Nova Scotia

How long has it been since I was last here… babies conceived during the last time I updated have already been born.


The past year has been a whirlwind of mostly me, well…


You get the picture.

Anyway, this summer I went to visit a place that was next to ocean, lots of seafood and rain.

Nova Scotia!!!

I’ve been hearing many good things about the Maritimes and Atlantic Canada. Most of my friends have not been there, so I went with my grad school friends, Kelly and Xinyu. I really enjoyed it, next time I might go all out Anne of Green Gables and visit P.E.I.?

Our first stop was Mahone Bay which was close to Lunenberg. We stayed at the Kip and Kaboodle Backpacker’s Hostel for one night.


The owner Greg was a very kind man, originally from New Zealand.

The first day we spend walking around Mahone Bay, which literally had just one of everything. (Except for restaurants, there were maybe three or four of them)


The people in this town were super nice! This small town of… 900 people. We were obviously tourists being the only Asian people in town… and carrying a selfie stick with us.

The next day we went to Lunenberg.


Lunenberg! Managed to catch a glimpse of the Bluenose, which in case you didn’t know is that boat on the Canadian dime. How’s that for important boats.


After our day trip to Lunenberg, we went over to Halifax, where we stayed at St Mary’s University. It was quite affordable and close enough to the city that we could walk there.

When we were in Halifax, we did this tour of the downtown area on this unusual amphibious vehicle that goes on both land and water.

They say if you walk down Spring Garden Road, you will bump into someone you know. Well, we don’t know anyone in this town, but we saw this lady the first time in the McDonald’s washroom and the second time outside the Central Library. We also saw a Japanese couple twice as well as this kid we originally saw at the Seaport Farmer’s Market. No joke.

We spent 2 days in Halifax and on our final day, we managed to book a tour to Peggy’s Cove on our last day.

Asked this lady to take a photo of us with the iconic Peggy’s Cove lighthouse.

I mean, when you visit a fancy lighthouse and ask for a photo, I think it’s safe to say you want the fancy lighthouse in it.

We were better off with our selfie stick.

Anyway before we left, my friend Kelly picked up 3 lobsters at the airport because did you
know you can buy live lobsters at the airport.


That is a wrap for my trip around Nova Scotia! Honestly, it was quite different from the usual vacations I take. I can no longer look at lobsters without thinking about how weird they look.

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I’m sure most of you have at least heard of this legendary fruit. Durian is a big deal where I am from. Some of the best durians are reputed to come from Penang island.

There are actually many cultivars of durian, and they all have really funky sounding names worthy of small time thugs.


It is impossible to properly describe the odour and flavour of a durian without actually encountering one in the flesh. I have heard many descriptions ranging from mango and papaya to rotten onions soaked in turpentine. Very colourful, but not very useful.

I went to the market this morning with my aunts to pick some durian. It was super fascinating to watch the sellers pick and cut durian.



Sometimes a durian borer appears in the durian, which is quickly fed to the seller’s prize-winning Arowana as durian borer sashimi.



My relationship with durian is complicated. I think I used to kind of like it as a kid, and then while on vacation in Pangkor Island I got food poisoning from durian ice cream.



No durian for the next two-thirds of my life.

I then became the designated bee swatter at every subsequent durian party.


My reintroduction to durian happened 3 years ago at someone’s durian party.


It didn’t taste bad. The texture was like… if ice cream grew on trees… it tasted sweet, and I kind of liked it a little bit.offer





What do you guys know about durian? Share your thoughts in the comments! Check out a recent painting that I made of durian on my facebook page!

First Summer Adventure

A while back I blogged about my amazing experience flying and getting bumped up to business class.

Recently, I *may* have made fun of a completely insane flight schedule here while I was looking for flight tickets, which I did not take up.

This time flying from Toronto to Penang , I decided to fly with China Airlines because of the short layover and direct flight.

The day started off normally. I had to lug a couple of massive suitcases over to the airport, which wasn’t so bad because my friend helped me.


My flight wasn’t till 10pm but I got the airport at 4pm because I was a super keener. So I listened to a few podcasts before being able to check in.


The flight was about 4.5 hours to Vancouver. By the time I got to Vancouver I was so tired from all the packing and moving that I was looking forward to sleeping on the plane for the next 13 hours.

I decided to change into something more comfortable for the 13 hour flight.


While I was waiting at the gate, I heard the ground staff call my name. They mentioned that WestJet allowed for 10kg in your carry-on while China Airlines only allowed for 7kg. Since my carry-on was over that limit, they had to check it in.


