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I moved to Belgium

As the title says, I moved to Belgium. For now, I am living in a house of my boyfriend's mom since I arrived at the end of June. I went to France with his mom's family and his dad's family for 2 weeks each from 19th of July and I came back to Belgium as of August 19th. So, here now, I am going to tell you how I ended up moving to Belgium.





My Belgian Boyfriend


I know you might be surprised that I met a Belgian guy in Canada (Montreal) and also might think that I am crazy that I decided to move to Belgium only after 6months or so of the relationship. But yes, I did this. It is definitely a lie if I say I chose to live in Belgium only without any influence by my boyfriend. He absolutely affected to decide my next destination. 


However, this was not the only reason why I could leave Montreal.


I knew that I couldn't go there only for him and I would need a reason to go there. Honestly, this topic, 'Should Serene go to Belgium?' was the biggest arguments we had so far. Since I also didn't want to go to another foreign country with no reason/purpose, I started to figure out what I would do in Belgium. I was discreetly searching for jobs in Belgium, universities in Belgium, and googling Belgian weather, living expenses in Belgium and so on. My original plan in Montreal was going to a university after getting a permanent residency there. But considering it might take at least 1 year and a half, going to a university in Belgium seemed very reasonable for my time and money. 


University

So, I am going to VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and am going to study a bachelor program of Social Science (communication).  I applied for the program at the last-minute and got accepted! 😆
Speaking of my parents who also supports my financial situation, they were happy that I am finally going back to study and that the tuition fee wasn't that expensive. Of course, I will have to work for my living expenses but I am very thankful that my parents are supportive of my study and my move to Belgium. 


Now

I am preparing to get my student visa here in Belgium. (Because of my nationality, I could stay in Schengen countries for 90days) Actually, it is complicated than I anticipated. I am now waiting for all my documents that were issued in South Korea and Canada to come to Belgium. So, I can submit my visa application as soon as I get the documents. I am crossing my fingers to this. haha



Toronto Trip Advise | Serene Life

This was my second trip to Toronto.

  On my first trip which was in October 2015, I only went to malls, city halls, Art gallery of Ontario, and Toronto Island. The only thing I liked was Toronto Island. So I posted about Toronto Island only. (Click To See) My problem with the first trip was mainly that I did not search or look up for any attractions. I literally had no idea what to see. Well, It is more correct to say that I went there to see my friends and eat some Korean foods. lol 

 Actually, I am not the one who reads a guidebook before I head to the place. I usually decide to go on a trip inspired by some travel bloggers' posts, amazing photos on social media, or my friends' experiences. Luckily, now I have a good boyfriend who is passionate to travel. Since I started to traveling with him, I'd always see more than I could ever see if I traveled alone. That is also why I could write about my travel in a more organized and informative way. I'm always grateful that he's in my life. ☺️ 



(*Food tips would be proper? haha)

1. University of Toronto

-
Frankly, I never thought the university would be this beautiful!
-

I didn't have a high expectation on the university but this place was absolutely an attraction in Toronto. Especially if you are crazy about architecture, antique furniture, and line. When I went there, there were wedding ceremonies going on and I also saw a couple taking photographs for their wedding. I mean, I am not the only one who thinks the place as beautiful. 😌



2. Kensington Market.

You can find anything here! Anything from everywhere!
* Kensington Market is very close to the University of Toronto so, you can walk down from the university.*

- Mare Pizzeria

First, I had a slice of Pizza at Mare Pizzeria where one of my friends used to work.
The pizza was good and cheap! 🤑 I guess it would be good for a quick lunch or a hangover food.

- Wafels & More

Again, my boyfriend is Belgian yet I haven't tried any good waffles, we had to visit this place where you can find 100% authentic Belgian waffles. According to him who already tried the waffle last year when the store was just open, the Liege waffle is very authentic. My opinion? Yes! it is DELICIOUS! I found that the batter was very different. For the Liege waffle, it was more like a dough, not a batter. Also, it was a bit gooey, not bready. 


personally, the waffle was delicious but the ice cream was okay...😅


there are seats inside and outside


















































3. Other Restaurants.

-Lazy Daisy's Cafe

If you are around this district and plant based eater, this is the cafe you should go!




This is not a vegan place but you will still feel comfortable.

Because there are lots of vegetarian bakes and dishes. Otherwise, you can ask for customizing. Although they use free range eggs, I don't like to eat eggs. So, I didn't put any egg in my biscuit but I put more avocados. 🥑


Carrot muffin with coconut cream!


-PAI

Such a cool place to enjoy a Thai food!



