is the worst thing on the planet… It definitely is not and I have learnt so much from it. Yet, sometimes going against the grain of your own instinct is harder than taking another suitable path which follows the unknown and is so intimidating.

Nevertheless, 66% of my course is done. YIPPEE.

Life is about living, and making mistakes and achievements along the way.

2017 has definitely been a year for change, not just for me, nor our country following this election, but for some of my friends. With your new jobs and/or new adventures, I am so happy for you. ❤

I am so lucky to have such amazing friends across the world and in the UK who have been so supportive. I listened to a whatsapp audio message on the train from a old school friend who’s also doing a master’s and I just couldn’t help grinning. Thank you to you guys, whether you ever read my blog or not, for putting up with me and being just flipping amazing. ❤

Tomorrow morning I’m running in Wollaton Park for the MS society for my grandpa who is doing so amazingly well despite the challenges he faces. I’m absolutely stunned by the generosity of both friends and family and have surpassed my target by 190% !! Thank you so so much, it definitely means I can’t sneakily back out now… I only hope it doesn’t pour with rain… Danny assures me that we receive a medal at the end but all I wish for the at the finish line is a fresh glass of prosecco.

What can I say, turning 23 is meant to be bubbly fun, right?

GL
xxx

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#BBG pre-training: getting in the “zone”

Monday is now known to me as legs & cardio’ day.

Wednesday is ‘arms & abs’ day.

&

Friday is ‘full body workout’ day.

The days in-between are for more low-intensity workouts which I’m using to start to train my body to like and even I dare to hope, enjoy running.

I have seen soooooo many posts on instagram about Kayla Itsines ‘bikini body guide’ and even though it seems that the true results only show after at least a year of maintaining this routine… the transformation is just fantastic. Other fitness ladies I follow are @carlyrowena, @sarahsday and @gains4girls [all on insta] just to get inspiration and tips on how to eat well, do some fun exercises and even get some general advice about skin care ideas or just daily bits and bobs. They have also released or are about to release fitness guides so stay tuned if you’re interested but want to have comparisons to Kayla’s!

So here I go, with my printed workouts, ready to go to the gym, or even at home if it’s a better use of time or when I’m out of town.

The Monday week 1 session started just like that

I had stayed at my grandparents’ house over the weekend as it was a bank holiday and even when I returned to Sheffield, the gym wasn’t going to be open. Fortunately, as I’m doing the pre-12 weeks training guide workouts (which is four weeks) and I feel that it is pretty tame at the moment and no weights or equipment was desperately needed.  The house has a large set of steps running up to it so I was able to do step ups using those. I probably looked funny but I trekked across the large driveway completely my set of walking lunges, I went around the cars and created my own little pattern… ya gotta make it fun, right?

I definitely had a sugar crash at about 5pm once I returned to my house in Sheffield. I think it was partly due to being really busy up until I sat down on my bed, but also because I had had no chocolate or diet coke for about 3 days (I was trying to start early so it wouldn’t be such a shock come May…). I’ve added ‘no diet coke’ to my list of things I’m giving up for my month of #letskissgoodbyetoMS fundraising.

Tuesday: I headed to the gym for a 3km workout on the cross trainer and watched Girlboss on Netflix to entertain myself. [Side note: I do recommend the show on the grounds that it’s about perseverance, doing something different but also it being your passion. However, don’t watch if you’re sensitive to crude language…]  The cross-trainer machine did have an option for the screen to show a circular track and has a little marker representing the user that moves as if you’re going around it, quite satisfying to watch. I also used the Stairmaster machine and the rowing machine, doing intervals of 500m and 30 seconds rest 4 times. After stretching, it was time to get on with my day!

