Vanity is my favorite sin!

a southern belle's spot in the big city

Archive for the tag “travel”

Spring is Finally Here

So it’s still cold here in Sweden, but not as cold as it used to be.

Today the sun was out and it was just too beautiful not to take pictures.

plus, i have deadlines to meet and what better way to procrastinate than take beautiful pictures and upload them on your blog?

plus, i wanna try out this slideshow thing that my friend Maria, from mariadzurik.wordpress.com taught me how to do (well, sort of).

so here goes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

and it works!

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On 20-Minute Blogs

And an update.

I feel as if I have been neglecting this blog already, and have only been posting sporadically.

Before coming here to Sweden to study, I have envisioned myself posting so many blogs about life as an international student, and all tha, but i guess life simply has a way of screwing things for you.

don’t get me wrong. life as an international student is the best experience i’ve had so far and i would recommend it to everyone! it’s everything it’s cracked up to be! not only do you learn through the course, you learn so much more, especially about the different cultures of your fellow international students. and then there’s the parties and the socializing (and the dating!) and the travelling! oh, don’t get me started on the travelling! The thing is, i have been so busy with all the studying and the partying and the travelling that i simply do not have the time to sit down and write, which sucks!

but i’m hoping all that will change soon! (i hope!) i am forcing myself to post something at least once a week, or at least once every two weeks until the rest of my stay here in Sweden and i plan to do quick blogs that takes about 20 minutes or less to post.

my plan is to start playing a re-run of one episode from my favorite sitcoms which runs about 22 minutes or less and complete a blog post within that time.

i have bought myself a new bluetooth keyboard for iPad, which snaps seamlessly into my iPad2, and that makes it soo much easier for me to blog via Blogsy for iPad and i love it!

I have several blog topics in mind that i have yet to write and i’m kinda hoping i will get around to writing it within the coming weeks.

also, my Beats Solo headphones snapped in half about a month ago and i’m kinda bummed about that one. i need to get myself a replacement soon as i decide on a good one but it’s been hard for me to find one as the selection is very limited in the town i live in, not to mention everything is so much more expensive here than back home. luckily, my Beats Studio Pro is still intact and i’m using that until i find a good compact headphones. the Studio Pro is fantastic, but it’s just too bulky and it’s not practical to lug it all around town!

another update i’m kinda bummed about is that the security checks in European airports (at least the ones in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Paris) requires that you take out your iPads from your bag during X-ray, which sucks big time. in most airports i’ve been at before, they never ask me to take out my iPad! that’s even one of the main selling points of travelling with an iPad versus a full laptop. :/ boo.

okay. my HIMYM episode is almost done and so i must end this seemingly endless tirade!

til next week. ciao guys!

 

On Flying to Paris and Amsterdam for Free

Okay, not really.

 

we paid for a roundtrip ticket to Barcelona, and it just so happened that we had stopovers in both Amsterdam and Paris.

 

I have dreamt of flying to Barcelona for years now, ever since I found out that my Eurotrip itinerary in 2011 did not include a stop in Spain.

Early this year, my friend and I decided to go to Barcelona, and i was psyched! Finally, i was going to Barcelona! so we scoured the internet for cheap flights and the cheapest direct flight we found was at least 200 Danish Krona more expensive than one with stopovers. And because my friend and i are cheapskates, we opted to take the cheaper alternative and in the process, not only did we save 200 krona, we were also able to visit Amsterdam and Paris! The way I see it, we flew to Paris and Amsterdam for free, and even got paid 200 Krona in the process! haha! that’s my story and i’m sticking to it!

 

Barcelona Bound!

Years ago, when everything between us was lovely and beautiful,

you promised to take me to Spain one day.

it was one of many many other promises you made.

a promise you repeated last year.

2013 came and went

and nothing.

i gave you an ultimatum

i told you, in 2014, i’m going to Barcelona, with or without you

to which you derisively replied

“you wish!”

well, i guess joke’s on you.

cuz i’m Barcelona bound, baby!

and you can kiss my behind, all from thousands of miles up in the air, in my first-class seats!

goodbye 2013, hello 2014

goodbye 2013.

