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Winter Trip, Part 3.

Posted in Personal, Trip

Assalamualaikum,

Yayy, I made it! Not even a week since the Part 2 post, and here I am with Part 3 *proud of myself* Lol. And all of these despite the fact that I have a draft that I need to submit by Tuesday, as well as a presentation that I need to present on Tuesday as well, along with some other work. Oh well.

Okay, so in Part 2, I wrote about how the last week of so of my time in England & Ireland was before returning to the States. So here’s a continuation of my winter trip in the US. When I arrived in Chicago O’Hare, I took the bus to go to Urbana-Champaign, IL, as I was staying over at UIUC with him and our other friends for a few days. On January 8th, Aiman & I took the bus to Chicago, since I had a job shadow with Huron Consulting Group. We met up with our friend, Fariz, in Chicago and stayed there for two nights.

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Job Shadow at Huron Consulting Group, Chicago

On January 10th, we decided to go to Navy Pier for a while before heading to the airport, since our flight to Florida is late in the evening. So after checking out, we went to Navy Pier for some sight-seeing and lunch and a mini photoshoot 😀

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Then it was time to flyyyyyy to Orlando, Florida for about a week! We’ve bought tickets to Universal Studios Orlando (and Universal Islands of Adventure as well), so it was time to explore the rides and see all there is to be seen.

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Universal Islands of Adventure

And, of course, there’s the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

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Hello Hogwarts! :)

Not to mention the must-have picture in front of the globe 😀

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My travel buddies!

Oh oh oh, there’s Gringotts!

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And the Hogwarts express train that takes you from Hogsmeade to King’s Cross Station

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Here’s Hogsmeade, a place where Muggles can act like wizards and nobody gives a damn seeing people waving their interactive wands in front of mirrors, statues and windows.

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I originally wanted to buy a one-day ticket to go to the Magical Kingdom at Disneyworld, but since it was quite a rainy week in Orlando, we decided not to. Instead, we spent one free day to walk around the area, explored some buffet(s) in the area, as well as being kids at the Magical Midway Park (or something of that sort), with go-karts and bumper cars and all. On our last day, after checking out from our hotel, we went for a lunch buffet before playing mini-golf and doing some mini souvenir shopping.

After returning to Chicago, I, once again, went to UIUC (since I left my other luggage with all the food that my parents brought from Malaysia). I stayed there for a couple of nights, had some movie nights and ice-skating with the gang there (wait, I can’t remember if the ice-skating happened before or after the trip to Orlando, but oh well). It was definitely a fun time to spend with a group of friends, and I returned to Madison shortly afterwards.

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So yeah, that concluded my winter trip stories for now. It’s currently the end of the third week of the Spring semester, and so far, everything is going on great (or good, at least). I’ll write another post on updates on the semester and things and activities planned so far so watch out for that post.

Until next time, stay awesome :)

February 6, 2015
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Winter Trip, Part 2.

Posted in Personal, Trip

Assalamualaikum,

So, as previously mentioned in the 1st part of the Winter Trip series (it seems so long ago. Oh wait, it was, since it more than a month ago -.-), I spent the first half of my winter break travelling in London & Ireland with my family. So, catching off from where I left off (which was our stay in the city of Cobh), we then drove to Dublin for our last few nights in Ireland.

In Dublin, I got the chance to meet up with an old friend of mine, Faghira Afrina! She was my best friend from back in Standard 1, and is basically one of the few people who knows me inside and out, and know all my secrets (well, most of them, anyway), and who puts up with my clinginess and over-attachment (yes, I am overly attached to the people I love most). We spent a few hours walking around Dublin, and had dinner together with my family.

Faghira Afrina

Faghira Afrina

So, yeah, that’s Faghira ^ up there. :) The second day was spent walking around Dublin with my family, and I also managed to meet up with two other friends from SSP, Sarah Aqilah & Adibah Kasuan.

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(As you might noticed, I’m trying to fly through with the story so I won’t have to make this long lol)

So, yeah, that was Dublin. We were only there for two nights, and then it was time to fly back to London on New Year’s Eve. And to be honest, that night, I actually drafted a post or two to be posted (the cliche ‘Happy New Year post’ and all) but never got around to actually posting them. -.- Perhaps I’d edit them and post them up but no promises on that!

On New Year’s Day, we (without Dad) went to Watford for a tour of the Warner Bro’s studio for Harry Potter!

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Weee! That was a very very very fun and exciting tour, as I really enjoyed the background story of how Harry Potter was made, and that I was able to actually see all the props and costumes that were used in the movies (like dude, Hermione’s dress during the Yule Ball is so bloody pretty), and there’s like a bunch of other cool stuff in it that would really make a Potterhead like myself happy.