Wednesday: “errrrggggggggggggghh push ups are the worst…. I’m not even doing the hard ones as I have my knees on the flooooor. just. two. more.” <– I have typed it exactly mirroring what I was thinking at 9:34am because there is no other way to explain it. I did say this blog was going, to be honest. 😀 😉

 I started my day with going to a one-hour session of yoga at 8:15am. I found the instructor is really good at combining so many poses to stretch out our entire bodies. I have never been able to touch my toes or the floor and I totally blame my genetics for it [even though my mother likes to show off how flexible she is]. Yet I’m hoping to do this once a week, maybe more if I can squeeze it in on the weekend, will really help my aching muscles recover and get stronger and stretch-ier. #motivation woo! I then did the Wednesday arms and abs workout… hence my groaning at the push ups!

However, I did make the mistake of spending waaaay too much time in a coffee shop revamping my blog. I’ve been wanting to freshen it up for a while, and only now have I found the name that’s stuck and completely 100% me. I love it and spent too much time on the banner and creating other bits for future posts… but, it looks good! [if I can say so myself ❤ ] This left me having only eaten a banana since my workout until about 3pm. Bad move. I had a mocha so the caffeine was starting to make me feel jittery as I swung my bag onto my back and headed for one of the university libraries to eat my packed lunch. Only at 4:30pm did I start to feel normal again. Definitely not repeating that mistake again!

** small skip to week 3 of the pre-training as I was a plonker and forgot to update this blog! **

Thursday: 7:04am. People say getting up early is good for you… changes your daily life for the better, and all I want to do is go back to sleep for another two hours 😭

7:06am. It’s all in the planning – don’t go to sleep past midnight if you know you’re getting up early… shot myself in the foot, didn’t I?

7:37am. I should really get out of bed now.

A quote on the wall of the gym… #motivationmonday

I think that week three is definitely a step up with now weighted exercises and the dreaded jump squats. However, with perseverance and constantly talking to myself to get through – which probably made me look rather crazy – I made it. To warm up I use the cross trainer for 5 minutes and the running machine for 5 to build up my stamina. I really don’t know how I’m going to do 3km on the 10th June… Now, to devour my lunch and focus on the mounting work of coursework, exams and a dissertation to prepare for. Oh, the life of a postgraduate! 😀

Finally, Friday arrived with the last HIIT exercise session of the #BBG program. Phew. Despite my grumblings during the workout when I’m sweaty and bothered, I’ve really enjoyed doing it so far and love being able to tick ‘go to the gym’ off my daily to-do list. By just knowing that I’m working towards being actively healthier is really rewarding… although I am daunted by the next few weeks to come! If any of you follow exercise programs or have any handy tips about exercises or anything related, I’d love to hear ’em.

I don’t yet know if I’m in the “zone” yet, whatever that “zone” may be, but here’s to the weekend, I hope you have a great one no matter where you are ❤

GL xxx

the peaky perks of sheffield; a day out in the city

I’ve lived in this city for approximately seven months. I use the verb ‘live’  loosely as I have had my name inscribed on a tenancy agreement since the 1st September of last year when I’ve actually spent about half of my time in Nottingham –  a city an hour south of my bespoke “home”. This is a result of a jumble of reasons that I won’t ramble one with, but instead, I thought it was about time to share the various sights and eateries settled amongst the squash of buildings and pot-holed streets of Sheffield. I’ve grown to love it (except for the hills) in my own way and as a postgraduate student, it has been a good city with a great atmosphere.

The town centre was the first place I remember visiting in Sheffield. Actually, the first memory I have of the city was at a takeaway called Aslan’s on the corner of Division street after a rather colourful night at Corporation club back in September 2012. [Heck, where has the time gone?]

But to retain some idea of being a sophisticated student, let’s picture a bright and sunny town centre. Although there are not many shops filling the high streets, there are a couple of large spaces and sights worth the visit. The first is the Peace Gardens on the south side of the majestic Town Hall. It is a semi-circle in shape and has a fountain to one side which children run through in delight during the summer months. It’s a hot spot for the lunch time hour break or meal, especially with a (really good) Pastry shop and Costa Coffee only 100 yards away.

