Meghann in Argentina: One More Week

June 26, 2017

Hi everyone! My name is Meghann and I am a junior from Maryland double majoring in Political Science and Spanish and minoring in Healthcare Studies at University of Richmond. On campus, I work as a Writing Consultant, I tutor UR staff members in English through the Bonner Center, and I also intern at the Sacred Heart Center, a Latino community center in downtown Richmond. This fall semester (although honestly it is a pretty extended semester, as I will be gone from July 1st until a few days before Christmas!) I will be studying at la Universidad Católica Argentina, or UCA, and living with a host family in Buenos Aires. Going to school at UCA will definitely be a change from UR—around 18,000 students attend the university, which is located in the bustling, modern neighborhood of Puerto Madero. I have heard only amazing things about Buenos Aires, known as the “Paris of South America” due to its European influences and wealth of culture.

 

Besides exploring the city that I can’t wait to call home, I also hope to travel around Argentina and see some of the diversity the country has to offer. My Argentine bucket list includes Patagonia in the South (home to incredible glaciers, mountains, wildlife, and hiking), Mendoza in the North (wine country), and the Iguazu Falls (the largest waterfall system in the world), to name a few. I’ve already spent way too much time looking at these places on Google Images…

 

Although exploring the country is definitely a top priority for me, my biggest goal is to become fluent in Spanish. I always knew I wanted to study abroad in Latin America in order to improve my Spanish, as my mom’s side of the family is Colombian and I am the only one who does not fully speak it! I’m guessing six months of immersion and a course load that is entirely in Spanish should help, and I can’t wait to be able to speak to my family without stumbling over my words.

 

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A view of Medellín, Colombia from the last time I was there almost four years ago. I hope to return one day in the near future to stay with family, this time with a new knowledge of the language due to my studies and experiences in Argentina.

 

With just a little over a week before I hop on (three!) planes and make my way down to Buenos Aires, everyone I mention it to keeps asking how I am feeling about my trip. My answer is the same each time—excited. I am excited to meet new people, to immerse myself in a new language and culture, to be independent, and to experience everything I possibly can. Six months looks like a long time on paper, but I am sure it will fly by. My only real concern is that I will be headed down in a walking boot, having recently broken my leg pretty badly. I should probably learn to say that I now have metal plates and screws in my leg in Spanish before I go setting the metal detectors off in airport security…My list of things to do before I leave is slowly but surely dwindling down, leaving me with little to do for the last week besides look forward to everything that lies ahead (and figure out how to pack six months worth of my life into two suitcases).

 

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Some of the essentials for my long journey down to Buenos Aires: my passport, some Argentine pesos, and my walking boot!


Jack in New Zealand: Yugen

July 7, 2016

“To watch the sun sink behind a flower clad hill. To wander on in a huge forest without thought of return. To stand upon the shore and gaze after a boat that disappears behind distant islands. To contemplate the flight of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds. And, subtle shadows of bamboo on bamboo.” Zeami Motokiyo

“Discuss your preparations to go abroad – how you are feeling, anxieties or excitements, last minute projects or plans you are making, etc.” UR OIE

How do I feel about going abroad? I think this question is a little vague. I’m fairly confident that the UR Travelogue coordinator is referring specifically to the four months I will spend at the University of Otago in NZ working toward my Biology degree when he says ‘abroad’, but after several months (and in some cases, years) of students and OIE faculty throwing around the term, it’s difficult to nail down a precise definition.

If returning students and previous travel bloggers are to be believed, ‘abroad’ means ‘the best semester of college’ and ‘learning and growing’ and ‘OMFG amazing’ in so many words. If the OIE is the defining authority, then ‘abroad’ means ‘cultural exchange’ and ‘horizon broadening’ and ‘a lot of paperwork’. Even friends and family (individuals keenly aware of my specific plans) reduce ‘abroad’ to banalisms like ‘so much fun’ and ‘independence’ and ‘legally imbibing alcohol’.

‘Abroad’ has been consistently built up over the past months to mean all of these things, and while I believe everyone’s definitions come from a genuine source (perhaps from their own life-changing international study experiences, and their desires for me to have the same), I think it’s impossible for these definitions to truly encompass the ‘study abroad experience’. Each seems a little too trite to be true, and with students attending programs around the world, ‘abroad’ cannot possibly begin to define the experiences of every student.

So it’s quite difficult for me to pin down exactly how I feel about ‘abroad’. I think I’ve decided I don’t feel much about it at all. ‘Abroad’ is going to just sort of happen to me. And that’s the way I’d prefer it.

