This week was particularly amazing. I have witnessed so many changes again in many aspects. First of all, I can tell that winter has officially arrived in DC. It was one of the most pleasant surprises of this semester. I woke up and I found this:
It's not a lot of snow but still, how could I miss this during one night? The weather is surprisingly strange in DC. Sunrise is around 7:00 am and sunset is around 5:00pm. We can enjoy only ten little hours of light.
With the end of the semester coming, there is much pressure in class because of the projects due and the exams. However, it was a pretty charming study week. In fact, I tried for the first time team group as our professors suggested it. I got to know people from my class which is huge (more than 80 people). After hard work at Gelman, it was time for us to enjoy a good lunch. We went to Founding Farmers and although it's only my second time, I can tell that food is incredibly amazing. I had a great steak with vegetables (sorry vegans).
Furthermore, because of the amount of study I had this week, a funny anecdote happened to me this week. I was in my yoga class and at the end of the class, we are supposed to stretch and relax. Our professor always puts some nice music in the background, so I completely slept for about twenty minutes, and when I woke up all my classmates were about to leave the classroom while I was sleeping on my mat comfortably. My professor said that I must have been really tired.
Also, I decided to work a lot this week because next week is a holiday week and I don't want to feel any pressure next week. I got rid of the chores of the week such as sending a package to my family in Morocco full of presents and gifts, going to the office hours...
I am really looking forward to experiencing Thanksgiving here in Washington at the president's house. I think it is going to be on of the great opportunities of this semester.
The countdown to the end of the semester is here and I can’t believe we reached that point where only two weeks are left to the end *CriesCries* Time really flies in GWU and I feel like orientation week was here days ago.
Having two of my exams really early made my week an intense studying week in Gelman library. Even if the library is really big compared to what we have in our home university, you need to go early to find a table especially when you’re in a group which I never do since I always wake up late and procrastinate a lot before actually starting to study.
The weather in Dc is getting colder and colder and this week was the first snow of the winter. I usually prefer warm weather and hate snow and rain but the first snow of the year is always exciting especially in Christmas time. We usually don’t celebrate Christmas in Morocco so it was really nice to experience the holiday vibes in the US. From Christmas tree, to free hot chocolate and cookies to all the Christmas lights decorations and lights, Washington DC and its weather were really welcoming the holiday season. And to really get into the winter vibe, we decided to go ice skating in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink. It was my first time ice skating and I was really bad at it, my only goal was not to slip and break my bones. But it was fun to start learning how to ice skate, maybe one day I’ll be good at it.
We ended the week by a final Christmas party where we had cookies, brownies, candy canes, made ginger bread house and danced to Christmas songs. Since most of us are busy with finals and some will be leaving soon, it was nice to gather one last time and spend great time before we get hit hard by finals.
This week hasn't been anything special. After all, I have all my final exams now and I have spend most of my time studying and finishing papers. But between breaks I had time to go get some coffee in new places. One I really liked was Paul, it is on campus and it is amazing. It is not expensive and it has an awesome bakery, you can chose so many things that I literally spent 20 minutes deciding what to get.
Another place I went is Churrería Madrid. One thing everyone in Spain does when it is cold is eating churros with chocolate. It is a Spanish tradition and I missed it so much that I started searching for places where they have churros. I found this place and I have to say they were really amazing, I wasn't expecting them to be like the ones back at home but they were. All of you should try them because they are so good they are addictive.
However, the best part of the week was that it finally snowed. On Sunday everything was covered in snow, and Washington was even more beautiful in white. I live in the north of Spain so I see snow every year, and my family and friends had been sending me pictures in the snow for two weeks, I was so jealous. But on Sunday I got to send them one instead. Ass you can guess, I´m a huge fan of snow and Christmas.
One thing I have realized is that when final exams arrive free food is even more of a thing than it was before, which means free food everyday. On Thursday there was free grilled cheese, hot chocolate, and traditional Pakistan food. The on Sunday we had cookies, snacks and coffee. And on Monday there is free breakfast in Gelman library and free Midnight Breakfast at night. Taking breaks from studying here means having free food, which is awesome.
Nothing screams Spring Break more than Miami. Sunshine, the beach and delicious food all rolled into one week of festivities. What was meant to be a week of relaxation turned into a week of adventure. We had managed to get ridiculously cheap flights from New York and so on Monday morning we hopped on the Megabus and headed up to the city ready for our flight on Tuesday. This wouldn’t have been an issue if it wasn’t for storm Stella. On Monday night New York was hit by a blizzard and we woke up to the city being covered in snow. Everywhere in the city was closed and all the flights for that day were cancelled.
The night before the storm we met up with my friend from New York and headed to Cantina in Harlem for the best tacos and burritos! Luckily another group from the exchange program was staying in the city for the week and so we stocked up on supplies and crashed at their Airbnb for a couple nights. Stranded in New York we decided to make the most of the snow and go exploring. For the city that never sleeps, it was a rare opportunity to experience New York without the hustle and bustle. As we were headed to Miami we weren’t exactly dressed for the weather. We bundled up in as many layers that we had brought with us and headed down to Central Park. Although it was not what I had in mind when I pictured Spring Break, the city in the snow was beautiful and was worth missing our flight.
We headed to the Newark Airport early the next morning hoping that there were some spare seats on the upcoming flights. Luckily, 15 minutes before takeoff we managed to get two free tickets and were on our way to Miami! A couple of hours later, we had said goodbye to the snow and were basking in the sun on South Beach.
There was a large group of us staying at an Airbnb in South Beach. The week was spent chilling at the beach, having BBQs out back and gorging on the best Cuban food I’ve ever had. We headed over to Wynwood Walls to explore the amazing street art and decided to stay in the area to enjoy the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. If there is one thing I’ve learnt is that Americans don’t know how to do anything low-key. They had everything from green coloured drinks, food trucks, vintage clothing stalls and live music.
After a week relaxing and having fun in the sun it was time to return to reality. As our flight was at 6 am the following day we decided to not book accommodation for our final night and go the full 24 hours. We checked out at 10 am and spent the rest of the day at the beach, before returning to one of our favourite places of the trip for dinner Ball and Chain and finishing the trip off at Story. At 3 am we grabbed an uber to the airport and made the long journey back to DC.
Spring Break was exactly the adventure I expected it to be. Miami was the perfect combination of fun and culture and completely lived up to the hype of Spring Break.
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