Third Round

This last weekend was so much fun. I got invited by the childcare educator who I have been job shadowing and working with to see a different side of Buenos Aires. She took me to the bosques de Palermo, which is a large portion of the city filled with beautiful parks where people love to meet up to listen to music, exercise, take pictures, have picnics, and so much more. She took me for a walk to see Palermo in the daytime, where all the bars during the day become a shopping fair for jewelry, leather, clothes, shoes, and other items. It is amazing how Buenos Aires transitions from day to nighttime, laid back to full of life. She also had me try the typical and traditional carne asada (BBQ) and milanesa (crispy chicken) of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Additionally, I got to try the famous classical Havanna alfajores (pastries) and café (coffee) from this country. Must admit the food here is mouth watering.

This is a picture of the common graffiti found in the streets of Buenos Aires.

This is a picture of the common graffiti found in the streets of Buenos Aires.

This is a picture of a theater performance my co-worker and I saw as we walked along the bosques de Palermo.

This is a picture of a theater performance my co-worker and I saw as we walked along the bosques de Palermo.

This is a picture of the carne asada (BBQ) and milanesa (crispy chicken) that I had for lunch with my co-worker.

This is a picture of the carne asada (BBQ) and milanesa (crispy chicken) that I had for lunch with my co-worker.

This is a picture of me and my co-worker in los bosques de Palermo.

This is a picture  my co-worker  and I in the bosques de Palermo.

This is a picture I took during a musical performance done along the shopping fairs in Palermo, Buenos Aires.

This is a picture I took during a musical performance done along the shopping fairs in Palermo, Buenos Aires.

This is a picture of one of Palermo's plazas that I took while I walked around with my co-worker.

This is a picture of one of Palermo’s plazas that I took while I walked around with my co-worker.

The streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This is a picture of some of the best coffee I have ever had along with some alfajores (pastries).

This is a picture of some of the best coffee I have ever had along with some alfajores (pastries).

Now, during this week I continued to work and job shadow the childcare educator, but a different one to observe the different approaches that are being taught. I have also been able to learn the difference between the healthcare systems here and the United States’, as well as how the private and public healthcare services work here. I have been very interested in everything that I have been learning here about the overall healthcare here in Argentina.

I never thought that being in Argentina would allow me to get a grasp of other cultures, but it has. I have been able to be surrounded by other cultures where I have been able to learn about new foods and customs.

Some authentic Brazilian food I got to try.

Some authentic Brazilian food I got to try.

Some authentic Colombian coffee that my new Colombian friends made me as we exchanged a cultural conversation. Not only that, but a great Colombian meal with my roommate from Colombia.

Some authentic Colombian coffee that my new Colombian friends made me as we exchanged a cultural conversation. Not only that, but a great Colombian meal with my roommate from Colombia.

Week 9 Amsterdam

This week consisted of midterms, and many presentations. It was a stressful week! But I got through it and I think I did pretty well on everything. But this weekends trip was to Amsterdam in The Netherlands. IT WAS FREEZING! It was still so warm in Barcelona so it was a shock to have to wear layers of sweaters. The city was beautiful, definitely a metropolitan city. We walked around and went to a cheese museum, the Van Gogh museum, the Heineken experience, and of course the Anne Frank Huis. The Ann Frank Huis was probably my favorite and most enjoyable thing we did over the weekend. I had read the book in class many years ago, but to actually be in the same house where she and her family we’re hiding back going the Holocost was just incredible. I learned so much about her family and I never knew or maybe just didn’t remember, but she ultimately wanted her diary to get published, and even though she didn’t live to see it happen, her father did and her legacy will never be forgotten.

