The Pack http://thepack.unm.edu Student Stories at The University of New Mexico Thu, 20 Sep 2018 15:22:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 71725995 First few days in Tokyo, Japan. WOW! http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/first-few-days-in-tokyo-japan-wow/ http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/first-few-days-in-tokyo-japan-wow/#respond Thu, 20 Sep 2018 15:22:18 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14973 Hey everyone, so I landed in Japan 3 days ago and the best word to describe the experience so far is WOW! So far, I have met students who are also in the same program I am in and who are from different parts of the world such as England, Taiwan, Canada, and Romania. The […]

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Hey everyone, so I landed in Japan 3 days ago and the best word to describe the experience so far is WOW! So far, I have met students who are also in the same program I am in and who are from different parts of the world such as England, Taiwan, Canada, and Romania.

The flight was so long but well worth it. I landed in Narita Airport, and that is when the adventure began. I took four trains and a taxi to get to my dorm and that was an experience in of itself. The train system was confusing at first but now that I understand it, I think it is one of the most amazing things in terms of public transportation. After I arrived at my dorm I contacted loved ones back home to let them know I had arrived safely and then went to bed due because I was exhausted. The next day was another fun adventure.

My first day in Tokyo was amazing to say the least. What started out as a simple trip to the grocery store turned into a whole adventure with some of the other international students. We went to the Shibuya district in Tokyo and got some fantastic ramen, as well as saw one of the largest stores I have ever seen in my life. This store was, if I had to guess, 12 stories tall and had everything ranging from cameras, to remote control drones, to an arcade with some of the most entertaining games I have ever played. After returning from Shibuya we all went to the grocery store. Not only was the ramen delicious, the food from the grocery store also so good!  The next day, the other international students and myself were taken to register for our national health insurance and tour the surrounding area of our dorm.

The surrounding area of the dorm is truly breathtaking. I say that because after receiving our national health insurance we went to buy lunch at a local convenience store, but we passed through what looked like a jungle. One minute we were in a city, and the next we were in a jungle in a blink of an eye. Photos of the jungle scenery are on my instagram which is @isaacxmaes. I would provide the picture here, unfortunately the files are too large. The next day we went to have a tour of Meiji Gakuin University and it is such a beautiful campus. The architecture and the scenery are awe inspiring really. Photos of Meiji Gakuin University are on my Instagram as well. Overall, this has been an amazing experience and I am only three days into this program. I am excited to see what the next adventure and experience here in Tokyo holds.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this blog and have a wonderful rest of your day. And remember to follow @unmstudyabroad on Instagram and Facebook.

Isaac M.

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Getting Settled In http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/getting-settled-in/ http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/getting-settled-in/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 19:45:23 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14951 Hola everyone! My greetings from Spain to wherever you are. Timezones are wack man. I mean if I want to get anything done in the United States now I have to wait until at least 2pm if not closer to 4pm Spanish time, but then by the time things are actually being put into motion […]

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Hola everyone!

My greetings from Spain to wherever you are. Timezones are wack man. I mean if I want to get anything done in the United States now I have to wait until at least 2pm if not closer to 4pm Spanish time, but then by the time things are actually being put into motion in the USA then I am asleep here. I forgot just how crappy a 8 hour time difference is. If I was from New York it might be a little nicer, but Mountain Time is just at a really awkward time distance (I don’t know if that is a phrase “time difference”?? Sounded nice in my head). So yeah, that is basically what I have been doing for the last couple weeks, sending emails, texting people, and calling the family every once in a while, and that is all happening in between moving around Spain by train, subway, car, bus, and foot. Shoot, I haven’t even mentioned moving into an apartment (this is my first house that isn’t with family or on a campus) and starting university. Or finding where everything is in a new city or making time for new friends, tennis, and old friends. If you were wondering I am averaging 6.5 hours of sleep (which I think is pretty good) per 24 hour period. I say 24 hour period because days lose all their meaning here in Spain when you wake up at 10am, go to sleep at 3am, and then wake up at 8am to get to your 9am class (yes, I did that once; yes, I was tired). 

Needless to say, August-September has been super busy so far. 

That’s okay though. It’s nice when things are busy and whenever you are doing things, it keeps your mind occupied and (for me at least) it makes you get things done faster. That is one of the first things they say about going abroad or even about just going to college, right? Get involved, do things, pick up a sport, take a dance class, meet people. It is relaxing to spend time in your room watching Netflix and just doing homework when you need to, but that way you have too much time on your hands and it gets boring. I’m of the opinion that you shouldn’t let your life get too boring. (A certain level of boring is needed so that you have a regular(-ish) sleep schedule, but besides that, have some fun, even if it is within the schedule you have to work. When your mind is occupied I think in the end you end up getting more out of an experience. But in that regard I would also say that if you want a lot of good memories that last a long time, do stupid, dumb things, and make mistakes all the time because those are the times you’ll remember, but I can’t very well tell you to do stupid, dumb things all the time, can I? That has to be your decision. 

Well, you may have been wondering how the whole housing situation worked out, and I have to say it worked out just fine in the end. Like I figured it would, there are lots of flats for students and just regular flats in a city the size of Madrid, but I was (and so were my parents and grandparents) a little worried that I left the USA with no real plan on that end. But hey man, it worked out. Well it is still all working itself out a little, butt you know what they say, all good things take time. (I hope that’s what they say or else my working on becoming a millionaire is going worse than I previously thought.) Anyways, I am living in an apartment right next to the university where I am going to school. In that respect it is very convenient. It’s like living in the dorms, but not living in the dorms. (That was badly explained, but it’s okay.) I have to Spanish flatmates that are also studying, each currently working on their Masters’ degrees. So basically I am the youngest by a little bit since they both worked before deciding to go back to school. It all good in the flat, we are adjusting to living together, buying things together, figuring out how to plan things together, and when the others will be home. For me it is all a bit new: living without my birth parents… I have experience in. Cooking, shopping, and house care taking for myself… well that is pretty new. But I are going at it. If anyone has any recipes that are simple (they don’t necessarily have to be simple, I mean I know how to follow recipes, but we don’t have every single ingredient that you may have at your disposal in our flat…so simple in that respect) and that you’d like to share… send them to me (msabol@unm.edu). I think I’m doing an okay job… I have spaghetti, remade pizza, sandwiches, and cereal down pat… so now I just need to figure out anything that is healthy for me and well, everything else. I will keep you informed on that aspect as I go along I am sure. 

