The Pack http://thepack.unm.edu Student Stories at The University of New Mexico Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:47:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.1 71725995 Thoughts on Winter Break http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/thoughts-on-winter-break/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/thoughts-on-winter-break/#respond Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:47:13 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15449 With the semester coming to a close, I could not help but think about returning home. Everyone is so excited to travel back, see loved ones and of course for classes to end. But the other night, I realized how much I am going to miss everyone here. It is funny to think that in […]

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With the semester coming to a close, I could not help but think about returning home. Everyone is so excited to travel back, see loved ones and of course for classes to end. But the other night, I realized how much I am going to miss everyone here. It is funny to think that in early August, when room assignments were going out, the very last place I wanted to live was in the dorms… especially a double. I was worried about who my roommate would be and shared bathrooms.

First off, roommates:

I asked around a lot before I came to UNM and I heard a lot of horror stories. I am from out of state and did not know anyone who was going to New Mexico. One day I got an email and it was this complete stranger from Massachusetts. I told her I text way more often than I email and she completely agreed. We talked briefly, but I honestly had no clue what this girl was like. Right from the start when we moved in, all of our stuff matched, even without us coordinating. It was a tale tell sign she was going to be a pretty awesome roommate.

This part is an #appreciationpost…

My roommate is honestly one of my most favorite people in this world. Her and I are a perfect match and it is hilarious to think she just dropped into my room on a whim. Both of us admittedly Instagram stalked each other before we met and we have already joked about living in a condo on the beach somewhere in ten years or so. This immediate spark happened with almost everyone else too. This is clearly evidenced by the crazy amounts of Snapchat group chats I am in. I have spent hours on the floors of my friends room talking or eating or laughing. There is truly never a dull moment.

Second off, bathrooms:

Sharing the bathroom is not as nearly as rough as I thought. There are so many showers and stalls that there is rarely ever lines, at least in Hokona. It’s low key nice because I do not need to clean the toilet or sinks either. The least favorable part is the locked bathroom part. Fumbling with the keys is not the ideal situation when you really got to go. Anyways, it is completely doable and I feel silly looking back that this was a deterrent force.

Ultimately, I came to college thinking I was going to stay in my room with the door closed. I did not feel that having a social life was something important to me. It is safe to say now, that I am so so grateful to live the dorm life. This epiphany dawned on me when there was six or seven of us hanging out in a friends room late on a Sunday night. I would like to start off and say Sunday nights are notoriously school nights and I definitely felt cool for staying up late with friends. Not only did I feel a small burst of independence, but I realized going home for the holidays means I can’t just walk a few feet and have a crazy and chaotic night full of jokes and stress relief tea.

Even tonight there was at least six other people sitting in my roommate and I’s room on the floor in chairs on beds and desks. I will miss this tight knit community so much. I love yelling down the hall when I get home “that’s my roommate” or walking by open doors just to check in on all my neighbors and friends. There is a never ending echo of laughter from all the rooms and this will one hundred percent be missed as I leave for a month.

It is something to look forward to next semester as we all start slowly leaving and if any of my friends are reading know that each and everyone of you fill my heart. See you all in a few short weeks…

Anna

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Japanese Culture Event! =D http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/japanese-culture-event-d/ http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/japanese-culture-event-d/#respond Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:46:28 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15455 Hey everyone! The past two weeks have been so much fun, and educational at the same time. So first the educational stuff. For my history class I was assigned to visit a temple and do a report on it. This temple was called the Tsukiji Hongan-ji temple and the history on it was interesting in […]

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Hey everyone! The past two weeks have been so much fun, and educational at the same time.

So first the educational stuff. For my history class I was assigned to visit a temple and do a report on it. This temple was called the Tsukiji Hongan-ji temple and the history on it was interesting in terms of how many times it was destroyed until it was finally secure. In short, it took three tries for this temple to finally be permanent without it being destroyed by a natural disaster of some sort. The other interesting part about this temple is its architecture style. The architecture style is a mix of India, Western and Japanese style architecture all in one building. I really enjoyed this assignment because not only was it educational, but the interactive aspect made the information more enjoyable to learn because one is able to see what was lectured in real time.