Week 8 – Exploring Barcelona/Granada weekend trip

Flamenco Show

Flamenco Show

This week I went to Parque de la Ciudadela in Barcelona. It’s near the El Born district and was a lot of modern art and natural beauty. The main attraction has here is the zoo, but I didn’t want to pay to go in. Near the zoo’s entrance, the famous climbable gigantic stone mammoth is there, just as the metallic cat in another perimeter of the park. One of my roommates and I just randomly decided to come visit the park one day and I’m glad we did! Also, for a class we went to an up and coming technological neighborhood called Glories and saw the use of old buildings mixed in with the new. It was pretty interesting to see. Not much happened throughout the week, just normal classes and homework.

la alhambra de Granada

la alhambra de Granada

On Friday though we had a group trip to Granada which is in southern Spain. The first thing I noticed when we got to our hotel was that there was a huge arabic feel to the area; completely different then Barcelona. We took a hike up to an arab palace built in the 9th century and it was extremely detailed, it was incredible! I don’t know how people so long ago managed to make such precise details. The palace is called La Alahambra de Granada and it has become a huge attraction to the area, for obvious reasons. We also went to a Flamenco show, and Granada is actually where Flamenco was born. Flamenco is a dance with a lot of clapping, spinning, and stomping. It’s one of the most unique thing i’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. Another thing that was cool was that at the bars as long as you order drinks, you get free tapas (food); Which is a definite plus. I have been trying to use spanish more when ordering food or asking for directions, but when the locals notice that my spanish isn’t that good, they tend to just start speaking to me in english and I start speaking it back! Kinda funny actually, but at least I try!

Cathedral De Granada

Cathedral De Granada

 parc de ciutadella

parc de ciutadella

Torre Agbar

Torre Agbar

Running out of time

It is hard to believe that I have already been here 15 weeks. It seems like just yesterday I was in the Portland airport, hugging my mom and dad, telling them how scared I am, and how much I will miss them. It seems like just last week I started school, and was so confused, frustrated, and excited all at the same time. It seems like it isn’t time to leave yet.

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures for this post, because it has been a very uneventful week, besides finally getting my new phone after my other one was stolen. Since school is ending at the end of this month, I am trying to plan a trip with two of my girl friends to a City in the North of Perú called Máncora, very close to Ecuador. It will be a fairly expensive trip, but I think it will be very worth it.

Everyone has said “you HAVE to go to Máncora while you’re in Perú” because it’s like paradise. Looking up hotels and hostels, I found so many little bungalow type places right on the beach! It is definitely going to be a blast, and I am excited to post pictures when I am back from the trip!

Here is a link to see more about Máncora :)

http://www.vivamancora.com/

The Aix Cathedral/ Living in Aix

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Today I woke up at 7:45 and unfortunately had to drag myself out of bed. I was still really tired so I don’t know if I am just worn out or if I am fighting to not be sick or what. But it was really hard to drag myself out of my warm bed and into the cold of the world. I ate some breakfast and as it got closer to eight I decided I was in the clear to shower. I know now I can’t shower at night but I have never thought about the morning and whether it has been okay. I figured though that if they can bang nails next door then I can shower. So I waited until 8. I took a quick one and am already missing the hotel shower… That is something I am wishing I had…

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I got all my stuff together and (after getting dressed) went off to school. I put my laptop in my locker and then ran upstairs to get my mail. I have been expecting a letter from Thad but I also found an orange envelope from the family. I happily put them in my bag and headed to the cathedral which is where my class was meeting again today. It was rainy but I found a dry spot to sit and read my letters. I opened the one from my family and it was a Halloween card. It was nice. I was glad to get it. Then I opened my letter from Thad which he had sent a few days before break so I have known it would be there when I got back. This is nice to get because I haven’t really gotten to talk to him in over a week… Hopefully tomorrow… I miss him…

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Then we went into the Cathedral for class and looked and talked about the naives and the cloister. It was cool and kind of interesting but less cool than the last time that we went to the cathedral. This time we spent most of our time talking about the different architectural things and the names of them. It was more boring because of that but I did learn some cool things such as that in the gothic period was when they started doing the big stained glass windows because before that the arcs that they were making were so heavy that if they put a window in the arc would fall because it wouldn’t be supported well enough. That was a bit of a cool fact and made a lot of sense to me.

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The cloister was really pretty and was made of a square of columns that used parts of old gravestones and older elements of stone. It was kind of cool and each side of the square of columns signified something different. There was the Old Testament, the New Testament, the early history of the church, and the history of this church specifically in the 12th century when the cathedral was done or added onto.