My preparations for abroad have been almost entirely practical, concentrating on packing my backpacks, leaving behind any definitional baggage that could serve as a template or filter for my experience. A laundry list of expectations will only serve to make me anxious, distance me from the present moment, and prevent me from truly marveling at my experience. A constant stream of ‘is this the best semester I’ve had so far?’, ‘am I experiencing enough cultural exchange?’, ‘am I taking enough advantage of my ability to legally imbibe?’ will prevent me from experiencing what it truly means to ‘go abroad’.

That being said, if I have any hopes for abroad, it’s that my friends, family, and the OIE turn out to be entirely right. I want to return in December to find that the only way to fully describe my experience is ‘OMFG it was so awesome’. I want the trite travel-bloggisms to be true. I want an experience so complex and amazing that I am reduced to spewing positive unintellectual platitudes upon my return, and really and truly mean them.

But in the mean time, this blog will be concerned with the experience as it happens, free from definitional filters and expectations. It may be occasionally trite. It may sarcastically spite its own triteness. Above all, I hope it will be an honest and entertaining accounting of my experience. You’ll get a sense of how I feel about my own personal ‘abroad’ along the way.


Emily in Samoa: Sega na Leqa

April 19, 2016

Sega na leqa (pronounced SENG-a na LENG-a, and don’t enunciate the g’s) is a Fijian phrase similar in meaning to hakuna matata: in other words, no worries, no problem. This is a key phrase to know in Fiji, which has taken on new meaning for me during our week-long visit to the country. Before we arrived, I’d thought it a given that we’d be chanting the “no worries” mantra–Fiji is internationally typecast as a carefree, worry-free, never-ending beach, probably with a waterfall in the background and a pink hibiscus blossom somewhere in sight. Of course we’d be saying no worries in a place like that, where there is seemingly nothing to worry about.

 

Spontaneous horseback riding on the beach plays up the worry-free Fiji stereotype.

Spontaneous horseback riding on the beach plays up the worry-free Fiji stereotype.

 

This assumption was first disproved a month before our scheduled flight, when cyclone Winston tore through the islands. A category 5.1 storm, about the magnitude of hurricane Katrina, Winston demolished crops, flattened homes, flipped cargo ships, and turned life on its head. Towns were razed to the ground, with villagers hiding in caves for weeks to protect themselves from winds and high water levels. Two of the hardest-hit towns were Levuka and Rakiraki… the main towns on our itinerary.

 

This was our first sega na leqa moment, where we kept our schedule and hoped for the best, knowing the trip would be hard, but that we might be of use to villagers by bringing supplies they lacked. No problem…?

Aboard our flight, the second disaster struck. We had just gotten our in-flight drinks when the plane dropped 200 feet, shooting us out of our seats and sending our food and drinks flying. Visibly shaken, we braced ourselves as the plane dipped again and again, hoping we would not be starring in a sequel to Cast Away. Hearts in our throats, we had a nerve-wracking second half of our flight, and were relieved to finally land in Suva. Our clothes were sticky with soda and juice, but we were for the most part alive. No problem. Sega na leqa…

 

One of Suva's main streets

One of Suva’s main streets

 

After two days meandering around Suva, we were scheduled to take our trip to Levuka and Rakiraki. We were ready to brave conditions there, but never followed through with the plan. The weather station grimly announced that travelers were out of luck, as choppy waters and floods in the port town of Nadi made ferry trips impossible. Another cyclone was on its way, and towns sank underwater as winds and tides picked up. Some footage of the flood can be found here: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/360-video-ground-in-cyclone-zena-hit-nadi

 

Sega na leqa. We decided to scrap all of our plans and drive around Viti Levu, the big island of Fiji. We made our way first to Sigatoka, a coastal town known for its market. But, thanks to the new cyclone brewing, we couldn’t make it all the way to our homestays. We turned on the radio to hear a worried voice: “a level 2 cyclone is headed toward Fiji, and will center on Sigatoka. Expect flooding, high winds from 120-160 km per hour, and flying debris. It is advised that everyone take shelter within the next hour. High flood advisory for Sigatoka, please evacuate.” Hurriedly we cancelled our homestay plans and checked into a hotel on a hill, skidding out of town as the river rose.

Huddled in the darkness of our hotel rooms, without power, water, or backup funds (the SIT program changed our director’s credit card without notice, and it will take a month for the mail ship bearing the new card to reach Samoa), we waited. We told ghost stories, lit candles, listened to doors slam in the wind.