As for university, well, I would have to say that it is fairly similar to university in the states expect that the classes in English have a different accent about them and those that are taught in Spanish more people participate in. Hahaha I almost made myself laugh, but that is true. Although this university is quite bilingual and there are man international students here as well, so the English level of everyone is quite high. Really, across the board it is probably the Spanish that needs more work overall, I mean, it’s kinda weird, we’re in Spain, going to a Spanish university, but every person speaks English well. It is times like these that I’m glad I speak English as my first language. But also hearing so many other languages between the other exchange students it does seem like it would be cool to speak some other ones as well. 

But classes are just fine. I would tell you exactly how I felt about them, but I have only been going to class for one week and a half… all I can say is that they are interesting and it’s more school. Yes, I would have to say that they are a bit different from the university classes I was taking last year at UNM. Here, while I am taking four classes, I have eight teachers. I have one lecturer/professor that lectures over the topic and one TA/tutor for the practical classes where we do discussion and group work. It is kinda weird and a bit confusing right now, I mean eight different teachers seems a bit difficult to manage, but we shall see. (Hopefully we shall understand before we see.) 

Well, I think I have written enough for now, but I will be back with an update later in the month. 

Un saludo, 

Miguel Sabol

One of the buildings at my university. It gets a lot of sunlights, and I recommend not walking near the windows when it is sunny.

Mis hermanos de Valladolid

Just playing some tennis in Madrid

Fair in Valladolid

FC Barcelona vs. Real Valladolid CF

 

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Unexpected connections http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/unexpected-connections/ http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/unexpected-connections/#respond Thu, 06 Sep 2018 14:14:43 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14949 Here I am sitting on a bus, excuse me, standing on a bus jam packed with people in Chengdu, China. My China experience thus far has been nothing short of spectacular. Beijing was full of adventures from the Great Wall to the weird street food that may have been just to attract the  foreigners 🤷🏼‍♂️. […]

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Here I am sitting on a bus, excuse me, standing on a bus jam packed with people in Chengdu, China. My China experience thus far has been nothing short of spectacular. Beijing was full of adventures from the Great Wall to the weird street food that may have been just to attract the  foreigners 🤷🏼‍♂️. I’m so excited to have arrived in Chengdu and unpack my bags. Things are moving so fast. I barely started school and I’ve managed to land an interview with a daycare that starts to teach children English from a very young age, which is where I am headed right now! I am hoping I will get off at the right stop, just imagine how hard it is to figure out the bus routes in Albuquerque, now Change all the English to chinese characters….. and forget your ability to ask people questions without pointing or google translate. Wish me luck. The only reason I was able to get an interview in such a foreign place was David. Remember the Chinese kid that I met at the summer camp? Well i had been having a google translate conversation with his mom ever since arriving in China, and a few days after I had arrived in Chengdu they insisted on taking me out. So they took me and a  friend to 宽窄路 (wide narrow alley) which is a sort of old town for Chengdu. Just imagine Old town in Albuquerque but a few hundred years older! The shells of these buildings were kept for historical and aesthetic reasons and the insides renovated to accommodate many different types of shops. Anyways they took us out to a really nice dinner with a layout of famous Sichuan dishes! We ate until we couldn’t put anymore down. Over the course of the dinner we had a wonderful conversation (good thing her friend was there who spoke English). She ended up not only offering me a 1 day a week job tutoring her son, but also referred me to a very nice English teaching daycare. The generosity of the Chinese and their willingness to help is amazing. I have only had good experiences with the locals here. Every restaurant, bar, store or place i end up i am always welcomes with a smile and TONS of curiosity. The food is unmatched, i was never into that spicy of food but Sichuan has changed my mind. All in all, i couldn’t have hoped for a better first week in Chengdu. Stay tuned for the next blog post if you want to hear about the food! 😋

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There was a flood… actually there were two of them http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/there-was-a-flood-actually-there-were-two-of-them/ http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/there-was-a-flood-actually-there-were-two-of-them/#respond Fri, 31 Aug 2018 15:47:08 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14916 The day before I left India, the strangest thing happened in New Mexico. It started raining. As we all know, rain is the godsend to all New Mexicans who understand the unsettling, dry heat you can literally feel when you breathe during the day. Well, the scene is a little different here in India due […]

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The day before I left India, the strangest thing happened in New Mexico. It started raining. As we all know, rain is the godsend to all New Mexicans who understand the unsettling, dry heat you can literally feel when you breathe during the day.

Well, the scene is a little different here in India due to the fact it’s raining. All. The. Time.

Along with a group of Canadian and Indian students, I was able to visit rural communities in Alappuzha. As a part of our Live-in-Labs program, we observed the issues the communities were experiencing and hosted medical camps for the people in order to further our understanding in the social conditions they face every day.

Until the “actual flood” hit.

We were lucky enough to be evacuated from the place we were staying in before all the roads were blocked due to landslides and water covering the roads. We are currently being surrounded by the worst flood to ever hit the southern end of India in over a century, to the point that all 37 dams in Kerala (the state I am currently in) have been opened. In addition to this, the rain has not stopped in more than 24 hours. You may or may not have seen the news about the Kerala floods, but it has not been receiving the attention it deserves. Being an American student, especially one who has never even encountered this much rain, one feels quite helpless and confused on what to do. What do you do when instead of seeing, hearing, and empathizing with a country that’s experiencing a natural disaster, you are actually there, experiencing it, living in its reality. It’s astonishing how one can go from desert to flood in a matter of a month. It’s almost surreal how the disaster has become a reality for me, and yet why am I still here writing this blog in a dry room while there are thousands of relief camps less than five kilometers away?

The answer to that is circumstance. I was born to parents who were able to provide for me and lived in an area where droughts happen rather than floods. People here don’t have that choice. Kerala is surrounded by water, to the west the Arabian sea, in addition to 44 rivers. This means that everyone essentially lives by the water, and rural communities near the coastal line make up the majority of the population here. Livelihood here is based on water, and on average they receive 1649.55 mm of rainfall, but this year they received 2,346 mm of it. To put that in perspective, New Mexico receives exactly 361 mm of rain every year on average… on a good year. Ironically, all this water will not be harvested into groundwater and Kerala will continue to experience water scarcity.