I was so out of it I said “yeah, sure whatever” because I thought that I would only be away from my carry-on for a little while and I would rough it out. Technically they shouldn’t have taken my carry-on, you are allowed one personal item (in this case my backpack) and one carry-on.

So we got on the plane and I was seated next to this mega wizened lady. I fell asleep in my seat before we even took off…


I woke up 2 hours later to find out that we were still on the ground.


The plane engine was busted and they had to ship parts… from Taipei. So our flight was delayed for almost 24 hours.

We were told that due to limited airport hotel rooms available, those from Vancouver had to be sent home by cab to await the rescheduled departure time.

They put me in this room that was usually reserved for those with special needs. I had a king sized bed and massive everything. Showers, bathroom… everything was about three times the usual size.


Keep in mind that they had taken my carry-on with all my clothes and toiletries so I had no change of clothes.

I had a meal voucher at the hotel restaurant but everything there was so expensive. I mean who pays $18 for 3 pancakes and $8 for juice? Apparently me.


Since I had a whole day in Vancouver to do whatever I wanted, I decided to look for Japadogs.


I also spent my day sitting at the beautiful waterfront eating Japadogs and staring at boats.


When I got back to the airport I lined up for my new boarding pass and was given a coupon for inflight purchases and another meal voucher.

I was so tired from this ridiculous delay that I think I slept for about 8 of the 13 hours.

When we landed in Taipei they gave us chocolate to apologize for the delay. Those with connecting flights were ushered off into the business class lounge to rest.


Since I obviously missed my connecting flight to Penang, they put me on a flight to Kuala Lumpur and then on MAS to Penang.

Now the entire point of my flying with China Airlines was because I wanted to avoid having to go to Kuala Lumpur… but nope, the stars determined that I had to fly to KL.

So I spent the next few hours at the China Airlines lounge in Taipei eating dumplings trying to sleep without actually falling asleep.


My flight to Kuala Lumpur was pleasant. I actually watched a couple of Chinese movies, but by the time I got to KLIA I was pretty much busted. I rolled past immigration with my ninja turtle backpack over to the gate, only to find out that they had switched the gate.

I managed to catch a ride on one of those airport buggy things to the second gate.


Only to find out that they changed the gate AGAIN.


Needless to say that when I got to Penang my internal battery was so drained I was ready to pass out.


China Airlines, providing me with the first adventure of summer.
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The Great Canadian Outdoors

Everyone in our program has to go through two field courses where we go out into the wilderness and do outdoor things.

The first field course was held during late summer and was incredibly overwhelming.


The second field course was held during early spring. This time I understood what we were doing, I just didn’t know why we were doing it.


This year, the course was held during the coldest week in April. The week before and after, it was nice and sunny and the weather was amazing, and then suddenly BOOM. Below freezing temperatures. Rain. Maybe a MINI TORNADO.


The week after the field course it was back to sunshine, rainbows and happiness.The weather knows. It knows when we are outdoors.

Almost every day of the field course, we were outdoors measuring, recording and sketching things.Our trip started off on a very windy and rainy Monday at Ashbridges Bay and Leslie Street Spit where we collected data and made transects.


Next day, we visited St Williams Nursery where they specialize in growing and selling native plants.


After that, we headed over to Backus Woods, one of the best remaining examples of a Carolinian forest. We met this super tree enthusiast named Mary who knew everything.


There was an overnight camping trip near Long Point, which was actually a lot of fun. We roasted marshmallows, had a barbeque and played games.


Next day we got to see how birds were tagged so that we can observe changes in their migratory path.


Birds are cute. I like birds.

We visited the beach on Long Point Provincial Park near Lake Erie. It was 50km/h winds and a little bit of snow. So you know, not the best beach weather.



Nothing like a little snow on the beach to say welcome to Canada!

After our totally insane outdoors trip we had a planting excursion where we planted some river willow.



We dug out trees, wrapped some trees in burlap, and planted a bunch of dogwood. All when the temperature was -2 Celcius.



All in all, the weather was not the greatest but I think the trip was pretty fun.I think the trip was quite eye opening… actually I think the weather added to how interesting it was.

If you like this you should like my Facebook page and follow me Instagram to see photos I took during the field course! 🙂

Maple Syrup Harvest

Yoooooo! I’m finally back after a bit of inactivity. An intense schedule would drive anyone into workaholic mode. Past few months have been busy but rewarding? Lots of really interesting stuff happened.

