0

#Qatar2022 Adventures

January 17th, 2014
Flight from Doha -> Washington D.C. -> Syracuse

Next Stop: Doha, Qatar!! #FrankieDiaries #EdventuresInQatar

A post shared by Bryan Chin-Yu Chou (@bchou1234) on

I am still struggling to accept what happened in the past three weeks, having been in a coma on this plane for the past 10 hours definitely does not help. I guess I will try to clear things up as I talk & verbalize my feelings:

As you might or might have not known, I was volunteering in South Africa over winter break. It was definitely the most life-changing 2 weeks of my life. After saying bye to the volunteers and the kids, I headed to Doha, Qatar for the 2022 Women’s Soccer Challenge competition.

Just to give you some background information, Qatar is hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and they sent out a brief, through EdVentures Partners to 33 selected US and Canadian universities, to encourage Qatari girls between the ages of 6 and 17, to play football (soccer). At the same time, the research and strategy need to take the Qatari cultural sensitivities into consideration, as well as the Qatar 2030 National Vision, which ranges from human to economic development for Qatar.

When I received this brief back in September 2013, I really considered requesting for another brief. Really, though, where was I gonna start to do any kind of research? How can I possibly assemble the right information for this “Impossible Brief,” as I called it throughout the semester?

Time flew by, and the team had a lot of bumps along the road. As a 5-person team consisting all seniors with no faculty supervision and minimum resources, I couldn’t even imagine being in Qatar. Even though I was impressed by our first round of submission, I had no faith in placing as one of the top 3 finalists at the time…until December 22nd, the day before we were supposed to find out about the top 3 finalists, when I received an email from the EdVentures Partners Account Manager asking me to confirm the team’s availability to travel to Qatar IF we were in the top 3. This email was such a surprise as I was on the couch and drinking wine. I immediately called my teammates, telling them that we had been placed in the top 5 and the final notification would come in the next day.

The next 27 hours were torture! While the email, sent at 9pm, said that the decision would be made in the next 24 hours, it wasn’t till 11pm the next day that I received the only email (so far) that had made me scream so loud in public. I could not get off of my phone because I was too busy calling my teammates, my parents, and posting on every social media outlet possible.

When I was flying to Doha on Qatar Airways, I guess I did not really take the time to fully accept this opportunity I was fortunate enough to have to go explore yet another country. It was not until when I landed and was transported from the airport to the W Hotel in a BMW that I had fully realized how amazing this was. All paid for hotel, meals, transportation, and most importantly an opportunity to see such a fascinating country before the world sees it in 2022.

With about 90% of the nation’s population living in its capital, Doha, you can clearly see how rapid the country is evolving. While the central business district area is filled with skyscrapers, areas around the central business area are all under construction with amazing future plans such as the Qatar National Museum.

The Doha skyline view from dinner tonight. I'm spoiled. #PrincessDiaries #EdventuresInQatar #Qatar2022

A post shared by Bryan Chin-Yu Chou (@bchou1234) on

Eating lunch at 360 on top of The Torch, Doha at the Aspire Academy, having dinner on a boat on the Persian Gulf, and going on a desert safari, Doha was nothing but a paradise to me. Everyday was so planned out with three-meal courses for lunch & dinner, three hours apart starting after a breakfast buffet. Q22 stands for gaining 22 pounds in Qatar!

Carrie Bradshaw may take Abu Dhabi, but real princesses take #Doha. #PrincessDiaries #EdventuresInQatar #Qatar2022

A post shared by Bryan Chin-Yu Chou (@bchou1234) on

While the fun parts are very fun, we went to Doha for the Q22 Women’s Soccer Challenge advertising competition. During the week, we would get home from all the fun activities at 10pm and would start working on perfecting the presentation until 1 or 2am while we would have to wake up at 7 for another day of activities.

