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By rlubitz

So I’m off. I’ve got about four days left of London. The time is split by a trip to continental Europe where I’ll be able to compare the awesomeness of this city to a lot of others. But I know nothing can compare to this place. Nothing can compare to walking to the coffee shop and seeing Big Ben in the distance. Nothing can compare to being called ‘dear’ on a daily basis. Nothing can compare to constant dog sweaters.

I’ve spent roughly three months in this city and I could spend the rest of my life here too. Never once was I homesick for the regularity of Washington, DC or the charm of Florida, my home state. It was like this city absorbed me, body and soul and then I just existed. I was always excited to get out of my room, just walk around, maybe go to a market and look at pretty things all day. And I didn’t even have to go to a market to see pretty things all day, I could just take a stroll through Hyde Park or by the Thames.

Beauty was so regularly available that it became the norm but I can see myself waking up to the sounds of emergency vehicles again in DC and whimpering for the beauty back.

When I first arrived I was so anxiety-ridden that the time seemed to zoom by. It was only when I realized my days were numbered that I began to savor. And I’m so glad I did. It started to become a game in my head where I would not let a day go by without doing something new, without being pleased with my day and those were the days I’ll remember for a long time. It could be a simple thing like a walk or a museum outing for under an hour. I just had the self-motivation to do pretty much everything and I’m so glad I did.

Travel is stressful and you can have an absolutely crippling breakdown thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Your bag could get stolen, you could break your iPhone, your hair straightener could erupt in flame, you could be forced to have the most awkward breakfast of your life at your Berlin hostel. All of those things could happen and you could be left in a state of absolute misery but what you have to remember, totally and absolutely, is that you are in a foreign country. I know people who have never been on a plane before, who have never seen snow and if you remember how lucky you are to have traveled to be living in London then everything becomes fine.

I could not have asked for a better stay here. It felt like I could finally breathe without stalling after I got over the initial hump. It was like taking a shot of happy every morning.

I’ll be riding on those memories when I go home. I’ll be nostalgic to the point of annoyance. I could be having a wretched day but then I’ll think of the red buses and almost getting run over and the dog sweaters and the stress will pour off. I have these memories to ride on and I’m so thankful.

I’m going to miss a lot of things. I’m going miss the smell of croissants and expensive coffee. I’m going to miss escaping into the city by myself with my own motives, on my own terms. I’m going to miss the red buses and the tube. I’m going to miss Parisian weekends and bus rides through the countryside.  I’m going to miss the trees and the roses. I’m going to miss the sound of my neighbor’s voice. I’m going to miss the bottles clinking at three in the morning. I’m going to miss how the air felt after a day of rain. I’m going to miss how my hair has looked for three months. I’m going to miss my hairdresser who cut my bangs and spoke zero English. I’m going to miss boys who wear oxfords and argyle. I’m going to miss the horrible Chinese food in Camden. I’m going to miss walking down Drury Lane and Fleet Street. I’m going to miss the scooters and I’m going to miss the city. I’m going to miss this city but I know I’ll be back. I have to be.

By quericolavida

I finally bought a backpack today. A real backpack. The kind you cram a bunch of stuff in before you set out for adventure. So after I finish up this final post I’m going to head home to cram the pack, say goodbye to a few friends before heading to the airport and beginning the next leg of the adventure.

Leaving Buenos Aires and all the friends I’ve made here is going to be tough. I really am going to miss all the cultural quirks, the architecture, the empanadas, and the buenas ondas in general. I was thinking of who I needed to say goodbye to here when I realized that over the last 5 months I managed to be a part of my own little community here... from the people I buy groceries from, to the wait staff at the cafe in my neighborhood where I studied between classes  to Andri (the kiosk attendant on the corner who I chat with before going out). I’m going to miss these people! ...continue reading "Chau, Mi Amor"

By littlemisadventures

Mumkin is probably the word I hear and say the most. My friends and I use it when we’re discussing homework, dinner plans, travel plans, and politics. It even slips out when I’m Skyping my family. It means “maybe.” People have been saying mumkin even more than usual in the past few weeks, in the wake of Morsi’s new declaration of power. Nobody knows what’s going to happen, and predictions are running rampant. Many people are confident that people will check the president before he takes any more control, or at least that the Muslim Brotherhood will find a solution to the dissent. Others are more pessimistic and see this as a blow to the prospect of Egypt being a “real democracy.”

Following Morsi’s decree, students and professors alike have been a little on edge. For better or worse, our neighborhood is isolated from most of the action. We’ve been following updates on our computers, when the internet connection is working. People’s personal politics differ, of course, but everyone is comparing this situation to the last revolution. Even people who voted for Morsi are outraged by his actions and see it as a power grab that is too reminiscent of Mubarak. I’ve spoken to women who are worried that Egypt’s constitution will not protect them from discrimination. At the same time, Morsi has huge support from the Muslim Brotherhood. Violent clashes have happened between them and the more liberal protesters. ...continue reading "Another Revolution? Mumkin."

By quericolavida


This past weekend in Buenos Aires there was a heat wave, a chemical explosion in the Port that left yellow toxic cloud over the city center, and torrential downpours that overtook cars only a few blocks from where I am staying. I know what your thinking (December 21st!) but wait... I luckily escaped to the countryside during most of this madness, but it gave me some time to look back on my experience here and realize that the chaos hasn't   really subsided, or even taken a break.

