Last Thursday, I didn't have any food in the refrigerator or money in my pocket for lunch, so I walked down the hill to the ATM machine so I could purchase one of the on-campus eLounge's exquisite croissants. Many of us here at UWI believe that this ATM machine is cursed because it often breaks down, and, to my dismay, Thursday was one such day. But it ended up being a great stroke of luck, because, bitterly disappointed about the croissant and disillusioned with the world from working on my three essays, I made a split-second decision to run for the bus to Bridgetown, which was just pulling away. In Bridgetown, I could definitely find an ATM machine, possibly replace my disintegrating flip-flops (which would actually fall apart while I was out two nights later), and -- most importantly -- wander around the city.
Continue reading ""There's a time for everything."" »
After leaving Buenos Aires, I decided to write my last post wrapping up my experience by giving you my pros and cons of the city and all of Argentina. Without a doubt, the pros outweigh the cons, but I wanted to provide a complete recap of my time abroad so far, both the good and the bad. So let's get started...
Continue reading "Pros and Cons of BsAs" »
Just as I was getting settled down in Buenos Aires, I was off to Lima, the next stop on my study abroad adventure! As we disembarked the plane, we were welcomed with Incan handbags and Inca Cola, the most popular soda (not pop) in Peru. Inca Cola is the color of a lime but tastes exactly like Bubalicious gum. Needless to say, the drink is - in the words of James Lipton - scrumtrelescent.
Continue reading "Bienvenidos a Peru!" »
Since I had no international travel plans, I was able to really start immersing myself in the Czech lifestyle. Especially since most of our friends are from all over the world, it was nice to really get involved in the Czech culture. I found a good routine, some great (and cheap!) pubs and cafes and learned a lot about the culture of the Czech Republic.
Click continue reading for more on House Party Weekend, Czech Hockey semifinals, Kutná Hora, Bucknell visitors and more interesting Czech culture facts!
Continue reading "Czeching it out!" »
Before classes began in Peru, we headed off to the mountains to see the city of Cusco and many Incan ruins, most notably Machu Picchu. Since we have been living on the coast, flying into Cusco, at 11,000 feet above sea level, was definitely a slight shock to the system. We acclimated ourselves by taking back the very popular drink mate de coca. The coca leaf is widely used in many communities throughout the Andes, as it helps cure altitude sickness and quench thirst and hunger. However, this sacred plant has received strong criticism from outside Peruvian borders.
Continue reading "Andean Adventures Part 1: Machu Picchu" »
During our journeys, our group had the opportunity of being joined by our guide, Edi. All in all, Edi is kind of a big deal. Among other things, he has hiked the Inca Trail over 230 times, discovered mummies and learned over five languages, including the indigenous lanaguage of Quechua. In some parts of Peru, very isolated in the mountains, some inhabitants still only speak Quechua and could not get by at all speaking Spanish. It is absolutely incredible to think about the differences among the regions of Peru, which are difficult to realize before witnessing them firsthand. Here is a picture of Edi forcing knowledge into our brains:
Continue reading "Andean Adventures Part 2: Cusco, Incan Ruins and Adorable Animals" »
Ahh! The past few weeks in Sydney have been pretty crazy. Last week, I was breaking a sweat just walking to class a few blocks away and then for three days Sydney was experiencing constant rain and some torrential downpours. I walked to my class with an umbrella and wearing a raincoat only to sit in lecture and listen to how "Australia is drying up." I couldn't help but think that my dancing at a club the night before must have been some kind of rain dance that they had been missing. Maybe it was "the sprinkler" dance move that did it ... they should have thought of that by now though. Seriously, though, on the way to class it was apparent that it didn't rain often simply by observing the drainage routes of the sidewalks -- there were none. Just about every sidewalk I walked on would be considered a level one white water rapid in any other context. So what's the best thing to do when its raining? Attend a sporting event, that's what!
Photo Credit: Sam K.
Continue reading "Socceroos and some ... rain?" »
Since class began at two in the afternoon today, a few of us decided to head to the coast, rent some surfboards and wetsuits, and see if we could ride some waves. Though we had tons of fun, all we could muster was a few seconds standing up on the boards. I am pretty sure that the water from the Pacific is not potable, but I definitely took in gallons at a time as the waves crashed into me.
Continue reading "Hanging Ten in Lima" »
I can't believe that, with about five weeks left of my semester here, I'm already starting to ask myself what I will take away from my experience in Barbados and at UWI. Will I bring my newfound carefree, uber-chill Caribbean sensibility to Bucknell in the fall? Will I try to replicate the delectable Chefette roti with tortillas for lack of actual roti wraps? Will I keep taking cold showers, or, given the chance, will I revert to my erstwhile scalding ones? And let's face it, these beaches are spoiling me. I don't even think twice about the pristine water and tropical fish anymore. Will I ever enjoy the Jersey Shore after this?
Continue reading "Swimming with the fish, singing in the church: a Barbados Easter weekend" »
It's spring break and I'm staying on campus for the first few days for a bit of a rest and productivity. I'm not letting myself out of my room until I finally post a few pictures! So here you go...
Continue reading "Pictures at last!" »
One great aspect of my exchange program (ACTR) is the "Tutor" program. At the beginning of the semester, our group of American students meets with a group of Russians "tutors" and we split off into tutoring pairs. Basically, the program gives us a Russian insta-friend -- someone our own age to meet with a few times a week, help us with homework assignments, show us cool new places in Vladimir, etc.