New_Year_wallpapers_Welcome_2014__goodbye_2013_047785_

you know i have had apprehensions welcoming you mainly because i don’t like the number 13. but you proved me wrong. 2013 was my best year so far. you kicked it off by giving me the opportunity to travel to so many places, for a while there i had to stop and remember exactly where i was. you gave me my first real taste of heartbreak and disappointment too. for a while there i never wanted to go back home in the philippines and face everyone. but you taught me that family and real friends will help you bounce back, no matter what. thank you too for the “firsts” you’ve given me a taste of this year. most of them good, some not quite as enjoyable as the others but all of them i can chargeto experience.

Read more…

Jetsetter: 37 Hours from Laguna, PH to Karlskrona, SE

For the past few blogs, I have talked about my travel plans to Sweden as a foreign student.

My typing this post from my room here in Sverige (Sweden) still feels surreal to me as I never thought I’d actually make it to Sweden in one piece.

I previously talked about how I got hold of my student visa and resident permit, which is one and the same. 3-weeks after my visit to the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok, I picked up my resident permit from the Royal Swedish Consulate General in Makati, Philippines. After that you’d think buying tickets online were easy. boy, was i wrong! but more on that next time.

So, my visa starts from August 2 onwards, but i wasn’t needed in school until the 27th of August, So i picked a number between that. I decided to fly to Sweden on the 20th of August for no particular reason other than it was a pretty number.

little did I know, it was the worst day to pick to go to the airport because of the weather. The weather started being horrible on Saturday, August 17, and on its 3rd day, Monday Morning, (August 19) almost the whole of Metro Manila was nearly submerged in water, its nearby areas declaring states of calamity already as most houses were deep in water already. our area, San Pedro Laguna, was one of the areas declared to be in a state of calamity. we were lucky that the water did not reach the inside of our home, but the outside of our garage was knee deep! we were afraid that our cars would be submerged but luckily the flood did not reach the inside of our garage. Monday afternoon, the flood subsided already and i was able to breathe a little better because i foolishly said to myself that since the water was already subsiding, the streets would be clear by the next morning. But when evening came, it started pouring heavily again and it was no surprise that the flood was even higher the next day. our area was not flooded again though, which was a small mercy.

NAIA

So my mom and I decided to leave for the airport earlier than usual to make sure that I don’t miss my flight. However, due to the severe flooding in manila at the time, we were stuck in traffic with my chances of getting in the airport on wheels bleak. it would normally take me about 30 minutes to go to the airport from my place but due to the flood, it took me about 6 hours to get to the airport. luckily there were a couple of really nice guys from DSWD (department of Social Welfare and Development) who were driving this huge ass truck and were nice enough to let us hitch a ride all the way to the airport, but since they were in a cargo truck, they couldn’t really drop us off in the arrivals section of the airport as they were not allowed, so they dropped me, my mom and my luggages at the gate of the airport, and instead of hoofing it all the way to the airport, we rented a cab for 2 minutes and the cabbie charged as 300% of what he normally charges because of the “weather”. meh, you win some, you lose some. at this point i was just relieved to be finally at the airport.

naia1

Mixed_baggage

I arrived at the airport just in time for my check-in counter to open and about 3 hours early for my 6pm flight. my check-in luggage went in with no problem at all, but i had a little bit of an incident with my carry-on as it was 9 kilos heavier than the prescribed 7-kilos. luckily i was able to talk my way into it. airport officers are more forgiving if what you have in your carry-on are gadgets, and as i had a multitude of gadgets with me including a laptop, 2 tablets, a kindle, and several cameras and cellphones (did i mention i am deathly afraid to be bored in-flight?) they were a little compelled to let me through. i was in a rock and a hard place since i need those gadgets as i explained to them that i am a student-slash-blogger-slash-writer (if only i’m any successful at the photography and writing part, that would be perfect!) and it’s against their policy to check-in delicate gadgets, i’m left to the task of lugging these things across borders while they look the other way. it helps that my carry-on is up to the allowable size for carry-ons and i don’t really have any liquids with me so the only rule i was breaking was the weight allowance and as it was justified, they were happy to look the other way.

after going through immigration, i happily parked myself in one of the lounges on the 2nd floor of NAIA terminal 1 til about 30 minutes before my flight leaves. but as i got there we were told that our flight has been delayed for an hour and a half due to the weather, but other than that  it was a smooth 8-hour plane ride to dubai.

