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By nimames

The past two week have been as hectic and as expected from a midterms week but finally the most awaited week of the term came: Spring Break everyone. With a group of exchange friends have decided to go to the Puerto Rico. Believe me, the planning part is definitely not something I looked forward to since we had to manage take into consideration the opinion and preference of 10 people but it worded out just well in the end. We decided to split into groups so Johanna, Emma and I flew on Saturday at 5pm. We missed the bus that had to take us to the airport and ended up having to take a cab to the airport. Fortunately, we shared it with another man who was heading to the airport as well. Our flight had a layover at JFK and the weirdest thing happened in the middle of us eating fries when we were waiting for our plane. They had changed the gate at the last minute and did not bother telling us. We were rushing to get to gate C61 that would take us to our Terminal 2, which we had come from and hour ago, and catch our plane.

The plane that was taking us to San Juan was full of spring breakers especially one group that was particularly vocal of their excitement. I briefly wondered how the other much more mature passenger were feeling on a plane full of obnoxiously excited college students but the fatigue of the busy day I´d had coupled with the pent-up exhaustion from a particularly unforgiving midterm week, lulled me immediately to a 3 hours nap.

After a rather quick 4 hours we finally arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico at at 1am, we checked in the Hotel and immediately passed out from exhaustion. The next morning we had a big breakfast and immediately headed to Old San Juan where our hotel was. After checking in, we decided to go the beach and that we did. We walked for about 20 minutes in the sun happy not to be warning a coat, boots or gloves. When we arrived to the beach, we just had bought plenty of snacks and just layer there and enjoyed the sun, reeling in the light breeze of the Puerto Rican weather.

By hannahbethdray

One of the best parts about being on exchange is going away and exploring new cities. I managed to see quite a few different places last semester so this weekend I returned the favor when my friend Louis came to visit this weekend. It is always nice to be able to show someone the city you are living in, and your favorite places to go to. Louis arrived on Thursday night and got the shock of his life when getting off the plane coming from LA – the average weather over there has been in the mid-70s, whereas in DC it has been below freezing with icy winds!
In true DC tradition we started our Friday morning with Brunch – for Louis this was great as he had gotten too used to healthy food in LA. Picture 1 (5) This was not the case at Founding Farmers! After this we set off on our adventure around DC checking out the national mall and Dupont. We found a great little café called Kramerbooks & Afterwords Picture 2 (6) it was a book store with a cute little café out back with amazing cakes and tea. After this we headed over to the Capitol and were surprised to find that the water in front of it had been iced over. Picture 3 (6) Unfortunately it was not enough for me to stand on it! He headed over to the other end of the national mall to check out the Lincoln Memorial Picture 4 (6)and also watch the sun set on the steps. Picture 6 (5)After seeing the White House, we went for dinner at a great restaurant across from it – Old Ebitt Grill. For anyone who is visiting DC or is looking for a fancier meal, this is the place for you! Picture 7 (4) That evening we headed out to U Street to explore the other parts of DC – as an exchange student you can sometimes get caught up in staying in Foggy Bottom and not exploring further out in other areas. On Saturday we headed over to Hains Point to watch GW Rugby play against Ivy league school Columbia. It was a tough game with a muddy pitch and unfortunately the boys lost by 3, but it was still a great game. Picture 8 (4)The slight upside though was the great sunset we managed to seePicture 9 (5)Picture 10 (3)
Louis was meant to stay till Monday afternoon however due to the Winter Storm coming; he had to fly back on Sunday unfortunately. And luckily that he did as we got over 6 inches of snow on Monday! Picture 11 (3)This meant another snow day! I was hauled up in the apartment due to upcoming Midterms this week. However come Thursday it will be Spring Break!! I can’t wait!!

By aaront162

Sunny and warm, incredibly pleasant weather and released from all commitments to assignments and exams, you are suddenly overcome with a the sheer sensation of being truly alive and free – all of this…really doesn’t apply to Washington DC at the moment in the midst of yet another snow storm with plenty of freezing rain to turn the sidewalks into makeshift ice rinks. In any case, time to conclude this long drawn out series of ramblings on travelling about with a simple, short and final point.