The yellow toxic cloud incident was particularly interesting and was really the talk of the town for quite a while. Some pesticide chemicals (fun fact: this part of South America is ideal for agriculture, and Argentina's main crop is soy to meet the increasing demand in China) were making their way from Singapore to Paraguay and stopped here in Buenos Aires before completing the last leg of their journey. That last leg never happened because the 17 tons of pesticide chemicals either reacted poorly to the excessive heat in this city or reacted to contact with water and then exploded. The explosion sent smoke and chemicals into the air above, right above downtown Buenos Aires. People who couldn't see the smoke or fires could smell that something was wrong from even further away. Government buildings and schools in the area were evacuated and worst of all the Boca Junior soccer practice was even postponed! And that's how you know something is seriously going wrong over here.

...continue reading "The Yellow Cloud by G.C. Sordoni"

Yesterday I picked my parents up at the airport. It's a landmark I've been looking forward to all semester, and now that the presentations are wrapped up, final papers are in, and we've all talked our ears off about returning to the US, tonight is our last night, one last hurrah at the wonderful 1905 restaurant, and it just doesn't quite feel real.

All semester I've been keeping note of all the amazing places and things to see with my parents, to show them all of the amazing things I discovered and lived these past four months.  But on this second day of getting dragged around Boudha my dad's reptilian gaze makes it clear that that's just not possible. Kathmandu is exhausting on its own, I can't shove months worth of wonderment into these few days, it's enough that they're here to enjoy the city with me. And when we go down to the Terai to see Chitwan National Park and up to Pokara and Jomsom to trek and spend time in the mountains we won't get to see all there is to offer, that isn't realistic, but I am so excited to see what  we can discover in these whirlwind few days. ...continue reading "Boudha"

By parisjetattends

As the semester comes to a close I sit in a small Parisian cafe with a friend I've made over the course of the past months speaking in a mix of French and English. We listen to the sounds of the other patrons - French, something more guttural, German, another language I can't identify, Chinese - while the sweet aromatic tendrils of coffee seep into our clothes. I look forward to saving the smell for later. It always reminds me, this cafe, of the idealistic Paris I'd envisioned and have, in some small part, gotten to know.

This past weekend I was in Lyon, for Fete des Lumieres. A festival of lights commemorating the day that Mary saved the town from the plague. They'd all prayed for her protection and put lights in their windows, as if they could send their prayers to heaven's gates through flame. I watched a young girl and her mother light candles from a balcony's window, and it was easy to imagine in that old, small town, a different generation from centuries earlier doing exactly the same. ...continue reading "Paris, til we meet again"

By shivaniinsingapore

Finals are over! I left Singapore last week, on the 3rd of December. It was a rather difficult process saying bye to all the new friends I made while studying abroad. I will miss each and every one of them greatly and hope I will be able to meet them either in their home countries or in the US sometime in the future. The other difficult part of wrapping up my study abroad process was packing- I did not realize how many things I managed to accumulate over the semester! Although I will be returning to NUS in January, I had to pack up my whole room and place things in storage because of their housing policies. ...continue reading "Hello India!"

By rlubitz

To prepare for my impending departure I’m having a very slight, slow breakdown both physically and mentally. It’s going to be a while before I leave Europe, I’ll be going on a 2-week mega adventure with my mom between now and then. Think The Amazing Race except it’s me and my little mama trying to not get mugged the entire time. I see hilarity ensuing and hopefully I can update you here on that.

But I’m in the middle of final paper time and my body is completely shutting down. I set my alarm every day for 9am and I can’t seem to wake up before noon. It’s not that I’m all that tired but it’s that there’s an entire season of Freaks and Geeks online and it trumps sleep every single night. I’m making pretty much 0 progress on papers now, instead choosing to wake up late and think of all the things I’m not going to see when I’m really gone. (grim, right?) ...continue reading "How to Have a Breakdown Without Really Trying"

By oncptime

Not a lot of people know this about me, but…I kind of, secretly, passionately, desperately dream of being a filmmaker. If you take a look at my resume, you’ll see a fair number of projects that scream “video production.” They’re not there by mistake—I absolutely love video editing. More than editing though, I like telling stories using more than just words. I love creating brief glimpses into make-believe worlds that are occasionally fantastic or sometimes mundane, but are always borne of my imagination.

In short, I like to mess around, write stories, and shoot them out with my camera. You can imagine my excitement when I heard word of Florence’s second annual “Florence Fone Film Festival.” The premise was simple: a competition amongst American and Italian students in Florence challenging them to use the cameras build into their phones to make 2 minute films.

I’m no stranger to making tight little videos in the pursuit of a glamorous prize. This year, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners received an iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPod Nano respectively. “I can do this,” I thought.  It’d be easy. I’d sit down, plan out an idea, and execute it—bada-bing, bada-boom. And so I did.

...continue reading "I Was Robbed"

By squeakyrobot

Goodbye Dog

Time has this strange way of moving forward. This is a truth we’ve known for most of our lives, and yet we’re often surprised by the sheer speed of days and the fleeting quality of moment

Ever since I stepped on Russian soil, I appreciated every single moment. I appreciated the air. Every walk home. Every person who made me laugh. Every snowflake and cup of tea. Every scoop of sour cream and every ray of sunshine (they were so infrequent, you know). I had (and still have) gratitude for everything, Russian and otherwise, and this makes living great.s, as if these concepts are brand-new or unexpected.

Which makes going home not so bad. It’s not as if I have wasted my time here and took everything, every opportunity and experience, for granted. I knew from the beginning I would blink, and my time in Russia would be gone. So I was very present-oriented, and I did what I could and nothing more. ...continue reading "On Goodbyes and Going Home"