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By ilakes2015

The end of the semester is usually the hardest and best part of it. All the seniors are finally reaching their goal, all the artists performing for their friends and family, all the teams presenting their hard work and all of them counting the minutes for summertime. The last two weeks have been really busy. Every class, program or activity that I joined this semester reached its end. Some of those conclude in a special way, some of those just ended. Performances, presentations, a soccer game, Meor Graduation, family, study nights and Captain Cookies. Here is a summary of how I spent my last two weeks at GW.

I had two graduations last week. The first one was on Tuesday when I finished my course with the Jewish group MEOR. On Tuesday night my friends and I met at the synagogue near Chinatown to conclude our program. We had dinner and some of them together with some professors gave a speech for the rest of us. There was also a video with pictures of all the activities that we did during the semester and finally we received our diplomas. It was a wonderful night that all of us would remember. meor

The second graduation was in the Australian Embassy. Was a graduation from our exchange program that even though is not over yet, we kind of conclude the whole experience on Friday Afternoon. A dress, shoes and earrings matching? Check. All of my life I’ve seen these crazy movies about Prom and parties and I thought I was going to have that experience when they said “cocktail at the Australian Embassy”. It was not exactly like that but we did have food, games, a million pictures, the exchange King and Queen and too much fun. It was a two hours event and even though they made us leave right away we had a great time with the EXO Leaders, just like the first week.

The best part of the whole event was the awards. Most of the Australians won the diplomas but I was not expecting to be the Queen of the exchange students. I felt absolutely happy and even like the main character of one of those movies. They also gave me a crown! I really didn’t expect it and even if it’s a silly thing, it was really nice to feel that my friends chose me, that they voted for me.

My friend Wilson was the King and he definitely owned it. He is this cool Chinese guy that everyone likes, that is absolutely funny and has the best selfies of the world. During the semester I shared really nice moments with him and that’s why I voted for him. I’m really glad he won it with me.

But the night was not over. After this great event we decided to celebrate and hang out for a last time before the craziness of finals.

Any recommendation? Never, but I mean Never walk more than two blocks with new shoes. I made the mistake of going with my friends to some bar NEAR us. I not only walked more than 30 blocks and danced all night in a Latin nightclub but also I couldn’t wear any shoes for the following 10 days. Only flip-flops. Anyway, that night was fantastic. Some of us together with the leaders went to Bier Baron and after that to “El Centro” to dance. Our night ended up in “5 guys” around 5am and there is nothing I would change about that night (except the shoes, of course). queen

On Saturday Dion’s performance was fantastic. I’ve heard him sing before but this time he was part of a Play called Speed Dating. From my perspective he was the best there and no, not because he is my friend, he definitely was. That weekend I had to study so we didn’t hang out after it but it was a great break and is always nice to cheer for your talented friends. A few days after I went to see Yael, another of my friends, who is a senior here at GW and she had her own show because of that. With a voice as stunning as her blue eyes, I believe she accomplished her expectations for her four years education.

On Sunday afternoon my friend Allie played soccer with the GW team against Georgetown. I wanted to go see her play before but I never had time to do it and this was my last opportunity. At the beginning of the semester I signed to be part of the soccer team but I had some difficulties with my schedule so I couldn’t join. The game was mostly for the players that were seniors and because Allie is still a junior, she didn’t play much. Even though they lost, it was a beautiful sunny day so we stayed longer playing a little bit in the field. Jakob, Allie and I had a lot of fun while Vicky decided to sleep before going back to campus.

After the game, we went back to Foggy Bottom to attend an event about Women’s’ role in society through the years. It was around 7 pm when Sam and I decided to have dinner together so we walked from campus to Adams Morgan. I took Sam to my favorite Asian restaurant in this city; I’ve been there 5 times already. My brother took me to this particular place for the first time and I couldn’t stop going after that. We had a wonderful evening together and a few hours later, I walked back home to continue with my study.game

Like the last couple of nights, my study time happened at night. The roof in E Street is the best place to be. Not only because of the wonderful view but also because of the wind in your face that keeps you up and helps you breathe with your whole body. My friend Ian joined me a few nights so we studied together for our finals. When we got tired we decided to go for a walk around campus and around 5 am we conclude our night. The following days were all about essays and presentations. I had to finish my research paper about Empanadas, meet with my Marketing Research team and practice for both presentations. Everything was okay and the following Thursday I also finished my consumer behavior class so my team and I decided to celebrate together. That night we went to a Korean restaurant for some food and then we went to one of my friends’ place. We became friends since the second week of classes when we decided to work together and since that moment on, every group meeting was hilarious. I am gonna really miss these guys.