Lunch at The Torch, the tallest building in Doha, Qatar. #EdventuresInQatar #PrincessDiaries

A post shared by Bryan Chin-Yu Chou (@bchou1234) on

The @aspirezoneqa Dome seen from The Torch Doha. #EdventuresInQatar #PrincessDiaries

A post shared by Bryan Chin-Yu Chou (@bchou1234) on

No sleep + stress + trying to have fun = recipe for the most memorable week I’ve ever had in my life. By the time presentation day came, the team and I had already passed the point of being nervous. Between ironing my shirt and pants, having lunch with the judges and some professors who will be sitting in the audience, and having last run-throughs, I couldn’t find time to be nervous about standing on a stage and giving a pitch to an audience of supposedly 100 people.

The overall experience is indescribable. I can’t seem to find the appropriate vocab in my brain to properly describe the scenery I saw while I was there… I truly had one of the most amazing weeks of my life. Many people have asked me if I personally believe that Qatar is ready to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup…the amount of resources and energy the Qatari government puts into investing the growth of the country as well as its citizens is truly astonishing. One does not simply envision where Qatar will be in 2022, so my answer is yes; if Qatar can’t do it, I don’t believe any other country can.

The Museum of Islamic Art, same designer of @NewhouseSU I. #EdventuresInQatar #PrincessDiaries

A post shared by Bryan Chin-Yu Chou (@bchou1234) on

Even sunsets are better here in Doha. #EdventuresInQatar #Qatar2022

A post shared by Bryan Chin-Yu Chou (@bchou1234) on

Doha, I will come back. Watch me. #Qatar2022 #EdventuresInQatar

A post shared by Bryan Chin-Yu Chou (@bchou1234) on

Thanks to these lovely people for taking @syracuseu team all the way to FIRST PLACE HERE AT #Qatar2022!!!!

A post shared by Bryan Chin-Yu Chou (@bchou1234) on

school starts today…blah

#PrincessDiaries

ps. I tweeted out that last picture the second we found out that we had won the competition…little did I know that it became the “official” picture that was included in all of the press releases. If I had known, I would have photoshopped my face a little. ugh.

2

[SUMMER] Fries, Waffles, Beer, Chocolate

Bonjour my friends.

A part of our ADV 300 – Comparative Cultures in Advertising course (yes, I’m actually taking a class in London) is visiting Saatchi & Saatchi Brussels office and Toyota European headquarters located in Brussels, and that was this past weekend. We woke up at 5am and headed to St. Pancras station to take the Eurostar to Brussels. It was a tough ride.

Once we got there, there was no stopping us from getting food. I was casually looking through the menu and then I saw my favorite Croque Madame was on it! Needless to say I enjoyed my brunch very very much.

IMG_0650

After a quick lunch break, we were on our way to Saatchi & Saatchi! Our professor got us a bus which is obviously too small for 11 people (#Sarcasm) and of course it was a #PartyBus.

IMG_0651

And then we were here! The office itself wasn’t really big, but it was very “Saatchi,” according to our professor, who’s worked at Saatchi for over 20 years. Clean design with a lot of white while the creative side of the office is very free and limitless.

IMG_0661

IMG_7251

Best sugar candy ever. Little drops of heaven 

IMG_0666

Saatchi’s Cannes Advertising awards

IMG_7252

The creative side of the office

IMG_0663

IMG_0659

Group pics!

Overall, I was really impressed by Saatchi’s presentation. It was very detailed and organized. It was obvious that Saatchi focuses a lot on strategy – finding the human truth as their reasoning for their advertising creatives and strategies. It was great having the opportunity to really see advertising agencies at work.

IMG_0657

This is a building in Brussels. #lol based on my understanding with my poor French skills, the driver said this was a place where the loyal families are buried after they passed away

IMG_7255

Just a casual chocolate shop in Brussels. I’m now officially on a strict diet because of all the chocolate I ate (and still have a lot of it in my bag to eat throughout the summer hehe)

After the visit, we went to the Grand Place for dinner. La Grand Place is one of the most beautiful plazas in the world where you’re surrounded by beautiful and enormous architecture, and you just can’t help but to take a lot of pictures.

IMG_7273

IMG_7258

Panomara

IMG_7262

IMG_7272

With my girls Abby Boo and Ali G-star 

1006172_10152921900280543_310823865_n

We came, we saw, we conquered.

