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For as long as I remember, I’ve had the incessant itch to attend post-secondary out of province. Why or how I would do that was beyond me— it was a shot in the dark I kept believing in. I left BC for Toronto, Ontario and quickly fell in love with the city: sprawling, metropolitan,  brimming with ambition and candour. I fell in love with the friends I’ve made here soon after. Still, I have the itch to do this all over again; to experience the thrill of someplace new. Ideally, I’d like to take my friends with me to co-exist in cozy apartments we’ve split the rent for. Here are the cities I’m currently crushing on:

Hong Kong

Wong Kar Wai’s romantic, dream-like depictions of Hong Kong in films like Chungking Express, In The Mood for Love, and Fallen Angels have me smitten with the neon textures of the city. I’ve always been wary of losing my mother tongue, Cantonese, so I would like the opportunity to immerse myself in the language again. As a media production major, I'm also interested in working in Hong Kong’s prolific film and T.V industry.

New York

When I was twelve, I took a quiz on Seventeen Magazine’s website to determine what post-secondary school I should attend. The results showed my interests would best fit a campus like NYU. I decided to stay in Canada for university, but it’s still an aspiration of mine to live in New York, perusing art galleries and attending theatre shows.

 

LA

Movies like 20th Century Women have made me romanticize a laid back, adventurous life in California. Of course, LA has to be on the list. I’d drive up to the beaches of Malibu and Santa Barbara on the weekend, admiring palm trees and cacti along the way.

Montreal

I visited Montreal for a day on a road trip with a volunteer group, and have been missing the city ever since. Montreal’s architecture makes you feel as though you’ve been transported to a European city, while still infusing metropolitan elements. Who can shy away from a city bustling with liveliness, culture, and delicious food?

Rome

The novel Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert has encouraged me to prioritize a work-life balance, which Gilbert attempted to strike in her three months in Italy. I too, would like to live in an environment in which I don’t feel ceaselessly pressured to hustle. 

“Planet Advertising in America orbits completely around the need to convince the uncertain consumer that yes, you have actually warranted a special treat. This Bud's for You! You Deserve a Break Today! Because You're Worth It! You've Come a Long Way, Baby… Such advertising campaigns would probably not be as effective in the Italian culture, where people already know that they are entitled to enjoyment in this life. The reply in Italy to "You Deserve a Break Today" would probably be, Yeah, no duh. That's why I'm planning on taking a break at noon, to go over to your house and sleep with your wife.” (Gilbert)

 

Portland

As a West Coast native, I have a soft spot for the Pacific Northwest. An Oregon travel diary from Goodnight Moon, an ASMR youtuber, spurred cozy fantasies of living in Portland. I imagined myself spending mornings in charming bookstore cafes and afternoons in quirky antique shops. The city itself seems so wonderfully strange in the way Pacific Northwest cities are.

Halifax

Halifax is the kind of city I want to retire in. The quaint port city features charming candy-coloured houses and peaceful docks to stroll along while having locally made ice cream. Not to mention, Halifax is home to Peggy’s Cove, an iconic Canadian attraction with a sublime view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape Cod

As a kid, I was obsessed with a middle-grade novel series The Wedding Planner’s Daughter. The books were set in Cape Cod, which made me fall in love with the idea of riding a bike to the beach each morning to eat saltwater taffy and read classic literature. Cape Cod is another contender for a dream retirement. (Or vacation home. A girl can dream.)

Nikita Zhang

Toronto MU '22

Nikita's hipster high school teachers sparked her love for slice-of-life podcasts, books, and movies. Whether oversharing through introspective conversations or scribbling journal entries, she'll do whatever it takes to make sense of life. One day, she hopes to write stories for the screen, the radio, or for print. On the side, she bakes and plays the piano mediocrely but passionately.
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