Pad thai
The most thing I liked about this place was that you can make almost every dish vegan!! Yas!!!! (I know how it feels like when you go to a cool place but there is no vegan option... and not even a vegetarian option...) hehe, so no worries! This place is safe, vegetarians! 😉


4. The Distillery District.


I love this area so much! It quite looked like Old Montreal but a bit different.

You can just walk around boutiques around here or eat.

I recommend you to try chocolate at SOMA.




I ate a lot of chocolate and ice cream here. In my very honest opinion, I liked the pistachio chocolate and Vietnamese coffee chocolate. Other things were just all right. I didn't really enjoy their ice cream. Anyway chocolate always makes us happy right? hehe



So, these are pretty much it about my Toronto Trip! I hope you all enjoyed my blog post.

CIAO

Ps. This time, I stayed in my boyfriend's friend's, took an Amigo Express when I went to Toronto and took a Megabus when I came back to Montreal. 

How To Korean BBQ (Vegetarian Options)

Sun's out We're out for BBQ!


1. Check-list

  • Korean BBQ (one-burner stove (like this) + grill(like this))* - you can find at Korean grocery stores. 
  • Gas for the bbq burner (like this)
  • Pork belly (Thicker ones are better in my opinion.) (I bought at Viandal Verdun*) 
  • Vegan Sausage (for vegetarians including me)
  • King oyster mushrooms (sliced)
  • Onion (sliced)
  • Garlic (sliced)
  • Lettuce (for wraps)
  • Ssamjang (dip sauce)*
  • Radish wraps
  • Chilies (optional)
  • Kimchi

Korean BBQ in a restaurant of Korea

Ssamjang (credit: https://www.japancentre.com/en/products/5058-daesang-sunchang-ssamjang-korean-spicy-miso)

radish wrap (credit: https://www.hanyangmart.com/collections/pickles-fried-tofu/products/040411010)


2. Vegan Option

- Vegan sausages 



- As a vegetarian having a non-vegetarian boyfriend who was keen to try Korean BBQ, I had to throw a bbq party. In fact, the reason why I could do the bbq was I knew a really good vegan sausage brand, Gusta (http://gustafoods.com/). hehe. 


They do have really good sausage! I mean... SO GOOD. My favorite is Italiana and I found Espanola is quite spicy. I tried other vegan sausages from different companies, but they just tasted like 'fake sausage'...literally. But this one, they made it so well! It is definitely not meat but it is very flavorsome. When I also made a Korean style bbq wrap with kimchi and ssamjang, the taste also blended very well.


- King Oyster Mushrooms


photo credit: http://www.medicalmushrooms.net/pleurotus-eryngii/

This is not only an option for vegetarians but for everyone!! If you want to do Korean BBQ, you better have this mushroom!

Photo credit: http://m.blog.naver.com/bongs1021/220454409895
Slice the mushrooms like the picture and grill them! It tastes so super when you dip it in a sesame oil sauce -sesame oil + salt + sesame seeds(optional).


3. How-to Korean BBQ?

1) Set your bbq first.

Place bbq pan on top of the stove and place a little bowl right below where the hole in the pan is.

2) Grease the pan with a little fat of pork belly. (you can skip this too.)

We do not need any oil in the pan, but to make the bbq easier, you can put a little bit of pork fat on the pan.


3) Grill them.

You can place ingredients- pork belly, vegan sausage, mushrooms, onions, garlic, kimchi( preferably at the end in order to make the pan clean for other rounds.) in the pan. And wait till they are cooked.


4)GO DIG IN!!!!

You can wrap the pork belly or vegan sausage with lettuce, radish wrap, kimchi, onion, garlic, ssamjang, etc. Literally, make your own wrap and eat it!


* I did the Korean BBQ with my boyfriend who is Belgian and his French roommates. Except for me and my boyfriend, they never had Korean BBQ before but they really enjoyed it. I couldn't take any pictures there since I was just enjoying the bbq as well. Korean BBQ is really easy to do if you have the equipment. Even the equipment is not very expensive. If you can't find the Korean bbq pan, then you can also just do with a regular frying pan too. I bet the taste would be a little bit different, but you can still do the bbq. Actually when I was younger and when my mom wanted to do little bbq for dinner, she just did it with a frying fan on a regular stove. It was still tasty for me.

As the summer is coming, why don't you try the Korean BBQ at a park or in your backyard? It must be very pleasant for all of you!

Happy BBQ!!


Ottawa Trip Advise | Serene Life



It's been a month that I went to Ottawa with my boyfriend. It was super cold but Ottawa was yet beautiful enough to enjoy. As the weather is getting warmer, I highly recommend you to go to Ottawa in this April or May with my joyful experience.