That Thursday I also had my last Massage class so the professor decided to take us to Captain Cookies. The first day I arrived campus every person I met mentioned this place as the one that I was going to be spending most of my time in. To be honest, I tried their cookies with ice cream thanks to my professor. I never knew where this store was and at the same time I really didn’t care. Yes, it tasted absolutely great but I was never as motivated as everyone else to go to this store.

On Friday morning I studied for one of my finals, I finished one of my projects of this semester and by the time I was going back home, I run into some friends that were about to have a Picnic near the Monument. French baguettes and desserts, what else did they have to say to convince me? We spent a few hours talking about our lives, about our summer plans and taking pictures jumping in the air. There is no doubt that the food was exquisite and even if they talked a lot in French, I felt like Gomez from The Addams Family.paul

On the weekend, my relatives from Philly came to visit me. During the day I walked with them and showed them some places around GW and we also met another of my relatives near the rowing area and we had dinner together. I had crab for the first time and I must say it tasted really well. On Sunday morning we went to have brunch together and they helped me with the cover letter for my internship. After a few hours correcting some grammar mistakes and talking about my future plans, we walked back to campus. I’ve been studying since that moment on for my finals and even if I’m going a little crazy, I ‘m an optimistic person so I believe everything is going to be okay. Let’s pray, study and give the best I can on my last week. I won’t even realize and it would be summertime so let's enjoy our last time together.

By ilakes2015

This is not the way I expected this week’s post to be. But sometimes your idea just change for some special occurrence and its necessary to use the space you have to express yourself while you can.

This week I got the chance to attend a Baseball game with my friends, to see the famous Mets live and eat some hot dog and beer like in the movies. This weekend I also attend the famous National Cherry Blossom festival and parade where all this fantastic performances took place. School bands, cheerleaders, Miss America, martial arts performances, the gigantic flowers and kids using one-wheel bikes. Most of those impressed me so much that together with the wonderful weather gave me this feeling of why DC was so marvelous. The whole city was outside wearing costumes (or not), enjoying the parade and taking pictures all the time. The million people were finally enjoying their walks around the monuments instead of escaping from the snow or cold weather like the last couple of months. Both events let me enjoy the American life and spend time with my friends while learning from these traditions. Even though I found special characteristics on each that took my attention, nothing made me open my eyes that much like what happened at the end of the week.

The thing that shocked me the most happened Sunday evening when after a really long day of study, movies with friends and dinner with my brother, I came back home to discover that half of my room was now, empty. My roommate just moved out and the only reaction that my body had was tears. Not because I was going to miss her because she is still going to spend time with me, but because the idea of leaving reminded me that I am three weeks away of doing exactly the same that she did. The only difference is that for me, leaving means “forever”. I’m exactly 3 weeks away from packing all my things that would have to fit in two suitcases (no idea how am I going to do that) and go back home. I know I won’t be back the same way I came, not only for the uncountable people that touched my heart and I would definitely miss but also for all the adventures and experiences from which I learned while leaving here. This indescribable feeling that I have right now, the mix of joy and sadness, the pain in my head and the happiness in my heart, my throat closing but my soul more brighter than ever also reminded me the reason I came here for. What I expected this trip to be like and how it finally was (pretty similar I must say). But Is not that I didn’t know that the day were the experience reach its end was eventually going to come. Or that I haven’t left people or a place where I’m comfortable in before, it’s just the desire of being here at GW longer.

I have never been good for goodbyes.

After 3 months I assumed as normal some things that apparently, were not. My kitchen utensils, my bathroom curtains, the flag on the living room and even half of a closet. If anyone ever tells you that moving out and leaving things behind is easy, don’t believe it. They would be absolutely lying. Yes, everyone survives but it's just not the best feeling.

There are people that understands that life is this way, that you run into persons that would mean something, that you would learn only from some of them and that just a few would stay for a while but no one would stay "forever". There are people that comprehend that you would see again only the people you care about and for the rest of them, well, there would always be Facebook. There are people that believe in destiny and that you would see someone again if it’s written. There are people that understand that knowing you means taking something from you at the same time that they are giving you something from them. And I believe that that’s the way they stay forever.

I knew a lot of people here in DC. I shared most of my adventures, nightclubs, study nights, walks around campus, museums, lunch or dinner time, shopping and even taxi rides with persons that shared with me who they are and let me share with them who I am. They took something from me and I have something from them (mostly their pictures.. :)). I don’t regret meeting people that I am going to miss and I don’t regret meeting persons that became my friends. I don’t regret at all but now? Now I just want to hug them as much as possible. I got the chance to know them and I may or may not see them again. The good part? I have them in my heart FOREVER.

By ilakes2015

The first weekend of April reunites families and communities all over the world. Doesn’t matter if you celebrate Eastern or Pesach, last weekend most of us shared a nice meal with our families.

