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Week 3

I’ve had so much fun learning new words in Spanish. I’ve picked up some words here and there. There a few slang words I’ve picked up on, mostly just shortened words from words I already know. I’ve also felt a lot more comfortable with speaking Spanish and asking people questions. I’ve started talking with my host family more and more about topics I am not as familiar with to see what I can learn from them.
It’s been getting a little harder to go out since we’re getting more projects and having tests. But, on Wednesday we took a break and went to the movies. Movies here are cheap by a whole lot. We saw two movies for 62 pesos, $6. We saw How to Train Your Dragon 2 in Spanish. I was most pleased that I understood most of what was going on, the rate of Spanish was easier for me to understand and the animation helped. We also saw Transformers 4 in English with Spanish subtitles. We were all curious to see how things translated. I was curious about how things translated differently and not literally, but that’s language. It doesn’t always translate literally.
Yesterday, most of us went to San Miguel de Allende. It’s a big tourist city that’s closer by Queretaro. Lots of people go there to retire, most are rich, or have extra money to spend. So, things are slightly more expensive there. There’s also a beautiful cathedral there. My host family says it’s based off of a cathedral in Europe. I found a site online that says the architect used European cathedrals for his inspiration.
One thing in Mexico that I’m learning to have fun with is bartering. Some vendors don’t do it and some prices already seem fair, but it’s fun to try on occasion. You don’t ask to barter, you just do. It’s a cultural thing that’s something I’ve found that’s fun. They name a price, you say a lower one until you come to an agreement. I’ve just asked for 10 pesos less and they’ve accepted. I’ve gotten a bracelet and a doll that way. I’m curious to see what else I can barter for.

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Week Four. The end is near, noooooooo!

Week four is just ending and in about 8 days I will be on a plane back home. I still can’t believe that time has passed so quickly.

This past week has been great, just like the rest. The week started off with tango lessons and some pizza. The tango lesson was super fun, and all in all quite a success. I managed to not fall on my face and I had a good time, so I will call it a win.

Friday and Saturday were spent in Buenos Aires. Despite a few bumps in the road (like a 5am Friday morning, 7am construction outside the hotel, tiny hotel rooms, getting ripped off for lunch), I had a great time. We visited a lot of historical sites. We visited La Recoleta, the Boca Juniors stadium, el caminito, la casa rosada, el museo de Evita Peron, and la plaza de mayo. A lot of the things we learned about I already knew but it was to see the local perspective on the topics. There are things, like Evitas death, that I definitely want to research more about. But the highlight was the delicious dinner with an amazing tango show. We got to see amazing dancers, musicians, and singers. It was interesting an interesting experience to see a real tango show. From beginning to end, the tangos and songs told a story.

For Saturdays lunch we got to wander around a less touristy town and we found a great meal and I finally tried the traditional Argentine parrillada. Not only was the food delicious but the service was great.

Today was a pretty relaxed day back home in Rosario. Had a good lunch and walked along the river and bought some presents for my family.

image (10)   image (11)  I apologize for the flipped images, I can’t turn them. image (12)   image (9)   image (8)   image (13)   image (14)  tomb in la recoleta image (15)   Continue reading

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Art Museum

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Although Oviedo is such a small town, it seems to have it all! On Tuesday we took a trip to the local art museum. Our guide, one of the professors from school, was very informative but also conscious that we would be overwhelmed if we covered all of the pieces so she selected specific pieces to show us. Among them we saw some pieces by Goya and Dali which was amazing to see the pieces in person and not just copies! We were going to view some pieces by Picasso but they were on exhibition in Madrid at the time. Although learning the historical value of the pieces by Goya was interesting, my favorite piece was by Dali called Mariposa. The professor was not expecting to present on this piece but she was also very informative on capturing the significance of the little details of the piece and what they meant to the artist.

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Week Four: Nearly Done with Classes

It’s been a busy week here in Argentina. On Saturday we watched Germany play Argentina in the finals of the World Cup. I was really hoping that Argentina would win, but sadly that didn’t happen.

