My family and I woke-up early this morning to tour some of the local castles and palaces that line the Chilean Coastline. In celebration of Patrimony Day, all public buildings that are normally privatized are open for tours. What neat insight into Chilean history and contemporary politics!
Somewhat similar to our Fall Fest and Spring Flings, the University of Haifa puts on a “Student Day” once a semester; hiring big name performers and DJs in between, handing out giveaways and t-shirts, and selling food and drinks. Our Student Day was last Monday; right before Shavuot, and I thought it would be fun to go.
I think I heard that there were about fifteen thousand people there, and I’m quite sure that seemed accurate. It was packed in an outdoor closed-off area, with a giant stage at the front and a sprawling grassy area where everyone stood. It was themed WhiteFest, probably for Shavuot, and the majority of people wore white. Looking out onto the crowd and seeing the same color on thousands of people made the atmosphere so much more collective, I think. The bands were not my absolute favorite, but we were all still happy to be there and dance until the small hours of the morning. ...continue reading "Student Festival"
This week, I’m going to take a quick break from my many observations and experiences of my semester break travels to post about something here at home in Munich that was just a blast to be part of: the Champions League final!
Despite losing 2 of these finals in the last 3 years, Bayern München was back with a vengeance. After beating FC Barcelona in the semi-finals, FC Bayern München was off to the finals of the Champions League in London! As it so happened, Borussia Dortmund also won their semi-final match and this year’s final was all set to be a Bundes Liga dominated, all German game! Unfortunately, since the game was being held in Wembley Stadium in London, only a few Germans were able to go see the game live. So that left myself, along with a ton of other people here in Munich, looking for somewhere to watch this game with fellow FCB supporters. With only a week left before the game, two venues were announced for massive, live public viewings: the Theresienwiese fair grounds (where Oktoberfest is traditionally held) and inside of the Allianz Arena itself which serves as the home turf to Bayern München. Of course my first instinct was to go watch it at the arena itself, and this was only intensified when I learned that they would be giving out free tickets to watch at the arena while the other viewing would cost 7 Euros per person! So I got to the arena on the specified day as soon as possible after class to pick up the 4 tickets that anyone was able to get if they waited in line. Even though I was only 15 minutes late, there were already at least four or five thousand people lined up outside the arena to claim their seats to watch this historic final. After a bitter cold two hours in line, I finally had my tickets in hand and couldn’t wait for the day to arrive. ...continue reading "Super Bayern, Super Bayern, HEY HEY"
The 25th of May is probably the most important date in Argentine calendar. On May 25, 1810, the citizens of Buenos Aires expelled the Viceroy of the Río de la Plata (roughly modern-day Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay), Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros, established the Primera Junta government, and began the Argentine War of Independence. For 203 years, Argentines have gathered to celebrate this seminal event in world history. On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people took to the Plaza de Mayo, the place where all those events occurred, to celebrate "Argentina, the Fatherland, Liberty, and Equality." ...continue reading "The Party at the Plaza de Mayo"
In three days I will be leaving France much as I arrived: colder than I would have liked, a little tired and overwhelmed, and with almost no comprehension of how wonderful this city can be. Although the weather has remained fairly foul and I never got the springtime in Paris that I've waited so long for, the city has always been beautiful. I cannot believe that 5 months have passed so quickly and it seems that there's still so much left to do. Like all Parisians tell me: il faut que je revienne, but who can say when I'll next have the opportunity to visit Paris? The sad truth of traveling is that one needs both time and money, and you rarely ever have the two to spare at once. I'm confident that I'll make it back one day, though I could never say where to exactly or under what circumstances. I have loved my time in Paris, but every day here makes me realize how difficult it is to come to know a place. Paris is classically marvelous and will always be a home, but the world is full of strange cities with infinite home-potential and I fully intend to explore the possibilities. Though I still don't think I completely understand Paris, I appreciate it. ...continue reading "Paris don’t let me leave you this way"
This weekend my family's apartment was filled to the brim (and then some) with family from all over Chile. In preparation for the big wedding celebration, all 29 members of our side of the family slept in our apartment. I have never heard so much singing and laughter all through the night! The ceremony was just as beautiful as the rest of the festivities. What a blessing to be welcomed into this family!
