Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to... Find an Internship in France

Image modified via frenchy

This is one of the most frequent questions I get: How do I find or more importantly, how do I get an internship in France?

I've already touched upon the ins and outs of my own experience interning in Paris and I absolutely loved it.

But the whole experience trying to find an internship? Not so much.

I could have easily saved myself a lot of stress and worry had I taken certain steps, so the wholesome, selfless person I am, I thought I'd pass on my know-how and (little) wisdom onto you.

Before you start

If you're not going to take any other bit of advice, take this one: Start early. It will save you a lot of stress and anxiety in the long run.

Sort out a copy of the perfect CV and a template of a cover letter (lettre de motivation in French) in both French and English.  For examples of French CVs and cover letters go to: about.com and etudiant.fr. Make sure to get a native speaker to check any typos or grammar issues.

Think about the sort of job you want to do and where you want to work. Do you want to work in marketing in a buzzy, corporate environment or do you want to do translation in a small, personal business? Internships are widely offered in France so you have the chance to find the right fit for you.

That being said, don't be too fussy. Internships are competitive and an experience different to exactly what you want may change your perception of your ideal working environment.

The job search

Start off with your Year Abroad Office. They should have contact details of companies where students have interned previously and information about the latest internships to be filled.

That being said, you should not solely rely on the year abroad office. As said previously, internships are fiercely competitive and if you're competiting with the rest of your year for the same job, the odds aren't pretty. Offers come up from time to time on Third Year Abroad as well as a Stages job page being regularly updated on etudiant.fr. Word of mouth also comes into play here too, so see if you can track down any final year students who may be in the know.

Where I think the job search will have the greatest success are Anglophone/Multinational (bear with me) companies based in France. The fact that you are a native English speaker or speak English fluently in addition to speaking French well will set you apart. Your French will still be needed but your English is usually the main reason why you will get the internship.

Now you have an idea where you want to work, contact the place you'd to work at asking if they offer internships. As student internships are widely offered throughout France as well as being an economical option for labour (€430 legal minimum wage for an intern!) the likelihood is yes.

Don't expect a speedy response however. Be tenacious and follow up unanswered emails - although don't be sending emails every day! - your determination will pay off in the end!

The interview

As per all interviews, research. Know the company, its ambitions and the job role inside out.

There is a possibility the interview will be in French so get some practise beforehand. Think about the possible questions that will crop up and your responses to such questions. Make sure you fully understand the question before answering it!

Having done the research, you should hopefully have questions to ask the interviewer(s) yourself. Come armed with questions.

And last but certainly not least, show that you are a motivated, enthusiastic intern, willing to work from the bottom-up and most importantly, learn.

Fingers crossed, these tips should hold you in good stead for nabbing an internship in France. Even if you don't have long until your year abroad, don't worry, the amount of internships with a view to hire immediately that popped up just before I was due to leave was huge, so there is still a chance you will secure an internship.

Bon courage!

This post is the third installment in Year Abroad Fortnight. What do you want to know about the year abroad?

How did you find your internship? What are your top tips to getting one?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How to...Find Accommodation in Paris


Congratulations, you've secured a study or work placement in the City of Lights, Paris! 

You've seen all the romanticised Hollywood films, the quintessentially Parisian Amelie and soon you will be following in their footsteps. 

But before you start dreaming of wandering through the same bohemian streets in Montmartre as Amelie did, you need to secure a roof over your head for the duration of your stay. Otherwise, you will be just wandering the streets with nowhere to go, and we don't want that.

Now the task of finding accommodation in Paris is often described as a mammoth task and whilst it can be difficult and super competitive, you just need to find as many options as possible to snag a room.

But first and foremost, there's a few rudimentary details that you need to know before looking for accommodation:

The Essentials

Let's talk money first: expect a room in Paris and the nearby suburbs to be €500-€700 a month. Anything less and it's usually too good to be true (Unless an exchange for au-pairing)

On the subject of rooms, as you may have already heard, Parisian flats are infamously small. My room had enough space for the bed, a desk and enough room to open the door. It was also originally a studio adapted into a two bedroom apartment, so go figure.