Argentina in the final

The rest of the week was pretty fun though. We learned how to tango, and by learn I mean I managed not to seriously injure my partner. The two of us managed to end up looking semi-decent by the end of the lesson which is a big success seeing how neither of us can dance. We also learned how to make empanadas in my Grammar class (favorite Grammar class ever!)

Learning to Tango with my class partner

Learning to Tango with my class partner

And this weekend the whole group went off to Buenos Aires. It was a long trip, I got to wake up at 5 to leave the house. Not much fun there. The hotel we stayed at was pretty lousy also, it was small and cramped and the bathroom didn’t work. None of us were to pleased about that.

We were excited though to go to La Bombonera, which is where Boca Juniors plays. Boca Juniors is one of Argentina’s top two soccer teams housed in Buenos Aires. Even though sports are pretty boring to me, I found it interesting to look around and see it.

Visiting the Bombonera in Buenos Aires

Visiting the Bombonera in Buenos Aires

Afterwards we had lunch in the Boca Barrio, where Boca Juniors is originally from. It was a lot of fun, and I got asked a strange question. This man walked up to me and asked if I was from Sacramento because he recognized the symbol on my hat. My hat has a Decepticon symbol so me and the two students I was with were really confused. It wasn’t until later we realized he thought it was a Sacramento Kings hat.

Visiting the Boca Barrio.

Visiting the Boca Barrio.

After visiting Boca, we all went to the National Cemetery in Buenos Aires. It is huge. You need a map to find anything in this place, including the exit. It is about two city blocks of mausoleums, there are street signs to help you orient yourself when walking around.

I managed to find Evita’s grave which was cool, before getting myself lost by taking a side street. Luckily I found my way out so that they didn’t have to send security to come get me when it closed…

One of the graves in the National Cemetery in Buenos Aires.

One of the graves in the National Cemetery in Buenos Aires.

After that trip we went to a tango show. This was a full three course dinner that was very well made. Following that was a two hour tango performance with dancing, singing, and instrumental scores. It was a beautiful representation of the history of tango and I wish I had managed to get more pictures of it.

Dinner and a tango show.

Dinner and a tango show.

This morning was not pleasant. I shared my hotel room with two other girls from the program, and one went out to party last night. She came back at 4 am drunk, which was not the problem. The problem came after that. She took my house keys for my host house and gave them to the consigner because for some reason it made sense. So I woke up this morning and panicked because a) my host mother is out tonight so I needed those keys because no one was there to let me in and b) if I lose them, every key in the building needs to be changed.

Luckily I got my keys in the morning, but the panic at 8:40 in the morning was not a good way to start the day.

After that excitement we took a tour of the city. Below I have one of my pictures of Plaza de Mayo which is the most important plaza in Buenos Aires. On one side is the presidents building, and on the other is the national cathedral which was incredible to see.

This is also the plaza famous for the protests during the Dictatorship when the Madres de Mayo were searching for their lost children.

Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, surrounded by many important buildings and where the Madres de Mayo demonstrated.

Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, surrounded by many important buildings and where the Madres de Mayo demonstrated.

After that we were taken to a tourist side street where we got lunch and explored. That’s where the picture with the plastic guy came form. Apparently he’d a character in a comic strip here, but I’ve never heard of him before.

Me with a comic strip character.

Me with a comic strip character.

The day finished with a tour of the Evita Peron museum. It was a beautiful building with interesting exhibits. But what really caught my attention is the fact that Evita is like a saint here. It’s one thing to hear about it, but another to encounter. All in all, a very good trip and I’ll be sleeping in tomorrow for the first time in three weeks!

Portrait of Eva Peron.

Portrait of Eva Peron.

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Travel, Arrival, and First Full Week in London!

So the internet has been really spotty up here at King’s College, so I haven’t been able to update everyone on my arrival and my first couple days, but the internet finally started working again so here we go!