But sega na leqa. The forecast had been wrong, and the cyclone died out before the worst would have hit us. And so we drove to our village homestays, where at last, things started looking up. Our host families took us to coastal sand dunes, which towered 100 ft in the air and required us to scramble up almost vertical slopes to reach the crest of dunes. Still without power or water, we sat and socialized at night, cooking roti over open fires.

 

Atop the sand dunes

Atop the sand dunes

 

At last, the flooding subsided in Nadi, and we headed to the town. Our guide, Prem, loves spontaneity, and sega na leqa is his personal motto. When plans fell through he took us to his house for lunch, then promised to show us a special surprise later that day. We all piled into his van, and drove through town, looking at flood lines on buildings and riverbanks.

We wound through hills, and the planned, paved road turned to gravel, then to dirt, growing dustier and windier. At last, we parked on the side of the road. “Get out,” Prem ordered. “Here is your surprise.” We waded through knee-length grass, and found ourselves at the top of a mountain…transported to the cover of a National Geographic magazine. The land dropped away beneath us, giving way to rolling hills and a far-away sea, where we could see the silhouettes of neighboring islands.

Sometimes there are problems, and there are obstacles that block us from following our plans to the letter. But as we stood atop the mountain, gazing out at the lands that we been hurrying through the first part of the week, I realized that the whole time, we were exactly where we needed to be.

 

Our surprise

Our surprise

 

Sega na leqa, and here’s to all the best-laid plans that go awry.


Tony in Switzerland: Studying Abroad…in D.C.?

February 4, 2016

Hey everybody! My name is Tony, and I am a junior at the University of Richmond, majoring in Biology and French with a minor in Studio Art. ­I know…I’m all over the place. Fortunately, I was able to find a program in Switzerland that caters to all of my interests. This spring, I will be studying at the Université de Lausanne (UNIL) where I will take biology, literature, and art history classes. Plot twist: they’re all going to be taught in French.

Richmond’s French department continues to encourage me, though, which is comforting when I think of how hard biology will be when it’s taught in French. One way or another, I’m excited for the challenge, especially after being home on Cape Cod for all of winter break. Most of my friends have already gone back to their universities, and my parents have left for a month’s trip to Brazil to visit family. In other words, I spent the majority of winter break at home alone or working.

That all changed on January 25—six days before my flight to Lausanne. Throughout all of break, I never received word about my visa from the embassy in D.C., which wasn’t for a lack of effort on my part. I emailed the embassy on the 5th and the 19th with no new information. My advisor and I became so worried that we started contacting my coordinator at UNIL for help. He pulled some strings and reached the cantonal authorities in Geneva. As it turned out, my visa had been authorized January 7, but I didn’t receive any notification about it. I started planning everything I could do to get that visa in time for my flight on the 31st. Would it be difficult? Probably. Would it be impossible? I hoped not.

Day One of the Visa Adventures: I was optimistic and immediately called the Swiss embassy to ask if I could expedite the visa authorization process, but as you might remember, the weekend of January 22, 2016 was a busy weekend for snowplows. Winter Storm Jonas challenged emergency preparedness everywhere, especially D.C. The embassy was closed that Monday because Jonas completely buried the city.

I wouldn’t give up yet. I decided to drive down to D.C. the next day and gamble on the embassy’s opening. Unfortunately, I grossly overestimated how well the city would be cleaned.

Day Two: I drove all the way down from Cape Cod to the wreck that was D.C and found that the embassy was still closed. I ended up driving down to Richmond to pay my friends a visit before going back to the embassy the following day. Free housing for the night didn’t hurt either.

Day Three: my friends and I started the day with a classic DHall breakfast. I called the embassy from my preferred third room booth and discovered that it was open. However, the receptionist let me know that no visa questions are answered over the telephone or in person. After talking it over with the OIE, I drove back up to D.C. I parted ways with my friends and reached the embassy before closing time. When I arrived, I was immediately turned away because according to the embassy’s policies, visa questions are only answered in the morning. I shockingly didn’t catch that when the rule is masked by three links on their website. Back to Richmond I went to spend the night in my friend’s apartment once more.

Day Four: I woke up aggressively early this time around and headed up to D.C. This time, I actually got to speak to the visa officer who told me that she could not issue the visa within the same day. At best, she could expedite the process so that I would receive it the next morning. Considering how soon my flight was, I agreed.