IMG_7264

This is where we had our dinner – paid by Syracuse University (thanks boo!) Fresh seafood with tons of options on entrees and appetizers. Hashtag nom!

IMG_7269

Mussels 

IMG_7268

IMG_7270

Aaaaaaand we absolutely killed it. Please remember this is a bill in Euros and for 12 people. Welp, education fees at their finest

The night just kept getting better. My little Willy Ho, who’s been studying in Strasbourg for the past 6 months, came to Brussels to visit! We met up after dinner and decided to take over the city.

IMG_7287

Was gonna take a selfie with my little but Brittany’s photobomb just made this so much better

IMG_7276

992980_10201257156253631_512718438_n

First we went to see the Manneken Pis. I still don’t really understand the importance of the statue, but we came to see it anyways. I heard they dress him up for different occasions, too bad they didn’t dress him up in Syracuse gear for our arrival.

IMG_7274

We went to Karaoke for the night by accident. It was bizarre because while all we wanted to do was sing Brittany Spears (or, in my case, Sk8er Boi by Avril Lavigne) and laugh, everyone else was signing French ballads. We still had a great time, though, and it was quite the experience!

IMG_7280

1013918_10201257059691217_2095979955_n

Sk8er Boi. Crushin’ it!

The next day we went around Brussels for a bit before our visit to Toyota. Brussels is a big city yet small enough to walk around, if you have the strength and the time. I actually prefer to walk around while visiting places because it really gives a good perspective of the place. Famous cities are not just made out of famous architecture and monuments, there’s also the people and the culture part, and that’s what’s important about traveling.

IMG_0685

what an unfortunate design for a souvenir? 

IMG_0684

IMG_0682

I really do not understand Belgium’s obsession with baby statues. They’re literally everywhere. 

IMG_0669

the legendary Belgian waffles

IMG_0670

LOVE

IMG_7290

The Royal Palace

IMG_7293

972130_10152921907030543_311042120_n

My bestie roommie Will and I took over

IMG_0681

IMG_0677

IMG_0676

IMG_0673

IMG_0672

another baby statue…

IMG_0671

And we were off to Toyota! It was so professional and so great to have the opportunity to hear from the client side of the whole advertising business. Toyota, being the number 1 car manufacturer in the world, really has a lot of important lessons to teach us.

IMG_0686

IMG_0688

Ali feeling official with her name tag 

IMG_0687

I’m pretty official myself 

IMG_0692

The class takes Toyota!

After the visit, we all separated for the weekend. My little, Paige, and I stayed in Brussels for the remaining of the day. We decided to walk around Brussels to really see the city. Belgium/Brussels is very interesting – unlike anything I’ve seen before. Having been heavily influenced by 3 different cultures – the Dutch, the French, and the German, the architecture, the people, the culture, everything is so mixed and you just feel like anyone and anything could blend in easily here.

IMG_0694

IMG_0735

IMG_0732

My little and I are totally models. 

IMG_0717

IMG_0716

Best. Waffels. Ever.

IMG_0712

IMG_0711

IMG_0710

IMG_0708

IMG_0707

IMG_0702

IMG_0701

IMG_0699

IMG_0696

IMG_0695

IMG_7298

IMG_0762

And then we went out to two bars – A La Bécasse and Delirium Café

The first one is kind of a cool-to-experience place, but if you’re looking for a popping bar/pub, go to Delirium Cafe – one of the most fun bars I’ve ever been to. Delirium is a Belgian beer with high alcohol volume. It’s not the best tasting beer I’ve had, but one has got to try Belgian beer while in Belgium, right?

IMG_0774

IMG_0773

The next day we made a day trip to Luxembourg – a small country with a lot to see. We took the train there at 7 in the morning. While the Internet said it’d take 2 hours to get there, the train actually took a little more than 3 hours, so if you’re ever thinking about going to Luxembourg from Brussels, plan accordingly!

IMG_0780

so excited! 😀

IMG_0789

IMG_0792

IMG_0791

We here! 

