Today is my final day in Chile and it seems perfectly appropriate that I will be spending all of it with my host family. Perhaps the greatest blessing of this trip was being welcomed into their home - with open arms and open hearts. Through tears, Mom told me the other day that I will always have a home and a family in Chile. They are incredibly gracious and I thank God regularly for their lives. Off to a final family BBQ!
This week was very nice. On Thursday and Friday, Argentina celebrated the Day of the Flag, a national holiday that commemorates the death of the flag's creator, Manuel Belgrano, an important figure in early Argentine history. UCA was closed on Thursday and Friday due to the holiday. With only a few no-school days left before the end of the semester, I decided to travel during the four-day weekend.
Although I thought about several different places, I ended up going to the city of San Isidro with some friends from Spain last Saturday. San Isidro is a small municipality located in Buenos Aires province, around an hour outside of Buenos Aires City. After taking the train from the Retiro station, we arrived at the Mitre terminal and took the Tren de la Costa to San Isidro. It was good to get outside of the city and change the transportation up. Many UCA students live in San Isidro and make a similar commute every day. ...continue reading "Saturday in San Isidro"
Ah, the country side of France. Looking out the window of our small regional train, the rolling hills and small towns of central France whizzed by as Morgan and I made our way from the Aix-en-Provence to the nearly geographic center of France, Lyon. Filled with a rich history of food and handmade goods, Lyon had a much different nature than the two cities in France we had visited already on this trip. ...continue reading "France and Food: A Love Story"
Although we were quite unhappy to do so, Morgan and I did eventually leave the wonderful city of Nice to explore other parts of France. After a short train ride along the beautiful southern coast of France, we slowly arrived in a very different kind of city, Aix-en-Provence. Although the apartment in which we stayed was right in between Aix and Marseilles, we spent most of our time exploring Aix on the recommendation of our host. ...continue reading "Purple Haze"
Though I’m not leaving Israel for another week and a half, and I won’t be in the United States for another month, my semester is over and this is my last written reflection on my time abroad, for now.
Before I came to Israel, I had already known quite a bit about it. My family has been here for generations, and I grew up visiting every couple of years. But at the end of the semester, I realize that I really knew nothing five months ago. I have learned so much, both through my history and politics classes and through going out into society, that I have such a different concept of what it means to be Israeli, Jewish, or just someone in the Middle East. Israel is a combination of so many things: the politics of the region, the history of a nation, the ethnic clashes of humanity, the growth and development of western society in the 21st century, the search for spirituality, and the intense blending of traditions from all over the world.
It’s a country that is misunderstood by everyone, even those who live here, and I don’t pretend to be any different. But from what I’ve been able to observe, Israel is not a violent country. It’s a country filled with scared people, who put up intense psychological and military defense mechanisms to protect themselves. There are people in Israel who are fanatic, and in many different directions. There are people who do not believe in peace because they have never known it. There are those who are perpetually optimistic and those who really couldn’t care less about anyone else and who just want peace and quiet in their lives. Sound any different from anywhere else?
If you ever have the chance to go abroad, prioritize befriending the locals! One of my Chilean friends took me to a backyard bbq - delicious food with a side of traditional dancing! From the artwork in the garden to the live music, it was easy to forget the frigid fall temperatures and enjoy a day with friends.
The week of June 11 will be a busy one. I will take for two midterms, one in my Contemporary Political History class and another in my Argentine History I class. It's the latter exam that I am studying long hours for. Taught by two great professors, this class meets on Tuesdays from 8.30 am to 10.30 am and on Fridays from 7.45 am to 11.00 am. Yes, my class is 3 hours and 15 minutes on Friday mornings! In the past few months we have covered the major political, social, and military developments of what is now Argentina, from the creation of the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata in the 18th century to the Argentine War of Independence and Civil Wars in the 19th century. ...continue reading "Only in BA: Midterm Preparation Fail"
Although our time in Venice was much too short, Morgan and I were excited to continue our journey our through Italy and on into France! Since we didn’t feel like being cooped up in a train for yet another day, we decided to break up the trip to Nice with a one-and-a-half day visit to Milan! ...continue reading "Border Crossing"
My last day in Haifa felt like the shortest day I’ve ever had, though in reality it was one of the longest. I was up at six, going over my notes for my last written final in Hebrew class, which I took at 8 and finished at 10. I then had my last goodbyes to the staff at the international office. I did my laundry, helped my friend buy a bus ticket (the website was in Hebrew) and ordered a sherut, or shared cab, for us for the evening. I then locked myself away from 11:30 to 4, working on an essay that I really wanted to finish. In Israel, or at least at the University of Haifa, papers are due after the semester has already ended. On the one hand, it means you have a little bit more time to do them, but on the other it means you can’t really start a break until you finish, up to a month and a half later. So within those four and a half hours I managed to crank out about eight pages worth of text in addition to the two I already had, and sent it in. I’ve still got two more papers to write to look forward to. ...continue reading "Leaving Haifa"
Unless otherwise indicated, the content and opinions expressed on this web site are those of the author(s). They are not endorsed by and do not necessarily reflect the views of the George Washington University.