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On January 2nd, my family flew back to Malaysia, so I went off to stay with my friend in Brunel for a night. After dropping off my stuff at her dorm room, we walked around Brunel for a short tour, before heading to Wembley Park. She wanted to bring me to lunch at a buffet place in Wembley Park, and while we were there, we kind of visited Wembley Stadium (no tours though, not enough time to do so).

Wembley Stadium, Home of the England team.

Wembley Stadium, Home of the England team.

After our lunch, we rushed (by tube and walking) to go on a tour of the legend- wait for it – dary Emirates Stadium!!!

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I’m finally home!

But no worries, despite the fact that I took lots and lots and lots of pictures inside the stadium and on the pitch (well, by the pitch) and in the changing rooms and all, I won’t bore you with all those pictures here. Instead, if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you can go and check out my Winter Trip album to see all the pictures that I took.

Seriously though, Emirates Stadium is beyond beautiful. Like, seriously. Oh. My. God. I actually ran from the tube station to the stadium, and when I first saw the red color on the walls of the stadium, I was almost screaming out in happiness and OH MY GOD I AM FINALLY ON THE LAND OF THE GUNNERS LIKE OH MY GOD THIS IS SERIOUSLY HAPPENING NOW LIKE WEHHHHH SERIOUSLYYYYY!

But yeah. Special thank you to my good friend, Adilah Soleh, for putting up with me and for being my photographer throughout the whole day, I wouldn’t had this much fun if it weren’t for her. :’)

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So after our tour of the stadium, we took the tube to London, to drop by Malaysian Hall and meet a few friends there. There was a solat hajat for the flooding back home in Malaysia, so a bunch of my friends were there as well. I took the chance to come and meet some of them, since I haven’t met some of them in a while, and there were also some that I’ve known for quite some time but never actually met in person (ehem Jalal ehem kalau you baca ni, hello ^^) (also hint hint Amir hint hint hai bruh *waves*).

(do ignore the fact that we were bending our knees like weirdos lol)

January 3rd was the day that I planned to meet up with two of my good friends from way way wayyyy back in 2005/2006. So, back in 2005/2006, I spent about a year and a half living in the UK, and I went to a local high school there as well. One of them, Tony Bowerman, was a close friend throughout my one year and a half at King’s Wood School, and he’s probably the only one that I kept in touch with even after I got back to Malaysia (postcards, letters, Facebook messages, etc). Considering the fact that the last time we met was in December 2006, we decided to meet up for lunch while I was in London, and so we met.

Meet Bradley Goodey (left with glasses) and Tony Bowerman (right with coat)

Tony treated us to a lunch buffet (which was super nice!) and drove us (well, mostly me, since I haven’t been back to the town in sooooo long) around. They showed me our old school (which has been transformed into another school), some of the places we used to go as kids (lol, ‘kids’), as well as my old house. It was awkward at first, as we haven’t met in about 8 years, but we got over it quickly and man, it felt like old times! :’)

That night, I met up with some other friends from Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar for dinner at Bayswater. It was nice being able to catch up with the people who were supposed to be my collegemates and possibly university-mates (should I stayed in A-Levels and not move to ADFP lol).

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And then came January 4th.

Arsenal vs Hull City. 3rd round of the FA Cup. Emirates Stadium.

OH MY GOD ANOTHER TRIP AND VISIT TO THE OH SO BEAUTIFUL EMIRATES STADIUM. AND IT’S NOT JUST ANY PLAIN OLD VISIT, IT’S TO FREAKING WATCH A FREAKING MATCH LIVE LIKE OMG DREAM COME TRUE TO WATCH ARSENAL PLAY LIVE IN THE EMIRATES STADIUM LIKE OH MY GOD WEHHH OH MY GOD!

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The live match atmosphere was phenomenal!

Oh yeah, Arsenal baby!

Like oh yeahhh Arsenal played well and won 2-0 against Hull City. And I seriously couldn’t believe that it was really happening. Like, seriously, I am there, in the Emirates Stadium, watching Arsenal play a home match LIVEEEE like oh my God it was at the top of my bucket list and I can finally cross cross cross cross cross that off! Like, seriously, the atmosphere was just amazing! The crowd, the cheers, the chants and the ‘Oooooooooooooooh Santi Cazorrrlaaaaaa’ and all are just superbly amazing! Thank you so so so very much to my senior slash friend Ika Hadilah for bringing me there, for buying the tickets for me and everything! :’)

Before leaving to the airport on January 5th, my second host (Syaza Nadiah, a friend from KTJ) took me for a walk to the Queens Park Ranger stadium for a while, since I wanted to see the stadium from the outside (hey, when you’re in London, you have to visit as many football stadiums as possible, right? 😛 Oh, and before the Arsenal match on Jan 4th, Ika and I went to visit Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium as well).