Reason 1. National Gallery Of Canada




This art gallery is the most beautiful art gallery I have ever seen. If you are studying Architecture, you must love this place. My boyfriend and I were very ecstatic about the architecture. We even lied down on a bench together to appreciate the beautiful ceilings. 




"Whether there is an exhibition that you would like to pay for or not, this art gallery is a must-visit in Ottawa for sure." 



Reason 2.  You Can Learn History Of Canada

At Parliament of Canada

- When you visit the parliament, you better take the tour! It's free and very interesting. You get a lot of history of Canada during the tour and learn historical meaning from teeny tiny symbolical decorations in the building as well. I really enjoyed the tour and I highly recommend you to experience this too.


Outside of Parliament

The library inside of the parliament. 



Reason 3. Nordik Spa 

"It was the coldest day when we went to the spa. Because of that, I could enjoy the spa even better."
Website (click)



It's actually not in Ottawa, but it is very close to Ottawa. For me, I took an Uber, since I did not have a car and it took me 20$ to get there. (I stayed here, I am going to talk about the accommodation a bit later on this post.)  The thing is, it is easy to get an Uber to go there but there are not a lot of Uber drivers around the Spa. I also had the problem. Luckily, when I was going to call a taxi to go back to the city, one Uber driver came to us, so we did not have to pay a lot for a taxi. Yes, I was very lucky. But apparently, there is a public transportation to go to Ottawa from the spa. You can look it up by clicking here.


In a relaxation room - we didn't take a photo nor bring a phone/camera into other rooms.

It was very cozy!


There were a lot of saunas, baths, and relaxation rooms in the spa. You can check the photo right below.  It was a perfect place to pamper myself from all the fatigues that I got from other days.

Photo credit: Nordik Spa

⚠️ You can only book massage packages on the website and only for the spa, they don't take the reservation.

Reason 4. Byward Market 

Since it was very cold when I went to Ottawa, the market was not very activated as I expected but there were still lots of things to see (and eat).

     1. Beaver Tails 

- I love Beaver Tails and you have to try this if you haven't yet. This is a very comfort food for me and a guilty food too.😖 There was one in Montreal but I think it's closed now...😥 I hope they'd come back in this summer!

photo credit: http://www.metronews.ca/news/toronto/2016/03/09/beavertails-to-open-first-storefront-on-toronto-waterfront.html

    2. Big Malls.

Stock Image
There are lots of shopping malls in Byward Market. If you are looking for some places to shop. You definitely have to stop by Byward Market!

3. Restaurants - What To Eat In Byward Market

  • La Bottega

This restaurant is located in a supermarket which I didn't anticipate. But it was super nice. The vibe of the market was cool and the foods were very nice!

Veggie Panini


  • The Shore Club


It was the night when we went to the spa. My boyfriend and I only saw the pictures and reviews on Google Map and decided to go there right after the Spa. It was situated right next to (or inside of) The Westin Ottawa Hotel. The foods were delicious. (I loved the bread they served before the main dishes came -FYI, You will never fail a restaurant where serves good bread before the main dish.) However, the atmosphere was quite weird considering it was a quite fancy restaurant. It was a bit noisy and looked more like 'Sports Station'..because of all the TVs tuned in Sports channels. I mean, you're there for eating, talking with people and socializing. Why TVs are there though..huh? 🙁

We had special seafood plates.

Reason5. There is Tulip Festival Coming!

It is going to be happening on May.12.2017. ~ May.22.2017. I have never been to the tulip festival but according to my friends, it is very beautiful! So, if you are planning a trip to Ottawa, check this out too!

Photo credit: https://www.ottawatourism.ca/ottawa-insider/different-ways-to-experience-the-beautiful-tulip-festival-in-ottawa/



More Information: http://www.tulipfestival.ca/


Q. Where Did I Stay In Ottawa

CLICK

- I really loved this place because it was well-prepared for the guests. Although it was a small studio, it was perfect for us. It seemed that this place is only used for Airbnb and a proper apartment hotel. The only problem was the beds. The beds looked so big and comfortable. But they were actually made with 4 single beds so, we just slept horizontally not vertically as usual. It was all right. It was still comfortable and I could still watch TV on the wall with that position. hehe. 

-I already recommended this place to my friend because it was...
  1. Clean
  2. Affordable
  3. Well located (You can walk to Byward Market or take an Uber at around 8$. There is only 1 convenience store around the condo. You can go to Metro supermarket in 20mins by walk.)
  4. Well prepared

I have the discount code here


Q. How Did I Go To Ottawa?


I took Amigo Express which is like an Uber for different regions.  For this, you are going to pay about 20$ for 4 or 5 credits to the company on that website and other amounts to drivers who offer lifts in cash when you see the driver. It was my first time to use Amigo Express, so I got confused about the payment. So yea, it's simple. You are paying for both, Amigo Express and The Driver. It was cheap, simple and fast. I liked this. :)

This is it for the Ottawa Trip Advise and I hope this was helpful for your trip!
Let me know if you have more questions!
CIAO!