Sheffield Peace Gardens
credit: @bannydav [insta]

Once you’ve sunned yourself to happy satisfaction, the Winter Gardens are located a 50-metre walk away which is attached to the Sheffield Contemporary [Museum]. This includes a room dedicated to the history of the steel industry of Sheffield as it was the thriving “City of Steel” back in the day. It even showed how the stages of making cutlery and cutting it into the correct shapes which I found intriguing.

Now you’ve educated yourself a bit on Sheffield history and legacy, head up past the city hall onto Division street. There are a few eclectic shops but most importantly, set your sights on a cafe called Steamyard. I discovered this little tucked away gem when I first started in Sheffield as I wanted to check out cafés and which were good to study in. Steamyard [insta: @steamyard] offers both a great atmosphere and cracking food. They have bagels and sandwich options for lunch, as well as brownies, macaroons, doughnuts and now, are selling kronuts which are just gorgeous! It so happens that they have been chosen as one of the UK’s top 30 places to have brunch by the Telegraph. They also offer dairy-free and gluten-free options so there are no excuses not to make a visit! If you only feel like a quick caffeine quick, that’s also cool, as there’ll be more food stops along this adventure!

Past the Drama Studio and my department, SEAS, to Broomhill

Once stuffed with delicious goodies, it’s time to walk off those calories by heading up the hill to the University situated at the top of West Street/Glossop Road. Although it’s a little scattered, the University of Sheffield Student Union is a large funky-looking building that is cavernous on the inside. The best time to visit is during term time as students are bustling in and out, giving the place life and energy. Once you’ve got a glimpse of life through a ‘uni of’ student’s eyes, head on up to Weston Park where there’s a museum, but also a nice loop route and a cute duck pond with a bridge. (I always think if you wear old victorian clothes and ignored the modern buildings behind, it’d be like you’re in a Jane Austen book).

Source: http://www.travelettes.net/five-reasons-to-go-to-sheffield/ [blog]

If you’re as fit as a fiddle and enjoy the walk along the Sheffield streets, I’d recommend following the main road outside the Museum-side park gates up to Broomhill which is a little hub of shops. If you haven’t eaten lunch in Steamyard, now is the time to fill your grumbling tummies. There are a couple of pubs, including Nottingham House which is known for its yummy pies. But most importantly, there is a Vietnamese place which recently has opened up on the corner called Nam Song Coffee House [insta: @namsonguk]. Its exterior is bright orange (and this is one of the reasons I ventured in in the first place). The food is delicious and affordable (students I’m looking at you as there is also a 10% discount). When it first opened, it offered the Vietnamese sandwich: Bahn Mi, or the Vietnamese noodle soup: Pho. You get to pick the meat, the vegetables, the sauces… it’s basically a DIY/PYO job and hey presto! it’ll appear in front of you. The other major perk of the place is the Vietnamese filter coffee which can come with condensed milk. *drool*

Now we’ve packed ourselves with all the goodies, it’s time for even more wandering over to the Botanical Gardens! You’ll be glad to hear this part is a ten-minute downhill stroll. The best time of year to go is either spring or autumn as it’s colourful and the pictures are instagram-worthy in the bright sunshine. There is an indoor part full of plants from other parts of the world and on another side of the Gardens, surprisingly, a bear pit! It was used in the 1800s and has recently been restored with the addition of a 2.4m steel sculpture of a bear. It’s a lovely oasis which isn’t often found in bustling cities which gives a little variety to your day.

The Bear Pit: Sheffield Botanical Gardens. source: @georgieporgie152 [insta]

Now, this is where the rest of the day is yours, you can catch a bus back into the centre – there’s the 6, 271 or 52 outside the top end of the Botanical gardens that can take you back.

