Archive for the ‘UMW’ Category

Ok, Now Where Did She Go This Time?!?

Friday, March 13th, 2015

That’s right folks! Spring Break 2015 has come and gone. Did I just sit around and do nothing all week long? OF COURSE NOT!! This adventure took me to Costa Rica with my Tropical Biology class. Yea, you read that right, I got to spend a week in paradise for college credit! Check out the highlights of my trip below!

 

 

Roma, Italia

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Can I beginning with something that isn’t related to Rome?! Well I will.  So Cory Monteith died yesterday.  For those who do not know, he played Finn on Glee.  Y’all know how much I love Glee.  Well he will be missed, and Glee will not be the same without you.  Thanks! (:

So I left for Rome, Friday morning and didn’t get there till 4pm that afternoon.  The rides were not that bad.  Also, security in Europe is so careless.  Erin got through security at Rome with a big bottle of water.  What? And I looked like a fool walking through the machine with my shoes off while everyone else had their shoes on. Oh that was fun times.  Well, I took the bus to Termini Station and on the way there I saw the Colosseum!! It is so huge you guys, like so huge!  So I found Erin and her friend Annie (from Mary Wash).  We took the metro to our hotel, the metro was so dirty and so much graffiti! I use to like graffiti and the art of it, but it is over used in Europe!  Like every open space has graffiti! STOP!! Can I just say I got a really good deal on this hotel and it was so nice and had free breakfast! BOOM

We decided to look at some sites Friday night and do the rest on Saturday!   First, we walked to the Colosseo = Colosseum and Arco di Costantino = Arch of Constantine, which were right beside each other.  [I forgot my camera charger, so I only have pictures form my phone, sorry!].  The Colosseum is seriously so huge in person and every place we went they were doing construction on the architecture! But we still were able to see the structures! Then, since we were there, we walked around the Roman Forum too.  Afterwards, we took the Colosseo metro to the Spagna metro stop, which is near the Trinità dei Monti (a church) which is famous for having the SPANISH STEPS.  We tried to understand its importance but there isn’t anything other that it leads to this church which I was unaware of till we saw the stairs!  I just kept saying that I saw the stairs in so many movies, why not go to the stairs!  Then, it was time for dinner! We found this outdoor restaurant, and I ordered spaghetti de carbonara (which is spaghetti with bacon, eggs and black pepper).  It had bacon in it so I was down! And for dessert I ordered terimisu (which is cake- usually angel cake- drenched in coffee and then topped with whipped cream and extra topping), that was amazingly good!  I was so impressed (: !! Then, we walked to the Fountana di Trevi = the Trevi Fountain, Erin heard it was way prettier at night So it was about 10pm and we thought the same; it was so gorgeous and huge!  I had no idea it was actually that big.  We were on one side at first, then we moved closer to the fountain and we did the traditional “throw a coin into the fountain”, which means you will return to Rome!! Let’s try!  Finally, we got tired and took the metro back to our hotel, but Erin got shut out of the metro! I have never seen her so terrified and then the doors opened again and we came in. We laughed it off, but I would have hated for her to be by herself in that creepy metro station!image

