Overview – Chicago – 2016

Overview of Chicago

-Revolving Doors everywhere – keeps the wind out and keeps heat / AC in.

-Free WIFI almost at every corner

-Servers always check ID for alcohol

-Chicago is a very walkable city – grid like pattern similar to NYC but more compacted. Similar to San Francisco

-Biking is also a great way to get around

-In the spring/summer – you can rent a kayak and kayak through the canals / rivers of the city

-CTA pass is very useful – but if you want to purchase anything more than a 1 day pass – you must purchase a Ventra Card and the machines take exact change or you won’t get change back.

-The trains are very easy to use and one of the fastest and easiest ways to get into the city from the airport.

-Trains run above ground on tracks, underground and bus service is frequent.

-The Loop & River North are actually quite quiet and empty at night

-Dunkin Donuts and Starbuck are everywhere – WIFI included!

-It is indeed the windy city and with the grid pattern, the wind does funnel

-Wear layers as the wind does cause a flux in warmth

-Rain comes down for a short burst of time then stops

-The golden light is beautiful but can only be caught on certain streets at certain times of the day as the buildings are all very tall.

-The John Hancock Building gives great views and isn’t as Skydeck. Plus it is 360 view!

Overview – New Zealand 2010

Did you know New Zealand is the first country to see the new day.

-Kiwis are flightless birds that have bad hearing and eyesight

My observations of New Zealand:

-GPS is your best friend, carry a torch (flashlight), start your day early and enjoy the scenery!

-It’s hard to find non-carbonated here besides water

-New Zealand has a lot of Koreans

-driving on the right side is so weird and nervewracking

-Very laidback here



-City but doesn’t feel as city-like as Sydney or Melbourne


Rotorua & surrounding

-Smells like eggs – due to all the sulphur and geo thermal gases

-all about outdoor activities

-Driving to different cities isn’t too bad – Waitomo, Taupo, Taraunga – all within 1-3 hours from Rotorua.

-adventure and nature everything

-Tongariro National Park is my all time favourite place and I wish we had more time to actually get further immersed… Next time…

Overview – Australia 2010


Apparently, Qantas and Air Canada have some sort of agreement where you can connect with one another allowing our checked baggage to transit through to our next flight although they are not connecting flights in one ticket purchase.

My observations of Australia:

-Cairns is pronounced “caines”

-Brisbane is prounounced “brisbeen”

-Melbourne is pronounced “melbin”

-Shell gas station is called Coles here

-Sportsgirl is like Zara but less variety and more expensive

-Woolsworth is the main supermarket chain here

-It’s weird but no matter what eye colour or hair colour the parents, majority of the kids, babies I’ve seen here are blond hair, blue-eyed

-Tons of tall people everywhere

-Ugg boots are ugly anywhere; what’s worse, a guy sporting ankle high ugg boots with shorts

-There are 8 digits for landlines and 10 digits for mobile in Australia while in New Zealand there are no area codes and only 7 digits

-The ambulance doesn’t have backwards letter to see forwards in mirrors; they spell things differently as in cheep instead of cheap, yoghurt instead of yogurt and tyres instead of tires

-Different laws for parameters of a koala depending on state – the more north – Cairns – you are allowed to carry a koala (they are much smaller); Melbourne – you must stay 10 meters away at all times – touch a koala and get fined and potentially injured

-They use tons of roundabouts instead of traffic lights

-They paint LOOK on the ground before crossing the street for safety



– Sydney reminds me of Toronto but has a better balance of city / nature.

-There is a huge population of Cantonese speaking people in Sydney & Melbourne.

-When people speak cantonese, they lose their accent (sound like normal canto I hear back home and on television) but once they start speaking in english – aussie accent. Not all the time though (I have heard someone with a really thick aussie accent speaking canto and it was interesting)

-Very easy to get around using public transit.



-Huge population of Japanese in Cairns

-Cairns is tropical and HUMID

-O Zone layer is very thin – Apply and re-apply sunscreen



-Melbourne looks like downtown Toronto

-Melbourne also experiences all 4 seasons in the span of 1 day

-Free inter-city tram

-Federation Square – FREE WIFI!




  • – I could picture myself living in Australia one day