To elaborate, Kerala receives the most water in the country but none of it can be used or harvested due to lack of water sanitation. Its shocking to realize that we can genetically modify an embryo to create a “designer baby”, but the world has not figured out a sustainable solution to provide clean water to almost a billion people who lack basic need for water. Have we as humans lost compassion for those suffering and redirected our efforts into ourselves and distractions? To be honest, it is that easy to look the other way because it’s not your problem or your reality and a month ago I could have done the same. Life is really different in India especially when you came to do the whole cultural immersion and studying aspect of study abroad and instead got hit with the worst flood in over a century. People I have become friends with cannot even go home because their house is underwater and are being forced to spend their holiday in the university. Those who provided us with their hospitality are now housed in one of the thousands of relief camps. The entire state has canceled the biggest celebration called Onam because how can one celebrate while another is suffering?

Nevertheless, with tragedy and suffering, Keralites remain strong, united and hopeful.

The project I worked on recently implemented a water filtration system in one of the communities we went to and we decided to go back for its inauguration. The entire community was knee deep in water and they considered themselves “lucky”. The entire community used the clean water from the filtration system to make tea for us. I am approached by welcoming faces and open hearts by people who have lost so much and live in broken-down homes. Despite the circumstances they were in, they managed to welcome anyone who was only there for a moment with genuine love. They reminded me what it was like to be grateful for the blessings in my life and that kindness is everything.

Please donate to any relief agencies for the Kerala floods.

https://donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in/

community members handing in their prescriptions

some of the students helping distribute medicines

outside our house in the village

before the “actual” flood, a man has to use a boat to get to his house

 

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Pre-departure post http://thepack.unm.edu/zoe-c/pre-departure-post/ http://thepack.unm.edu/zoe-c/pre-departure-post/#respond Thu, 23 Aug 2018 18:24:26 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14911 I’m flying to Tallinn, Estonia in 2 days and it’s time to buckle down and write this blog. In some ways this entire summer I’ve been mentally preparing for studying abroad and yet I feel as unprepared as when I was first choosing my program. I’m not sure what to expect from the new country, […]

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I’m flying to Tallinn, Estonia in 2 days and it’s time to buckle down and write this blog. In some ways this entire summer I’ve been mentally preparing for studying abroad and yet I feel as unprepared as when I was first choosing my program. I’m not sure what to expect from the new country, school and dorm where I will be spending the next 5 months, but if this summer has shown me anything, it’s that new people and experiences can teach me so much and the less I stress, the better things turn out. Let me explain how I’ve reached this bit of personal wisdom…

My travels actually started mid summer when I packed up everything I could fit into a suitcase and two backpacks, and left for the airport with a one way ticket to Barcelona. Since then it’s been a whirlwind two months traveling western Europe with friends (I highly recommend Eurrail tickets… ) and enjoying Barcelona (staying with friends is the way to go to save money). For someone who has only been out of North America once before, the ease of moving from one country to another in Europe has been a revelation, and traveling in train for 3 weeks has been equally exhausting, really confusing, beautiful, and overall something I’ll never forget. My goal for this year was to learn as much about Europe from personal experience as I could. I’ve learned so much already and although I’ll miss the friends I’ve made, I’m so grateful that my year is just beginning and I have Tallinn and more in Eastern Europe to explore.

The summer finally feels like it’s winding down and I’ve begun to switch my mindset to preparing for my exchange in Estonia. My UNM online class has already started and once I arrive in Estonia I’ll have a few days to settle into the dorm, go to the orientation for international students, and then classes will officially start on the 1st of September. Time feels like it’s speeding up and I’ve begun checking my email everyday again so I know the semester has begun…

If anyone is thinking about studying in Tallinn I’d be happy to answer specific questions about the program, preparation, etc. If you’re thinking about buying a Eurrail ticket or just looking at options for traveling Europe I’d also be happy to share my experience!

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Anticipation http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/anticipation-2/ http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/anticipation-2/#respond Fri, 17 Aug 2018 21:13:55 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14900 I really do feel like I am balancing on the edge of a cliff right now. Time has been flying by ever since I came home from college in New Mexico. Upon arriving home I had about two and a half weeks to hang out with family and friends, get my visa, finish paperwork for […]

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I really do feel like I am balancing on the edge of a cliff right now. Time has been flying by ever since I came home from college in New Mexico. Upon arriving home I had about two and a half weeks to hang out with family and friends, get my visa, finish paperwork for my summer job, and re-accustome myself to nice home-cooked meals 🙌🏼😌. Then I headed out to Bass Lake in central California to work at a summer camp called Skylake Yosemite Camp for ten weeks (loooong time). Definitely a wonderful experience. I had the opportunity to do things I would never have done otherwise. I kayaked, climbed Half Dome, did Archery, worked on a high ropes course, met amazing likeminded co-workers from around the globe! This and much more all without the hindrance of a cell phone. All that i had to practice my Chinese was this little composition book EAB605A8-0FB3-4845-B35A-FE6A7619EF98  and a 10 year old camper who was sent from Chengdu, China! Talk about synchronicity! I was specially asked by the camp to help communicate with David and I couldn’t have been more stoked to do so. I learned that my basic conversation skills are okay, but my listening skills can use some work. I was also lucky enough to meet David’s mother when he was being picked up from camp. She was very happy to hear I was coming to Chengdu to study. She then gave me all their information and says I have to come by and visit! I don’t think it could have worked out better. Once the camp was finished I had 7 days to spend at home before my flight to China. I feel as if I have only blinked and here I am on my last day. It’s surreal to look back on the summer and how much fun I had. The people I met and the experiences I had I wouldn’t give up for the world. What really blows my mind is looking into the future. I have no idea what to expect in Chengdu, China. My mind is full of questions but no answers. Will I be able to adjust to the culture? Will I meet good friends to share this experience with? What am I going to miss while I’m gone? Will my brothers be different when I get back? Will I be different…… I believe these questions and uncertainties are what make the study abroad experience so amazing. I’m going to travel with the most open mind possible. Expectations are not always the best, but while I am abroad I hope to learn the language much more, discover as much of the vast culture that China has to offer, have unforgettable experiences, and meet some rad people along the way. If I am able to do those things, I will have had a successful study abroad experience. I hope to capture as much of the experience as I can. Devinpacheco123 is my Instagram account where I will be posting more of my experience while abroad. Please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions 🤘🏼. Here’s a picture of me and my wonderful family. Cheers!