Vermont Trip Advice (Burlington, Waterbury, Stowe, Richmond) | Serene Life




Vermont is by far the best staycation place!

Beautiful lakes, mountains, and parks...
Every nature you should enjoy in life is in Vermont!


0. What to bring with me for my Vermont trip?


  • Car with well-conditioned tires
  • Sunscreen
  • Hiking shoes
  • Camera

1. Where to stay in Vermont?

Your trip starts from your accommodation. You can stay in a hotel room, but why don't you be little bit hippie for a day and absorb all the power of nature! 😆 hahaha

"I recommend you to stay in a house where has a farm or a good view. "


I stayed in an Airbnb and it was fantastic. I loved that the house was located in a lower part of a mountain. Although, because of that, the house was very cold but no matter what, it was totally worth experiencing.

When my boyfriend and I went there on 7th April.2017 to 9th April.2017. On 7th and 8th it was quite cold because of snow. But surprisingly or not, Sunday which was on 9th was very very sunny. So, all the snow was gone and was very warm. (If you never been to North-north America, FYI it's a normal thing in here...) 😂

This is the Airbnb my boyfriend and I stayed, I recommend this place since the hosts were super nice and there were lots of things to see around the house. Plus, the location was perfect for going out to a town and basically everywhere in Vermont. Oh, also I have to say this! the hosts, Mike and Rachel make great honey!! I never tried unfiltered honey before but my boyfriend had. So he was so excited to try it and we bought a jar of it. It was very good!! My boyfriend is very happy with this honey. Honestly, I am not crazy about this honey, but I could say it was very nice honey.
(CLICK)



The hosts' barn (there were a horse and a flock of ducks inside)

You can check out my wish list that I made for the trip if you are also looking for a place to stay in Vermont. (My wish list)

You can also use my discount code that I have if you never used Airbnb before. (Click to Get 50 CAD OFF)


2. What to see in Vermont?

  • Burlington

Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park 
Church Street Market Place


* There are lots of shopping centers and stores in this area. After or before shopping, you can go to the waterfront park to see the lake and take a stroll.

  • Camel hump mountain 




Sorry! I only have these photos in the mountain. I suffered to go up and down without any proper gear with me. Do not climb a mountain without proper gears.. Especially when there is some snow (or loads of snow on the mountain) hahaha Anyway I had fun! And got some muscles! So it's all good :)


  • Waterbury - Ben and Jerry's Factory




We had a tour there and it was pretty fun! By the way, I very happy that Ben and Jerry's make vegan ice cream now! (I am Pescatarian and sometimes eat dairy products such as cheese and ice cream. But for me, eating a dairy food never helps me digestively. I have a serious problem with this!!

Back to the point, this is a really fun thing to do in Vermont. Especially if you have a kid or if you just are a big fan of Ben and Jerry's. 

  • Stowe

Again, this is the only picture I got from Stowe, but my boyfriend and I only took a stroll and talked at a cafe. And Stowe was the perfect town to do this thing, a casual date. I personally preferred Stowe to Burlington because it was more peaceful and beautiful in my opinion. There were parks beside a lake, some local shops, and farms. It is really a beautiful town that you have to visit when you come to Vermont. 

3. What to eat in Vermont?


Frist Day, We were starving...


I wanted to eat some pizza but we couldn't find any good pizza place on our first day of the trip. We randomly came to this place and filled our bellies. haha, I don't know the name of this restaurant but check the location on the google map info that I attached above.

 I don't drink normally, but for this time I had to drink since it is Vermont! Apparently, there are lots of breweries in Vermont.
 And,, I got a plate of fish and chips. As a pescatarian, this was the only option to have. Warning! this is not a restaurant for you if you're a vegetarian!

The second day, We know what we want!


Folino's Wood Fired Pizza.




They have a great brewery with the pizza store. The beer was very cheap too. For 32oz, it was 5-7 dollars and 64oz was 8-10 dollars.


The pizza! They have lots of vegetarian options and even gluten-free ones too! It was wonderful. However, the taste was just all right. Not bad but not superb. We liked the beer more.

The last day, On our way home...



Neither of us did take any pictures at this place but their pho was SO GOOD!!
Why pho in Vermont? Why not pho in Vermont though huh? hehe
I was just craving for some soups and the pho was the best decision ever on that day!

"Hope this helped us for your trip! I had a great time in Vermont with my boyfriend and I would never forget this!!"


CIAO

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