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So, yeah, that sums up my trip to London & Ireland, which has been a fun two weeks. I owe my family for the most part of the holiday, and to my awesome friends (to my hosts, Adilah Soleh & Syaza Nadiah, to my KTJ and INTEC friends, to Tony & Bradley, and to everyone else) for making it an awesome trip.

I’ll write about my trip to Florida and Chicago soon (I promise, I won’t take another month to post an update. Probably a week, or two, but not a month. Pinky promise!). Until then, stay awesome and take care :* And thank you for still being here on the blog even though it’s pretty much dead.

Oh, and if I may say so, Happy New Year! (even if it has been a month plus since New Year’s lol). 😛

February 4, 2015
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Winter Trip, Part 1.

Posted in Personal, Study, Trip

Assalamualaikum, hello :)

It’s been almost a month’s break from the blog, and, if I may add, a few thousands miles away as well. So to get things back on track (to make up for the lack of internet for the past few days/ a week or so and all), let’s take a recap on how things were the last few weeks of last semester. Exams were, well, pretty okay, I guess. I wanted to drop by in the middle of the exams week (since I had a gap from Monday to Saturday, but with my FM exam in the middle and all, not much of a gap, I guess), but never had the mood to actually sit down and type up a post or two.

The exam results are all out, and the grades are up for the Fall 2014 semester. It’s not as I expected, but considering the fact that I knew I didn’t do as well as I hoped I did on the final exams, I guess I deserved those grades. They aren’t that bad, I guess, it’s still pretty okay and decent, but I guess I can actually do far better than that if I just put in more effort.

As for my FM Exam, well, suffice to say that I would need to retake it again sometime later in the future. I might be taking it in February, but that would have to depends (since MSA UW-Madison might be hosting the TJM in Madison in March, so if this is so, I might be retaking FM later in the year). But yeah, I failed. And I am torn between wanting to cry because I failed and have to retake it and wanting to yell at myself because I know I could do better but I didn’t put in enough effort into it. So, yeah. :(

But enough of my exams and all. It’s the holiday season, so time to be jolly and happy, aite?

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Yep! I’m currently travelling with my family (excluding my older brother though, since he’s facing his finals in UTP) in England & Ireland! It’s been a great trip so far (though, the lack of WiFi in Ireland does make it a bit harder though, but oh well), and I’m looking forward to the next week or so. After my last exam on Saturday morning, I took the Sunday morning flight out of Chicago to London Heathrow Airport, and met up with them in London. My first day in London was spent by visiting Big Ben & London Eye, as well as touring Stamford Bridge – home of the Chelsea Football Club.

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I wanted to tour the Emirates (Arsenal ftw!), but that’s my plan for when I’m in London alone (I’d be staying with some friends after my family return to Malaysia). We then flew to Dublin, Ireland, rented a car and drove to Galway. Our first few days were spent in a small countryside city named Ballyvaghan (and there was literally no internet or WiFi in the area). It was a pretty place though, and very scenic.

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The picture above was taken at the Cliffs of Moher, about an hour or so away drive from the town of Ballyvaghan. We spent the first day driving to the city of Galway, wanting to look around in the city, but there wasn’t much to see there anyway ._. But the Cliffs of Moher, and the drive there, on our second day was fun. (and no, that’s not purely because there was free internet connection at the Cliffs of Moher :p).

We’re currently in Cobh, Ireland, which is famous for being the last port-of-call for the Titanic ship. Yep, this was its last port before it sailed off for its first (and last) sail ever. It’s also a bigger city (town?) than Ballyvaghan, and now that Christmas’s over, hopefully there’d be more shops opening and more activities that we’d be able to do (we weren’t able to do much in Ballyvaghan because everything pretty much closed for Christmas).

So yeah, that’s pretty much it for now. We’d be here in Cobh for a few days, then we’re heading to Dublin to tour RCSI (and UCD, probably) and meet up with an old friend of mine. Then we’re off to London again, where we’d go on a tour at the Warner Bro’s studio for Harry Potter. I’d also be watching the Arsenal vs Hull game at the Emirates with my senior, as well as meeting up with some old friends back from 2005/2006, so that would definitely be a good thing to look forward to.

Until next time, take care and stay awesome. Hope your 2014 is ending perfectly, and may 2015 brings you lots of joy and happiness!

December 26, 2014
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Thanksgiving Trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Posted in Personal, Trip

Assalamualaikum, hello :)

It’s been a fun (but tiring) long weekend, a much-needed break before the last few weeks of the semester. Alhamdulillah, I had the chance to go on a mini road trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota with a bunch of my friends from Illinois (and one from Iowa) for our Thanksgiving break (and Black Friday shopping!).