Continue reading "Homemade..." »
I've forgotten so far talk about a major habit of Egyptians. If this sounds like stereotyping, it is. But feel no guilt because it's an officially recognized stereotype, something we learned from the citizens themselves. Egyptians don't sleep. The city never shuts down. In a strict society, I didn't expect this. Coming home from a cafe at 2 a.m., I can't help thinking how my mom would tsk tsk me for being out so late. Then I pass a mother and her two toddlers on their way in. I think mothers' fears associated with nighttime in America are largely eliminated by Islamic culture. So Egyptians can grocery shop round the clock without getting any dirty looks.
Continue reading "Timeless" »
The past couple of weeks have brought even more visitors! Holly and I hosted Meaghan and Rachael (more Bucknellians!) as well as the Renzi Fam. After we perfected our tour guide routine, we decided to do a little traveling of our own. We met up with Emily and Katy again in Interlaken, Switzerland, which is a small town known for its extreme sports and incredible scenery. But, really, is there anywhere in Switzerland that doesn't offer a spectacular view? I may or may not have gone skydiving here ... but you're just going to have to click continue reading to find out...
Continue reading "Friends, family and free-fall" »
If you got an invitation from a group of college students from the BIO department to hike in a swamp, would you go? I, of course, jumped at the chance. Spring is prime swamp time in Russia -- the water is high from the melting snow and there are migratory birds everywhere! Spring, as I learned, however, plays host to extremely erratic weather ... and so the adventure begins...
Continue reading "Swamp stomp..." »
Again, it happens where time has passed and that I have a lot to catch up on! Semester at Sea had finally voyaged its way to my part of the world and it was honestly one of the greatest days being able to spend time with friends from Bucknell. I definitely had a sense of pride being able to show them around my stomping grounds, and, to me, it was an achievement when they asked how come more people don't decide to go abroad to Hong Kong. SAS was docked in port for less than 24 hours, but we accomplished seeing and going to more places than Blake and I did in days when he came to visit.
In front of the MV Explorer
Continue reading "FastFWD through my last three weeks" »
Holding my "Senor y Senora Schwitz" sign at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport, I was quickly spotted by the two gringos I was waiting for. Welcomed with hugs, kisses, and exclamations of "You look like you have grown!", my cover had been blown to the entire airport community. Mom and Dad had finally arrived for their long anticipated trip to Peru! Our adventurous trio would soon be headed off for a fun-filled weekend to Arequipa, Peru's second-largest city, and Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world. Directly upon their arrival, I made sure to remind Mom and Dad that they should avoid drinking any tap-water in Peru. Duly noted. Just before we nodded off to sleep, I figured it would not be a bad idea to remind them again. It was already too late, as they had both already taken down a couple glasses of agua just minutes before. With this ominous beginning, it looked like we were in for a long weekend touring the restroom facilities of Peru.
Mom and Dad's first taste of mate de coca!
Continue reading "Peru with the Parentals!" »
Our weekend trip into the Blue Mountains started off with a highly anticipated afternoon visit to the pleasant little animal reserve known as the Featherdale Wildlife Park. We had all been in Australia for several weeks and still hadn't encountered many of the animal species that are exclusive to Australia, so this stop was a real treat. When we entered, they gave us 'passports' that could be stamped when we visited the 'Kangaroo Kingdom,' 'Koala Kanyon,' etc. Of course, as tourists, we were pretty excited.
With my passport, trying to make the same face as the koala - then with Jenny feeding some small marsupials
Continue reading "Blue Mountains: Part One - Kangaroos, wallaroos, wallabies?" »
So much has happened since I last posted, so I have some catching up to do.
Last Wednesday was Earth Day, so my friend Whitney and I decided to go back to the dive shop where we got our open water certification to participate in a clean-up of the Carlisle Bay area on the south coast of the island. Normally, the boat drops divers off near the shipwrecks, which boast some of the more impressive marine life, but our purpose was to pick up trash in the area outside the marine park. We didn't see too many fish, and the visibility was worse than during our certification course, but our group collected bags full of bottles, cans, bottle caps, and lengths of bent wire. One guy even found a rubber crab squeaky toy, which in some ways was oddly well-suited to its new environment, but small enough that it might be ingested by a fish or sea turtle, so we took it to the surface.
Continue reading "Happy Earth Day! (a little late) and other adventures" »
The final installment of the annual Barbados Reggae Festival, this almost day-long concert is an anticipated event. Hundreds of people flocked to Farley Hill Park to hear contemporary reggae artists such as Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Queen Ifrica, Morgan Heritage, Hotta Flames, and Ayana John. Not being a longtime reggae fan, I couldn't identify most of the performers, but the music was good, it was a beautiful day, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Continue reading "Reggae on the Hill" »
Needless to say, it was a packed weekend. Even though I am writing this blog a tad late, as these events transpired a little over a week and a half ago, I am sure you will still be on the edge of your seat to figure out how all of these things could ever have been seen and experienced in just one short weekend. I have the answers.
Continue reading "Dune buggies, sea lions, penguins and drawings in the Sand" »
So due to some complaints about the last entry not being "entertaining" enough, I will try to make up for it in this one. Though I really don't know what you want from me, for goodness sake, I jumped out of a plane just so you would have something interesting to read.
In any case, I just got back from ISC trip to Krakow, a city in southern Poland, because really when else am I going to go to Poland?
Continue reading "Lock your doors... we're going to Poland" »