When flat-hunting, bring every piece of paperwork humanly possible. Think bank statements, copy of your passport, translated birth certificate (this is so useful in France), the whole shebang. A lot of landlords ask for a French-based guarantor which makes things tricky for foreigner but if you bring as much paperwork as possible it will make the house search a lot easier. The French love paperwork.

If at all possible, have at least a weekend (preferably a week) before your start date to house hunt. Especially if you're beginning in September it's La Rentrée season and competition is even more fierce. 

So now the basics have been covered, how do you go about finding accommodation in Paris?

Online Listings
Pap.fr is the most comprehensive source but also the most competitive. Listings go almost instantly. However, there is a huge range of accommodation websites such as appartager.fr where paying extra for a premium profile is worth it. Other websites to look at are leboncoin.fr, Craigslist.fr and fusac.fr (FUSAC also has more listings in its magazine too).

Halls of Residence (Foyers)
The most economical option for students especially as they cater for foreign students and usually don't ask for guarantors as well as usually being centrally located. The downside to foyers are the curfews and less freedom to live independently. If you don't mind that, foyers are a good option to consider. Try: CLJT (Centre du Logement des Jeunes Travailleurs, Etudiants et Stagiaires) and Cité Internationale.

Notice Board Ads
Targeted at expats, this means that securing the contract (or at least the paperwork that goes with it) requires less administrative obstacles. The one downside, if your aim is to improve your French, is the Anglophone focus and less opportunity to practise French. Try: Shakespeare and Company and American Church.

International Student Accommodation
Specifically focusing on international students, again like with the above example, there is often less paperwork and no guarantor required. But, that usually means that the rent is more expensive as international students stay there for the short term and generally they can get away with it. However, a flatshare immediately puts you into contact with other international students and it's an easy option. Try: Central Paris Rentals.

Word of Mouth
Try getting in touch with the outgoing intern or ask around people in the year above you who may know of rooms going free. This is often a simple procedure  and probably the easiest option as you can take up the lease instantly of someone else's room. Try: Facebook groups such as Paris: Location d'appart, échange, colocation ! and Paris Colocation.

Bon Courage!

This is the second feature of Year Abroad Fortnight, come back later this week for more!

What are your tips for finding accommodation in Paris? Do you have any other concerns outside of flat woes about moving to Paris?

Monday, July 28, 2014

How to...Finance and Budget Your Year Abroad

Image modified via 401kcalculator.org/

This how-to guide is the first in the series of Year Abroad Fortnight - a fortnight of articles focusing on all the different aspects of the study abroad experience.

Money makes the world go around, money doesn't grow on trees, money doesn't buy happiness but it helps, I could go on. We all know the drill - money runs the show, especially as a student when money is usually in short supply.

And as much as I advocate studying abroad, it does cost some mullah. 

But fear not, your year abroad will go smoothly - or at least for the financial part - if you implicate some forward-planning and budget wisely.

9 times out of 10 (not an official statistic, just one I'm throwing out for the hell of it) students miss out on funds, grants and bursaries available to them because they weren't aware of it. And I know for certain that my year abroad finance woes could have been eased a bit by enforcing a few budgeting rules.

So learn from my mistakes and check out how I funded my year abroad and my tips for budgeting your year abroad/study placement/whatever it may be:

(NB. As this advice is mostly from personal experience, it will have a British focus but some of the tips will be applicable regardless!)

How I funded the year abroad

Student Loan
The obvious resource but make sure to leave plenty of time to sort it out (it involves filling out even more forms for Student Finance England, joy.) But good news, you get an increased student loan to take into account the extra incurred costs.

Of course it's pretty difficult to fund yourself solely on your year abroad so I also had:

Erasmus Grant
If you're from the EU, studying in an EU institution or doing a student internship in EU but outside of your home country (that's a lot to take in one sentence) you are eligible for the Erasmus grant. It is non-repayable, non-means tested and quite possibly the easiest bit of paperwork you will ever have to fill in for free money. I got about €300 per month but the amount varies each year (usually €250 a month). Your university should be able to help you out so make sure you apply for it!

Salary
When interning in Paris, I got my intern's salary (€430 a month). It wasn't a huge amount - especially in Paris - but it contributed to my finances.