One place I haven’t mentioned yet is Kelham Island. It is most commonly known for the Kelham Island Museum, which “was opened in 1982 to house the objects, pictures and archive material representing Sheffield’s industrial story.” [source: website]. There is also a micro-brewery which you can book a tour to see how they make their beers and the industry in Sheffield. It’s probably best to visit that earlier in the day as it is a little out of the way and the Museum closed at 4pm.

If you’re stuck for evening activities, here are some suggestions:

  • if you want to continue to be cultured: there are two theatres, the Lyceum and the Crucible, next to each other nearby the town centre and the station. Sometimes there is a very popular play on but others are usually less known but still really good to watch. There are often student discounts and are reasonably priced.
  • if you are looking for a more energetic scene: another idea is to walk along West Street as it is the heart of Sheffield’s nightlife scene: the Wick at Both Ends is known for delicious cocktails, as are Bloo 88 and Cavendish for happy hour deals.
  • for dinner: in the city centre there’s the Botanist (££) which is a restaurant decorated like an enchanted forest and has good cocktails, a Spanish place called Cubana (££) which offers good sized portions of tapas. As well as the usual chains such as All Bar One, Wagamamas, Zizzi’s, McDonalds… whatever you fancy 😀

I hope this guide has given you a glimpse of what a day in Sheffield is like, maybe it even tempts you to one day visit! The train station is an easy 10-minute walk from the city centre, or there is a tram that you can get on for £1.60 one way journey all the way up to the University if you so wish! 

If you have any recommendations that I haven’t mentioned, or your own experiences, feel free to share them! I love hearing about new or different places to have an adventure at. It’s impossible to fit in everything in a day and there’s much more to see in Sheffield… or just to catch a trainx or a one hour bus from the station, or drive to the Peak District

TGIF 😀

gl xxx

Who dunnit!?: murder mystery at its finest

April 7th, 2017:

I recently participated in hosting my fourth murder mystery dinner party with my “not-technically-my-housemates-but-those-who-I-live-with-them-most-of-the-time-housemates” in Nottingham last Friday.

As I am no longer a “fresher” and have transitioned from the ‘club scene’ to the ‘bar scene’ to go out for a few drinks and possibly a dance, I think that us young adults are having to come up with different ways to have an event or do the same thing over and over again. I love hosting events and have a healthy repertoire of parties from my past (almost) five years at university. actually, even before that, I have managed to entertain a multitude of guests from girly sleepovers to good-sized parties. (Wow, thanks to my parents for putting up with so much chaos in my teenage years…)

Thus, when the opportunity arose to suggest another event for our Nottingham household, I suggested a murder mystery dinner party.

It was an apt suggestion as in my second and fourth year of my undergraduate degree, my housemates (at the time) and I hosted them and had a cracking time.

Why are they worth the investment?

Every game is around £10-12 depending on the number of players per game – and is easily found on amazon.co.uk.  The game I played with friends in my fourth year was bought because I found it for £5 in TKMAXX once! The box includes invitations that give descriptions of all the characters involved and envelopes so you can either be “old school” and mail them to your chosen guests or just give them instead. If that’s too much effort, it’s easy just to take a picture of the descriptions and share it on WhatsApp or Facebook! 😉

There is also an audio CD and scripts for each of the characters, it is basically organised fun! 😀 Also, be ready to dress uuuuuuup! It is so brilliant.

Murder Mystery Take Four:

This time the chosen game titled ‘The Brie, the Bullet and the Black Cat’ required ten players. We already had a party of seven so reached out to friends to come along and time travel into the year of 1942 to crack a murder case. Normally, there is a round of the game for each course of a three-course dinner which I find offers a nice switch between being characters 1942 and ourselves in reality. As we only bought ingredients for food two hours before start time, we kept the extravagance to a minimum and had a main course and pudding course instead. Although there were crisps and dips to start us off! It was all vair yum. 😀