Here’s where the story gets pathetic, as if it wasn’t already. My car is expecting an oil change once it reaches 41,000 miles, and at that point, I was getting really close.

Somehow, my friend Amalia anticipated that I’d be stuck in another conflict with the embassy. The night before, she offered to let me sleepover her house in Maryland should anything happen at the embassy. She had been planning to go home for the weekend and knew her father wouldn’t mind the company. I ended up taking her up on the offer to pick up my passport the next morning. Amalia and her father would not be home until the late evening, though, which meant that I had roughly 6 hours to spend before driving to her house. Here are some of the pictures of what ensued from the #tonytakesDC campaign.

 

No elephants were harmed in the making of this photo.

No elephants were harmed in the making of this photo.

 

Living my brother's dream of seeing the Air and Space Museum.

Living my brother’s dream of seeing the Air and Space Museum.

 

I only made him mildly jealous.

I only made him mildly jealous.

 

At the end of the day, I toured more of D.C. than I have of Cape Cod and then drove to Amalia’s house. I was able to spend some quality time with her two cats and also Amalia and her father.

 

Fortunately, Amalia's cats were very photogenic. Meet Anna Maria.

Fortunately, Amalia’s cats were very photogenic. Meet Anna Maria.

 

And of course, the killer cat, Felix.

And of course, the killer cat, Felix.

Day Five: I got my visa. Nothing else is important anymore. I finally got my visa. Five days, 1,568 miles, and eight trips to the gas station later, I finally got my visa.

 

Lausanne, here I come! One day to go!

Lausanne, here I come! One day to go!

My flight to Switzerland leaves tomorrow, and now that I have my visa, I can calmly start packing. Although, what better way to procrastinate than by starting this blog? Check it out next week when I’m finally in Switzerland!


Emily in Samoa: Beginning the Adventure

January 19, 2016

Talofa! My name is Emily, and I am an Anthropology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) major at Richmond. I’m originally from Leominster, Massachusetts, where I grew up on my family’s vegetable farm. I am excited and honored to be sharing my South Pacific adventures with you, and look forward to your feedback and questions.

 

My dad at the corn wagon in the summer

My dad at the corn wagon in the summer

 

I leave for Hawai’i in five days, and will be staying at the Polynesian Cultural Center on ‘Oahu for two weeks of orientation (preceded by four days of solo exploration). As I shuffle around my New England home wrapped in a sweater, a robe, and two blankets, I am cheerily folding up my t shirts and shorts for warmer climes, and fawning over phrases on my information sheets like “bring your own snorkel.” As indicated by my blankets, I am a person who likes to be warm. But, as I will explain, that was not the reason I chose Samoa.

I chose this program much like I chose my majors, and much like I choose many things in my life. I started by looking at all the options and making an extensive, comprehensive, somewhat color-coded spreadsheet of what I was interested in, which turned out to be almost everything. When I decided on a major, items on the list ranged from performance classical oboe to poetry to physics. I then used criteria to narrow down my choices, which ended up expanding them. Finally, I disregarded the entire list, and went back to the things I had liked from the beginning. Simple, no?

 

The Study Abroad Spreadsheet- an excerpt

The Study Abroad Spreadsheet- an excerpt

 

Thus, my majors emerged sophomore year after bouts with a range of other classes, and I cast aside my list of programs abroad in favor of Samoa…and a few other places. Due to my indecision on a specific program, I have spent my year abroad, interning in India over the summer, and doing a food studies program in Italy in the fall. I realize that this suspiciously mirrors the book Eat, Pray, Love, but that was a happy accident, and I assure you that the year has been centered mainly on eating. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason for my choosing Samoa, but two big factors were distance: it is quite far out of my comfort zone, and even further from anywhere I’ve lived or traveled.

 

My current situation: the farm post-snow

My current situation: the farm post-snow

 

With my decision made, I have spent my winter break learning Samoan, hunting down gifts for my host families, and reading about the islands I will be visiting. I will be based in Apia, capital city of Western Samoa (not an American territory), going on excursions to rural villages, as well as to American Samoa and Fiji.

It is easy to be led astray reading about Samoa, as it was home to one of the biggest names in anthropology. Margaret Mead, and served as her place of study in the 1920s. It is therefore known by the stereotypes she created for its people, more than what it really is. At the beginnings of Western anthropology, Samoa was seen as a place so isolated as to show an example of culture that was small and isolated—in a Pacific fishbowl, if you will. Mead’s book Coming of Age in Samoa describes the oft promiscuous sexuality of scantily clad Samoan girls that she observed, and was a best-seller in the US after publication.