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After class I went to grab a baguette because I was really hungry. I went to my locker and grabbed my laptop and then went down to the cave. Cassandra was there so I talked to her a bit about our breaks and she gave me a muffin that was really delicious but very crumbly. She went to Germany to see a friend. I pawned off my gross smelling soap to her. It isn’t really gross just too unfamiliar to me so every time I smell it on myself I get confused. So I am going to buy something more familiar. After a while she went to class and I watched some of Spencer’s videos. I tried to buy a hot chocolate from the machine but it was out of powder so all I got was hot water… I put a sticky note up so no one else would experience my disappointment, of not getting a hot chocolate on a rainy day. I also put a bunch of photos up on Facebook of Barcelona and added a bunch to my Paris blog posts. I didn’t get to putting them on my Barcelona posts but that is a task for tomorrow or another day. But today I did that until Cassandra got done with class at 2 and we went to find her some food. I wasn’t hungry after my baguette… oops I ate the whole thing. But you can do that in France no problem or judging! (That’s why I like France!) But we walked to the pasta place and I ran into Monopo to get a bottle of water. The water in the not very cold cooler is 1.75 but upstairs for three times as much water that is virtually just as cold is 61 cents. That’s something they don’t tell tourists but you have to figure out for yourself. We went to her pasta place and she got pasta and I got speculoos tiramisu. It was really delicious but less creamy and thicker from the last time I had it.

 

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After that we went back to the school and she started eating gummies she got from Germany. They were really good but like the most random shapes. There were bears, churches, hearts, guns, diamonds, dots, and oranges all in the same bag, talk about a really weird mix of shapes! They were very delicious though. We hung out in the cave while I did some homework for my next class. Then Jonny came in just as I was leaving and I asked if he was doing anything this weekend because it is a three day weekend with Armistice Day (Same as the street I live on!). I was thinking maybe I could figure out something for me and that group to do after some of us get back on Saturday night. But that was just a little idea. I had to run to class.

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We got our midterms back today and I did pretty badly… I got a D+ but with the curve a C. So… yeah not so good. But luckily I was kind of pegging myself there so it really wasn’t a surprise. I knew I hadn’t done too well. And again it was the stupid verb tenses! I am going to have to ask her about that because it really is my biggest problem in French. I know lots of vocabulary and how to make the verb tenses but don’t understand their English equivalencies or how to tell which to use. So that’s a problem… We corrected the test and once we started I did really well at guessing what it should be and such. I think it was just a bad combination of the break coming up and having used all my brain power on the midterm that day before this one and then not thinking very clearly. So that is my excuse… I just wish the grades didn’t affect my WOU GPA because that is really going to affect my scholarships so I don’t know what I am going to do. They grade much harsher here and almost no one gets A’s. The rest of the class was calm though because there were only 5 of us today because three of the others were absent. A lot of people’s parents and stuff are here because of the break. I wish my peoples were here because of the break…

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I am really homesick right now probably because I just did all the cool stuff I have really wanted to do and now am like okay time to leave! Or I know that there are only 6 weeks left and now I am like okay time to be done! Or maybe I just miss talking to people I really know… In any case I am homesick again. It seems to be a thing though as other people are saying the same thing. Also maybe because everyone’s parents are here…

 

Over the break I have heard that a lot of people got their stuff stolen, their bank cards eaten by ATM’s, and losing their passports and iPhones. I am very glad that none of these things happened to me. I wonder how like careful some of these people were being though… Some seem not the type who would even think of a backup plan. I however had a back up bank card in my luggage and another on my person. Also I didn’t bring my passport but a photo copy. So go me?

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I came home and was unlocking the door just as Madame opened it. She asked if I had work and I said no so she said go se Paul and I will be back in a minute. I went upstairs and Jean-Claude and Laurence were there with Paul too. He lost another tooth. Also Laurence has been sick. But sick to a French person is like… a cold. So we stayed and had chips and red wine down there and talked about my trips and Paul went crazy as normal. He showed me his Halloween costume and their apartment was decorated for it. It was fun and enjoyable. Then Paul started to get too crazy so we came back upstairs for dinner. Paul ran up and stayed for a few minutes before Madame kicked him out.