Okay, now the really fun stuff. I was also able to attend a culture event hosted by Meiji Gakuin University. This culture event was mind blowing to say the least. To start, when I and the other exchange students got to where the event was held, we were greeted by teachers in kimonos that told us what we would be doing throughout the day. The first thing we did was the classical Japanese tea ceremony. The tea ceremony was so much fun and provided a deeper insight into classical Japanese culture. After the tea ceremony, we partook in the classical Japanese flower arrangement in which one organizes flowers in a very specific way. What was really cool about making this flower arrangement, was how you have to cut the flowers in order to get them to stay in position. After making the flower arrangement we learned the art of calligraphy. What was really cool about the calligraphy segment was we were able to pick a Kanji we wanted to write. I ended up picking the Kanji I was assigned when I came to Japan which is the Kanji for rainforest. After calligraphy, we made Japanese style boxes which was not only fun but challenging in a good way. The cool thing about these boxes is that they are very versatile in terms of there uses. After creating boxes, we were then able to were kimonos. Kimonos are a lot more complex than one might think. There are many layers to a kimono and they are also very warm. It was awesome to not only were a kimono, but I, and the other exchange students, were able to walk around in them. Being able to walk around in a kimono was not only an awesome culture shock, but I was able to finally achieve another dream of mine which was to were an authentic Japanese kimono.

After wearing kimonos, I and the other exchange students went home. I haven’t uploaded photos to my Instagram, @isaacxmaes yet, but I will do so soon. If you decide to study abroad, and there is a culture event like the one I have described, I highly recommend partaking in it. Not only is it fun, but it allows you to have a deeper appreciation for the culture you are studying. I will be uploading the few photos I took to my Instagram in the next few days.

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.

 

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Dead Week http://thepack.unm.edu/victoria-p/dead-week/ http://thepack.unm.edu/victoria-p/dead-week/#respond Mon, 03 Dec 2018 18:19:37 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15441 So, it’s dead week, and let me tell you, this year’s dead week is hitting me like a brick. I’ve basically moved into Zim, and I’m surviving off of coffee and Red Bull. Luckily for me, my classes don’t have any multiple-choice exams, so finals week will be a breeze for me. Unluckily for me, […]

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So, it’s dead week, and let me tell you, this year’s dead week is hitting me like a brick. I’ve basically moved into Zim, and I’m surviving off of coffee and Red Bull.

Luckily for me, my classes don’t have any multiple-choice exams, so finals week will be a breeze for me. Unluckily for me, I have so many big projects and essays to write that dead week might actually be the death of me.

 

Anyways, I know dead week isn’t just rough for me, so, here are some tips and tricks on how to survive dead week/finals szn without actually dying.

 

  1. Find your own study space. My favorite place to study is the Harry Potter room in Zimmerman. Something about being there that makes me focus.

 

2.Make sure you have your Lobo ID before going to Zim at night. The worst feeling is when you’re studying in Zim, and they do an ID check and you don’t have your Lobo ID on you.

 

  1. Create a to-do list/schedule for the week. This is the easiest way to make sure you don’t feel overwhelmed.

 

  1. Pay attention to the details of your assignments. I am the worst with this one. There have been a few times that I have turned in assignments and didn’t receive full credit because I didn’t read the instructions fully.

 

  1. Put your phone away for at least 30-minute intervals. Again, I’m also the worst at this one.

 

  1. You can drink caffeine, but don’t overdo it. Adults shouldn’t drink more than 400 mg of caffeine. So that is 4 cups of coffee, 10 cans of soda, or 2 energy drinks.

 

  1. Stay hydrated. Caffeine dehydrates you, so get a water with your coffee.

 

  1. Make sure you eat. During dead week, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in your school work that you forget to eat. Just be conscious about your eating schedule.

