I got away (for a little while)

I’m back, nerds.

So yeah… remember back in mid-December when the Fall term ended, and I suggested that I would be using the six weeks before Spring term to reflect on my experiences and write a bunch more blog posts? Well, I can confirm that I accomplished one of those goals, and so I feel satisfied with my performance overall.

I flew back home on December 21st, spending Christmas and New Year with my family in Belfast, before visiting some other relatives in West Sussex, spending a lovely weekend in London, and finally just chilling with friends in Bristol. I’m writing this on the afternoon of January 27th, sitting in the departure lounge of Heathrow Terminal 2, preparing myself for a long, long day travelling back to Hong Kong with Air China, through Beijing. I’ve flown with Air China before, on this same flight, although I continued to Tokyo at Beijing rather than Hong Kong. I remember enjoying some strangely flavoured food, watching bad movies in 240p resolution with hard-coded Chinese subtitles, and enjoying every single bloody announcement being given in Mandarin, Cantonese and English. Half the journey was just hearing muffled Chinese words blasting through the overhead speakers and into my headphones. I couldn’t escape it. If you’re wondering why I chose to fly with them again, it’s because they charged me £280 for my return tickets. Worth it.

Wondering what I got up to over my holiday? No? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway because I want to. Deal with it.

  • Visited the Titanic Experience in Belfast, along with my girlfriend Becky. It was recently announced as the ‘World’s Leading Tourist Attraction’ at the World Travel Awards. For the low, low price of only £17.50 (regular adult ticket), you too can walk through a museum exhibit about how we built an unsinkable ship that sank and killed loads of people. Part of the experience is rollercoaster-based.
  • We also went on a coach tour of the northern coast of the northern part of Ireland. We saw some cool hexagonal rocks, and also the set of Castle Black from Game of Thrones, but only in the distance.
  • For the first time in over ten years, I went to the theatre! Specifically, the Lyceum theatre in London, to see The Lion King. If you’d like to be brought to tears by a room of people in lion and monkey costumes singing about shapes, this is for you. I need to go to the theatre more often. Loved it.
  • As I will be spending Valentine’s day in Korea on a romantic holiday with just my roommate Peter, Becky and I had ours a month early. Tapas followed by a trip to the cinema to see what this La La La La Land thing is all about. Turns out, it’s pretty good. A little cringey but hey, that’s the fun of musicals. We danced our way home.
  • Started the much-hyped new Netflix ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’. Gave up after only three episodes; just didn’t grab us. Also started watching HBO’s ‘Westworld’ which sucked me in like a 20-cent hooker. Couldn’t get enough of it, very hype for season 2. Definitely recommend.
  • Ran a 12k! Furthest I’ve ever done. Did it in one hour and thirteen minutes. I’m training to run the Bristol Half-Marathon (20k) in September.
  • Finally beat Dark Souls III. No summons, no coward strats; beat every boss one-on-one like a man. Feels good.
  • Applied to around twenty summer internships, attended god knows how many phone interviews, and even some of those awful assessment-centre things. It’s paying off though – I’ve got one or two offers in now, and I’m feeling good about my options.
dsc_0264
This ain’t Hong Kong, yo.

So what’s next? After my flight, I’ll be enjoying the Chinese New Year festivities, settling back in to HKUST, and meeting all the new Spring term exchange students. In early February I’m heading off to Korea for a week, and I’m also planning my next trip to Japan in April, when Becky is coming to visit me. I’ve got a long list of destinations in South-East Asia I’d like to visit next semester, and I plan to tick off as many as I can. I’m taking classes in Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, and Computer & Communication Security. No Chinese this term, so more time to travel, plan travel, and eat dim sum. Should be fun!

Expect more blog posts… eventually. It may take me a couple weeks to get started, but I promise I will be writing some stuff. A fun mix of stories, tips, thoughts, and very fun ‘haha-look-at-my-holiday-pictures’ posts. I hope you’re excited.

As always, feel free to contact me either by email or by posting a comment here. Are you considering doing an exchange at HKUST or elsewhere in Hong Kong and have some questions? Is there something you’d like me to write about? Hit me up. And of course, FOLLOW THE BLOG either by email or WordPress account, and you’ll get a notification every time I post. I prefer not to spam Facebook so please just follow me here.

Peace out,
Danny

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