I took this photo after a very bumpy ride along a pot hole lined road to the backpackers at Bulungula, which is located along the Wild Coast. To get to Bulungula, my friend and I got a ride from the backpackers we were staying at to a small town nearby. Then from the small town we took a minibus taxis (a very popular mode of transportation in South Africa) to another small town about a half an hour away. After waiting for a while in this small town, we caught a shuttle also known as a bakkie with other travelers to Bulungula. The ride to Bulungula was interesting, as we were all squished in the back of a truck along with luggage, food, and even a didgeridoo. We were all relieved when we finally reached the backpackers because we could stretch our legs and take in the beautiful view of the ocean and the river that flowed into the valley. I chose this picture because the experience definitely reflects my time abroad in South Africa. While there were many twists and turns and bumps along the way, in the end I know it was all worth it. I miss South Africa and hope to return there sometime soon!
This is a photo I took of what is known as the 百万ドル夜景 (Hyaku-man Doru Yakei) or “Million Dollar nightview” in Hakodate, Japan.
I’m not sure what exactly the criteria are for a nightviews, but apparently it is considered one of the most beautiful in the world…or at least in Japan.
While the view was nice, I’d say the gondola ride up to the top of Mount Hakodate, passing over the city, was enough to make the trip worth it.
This photo was taken at Korea’s iconic Seoul Tower, also called Namsan Tower. I waited specifically till after my program ended when my mother and uncle would visit me to go to Seoul Tower. I wanted to share this experience with my family because of what this tower represents and show them the beautiful view from the top, also, it is a popular filming location for Korean dramas and movies. From old times, there was a story that if lovers make a wish at a shrine on Namsan, it comes true. Since that, this place became a symbol of the place of promising an everlasting love for couples with hanging a lock together and throwing the keys off the side of the cliff.Seoul Tower is a common place to find young couples in love. I thought this place displayed Korea’s romantic culture at its best. Coming to Seoul, I became very concious about how many couples there are and how much P.D.A. (public display of affection) they show to each other. This wall of locks is just one of many other walls that are completely covered with locks. My mom and uncle along with myself were amazed at how old some were as well as how many different languages we found written on them. Our day ended by riding the cable car down the mountain and eating dinner at a nearby shopping area. I will never forget this day when my mom, uncle and I were on the top of Seoul and surrounded by peoples’ promises of endless love.
Before coming to Spain, I had started to have an interest in food. My father had always been very talented at cooking and despite the fact that he was born in Japan, had always had a special love for Italian food. I went to Spain without any idea of what Spanish food would be like, but aware that I would probably like it. I didn’t just end up liking food in Spain, I ended up planning much of my experience around it. I was particularly enamored with small bar foods served in the north of Spain known as pintxos, and was anxious to get a chance to try the hundreds of variety as well as prepare my own. Food became an extremely important part of my life, and I began to taking cooking very seriously, with a flare for Spanish and Basque cuisine. This is probably the biggest effect that my study abroad experience had on me.
When this photo was taken, I had probably already had eight different pintxos that day, and with some friends, had very formally scored them out of 10 (5 points for taste, 3 for innovation, 2 for presentation). We had had some very good ones and some that were a little less than enthralling, but I knew that this bar/restaurant had a good reputation and they had interesting pintxos. I was awed both by the food itself and the culture around it – the only time I saw more people out on the street in Pamplona was during San Fermin, which is often reputed to be one of the greatest street parties on earth.
I am still awed by the food culture of Navarra and the Basque country, and have done my best to bring some of it back with me – I still make an effort to cook a lot, and I do my best to cook both in the philosophy and in the style of Basque Spanish cooking, but I am limited – both because the food culture in the united states is not the same, and in that many ingredients that are used to in Basque and Spanish cuisines (particularly pintxos) are easily available locally, but rather difficult to find internationally.
I took this picture because I felt that this bar did the best job of presenting their pintxos and explaining them – not all bars offered anywhere near this level of explanation or presentation. While these were not the best pintxos I ended up having, the one on the left came very close, scoring an aggregate 9/10 from my friends and I.