CAF
It took me years 8 months to receive what was owed to me but after jumping through every bureaucratic hoop French administration could throw at me, I got €720 worth of CAF benefit. For those who don't know what CAF is, it's the French equivalent of housing benefit and somehow foreign students are eligible for it. The moments when you want to scream in a infuriatingly indifferent civil servant's face are worth it when you finally get it. And again, it's free money, cannot complain about that.

Savings from summer job
The summer before I jetted off to France, I made sure to pay off my overdraft and get some savings stacked up. The savings were enough to pay off my debt, pay for my return flights to Colombia and dip into them every now and then when my bank accounts were low.

Student Overdraft
OK slightly controversial, I know, I shouldn't be advocating getting into debt. BUT, it is interest-free and I consider the year abroad to be an investment so I spent my overdraft allowance pretty much guilt-free; it allowed me to travel around South America at the end and I don't regret it for a second! I'm just paying it off now instead plus, I have all the memories when I (slightly) wince at my bank balance. You may even be able to extend your overdraft allowance, so butter up your bank manager and sweet-talk them into giving you more room to (financially) breath.

Finance and Budget Tips

Try and find as many sources of income as possible
You will have the obvious ones like student loan and your university may have various grants and bursaries on offer. But, try looking for trusts in your local area or contacting businesses. Are there benefits like CAF you can claim? Are you able to reimburse costs such as travel expenses?

BUDGET
Something I definitely didn't do and should've done. Spreadsheets are your friend in this case and tot up all your living expenses costs and income. Work out a daily/weekly/monthly whatever works for you budget accordingly, leaving a margin to have enough money spare for when unexpected costs are incurred.

Ask for student discount
As expensive as Paris was, it was a great place to be a student especially when doing a proper excursion as the majority of time, you could claim under 26 discount or even get in for free. Find out all the free and cheap things to do for when money gets tight.

Part time job
If time/visa obstacles allow, there are some part time jobs that are suited for foreign students. In Paris, there were loads of positions for au pairs and more and more need to learn English for professional reasons so an English language tutor is also a viable choice - you can also charge a good hourly rate too (€15-€20). The usual bar/waiting jobs also apply in this case too and it's a chance to meet more people as well as making a cheeky bit of pocket money too.

All that being said...

Don't be stingey
That doesn't mean let your budget go to pot but when certain opportunities arise ie. drinks with friends, a night out, a weekend trip, don't always hold back. The huge amount of opportunities to get out and see another part of the world are invaluable, unforgettable experiences so don't let your finances get in the way of your year abroad experience.

What are your top tips for budgeting a year abroad?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Introducing...Year Abroad Fortnight!


Image modified via Elizabeth M.

My year abroad was the most amazing year of my life (to date) and the driving force and motivation behind the blog when I started it up almost two years ago.

This time two years ago however, I was not feeling amazing about it at all.

 I was worried, anxious and at times, couldn't be arsed about it all.

And this, I get the feeling. is what's going through a lot of people's heads now before they themselves are about to embark on their very own year abroad.

So I've decided to dispell all the worries and concerns by launching Year Abroad Fortnight which should hopefully include plenty of articles that will cover all the need-to-know topics and rev you up on going on the incredible adventure that is the year abroad.

Anxiety is perfectly normal before such a huge change and I know that regardless of how much convincing and advice, it will still linger at the back of your mind. But what you can do before your year abroad is be prepared and have an idea of what you wish to achieve during your year abroad.

So, what will Year Abroad Fortnight entail?

It will start off tomorrow covering the finances of a year abroad and then will move onto more exciting topics such as making the most of your time to travel later on!

Do you have any particular doubts or worries about your year abroad? Have you been on a year abroad, what is your number one piece of advice?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Last Hurrah: The Notts Wishlist Reviewed

Last week marked a special occasion - I graduated.

I will answer only to Naomi Todd BA Hons now.



(If my fantastic wit is lost on you, this is a joke not me being massively pretentious.)

And four hard, challenging yet amazing years have flown by.

It also marked the end of my time in Nottingham which in turn means I need to see how I did with my last hurrah to-do list. My track record with to-do lists - don't ask me why, I don't like the phrase bucket list - is not great (Exhibit A Exhibit B) but whilst I did not complete a lot of my aims, I did actually get a fair few done (for once).

So what did I get done?

