Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On-flight Offline Blog

Written offline since I obviously don't have wifi on the plane. (In Toronto time)

7:15am - Arrived at airport
8:00am - Bye bye family :( no problems with security, phew =P

8:05am - Entering the Maple Leaf Lounge!

8:10am - They asked me for my age. Do I look underage? Oh well, off to take advantage of the shower facilities!
8:38am - Finished my shower. The shower room was so nice!

 8:40am - Eating some free breakfast

8:45am - Found the business area complete with workstations, printers and copiers. Yay free internet! Hoped for free calling but nope.
9:40am - Boarded the plane. I forgot I don't have a roomy leg room seat until the flight back. :(

9:45am - They have Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (and 30 rock!) YAY!
10:10am - Plane should have left by now but needs to go for de-icing. kinda like a car wash, you park into your spot and then trucks come to spray the wings
10:40am - Finally in the air!! Time for some office
10:45am - Just read kendrew's plane letter... thanks for making me cry =P
10:48am - Getting really hungry now...
10:56am - Yes... apple juice and peanuts!! Wait, these aren't peanuts, they're "maised and confused corn chips"???
11:03am - Aww, just read Carmen's plane "letter". so sweet and funny... :)
11:21am - oh, I think I see some food...
11:22am - Finished all my Office eps, time for some HIMYM.
11:52am - Lunch time, not bad but chicken tasted fake...Of course they had to provide soy sauce...

12:00pm - The guy beside me is eating his brownie with chopsticks.. hahaha
12:51pm - 3 episodes later.. my neck hurts..
1:14pm - Still 12 more hours to go?? Argh...Guess i'll try to sleep for a bit.
1:16pm - Interesting music choices on the plane. Blondie Jen!

3:01pm - Just woke up from my nap. Imogen Heap was surprisingly good sleeping music. One of the lights above me doesn't turn off. Sleeping comfort minus one
3:03pm - Gonna watch cloudy! I'm getting hungry again -_-
4:26pm - I can watch that movie a billion times. Cheesy and nerdy jokes =D
4:30pm - Time to play some Theme Hospital =P
4:48pm - NOO. Theme Hospital crashed -_- didn't save..
5:43pm Yay, Sandwich and Cookies for snack! Sandwich looks so fake though, but mayo saves anything. These meals make me really excited for HK food

5:48pm What the... cup noodles already? I already ate my sandwich! Should have saved my sandwich and ate cup noodles first if I knew.

6:05pm - Theme Hospital crashed again -_- stupid old games. For some reason it doesn't work in compatibility mode.
6:06pm - Guess it's time for a Theme Hospital break. can't believe i'm only half way through the trip. -_-
8:10pm - Can't fall asleep. Gonna try TH again.
8:26pm- Alright didnt' work, time for TF2 training map!! =P
9:08pm - That was entertaining. 5 hrs left... gahhhh. I'm bored, give me more food!
10:55pm - Just woke up from a nap. Can't stand sitting anymore.. arghhhhhh. NEED to get off this plane!!!!
11:56pm - Just had lunch =p Beef and potatoes were pretty gd!!

12:54am - Getting ready to land already? i forgot about daylight savings! I thought we were landing at 2:30am Toronto time, oops.... but yay!
1:20am - Bumpy landing.. apparently because of wind =( Oh well, I'm here!!

4:38am - Welcome home (at least for the next week)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

UWaterloo Exchange Process

6 days left? I haven't even unpacked from Ottawa yet...

Just wanted to write a post on the Engineering exchange process at the University of Waterloo (for future exchangees).   The process was actually quite easy and painless, here were the general steps you have to take if you are thinking of going on exchange:

