All entries for March 2020

March 23, 2020

Summer 2019

Hello!

I'm back, to tell you how my beautiful summer went and to share some (read; many) pictures! It's been a crazy whirlpool of travelling, I've definitely just had the best 3 months of my life and the best way for me to share my experience is through my pictures!

My first destination was Italy! Firstly to Venice, and then Rome. Both of these places were incredibly stunning in their own ways!

VENICE

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Our hostel was on off the main island, and was in an island further away called 'Giudecca'. As we were further way, we had the most perfect vantage view of the main islands and truly came home to the famous views of San Marco Venice alongside the water.

This was the view from outside the hostel!

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ROME

I am really lucky to have met an amazing Roman friend over second year, and she was so excited to hear I was visiting! It was so nice to toured around by a local, as she was able to tell me the history behind the beautiful buildings and sights. I was not just impressed at her knowledge of her country and city, but also the pride with which she shared about her hometown. Margherita (yes, she has an incredibly Italian name!), thank you for making my visit such a sweet one!

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Of course, I had to see the colosseum! I was in Rome after all. It's such an amazing experience to just stare at these buildings and imagine the different generations and experiences the building has weathered through.

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The architecture in Rome was nothing like I had seen before! The buildings were not just made out of practicality and function, they're also incredibly intricate in both design and form. Each building tells a story about a moment in history. For example, in the image above, there are different latin inscriptions on the sides, alongside sculptures of influential Roman figures and magnificent horses.

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These winding cobbled streets down Trastevere were my absolute favourite in Rome! Margherita told me that the colours of the buildings were purposefully designed to complement the sunset. During the sunset, the various orange hues of the buildings blend into the burning skies, creating a stunning horizon. So incredibly poetic and beautiful! I am just obsessed by how well thought through the architecture in all of Rome is.

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This was the St Peter's Basilica, which left me aboslutely gobsmacked. This must be how heaven looks like!

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My favourite part about Rome is that when I look at any part of the city, I see two eras simultaneously. The Romans now live alongside these ruins as part of the backdrop of their days. It's also incredible how these ruins are preserved so elegantly, with most of it's structure intact! One of my favourite things to do this trip was to just sit back and imagine how these ruins must have looked in ancient history. (I was also really amused that the ruins have become the homes of many cats!).

One of the spots we passed by was where Julius Caesar (JC) was stabbed by Brutus on the ides of March! As a complete theatre nerd, and someone who once acted in Shakespeare's play of JC in SOTA, I was so excited!

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This pasta dish pictured below was recommended by my Roman friend. It was in a tiny little corner shop, away from the crowds and took a good few minutes of walking to get to from a main road. In other words, it's not a place I would have found myself. Thankfully she directed me here, because this was definitely the best pasta I had in Italy! It was hand made on the spot by a Nonna who runs the kitchen and came out to say hello to us, without speaking a smidge of English. Italian food is so ridiculously good, I am so glad I went to Italy just for the food alone! Writing this down right now makes me wish I could experience this bowl of pasta all over again.

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After a beautiful week in Italy, I headed off to Croatia! My friends and I were really keen on visiting Croatia and enjoying a beautiful beach holiday, but we also wanted to do it on a very tight budget. Unfortunately, flights to major cities such as Dubrovnik or Krk were expensive, so we decided to book the cheapest flight to Croatia, which landed in Rijeka! Prior to this trip, I had never heard of Rijeka. Yet we took a gamble, and hoped for the best.

We got so lucky! Rijeka is the tiniest little town, nestled away from all the tourists, and I am so glad we chose this destination! Everything was so incredibly cheap, as they cater to locals and therefore do not have exorbitantly high prices. Furthermore, the beaches were extremely clean and filled with entire families - grandmothers, babies, uncles and parents. It was extremely wholesome, and the entire town was so happy to receive us! This was truly an idyllic European town, definitely the perfect retirement or honeymoon spot.

To make it even better, our Airbnb host, Vesna, is the biggest sweetheart in the world. She picked us all up from the airport (3 different times, as we all arrived from different destinations!), she drive us around so much, and gave us so many tips and recommendations. On the weekend, she even drove us to a wet market so we could pick up some groceries to cook. She honestly mothered us, and made us feel extremely loved throughout the trip. Even having left Croatia, she still texts us from time to time and always reminds us we are welcomed back and that she misses us! Croatia's hospitality is simply incredible.