 

  1. Office hours are your best friend. There’s still time to meet with a professor, TA or tutor, but I’d get started on that because other students are going to start doing the same.

 

  1. If you have a test tomorrow and you don’t know it by midnight, just go to sleep. This is a more pros/cons kinda thing. What’s better staying up late to learn one tiny detail of the overall test or being exhausted during the test itself making you score lower on the overall test.

 

Good luck during dead week and finals, we all need it.

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Happy Chanukah! 2018 http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/happy-chanukah-2018/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/happy-chanukah-2018/#respond Mon, 03 Dec 2018 18:19:10 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15434 Hi all! I am writing a little less this time, but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Chanukah. This year the holiday spans from December 2nd to the 10th and all sorts of festivities have been happening! Chanukah is something very new to me, but I am embracing every second of it. This will […]

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Hi all!

I am writing a little less this time, but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Chanukah. This year the holiday spans from December 2nd to the 10th and all sorts of festivities have been happening!

Chanukah is something very new to me, but I am embracing every second of it. This will be the first year I will truly be celebrating Chanukah. Last year, I celebrated one night of Chanukah with my friends. All of my friends and I gathered together and made matzo ball soup and latkes. First of all, I am a solid sour cream fan on my latkes over apple sauce. Second of all, I thoroughly enjoyed the exposure to all of these traditions for the first time. My journey before I got to UNM was a roller coaster. But due to the turbulent ride, I have gained so many families! One of my family units is Jewish and I was so excited to celebrate with them. However, I will be missing the Chanukah celebration at home. Fortunately, I have found my friends that are excited to celebrate it here on campus!

The photo I sent to my family back home!

Three of my good friends in the dorms are Jewish. One night, I think we were all talking about the holidays and we thinking of having a little Chanukah away from home. We were all so excited! The plans soon turned into a big group of us who wanted to participate. Tonight was the first night. We all gathered together to light the cutest and smallest menorah I have ever seen and my friends and I all listened to the prayer two of my friends said in Hebrew. We all clapped and cheered to kick off the first night! After lighting the menorah, we received chocolate gelt and wrapped dreidels just in time for a loud and competitive game. While I had to return a little early back to my room, I was full of happiness from the festivities.

When I came back to my room, I sent a picture of the menorah to my family back home. I was so excitied to share my experiences with them. I am so happy my friends are so accepting and willing to celebrate with me and others at UNM. With the holiday season just around the corner, regardless of the holiday, I hope all of your families and friends spread happiness and the holiday spirit!

Happy Chanukah,

Anna

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Thanksgiving Abroad? http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/thanksgiving-abroad/ http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/thanksgiving-abroad/#respond Mon, 03 Dec 2018 18:18:40 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15432 Went to the BMX World Championships! Ran the America table at the schools cultural festival. Watched Chubbs for my friends going on a trip. Had thanksgiving in China? Ate some crickets at the yellow dragon village (黄龙溪). Went to a Danny Avila concert. My friend invited me to watch the World Championships of BMX! She […]

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  • Went to the BMX World Championships!
  • Ran the America table at the schools cultural festival.
  • Watched Chubbs for my friends going on a trip.
  • Had thanksgiving in China?
  • Ate some crickets at the yellow dragon village (黄龙溪).
  • Went to a Danny Avila concert.
  • My friend invited me to watch the World Championships of BMX! She was super lucky to get tickets because the word on the street was most of the tickets were taken by party members and their families. Me and my friend were some of the only younger adults there surrounded by older people and their children and grandchildren. It was funny because my friend got asked multiple times if I was one of the competitors 😁. In the end an 18 year old kid from the U.S. won! The next week I had a cultural festival to attend. It was so much fun! We made mini hamburgers, rice krispy treats, and deviled eggs to hand out. We also had stickers of famous American musicians, and in order to receive them they had to catch a frisbee while standing on my penny board. Everyone loved it! There were so many people at our table and i got to meet a lot of cool people.👌🏼 The mini hamster may be fun at first and pretty cute too, but after a while he was keeping me up at night trying to escape from his cage, and even bit my finger picking him up 😥. Our study abroad program offered to pay for a turkey for Thanksgiving. Therefore we had our own little thanksgiving party at one of the classmates apartments. I was skeptical of how it was going to go because the necessities of thanksgiving comprise a lot of elements not readily available in China. It turned out great! We had turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes (sweet and regular 🙌🏻), cheesy broccoli, Mac and cheese, fruit salad, cheese cake, peanut butter pie, apple pie, and vanilla ice cream😋. Everyone brought a dish or drinks. When we got our turkey it had to be China style with the neck and head and all. That weekend we went to the yellow dragon village. It was tons of fun and i even ate some crickets (which were surprisingly good) and stinky tofu. My most recent adventure was the Danny Avila concert. I didn’t know who he was before but i guess he’s a pretty famous Dj, his music was great! Hope everything is going well in New Mexico. Cheers!