Back home, an almost in every country, the first two nights of Passover are the ones we tend to get together with family and friends to celebrate the freedom of our people. Our traditions and costumes remain in almost every home I know but some differences are easily distinguished. This was the first time I spent Passover without my parents or first cousins, and of course not in Argentina, but I must say it had it’s own charming characteristics.

On Friday evening, my brother and I decided to attend the Seder of the Hillel community that was taking place in Marvin Center. After a last minute call, and if adding two persons to a dinner were too easy, they openly accepted our request of joining them for the first night of Passover. When we finally arrived, some faces were too familiar and people that I share classes with received me with a warm Jag Sameaj (Happy Holiday) Before the seder began, we sat in a table with 5 different people that lately that night were going to became our friends. The Rabbi made the whole Seder an interesting and not boring celebration. Trying to analyze some topics that were also related to modern times plus the melodies sang or recited by each table (we were almost 100 people) made the ceremony absolutely pleasant. After some laughs, good food and religious traditions, my first day without flour made me go to sleep with a huge smile in my face. easterfood

The next day my brother and I travelled to my relative’s house near Gaithersburg. This second dinner was not only special because I was with family but also because I got the chance to spend it with the Patriarch of my family, the one that would not hesitate in explaining to me the history and complicated family tree that I have. As if everything happened yesterday, he can totally remember every dialog, trip and connection that started with his grandmother and my great great-grandfather. After listening to him and having just the idea of every problem that my ancestors had to overcome, makes me realize how lucky we are of having the power of communication on our side.

Apart from that, another wonderful thing made me happy that night; my aunt, who is an artist, did a painting of me and gave it to me as a present. I was not the youngest one and I didn’t look for the Afikoman (another tradition we have) but I was at that point the kid that received a gift. I couldn’t be happier, it was a fantastic surprise and I can’t wait to have the fantastic painting in my room.

The food that my cousin prepared was also fantastic and I was finally eating this typical Jewish homemade food that made me feel at home. We did the brajot, sang some of our traditional songs and read the interpretation of each of those. Even if we were a modern family that read the Hagada from an Ipad, we remembered the most important question/answer of this special festivity: Why is this night different from any other night? Freedom, that is what we celebrate this week. Freedom.

The night ended with a nice talk about each other’s near future and recent changes in our lives, with the dog’s ability to lock herself inside a room and the invitation to meet again the following week. family

Last Saturday  I also went to Spring Fling with my friends. Free tickets for a show, The Mechanic Shark, Sno-Kones, stickers and shiny tattoos were some of the attractions of that day. This festival organized by members of the University was not only an afternoon full of games and prizes but also full of music, famous DJ’s and food; perfect to celebrate with friends. The U Yard was surrounded of students playing the roulette or even uploading selfies to win special gifts. In my case, implied a Domino’s large pizza that I’ll happily eat to break my no-flour week. Also, Saturday was a really warm day that reminded us the main reason why we where there: Spring. I believe most people was not as happy to receive the flowers, the green grass or the allergies as much as they were of saying goodbye to the snow, the storm and the freezing cold weather. If you think it that way, then yes, celebrate the change of seasons with your friends has never been better.

This huge event ended with a beautiful sunset and the feeling and desire to repeat that day one more time. springfling

By ilakes2015

Once again, last week turned to be a fantastic exhausted weird week. With an average of five hours of sleep, the balance between obligations and entertainment transformed my week in one that I would never forget.

Problem Sets, papers, group meetings and two midterms. Until Thursday my life was only numbers, readings and writings but a particular moment was about to change my mood for the rest of the week.

On Monday morning one of my friends back home sent me an article about the Argentinian Soccer Team followed with a “Tell Messi that I love him”. Apparently, that weekend Argentina was going to play against El Salvador here in Washington. My friends convinced that my priority in life had to be “meet the Players!” insisted that I had to stop studying or attending classes just to go to the Hotel or find out where they were practicing to achieve the goal. To be honest, if I hadn’t had two exams on Thursday, I would have probably gone to Georgetown to see them play.

And even though I believed that I had the same possibilities of meeting them than any other person, I was absolutely mad that I couldn’t even try to change that. I’m not like the rest of the fans here; I’m an Argentinian that cares about the team not only about Messi. My anger increased when I realized that the Hotel where they were staying was only five blocks away from our campus. I knew they were so close and at the same time I couldn’t do anything. My two exams and papers were my real priority. I had class so I finally drop it when I realized that I’ve been living four blocks away from The White House for almost three months and I never got the chance to see Obama, so why was I pretending that if I hadn’t have the exams I would have had coffee with Messi? (No, I’m not saying Messi and Obama are equals but their popularity around the world is pretty similar)