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The seafood was just beautiful! One of my favourite dishes in Croatia is the black squid ink pasta, yums!!

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It doesn't look it, but the water is actually deep! It's least 4 metres, but because of how clear the water was, it simply looks like a waddling pool. Croatia's waters are unreal, I have never seen waters this clear and clean. It was such a treat to swim in.

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My mind was as clear as the water!

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We went Kayaking, and we had a guide bring us around! He told us that the space between us and the top of the bridge, is the same as the depth of the water beneath us. That's definitely extremely scary, especially when people were perched around us to do some deep sea fishing. Regardless, I never felt very safe with the guide, and had an extremely incredible day kayaking around some abandoned islands! One of the islands was populated with just sheeps, which I thought was adorable.

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At the Paradiso beach, we hired a boat for 3 hours at 15Euros (I personally think this is an incredible deal), and went so far off the coast! We explored many different islands, and went swimming deep in the Adriatic Sea. The boat simply requires peddling as though it is a bicycle, and some basic steering skils. The boat also had a slide! This was, no doubt, one of the best days of my life.

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This was the fish market Vesna brought us to! Because Croatia is right by the Adriatic Sea, it's seafood is so incredibly fresh and absolutely to die for. I couldn't believe the flavours I was experiencing. We wanted to gorge ourselves on the seafood, but without spending a bomb. As our Airbnb has a kitchen, we went to the fish market and got a staggering amount of mussels, fish, prawns, squid, vegetables, freshly baked bread, and fruits for such a good deal, and cooked up a feast for dinner! That night, we ate for three hours straight and went into the deepest carb-induced coma right after.

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I was honestly so impressed by our feast, and also by our appetites! We made a huge seafood tomato based stew, baked a huge tuna, roasted some vegetables and mixed a fresh salad. We even played jazz in the background and lit the candles later on! Honestly it was such a lush experience. Although there was only three of us, we finished most of it, albeit with many breaks in between to recharge.

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On a side note, for some reason, the vegetables in Croatia are the freshest I have ever tasted in my life. It tastes like pure chlorophyll (or how I imagine it would taste like).

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This was the last day in Croatia, and I was so sad to leave because of how perfect the entire trip had been. Definitely one to write home about, and another country on the list of places I have to return to.

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CYPRUS

Being from the heart of Southeast Asia, I never knew that someday, I would step foot in this beautiful sunny coastal country called Cyprus! Yet here I was. I came primarily to visit my friend, Haya, who I had gotten incredibly close to in second year. She's Syrian by blood, but was born and bred in Cyprus.

As my main study buddy during the difficult examination period, we had both been looking forward to this trip for a long time and was so excited it was finally here!

Look at the beautiful waves crashing on the coast!

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This is Haya, in the middle of a pineapple float I bought in Croatia! Look at how the trees above the float looks like it's the top of the pineapple. Haha!

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Cyprus was another series of gorging on delicious food. When Haya's family wasn't cooking delicious Arabic food for me, we ate at taverns - a very Cypriot way of dining, where you order mezze platters for the number of people dining instead of ala carte dishes. I love communal dining, so really enjoyed the taverns! This fish tavern was the best! It was right next to the sea, at which there were boats docked next to the restaurant. These same boats caught the grub we were eating just that morning itself. Everything tasted so fresh, and of the sea.

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Plates of olives and hummus and many many dips! I was in a Mediterranean heaven.

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Look at how beautifully clear the water was! This beach was really amazing, the water was so clear and never got more than around 6 metres deep even when hundreds of metres away from the coast! Haya and I swam so far from the coast for ages, staring at the beautiful array of fishes! I brought goggles with me so I could get really close and personal, and stare at their beautiful colours.

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On the weekend, Haya's boyfriend, sister, herself, and me went on a road trip. We started off by droving to the beautiful Avakas gorges, where we got off and did an insanely beautiful hike and saw plenty of flowers, natural fountains and moutain goats. After that, we continued driving through a long isolated road, at which there was a nick in the road that led to these secluded rock pools and a little coast, creating a private beach. We stayed at the private beach for hours, napping and having a picnic at the beach, and swimming in these little pools when it got too hot.