  1. Book an appointment with Cindy Howe (exchange co-ordinator in the Engineering Undergrad office) 2 academic terms before your exchange (if you're going in 3B, talk to her during 2B or earlier)
  2. Figure out what country you want to go to, check out the Engineering Exchange site for info such as where students have gone, what courses they took, semester schedules, etc.
  3. Make sure your average is about 70-75% for the 2 terms previous to your exchange term
  4. Figure out your academic plan (if the exchange term fits into your current plan, or you have to move around co-op or stay back a year)
  5. Go to the Exchange site and fill out the UW Application form and hand it in during the academic term before you leave (Chat with Cindy and she'll direct you).  You'll also have to hand in the Student Exchange Scholarships Form
  6. Get all signatures needed for the application (CECS, PDEng, Undergrad Chair)
  7. Find courses that are equivalent to what you're supposed to take in UW during your exchange term, get them approved by the Associate Chair in your program.  They seem pretty relaxed about this though, as in, they're flexible about moving courses around and trying to make things fit so you can go on exchange.
  8. Get UW Application form approved by Cindy and the Director of Exchange for your country (and will get approved by the Dean)
  9. You will receive instructions for the application form for the host university in your email.  Hand in everything they tell you to (application, scan of passport, application for visa, rez etc)
  10. Buy your plane tickets!
  11. You'll receive a reply/admission package from the host university about a month before your term starts.  They'll send it to Waterloo and you can either pick it up or they'll send it to you.
I'm not sure if the process is the same for going to other countries but it should be pretty similar.  I actually bought my plane tickets before I got the acceptance package from HKU so I was a little concerned that I would get rejected, but the people at UW reassured me that there's no reason for them to reject my application.  That was probably the most stressful part of the process, not knowing if I was 100% in or not.  Other than that, the forms weren't very hard to fill out and there was always enough time to get everything done - just don't leave it to the last minute!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Why HK?

Some of you may be wondering why I chose Hong Kong to go on exchange.  I mean, I could have chosen France, Switzerland, Singapore (like many others :P), why Hong Kong when I've been there before (and was born there)?

Three main reasons starting with F for fun:
  1. Family - I have a bunch of family over in HK namely my grandparents.  I doubt I'll have much of a chance in the future to visit them so I really have to take my opportunites and spend time with them when I can.
  2. Fluency - If you know me at all, my Cantonese SUCKS.  Like a vacuum.  So I'm trying to take this time to make my Cantonese skills awesome (and maybe some Mandarin too, I'm hoping to take a Mandarin course for "foreign students" :)
  3. Future - After school finishes, it's unlikely that I can stay in Hong Kong for more than 1-2 months (especially if I start working).  I really want to experience living in Hong Kong and the culture for a longer period of time.  I also want to know if I would like living there, like live there.  You never know what could happen... keep options open?
  4. Food? - Yes, HK food is awesome =)
Pretty excited, it'll definitely be a good experience and hopefully I can take lots away from it :)  Packing right now, leaving Ottawa in about 3 hours!  Eek!

Monday, December 14, 2009

It begins!

After planning and setting up this blog for a month it's finally up and running! I'm assuming you all know me but as a quick intro, I'm a 3rd year Systems Design student from the University of Waterloo who will be studying at the University of Hong Kong for five months starting in January.  I'll be leaving for Hong Kong from Toronto on December 29 and staying there until May 25th.

The top banner is a vector image I found (via Google) of the Hong Kong skyline.  The hardest part of preparing this blog though was choosing a name. Didn't really want a generic name like "Adventures in Hong Kong", needed something a lil more creative :)  I asked around a bit for some ideas and got a whole slew of names and so, after much consideration I decided to choose Jeff's suggestion of "Hungry for HK". Check out Jeff's blog on his co-op term in New Zealand!

Why did I choose "Hungry for HK"?  Two reasons - one is that obviously I love food and I love to eat, as you can tell from my other food related blogs. You can also take "hungry" as another meaning which is my second reason - I'm hungry to learn more about Hong Kong, explore every little part of it and find all its hidden gems :)

I loved all the other blog name suggestions though!  Some of those were:
  • Other side of the world
  • Janice Choi and Her Adventures Abroad
  • Adventures in the Motherland
  • 30000 Miles Across the Sea
  • The Adventures of Janice Choi: Chapter X - Hong Kong!
  • FOB ^-1
  • Ming is a noob. (My fav)
  • Queen Kong
  • Hong Kong 2: This Time it's Personal
  • From China With Love
Just 2 weeks left, less than one week left in Ottawa and one crazy week back in Toronto to go!