A refined boat ride on Highfields Lake FAIL 


Whilst I didn't ever boat ride, I don't feel I missed out too much. I enjoyed plenty of sunny runs and autumn walks there so I don't feel I missed out too much.

Nottingham Castle FAIL
Another fail, time and money issues.

Posh brunch at Browns FAIL
Ditto.

Annie's Burger Shack DONE



This, I made sure I did and I am so glad I did. Worth. Every. Calorie.

Picnic in Wollaton Park - where BATMAN'S house is DONE (sort of)


From afar


Na na na na na na na na na na BATMAN

There was no picnic, but I did finally make it inside the hall. It has a random taxidermy section but the best bit about Wollaton Park is Sunday morning and watching all the happy dogs lollop about. Bliss.

Nottingham Contemporary to get our culture vulture on FAIL
Obviously not that cultural.

Newstead Abbey, we are in Lord Byron's old stomping ground and it would be rude not to DONE








For just under a fiver, you can get there and back on the bus as well as entrance into the grounds (entrance is £1 for pedestrians). If you are ever in the area, it is definitely worth a visit, if only to see Byron's tribute to his dog.

Warsaw Diner to recover from the night before FAIL
Money problems yo.

Campus 14 / The Bar Crawl that shall not be named DONE



It actually turned out to be a sober off the rails Campus 7 which ended up with us calling it a night before the bars closed.

Boilermaker DONE



It's slightly pretentious, being a hidden bar with a strict door policy but the cocktail descriptions alone make it worth it. Great place for catching with friends over drinks or a date night.

Go on one of Nottingham's infamous trams FAIL
Trams are everywhere, no biggie.

Grad Ball DONE



Whilst I did complain incessantly about how expensive it was beforehand, I was so glad that I decided to fork out in the end. It was a fitting way to wave goodbye to my uni years.

Swimming in the Trent FAIL
This admittedly was ambitious especially considering the Great British Summer and our time never came.

Bluebell for old times' sake FAIL (thank god)
The years of £1 Jaegerbombs are well and truly behind me.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, which may or may not be the oldest pub in England DONE
If you're looking for the quintessential English experience head to Ye Olde Trip, reputedly the oldest pub in England and have a pint. G'wan.

Trent SU FAIL
Didn't get round to going before Trent's term ended.

Bad JuJu DONE (kind of)




Went to their sister bar The Rum House below with the parents for Caribbean tapas and cocktails. Yes, it's as good as it sounds.

Canal Crawl FAIL



Another victim of my financial woes but again like with the Highfields boating on the lake, I've had many an enjoyable run along the canal.

So there you have it; my time in Notts is up! I'm back home now, thinking constantly about the next step. But now is the time to think about the past four years - the ups, the downs and most importantly the lessons learnt. Whilst I may have inadvertently found out that I'm not particularly academic, university has still been a hugely valuable experience that has opened doors of opportunity to me, in particular that of my year abroad, which in itself is worth the blood, sweat and tears poured into the past four years. Of course, there are also the amazing friendships forged throughout some of which will hopefully (fingers crossed) last outside of the student bubble.


Nottingham in a nutshell

It has been (literally) a learning curve (I know I am such a hoot). But whilst my time in education is over - for now, at least - I am still at the beginning of my learning journey. There is still so much I want to see, do, learn and discover and I don't even know where to start.

Now for the next chapter!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Feliz 20 de Julio Colombia!

Image modified via Marca Colombia

Today is Independence Day in Colombia, a huge, patriotic occasion and bank holiday which therefore means RUMBA. As you may know by now, I love Colombia, I wish I was Colombian practically every day and most of all, I yearn and miss Colombia so, so much whilst planning my return. I do of course sugarcoat the country and may see it through rose-tinted glasses but despite its various imperfections and contradictions, I am truly and hopelessly in love with the place.

As I can't be there in person, I shall have to raise my figurative shot of aguardiente in honor of the country that feels like my second home and to coincide with the day, I've decided to share my favourite posts about Colombia/I may be doing some shameless self-promoting too.

Colombia is no doubt an up-and-coming destination, being a well-known secret as more and more people realise that its sordid past is no more and the country is once again safe for tourism.

And quite rightly so, as it is home to the most beautiful landscapes, places and people.