after the 8 hour plane ride, and at this point i was already traveling for about 18 hours straight i wasn’t even halfway done and i had another 9-hour wait before my next flight leaves. but the airport in Dubai is nice, it’s one of the reasons why i chose to have a layover in Dubai in the first place. I enjoyed my 5-hour stopover in dubai airport two years ago. so a 9-hour wait wasn’t as daunting to me as it sounds. i may be one of the weird ones but i like people watching in airports and i do actually enjoy my stay in airports so i really don’t mind the long wait. Plus, about 98% percent of the staff in Dubai airport are filipinos so i felt right at home! XD if the shops and the sights tire me out, hey, i still have a multitude of gadgets to entertain me so i’m covered.

Then it was time to board my flight to Copenhagen. it was a 6-7hour flight to copenhagen and it was a relatively smooth flight, not to mention i was sitting beside this really cute danish guy so i was a happy camper during the 6 hours of flight. i might’ve been asleep for about 5 of the 6 hours, but hey, i was still asleep beside the cute danish guy. hehehe. i did not have any problems going through Copenhagen Immigration as my student’s resident permit answered all the questions the immigration officer might have had for me, so off i went to retrieve my giant pink luggage from the baggage claim, and i did not have a hard time spotting the monstrous pink thing through the carousel. i had a harder time hauling it off to my luggage cart tho.

after retrieving my bag and landing you’d think my harrowing journey and this blog post as well would be over but you’d be wrong. i learned that the hard way. with my luggage in tow, off i went to purchase my train ticket. yep, on top of all that, i had to take a 3.5-hour train ride to Karlskrona. luckily though, as i was purchasing my ticket, my train was approaching the platform so i had to run a good mile to catch my train or purchase another one. i was able to make it just in time though and my aunt, uncle and cousin was waiting for me in karlskrona. i arrived after about 37 hours of travel time and i had the best time of it. all things considered i had very little to complain about and i’m just as happy as can be all that’s over and i can finally lie down.

So alls well that ends well. at the end of that harrowing journey, i got myself a birkin bag, so all that was worth it!  more worth it than the time i had to take 400plus stair steps in Poland, but hey, that’s another story.

and this ends my long journey to Sweden, and this long blogpost as well. i hope you didn’t fall asleep through all that, and i’ll try to update you with my life as a foreign student, if only i can find the time with all the schoolwork and travelingi do these days… XD

Twenty years fr…

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain.

One of my all time favorite quotes!

Jetsetter: How Much Have You Seen of Your Own Country?

i have always loved seeing other countries and soaking up their culture, but i’m ashamed to say that i haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to my own country! to be fair, The Philippines is an archipelago comprised of some 7,100++ islands depending on whether it’s high tide or low tide.

I was surfing around when i stumbled across this site that grades you based on the places you’ve visited in the philippines, and i scored a disgusting C! I’ve never been a C-student and i don’t wanna start now!

This gave me the motivation to start seeing more of my own country.


My Lakbayan grade is C!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

but you know that i am gearing to move to Sweden for academic purposes and my flight’s in less than 12 hours—EEEP!

I vow to see more of my country when i return in a year or so. who wants to join me? grab your coolers and your mixtapes coz it’s gonna be a roadtrip!

 

On Visas and Embassies.

For the past year now, I have bean steadily busying myself with my plans to study abroad.

imagesMy aunt and her Swedish husband generously invited me to stay with them in Sweden so that I can take up a master’s course in entrepreneurship. it was pretty generous, since the course would span a whole year for 2 semesters, and the university I had applied for is a little spendy, it being #5 best university in the world, #2 in Europe.

Read more…

Jetsetter: 10 Travel Tips!

I have been bitten by the travel bug ever since I was young. Back when I was a little girl, my parents have taken me to various parts of the country with them, not to mention the time when we would travel all the way to my father’s ancestral house in the province every weekend. Because of this, I have been a packing semi-pro. (i always remembered to bring my Barbie and asthma medicines even when my mom woul forget them! haha)

travel tips

I have also travelled some parts of the world, sometimes wiith my family, sometimes with friends, but most of the time, alone,, and I loved every single minute of it!

Over the years of travelling, I’ve picked up quite a few travel tips and I have stuck to it religiously! Here they are! Read more…

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