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CIAO! ITALIA!

  1. It was not a long way from London to Florence. Flying away from the skylines and beautiful modern night lights, Florence is like an old diamond quietly waiting for me in the center of Italy. “Firenze” means the city of flowers. Although I haven’t seen many flowers, the plan of the city center truly looks like a bloom. As I wrote before, I travel with purposes. I want to know the fashion in Europe and the people here. 2. The life is definitely different from both in the […]

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The Rest of Rabat… Finally

Rabat, Saturday 9/20/14 An early breakfast on the roof of the hostel at 8:30 (although the clatter of crowds in the narrow streets below that had been going on for hours that morning indicated we were late to rise) included generous portions of a flaky, pancake-like break called Mallowi with butter and jam, assorted fruits, and a choice of orange juice, sweet mint tea, or coffee. Accompanying our sluggish, groggy-eyed party that morning was a quiet, blonde Australian woman who would be leaving soon and Abdel, who spent the allotted […]

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Week 3

So I am starting to feel at home here, or at least that its more normal that I am in a foreign country. I am starting to get used to the differences in food, way of speaking, and the way the weather changes all the time. It has been a bit of a learning curve, but I am definitely getting the hang of things. So that is a pretty great feeling. I would have to say that the most different thing is cooking. I am still struggling with the fact […]

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So, Why Are You Here?

I have a not-so-closet confession to make. I don’t know why I’m here. Let me take a moment to explain my struggle for purpose. First off, I’m an “mzungu”. What this means is I am a white person in a clearly not white land facing the constant impending question of, “why are you here?” Now, this question is never asked with a harsh tone and people are so excited to talk to the American, stammering in broken Swahili, wide-eyed and spewing “asante sana”. However, the question has left me overwhelmed […]

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En dansk fødselsdag

En dansk fødselsdag – A Danish Birthday Turning 21 in the States is kind of an important milestone. In Denmark, on the other hand, where the alcohol consumption laws are quite a bit more lax, this isn’t the case. However, when my roommate Zach had his 21st birthday this Monday, my host family made sure to throw him a big celebration to make him feel at home. The festivities started at about 08:30 when I walked out into the kitchen to find Stig preparing a big breakfast. This was a […]

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Fiestas Patrias

Happy belated birthday Chile! For those of you who don’t know, Chile’s Independence Day was September 18th. Instead of a measly day off and some lame fireworks like in the U.S., however, Independence Day turns into a week of celebrations. There are asados (BBQ) literally every three houses. People cram into fondas (I’m still not entirely sure of the best way to translate this..they’re basically like state fairs in various places where various vendors set up shop and people eat outrageous amounts of food). If you’re not drinking terremotos (a […]

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The First Night in Rabat

This weekend, I wrote in my journal on a rooftop in the middle of the Rabat medina while a turtle scuttled around my feet, tripping its stubby legs over my sandals. Satellite dishes perched on every roof in view. Usually there were two ugly sticks with disproportionate faces looking skyward per roof. Down below, motorcycles buzzed and feet clapped on the tiles, slick with the morning’s rain. Two middle-aged women in djellabas and hijabs restocked the plastic container that the seven people in my group and I had emptied of […]

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Best Weekend in World History

This weekend was, without doubt, a dream come true and quite possibly the best weekend in the history in the world. Friday night, we flew out of BKK to Chiang Mai where we checked into a guesthouse (a first for me) which was pretty janky and gross but I’m pretty sure it only cost like 10 bucks to stay there for two nights, so who even cares. We barely spent any time there anyways. First thing, we headed down to a little market area where we planned to go see […]

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Mchango we Harusi: How to Have a Wedding

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend an Mchango wa Harusi, a wedding fundraiser exclusively for mamas and dadas (all the women celebrating with the bride-to-be). So…here’s how the pre-wedding festivities commence. 1. Get Engaged Though I’ve yet to receive the full story, Tanzanian engagements seem to be just like American engagements. For many women though, the transition to marriage is also a transition from their parents home to a new home with their husband, rather than an independent bachelorette pad. When I tell my Tanzanians that I had my […]

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Contemporary Gems of Kenya- Alliance Francaise

Last Tuesday, some friends and I attended the Contemporary Gems of Kenya Art Exhibit. The part-exhibition part-book launch had a small but nice collection of work from modern Kenyan artists. I particularly enjoyed the large three-dimensional work that was made of non-conventional material. My favorite pieces were Freeing the Butterflies, and this colorful piece whose name I did not capture. I learned about the activity in a community magazine that had a list of exciting artistic and cultural events happening around Nairobi through September. A brief perusal showed me just […]

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Finding Home Away From Home

This week I feel like I am finally starting to feel at home here in Seoul, South Korea. A few weeks ago I thought I would never be able to say that but little did I know! The past week has been another crazy few days of trying new foods and exploring Seoul! But this time my friends and I were on a search for American food. We are all starting to miss what we call our ‘comfort’ foods, especially breakfast food. Our search was successful! We found a restaurant […]

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Jurassic Park

Rather than finishing my paper that’s due tomorrow, I decided to hit up the local zoo – Bannerghatta National Park – today with a couple of classmates. We even made it there without any problem (which is super impressive of us, given it was our first time taking the city bus alone). Paying for admission, a park employee mentioned something about foreigners having to pay 400 rupees rather than 260. We thought he was trying to scam us, but apparently it’s true. I’m not sure I understand it, but 400 […]

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Peterhof and Weekly Update

So after another week here I’m feeling a little more comfortable in my new surroundings. All of my classes have started now, so I actually have to start doing homework. I find them all interesting as they are pertinent to my major. Though I’m having a hard time getting used t0 classes that are all 1 1/2 hours long, and full days of class. Mostly this week has just been classes but I did get to walk around the city and visit the summer garden before it closed for the […]

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Studying Abroad as a Black American: Shade I

I am the first black American that my host family has ever accommodated in the four years they have served as an MSID homestay. It’s a strange brew of emotion to be a black American in Africa. I enjoy the acceptance but also balance the pressure of representing my community on a global scale. My white peers on the other hand are experiencing being an “other” who is quickly noticed as different and treated as such. Those who are less-seasoned travelers tend to see the environment as dangerous and are […]

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How to Make Bisi Bele Bath

Bisi bele bath is a traditional comfort food from Karnataka, guaranteed to make you pass out on the couch in a food coma. It reminds me a lot of fall, so I thought you Minnesotans would like to try it out as the leaves start changing! PREP Soak your rice and peanuts for about 20 minutes before adding salt and cooking. Set aside. Soak tamarind pods in water for about 30 minutes, then squeeze out the pulp and set aside. Cook some tuvar dal – I looked up how to […]

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