 

For dinner we had a VERY delicious minestrone soup with vegetables! It was VERY good I really liked it. We had bread and cheese. Madame bought a huge Camembert because she knows I like it. Not I feel obligated to eat lots of it. Oh darn… Then we had ice cream bars and watched I don’t even know what on TV until she got tired and went to sleep and I stayed up to finish my blog and talk to dad! :-)

 

OH! I almost forgot. At dinner Madame asked if I wanted to go to another family birthday for Elise and Matisse in Orange on Sunday and Return Monday Morning. So that is the plan for my weekend after my class trip! It’s at Madame’s ex-husbands house. Should be fun!

 

Week 7 ITALY!

This week I explored Plaza Espanya and shopping inside a mall that used to be a bull flighting ring, since its been deemed illegal in Barcelona and other parts of Spain (for animal cruelty reasons) its amazing how they used something old to make something new.  I also went to Italy a Thursday-Sunday this week and it was everything i’d hoped it would be and more. I was in Venice just for a day but I rode in a gondola in the canals, ate amazing food, and toured the city center. The rest of my trip was spent in Rome. Rome is the opposite of Venice, much busier and more lively. I visited the colosseum, saw roman ruins, went to Vatican city and went inside the Sixtine chapel which was painted by Michael Angelo and was breath taking. My favorite part was probably seeing the Trevi fountain. It was beautiful and of course I made a wish.

Trevi Fountain in Rome

Trevi Fountain in Rome

Vatican City

Vatican City

Gondola ride in Venice

Gondola ride in Venice

Week 6 in Barcelona

I did a lot this week around Barcelona and Spain. I went to Girona on Sunday, we took the train and it was about an 2 hour ride which wasn’t too bad. The only part that was hard was being in time to make the 830 am train! We visited a jewish museum which was pretty interesting, and ate at a catalan restaurant and fell in love with catalan crema! SO GOOD. This city had a lot of roman ruins, it had a huge roman wall that spanned for miles and miles and myself and the group I went with all climbed it and the views were incredible. Later in the week I visited Parc Guell for the second time, I love it there! Gaudi a famous artist in Barcelona and the park is filled with his work/architect. I also fell in love with a Mexican restaurant here in Barcelona, it’s called Rosa Negra and they have amazing authentic tasting Mexican food! It reminded me of home, and made me miss the food we have!

Catalan Crema

Catalan Crema

Girona, Spain

Girona, Spain

Park Guell/City view of Barcelona

Park Guell/City view of Barcelona

Week 5

This week I went to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany for the weekend! It was an amazing experience and I definitely want to go back again someday. I ate a lot of good food and it was nice to have something other than traditional spanish food can’t lie. Barcelona doesn’t have a huge variety of foods in my opinion. I miss the food options back home! I also visited a huge indoor market in the city center of Barcelona, they had EVERYTHING! I even found my favorite american hot sauce, I was very pleased about that. School is going well, it’s harder to focus on my classes and homework while being in Barcelona and traveling! But i’m still doing well, just have to keep my priorities straight.
Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany at Oktoberfest

Market in Barcelona

Palais Garnier

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So while I was in Paris for my fall break I literally went to one of the most beautiful places in the world. I went to the Paris Opera house which is formally called the Palais Garnier. It was built in 1861 to 1875. I was able to take a tour through it thanks to this cool pass I bought for my trip called the Paris Pass which was a really good investment because it allowed me to skip the lines of monuments and get into a bunch of museums and monuments for free. It ended up being worth the heavy charge at the beginning because it made the whole trip in Paris really easy and less stressful because we had so any options open to us.

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We took our tour in English with a tour guide lady who was actually dutch. I really liked her and she made the tour really fun and gave us some cool facts that I would not have known from just walking around the building by myself. She also pointed out some hidden elements that I wouldn’t have seen on my own.