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Pre-Departure Blog http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/pre-departure-blog/ http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/pre-departure-blog/#respond Fri, 17 Aug 2018 14:54:52 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14891 Hey everyone, so this summer has been very busy, fun and stressful all at the same time. However, the stress and busy aspects are worth it because now I am just waiting on my visa from the Denver consulate. I have also submitted my lease for my dorm at Meiji Gakuin, as well as the […]

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Hey everyone, so this summer has been very busy, fun and stressful all at the same time. However, the stress and busy aspects are worth it because now I am just waiting on my visa from the Denver consulate. I have also submitted my lease for my dorm at Meiji Gakuin, as well as the paper work for a buddy program. I have also applied for the opportunity to stay with a host family for a weekend hopefully sometime in November. My plane ticket and insurance are paid for and now the only factor left is to wait. Which can feel like time has slowed down to a crawl.

This pre-departure aspect has had a few life lessons in of itsself. A few lessons being if you are planning on studying abroad be sure to submit paper work as early as possible, as well as to not try and stress out about everything at once. Rather, look at each new document that needs to be submitted as a piece of a giant puzzle that will reward you with an amazing experience. However, submission of paper work is not nearly as nerve wrenching as waiting for your COE (Certificate of Enrollment) to arrive in the mail. But once that COE and welcome packet arrives in the mail, not only is it one of the greatest feelings ever, but the rest of the forms that need to be submitted seem like a downhill ride. The reason I say that is because once you get information about when you can move into your dorm, as well as other vital information such as how to get to the university from the airport, then the real fun begins, purchasing your plane ticket. Once I purchased my plane ticket the reality struck me that I will be studying abroad.

Now that all I have to do is wait, I am experiencing a mix of excitement and nervousness. According to my study abroad advisor this is perfectly normal. So, if you decide to study abroad and you have these types of feelings it’s okay.  My flight leaves really early in the morning then I have a layover in Dallas. From Dallas I then leave for Tokyo. Overall, I am looking at a flight of about 18 hours. I will of course be taking photos and recording videos if and when appropriate to be able to share with you all once I land in Tokyo.

So, overall that has been my pre-departure experience so far. Not too bad if I do say so myself. Thank you all for taking time out of your day to read my blog and also remember to follow UNM Study Abroad on Facebook as well as Instagram @unmstudyabroad.

Isaac M

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Pre-Departure (Packing, Housing, etc.) http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/pre-departure-packing-housing-etc/ http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/pre-departure-packing-housing-etc/#respond Sun, 12 Aug 2018 13:51:51 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14876 Introduction Hey! Welcome to mi casa, my blog, or whatever you want to call it. I figured that I might as well do a little introduction of myself (that goes a little deeper than the Q&A on my profile) for those of you that need a recap of the famous Miguel Sabol (jk not that […]

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Introduction

Hey! Welcome to mi casa, my blog, or whatever you want to call it. I figured that I might as well do a little introduction of myself (that goes a little deeper than the Q&A on my profile) for those of you that need a recap of the famous Miguel Sabol (jk not that famous) or those of you that are new (say hi, don’t be shy). I am writing this blog to catalog my adventures in Spain this next school year, but it will also contain helpful tips and thoughts by yours truly in regards to living abroad and traveling. 

My name is Miguel Sabol (my last name is pronounced “say-bole”) but I answer to a wide variety of nicknames. I have a big family (there’s 8 of us), and I love them, they are pretty cool (when they want to be), and I will for sure be missing them this year. This year I will be completing (hopefully) my second year of university (albeit in a different country than where I started), and if you read my quote (attached to my profile above) you will probably have guessed that I don’t exactly know what it is I want to do with the rest of my life. But I really would like to do something. It’s just that I don’t know what right now. 

The sis and I after some mixed dubs

As for things I like to do: I play tennis a lottttttt, like really, and I am on the UNM Club Team (shoutout to those guys and girls. Love you guys, and I am going to miss all of you!!) I also love playing an watching soccer (I should get used to calling it football since I’m off to Europe soon). I like to play (or at least try) all the sports although I am not that great at some such as basketball and water polo (jk I’ve never played). While I love playing sports, it is just as probable that you find me with a book in my hand than with a tennis racket. Favorite books/series/authors: Percy Jackson series, The Ring of the Slave Prince, Throne of Glass series, Harry Potter series (of course), and books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. 

I would say that I am a pretty friendly person, though my friendship does come with a lot of sarcasm and confusing statements. I love hanging out with friends or just talking to random people, I am a pretty easy-going person and like to have conversations with everyone. I am always trying to learn new stuff, and I am one of those people that enjoy going to school (just how it is sorry).  And those are a couple of the reasons I am studying abroad and really enjoy traveling because when you travel you invariably learn and meet new people. I also just love traveling and all the associated pains and fun. 

It is worth noting that this will not be my first time studying abroad. Nor my first time studying abroad in Spain. I studied abroad during my junior year of high school (2015-16) (yes the entire year) (picture to the left should be of the end of that year). I liked it so much I said I have to go back, and here we are August 2018, 3 years from the time I left to Spain for the first time, going back. I did not, however, live in Madrid when I was last living in Spain; I lived with a host family in Valladolid. I am looking forward to some sweet new experiences in Spain living in the big city (3.16 million people in the city and 6.47 million people in the metro!!!!). I also kept a blog that year, and if you are interested then here is the link: myspainishadventures.blogspot.com. And this year, I look forward to sharing my adventures this year on The Pack with you guys!

That is pretty much it… that I can think of right now… (I am sure I forgot things).

Follow me on Instagram to keep up with the trip in real time @miguel_sabol

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask me! Feel free to message me on Instagram or just shoot me an email at msabol@unm.edu. Like I said I love talking to and meeting new people so if you think of something or have a suggestion let me know!

Author’s Note: You may have noticed by now that I use a lot of parentheses, that is my “aside voice” (or whatever it should be called). I also have it in real life, and you kinda just have to get used to it because I write in an almost, semi-planned, not really stream-of-consciousness in which most of the thoughts I have to get written down as well. (Also just realized that I use a lot of indentations and new paragraphs… gotta keep my thoughts separated somehow!) 

The whole family!

 

Pre-Departure (Packing, Housing, etc.)