I finally got my student visa this week! After two months, I finally received the document that gives my time down here a little bit more legitimacy. In Argentina, exchange students enter into the country as tourists and get their student visa later. The tourist status is good for 90 days and can be renewed. When I returned from Chile, my tourist status started again. As an UCA exchange student, the UCA International Office helped up through the lengthy process, and I am grateful that it is all over.
The first step involved getting a background check (you can't be a criminal and study in Argentina). When I went to the first Migrations office to complete this step, I gave the official my original passport, a copy of the passport page with my personal information, and $40 pesos. The official then gave me a document (a Comprobante del Trámite de Antecedentes) that I had to hold onto for eight days. After those eight days were up, I had to print out my Certificado Digital de Antecedentes Penales to begin the second step of the process. The second step involved me bringing my original passport and a photocopy of all the pages in it, my certificado, a 4-by-4 photo (it was a little bit hard to find places that made these), $300 pesos, and an official note from UCA detailing my status there. ...continue reading "The Student Visa"
After an uneventful night aboard the very large ferry between Naples and Sicily and many games of “Mafia” a.k.a. “Palermo Nights,” we finally arrived into the incredibly picturesque port of Palermo. As we pulled into the dock with sunrise just above the mountains, it became clear that life aboard this little island would likely differ greatly from life on the mainland, particularly in Naples. After disembarking and noticing that the morning traffic was beginning to rumble along the coastal highway, we took off in search of our bed and breakfast for the next few days. On the way there, we ascertained a rather grim impression of the island at first glance. For example, we saw plenty of trash on the streets, many barely-functioning cars, an ancient city wall filled with graffiti and a lack of upkeep, and a general lack of attention to the buildings and infrastructure in the city of Palermo. Upon checking into our B&B, we headed out for our first taste of Sicily at a small local bakery where we gorged on rum-soaked pastries, small, glazed lobster-tail-shaped flakey deserts, and a variety of filled, fresh baked dough pockets. Despite the lack of upkeep in regards to infrastructure, I can say with confidence that the Sicilians spare no expense with their food. Having satiated our empty stomachs, we headed out to explore the downtown area. After not two city blocks, we were approached by a very eccentric man with a horse and buggy offering to take us on a tour of the city. Our program director, being quite the explorer in search of new experiences, signed us up on the spot and soon enough, we were trotting down the cobblestone streets of Palermo with 10 people in two carriages designed for 4. Despite the slight feeling of being cramped, we all enjoyed the fresh air and the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with the city in a very short amount of time. After approximately 1.5-2 hours touring the city, we said arrivederci to our tour guide and went out in search, of course, for more food. After wandering for a while, we settled on a rather run-down establishment in a residential alley near downtown next to a couple of very famous hat stores and a very interesting hand-made porcelain shop. Once again, Sicily did not disappoint with a wonderful house-wine, freshly baked bread, and a plate of grilled swordfish that would have dwarfed even a larger T-bone steak. After lunch, I peeked into the small but well known hat store which had hand-made Sicilian style hats (similar to paper-boy hats in the States) made from 100% Sicilian wool. Finding it hard to pass up such an authentic souvenir, I walked away with a great navy-blue cashmere/wool hat and looked positively Sicilian for the rest of the trip…minus the great tan and dark hair, of course. After a few more uneventful hours, and another great dinner, we called it quits for the night, having been up since 4 or 5am. ...continue reading "Palermo Nights"
It seems a bit as if I just pressed pause on my life at home. Although I know it's not true, some part of me expects that I'll go home to the exact same situations as how I left them in January. Part of this feeling comes from the fact that the weather hasn’t been too summer-ish, and I can’t associate this time of year with the warm summer, beach-weather that I love so much. But part of the feeling also results from the time-warp of being abroad. While I’m off exploring the world, understanding each day to be a new adventure, home has remained constant, with little variation. ...continue reading "Final Remarks"
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