So come, find out more about the many facets of Colombia and discover for yourself the reasons why the Colombian tourism board coined the tagline, "Colombia - the only risk is wanting to stay."

True story.

Firstly, watch this.


Massively cheesy but it does the job.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What to Do in Hong Kong


I'm going to go out on a limb by starting off with a disclaimer: I'm probably the worst person to ask about what to do in Hong Kong as during my three stay, I barely ventured out of Jordan.

However, what I did do, as recommended by Caitlin, was great and grouping them all under the 'Things to Do' umbrella was the easiest way to do a blog post about the little things that made my trip to Hong Kong so without ado, here are my top tips for a few days in Hong Kong:

Drinks with a view



Head to Sugar or one of the many other rooftop bars in the city. The beauty of Sugar (and I'm sure many others) is that they offer a happy hour which make the drinks there an affordable luxury for us mere mortals as well as being able to get your fill of the free bar snacks. Then add on top the incredible view both in the bar as well as the toilets and the views pay for the drinks (almost).

See the skyline at night



Like I said before it's not monumental advice I'm giving here but the skyline at night is a sight to be seen. I ashamedly didn't nail any of my shots of the towering skyscrapers crammed into such a small space but the view is weirdly enchanting and one that has to witnessed during your stay in Hong Kong.

Wander about the markets



Sure a few of the night markets are tourist traps but they are good fun. Head to the Jade market in Yau Ma Tei to haggle yourself silly and maybe come away with some nice Jade pieces. Go to the night market at Temple Street in Jordan to peruse all the offerings under bright, neon lights. Or if you're looking for something a bit risqué, head to back end of the Temple street night market where you will the sex toy section. Believe me after seeing that, you will see sex toys in everyday items.

Park peoplewatching



Head to one of the city's parks early in the morning and it comes to life. Group classes of Tai Chi are taking place, gatherings of the elderly are meeting up, young professionals are going for their morning run. Maybe it's because I'm a nosey beggar and I like seeing how others go about their day-to-day lives but I found it fascinating to watch.

And now the two obvious tips that I've already banged on about:

Visit Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery



It is incredible, just go.

EAT



Try all the weird and wonderful offerings. For Dim Sum go to Dim Dim Sum and give into the temptation of the piggy custard buns. Risk having your head blown off with Szichuan. Eat as many Char Siu Bao as possible. But if you don't do any of that, do one thing and go eat Biang Biang noodles at Yau Yuan Xiao Jui. You won't regret it.

Have you been to Hong Kong? What are your tips for things to do in Hong Kong?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday We Meet Again #12

If you've been there, done that, got the Monday We Meet Again T shirt (try saying that several times over) then you'll know that's it's the usual mix of great reads, an awesome wake-up track and crackers to start your Monday off with a bang. If not, well that should have just about explained it in a nutshell!

Here we go...

Caffeine Hit 





Whilst reminiscing about one of the best summers, I was reminded of this mash up track which was the soundtrack of that summer. The song only brings back great memories and screams summer anthem.

Favourites this week

Let's start off with this motivational piece from Natalie

Perfectly timed for Bastille Day in France, Anne's Blogger's Guide to France is a comprehensive resource for all things French. (Anne along with Lindsey write two of my favourite blogs for all things Parisian.)

Did you know 13 million people in the UK live below the food poverty line? This is where food banks and your donations can help.

Of course I had to mention Colombia somehow and this blog sums up how much I miss the arepas, the football and the incredible street art amongst many other things (have I also mentioned the incredibly friendly people, their passion for dancing at every possible moment and the beautiful and varied landscapes?)


This week I've...


Been doing stuff that's not really exciting to report. Working, chilling, sunbathing (quite a monumental occasion for the North) and fitting in a few swims and runs. Blog-wise, as well as reminiscing one of my favourite summer memories, I've been talking about my favourite neighbourhood in Hong Kong - Jordan and coming to terms with my slightly melodramatic existential crisis.

What were your favourites this week? Have you got any exciting summer plans?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Caribbean Cruisin'


Today I've been getting nostalgic with thoughts to summer holidays past, with one particular holiday sticking out for me - Barbados.

Believe me, I know that unbelievably blessed and lucky I am.