Leaving home is difficult. Home can be wherever you define it, whether in a person, a house, a family, a city, state, or country. Regardless, leaving it behind is difficult. The whole “pre-departure” process is not something that anyone usually takes lightly. I mean, even if you are just going on a small trip, I am sure that you have a TON of pre-departure anxiety or stress because of the millions of what if’s that are running through your mind (I didn’t even want to try to put down all of them that I could think of; there are too many). Imagine that on a year-long trip scale (it’s kinda rough tbh). This is my second time doing this, and I thought it would be a lot better, but it’s not that much better in the terms of having to leave things behind and hoping that you have all you need. I am a bit more prepared this time around; I know what to expect, what I need, and I have an idea of what is going to happen for the next year, but I still would not consider myself “stress-free” or even “ready” (There is a difference between prepared and ready. I am prepared, but not exactly ready.) The emotional aspect of “pre-departure” is different for everyone, but something that happens whether you think it will happen or not. 

Housing has been the biggest threat to my mental and emotional stability (this is not a joke actually). I am only 19 years old, and I haven’t exactly had very much (any) experience in house-hunting. And let me tell you it SUCKS. Wow. Like dannggg (I don’t think I’m allowed to cuss on the blog so DANG). After I complained, some adults told me things like “welcome to adulthood” and “tell me about it”, but I don’t think they fully grasped that I have been house-hunting almost every day for a month for a place that it over 5,700 miles away, that I cannot see, in a city I know very little about (except that is was nice to visit last time I lived there). I wanted this part to be easy, and honestly, if it were easy I might have been able to have a lot more fun this summer, but it was not that easy. I came out of it not even really having any tips for other people except PERSIST, even if you don’t want to, I am sure that your future self will thank you for having a bed and maybe even a room. Plus, there are really a lot of places out there. 

What happened to me was that I really wanted to just get into the dorms at UC3M (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid) because that would have been simple and I would not have had to deal with that many things, but that did not happen. The university doesn’t have that many dorm rooms, and so I (and a lot of other people I met online) were waitlisted. So we all (plus all the people that didn’t even apply for the dorms) had to look for apartments or rooms or host families to stay with. I started at the beginning of July, and I only got good meaningful responses back now at the beginning of August. I guess that is just how life works (and Spaniards renting houses in Madrid). 

While talking to other exchange students and others looking for places to live, we frequently shared similar experiences of people not responding and websites that were never updated. These things are the kind of things that you really just have to take in stride and not get too mad when you send 10 emails and 5 WhatsApps and get 3 responses back. Sometimes all three of which were the owner saying that the rooms were no longer available. You just have to keep on trying, and you can’t get too discouraged (there are actually a lot of empty places in a city like Madrid, you just have to find them). Below I am going to make a list of the websites that I used in my search for a place to live. If you are reading this because you are going to stay in Madrid, take my advice and use every single one of them that you can. It is overwhelming, but sometimes it is the only way. Also, use the university website, they usually have good sites and discounts on their site. More updates on my own housing situation later, I do NOT want to jinx anything at this point. I would be very sad. 

My list of housing sites: https://www.idealista.com/en/, https://www.beroomers.com, https://www.uniplaces.com, https://housinganywhere.com/Madrid–Spain, https://www.spotahome.com, https://www.comfortsofmadrid.com/uc3m, https://www.madrideasy.com/en, http://salyven.net/en/, and http://www.emes.es/VivirenMadrid/Alojamientoestudiantes/tabid/219/Default.aspx. 

 

Oh the joys of packing

Packing is one thing that has gotten a lot clearer for me over the years and seems a lot easier this time around. I am a little more than a week away from leaving home, and I have just started to look at my clothes (although I have been thinking about them throughout the summer). Soon I will get out my suitcase and begin to fit my clothes into it. But a lot of the uncertainty of what to pack is diminished this time around. Honestly, if you have looked up how to pack for a trip or for a study abroad then you will only be getting the same advice from me. Pack light. Less is sooooo much more on a trip of the “study abroad scale.” It is hard, but it pays off. In the end, you have a lot fewer things to bring back and you have room for the items you accumulated over the year (trust me you accumulate a ton of stuff) and even gifts! This is hard for me because I am usually an over-packer. Like WAY over packer. I don’t even want to talk about the first time I went to Spain and the things I carried in between the two countries without ever touching them. Clothes are the worrstttt. I mean I might wear it, right? This year I hope to get better at packing minimally and figuring out exactly how much I need to pack. I will keep you updated on that as we go. 

If you don’t really know how I am feeling, and you’re just here to read my mildly entertaining blog, I want you to try an exercise. Think about what you would take on a weekend (2 day) trip to a friend’s house near you. Probably some clothes, your phone, a charger, an extra pair of shoes, a jacket, and some toiletries. Now imagine on the same trip you have to write an essay for a class or a report for work the next day. Add that stuff. Maybe that would include your laptop, laptop charger, paper, pen, pencil, and some headphones. Now imagine that you’re planning on going hiking on this trip as well into the mountains where it is going to rain. Now you have to bring hiking boots, a bigger jacket maybe, more clothes, and a backpack for that. Hey! Don’t forget some nice clothes, we have to go to church on Sunday, as well. So you put in a change of your nice clothes, a button-up, some khakis, or a dress. Cool, you’re all set for your little excursion (I hope you have good time management skills and a car to take that all in). 

Okay, that was an interesting exercise that I just made up as I wrote along. It’s not really an exercise since I gave you all the answers, but that’s okay. Now imagine that your friend’s house is 5,700 miles away and you have to stay there for a year and you can’t forget anything. Oh and don’t let me forget my tennis racket! I don’t know if this poorly thought through exercise will make any difference on how you feel, but an easier way to say it is just imagine taking everything you need to live (minus easily purchasable items) with you and moving to a different country. Oh and don’t forget… you only have one suitcase and one backpack. Good luck!

Don’t think that all is bad or negative or difficult. I am super excited to be going to Spain and attending university there. Change is difficult, packing your life into two bags is difficult, but it is also an adventure, and those are (usually) fun. I look forward to an amazing year full of new and exciting experiences, and I look forward to you guys reading about it! (Sorry about the blog being pretty long, but thanks for reading it anyways.) 