King's College Hampstead Campus

King’s College Hampstead Campus

Coming over to London went very well, though it took quite a long time. I started my adventure with a  six hour drive to the airport in Portland, followed by two plane rides culminating in 12 hours of flight and passing through Immigration in both Canada and the UK.

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After we landed in London and got through Immigration, which took nearly half an hour, we were on our way to King’s College. At the college we checked into our rooms and went on walking tours around the area before dinner, where everyone got to meet each other officially for the first time. After dinner, I went back to my room and slept until midnight, when I woke up and started (and finished) most of my homework for my first few weeks of class.

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This past week has been full of incredible experiences! The first day we were in London, we went on a bus tour of the city, and then were allowed to wander through London for as long as we pleased. A few other kids and I got lost for a few hours, but ended up walking and touring the city for nearly 9 hours. It also gave me several opportunities to take some beautiful photos.

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We wound up at the British Museum, where we were able to view several wonderful artifacts, including THE Rosetta Stone!

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The next day, most of the Shakespeare class went to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to see Shakespeare’s bloodiest, and one of my favorite, plays Titus Andronicus. The Globe was breathtaking, and the play was phenomenal, the best play that I’ve ever seen!

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Since Monday, I have mostly been doing school related activities, as I am primarily focused on my schooling here in London. However, I have had several chances to go into London Town and have fun with friends, and by myself! Over the past few days, I’ve been able to see the London Bridge illuminated at night, go to King’s Cross and take my Platform 9 3/4 photo (Go Ravenclaw!!!), see several different museums, and attend Richard III starring THE Martin Freeman. This past week has been phenomenal!!!

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Week 1 in London!

Hello!!

So I have completed my first week of classes in London! Hurray! Classes here are so interesting compared to the states. I am taking a leadership London course and the professor is from Belmont University, there are 10 students in my class, which is really nice when trying to get to know everyone. The structure is different and we sit in class for 3 hours two times a week and have field trips every other Tuesday and Thursday. This weeks field trip was to the Tower of London which was absolutely breathtaking, there was so much history to be told and everyone who still lives in the Tower of London had incredible knowledge of their history. My favorite part was being in the Crown Jewels, where the queens, kings, princes, and princesses had their outfits, crowns, rings, spoons, etc. There was so many crowns to see and see how different all of it was from other people’s. After that we went to the National Portrait Gallery which was not really my scene, but there were some interesting portraits of people that I did recognize such as George Washington and Winston Churchill. This was also a neat place to learn more about the history of some of the great British leaders from the 19th century until now.

I am finally adjusted to the time difference here so it is nice to be able to sleep when I am supposed to and wake up when I am supposed to. There will still be many cool places to see, but today I got to go into the Beatles store, and walk around downtown where we ran into a souvenir shop which was surprisingly cheap and  had many gifts in which would be a good representation of London. The person working there was also really friendly and gave an extra postcard for free! I am loving London!! The only thing I am not a big fan of is having to wash my own clothes, the washer and dryer each cost 2 pounds per load!! Washing by hand has been an experience and has made me feel really privileged to be able to not have to pay during my time in WOU. I am enjoying walking around, I took a small walk out near the campus and then I decided to read my book for class outside since the weather was really nice. This has been such an amazing experience and have been learning a lot.

Until next time!

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Before and Arrival Time in London

Hey everyone!
So much has happened since before departing for London and arriving to London.
Let me start from before I left. I had run around to gather a few last minute things and then arrived to the Portland Airport, thus was my second time on the plane so it was a little nerve wrecking. Saying goodbye to my family was the hardest part, but after passing along to security it wasn’t so bad. When we landed in Canada to catch the second flight the flight became delayed! It was really hectic because when we went back to the gate to enter the plane there had been a huge line so it turned out the plane wasn’t as delayed as they said it would be. Being on the plane scared me so much, seeing the tiny buildings and nearby clouds surround us made me feel as if I was in an intense roller coaster, luckily nothing too dramatic happened. Being on the plane for 10 hours was the worst, it was difficult to get any sleep and the fact that as soon as we arrived to London we would be having to do tours, and meet everyone.