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We first got there and entered into a big room with a really cool looking and ornate ceiling. It was a little dark but very nice. Our tour guide told us that we had entered through the doors of the entrance reserved for the King of France and that we were now by the entrance where the rich nobles entered. She told us that when people got to the opera house they didn’t look at each other until they had formally entered a few rooms ahead. This was in order to make sure you had time to check yourself and be sure you looked perfect before being seen by everyone. The idea was that if you didn’t look at anyone and they didn’t look at you, that no one would see each other before they all looked perfect. She told us that this was the thirteenth opera house that was built and that we couldn’t visit any of the other ones because they had all burned down because they were made of wood. They would typically take 5 years to make and then because they were made of wood and used candles for lighting up the rooms at night, they would burn down within 1-2 years. That made me laugh but it totally made sense.

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It was actually a competition to determine who would be the architect for this Paris Opera house and over 200 people submitted designs and models for Napoleon the third. It was Napoleons wife who got to choose our guide told us and when she saw the design by Charles Garnier she thought it was the most hideous building ever because he didn’t use a known style. So she made him come see her and she was like, “what the heck is this syle?” And he was like, “oh it’s a new style called Napoleon Trois” So then she had to pick it because it was named after her husband.

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It was really funny though because the architect thought that he was going to be forgotten so he actually hid a bunch of his own elements in the architecture of the building. For example on one of the ceilings he has his name spelled out and in the Grand Foyer (gold room), there are 8 busts of his head as lamps which when people saw them criticized him but he told them that they were just the busts of  Apollo. He told everyone it was a compliment that he looked like the busts of Apollo. The entire theater actually has the theme of Apollo and a Lyre throughout the building.

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He wasn’t far off though in thinking that he would be forgotten because there was a transfer of power while the Opera house was being built and all work on the building came to a halt during the Franco-Prussian War due to the siege of Paris. The new government of the Third Republic maintained an intense dislike of all things associated with the Second Empire, and many of them wanted to replace Garnier as the architect for the building. Economies were demanded, and Garnier was forced to suppress the completion of sections of the building. But then because the other theater in Paris was destroyed by a fire overnight there was a resurgence of support to finish the building. The theatre was formally inaugurated on 5 January 1875 with a lavish gala performance, which Garnier wasn’t invited to at first. Then upon hearing this the public was outraged and support for the political leader Adolphe Thiers who was in charge fell so in order to gain it back he sent a letter of invitation to join provided that Garnier could pay for his seat which they made sure was ridiculously expensive. So Garnier didn’t actually get to go to his own designs debut. I thought that was pretty sad. He did go later once things calmed down but he wasn’t able to go and see everyone’s reactions to it for the first time.

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While we were there a prinicipal performer for the current production was there so when we went in to see the inside of the Opera theater she was practicing ballet onstage. Now this building is used mostly for ballet and there is another building in Paris where Opera and Plays are done. Our guide told us that there is no seat number 13 in the theater because once a lamp fell on the woman sitting in that seat and she died. Over time though the story has changed to a man and he still haunts the theater as the Phantom of the Opera. Yep! This is the real Opera house of the Phantom! Our guide also told us that it is true that there is a lake below the Opera house and that it is still accessible but that you have to have lots of clearance and such. But that the water was kind of a hassle during the construction of the building but they wanted to have it close in case of fires.

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It was by far the most beautiful building that I have ever been in and it was really cool to see in person. I was glad that my friend and I on a whim decided to go there because it will probably stay one of my favorite places in Paris because of my love for theatre. One other little known fact is that it is at this Opera house that the idea of Macaroons came about because they were bit sized and wouldn’t ruin ladies gloves! 11.2.13 Fall Break 174211.2.13 Fall Break 1764

week 4

This week I did A LOT. It was a holiday called La Merce and there were free concerts at the beach and parades all around the city. I visited Labyrinth Park which was so cool, different then anything i’ve seen in the states. The coolest and most exciting thing that happened was participating in the “dragon run”. Which is when people masked and dressed in all black have sticks with firework works shooting out will run through the crowds and people even go towards them and go into the fireworks! There were sparks flying everywhere, I wasn’t exactly prepared for it. I got a few burns on my arm but nothing too serious. Overall, it was so fun and something that I am so glad that I got to be apart of. 

Maze

Maze at Labyrinth park in Barcelona  

Dragon run

Dragon run during La Merce