 

Un saludo, 

Miguel Sabol

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Why India? http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/why-india/ http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/why-india/#comments Sun, 29 Jul 2018 18:13:41 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14860 I am going to be totally honest, I am a mess. I am not like any mess, but several individuals have told me that I am the human definition of what it is to struggle. Luckily enough, I have a really great support of friends and family that have forgiven me for the chaos of […]

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I am going to be totally honest, I am a mess.

I am not like any mess, but several individuals have told me that I am the human definition of what it is to struggle. Luckily enough, I have a really great support of friends and family that have forgiven me for the chaos of stress I burden them with every day.  Truthfully, they are the ones that got me here, 12 hours from my departure to India. At this point, I am grateful to be able to write this blog because I seriously got rejected for my Indian visa seven times. You would think they feel bad after the third rejection and give it to you, but India makes you work.

In a country of confusion, I think it is only rightfully fair for a confused girl to find a sense of belonging with a country full of difficulties. Usually the majority of people I told that I was going to India either got excited for me or could not fully grasp the idea that I would choose to go to a place “like that”. I have never been to India, but when people said a place “like that”, it almost sounded like it connoted the country for being unpleasant, as if I should not go. Of course, during moments of doubt, I questioned my intentions on pursuing my study abroad in a place people were scared for me to go to. Nevertheless, being a young, chaotic mess, my soul dared to yearn for a place of obscurity.

With this information about my personality, you may be bewildered by my reasoning, as most people are, but that’s what makes it fun. I love living life as if it were a series of blurred moments. Feeling like I need to catch up to whatever is going on is such a mesmerizing experience.

I think that is why I picked India.

Filled with brilliance, hope, simplicity, darkness, mystery, India to me sounds like an enigma that I want to be a part of. It is an expressive pandemonium of life, a poetic uncertainty, an unexplainable mess. I apologize in advance for the series of struggles you will read in the next few months. Let me be the first to tell you, I’ll try my hardest to be striving mess.

Lots of love,

Yoko

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And So Ends SCHOOL http://thepack.unm.edu/lamiller/and-so-ends-school/ http://thepack.unm.edu/lamiller/and-so-ends-school/#respond Fri, 29 Jun 2018 15:19:35 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14826 Bonjour à tous, I am pleased to inform you all that I am OFFICIALLY done with classes. I know I took exams earlier this month, but I then continued with 3 extra weeks of summer class parce que… Pourquoi pas? En fait, my daughter was still in school and will be just for another week, so rather […]

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Bonjour à tous,

I am pleased to inform you all that I am OFFICIALLY done with classes. I know I took exams earlier this month, but I then continued with 3 extra weeks of summer class parce que… Pourquoi pas? En fait, my daughter was still in school and will be just for another week, so rather than have an entire month empty of things to do, school was the better option.

I cannot believe it is already over, the time flew and now the days until I return are so small. A year, nearly a year of French classes over 650 HOURS of French classes.

My goal when I got here was to reach a b2 level, an intermediate level (sufficient for French university) of French. I started a low A2… not very strong, not very confident… and not sure I could do it. But I am pleased to announce that somehow I passed my B2 deuf (this colleges version) of a diploma. I was waiting for the results before I wrote this blog. It was a lot of work and a lot of getting over my fear and just trying. My daughter was a constant help with her constant correction of my pronunciation. So it is possible to Jump levels in French like that.

I went from

A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2

to

A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2

In the process skipping, essentially, an entire term of B2 level courses (as normally it takes 2 full terms 1 year to go from B1 to B2… a year and a half to two years to get from an A2 to B2)

But with determination, the help of some really amazing teachers and a pinch of confidence, I managed it.

I Know? I am still surprised. My French is by no means perfect, but it is sufficient to have fairly complicated conversations in various topics. My reading comprehension is pretty good, I am currently in the middle of the 4th Harry Potter book in French… yes I have read the first three. My oral comprehension improves daily. Grace à tous les series, the tv series I watch with my Daughter in French. She is currently into Avatar the Last Airbender. Very interesting in French. My writing and grammar skills still need work, but that is the same in English so I am not surprised.

This has been, by far, the most rewarding experience of my life and also… one of the most challenging. But the growth: Personally, emotionally, and relationally with my daughter has been so worth it.

Let me just say that my daughter’s personal growth has been amazing. She has matured in a way I didn’t realize she could. We have become closer. She is more confident… if that was even possible, and she has just bloomed here. We both have.

 

The mountain air of France, I tell you guys. It is worth the time, the effort, and the money if you are willing.

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Reflections on Europe http://thepack.unm.edu/trevor-a/reflections-on-europe/ http://thepack.unm.edu/trevor-a/reflections-on-europe/#respond Thu, 21 Jun 2018 17:23:34 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14809 Riding in a cramped train car overnight from Krakow to Budapest is a good time to reflect on a busy couple weeks of travel.  My good friend Shaefer and I would spend nearly three-weeks in exciting cities that have had many hundreds of years to grow and flourish.  Long days, busy itineraries and extravagant views […]

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Riding in a cramped train car overnight from Krakow to Budapest is a good time to reflect on a busy couple weeks of travel.  My good friend Shaefer and I would spend nearly three-weeks in exciting cities that have had many hundreds of years to grow and flourish.  Long days, busy itineraries and extravagant views could often lead to sensory overload.  No amount of words could come close to accurately describing the wonder of each unique city we passed through.  This is a small attempt to share the impression that each city left on me personally.

 

Barcelona

                The city is built tall and dense to accommodate the crowds who come to explore the land between the mountains and the sea.  We chased the best views in the city, trying to find the tallest vantage point.  First to the top of the Sagrada Familia, then to the color-filled trails of Park Gruell, and finally to historical bunker hill.  It was rewarding to look out over the red-roofed city, and to be able to trace where we had been while appreciating the vastness that would remain hidden to us.

 

 

Prague

                Architects sprinkle gold ornaments, details that are nearly hidden among the impressive baroque facades.  The inclusion of these shimmering gold features alludes to the hidden beauty tucked away within the city itself.  A city where a stroll down any old side street can reveal a grand royal garden, or a spectacularly cute courtyard with a view.  The attention to detail extended far from the city center.  The abundance of hundred-year old statues attempted to bring visitors back to times of old; mixing visitors with the historical figures who helped build and shape the ground beneath their feet.