 

Mead’s book, featuring one of “her girls” on the cover

Mead’s book, featuring one of “her girls” on the cover

 

That book has been a source of shame and disgust for Samoans ever since, who have worked to promote native anthropology, cultural analysis from those actually participating in the culture. Rather than the Other, they emphasize the Us, and the interconnection of a sea of islands instead of islands isolated in a sea. I am interested to learn more about new and emerging Oceanic identities, as well as how the islands are adapting to a changing world, which wants to connect with them through internet, economic exchange, and tourism.

There is so much more I could say, but I will save it for next time. Thanks for reading!

 


Lindsay in Thailand: Vietnam & Beyond

December 2, 2015

Please excuse me if I may sound like a broken record, but after my fall break this past week, I still believe “a lack of formal plans or expectations makes for the best adventures.” Little did I know, a lack of a valid Vietnamese Visa does too. And so the adventure begins…

One week before fall break, the scramble began. I entered my program’s student activity room to find my like-minded friends crowded around computers.

Pictures of random places were pulled up on the screens and the air was filled with frantic questions. “Where are you going?” “That looks cool” “Well, maybe we can go there too.” Simultaneously, tabs with destination information all the way from Korea to Singapore with every country in between were pulled up on my computer screen. For the next nine days, Southeast Asia was my oyster, and I had no idea where I was going.

Eventually, after much debate with myself, I decided I would not try to squeeze in the wonder of Angkor Wat or Bali’s beaches, but rather experience as much of one country as I could. Vietnam seemed to have it all, from cascading mountains and quiet beaches to busy city streets.

 

Little wonders- Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Little wonders- Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

 

My only travel transaction was a round trip ticket from Bangkok to Hanoi for most of the week until the rest of the plans eventually fell into place. Before break began, my friend Billy and I inquired about a Vietnam visa from several different sources, including the Thai embassy. We were told that it was possible to get a tourist Visa upon arrival in Hanoi. Little did we know…

We took the overnight bus to Bangkok with several of our friends and arrived at the Don Muang Airport before 4 am—plenty of time to spare before our 7:15 flight. I found out in the check-in line, however, that a pre-entry form was required to enter Vietnam, and that we would not be making our flight. We applied for the rush visa application service that claimed processing took “3 hours at the most.” That Saturday, however, was a holiday. Rather than pay the $200 to get the other available last-minute entry form, we returned to the drawing board. Within four hours, we were on a flight to a southern Thai island, Krabi, and would not return to Bangkok until Monday evening. On Tuesday afternoon, we flew to Hanoi and spent the night there. The next morning, we traveled to Ha Long Bay in Northeastern Vietnam and I eventually met up with four friends to adventure to Sapa in Northwestern Vietnam. Throughout my traveling within Thailand and beyond its borders, I have learned some things and I thought that I would share them with you.

 

Because of the changes in our travel plans, Billy and I were able to enjoy a meal with Dominiki, a fellow UR friend and Bonner Scholar currently studying in Bangkok.

Because of the changes in our travel plans, Billy and I were able to enjoy a meal with Dominiki, a fellow UR friend and Bonner Scholar currently studying in Bangkok.

 

  1. Do your research- I am all about the random adventures, but once you decide on an adventure, it is a great idea to acquire some additional information. For example, sometimes while traveling no matter how much I attempt to “speak the Thai way,” my American accent reveals itself, and so do the “farang prices.” Before you get charged extra, look up some additional information on the Internet of where you are headed to or what you are doing. From personal experience, simply searching how much a taxi ride should be to a destination could cut your costs in half.
  1. Take the Local Transport- Compared to the U.S., transportation in Asia is pretty inexpensive. Although these rides can take up a little more time, it can be time well spent talking with the locals and enjoying the beautiful views out your window. Also, for extended rides, consider taking an overnight train or bus so you don’t miss out on exploring during the day and you can avoid the price of additional sleeping accommodations.

 

I brought my birthday cards from family and friends on the trip with me and found the overnight train ride to be the perfect time to read them.

I brought my birthday cards from family and friends on the trip with me and found the overnight train ride to be the perfect time to read them.