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It started off with a mini Thanksgiving lunch at our house on Wednesday afternoon. They (friends from UIUC and Iowa) came to Madison to pick me up, and enjoy a small Thanksgiving lunch, with the turkey and everything. Afterwards, we brought them around the campus for a little while before heading on our way to Minneapolis, Minnesota for the long weekend.

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Nad, Farah and Atika

It was a pretty long drive to Minneapolis, and we reached a little bit before 11pm. Since most restaurants have already closed or are closing, some of them bought takeaways from a nearby place to eat at our host houses (Izzati’s for the girls and Syazrain’s and Zainal’s for the guys). The girls ended up eating the food for breakfast anyhow, since most of us fell asleep pretty quick that night.

Thursday morning and afternoon were spent with some of our friends at the University of Minnesota by touring the campus a little bit and having a lunch buffet at a halal restaurant. We went to the Mall of America for a little while and went on a couple of rides at the Nickelodeon Universe (I wanted to ride on the crazy one, and as usual, Aiman had to go along with me on it, even though he hated roller-coaster rides and all).

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After an early buffet dinner at another halal restaurant, we went to BestBuy to start our Black Friday shopping spree. Some of us bought Xbox One consoles, laptops and even a TV and a bunch of other tech stuff. I didn’t buy anything though, since I know I didn’t really need much. We then head straight to Albertville Premium Outlets for some serious shopping.

We reached Albertville around 10:30pm or so, and stayed there until 10:40am in the morning. Yes. 12 hours of shopping. It. Was. CRAZY. Like, literally, it was super crazy. I was lucky that we only had to wait outside of Coach for about 10 or 15 minutes (note: this was at night, in the cold, while it’s SNOWING) before we were allowed to go in the outlet, but others had to wait for more than half an hour just to GET IN. And that doesn’t include all the time taking pictures of the bags, comparing prices and designs, and repeating the process again and again and again to satisfy those back home.

Aiman & I (obviously we’d be shopping together, like duh) shopped until around 3am or so, before heading back to the car to sleep and rest (well, he slept, I didn’t. Not much, anyway). Around 8am, we started on our shopping spree for a little while as we searched for my boots and bought some chocolates, and by 10:40am, all of us (all 3 cars) are done with shopping (or forced to be done with shopping) and head to the same buffet restaurant that we went to for dinner the night before.

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Aiman, at our Thanksgiving lunch on Wednesday :)

Since Aiman & I shared some Subway sandwich in the morning, we weren’t really hungry for lunch, so we stayed in the car and slept while they ate their lunch buffet (this time, I slept well). After lunch, some of them wanted to do even MORE shopping, so we head to Mall of America. At MoA, Aiman & I walked around BestBuy and met some of our INTEC friends like Fariz. We then decided to go to Macy’s (Fariz and Aiman had to pray), where I shopped for more handbags while waiting for them. We walked around and talk and window shopped until around 5pm or so when we had to bid farewell to Fariz and head back home.

Kamal, Nad, Aiman & I were in the same car throughout the trip, and we decided to go and grab some dinner before heading back home (others went back to sleep first and planned on having dinner after some rest). That night, I fell asleep pretty early and woke up at 1am, feeling hungry again -.-. It’s a good thing Aiman also woke up in the middle of the night, and that there’s a pizza shop nearby that opens until 3am, so we went out in the middle of the night for a snack.

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Saturday morning (more like afternoon), we went out for a final lunch before I bid farewell to them since they had to leave for Iowa already (they went back to Illinois through Iowa as they had to drop off Farhana). I then spent some time with our other friends in Minnesota and hung out with them before my trip back to Madison with three other friends from Madison on Sunday morning.

So, yeah, that basically wraps up my Thanksgiving break. It was certainly a fun trip with my friends, and I can also check off Minessota from my ‘States to Visit with Aiman Ardani’ list (3 states with him in the 3+ months he’s been in the US so far) (you can also find it on Instagram with the hashtag #SyazDaniInUSA hihihi). And it was certainly a much needed break from studying, as I gear myself for the last three weeks (gulp) of the semester. With finals and (another gulp) my FM exam coming up, I really needed to cool myself down and enjoy a bit of the snow before things get too hectic to handle.

Anyhow. That’s that, and, yeah. I’ve been thinking about a possible blog post for next week, if things get too busy and I couldn’t spend too much time thinking about a topic. I’m probably just going to choose a post by Humans of New York and write my thoughts about it, probably. That seems like a fun thing to do. :)

Oh, and happy December everyone :) Stay awesome!

December 1, 2014
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