I did yoga for the first time, wearing all the wrong clothes because of my last minute decision to just pop in.


A lot of rendering  and playing Love Live! SIF while waiting for things to render.


And Chinese New Year!


But the important thing is that I am here I am doodling again.


A couple weeks ago I attended a maple syrup harvest organized by my school. It sounded like a unique experience and it was held at Hart House Farm in Caledon so I said… why not.

While we were on the bus, there was some girl next to us who was doing some school work. And here, Julie and I were trying to not think about school work.


We got to Caledon at about 11am and were greeted with a pretty amazing pancake brunch.

Julie and I had 2 helpings because… the food was really good.


After brunch we went to visit the sugar bush where all the maple trees were.


The maple sap is carried away from the trees in this web of tubes all the way to the sugar shack where it is boiled down to syrup.

We got to sample some of the maple syrup produced right on the farm.Apparently it takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to get 1 gallon of syrup which explains why it’s so expensive.


The farm was really spectacular! Julie and I had been there before for our field course back in September. This time we walked about in the open fields in late winter, got our shoes muddy…  and sliced open a some insect infested goldenrod bulb to expose the fly larvae within.


It felt really good to be out of the city for a while. Even though half the time while we were at the farm we were thinking about school work.

But we got to decorate sugar cookies!


Overall I would say it was a really fun and educational short trip. I had a good time and I would definitely try to go again and again.

If you like what you see here please check out my facebook and give me a thumbs up! Also my twitter for funsies. I try to update there most of the time…. when I’m not swimming in an ocean of work that is.

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The landscape architecture student

Today we will be talking about the landscape architecture student.

Here we see a new landscape architecture student eager to start their day doing landscape architecture student things.


The students are frequently seen in groups in their natural habitat– the studio. While some of them return to their quarters to sleep at night, it is not uncommon to doze off within the studio walls.


A typical life cycle begins with the introduction of a project. Here we see a landscape architecture student reading the project description.


Of course, their studio project isn’t the only project they have. They also have assignments on visual communication.


Site engineering.




History and criticism.


Roughly once every 2 weeks, we see the landscape architecture student perform a ritual known as “plotting”


They also face the panel which consists of their instructors and occasionally, guest critics. The landscape architecture student then has 5 minutes to justify all the design decisions made in the duration of 2 weeks.


After the review, the landscape architecture student retires to their quarters for a well deserved rest.

It is not uncommon to rest before they even make it to their quarters.


And then the following week, they start all over again.


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Feel free to share with your fellow landscape architecture students!

Disclaimer: Resemblance to anyone real or fictional is purely coincidental. Keep well, landscape architecture students!


HI EVERYONE. Sorry I disappeared for the past couple of months. Thank you for continuing to support my doodles. It makes me very happy to know that people are interested in what I have to say/draw.


Even when I don’t post, people from all over the world still manage to come to my blog. WHERE DO YOU GUYS COME FROM. Please don’t be afraid to say hi!!!

The past couple months have been beyond hectic, Especially the past few weeks. I am currently in Toronto, looking at trees.



When I first got here I was incredibly delighted by the cheap food options.


Also the fact that milk comes in bags is a bit weird.


I did some touristy things too, like go to Niagara Falls!


I am attempting to keep track of my life here in the city so that I can… draw more stuff. So I am writing down things in my journal because there so many interesting things here to see and do.


Until next time, I try to update my facebook page more frequently with quick doodles. Please follow!!! Otherwise you are missing out on all my adventures here in this crazy excuse for a metropolis.

Ning goes to New York (University and Chinatown)

Wei was at school so I decided to go sketching around her campus while waiting for her to be done.




There was this statue on campus which Wei insists is supposed to be Athena. athena


It did not look like Athena to me,  especially at night.



You be the judge. I was drawing this family where these Chinese grandparents were playing with their grandkids. I think their parents were either one of those mega elite students or brainy researchers at the university.

One of the grandpas asked me in Mandarin if I was doing my PhD. I’m not sure why he was so specific, I must have looked very smart to him.


Chinese Physiognomy at it’s finest.



One of the places Wei and I explored together was Chinatown.



From my experience, Chinatowns look very similar everywhere because Chinese businessman always display their goods in the same style since time immemorial. Walking around Chinatown with Wei, we found a very interesting store. I kid you not, the layout of the store was like this:



Good thing is, you can buy a new cell phone, get some new Kpop tunes, a bubble tea and get your hair done all in 1.5 places. I loved it.