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We stayed till sunset ended. The sunset-watching was probably one of the highlights of my life. The sounds of the waves crashing on the beach was incredibly cathartic, the smell of the salty sea was simply delicious, the sun was a bright beautiful ball of fire. Everything was as perfect as it could be, and I watched it alongside one of the best friends I've made in Uni, and her boyfriend and sister, who both welcomed me so heartwarmingly. The energy was unreal, and we just watched in absolute awe at the perfection of nature. This picture (unedited!) is now my phone wall paper!

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These were one of the final moments I got to spend with Haya, as she will be in France for third year. So incredibly sad to be away from her, but I know that our friendship transcends physical barriers and that regardless of the distance, we'll remain lifelong sisters. I am so lucky to have connected with such a beautiful soul like herself in uni!

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With that, my Cyprus trip and my European summer adventures came to an end! It was so sad, especially since the entire three weeks were so magical. At the end of my trip in Cyprus, Haya's mother called me on the phone as I was on the way to the airport, and told me that she sees me as her own daughter and that I'm welcome anytime in her home, and that she definitely wants me to return when I can.

This level of acceptance, and show of affection touched me deeply and definitely left me tearful on the way to the airport. I just hope that someday, I can come back and experience this beautiful country once again.

SINGAPORE

Coming back home is always comforting, and I was once again bombarded with stunning city views.

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The majority of my time in Singapore was spent interning with 2 different law firms - Forte Law LLC for four weeks, and Nair & Co LLC for two weeks. For six intense week, I gave my complete attention towards the tasks directed at me, and grew immensely in a professional capacity. With Nair & Co, I attended a hearing in the Supreme Court over two days, and it was such an excellent experience, during which I got to listen to the legendary Suresh Nair flaunt his litigation skills in front of a pleased judged.

With Forte Law, as an up and coming law firm, I had the experience of truly getting myself involved in every type of corporate legal work. For example, I edited drafted various contracts with various levels of difficulties - ranging from employment agreements and franchise agreements, to swaps and derivatives agreement. In such a quick paced environment, I was really challenged to stay sharp and think on my feet. This internship also gave me so much clarity on the type of law I enjoyed. Where previously I was closed off to the idea of corporate law, I now know that I really do enjoy the intellectually stimulating work of a corporate lawyer, and particularly find the work involved in a mergers & acquisition really fun!

In between the two internships, I whisked off to Bangkok for a few days with one of my best friends from Warwick, Seneba!

BANGKOK

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A highlight of my trip was that we tried the world's only Street Food Michellin Star! The lady who owns this stall is Jay Fai, and she has an incredible story to her name. She was featured on Netflix's show, 'Street Food', in the Bangkok special. As huge foodies, Seneba and I was so excited to see her and try her food!

Jay Fai grew up really poor, and her parents were owners of a street food stall. She wanted to forge her own path, so she became a really successful seamstress and invested all her life savings into building her craft. Unfortunately, a fire broke out and burned all her equipment and materials away. Heartbroken, her mother gave her a single wok and told her to make something of it. The wok was the only thing she had to her name. She started practising with it, and perfected her use of it. She sold the food she cooked, and eventually she was so successful, that she became the first street hawker in the world to get a Michellin Star.

Although she is incredibly busy with customers, she still cooks each dish by herself and her helpers only do menial tasks such as chopping vegetables and cleaning up. As we eat, she is in plain view, cooking - and honestly her tenacity is so admirable! Such an incredible woman, and an inspiration for anyone.

To get the chance to dine at her restaurant, we had to go early in the morning to book ourselves one of the limited slots for dinner, as most of the slots were pre booked online months ago.

The food was expensive for street food, but reasonably priced for Michellin standard. The crab cakes were absolutely sweet and perfect, and the Tom Yam was incredibly potent with spices. Honestly the highlight of my trip!

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If you've made it this far, I have to say a major thank you! This has definitely been such a long post, but I really wanted to document the highlights of what has been the best summer of my life. Summer 2019, you will be so hard to beat.

Now, it's time to get my head back into University life, as I head into final year. This will be challenging, but I am sure it will also be an incredible experience.

Till then!


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  • Looks like you're having a great time, I must say that photo from law ball is exceptional! by Seneba on this entry
  • It is good to see that you are having fun! xo by Alicja Lysik on this entry

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