That night I had a meeting with my GW Women in Business group where we discuss a few relevant issues for the annual conference that was going to take place on campus that Saturday. It was around 9pm and after a really long day, I was finally walking back home when I run into two guys that I glanced at their jackets by chance and I recognize the logo; it was the Argentinian AFA logo. I didn’t realize but I turned around in a weird way that made the two guys stop running and look at me. A Hi followed by my “Hola” started the conversation that was going to change my week completely. Damian and Juan, asked a few questions about GW, DC and my experience here so far while I asked about the trips and the training until we concluded that we were all having a really nice time, that we were all really blessed people. Our 20 minutes conversation in the street ended with a warm “it was really nice to meet you and also you should come to the game” There. My chances of meeting the players, the chances that an Argentinian in DC could possibly have of getting tickets to a game, the difference between me and any other person in the world was a matter of time and place. I walked by the right street, at the right moment, JUST THAT. After a few conversations, I finally went to the Ritz Carlton Hotel to pick up my two free tickets. When I got there a lot of fans were surrounding the street. At that time the team was about to leave to train in the field and apparently I was not the only one that knew that. After telling two security guards that I had tickets on my name waiting for me in the lobby, they let me in. Even if my name was misspelled, the idea of receiving and envelop with the AFA logo addressed to me was something I can’t even describe. After the lady gave me my packet and like if she knew the way I got my tickets, a nice “Lucky you, have fun in the game” draw a smile in my face on my way out. I had two tickets in my hands and the question was “Who wants to go with me?” I realized that my brother was coming back to DC by the time of the game. He took me to see Ginobili, I thought it was fair to take him to see Messi.

On Saturday afternoon, I met my brother next to the metro station that was going to take us to the FedEx Field. It was absolutely cold but the energy of the people while I was arriving made me forget about it. My seats were also fantastic even though everyone around me was cheering for the rival team. I realized that the entrance of the players to the field was right next to me so I got the chance to see them pretty well. After 40 minutes the game finally started with the hymn of The US followed with the Argentinian’s one and then El Salvador’s hymn. This time Messi didn’t play and some fans were really disappointed and even if I wanted to see him play, I also had Higuain, Di Maria and Lavezzi so there was no real complain. The score was 2-0 in our favor and even if I didn’t really have someone around to scream it, except from my brother, I celebrate it and hoped not to be killed.

When I got back to Foggy Bottom I had dinner with some relatives that came from Canada and then we went to the Kennedy Center to hear a Jazz concert. The differences between the game and the theater were absolutely recognizable; at first was kind of shocking to jump right to this type of event but the play was so relaxing and nice that that I finally enjoyed it as much as the game. That night, before going to sleep, I tried to remember every feeling. I had lived two fantastic experiences in the same day; watch my home country team play soccer and hear one of the best concerts of Jazz I’ve ever heard. Two different scenarios, both perfect. I ended not only absolutely exhausted, like if I had the performances, but also with one of my biggest smiles. I was wrong, I didn’t have the same probabilities of meeting my temporary neighbors than the rest of the world. Who knows? Maybe I’ll run into Obama next time. Spring Time is coming and everything can happen, right?

 

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By ilakes2015

I arrived Miami Florida on Sunday morning and my friend David was waiting for me at the airport. I hadn’t seen him for 7months so we planned last week to spend time together and catch up a little. That week we did a few things like having lunch in one of my favorite places: “The Cheesecake Factory”, walked by Lincoln Road at night which is one of the most beautiful streets and we also found time to walk in the beach. It was really nice to see him again and I’m glad that the physical distance didn’t break our 12 years of friendship. red

On Monday night I hung out with some of my friends from GW and we went to a bar near my place called Blue Martini. An Australian, two Germans, an Austrian and an Argentinian in Miami, what else do I have to say? My 4 sexy boys made all the women in that bar envied me! And I definitely don’t regret 🙂 The bar was a really cool place with latin music and a great view so we had a fantastic time together. We laugh, we talked about the World cup, we compared our cultures and we ended the night talking about food. I couldn’t see them again but we will definitely hang out here in DC once everyone is back from their amazing Spring Breaks. jakob

There is nothing like the feeling of being at home. Of being welcome wherever you are. Last week I had the pleasure of staying in warm Miami with two fantastic people that I consider part of my family. From the beginning of this trip until the last minute I felt relaxed and comfortable spending time with Gabi and Joli. Even though they are friends of my parents, they treated me like their own daughter and I had the best week of my year so far.

For most students Spring Break represents the moment of the semester where the underage travel outside the country to drink as much as possible while for the overage represents the same but just doesn’t matter where they go. For me was the moment to go back home. I didn’t plan it this way but was exactly what I needed. Not because I missed home but I did miss being “mimada” and was also being in a Spanish environment, where in some places was even weird to find someone speaking in English, what made me feel in my natural habitat.home

It was not my first time in Miami but after this trip I can really say that I’ve been there. I spent most of my other trips doing shopping rather than knowing Miami but this time I did both.