We had dinner in Chinatown with Jeamme,our friend from grade school. It was so nice to see old friends and eat food spicy enough to burn off your tongue. Just kidding it wasn’t that spicy, well maybe for the untrained palate it is.


Just us being overly dramatic with our food. Jeamme is very proper as always. Of course we finished our meal with bubble tea. Not at the store which sold about 100 things, just a regular bubble tea store.



I told you Jeamme was proper.

If you like what you see, you should like me on the bookface.


Many of the recent drafts I made for this blog are jam-packed with feelings. Mostly of anxiety, worry, sudden panic with the  standard “what am I doing with myself”.


I have had a LOT of those feelings over the past few months. I’m pretty sure I have 7 drafts just on feelings. So I am sharing some of these, because most of my readers are around my age (and are also my friends lol), and also because:



So we can be lost together along with the power of friendship.

For a little while now, when I think I found a light, I find out the tunnel is closed.

I know adapting is always better than anticipating because … you can’t really anticipate anything anyway. I suppose this feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty is all a part of life.

When I met up with some of my high school friends a couple years back one of them commented how everyone had changed so much, but I was still the same, just older/more mature.


Rubbish.Being older and more mature already sounds like change to me. I know that I am definitely not the same person as I was in high school…and who wants to be the same from high school anyway. I mean look at that mess.

Sure I have qualities that are similar to my old self, but I am also very different from my high school self, or my university self, even myself from yesterday and I will continue to evolve for as long as I am breathing, hopefully for the better.

Sometimes I wish I could just fast forward to the years where none of these decisions will matter anymore. Maybe then, something like this would be happening:


Just kidding I would be the kind of grandma who would take my grandkid on my Vespa and ride across the rolling hills of Italy. Maybe. I don’t know. Something to laugh at when I’m older.



I might not have grandkids. I would first need to have kids in order to have grandkids. No where close to that stage in life yet and it may not even happen to me lolololol.

Oh my god, of all the songs to come next on my playlist, it’s “I Feel the Earth Move”.NOPE. SKY. YOU ARE NOT TUMBLING DOWN TODAY. 

Check out my facebook for goodies and updates on all of my weird.


I am on a journey to discover my “illustration style”…  Other folks can probably see it better than I can but I have an idea though, that it is something to do with painting and making things cute… I make everything look cute. I am slowly beginning to accept my inner kawaii.

I have illustrated a mini book that was inspired by an essay I wrote about mythology and shapeshifting. I really admire those who can rock poiesis beautifully , like Maya Lin and her Vietnam War Memorial. Previously I thought people who are masters of the poetic object were people who had a lot of feelings… but the opposite seems more likely, because they are calmer and more in control of their feelings they are able to express them more poetically.

This is my attempt to be poetic, kind of like… metamorphosis for kids. I like Kafka.

So here are some sketches! I have several pages, but I’m just showing the more interesting ones (I write down remind me to do things, like watch Rick Mercer Talks to Americans on YouTube)


I was listening to a lot of Galileo Galilei at the time, and I was having designer’s block, so I put on their album Baby, It’s Cold Outside and doodled.

時計塔 was my favourite song of the album, along with 夢に唄えば

lol idk why am I telling you this but I listen to a lot of Japanese music.


Figuring out the images and the flow of the pages. Lol I wrote Journey to the West, I think I might do book covers for those classic Chinese books, all the covers I’ve seen are pretty bad.

Scan 1

Cliones! Originally I wanted to draw everything in ink…

Scan 8

And then I realized it looked kind of weird.


So my book is called Morph! Which is kind of a modern metamorphosis fairy tale.


I just really wanted to show off the fact that I cut out the word “Morph” 8)


The evolution of the clione image above. I kinda grew attached to this kid after I drew him so much, I named him Rory.


Rory is playing cards with a fox


Rory is not afraid of the eel-man.


Rory befriends this strange bird.


Rory is comforted the Bird King.


Rory turns into a bug.


Rory is actually a spider.

I’m thinking of doing a Morph 2… applying lessons I learned making this book. It was really fun, making the book I mean.

Also I’ve been trying to find a regular update day that I will be able to fit into my schedule. After playing around, from the next post on, my update day is either Wednesday or Sunday (Mountain Time Zone). So unless I have something scheduled, I will try my update every week on either Wednesdays or Sundays. Since it’s technically Saturday now… I will see you next Wednesday or Sunday!

I also started a Ask Me Anything page. I will try my best to get back to whatever questions as soon as I can. Or you can comment too lol.