Everyone did a fantastic job trying to speak in different accents: Connor was German, Bety was Russian, Amy was French, Nichola was a husky French woman [wins best accent award], Danny was American, I was Danish, and the others slotted in somewhere in-between these diverse nationalities! There was much wine was drunk and food was eaten, and soon enough (three hours later), we voted on which of us were the murderers and the result was revealed! (Although I cannot remember from this part of the evening onwards until I was told about it the next morning… the Danes and their drinking, eh?!) 😉

Apart from the first murder mystery party I hosted with my family back when I was about fifteen or sixteen, here are photos of the three since, have been memorable events that have made my university life all the better! ❤

murder 2
Murder Mystery #2
murder 3
Murder Mystery #3
17909447_10154135621421706_1263179572_n
Murder Mystery #4

Excuse the last photo… I don’t remember taking it and usually, my polaroid skills do not result in pitch black photos!
[cred to Karmen for the monochrome polaroids]

I hope everyone has a go at doing this, it’s worth the while!

Xo.

good things come to those who wait: growing up

It has been a running theme lately of people questioning the ‘quarter-life crisis’ and reviewing their lives by the achievements of others and themselves. Or, suddenly life had decided to take a U-turn and it turns out that maybe what you had planned isn’t actually what you want. Life is funny like that – well, if we don’t laugh, we cry so let’s assume it’s hilarious – and it’s rollercoaster tendencies always like to add a loop-de-loop or a corkscrew without warning. I’ve always wondered whether choosing to do a masters degree was a good idea. In the elongated winter nights, in a new city in which I was finding it hard to become accustomed, I thought of the other choices my friends had taken, questioned why continue in this world of studying when I could have a salary and go on holiday…

Yet, the fact that I love Asian culture, society, business has meant that I stuck it out to now; and amazingly the end is suddenly galloping toward me without hesitation. My dissertation is in scraps as I’ve changed my question three times (if I had had it my way, probably over twenty times) but I know that by the deadline in two weeks time there will be something resembling a dissertation proposal on my supervisors desk. Soon enough, come September, I will have written a 15,000 word document on South Korean women and business! Of which requires constant use of google translate for statistics and data than I ever (stupidly) anticipated…

and that’s my twenty longs years of education complete. 🤣

Of my friends: one will return to university to study to be a certified architect, one will have decided whether the career choice she made is what she wants or whether becoming a marine biologist is a better fit, one who every time I see him has a new plan built on the last (teaching, a PhD, a masters) but it’s all focused on what he is driven to do, one who, even though he didn’t know what he wanted to do, changed his job because he disliked what he did and now loves life… I could go on.

What I’m trying to say is that although at times we feel we’re walking the wrong direction on our journey of life or we find ourselves second-guessing choices – (life path big or whether you want to eat toast or cereal in the morning), that’s part of growing up into the big wide world. If the fairytales and stories of our childhood taught us anything, for example Mulan or Jasmine from Aladdin, it’s that in the face of adversity we do what we choose to do because deep down, it’s right. If we don’t feel that in our daily lives, it’s up to us to make that change. This takes time, sometimes an act of bravery either from ourselves or someone else: such as Mulan choosing to protect her father, or Aladdin to show Jasmine life outside the box. (Okay, I know they are stories and genies and dragons were involved but it’s all the same).

Our non-Disney princess-and-prince-selves  bravery is shown by making choices every day without seeing ourselves in the shadows of others. This confusion, worry, and fear that we’re not good enough, nay, that we’ve not achieved what our peers have can be perceived as a “quarter life crisis”. Yet, you’re not in one. You’ve got education, you’ve got family, you’ve got friends and by golly; you’ve got you.

It’s not easy, I know. The lemons life gives us can be a bit too sour! But hey, mix them with sugar of all the good things and bad together, and hey presto!  Life is sweet.