 

  1. Learn the language, or at least the magic words– When traveling to a different country, always try your best to learn the magic words- ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’…and ‘bathroom’ is probably good to know, too. Kind words go a long way no matter what country you are in. Attempting to learn a foreign language shows those you interact with, even if they can speak English, that you recognize you are the one coming into their country and you appreciate their language and culture.
  1. Start Climbing- No matter the distance or the number of steps, always climb to the tippy top of wherever you are. Not only can this venture provide an incredible view of the area, but it often elicits this certain spectacular emotion of feeling so small in a such a big world. Pull up a chair (or a rock), sit there, take a deep breath, and take it all in.

 

Billy and I at the ‘Overlook’ in Koh Phi Phi, a Southern Thai Island.

Billy and I at the ‘Overlook’ in Koh Phi Phi, a Southern Thai Island.

 

  1. Look into booking a backpacker’s hostel– Hostels are definitely an establishment that I have come to love while studying abroad and will miss when I return to the states. Not only do most of these backpacker hostels offer the same amenities as hotels for a cheaper price, but they also allow you to meet interesting people from around the world. I have discovered that Southeast Asia is a huge European vacation spot and it has been wonderful talking with these travelers. Some of the best food I have eaten, cultural sites I have seen, and shopping I have done has been because of these backpacker’s personal experience and advice they have received from their friends and families who have visited the places before.
  1. Take the road less traveled by (even if it is up a steep mountain)– When on vacation, it is easy to fall into the common traveler’s trap. It’s great to experience all the touristy things a place has to offer, but also venture down the alleyways and find the cutest coffee shops. For example, when you are offered two options- to do an easy trek with more tourists or a 16 mile hike up a mountain with no one around but the Sa Pa tribal groups-take the longer route. Even if you’re legs scream at you now, your soul will thank you for it later.

 

Sa Pa, Vietnam- one of my favorite places on Earth.

Sa Pa, Vietnam- one of my favorite places on Earth.

 

These two children, ages 6 and 8, walk more than one and a half hours up and down the mountain everyday to get to and from school.

These two children, ages 6 and 8, walk more than one and a half hours up and down the mountain everyday to get to and from school.

 

  1. Learn from the Locals– My favorite part of my trip was talking with the individuals who lived in the area, especially in Sa Pa, Vietnam. Our trekking guide, Pen, let us not only see into the history and culture of the area, but also into her daily life and routine. You can learn so much through personal exchanges, which can make you fall in love with the place even more.

 

Although these Sa Pa Sister guides trek 11 miles up the same mountain everyday, they still take the time to sit and enjoy the view.

Although these Sa Pa Sister guides trek 11 miles up the same mountain everyday, they still take the time to sit and enjoy the view.

 

  1. Obtain a VISA before entering a foreign country– Yes, this seems quite obvious. But if for some reason things don’t work out as you initially planned, don’t sweat it. Take a deep breath, get creative, and see this hiccup as an opportunity for a new adventure. Oh, and eventually add it to your anthology of amusing stories.

 


Lindsay in Thailand: T-Minus 24

August 18, 2015

Someone pinch me. T-Minus 24 hours until take-off! Wow…what an unusual feeling. After months of people inquiring about where I will study abroad, it is funny to actually be arriving in this far off place soon. I will be 10,000 miles and twelve time zones away on the other side of the world. In other words, while you all are asleep, I will be wide awake. This still doesn’t seem real.

The journal I made for my travels.

The journal I made for my travels.

Currently, I am a ball of stress, excitement, nerves and every other feeling imaginable. It feels as if I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off the past few days, but it is a good kind of feeling. After arriving home just three short weeks ago from Chania, Greece after almost two months of work with my Bonner abroad site (ARCHELON, The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece), I was concerned I was not going to have everything ready in time. Although I still feel like I just adjusted to this time zone, I am looking forward to the next twelve I will cross with every passport copy printed and ‘polite’ clothing item packed.

The first turtle nest I found and relocated this summer in Greece.

The first turtle nest I found and relocated this summer in Greece.

In my last weeks, I have been struggling to cross off everything on my yearly summer bucket list, but somehow I managed! From bike rides through my favorite places, hikes through local parks, country concerts at a nearby pavilion, sunsets at the beach, and coffee at the quaint shops, I was fortunate enough to squeeze in some quality time with my family and friends. I cannot believe that tomorrow will begin my next adventure. I will be flying into Boston on Friday night, arrive in Dubai late Saturday, and finally arrive in Bangkok Sunday morning. This 10,276 mile ride will definitely be one for the books!

My nephew showing his Spider Pride at my family going away picnic.

My nephew showing his Spider Pride at my going away family picnic.

 


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