Every day I spent with them had something special, something particularly different and beautiful and that’s why I cannot define which one was my favorite day. The amazing view I had from my room, the five different types of cuisines that I tried and meeting the beautiful 5months years old Dylan where some of the highlights of the trip. I enjoyed everything I did or visited: the Wynwood Walls, 8 Street (the Cuban neighborhood), the night that I had my traditional Argentinian food: Asado and Dulce de leche pancakes for dessert and even the days that I relaxed on the pool. My week was a perfect balance between family, friends, fun, cultural learning, sun and study moments. And now a chaotic week is approaching but I couldn’t be more happy for what I just lived. Coming back to my beautiful E street, to my roomates, my friends and also my study is not too bad. As my father reminded me, “Live the present, you are exactly were you wanted to be. Don’t loose the focus of your experience, relax and enjoy. Tomorrow would be too late” And this is exactly what I’m doing. I couldn’t be more thankful about the fantastic experience, the amazing life, this 2015 is giving me. hat

By ilakes2015

The week before Spring break is generally the most chaotic one. Most students have their midterms so a mix between stress, happiness and desire of leaving the city consumes them. This particular week also represents the middle of the exchange program and it turned to be the shortest one as well. Already more than two months in this country, who would have said that?

As the weather has been crazy, last Thursday was declared as a snow day, the second one since I got here. Is the global warning trying to tell us something or what? While on Wednesday everyone was freaking out, praying and checking the news to know if they had to stopped studying for their exams or not, I was checking my email praying to not receive a “flight cancelled” message. I did not have exams because I’m going to have them the week AFTER Spring break, what means that instead of being full relaxed, my mind eventually would be thinking about the million things I have to study. Anyway, I stayed up writing until 4am when I assumed that GW was not going to cancelled classes and I went to sleep. The light of the sun woke me up the next day. My roommate had turned off my alarm clock when she read the most expected email. At that time my flight was still not cancelled so my friends and I decided to go outside and build a snowman together before I had to leave. This time instead of going on Spring Break together, as we wanted in the first place, we ended up going to 5 different places and I was the one that was leaving first. After lunch we met in front of E Street and Dion and I started building the snowman. I must say, build a snowman is more complicated than it looks like. It was still snowing so the snow did not compact so after 4 different tries and 40 minutes later we kind of found the best way to create our little cute monster. After that, we decided to walk to the Lincoln Memorial and spend some time there. On our way we took the long walk so we saw the frozen river and the ducks lying on top. We approached a little and the ducks started walking through us so we got scared and continue walking to the memorial. When we finally made it we realized that the Washington Monument had “disappear” in the middle of the mist. Everything around us was white and everything looked nice so we ended up playing like little boys with the snow. After the snowman, the walk and the snow war, we ended up all wet and cold so we run to my place for some tea and a warm shower before I had to leave to the airport. When all of these happy things were happening I forgot the reason why I had an extra day: the snowstorm. My happiness didn’t last much. When I was saying bye to my friends and leaving my apartment, an American Airlines call destroyed the smile in my face. I had to return to my place, call the airline to change my flight to the first one available, call my family and friends waiting for me in Miami and re organize my whole week. After almost two hours and 3 different calls I finally changed my flight to Sunday morning. That meant that instead of being the first one leaving, I was now the last one. That also meant that instead of having the following week to study, I had to organize almost all my writings in two days.

On Thursday night I had dinner with my friends and we watched a movie together. I was supposed to be travelling but instead I had Spaghettis, homemade brownies and “The Italian job”. Actually, a really good replacement. snowday

Last week I also used my time to cook. I’m not a really good chef because I never practiced but living alone makes you learn new things either you like it or not. Fortunately for me, I really enjoy cooking. The past week I decided to eat some of the things that I had on my fridge and never cooked before. Homemade hamburgers, spicy rice, tortilla de papa, calabaza rellena, chicken wok and croissants were some of the dishes I prepared. For being my first time, I must say I did a really good job. Not that someone else tasted it but for me those looked and taste really good.

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The weekend was also not as bad as I expected. It was my roommate’s birthday so I surprised her with a delicious cake and 22 candles. We spent the day studying but at night we went out to celebrate. Also, my friend Vicky and me decided to go to swim at the gym so we spent almost two hours doing some exercise. I also called my parents and my best friends with Skype and I stayed up studying until 4 am on Sunday when I had to leave to take my flight. At the airport I did the security and check in things in less than an hour so I had plenty of time to have breakfast and look into the duty free stores. At 7am I was ready to leave and I must say there was nothing as beautiful as looking the sunrise from my window. A whole week was reaching its end, a new day was starting, A city stayed behind while two hours from that moment the beautiful warm Miami was waiting for me. Spring Break is about to start and too many new adventures are waiting for me. So let’s close my eyes, sleep and wait for it.. birthday

By ilakes2015

When you start thinking about your future, every single decision you take becomes the most important one. Because everything you decide, every step that you take is going to change and determine the next one. Even if this is true, sometimes we cannot prevent or have power over other situations that may interfere in our way, in the road we are visualizing and walking by.