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imageSaturday, we got ready and went to the floor above us and had breakfast! It was so good!  They even had Hot chocolate, which I had.  I had a piece of chocolate and vanilla marble cake and a glazed croissant, then a piece of turkey (sandwich meat stuff) with toast!  It was so good, I somewhat got seconds.. (:!  After we checked out we started our adventure with a metro ride from Piramide to Ottaviana , which is the stop for the Vatican City!  So you don’t need your passport to enter, but you needed appropriate attire to enter the museum and other building!  We didn’t make the cut, so we just took pictures of the Basilica St. Pietro = St. Peter’s church.  Y’all, this is where the pope talks and a lot of people stand at the bottom!  It is such a big area!  Apparently, only the pope and maybe some nuns live in the Vatican City!  Weird!  Anyways, we walked to Campo dè Fiori, which is like the Easter Market in DC but way smaller.  It was past noon, so we each bought a cup of fresh fruit! Also, that day was so hot! WE deiced to get lunch then at Ja’Jamma.  We al ordered pizza and this place made Nepali (the type from in Nepal, Italy) and it was so, so good and thick-crusted! The next place is something Erin picked, because her teacher told them about it in one of their italian classes.  It is called  Piazza Novana and has 3 really nice fountains.  The fountains had some great architecture, almost like roman mythology people.  I mean, I never really paid attention to that stuff in high school, but they had fish legs and some were naked!  Also, a lot of people were selling painted pictures, which was pretty cool!  Literally, 3 blocks away was the Pantheon and when we turned this corner we found it and it was so huge!  Fun fact: The height of the Pantheon is the same as the diameter of the dome!  So it’s as tall as it is wide!  It has this huge hole at the top and 22 small holes in the floor for draining when it rains!  So cool, it was built in 126… DANG!  We walked a few blocks north to this gelato place called Giolitti, on Via degli Uffici d. Vicario!  It was so nice, you had to buy the order first then go up to the bar and tell the man what you wanted. There were like 50 flavors and all in Italian, that was fun.  You could get up to 3 flavors on one cone/cup.  I ended up getting Ciocolotto e menta con panna = chocolate and mint with whipped cream!  It was some real mint gelato.  So I literally told Erin it tasted like bitting fresh mint form my backyard and then i saw a mint left in it and was like THIS IS SO REAL MINT!  Fresh out the garden!  Afterwards, we walked down this big shopping street called  Via del Corsotowards the Piazza del Popolo, that had two famous paintings by artist I don’t know but it was so huge and beautiful.  Lastly, we headed back to the hotel to get out bags and we headed for the hotel!  That was such a successful and packed trip but I enjoyed it.

The thing I liked the most about Rome were the beautiful Italian guys !!  No,let me stop yes they were gorgeous but the italian atmosphere was amazing.  There were people on the street and on the metros playing Italian music that you hear in movies! IT’S REAL YOU GUYS!!!  The music is real and the language is so beautiful and way more understandable than spanish!  I’ll probably be speaking spanish in an italian accent all week!  But the Pantheon and Colosseum surprised me with their size!  They were so nice!  Ahh, I miss it already!

The things they said a lot:

  • ciao = hello and godbye
  • grazi = thank you!

All I could think of was the movie Eat, Pray, Love!  I was trying to envision Julia Roberts in Rome with us and enjoying all of it!  Ciao for now Rome! (:

THE RUNNING OF the people from THE BULLS!

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Today I had such an amazing experience.  Our program bought us tickets to go to Pamplona to see the Running of the Bulls!!!  That was so amazing!

Let’s get into some logistics here.  It (the running of the bulls event) goes on for 8 days.  Saturday to Saturday!  It begins every morning at 8am with the bulls running down the streets (that are blocked off so the bulls know where to run) with “trained” runners in their places.  Side note: runners are not allowed to be drunk (dangerous of course).  The bulls run down about 3 blocks then into the Plaza de Toros.  Then, from there the bulls are guided to go into a designated area outside the arena, away from the people and runners.  They do this thing where they put one wild bull into the arena with the people and let it go wild, which they do with about 6 different bulls.  Yes, people get hit and possible broken bones.  In the afternoon, they do a (or a few?) bull fight (I’m unsure of the number). And this repeats for 8 days!  Enjoy it, I guess! (people were sleeping in sleeping bags in the parks nearby and Pamplona looks like a hell-hole… terrible because people just drink all day everyday)! So it’s dirty but it’s a pretty city (just not during this week) when it’s clean.

 

I will post videos on the event, because I prefer videos over pictures of this!

