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Ben in Venezuela

My Last Final…

In case anyone has failed to notice, there has been a decided lack of new entries in my blog. I feel that I owe an explanation, but honestly, the only one that I can come up with is that Mérida sits atop some kind of vortex that distorts time. Actually, it may be even more complicated than that, as I have discovered that during the past three weeks (coincidentally the same period of time during which I have been taking Spanish 1004) time has been moving both rapidly and excruciatingly […]

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Ben: Parapente

It was strange to spend the Fourth of July outside of the United States. Actually saying that sounds almost sarcastic coming from me (who is not exactly the most patriotic of individuals on a good day), but this year I missed being there. I kept thinking that if I was at home Jess and I would probably be over at Jeff and Gene’s playing bocce ball. Instead, I was stressing out about my new Spanish class and wondering if I am actually going to be able to graduate or not. […]

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Ben: Paramo

The last week has been tough, although I am not exactly sure why. Perhaps it is that my first class ended, and without classes for a week I feel a little bit of “what am I supposed to do now?” happening. Or maybe it is because many of the friends that I had made just left Venezuela, heading back to their homes in the States. Possibly it is knowing that I am starting a new class, a harder class, in less than a week. Although I got an A in […]

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Ben: Hiking in the Andés

I have been in Mérida for three weeks now, and although I have been exceedingly busy (with school, studying, family events, etc.) I am constantly finding myself staring up at the tree covered hills leading into the mountains, wondering when I will have the chance to get out and hike in them. I see them from the patio at home; I see them as I gaze out the window during class. In Mérida, you see mountains everywhere you go…but I wanted to see them closer. Before coming to Venezuela I […]

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Ben: El Centro

My summer in Venezuela is proving to be a very complicated balancing act between the need to study and the desire to experience. Although initially nine weeks sounded like a long time, the truth is that much of my time here is consumed either in school or studying for school. After all of the time I spend studying, there is not much left of those nine weeks. Let’s just say that I am very glad I will be staying down here an extra two weeks after my classes are over. […]

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Ben: Fútbolito

Today I played fútbol (soccer) in Venezuela! Actually, this is a little strange because it is NOT the most popular sport here. Unlike the rest of South America where fútbol reigns supreme, Venezuela is thoroughly a baseball country. Since I have been here I have seen people of all ages participating in a variety of sports; everything from baseball and softball to cycling and fencing! Here in Mérida however, soccer is still a pretty popular sport. Most people play a version of fútbol referred to as fútbol sala or fútbolito. […]

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Ben: A Typical Day in Venezuela

By now, anyone who has been reading about my trip to Venezuela probably has the impression that every day is some new and exotic adventure, and that my life has become a cross between an issue of National Geographic and an episode from a travel show. In a sense this is true…on a daily basis I am surrounded by a culture that is foreign to me; the language, the people and the food are all new and different. However, at the risk of disappointing some, I feel that I have […]

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Ben: The Night I Learned to Play Dominoes

I had been in Venezuela for only a few days when someone told me that there was a weekend trip to Catatumbo and asked if I would like to come along. I was undecided about whether I should be going on a trip my first weekend in Venezuela. On the one hand, the way they described what Catatumbo was sounded beautiful and part of the reason that I chose to study abroad was to see and experience things in another country. On the other hand, I was behind in my […]

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Ben’s first adventure: Caracas, El Vigia and Mérida

During a quick chat from the Houston airport, I received some sage advice from my wife; take everything one day at a time and things will start getting better. I married a very smart girl, and at that point it was exactly what I needed to hear. Especially since I still had more than half of a very long journey ahead of me. Little things started to go my way the moment I got on the plane to Caracas. I found my seat and there was a woman sitting in […]

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