If there is something I learned from life until now is that most of the events, accomplishes or failures, happen for a reason. Most of the time is not something we understand in the short-term future but eventually we do.

This time I’m not writing for myself, I’m writing for him. This time I’m looking into the past, into the now and into the future. This time my brother Uriel is moving out from his house in the US, where he has been studying and working for the last 6 years. When he was 17 years old he won a full scholarship to go to Yale for his undergraduate program. After 4 years of receiving an education of excellence and having the chance to work in 3 different continents, he decided to move from New Heaven to Washington DC. His fantastic life as a student had come to an end when he joined a company he liked in the city that he loved.

After almost 7 years of living in Argentina as a only child, destiny reunited me with my brother in the capital of the US, the capital of the world. My decision of doing the exchange program at GW was made a month before I found out he was moving so it was really destiny what made us coincide. I’ve been in this country for 2 months. Two months were I did not only learn how to be a typical American college student but also how to move around in this beautiful city. Uri took me to his favorite places in DC, to the places where he feels relax and the reasons why he can call Washington his home. He shared with me his friends, his music, his roommates, his favorite type of food, his colleagues, his studio and his life. He shared somehow who he is now. To do that we decided to use our time together to enrich our bond so in the last two months we ended up doing a bunch of different things. From museums, to new restaurants, cooking classes (of course he taught me, he is an amazing chef) and fantastic shopping afternoons, the relationship I have with my brother has never been better. We get along really well; we still know each other preferences and laugh as loud as we always did. Our bonds are not only because we share the same blood, we have a connection that not a lot of people share. Is not only the fact that the first time I walked I was trying to reach his arms, it is also the fact that I still do.Uriel

 

Buying boxes, selling furniture, donating cloth and organizing suitcases. The last weekend I helped Uri move out. I don’t know if you moved recently or if you remember how was to move out but I can assure you that packing 6 years of your life in two days is even more chaotic than it sounds. Saying “goodbye” to things is not that easy, you have memories that make you remember moments that take you to places and people you like and even a birthday card can take you 10 minutes to pack. I also realized that is doesn’t matter how many times you move, you never really learn how to do it less stressful. Today I have his life and mine in my apartment. Yes, my roommates hate me but all the suitcases would be gone soon. How strange sounds to say that all your life can fit in a few boxes don’t you think? But if you really think about it, all the relevant things in your life can fit in a smaller box call heart. That sounds less stressful. I now understand why Uri is a citizen of the world. Uri

Every new decision, not matter good or bad has both things: pros and cons. My brother is leaving the US but he is coming home for a few months. This time is time to go back where everything started so lets celebrate for the good moments, for the new beginnings and for all the things yet to come.

By ilakes2015

Since I got back from New York the weather started changing and getting colder. Those days snowed a lot and the roads and access to the city started being more complicated so Tuesday was declared as a snow day what means that people does not have to go to work. After this, GW also cancelled classes. I had arrived DC at 2am in the morning so I got really happy knowing that I could sleep longer. On the afternoon I went to my weekly course of the “Maimonides Leaders Fellowship program” where speakers come to talk about certain topics and in that particular class we prepared Jala (Is like a special bread). That night I went to the cinema and my brother came to my house to have dinner so I baked the Jala and he prepared a delicious meal for both of us. Ureiel

On Friday Night I had an “Emoji party” what meant that each person had to dress up like one of the emoji icons that you use when texting. In my case, I had a lot of different ideas but I finally decided to go as the cat emoji, which was the easiest one. Animals, ballet dancers, smiley faces and even the Japanese twins where some of the customs that people had chosen. One of my friends borrowed my hat so he could be the Russian guy and one of my favorites was my friend Wilson who decided to go like the 3 monkeys: blind, deaf and mute. The party was really good, I caught up with people I haven’t seen in weeks and the best thing was that the party was in my building so I didn’t have to get cold on my way back home.emoji