Anyhoo, seven summers ago (how has it been that long?!) we left the grey and dull weather in Manchester in search of sunnier climes and arrived in Barbados to that infamous hair dryer treatment of heat and humidity that clings to you like a welcome back hug that never wants you to leave. All of this was done under the guise of a school sports tour.

Yep, you've read that right. My school organised a sports tour to Barbados. 

And whilst it may have been your average state comprehensive, I think Haydon Bridge (Haydon Bridge represent) was anything but. But anyhoo I digress, after many bag-packing fundraisers and trying to convince others and ourselves that our main motivation to go was to better ourselves at netball and competing against local teams, we were able to travel to Barbados. We may have got thrashed at netball (it's just not my sport) by teams 3 years our junior who were smirked at how small we were but we were able to stand that humiliation because we were in bleddy Barbados.

The chilled, laid-back vibe of the place along with the perpetual background soundtrack of reggae; the dreamy weather - even the blitzing of half-hour storms - and the constant feel-good attitude that everyone seemed to radiate made any embarrassing defeat bearable. Luckily we weren't just there for sports and outside of being hung out to dry at netball, there was all sorts of fun and games to be had.

Now I've probably said before and forgive me if I'm sounding like a broken record but I normally prefer not to do planned excursions. However, one of my favourite travel experiences ever that stands out for me is the Catamaran cruise we did during our time in Barbados.

First things first, the precedent was set as soon as we arrived when we were offered fruit punch and a choice of banana or coconut bread (or both). Give me good food and drink and I'm all yours.

Also, we were on a boat in the Caribbean sea. Clear blue skies and clear blue waters. Enough said.

For the duration of the excursion (and the whole trip) we ran on the infamous Caribbean time. When we wanted to lie and chill, we did. When we wanted to dive in and swim, we did just that. When we wanted to see turtles, somehow they just instinctively popped up. We had pretty much free roam to do what we wanted on the boat - we even sparked off a dance off - or in the sea - snorkelling, swimming, messing about, it was absolute bliss.

This, I think, highlights how school trips had an influence in contributing to my passion for travel as well as my parents. The fact is without participating in the sports tour, I wouldn't have had that experience. So although I'm not having a summer holiday this year at least I have the memories of summer holidays past to keep me going!

This post was an entry for Low Cost Holidays #DiveintoMalta Competition. For more information, check out their blog.

What's your favourite summer memory? Where's your favourite summer destination?

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Five Year Plan and Why I Haven't Got One


This post has been inspired by a recent exchange which went as following,

"It must be depressing, you're living at home with your parents, you're working in a pub and I'm guessing you don't have a boyfriend."

Luckily I was too knackered to properly register it at the time as I had been up super early because I probably would have got on my soapbox otherwise (as per) and luckily (for her) saved her from a diva-like rant as to why I don't need no man to make me happy, head shaking, finger snapping, the whole shebang (and probably resisting the temptation to slap her too).

But it got me thinking.

Whilst I'm having a slight existential crisis with no five year plan, I'm OK with that. Whilst I'm living with my parents, I know it's only temporary until I sort myself out financially. Whilst I'm single, well that's a no-brainer, I'm not settling for second best and to be honest, I've don't plan in settling in one place long enough for a relationship to be feasible.

Of course, if the perfect job were to come along that would be great. And if it were an opportunity in the place that has my heart, Colombia, even better. And say I were to meet the man of my dreams (last of the great romantics I am) I wouldn't say no.

But I suppose you could say I've had an epiphany - OK slightly over the top but anyhoo - that I've realised a change in mentality. A few years back I was having a rough patch, you could say the Freshers' hype at university didn't quite live up to reality. However, the way I dealt with it made it even worse. I retreated to my room, I stuck in my head in the sand, I had a very negative mindset.

And now it's time to throw out the cliché that I'm sure everyone knows is about to come: looking at things in a glass half-full perspective WORKS. You can't determine your circumstances 100% of the time but you can determine how you deal with them. Now I'm aware my circumstances to many are less than ideal but at the moment, I'm perfectly happy trying to work out the next step without having an inkling as to what it is. Heck, let's throw out some of Buddha's wisdom:

Image via Pinterest

I am revelling in the journey, the struggle, the complete blindness as to where I'm going next. As I've said before, it's a daunting yet exciting time especially as at the moment, I have no obligation nor responsibility really. This will no doubt change soon as money does indeed make the world go round but the fact that I am a free agent, not being enrolled in an education programme nor signed a contract, for the first time ever is an amazing feeling.

