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Herstmonceux Castle

In my last post on Hever Castle, I mentioned Herstmonceux Castle and its founder’s connection to Hever Castle. Today I am finally introducing my readers to this castle which has a special place in my heart. Ten years ago, I spent a spring term at Herstmonceux Castle, also known as BISC (Bader International Study Centre), …


Moving to and Living in London On a Budget

Today marks my 6th month anniversary in London, England! Additional comments added in dark blue. Moving to London Prior to moving to London, I found the blog posts on moving to the UK on Alyssa Writes extremely helpful, particularly regarding the Youth Mobility Scheme (Tier 5) application for Canadians. Alyssa has written two posts on the subject, …


My Observations & Tips on Paris

Paris is not always a good idea. One year ago today, I arrived in Paris, thinking I would spend a year in the City of Light to become fluent in French. I was to attend CCFS (part of Sorbonne University) as a student then work afterwards. As I flew over the city, I could see the Eiffel …


Munich Goes Green for St Paddy’s

Shortly after half past 6 in the evening, the green lights illuminated the Neues Rathaus to cheers from the ‘flash mob’ crowd gathering at Marienplatz in München. This was supposedly the first time the New Town Hall had been lit green in honour of St Patrick’s Day and the Irish living in Bavaria, but the …


The Duke of Edinburgh Award

7 years ago, I had the opportunity to join the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme at my university. I had heard about it once before when I was in HS but was afraid it was too late for me. I was therefore glad to learn at the info session that it was for youths 14-25. There …


24 Things I Learned in Life

With one month to go before I turn a quarter of a century, I’ve come up with a list of things I’ve learned the last 24 years (in no particular order of importance). Chicken noodle soup is a must have when you’re ill. Thank you whoever invented Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup! Wooden roller coasters are …


The Benefits of having a Tangerine Account

As Christmas and other holidays are fast approaching, I would like to give you another little gift: a $50 bonus when you open a new Tangerine bank account! I’ve been saving with Tangerine since June 2012. Since then, I’ve lived financially stress-free. Why? NO bank fees to worry about I get to earn interest every …

Heidelberg Munich Travel

Things I learned in Germany

I spent altogether 2 years (less than 12 months each time, however) in Germany, first in Heidelberg, Baden-Wuerttemberg and then in Muenchen, Bayern. My German Professor from my uni in Canada just shared this on her Facebook today and it brought back memories of things I’d almost forgotten (it’s been over a year since I’ve left …


New Canadian Passports (available in 2013)

New Canadian Passports (available in 2013) Such a pity I had no choice but to renew my passport this spring 2012. These new Canadian passports will be available by 2013.  What’s new: Computer chip 95 countries are already using this. We are quite behind, eh? Patriotic Canadian images with security features! In order, these images …

Travel Vancouver

Tips for Newcomers to Vancouver, Canada

Welcome to Vancouver! This is a multicultural and multilingual city, filled with more and more interesting glass buildings and delicious international cuisine. The latter is especially important as you will no doubt be spending most of your evenings dining out at restaurants opened by top chefs from around the world. Perhaps it may be too …


15 years since Hong Kong was returned to China

My family and I moved to Hong Kong in 1992 (work opportunities I think?). We lived in a city full of expats, mostly from the UK, and Hong Kong locals. During the 4 years I’d lived there, I never had to learn Cantonese because all the schools I’d attended were taught by teachers from the UK (mostly from England) and just about everything was in English. Because I was so young, I can’t remember what life was really like except for the fact that there was a major British influence – which became more apparent to me when I returned to HK for a visit in 2003 and discovered how Chinese it had become.

We left at the end of 1996 and the next thing you know, I woke up in a new country in 1997. I attended my last British primary school then finished classes at the end of June. On the eve of June 30 (I know this date now, mind you!), I sat in front of the telly with my family, watching Hong Kong’s ‘handover’ to China. I remember seeing Prince Charles get off the plane (I was sad not to see ‘Princess Diana’ – as I’d called the late Princess of Wales then and will use for this post – but I think I knew they were divorced already), make a speech (seemed solemn to little me) and next thing you know, there was a hoard of Chinese army men marching from who-knows-where. That scene, to me, was one of the saddest things for me to see. Just like that, GB had lost a colony and its influences on a much beloved (for its expat inhabitants) international city.

Flag of Hong Kong 1959
By Designed byEnglish: College of Arms中文: 英國紋章院 (http://flagspot.net/flags/hk-colon.html) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Not that 1997 was an annus horribilis for me, but there were definitely 2 events that occurred that year that marked the ‘end’ of something. The first, I’ve already mentioned, the second was the death of Princess Diana.

You have to understand that the late Princess of Wales was my childhood role model. I’d always wanted to meet her and I’d hoped she would visit my school(s) in HK. Sadly, my dreams of meeting her were dashed to the floor when I heard about the car crash in August 1997. I couldn’t have been more devastated. I was even about to visit London that year or the following year – which didn’t happen until 2000.
However, I do remember meeting one staff member at our school named Ms Nurse (or perhaps she was the school nurse?). She was very sweet and caring and she even looked like Princess Diana! Of course, I was absolutely elated and I even asked her if she knew who Princess Diana was. I was surprised that she did not (hmmm….); nevertheless, to a certain extent, meeting Ms Nurse was like meeting Princess Diana. 🙂

I started a new international school, an American one, in the autumn of 1997, which practically purged much of the British influence I’d grown up with. It was the end of the “British era” on me and the start of the “Americana” (which is another story and that concludes my post for the day!).