The last weekend was an interesting weekend. My friend Dion invited me to the Opera on the opening night of Dialogues of the Carmelites and because of the horrible weather we got the chance to sit in the middle of the theatre in 300 dollars seats for free! This powerful Opera about an order of Carmelite nuns who refuse to renounce their beliefs during the French Revolution, turned to be the most remarkable event of my week. Not only because of the interesting topic but also because I ended up feeling the most naïve and lucky girl of the room. The Opera was 3 hours long and there was an intermission of 20 minutes so my friend and I drank something and went to the bathroom. When I tried to go back inside, the play had already started so I sat in a different seat until the change of scenes. The women there didn’t seem pleased when she moved her purse but 5 minutes later I returned to my original place next to my friend after I made stand up all the people there. The end of the play was kind of shocking but it received a standing ovation from the crowd. When the Director took the stage, I realized she was the woman that moved her purse to let me sit next to her! (Yes, now we understand her angry face). Apart from that, and before going to the Opera house backstage, I realized that one of the people that I gently asked to stand up 50 minutes before was with the secret service. When I asked, we found out that the important person seating next to me was the famous Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg!! Of course at that time I didn’t know but I felt really happy and ashamed at the same time (In my favor I’ll say that everyone there looked important and famous) So we can say that I touched the most important two people in the audience that night even though I was not conscious about it and the funny part is that was my unawareness what made it happen. I believe ignorance sometimes let you do things you would never do if you knew. Ignorance sometimes frees you from judgment, your judgment. No fear, no shame, no thoughts of other people opinion. In this case, ignorance gave me the opportunity to look into the eyes of one of the most important persons of the country. As we say in Spanish: "Si lo hacia a propositio, no me salia tan bien" opera

By ilakes2015

A rough week of exams and papers had come to the perfect end when I traveled to New York for the long weekend. Not being the perfect weather, minus 15 degrees is a bit cold even if you love wintertime, my first weekend trip turn to be the most peaceful and warmest of them all.

It was said this particular weekend was the coldest of the season and even if NY is colder than DC, my 4 days there weren’t as bad as it sounds. I arrived on Friday morning with the bus and I went directly to Google to meet my friend Lucas who works there. We hadn’t seen each other for 7 months so I was really looking forward to see him again. At Google we had lunch together and he showed me his office and the cool things in the building. Yes, everything you’ve ever heard about the different and original stuffs that Google provides is less attractive than what they really have. Is not only the floor that is design according to the 4 seasons of the year, or the playroom with Pool and massage chairs, or the Lego area where anyone can play while having a snack or the acoustic room full of instruments, or that every employee can go from one side of the building to the other side with a scooter what makes you understand that any lucky person that worked hard enough to get there, receives amazing things in return. It’s the comfortable environment at Google, where they take care of every detail, what would definitely make a person work with energy and passion and the desire of doing his best for the spectacular company he is working in.

After really cold walks, my friend and I visited every store in Times Square, we did some shopping, ate some traditional Argentine Empanadas, visited some neighborhoods, almost got Broadway tickets for 25 dollars and we ate at Katz’s Delicatessen, the best Pastrami place in the world. Most people know it because of the famous movie scene in “When Harry met Sally” but most of us know it as the famous Jewish pastrami place that is top one in your Must Do list and is even more important than going to Central Park. So if you are trying to be a vegetarian, well, I strongly suggest you never go to this place!fame

This weekend I also spent time with my family that lives in Manhattan. My cousins and their kids gave me the hugs and kisses that my body needed to warm up. On Friday night we had Shabbat Dinner together and it made me feel at home. We took pictures; we played games and watched a movie while we ate homemade cupcakes with the shape of a heart (my five years old cousin was the fantastic cook). On Sunday I had brunch with one of my cousins and I finally met his beautiful baby. We spent a few hours together catching up and after that I walked around until I met my other cousins for teatime. My weekend was surrounded of babies and kids full of energy to play, run and be amazed of small things. That’s what young children remain us; even moving shiny color lights reflected on the floor are good enough to make us smile and have fun in a freezing weather.

cousins

It was Valentine’s Day and everyone was really happy, cold and in love. There were flowers, chocolates, balloons and red things everywhere you looked. That night Lucas, his roommate,his French friend and I had dinner together in an Asian place. I had an exquisite Ramen soup and after that we travelled to Brooklyn for the pregame at one of his Argentine friend’s place where I met grad students. The food, the decoration of the house and even the napkins were red. I must say that is a really strange thing for an Argentinian because we don’t really care about this particular day. Some couples do receive and buy gifts for their partners but is not something as relevant as it is for the Americans or the New Yorkers in particular. The nightclub was also a special place because one of my friends took the balloon with the shape of a heart with her and every time she moved we could find her just looking up. It was a bit funny and as I called it, Love was in the Air!

 

On Sunday night we watched the NBA All-star game at a bar. Of course it was not the same to watch the game in the TV than being there but we had a great time together with the rest of the fans there, my Chinese friend Andy included, who is also an exchange student and we met in NY. It was really nice to find new friends, to get to know them and spend time with people that I really liked.valentines

But it was not all about family and friends; I also got the chance to do a few touristic things. I lived two blocks from Times Square so I definitely went to every gigantic store there, I took the classic picture on the stairs and finally I did the “15 seconds of fame” on the big screen. Believe it or not, this was my third time in the big city but I never tried to take those pictures before. One thing I can definitely thank about that freezing weather is that not too many people wanted to be outside so all the touristic places were not as crowded as those use to be.