I of course have ambitions. I of course want success. But, I don't know exactly what I want to devote my energy to and I don't do things by half measures. This is my time (cue Kid President) to really think about what I want to do and I'm not making any decision lightly.

"So what next?" may be a frequent question that I have come to dread but now I've thought about it, just because I don't know what I want to do doesn't mean I should feel awkward answering "I don't know." Maybe I should just reply saying I continue to keep loving life or some appropriately cheesy answer.

But either way, I don't have a clue what the next step is. And I'm perfectly happy with that.

How did you feel when you graduated? If you've just graduated, what are your plans?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jordan: The Heart and Soul of Hong Kong

It's a slightly bold claim to make considering I didn't make it to Hong Kong Island itself or really explored outside of the typically jam-packed neighbourhood that I set up sticks in thanks to the sister from another mister, Caitlin but I had a feeling Jordan was my kind of 'hood (yeah, I know I'm so G, DEAL WITH IT).

And it was.

I was constantly on high alert, fascinated by all the comings and goings, the hustle and bustle - without all the hustle of Hong Kong Island or so I'm told - and I was snappy happy like nobody's business.

As per, my amateur photography skills do the place no justice but I just had to share this little (compact) gem that is Jordan. I'll let the photos do the talking now:




Caitlin bartering



An oasis of calm in the middle of the city





The definition of teamwork






Have you been to Jordan? Which is your favourite neighbourhood in Hong Kong?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday We Meet Again #11

After a cheeky break, Monday We Meet Again is back with a bang to start your week off with some little crackers!

Caffeine Hit



Cheesy Latin pop because why not and it's Enrique who has be one of my guilty pleasures along with Pitbull (I know I have no taste).

Favourites this week

One of my favourites from the week before in fact but Ayngelina's 37 tough lessons lesson learnt from travel will be universally applicable at anytime!

Anything that says you should feel zero guilt whilst binge watching Orange is the New Black is in my good books.

This guide for budget travel in Colombia is a must-read for all those wanting to go/you should go.

I really want to nail down pull ups and hopefully this how-to from Fitsugar will help me on my way.

This week I've...



Been back hyem in the lovely north. I've started getting back into the routine of work, sorting out my life and finding my true calling (answers on a postcard) but it's been nice to just chill. Ask me this next week and I may have a different answer but for now, it's all good. Blog-wise, I've been raving about the joys of flyin' (literally, gettit?!) solo and why you should support Colombia. Reason #6 I'd like to add is that even though Colombia were knocked out of the quarter finals, they returned home to a heroes welcome. Imagine if that happened with the English team?!

What were your favourites this week? What are your plans for the summer?

Friday, July 4, 2014

5 Reasons Why You Should Support Colombia


Forgive me, I know I'm sounding like a broken record when I profess my love for Colombia (Exhibit A, Exhibit B) but today, Colombian history is made as Colombia is through to the quarter finals of the World Cup for the very first time.

Tonight is a rather interesting encounter with the World Cup hosts Brazil. Whilst history does not serve los cafeteros well and the home crowd will be against them, Brazil, as a team, have got through to the quarters by the skin of their teeth so I quite fancy Colombia's chances.

Colombians, as is the standard in Latin America, could not be more passionate to rally their players but I feel especially as quite a few teams such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and England (no surprise there) are already out, Colombia could do with a little more support. There are of course more than 5 reasons why I am on Colombia's side but these 5 reasons I have selected are surely enough to convince you to have a case of fiebre amarilla!

Reason #1 

How they celebrate a goal



If Armero scores tonight, you will be in for a treat with a celebration similar to the above example.

Reason #2

How they celebrate a win


Reason #3

How the fans celebrate a win



I love the slow-mo montage.

Reason #4

How the commentators celebrate that goal



I feel knackered listening to it.

Reason #5

That goal.


I could watch it over and over again. GOLAZO.

So, surely that's enough to convince you that Colombia's the one?


Have you watching the World Cup? Which team have you been supporting?