Anyways, I really enjoyed this thing.  Let’s get to some real stuff here.  So I talked it over with my pops when I arrived back at the apartment, but we basically agreed that this is animal cruelty.  But he was glad I experienced it.  I agree though, basically, they bring these bulls into the arena and taunt them in the morning.  At night, they have a bull fight.  If you do not know what a bull fight is, let me explain it to you, and I just learned about this today so don’t judge my knowledge.  There’s a bull, a matador, and people on horses.  The beginning is suppose to be a beautiful piece (look it up on youtube or something for a visual) of the bull and matador.  Then the people on the horses throw spears at the bull near its head to make it weak enough to not lift its head up to fight.  Eventually, they try to throw a spear at it’s heart to kill it.  Apparently, it was meant to be a privilege for the bull and the matador to do this beautiful piece.  It’s tough to even explain.  The bull is then cleaned and cut up by the butcher.  Ok, moving on. I made my statement.

The part where the runners taunt the wild bulls is so confusing.  SO they let out one bull and the runners from the streets are still in this arena and they taunt the bull.  They can taunt it by hitting it’s butt, pulling its tail, jumping at it, or just running from it.  Anything to get it aroused.  They did this about 6 times with 6 different bulls.  I thought this part was fun.  So the main point is to get the bull upset and have it chase you but you being able to escape the bull.  A couple of times, people were fast enough to run away but there are so many people in the arena that it was hard to escape the bull.  I was literally in the edge of my seat the whole time, because people could get seriously hurt but maybe because it was my first time.  Either way, it was so exciting.  The number one rule is to respect the animal.  You’re not allowed to ride the animal or to grab its horns in an aggressive way (like to have control over it)!!!  Because you will be beat up by the locals.  This guy got shoved on top of the bull and was riding it and I was cheering because now he can say he has ridden a bull.  Apparently, that’s not the right idea.  He was hit/punched in the face, slapped, and kicked numerous times and then someone finally said to him to basically respect the animal and don’t ever do that again.  It was funny, but sad.  I was so shocked, but it didn’t make sense that we couldn’t disrespect the animal but it might get killed tonight? Right, what part of it is right!?  Then again, if you think of it as a beautiful piece of art then I guess we have to respect the animal!

In the end, it was an amazing experience, and I’m glad I went.  I actually think it would be awesome to be a runner within the streets! You can always just hide up against the wall and be safe that way.  Chad what do you think about that idea!!?  Let’s do it next year? I told my dad and he didn’t say much! Ehh, it was so exciting and just being in a bull fighting arena that you hear about in history class was awesome! You know?  Just think about that!  Now everything is hitting me that I’m seeing them in person instead of via textbooks or internet!  Crazy and mind-blowing!

Adiós muchachos!

I kind of like it here…

Friday, July 5th, 2013

I really do.  Okay, so Bilbao is a city but it doesn’t seem as hectic or dirty as the cities in America.  I don’t like comparing, but let’s compare a few things.  

  • First, it is so clean here; yes they smoke a lot (it’s Europe) but the streets are pretty clean.  The metro is so nice, extremely nicer than the ones in DC (haven’t been on the ones in NYC).  The downfall is that it ends Sunday to Thursday at like 10:45pm and Friday and Saturday it runs all night.
  • People stare a lot and it’s a little strange.   I mean different; it’s part of their culture, which I can get use to because they’re basically admiring me (that’s what I’m telling myself!).  
  • Bilbao is near a river (Ria de Bilbao) and a 30 minute metro ride to the ocean/Bay of Biscay!  DC isn’t really near a body of water… 
  • DC is probably twice the size of Bilbao.  It also isn’t very well know, so when tourist visit they stick out like a sour thumb!
  • Continuing off that… DC is so diverse I love that so much!  You basically get food from everywhere.  I would never be homesick. 
  • Bilbao is pretty safe.  I think the professors keep telling us to not go to this part of town that is far south but other than that it’s quite safe!  Ehh DC is safe if you know people from there and familiarize yourself with DC.  Then you will know what parts are not safe, like the SW region!
  • Everyone in DC basically knows some kind of english.  Bilbao’s main language is Spanish or wait is it Basque? Yeah either way it is not my native language.  I could learn, but Basque is a whole other language! Wahh!!