 

 

Krakow

                A wonderfully preserved medieval gateway and network of cobble streets are a testament to the strength of this city that has lasted through the ages, through some of the most destructive acts of human history.   With the majority of the medieval walls having been demolished long ago, the city center is now surrounded by a lush parkway, as if the historic center is better protected by the hundreds of visitors who now walk its shaded circumference with admiration and appreciation.  A trumpet plays from the tower of St. Mary’s basilica at top of every hour, another testament to longevity and tradition.  Knowing the history of suffering that occurred in the city under Nazi occupation, it is amazing to feel how welcoming and peaceful the streets have become.

 

 

Budapest

The city separated by a river.  Look toward Buda or cross the bridge and look out at Pest, but either way you are reminded that this city has much more to offer than can be seen in a single view.  The visible ware on the streets made me feel as if the city had a lot to teach me, that it was my elder and I was a young child. Carrying this feeling up the stairway to the grand Buda Castle made me appreciate the powerful view even more. The castle grounds are inviting. The expansive view from the castle is a reminder that you are a part of something greater than yourself.

~Trev

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Exams and Goodbyes http://thepack.unm.edu/lamiller/exams-and-goodbyes/ http://thepack.unm.edu/lamiller/exams-and-goodbyes/#respond Fri, 08 Jun 2018 17:53:00 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14803 I am writing this having just ended our last semester. We all began exams last Friday and finished… depending on our group or level anywhere from Tuesday to yesterday. I hate exams. I always have, I get really bad test anxiety and as a result become very stressed during a period of exams. This was… […]

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I am writing this having just ended our last semester. We all began exams last Friday and finished… depending on our group or level anywhere from Tuesday to yesterday. I hate exams. I always have, I get really bad test anxiety and as a result become very stressed during a period of exams. This was… both worse and better. Let me explain.

So it was worse because… of course, all the exams are in French. For the level B2 which is the level I took my exams for… these are the exams I took and a bit about what they entailed.

  1. Reading comprehension: where we read an article and then have to answer questions on that article (in our case it was about the subject of panhandlers in Paris). That was probably the easiest of them all. For me at least. As I have taken to reading in French pretty regularly. Mostly through Harry Potter, but hey… it works for me.
  2. Civilisation: Based on which professor we had. For my group is was about May 1968 and Strikes in France. I am no good with Dates or Names, so I was stressed about this one, but I think it was okay. Mai 68 as it is referred to in France is actually a fascinating subject about a two month period of Strikes that began in Paris with Students and then became a nationwide situation with more than 9 million strikers across all of France that literally paralyzed France.
  3. Writing exam: We are given two hours and had to choose between two subjects and then write either a formal letter or another format. I chose the formal letter as I am more accustomed to that format. We were allowed a uni-langue dictionary and have around 400 words in total.
  4. Poetry Class: I had to memorize and recite two poems from a list of poems we went over in class. I am terrible at memorizing things so this one really had me stressed out, but in the end, it went really well. I was allowed to do a video of the two of them. We then had to explain our choice which was easier than I thought.
  5. Oral comprehension…: that was a nightmare. SOmething I thought would actually be the easier test for me turned out to be a bit of nightmare. I felt so out of depth with this exam. I was really discouraged by it because it was in two parts. A radio transmission. We are given 1 minute to read the questions then we have one listen… 3 minutes to respond, a second listen and then 5 minutes to respond. Both multiple chose and writing questions. Not enough time and REALLY fast. The second section was a video, an interview that we not only had to write about but also had a chart to fill out. Same format. One minute to read the instructions, first listen, 3 or 5 minutes to fill in the chart then a second listen, the 20 minutes to write a small article based on what we heard.  Everyone thought it was so hard, everyone left feeling very badly about it.
  6. LAST BUT NOT LEAST…Oral Interview. I was the first in my group to go. I was given 4 subjects that I chose two at random, then I read the two and chose the one I liked best. I had 30 minutes to prepare an argument, look up words, take notes… etc. Then I present a 7-10 minute expo of what topic I chose, the problem of this topic and the debate on this topic. After the teachers ask you some questions to see if you really understood the subject or not. For my case, I had the situation of gender roles and how those are created from a young age with toys and their colors. Thankfully I have a lot experience in the subject so I found it quite easy to talk about.

They were hard, but after talking with my teacher today I am pretty sure I passed. Maybe just barely in some but none the less…

Today we had a going away party and that was really tough saying goodbye to so many of the friends I have made over the last year. I hate saying goodbye and I cannot believe how fast this year flew by. I cannot believe how far I have come personally. From a barely A2 level… with no confidence… to a B2 level… with So much more confidence than I thought I would ever have in French. This year has helped me grow so much personally and my daughter has just bloomed here. We have grown stronger as a mother and daughter but individually have found an inner confidence and have found a new part of ourselves that we never thought we had. I am so happy to have come and to have made the friends I have. It was all worth it. Even through the tear-filled goodbyes as everyone starts their summer vacations all over the world. I have had the chance to make friends with so many people from all over the world and I am so lucky to have had this chance. So as sad as I will be over the next few days as people leave France knowing that I may not see many of them again… I am extremely grateful to have met them and had the chance to make so many new friends.

 

BONNE CHANCE et Profiter bien du vacance

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Milan, a Weekend in Italy http://thepack.unm.edu/lamiller/milan-weekend-italy/ http://thepack.unm.edu/lamiller/milan-weekend-italy/#respond Fri, 01 Jun 2018 15:43:26 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14785 So up until this point, most of our trips have to places were either English or French were the main languages spoken. I was easily able to communicate with no problems and I was comfortable navigating the metro system or walking into a store to do some shopping. Now… I am in Italy where they […]

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So up until this point, most of our trips have to places were either English or French were the main languages spoken. I was easily able to communicate with no problems and I was comfortable navigating the metro system or walking into a store to do some shopping.

Now… I am in Italy where they speak Italian and if you are lucky, English. Everything is in Italian, there is no English and it seems that the Italians are very proud of their language. So needless to say, fish out of water was my experience here.  I had one person get upset with me for not speaking Italian.

My friend Jazmin and I took a bus from Chambéry to Milan, it was about a 5-hour bus ride, pretty cheap, and functioning. Unlike the trains due to continued strikes in the Train system here. The catch… there was only 1 bus that day and it left at 1:40 in the morning, arriving in Milan about 7 am. We were fortunate to book an Airbnb nearby that allowed us to check in at 8 am. We all took a nap and then ventured out later that afternoon.