 

Also, I went to the Natural History Museum with my little cousins that run all the time but still enjoyed the petrified animals. After the Museum we got back to their house uptown so we walk by the frozen Central Park, which is marvelous.

When I started thinking about my long weekend and the places I wanted to go, I only knew that the World Trade Center, the memorial of 9/11, was the only place I was definitely going. The last time I’ve been in NY, the monument was still being constructed so I only had an idea of how it was going to be. Next to the new building that replaced the twin towers there are two gigantic square fonts with all the names of the victims written to the side and once you get there you can feel the majesty of the place; you can feel the cold. The memories about that day, some people crying and the breeze in your face reminds you that is not only a touristic place in the city, is not another monument or funny attraction where you can loose money and most important, is not a place you could easily forget. I didn’t have the chance to visit the twin towers when I was younger but if only one building made me feel small, I can’t imagine the symbolism and power that represented the original ones. Now there is only one. Now we are here. We are alive and is our obligation to never forget, to stand against terrorism. Not only for us but also for them.nyc

Family, old friends, new friends, touristic places, Google, nightclubs, reflections, warm homes, delicious food and the freezing weather in only 4 days. Definitely, New York is the City that never sleeps.

By ilakes2015

What is life without love? What is life without people that care and take care of you? What is life without fighting for what you want? What is life without hope? What is life without planning and looking for your future?

How would your life be if every morning you had to fight to survive?

The last weekend I got the chance to see love with my own eyes. I got the chance to learn about real fights. I got the chance to learn about hope. Last Sunday I participated in The GW Dance Marathon where I had to stay on my feet for twelve hours with the goal of raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. At this big event, more than 300 people decided to dance for twelve hours to support kids that can’t do it. More than 300 people decided to accept the challenge. More than 300 people decided that the cause was worth the pain. WE decided that there was no better thing to do on a Saturday that stand for those who can’t. DO IT FOR THE KIDS. That is what we did.

dancemarathon

Even if the marathon was intended to help the children at the hospital, I believe it also helped me. I had no idea of what I was doing when I raised my money for the Dance Marathon. I was said that I was changing a life but I didn’t realize it was changing MY life. During that day, not only I danced, ate and had fun with my friends but also I met some of the kids and families that I was indirectly helping. Each family had their moment to share with us the hell they have been living in since they found out their kids had Cancer, leukemia, or even mental disorders. They still wake up every morning wondering if that day is going to be the day that the nightmare ends. But they also wake up with hope and gratitude because their kids are alive. Have you ever been glad just for waking up? Have you ever realized how lucky you are? When I was younger, my mother used to say that she was grateful for the things she had but also for the things she didn’t have. At that time I didn’t realize what she meant. I do now. I do understand that we don’t choose the life we receive and that just the way we could be richer or prettier, we could also be less healthy. We don’t choose the life we receive but we do decide HOW to live. This is something I learned from the kids I met last Saturday. One of the girls has bone cancer and because of that one of her legs had been amputated. That didn’t stop her. That didn’t make her stay in bed. On the contrary, she told us that by the time she was on the hospital, she used to sing to feel better so she decided to perform for us and sang two amazing songs about being stronger. When I finally met her, I discovered she practiced football and was also a great basketball player who won every game we played!! I really didn't let her win!

handprint

Tess and Alexander, two fantastic tweens, also taught me about kindness and hope. This little brothers were diagnostic cerebral palsy by the age of two. After several treatments they increased their mobility and now a days they swim, they have Karate lessons and they also love music. He stayed with the DJ for a few hours and she spoke with everyone just to tell us how grateful she was for what we were doing because we were helping her and her friends. When you do a special thing for others but you don’t expect to receive anything in return and then a ten years old girl approaches, introduces herself and just says “Thank you” when your body is screaming to stop moving, it simply leaves you speechless, happier and stronger.

Everyone deserves a healthy and happy childhood, yes. But those kids made me understand that life is not what you get but what you do with your life. Is not only what life gives you, is what you give to the world. All of them have different diseases but the only thing that took my attention was that they never stopped SMILING. And what could be better than a child’s smile?

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At the end of the night we raised $77,402.38!!! It was more than what we expected, more than the goal for that night. Of course, this was my first marathon at GW and I thought that most people had years participating on it so it came to my surprise when one of the leaders of this project told me that its only the second year that this fantastic event is held at GW. I wondered why it took so long for the university to incorporate this type of events but at the same time I’m glad this project would take place every year from now on. Second year, double the dancers, double the money, and double the miracles? Let us hope and believe so.

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