I just adore cities.  The idea of walking around to a shop and saving money (that I do not have) sounds awesome and possible.  And cute shops are everywhere! I want to live in one after college! Who wants to join me!?  (:  Anyway, school here is really cheap but the job situation here sucks.  So I would love to go to Medical school there and then move back to the US and find a job!  That’s possible right? Yeah, let’s do that!

Hey lovely people! Bilbao has been treating me well.  Yes, classes are getting better as we speak….

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Hey lovely people! Bilbao has been treating me well.  Yes, classes are getting better as we speak.  The Spanish 4A (there’s a B class) class is tougher than I thought, but pray for me because the woman talks faster than what I’m use to.  Sorry if I am reiterating this, but there is a guy in my class that speaks French, Spanish, English, German and Arabic… tell me again how I got into this class. Well, he’s not the only one.  There are about 4 other people who are bilingual and are learning spanish as their 3rd language.  Also, it doesn’t help that my host family congregates in the living room and we don’t have dinner together because there isn’t a place to eat meals together.  That’s part of the experience I guess!?  I try to speak to them often, but I feel secluded in my room.  But it hasn’t been a whole week yet either! On the other hand, María complimented me this morning and packed me a lunch for the siesta! (:  And I discovered these beauties during lunch today.  America or UMW needs to step it up. It makes you coffee for like €0,60 (or not even $1) and gives you a good size.  The other machine has sandwiches and some other good options!  Why go out to eat when you can buy a while siesta here?! image

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This International Business class is getting really interesting.  Since I am the only person that is not majoring or minoring in business, everything they say is so interesting about how globalization effects people.  It’s just different than what I’ve been learning with math and science.  So I enjoy that aspect of class.

Then, I was walking down the hallway with Brittany and I saw this man that looked so familiar and realized it was Dr. Jose Sainz (the program director for study abroad to spanish speaking countries I believe, I could be wrong?!)  !!!! I didn’t know what was going on but I was so excited to see him.  I gave him a hug and we talked for a solid 10 minutes.  He was saying that he thought about me when he was at the airport because they were about to miss their flight to Bilbao but they made it in time.  But we will have a UMW meeting tomorrow.  He is just a great person and I was so ecstatic to see him. Haha that was a great and happy moment!

Shopping again?! Psshhh yes, we (Brittany and I) went shopping in Moyua!  They had so many sales.  I think I might be broke by the time I get home?! Yeah, ehh WHEN IN SPAIN…  !

Yesterday, I meet this girl from Norway, Ida, and I asked her if she was with a group like CIDE or something at Deusto. She say she found this program online and doesn’t know much spanish but is in Spanish 3.  She knows the basics like hola and adios.  The point is, I saw her today and we had coffee at Café & Té (which is an awesome place to chat and/or do homework!) after class. While in this coffee shop, I talked to Erin B!!!  We were planning our trip to Rome (:  YAY!

Ciao for now! ("bye" in Italian)!

Words to live by: “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign." — Robert Louis Stevenson

Song of the day: Love and Happiness by Al Green

Diferente (different)

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

So being in Spain for a while has made me notice things and wonder if I’m weird or are they. The fact is we’re either all weird or all sane. What I’m saying is nothing is strange or weird, but always different. I have to learn to embrace things and try to understand. I’m so thankful I decided to do a home stay. My host family isn’t poor but they are working to pay bills and stuff. The apartment is so small and it makes me appreciate my life. But I realize that’s how a lot of places are here in Spain, unless you’re rich or something. I’ve talked to a few students who are doing a home stay and they agree and say it’s nice to see how most Spaniards live and just embrace it and live with it. So these things are just different from what I’m use to!! Like I was saying, things are different here and I just wanted to mention a few difference that I’ve noticed:

1. There are cars and motorcycles, no trucks. The only trucks are work trucks for carrying cars or hauling trash. None have beds or are just for fun like in America. Also, there are as much motorcycles as cars.
2. Jumping off driving, motorcycles move in and out of traffic and around cars( which would annoy me back home). Here, driving is more of a get to one place and be done; there are lines on the road but aren’t really used for that, because cars just go where there’s a space to move.
3. Everyone in Spain smokes. I haven’t been to many European countries, but they smoke a lot here. And I think I heard someone say they let you smoke at age 16 here?! Whoa!
4. Food! So Karolina, Kelly and I talked about the food today. European food has a certain taste. You kind of have to get use to it. You also might not notice it but whatever. There are siestas here— lunch, a really big lunch. Everything closes from 1-4pm to have a siesta. They give you a 3 course meal. 1st dish, 2nd dish , and a dessert! It’s so much food, I didn’t eat it all because I’m not use to the amount that was provided!
5. Water and electricity is scare here. Water is not free! You have to pay like €1 or €2 for a bottle, which is like $2 or $3! And it’s respect to take short showers! Usually, lights are cut off in rooms unless someone is in there. My host mother cut the light off when I went to the bathroom yesterday, it isn’t rude it’s just respect to conserve energy (makes sense)! Also, water fountains are not common here. Actually, I haven’t seen one YET!!!
6. Time!!! America is behind on his trend! They use military time instead of AM and PM! I use military time because it helps me with my math brain. But I love that about Europe!
7. Shades: the shades/blinds are like doors. They block any possible light that can escape into your room. Therefore, you could sleep until 16:00 (4pm) and have no idea, if you were really tired. It’s great. The sun will not wake me up! And screens in the window don’t exist either. Haha
8. The toilet flusher lever is not the same. So in Madrid at the hotel it was a button the top of the toilet. Here at the house in Bilbao it is a chain pulley on the CEILING!!! Whoa, so crazy. I almost couldn’t find that thing haha!
9. Dinner is usually eaten at 10pm… That’s why lunch/siesta includes so much food. But really though, I need a snack!!
10. Coffee is so much stronger. I started to drink coffee once a day recreationally back home. I tried it a few times here and it’s like lukewarm milk with hot coffee. Not as good but interesting.

Fun fact: El Greco’s name is a nickname not his real name, because he was from Greece and his real name was difficult to say!

Hasta luego!

Downtown Bilbao (:

Thursday, June 27th, 2013


Downtown Bilbao (:

Madrid to Bilbao

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Madrid

Day 1
Oh you’re so pretty! After that glorious nap I went to call a few people but I’m pretty sure the wifi hated me. Lucky enough a girl, Becca, from UMW found me in the hallway and introduced me to some people, because at that point I knew no one. I ended up going to Sol, Madrid with my new friends! There’s this one girl, Karolina, from the University of Northern Illinois and speaks perfect polish and is a pre-med student as well!! And her major is crazier than mine… it’s creative writing!!! Yeah, that was my same reaction!
We had dinner in Sol. Also, there were A LOT of prostitutes on this main street. Like when I say a lot I mean a lot; they were outside every building, that’s crazy!!! Interesting: majority of the people smoke, it’s crazy! Well in Madrid, haven’t seen the rest of the country.
Any who, we went to this bar and they gave us some good appetizers with your drink. Muy bien!
So like in the movies people lived above these stores and stuff. Well they do that here too ! I think that’s so sweet and cool. Can I do that!! They also dry their clothes outside on either a clothesline or on the railing. It reminds me of back on the farm *daydreams*.
Also can I just point out that I know Spanish, and being in Spain makes me feel like I just heard of this language today… The struggle! And I didn’t realize how much water I drink until I was here. Water is scarce and is not free here. Say what! Yeah, like riding on this bus, I would love some water right now. But I love this place!
Day 2
Today we started off with this OK breakfast. Literally, all I ate was fruit and bacon (well their version of bacon). Then we went as a group to the Museo del Prado. It had paintings from many artists within different eras from Europe. The tour was alrighty, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures though :(!!! Womp, womp! Afterwards, we went back to the hotel for lunch and it was even worst than breakfast. I tried some food (I live in a diverse household), this was different! Uhh no thanks. But they served water in a glass bottle and you could only have one!
Then, we loaded up again and headed for a 5hour bus ride to Bilbao to meet our host familias!! The ride was so, so long, but the scenery was muy bella. I tried to sleep but I didn’t want to miss out on any of the amazing scenery; so I just stared out my window. It was great.
We finally arrived in Bilbao!!! It was so beautiful and more green and mountainous!! All the host families were standing with signs and I didn’t see one for me. Once I went outside I still couldn’t find my host mother :(. Then someone tapped me on my shoulder and I turned around and this little Spanish woman had a sign with my name on it!!!!! She gave me a kiss on both checks and was so sweet, but not a lick of english!! I had to use that Spanish faster than I thought!! I was so excited I forgot words and I was like uhh no se! Or que or repeta por favor! Yeah the struggle bus. But her apartment is so pretty and small. They have a dog named Nino and a son that lives here. Like the view from my room is indescribable…. (:

I’m really excited I’m here! I would like to thank my parents and especially my dad for helping me reschedule my flights!! You’re the best pops!

Any who, I have to wake up tomorrow to go visit the univeraidad and tour!!! Ahhh adios amigos! Buenos noches!

Pictures will be posted next !!

Bye America … (Finalmente) Hola España

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

These past few days have been crazy, absolutely crazy! Let’s begin with attempt #1 to leave America. Well, my father had other plans in mind before taking me to the airport and we didn’t put much time in for traffic. image

The end result, was me not being able to load my luggage onto the plane even though I wasn’t late to the plane departure. That lead to tears and frustration & realization that I wouldn’t be in Spain in 8 hours. Yeah I was highly upset, but I kept telling myself everything happens for a reason and I will be alright (:!! I ain’t got no worries.

Then, came attempt #2 to leave America. Which involved rescheduling of the flights & emailing and Facebook messaging people in Madrid informing them that I would be a whole day late. The flight I booked was suppose to leave a day late! So my family stayed in Dulles for the night. When we finally arrived at the airport there were issues with boarding the flight. It took us 3 hours to get in contact with people. Probably the worst two days of my life!!

Finally, attempt to leave America #3— We finally received a call from the agent telling my dad that I had a flight but it was going to cost extra money. We took it and we are so relieved! Thank you baby Jesus! I said my goodbyes!

When I finally got to the gate I realized that I lost my Camelbak… So I bought a $3 bottle of water— ridiculous right?! The glorious 8 hour flight from America to Paris was not that bad. I had a middle seat and the old woman in the aisle seat slept for 98% of the ride! Literally, she was awake for dinner and breakfast! And the guy to my right was going on a trip to Rome and Greece with 40 other people!!! He was cool and we talked a lot. The food choices were great (probably because I barely ate breakfast and lunch didn’t exist that day), which reminded me of the military food bags my dad brought home one time haha. I actually had no idea they were going to provide those meals! And they had these little tablets for everyone. They had the option of watching movies, playing video games, listening to music, etc. and I watched The Hobbit and Pitch Perfect!!! Duh, why wouldn’t I watch Pitch Perfect! When we arrived at the Paris airport I expected to get a glance at the Eiffel Tower… nope only grass and fields! On another note, the international part of the airport ranked so bad! And the dude checking my passport at customs was all noisy in my wallet because I didn’t have money. He gave me one of my very own are-you-kidding-me looks !!! Haha. Also, he made me throw away my over-priced bottle of water because I forgot to empty it … Oh the joy!

Anyways, I somehow found wifi and snapchatted a few people and then I got right on the plan to Madrid. That flight was alright. The only cool thing was the REAL CROISSANTS!!! and a cappuccino!

Oh my word, the real stuff is so good. That croissant was like butter and the cappuccino was not like in America !! Weird! I haven’t figured out my plans for Madrid since I’ll be arriving when the whole group is TOURINGGGGG! I guess I’ll do my own tour… sike I’m about to take this nap/sleep!

Until next time, peace out Girl Scout!! (:

I mean adios!