I can’t really tell you where we were or what I took pictures of since I don’t really know myself. I wasn’t quite prepared to get the “proper” look of Luxembourg since I didn’t do any research about the place. I was kind of in the mood to just walk and explore, and it was a lot of fun!

IMG_7302

 

IMG_7303

IMG_0828

 

IMG_0815 

IMG_0808

 

IMG_7319

IMG_0831

IMG_0803

We have a special bond… it’s a Bryan-Wilson thing

IMG_0800

IMG_0837

And we ran into our friends in Luxembourg! What a small country! Literally!

IMG_7317

IMG_7312

IMG_7308

IMG_0840

At a Casemate. I don’t even know.

IMG_0864

IMG_0861

IMG_0859

IMG_0855

IMG_0834

Luxembourg guard. Hi.

IMG_0793

IMG_0869

I didn’t choose the thug life. The thug life chose me.

IMG_0871

IMG_7329

IMG_7351

Nek Minute! It’s a slang from New Zealand – “Next Minute”

IMG_7338

The trio takes Delirium Cafe for the second time in a row

IMG_7348

Hi German tourist!

IMG_7340

IMG_7339

IMG_7364

IMG_7361

IMG_7370

 

IMG_7375

And then we all came back to London. Overall this is yet another great weekend to be alive. Belgium is definitely one of a kind, and I would love to come back again soon. My stay in Belgium was only in Brussels, so I’d love to visit some very Flemish part in the North and some very French-influenced cities in the South part too. I loved my stay in Brussels and Luxembourg. I met some people from Germany and New Zealand; I ate a lot of chocolate, waffles, fries, and had a lot of beer (oops). I’ve been going on 5 mile runs everyday since I’ve been back from Brussels, but I can still feel the fries inside my body 😦

I have a week of class in London but traveling again to Barcelona this weekend! It’s going to be my first time in Spain, so I am very excited! Please stay tuend for some amazing Spanish passion next week and I hope you enjoyed this blog post as well 🙂

bisou bisou ❤

“I’m now on a strict diet” Bryan

0

Pre-Departure Thoughts – London here I come!

Image

Photo taken during my Thanksgiving trip to Europe with the best princesses and my inspiration for the name of this blog Christina Fieni and Ally Santillo in 2012 ❤ Can’t believe I’m going back again!

I’m leaving for London in about 12 hours, and this time I’ll be there for 6 weeks with Syracuse University’s Comparative Cultures in Advertising summer program. I am beyond excited despite this being my third time visiting London. 

I’m excited because this time I’m going for a whole different purpose. My first time was a family trip, and my second time was for sight-seeing, touring, and pub-hopping. There will of course be some sight-seeing and definitely a lot of pub-hopping this summer, but I’m more excited to really dig into the local pop culture and custom and try to understand Britain in a different perspective. 

This summer, I also have the opportunity to visit around Europe while I’m in London. So far, I’ve planned visiting a great friend in Germany and visiting Belgium with my PhiDelt little (can’t wait to see you!)! After my 6 weeks in London, I’ll be spending another 3 weeks in Paris to study Design through Parsons The New School. This will be my forth time in Paris, but somehow every time I still fall in love with this amazing city. 

Image

I’m also excited for my friends to come visit and explore the city and fun with me. I’m also excited to practice my French where I’ll be ordering lunches with difficult names for my friends and moi (see what I did there? Haha!). Hopefully I’ll have time between school and fun to manage this blog! 

I feel very fortunate for these opportunities. I absolutely love traveling – I always feel more informed, more connected, more mature, and more enriched after a visit to somewhere I’m not too familiar or comfortable with. Some of the most important lessons I’ve learned about how I want to live my life have come from outside the classroom, so hopefully I’ll be able to put myself in situations where I can fully explore these places and also my perspective. 

Image

Europe here I come! Here’s to a great summer and amazing stories to share! Hopefully I’ll come back more grown up, more experienced, and most importantly in one piece. 

xo,

Bryan

 

 

ps. be sure to follow my trip via my Instagram and Twitter: bchou1234