Archive for April, 2013

Em in Asia! 2013-04-29 02:15:30

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Today I walked into 1.6′s classroom, and they obviously weren’t expecting me. At least half the class jumped out of their seats, then after staring at me for a few seconds turned to each other asking “Potosky? Potosky?” Somehow the whole class nonverbally came to a consensus that yes, Potosky, because then they started chanting “POTOSKY. POTOSKY” while chucking their textbooks onto the ground.

Possiblement l’événement le plus français qui a jamais eu lieu dans ma vie

Sunday, April 28th, 2013
Ma mère d'accueil: Qui mangera de la salade verte?
Les invités: Non, merci, je n'en peux plus, etc.
Ma mère d'accueil: Qui veut du fromage?
Les invités: MOI!

Possiblement l’événement le plus français qui a jamais eu lieu dans ma vie

Sunday, April 28th, 2013
Ma mère d'accueil: Qui mangera de la salade verte?
Les invités: Non, merci, je n'en peux plus, etc.
Ma mère d'accueil: Qui veut du fromage?
Les invités: MOI!

UMW Admissions Visit

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Today some admissions representatives visited London in order to recuite international exchange students to our University back home. We got an email letting us know that we could join so Manda and I went together. They hosted it at Whole Foods in Kensington which is a beautiful Whole Foods but both Manda and I were wondering how they were going to host an event there. Well they rented out the wine hub high top table which was covered in cheeses, meat slices, fresh sliced bread, and your choice of red or white wine. Everyone there was very nice and we got to talk about our experiences here so far as well as opportunities for the future. What was really interesting was talking to the people that showed up interested in Mary Washington. I could to speak to one lady who was there on behalf of her daughter who is currently studying in Cambridge but is interested in studying in the US as an exchange student and specifically at Mary Washington. Manda and I answered many of her questions not only about the states and UMW but the exchange process in general since we are currently doing that. I also gave her my phone number to give to her daughter who I have recently been in contact with about Mary Washington to answer any questions she has or meet up with her when she gets into the states which would be awesome. 

UMW Admissions Visit

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Today some admissions representatives visited London in order to recuite international exchange students to our University back home. We got an email letting us know that we could join so Manda and I went together. They hosted it at Whole Foods in Kensington which is a beautiful Whole Foods but both Manda and I were wondering how they were going to host an event there. Well they rented out the wine hub high top table which was covered in cheeses, meat slices, fresh sliced bread, and your choice of red or white wine. Everyone there was very nice and we got to talk about our experiences here so far as well as opportunities for the future. What was really interesting was talking to the people that showed up interested in Mary Washington. I could to speak to one lady who was there on behalf of her daughter who is currently studying in Cambridge but is interested in studying in the US as an exchange student and specifically at Mary Washington. Manda and I answered many of her questions not only about the states and UMW but the exchange process in general since we are currently doing that. I also gave her my phone number to give to her daughter who I have recently been in contact with about Mary Washington to answer any questions she has or meet up with her when she gets into the states which would be awesome. 

20 Days in Europe

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

I could spend hours or days talking about my trip through Europe, or I could sum it up with a few pictures…

Rome:

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Hostel Life

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The Vatican

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The Colosseum

Florence:

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Statue of David

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Bella Firenze

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Chianti Wine Cellar

Zurich:

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Swiss Chocolate

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Streets of Zurich

Munich:

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A Night in Munich

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German Market

Prague:

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Bustling Prague Square

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Astronomical Clock

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Train to Berlin

Berlin:

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East Side Gallery, Berlin Wall

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Berlin Architecture

Brussels:

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Delirium: All Should Go

London:

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Big Ben

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Tower Bridge

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Tea Time in Bath

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Cadbury World

Back Home:

Studying-math

My life back in Edinburgh from now on…

This journey has fostered in me an incredible passion for learning and traveling, the likes of which I could never have imagined. Every city, street, building, restaurant, and market I went to, I found myself saying “I can’t wait to come back here.” I will return to these wonderful places one day, maybe a different person, but with the same precious memories of my first epic European excursion, and hopefully create new stories and experiences.