I’ve been curious about the Mcdonalds in other countries so I have eaten at one in each country I have visited to compare… (we almost never eat at a fast food place in France just FYI.) The sides always change depending on where you are. Spain was the first foreign McDs I have eaten and I was blown away by the quality. It literally looked like the picture on the menu. I was impressed and have been since.

I digress. So we then bought metro passes for two days and made our way to central Milan were we… by pure chance found… this church.

This is the Duomo di Milano Cathedral. Freaking gorgeous church. You can tour the entire thing (just make sure ladies you are properly covered, no shoulders, no knees, and no stomachs showing they will make you wear a poncho). You can take a lift, or stairs all the way to the roof and enjoy the view. They have an archeology site underneath it that is cool as well.

We then, of course, ate lunch at a local Italian place where I enjoyed a Pizza and Evangeline ate some of the most delicious spaghetti and meatballs I have ever had.

The next day we went and toured around the Sforzesco Castle which is located in a large park called Parco Sempione, on the other side of that parc is the Arco Della Pace (the Italian version of l’Arc de Triumph)

Turns out the Italian version of X-factor was taking place on that day. Once again, we just stumbled onto all of this, which was great.

We literally didn’t plan anything out the whole trip, we just woke, decided where we would start our day then went from there until we were tired. It was a great, stress-free way to spend the weekend.

We enjoyed more pizza and pasta, we enjoyed some local wine. We found a small river that is known as the Little Venice of Milan, lots of shops, restaurants, and tourists.

One thing to be aware of eating out, in Italy whenever we ate out we are always given bottles of water that we had to pay for. You are supposed to ask for tap water and the time we tried that, either the waiter did not understand or didn’t care. But yeah, they give you bottles of water that you pay extra for, for the price you pay, you are better of with buying a soda or wine.

SO that was our trip, it was fun, stress-free, but I was more than glad to be back in France where the language made sense.

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Two New Mexicans head to Scotland http://thepack.unm.edu/trevor-a/two-new-mexicans-head-scotland/ http://thepack.unm.edu/trevor-a/two-new-mexicans-head-scotland/#respond Wed, 23 May 2018 18:04:13 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14775 An excel sheet, multiple months in the making, is evidence of the planning and preparation done before setting out to hike Scotland’s Trossachs mountain range.  My good mate Shaefer and I had decided we would squeeze in an easy 5-day, 45-mile backpacking trip the week before our final exams, and wanted to be sure everything […]

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An excel sheet, multiple months in the making, is evidence of the planning and preparation done before setting out to hike Scotland’s Trossachs mountain range.  My good mate Shaefer and I had decided we would squeeze in an easy 5-day, 45-mile backpacking trip the week before our final exams, and wanted to be sure everything was set for a good adventure. There is no better way to avoid studying than leaving the city for the humbling Scottish

mountains.

We met in Glasgow, Shaefer flying from Madrid and myself taking a 6-hour coach ride up from Leeds. We would spend the first night in Glasgow on the floor of a dorm, courtesy of Shaefer’s old friend Julia.  That afternoon, our well thought-out shopping list made it easy to gather our supplies in the city centre and fill our packs to the brim.

We took pride in the fact that our route had been fully self-made.  We had planned for an average hiking distance of 10 miles a day, and with rough targets

set for each day’s end.  We knew that there was no cutting the route short – we must make it to Loch Lomond, and the small town of Iversnaid if we were find our way back to Glasgow and make it home in time to finish exams.

All of the preparation that had gone into this trip could only guarantee so much, to some extent we would be at the mercy of the weather in a region that is known for an abundance of water.  So, with heavy packs and a sense of optimism, we set out from the southern-most point on our route, Drymen.

Right from the get-go the weather had been teasing us.  Walking, we would get warm and want to strip some of our layers,

but the quick-moving skies and the grey clouds looming on the horizon kept us slightly apprehensive. As the path wound up and into the lush mountain valleys, our trust in the skies grew, and the sun grew more and more reliable.

Backpacking is knackering, but one thing that kept us going was our incredible meal supply.  We really did a great job on this front.  Our best meal had to have been a spicy-rice and bean mix with vegan sausage that we wrapped in flour tortillas. We ate this one on the one night of constant rain.  Sitting on our ‘porch’, well-string tarp, and cooking over Shaefer’s whisperlite pack stove, it was the best way to unwind after the tiresome trek.

On the final day, with our packs nearly emptied of our food supply and lighter than ever, we walked the final stretch along the western half of Loch Katrine, and descended into Iversnaid pier along the north-eastern shore of Loch Lomond.  Dirty, and feeling accomplished, we sat under the shade of a large tree and prepared our final portable meal – couscous with a backpacker’s vegetable chili mix.

The ferry ride across Loch Lomond was a satisfying conclusion to our five day adventure.

~Trev

 

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¡Hasta la próxima! http://thepack.unm.edu/beatriz-p/hasta-la-proxima/ http://thepack.unm.edu/beatriz-p/hasta-la-proxima/#respond Tue, 15 May 2018 16:06:37 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=14768 Well friends, I am excited to let you know that I have successfully finished my undergraduate studies at UNM! In a few weeks (well more like 8 or 12) I’ll be receiving my diploma in a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and I am elated. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity […]

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Well friends, I am excited to let you know that I have successfully finished my undergraduate studies at UNM! In a few weeks (well more like 8 or 12) I’ll be receiving my diploma in a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and I am elated.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to pursue both art and science together through the Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media (IFDM) program, and I cannot believe how amazing were the Honors College seminars I attended. I truly felt like I received a well-rounded education thanks to the variety of courses, both in nature and in content.
The culture at UNM was also extremely welcoming to me, and I am so happy to have attended a hispanic-serving institution. Fleeing your home country out of fear is an unpleasant journey, but the people and the values at UNM definitely made this transition bearable.

El Centro de La Raza at UNM hosts a special graduation ceremony every semester. Half of it was in Spanish! It was a very charming, detail-oriented ceremony, and it was a pleasure to participate in.

I know I’ll be missing the student life and the people I’ve met at UNM, but I am also glad to be moving on. I’ll be taking some time off school for this coming year, but I hope to come back for a Masters! So maybe we will be seeing each other soon.
Thank you for these wonderful 5 years!
All the best,
Beatriz

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