On Making Mistakes

It is inevitable that at some point in your journey you will encounter obstacles and challenges, and most importantly, you will make plenty of mistakes. It might be figuring out that Apple Maps (you know, that app which suggest you drive off bridges and stuff) really isn’t the best navigation tool in the world and that the human mind can only sustain a few road redirections and endless roundabout before being driven close to insanity. It might be accidentally ramming something with your rental car in the middle of the night and hastily concluding that no-one will really notice anything in the morning anyway. It might be learning the difference between the center of the city as opposed to say, a random stadium across town called City Centre. It might be realizing that the place you booked to sleep is in the middle of nowhere, at the edge of town, with lots of creepy cats and looks like it could be the set of some Stephen King novel involving lots of axes and decomposing bodies in that strange attic above your room. But the Liberty Bell, Rockefeller Centre, Times Square, the Statute of Liberty – all those meticulously planned checkpoints of television and movie lore on your itinerary of things to see – are really at the end of the day, always going to be there in some shape or form. Truth be told, sometimes they just really aren’t that amazing as perhaps you would think. At the end of the day (and perhaps several months on when you are back home), the moments you might find yourself coming back to will probably not be that dull tour of Constitution Hall or that $30 ride up a glorified New York elevator, but rather, those mistakes – those small indirections and mishaps – through which you shared a good laugh with good company, learned something about travelling about and something about each other as well. Murphy’s Law states that what might go wrong will go wrong but heck, sometimes stuff going wrong is half the fun.

By inepalacios

Capitol

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBeginnings of April, 2013. “I want to study abroad”, I said. “I want to do it too,” he said to me. We were just finishing a weekly running training when I received this wonderful piece of news from my friend Pepi, who was planning to do an exchange semester too. I remember that in this moment the process of application was tedious and long, and also a little lonely. If I had friends from Political Science that were applying to do an exchange, it was an uncomfortable competition, because there were few vacancies and we know that the university that one get would be the same university that the other would lose. But in the case of Pepi the situation was different. Pepi is my friend but he is studying Bussiness Economics (I am studying Political Science), so we were not competing between each other.

Since this moment it was a long process of preparation, of talks, worries but also good expectations. There were too many things to plan: plane tickets, insurance, budgets, applications, travel plans. Pepi applied as his first option to the University of Richmond and I applied as a first option to The George Washington University, fortunately our home university gave us the opportunity to go to the universities that we wanted. He was one of few friends who I could talk all the time about the exchange, who understood me with each step, who lost a lot of hours helping me with the English exam, with applications and other things.

Pepi came here to visit GW this past weekend. Among my routinely activities, my assignments, midterms preparations I found time to organize tours around DC, neither the cold neither the work stopped us to have a terrific time in this amazing city.

Among other things, we shared mates the first night with Timo (my Argentinian colleague here in GW), a few delicious empanadas (typical argentinian food) that we found in Adams Morgan, the Argentinian Embassy visit, sharing with him one of my classes, walking to the White House, going out to dance in the city, having popular food of Washington, etc. The whole weekend and all what we did were enough activities to realize that all of our plans from a year ago (a trip we both envisioned and dream about for a long time) got real.

Although, it was not so much time, it was enough to think about what is happening these current days of my exchange. About all of the experiences that we have to take advantage.  It made me turning back in the time, remember how we wished this trip and realize that this experience seems to be better that I could ever think. It made me realize that I have to continuously put my joy and willingness to enjoy every instant.

As a way of not losing our habit of running (and also to keep in shape, of course) we went running through the favorite DC destinations: the memorials and all the monuments. At the end, the summary was a great and enriching afternoon after going through all the historical monuments of the foundation of the country. Among pictures, a wonderful rain, walk, run, memorials we had a good time to catch up.

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Tomorrow he has to go back to Richmond, I am still feeling that I could have shared more time with my friend, but I know that It is a good excuse to meet up again in the coming weeks here in Washington or in Richmond where he’s studying. But most importantly, in exactly a week and after the midterms, we will be enjoying together of our recently planed Spring Break in Miami.

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