In the mean time, unfortunately,  I should start studying for my final exams. I have one month left of this semester, and it will be dedicated to studying, pr at least that is what I keep telling myself. I know a lot of my time will be spent enjoying the last weeks I’ll have in the wonderful city of Edinburgh and with the incredible friends I’ve made.


Odd Fears

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

I have a special place in my heart for classes that choose to keep playing the review game when I say that they can have the rest of the class for individual study. I also have a special place in my heart for classes that when playing team games (jokingly) heckle the other team.

2.8 fits both of these categories. When I asked one group what “technophobia” meant, the other teams started shouting “FEAR OF TECHNO MUSIC. FEAR OF TECHNO MUSIC.”

Marseille is the New Jersey of France…

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Something most of us discovered at the beginning of our semester, is that most French people who are not Marseillais, do not like Marseille.  It smells bad.  It’s full of immigrants.  There’s no class.  There’s dog sh*t EVERYWHERE (Ok, I have to agree, I hate that too. Is there really nothing we can do about that??).  Their accent is weird.  They love to exaggerate .  It may be the oldest and second-biggest city in the country, but who cares.  It doesn’t have the classical power and sophistication of Paris. It’s not as quiet and quaint as the rest of Provence.  It’s just, “ugh. Mar-say-yeuh.” *eye roll*

Well, I am not ashamed to admit: I LOVE MARSEILLE.  It is MY city.  It is my home away from home away from home.  I know the streets, the neighborhoods, I know the restaurants and stores, I know the metro lines, I know the bars and clubs, I know the history, I know the languages, I know the Calanques.  I have lived this city, and I have grown quite fond of it. I may sound like a foreigner, but I no longer feel like one.  I belong here. I am proud to be here.

I love hearing the Marseille accent (like a southern twang), from my host dad to the cashier at Carrefour to random people in the street.  I love turning a corner in Noailles and feeling like I’m in North Africa.  I love being able to look down from my house on top of the hill and seeing all the red tile rooftops against the blue blue sky (there are never clouds in Marseille, the wind chases them away).  I love walking around Vieux Port, seeing the heart, the birthplace, of the city.  I love when I am able to give people directions, or when I successfully interact with a cashier or a waiter.  I love having established a routine, yet at the same time always experiencing something new.  I love the food, pastis, the tiny expressos  the fruit and vegetable markets, that random brass band that shows up around town and covers pop songs. I love the noise. I love the diversity. I love how you can walk for a few minutes and suddenly find yourself on the corniche on the cliffs around the sea.  

So, judge away. I won’t hear you because I’ll be busy speaking “Frarabic” and making cultural observations and swimming in the Mediterranean.  

Marseille is the New Jersey of France…

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Something most of us discovered at the beginning of our semester, is that most French people who are not Marseillais, do not like Marseille.  It smells bad.  It’s full of immigrants.  There’s no class.  There’s dog sh*t EVERYWHERE (Ok, I have to agree, I hate that too. Is there really nothing we can do about that??).  Their accent is weird.  They love to exaggerate .  It may be the oldest and second-biggest city in the country, but who cares.  It doesn’t have the classical power and sophistication of Paris. It’s not as quiet and quaint as the rest of Provence.  It’s just, “ugh. Mar-say-yeuh." *eye roll*

Well, I am not ashamed to admit: I LOVE MARSEILLE.  It is MY city.  It is my home away from home away from home.  I know the streets, the neighborhoods, I know the restaurants and stores, I know the metro lines, I know the bars and clubs, I know the history, I know the languages, I know the Calanques.  I have lived this city, and I have grown quite fond of it. I may sound like a foreigner, but I no longer feel like one.  I belong here. I am proud to be here.

I love hearing the Marseille accent (like a southern twang), from my host dad to the cashier at Carrefour to random people in the street.  I love turning a corner in Noailles and feeling like I’m in North Africa.  I love being able to look down from my house on top of the hill and seeing all the red tile rooftops against the blue blue sky (there are never clouds in Marseille, the wind chases them away).  I love walking around Vieux Port, seeing the heart, the birthplace, of the city.  I love when I am able to give people directions, or when I successfully interact with a cashier or a waiter.  I love having established a routine, yet at the same time always experiencing something new.  I love the food, pastis, the tiny expressos  the fruit and vegetable markets, that random brass band that shows up around town and covers pop songs. I love the noise. I love the diversity. I love how you can walk for a few minutes and suddenly find yourself on the corniche on the cliffs around the sea.  