Upon arrival to London we had been sent to our rooms, got settled in and then went on a walking tour of the small shops and nearby restaurants from our campus. It was AMAZING! I suddenly didn’t feel homesick at all, and exploring around the area has been such an amazing opportunity. The next day we went to a city tour bus, where we got a guided tour from the bus from a Londoner. Once the tour was over we had the opportunity to explore on our own and that is exactly what we did! We spent all day in the city of London visited the London Bridge, the London Eye, Big Ben, and the London Tower. Went to two markets, got lost but managed to make our way back to campus. Today we visited St. Paul church and went to a chain restaurant called Nando’s, the food there is incredible! Classes start tomorrow so I will be preparing for that, so until next time! DSCN0106  The London Eye DSCN0093  Trafalgar Square DSCN0124 Tower of London

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Week 2 in Queretaro!

I can’t believe how quickly the time is passing here! It is already week two, but in some ways I feel like I’ve been here for longer.

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This past weekend, my classmates and I went to Mexico City for three days. Here, Mexico City is referred to as Mexico D.F., or simply Mexico. It was by far the biggest city that I have ever seen in my entire life! Not only was the city itself huge, but it was super crowed with all the huge crowds of people!

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We were very touristy and saw many of the must sees of D.F., including the pyramids, Frida Kahlo museum, Diego Rivera murals, and several other important museums. I had a really good time but I am excited to be back in Queretaro. It was nice coming home to a city I recognized, where I knew how to use the buses to get around, and just as important, being home to my host mom’s amazing cooking!

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Overall, my Spanish speaking and writing skills are getting better. It was really rough at first, and even though it is still not perfect now, I am understanding a lot more and I am able to talk more as well, which is really exciting!

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Week 2

Hi I know this late but last week was crazy.  I will talk about last week and how it went.  My group and I went to Mexico City last weekend and saw many things.  We went to the National Museum of Anthropology, the pyramids, the art museum, the biggest castle in Mexico City, the ruins of Aztecs which is called Templo Mayor and lastly we went to the house of my hero Frida Kahlo.  We went for three days and I had so much fun.  My favorite places were the pyramids and the house of Frida Kahlo.  The pyramids were fun for me because they are what is left of the Aztecs and I love learning about history especially ancient history.  The pyramids were huge and the largest pyramids were “The Sun” and “The Moon” but the “The Moon” is the largest.  We only had time to climb the smaller one but it was still fun.  I also had fun at Frida Kahlo’s house because I always have wanted to go there since I have studied all about her in the past.  She was an amazing woman who broke barriers and did things that no one ever believed that she could.  Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted to be like her minus the spinal injury.  Also after we left Frida Kahlo’s house we went out for lunch to watch the final game of the world cup.  I wanted Germany to win and everyone else including the people her in Mexico wanted Argentina to win so I had to keep quiet. In the end Germany won and I had to keep my excitement to myself so that I would not frustrate the other people around me.  In the end last week was okay but it was very long but I had a great time in Mexico City.

pyramids

The Sun Pyramid

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Week 2

This week was busy with lots of school and homework, but this past weekend was amazing! We all headed out to Mexico City for the weekend. It was about a 3 hour bus ride and the very first thing we did when we arrived was to visit the pyramids. We got to climb to the top of one and the view from the top was quite impressive!

Over the weekend we visited so many museums and learned a lot about the history of Mexico. Our professor for one of our classes was our tour guide and it was cool to have him show us paintings and artifacts that represent the things we are learning about in class right now.

We also visited a castle

And went on a boat ride…in the rain!

After such a busy weekend it was really nice to come home to my host family. Laura had me sit on her bed and tell her about my whole weekend. My spanish is improving and I find I am asking people to repeat themselves less often. Only three weeks to go but I know they will be filled with adventure! There is still so much to see and do!

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