This is an image from the inside of the restaurant/bar San Nicolas: Cocina Vasca. I took it during one of Navarra’s most beloved and eagerly awaited culinary events, La Semana de Pintxos (The week of pintxos). Pintxos are small, carefully crafted but inexpensive foods sold in bars prepared primarily in the north of Spain in Navarra and Basque country. The Semana de Pintxos is a week long competition amongst literally hundreds of bars throughout Navarra for the the best, most innovative pintxos. Fortunately, normal people are allowed to participate as well, going from bar to bar and asking for their entries into the contest. Here are San Nicolas: Cocina Vasca’s entries to the contest: a mini-hamburger made from baby squid with a shrimp carpaccio and ali-oli as well as sliced tomatoes with avocado and smoked salmon.
I am ready for my next trip abroad and I have only been back less than a month. I think I will start planning my next adventure. I learned a lot being abroad including how to appreciate the people around me and the places that I come from. It is definitely an eye opener to perspectives you may never have gotten if you hadn’t lived there for five months.
Half way through a day of visiting ancient ruins for a class, my friend and I stopped to take this photo. Nigh poked my eye out, but its a cool photo.
The rest of the day was a wonderful a jolt through time. We found a hollowing rock that rang like a bell when struck, an arena where plays and game took place, and enjoyed a hefty long bus ride back home.
Why have destinations? If you have nowhere to be it doesn’t matter when you get there.
Live to the beat of life. The farther from it you stray, the more out of tune you sound, the less happy you will be. Listening, and patients are what is necessary for you to hear the rhythm and the will to follow it is all your own. Living this way requires adaptability. When a tree is blown by the wind it does not stand ridged fighting mother nature’s breath, rather it embraces it swaying as she whistles a tune that can be heard if you only listen.
New Zealand was everything I expected it to be. It was beautiful, laid-back, and full of endless things to do. I chose to go to New Zealand for two reasons; as an anthropology major it was to gain insight into a country with a unique relationship with their indigenous population and as an adventure-seeker it was to explore the beautiful landscape that New Zealand has to offer. I achieved both of these goals and left feeling satisfied and content. I did not have a difficult time adjusting to being back, or even to adjusting being there. This is most likely due to the fact that New Zealand is an English speaking country and although their culture is different, it is still Westernized and therefor not entirely different than my own. After going to Ecuador last year and having a difficult time adjusting and speaking a different language, going to New Zealand was exactly what I wanted. I will look back on my time abroad fondly and look forward to returning.
Yesterday marked my first day of real classes here. Pardon me, I meant to say class. Part-time class. As in, meet once or twice a week for a couple hours. And it’s the only class I’ll have here till November, when my full time course starts up (I know it sounds crazy, but if I study extra hard I THINK I can manage two courses at once). But trust me folks, it gets better. The course itself is entitled ‘Sweden and the Swedes’ (Right? Who wouldn’t want to take that?) and it includes three especially interesting pieces of information:
Nummer ett, the person teaching the Swedish history portion of the course is actually an old, almost entirely deaf (her words not mine, though I’m not disagreeing) American lady with zero Swedish accent and a fantastic (note: sarcasm) sense of humor.
Nummer tva (imagine an o above the a on the off chance a Swede is reading this), the examination plan is flat-out awesome. Two exams. The first can be retaken two (count’em) TWO times, in case I somehow manage not to pass the first one (wood=knocked on). Even better, the second exam is a one week take-homer that can be submitted electronically. Europe by train, here I come!
Nummer tre, we have a (wait for it) CLASS FIELD TRIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thinking about this class makes me feel around the same as I did when I got my first liter mug of beer at Munchen Hoben, Linkoping University’s version of Oktoberfest, as seen below.
Well, almost. That beer was awfully satisfying, and the two (or three?) more that followed really hit the spot. But don’t worry, I learned a lot that night that I have painstakingly condensed in to the following maxims:
1. Beer is good
2. Lots of beer is better
3. A 1-liter mug of beer that I get to bring back to the US is, in a word, best
So you see, I’m just trying to get a well-rounded education over here in Sverige, and I’d like to think I’m well on my way.