First of all, MERRY CHRISTMAS! If you’re reading this right now, I’d like to say, thank you for taking a few minutes off this Christmas to read my story. 🙂 I’ve been wanting to write this for a long time, but I guess there’s no better day than Christmas to publish this post. Last year, I flew out of Singapore at 2AM on Christmas Day itself. The decision to fly on Christmas is because it was cheap – everyone would want to be on land to celebrate ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ with their loved ones instead of being in the sky. Nevertheless, this decision has probably made the start of my exchange journey in Canada the most memorable one.
Farewells are always the hardest, especially when you know you’d be gone for awhile. There’s a saying,
“Airports see more sincere kisses than wedding halls. The walls of hospitals have heard more prayers than the walls of churches.”
While to some, these 4.5 months journey overseas may seem to be no biggie, but it was definitely the most liberal thing I’ve done in my life. #socornyImsorry
So this was my route:
Singapore –> Doha (8h)
Doha –> Montréal (13.5h)
Montréal –> Ottawa (44min)
Ottawa –> London (36min)
From a desert landscape to a snowcapped one, I should count myself lucky for having the chance to experience both within a span of a day. Also, I went through 3 time zones on that fateful Christmas. How wonderful? 😉 I reached London at 7.06PM local time, which was 12h behind Singapore then. Basically, I spent almost 30h travelling from Singapore to London (the one in Canada, btw). Adding 2h in Singapore and the remaining 5h in London, my Christmas Day was 36hours, which actually equates to 1.5 days exactly! Too bad, I didn’t have my boyfriend with me to make those extra hours more special (hahaha, I’m kidding!). But- I still had a friend to accompany me throughout the entire journey which I’m thankful for! So here’s a shoutout to Firqin, my 30h flight companion!
This was us while transiting in Doha’s airport – the first jet lag moment. We were both tired from the 8h red eye flight, and there we were trying to stay vigilant for announcements and what not. It was crazy already, even though it had only been one-third of the journey. Nevertheless, we had an eye-opening experience at the airport when I saw these:
I knew the existence of the ‘fatter’ versions of barbie dolls, but it was definitely my first time seeing these oversized (or is it not?) Disney princesses. I guess different cultures do have different standards of beauty after all. On another note, I also overheard Chinese people working at the Doha airport speaking Arabic, which was amusing. I wasn’t sure if Arabic was what I heard, but it was definitely not Mandarin Chinese/English or any other Chinese variety. I was just amazed.
Also, have you been on an airplane this small? Granted, it’s a domestic flight from Ottawa to London, but it was definitely an interesting (and really squeezy) ride. 😉 p/s I had then boarded a flight of 3 seats in the entire row (2-1) from Montréal to Toronto a week later!
And when we finally touched down in London and piled ourselves up with layers of clothes desperately in the washroom, we were greeted with a dead town London. There were no lights anywhere on the streets – no shops were opened, no one was walking outside, and only homes were lit up, and it was only 7PM. It definitely came as a culture shock to me because back in Singapore, Christmas would mean tons of decorations lighted up everywhere (or at least downtown) and people all celebrating outside and doing crazy things. But no, it was too cold out, and the tradition back Canada was to spend quality time with the family on a Christmas night. Shops aren’t opened because every worker is back home celebrating, too. How interesting, but it was definitely depressing for two girls who took a 30h journey from the other side of the world to only be greeted by a dead town. Oh well.
The remaining night left of our Christmas was spent unpacking, washing up after 30h (ugh, so grossed out), and trying to sleep. This was also when the jet lag set in – I was basically waking up every 2 hours even though I was physically tired. Nevertheless, when the sun rose on Boxing Day, I was completely in awe.
The view from our hostel balcony. It was my first time seeing a snow in such a massive scale. And I was sold. The day during winter was definitely a lot more pleasing than the night because, fluffy fluffy snow! It was my first encounter with massive snowing so I really excited. Check out my instagram video from exactly a year minus one day back!
The cold wasn’t what I adore most about London, but these beautiful roads when lined with snow could be such a sight. I miss you London, and UWO. I could only wish to reunite with you soon. x
Meanwhile, have a lovely Christmas!