So, judge away. I won’t hear you because I’ll be busy speaking “Frarabic” and making cultural observations and swimming in the Mediterranean.  

Commentaire sur le voile au Maroc

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
Où vous aillez au Maroc, vous verrez des femmes voilées.  Qui sont-elles ? Pourquoi se voilent-elles ? En quoi croient-elles ? Qu’est-ce que cela dit de la culture marocaine ? Et, enfin, est-ce que cela représente vraiment la liberté de choix ?
Ce sont des questions posées dans un débat sur le porté du voile pendant notre voyage au Maroc.  Pour comprendre le pourquoi, il faut réfléchir sur la culture, l’histoire, et la religion de ce pays.  D’abord, dans la tradition marocaine, pour protéger et préserver la beauté, on la cache.  Ainsi, la beauté des femmes doit rester une chose privée.  Certaines femmes se voilent pour être modeste, pour représenter la pureté, et pour montrer qu’elles valorisent leurs esprits plus que leurs corps.  Historiquement, les femmes ne pouvaient même pas être vues par des étrangers hors de la famille.  Elles restaient dans la maison, leur domaine social, tout le temps.  Comme des riyads traditionnels, la beauté est à l’intérieur, préservée pour les membres de la famille est pour une certaine élite qui ont de la chance d’être invités à la voir. 
Les justifications religieuses sont aussi importantes dans ce débat.  Historiquement, le traitement, la lecture, et l’interprétation du Coran étaient strictement le domaine des hommes.  Les femmes, moins éduquées et souvent analphabètes, ne comprenaient pas les textes sacrés.  Au Maroc, le choix de se couvrir est habituellement lié à la croyance, pourtant  le voile n’est pas exigé dans le Coran. 
Au fond, les Marocains disent que le porté du voile au Maroc est un choix.  Le Maroc, c’est un pays musulman, mais c’est aussi un pays plus développé et modernisé dans certains aspects.  On voit une vraie gamme : des femmes pas voilées qui portent des jeans serrées et des jupes, des femmes habillées plus modestement avec un foulard sur la tête, et des femmes complètement couvertes dans une longue robe et pantalon rassemblant un niqab.  Le voile est devenu à la mode dans la société marocaine.  Il pourrait aussi représenter que la femme qui le porte est mariée, ou prête émotionnellement pour se marier, parce qu’il représente la modestie, l’intimité, et la maturité.  Il y a toujours des femmes qui sont forcées par leurs familles ou par leurs maris de porter le voile pour ces raisons.  Si une femme est mariée, elle doit garder sa beauté pour personne d’autre que son mari.
En revanche, le choix de se voiler pourrait aussi se servir pour protéger la femme.  La protéger de quoi ?  Du regard des hommes.  Si la beauté féminine est si irrésistible, pourquoi les hommes ne sont-ils pas obligés d’abaisser leurs regards et de contrôler leurs actions ?  Pourquoi les hommes ne sont-ils pas obligés de se couvrir, de se préserver, aussi ?  N’ont-ils pas aussi de la beauté et de la modestie ?  Dans la tradition des sociétés patriarcales, ce n’est pas aux hommes de se changer, mais aux femmes de réagir au comportement des hommes.
Après le débat, je comprends mieux l’histoire et la motivation derrière le voile, mais j’ai toujours trop de questions, qui n’ont peut-être pas de réponse.  Le porté du voile coïncide avec les montées du féminisme et de l’islamisme au Maroc.  Alors, quelle idéologie le voile renforce-t-il ?  Et puisque c’est un choix personnel, est-ce qu’une femme non-voilée vaut véritablement autant qu’une femme voilée dans les yeux de la société ?  Si le voile commande de respect, est-ce qu’il puisse aider les femmes dans leur lutte pour l’égalité ?  Ce sont les questions difficiles.  Il est possible que moi, une femme occidentale, je n’ai pas de voix dans la culture marocaine.  Le féminisme est le féminisme, mais il se manifeste différemment dans chaque culture.