Currently Browsing

Europe

Sunday, 19 February: Wowed by Waffles, Enchanted by Chocolate, Surrounded by Speculoos

Hey, everyone! After delays in posting on this blog, I’m trying to catch up a bit. Thankfully, we just ended midterms here at the Fund, so I have some free time to write and – hopefully – enjoy the Carnavál festivities this weekend. Descriptions of those will have to wait until the next post, of course! In my last post, I left you all with a bit of a cliffhanger: after a fantastic weekend in Florence, I was in for un día de retos (a day of challenges). I left the […]

Read More

Semana 6: ¡Ya está!

¡Ya está! does not have a direct translation, but it is muy sencillo or “very simple” to explain. It is the perfect phrase to use when you put the cherry on the top of an ice cream sundae or in my case start your internship and finish three midterms in the same week. I love my internship! It is exhilarating to maneuver the language barrier to discuss food science topics. I am learning poco a poco or “little by little.” My supervisor let me complete a moisture analysis assay by […]

Read More

Pre-Departure

Well, this certainly came up quickly. I was accepted to the University Study in Freiburg study abroad program in August 2016, and had been gathering materials for the application since May or June. And now I leave for Germany on Sunday the 26th. The reading materiel I’ve been given for class posits that the study abroad experience actually begins before you arrive, while preparing, so I thought I might jot down some of my thoughts. This won’t be terribly eloquent, I’m afraid; I’m too frazzled to write that way right […]

Read More

Sunday, 12 February: Grazie, Firenze!

Salve, tutti! You’ve reached the blog of Alex Gruber, self-professed bibliophile, Catholic fanboy, and St. Norbert College student studying abroad in Toledo, Spain, for the spring semester of 2017. For those of you who already know this information, mi dispiace (sorry)! Let’s get on with the actual blog. You may have noticed that I used Italian instead of Spanish in the title and first paragraph. That’s because I was lucky enough to travel to the incredible Italian peninsula and spend the past weekend in Firenze, or Florence as it’s known to us […]

Read More

Semana 5: Esperar. “To hope and to wait.”

I love the verb esperar. It means to hope and to wait. Last Sunday I decided to go on an adventure and hike a trail that I had not hiked before. It is one of my new favorites! In addition to physically training for the Camino, am enjoying learning more about the context of the Camino in my class El Camino de Santiago: ayer y hoy, “The Camino to Santiago: yesterday and today.” The Camino is composed of a string of cities that lead pilgrims to Santiago. In these cities, […]

Read More

Portugal

First off I just want to say that Portugal is an amazing place and I would honestly recommend that every one go there. This trip was pretty last minute for me, I think I only bought the tickets a week before we left but some friends invited me and they already had a place to stay so it wasn’t going to be difficult or anything. However, that Friday morning that we were leaving, I woke up around 4am and just puked for no reason, I honestly don’t know what I […]

Read More

Madrid

Ok so this blog is basically going to be a recap of my weekend trips because nothing crazy really ever happens during the week. Also not really going to censor it, not that I would need to most likely lol but we’ll see. The second weekend here we went to Madrid on Friday morning by bus. Once we got there we stopped at a museum which was pretty cool but we stayed for a long time and a had a tour guide and after a few hours everyone was starving […]

Read More

The cheesy time I bought pizza on Valentine’s Day & why you should too

This morning, my professor said Valentine’s Day is only for couples but I beg to differ.  After a morbid cemetery tour where I learned the tragic love stories of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Margaret Fuller (stories for a different day, perhaps) I took myself to the Florence Chocolate Festival. I bought a delicious waffle covered in dark chocolate and basked in the sunlight.  At 60 degrees, there’s not much in life to feel sad about. Sure, I’m alone on this dumb holiday, but I’m self-sufficient and that counts for something. […]

Read More

London Adventures – Feb. 14

Helllooo everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but honestly, I’ve kind of just been relaxing this last week and trying to take in everything that’s being thrown at me while here in London. Last week, and weekend for that matter, were very low key and not a lot happened… (which kind of sounds dumb to say considering the fact that I’m in London), but in all reality, I’ve basically been going to class, doing homework, and drinking a lot of coffee because midterms are next week. That […]

Read More

Weekly Update: 13.2.17

Short post today. This was my first weekend spent in Oslo in 3 weeks, and it was much needed. I finally got my haircut after it was the longest its been since I’ve been in college. I wondered over to a haircut place I was recommended only to find they were booked solid for the entire weekend. Since I was pretty set on getting the haircut done on Friday, I kept wandering around a little more. A few blocks down the same street there was a bumping little barbershop on […]

Read More

72 Hours in Venice

Of all the beautiful pictures I took in Venice, this one isn’t the obvious choice. It’s dark, deserted, dismal. But the tranquil experience it provided me is reason enough for me to want to share it with you. Through many struggles (getting lost for hours in the middle of the night/thinking we’d have to sleep outside, plane delays, missed trains and busses) three of my favorite people made it. This weekend was many things: relaxing, picturesque, and just right. It’s surreal to me that I can meet my closest friends in […]

Read More

Art & Culture

Brussels is an art city…something I love to take advantage of 🙂 My host mom, Brigitte, is actually a painter herself so she loves to go to all sorts of arts shows and I love to tag along and/or take her recommendations. About two weeks ago, Brigitte took me to BRAFA, which is an insanely large art fair held every year in an old airplane hangar near Brussels’ port. It was spectacular. There are galleries from all over the world that come and set up little mini exhibitions- it’s kind […]

Read More

Crazy Beginnings: January 20-22, 2017

Greetings, everyone! Hope you’re surviving the first month under Trump (Fight, fight, fight!). It has been, as the title of this post states, a crazy, crazy few weeks. We have been running around Dublin almost nonstop, trying to take in as much as we can, and we have also started classes,  which has added a whole new level of zaniness to our adventures thus far. To make this process a bit easier, I shall be narrating our travels via pictures. Friday, January 20 Started out a little rough, both due to […]

Read More

Semana 4: Vale la pena!, “It’s worth it”

Every day is a new adventure, a new opportunity to learn more about the Spanish culture. Vale la pena! Meet Minina. Minina is the name of my host family’s cat… and the name of all of the other cats in the street. (Minina is similar to the word kitty in the United States.) Below is a picture of my normal breakfast. My host mom makes me toast and coffee every morning! On the left is Jungle Party, my favorite type of cereal. It is an extruded wheat cereal. The nutrition label […]

Read More

Sunday, 5 February: From Sevillana to Salamanca

Feliz martes, ¡todos! I hope this next blog post finds you doing well and experiencing your own adventures in whichever corner of our marvelous world you call home. Over the past week, I settled into the comforting routine of classes at the Fundación Ortega-Marañon (or the Fund), partook in a musical tradition from the south of Spain, journeyed to three of Spain’s multitude of historic sites, saw snow for the first time in my host country, and even went shopping (which obviously merits inclusion in this post because I did […]

Read More