With that, I’m off to pray for a dissertation epiphany… sometimes life is like walking down a set of stairs, other times it’s a hike up when you wished you’d taken the lift. 🤗

Lots of love,

Xo.

reunion with a childhood friend #1: Nottingham

I can definitely say that life is never boring. This Saturday, the 8th October, Lucy arrived at around 14:10 at Sheffield station with seven months worth of belongings encased in two suitcases (one was humongous, one was small) accompanied by a handbag and laptop bag! The image reminded me of the many adventures lugging all sorts and types of luggage across the world. Magically, this large load fit into the Seat Mii’s little boot and off we went to show Lucy the sights of Sheffield.

Danny and I had googled the ‘top ten things to do in Sheffield’ on TripAdvisor. If I’m honest… there ain’t much? We settled on the Botanical Gardens towards the west of the city and managed to find a little car parking space (for free) just outside the south entrance. As we pulled our jackets tighter to our chests as we stepped out into the cold breeze, we headed up into the garden grounds expecting to see plants, plants and more plants. It was smaller than we expected but has many winding paths and secluded grassy areas where people were sitting and chatting, playing frisbee, gathering together for meetings, etc. We popped into the cafe to get some water and ended up sitting down for a cuppa in the bright greenhouse. Once watered and energised, we walked around the gardens and saw a record number of squirrels prancing around burying and finding chestnut and other nuts for winter. Autumn is my favourite season (and another reason why I love my Chinese name 静秋 (which means quiet autumn)).

The colours of the leaves on the trees, the bright blue skies and plummeting temperatures that make a good countryside walk be extra rewarding. The hot drinks that feel like they warm our souls as we walk from lectures to home or see a friend. My new craze and obsession are mochas. I never thought I’d be one to drink coffee as I don’t even like tea… but I’ve crossed the line. Although I can’t handle strong mochas, I have converted. (my insta definitely backs this up as most of the recent photos feature some cup of coffee from somewhere!)

Once we had been on our autumnal stroll we returned to the car and headed into the centre of town to show Lucy the centre of the city: the Peace Gardens, the Town and City Halls, the Peace Gardens, the Winter Gardens and… a recently renovated McDonald’s.

Good tour? I’m glad you agree.

As it was a Saturday night, it was not a time to go to bed early. Instead, we ate dinner at home then crossed the road from my house to go to the Blake Hotel for a drink and to play board games. Due to popular demand of the five of us, my housemates Kate and Corentin joined us, the game ‘Cards of Humanity’ was chosen (against my will) as the first game. It is not a game for the faint-hearted and Kate won 😀 The next game was Taboo which Kate also won. 11:30pm rolled around and we called it a night. Although Kate and Corentin stayed up to watch Zoolander… the rest of us only lasted half the film before retiring to bed.

On Sunday we headed down to Nottingham as I wanted to show Lucy where I’ve spent the past four years of my life and coincidentally it was the last day of the Goose Fair. We parked at Danny’s and Lucy and I headed into the city to have lunch at a fantastic burger place called Annie’s Burger Shack.

Once stufffffed with curly fries and delicious burgers we wandered around the centre and managed to snap a picture of two very British things = a red post box and red telephone box. As Lucy is technically British as she was born here before she moved to the land of Australia at the little age of eight, it was absolutely necessary that she have a photo taken!

From there we headed up to the Fair to the north of the city centre at a massive football pitch/park/grassland called Forest Fields. The place was buzzing. The sounds of rides, the workers on the stalls shouting out prizes and other fun things to do, the lights and pounding pop music from the bumper cars and fast paced small roller coasters. Lucy and I braved the massive swing that goes at least fifty foot into the air (eeeekkk!) and then wandered the fair for the next hour. 

We joined the Nottingham University’s Contemporary China Society (of which Danny is the President) and went back into the centre of town to 200 degrees for a coffee and a chat. By six o’clock we were talked out and ready to head home. Lucy and I drove back up to Sheffield and watched Edward Scissorhands before heading to sleep.

It’s amazing how short weekends are these days…

Xo.

Ps. if you’re curious, google a ‘drop bear’ = it’s a bit for five-minute entertainment!