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    I got a pocket, got a pocket full of sunshine… Actually they’re just my Vitamin D pills… http://thepack.unm.edu/zoe-c/i-got-a-pocket-got-a-pocket-full-of-sunshine-actually-theyre-just-my-vitamin-d-pills/ http://thepack.unm.edu/zoe-c/i-got-a-pocket-got-a-pocket-full-of-sunshine-actually-theyre-just-my-vitamin-d-pills/#respond Mon, 03 Dec 2018 18:17:59 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15421 It would be impossible to come from anywhere in the US (except Alaska) to northern Europe and not notice that you’ve been robbed of daylight. Gradually all of a sudden I started going to class just as it was getting light (around 9) and leaving just as dusk was falling (3:30ish — or 15:30 as […]

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    It would be impossible to come from anywhere in the US (except Alaska) to northern Europe and not notice that you’ve been robbed of daylight. Gradually all of a sudden I started going to class just as it was getting light (around 9) and leaving just as dusk was falling (3:30ish — or 15:30 as we like to say in Europe haha). Evenings feel extremely long and the excessive darkness really just makes me wanna sleep all the time. I think if I lived here permanently I would just go into hibernation during wintertime, but as an exchange student it’s my prerogative to try and do absolutely everything I can while I’m here. Being in Estonia for only four months is too much time to consider it as traveling (despite making all the weekend trips I can manage) but it’s also too short a period to feel like I have time to see everything. It has been hard to find a balance between being able to travel and enjoy the social life in Tallinn while also studying and not trying to fit in too much… It definitely is and continues to be a learning experience.

    Besides going to the christmas market in the center square of Tallinn and exploring new parts of the city, being in Tallinn has provided a lot of opportunities to take weekend trips to the surrounding countries. I’ve recently been on short trips to Helsinki, Stockholm and – currently – Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. It’s been so interesting to see the different cities and the ease of travel in Europe continues to be a revelation to me. Ferries, buses, and even plane flights can be ridiculously cheap if you find the right ones and before you know it you’re in a completely different country with a new language, currency, and a whole new set of churches to explore! (The churches thing is pretty accurate – they’re often some of the prettiest/ most interesting places to visit in a city and I don’t think I ever expected to visit so many!) I’m writing most of this blog on an overnight bus to Vilnius, and I just looked out the window to see snow! Actual, proper snow is lining the roads finally! I say finally because it sprinkled snow in October, falsely leading me to believe that I would soon be romping through life in the snow the way only a girl from the sunny California coast would dream about. Although it hasn’t snowed much it’s super duper cold and just casually walking around outside makes my face, ears, and hands feel like they might fall off.

    Anyway despite wondering how easy it is to get hypothermia on a pretty regular basis and a new habit of popping vitamin D pills (I really just take one a day if I remember), I’ve managed to resist the draw of winter hibernation. As my exchange semester draws towards the fun part of finals and organizing to leave, I can’t help but wish I had more time to spend with the friends I’ve made here and and travel through more of this city, this country, and this part of Europe. I can’t wait for these next few weeks though! (Except for my finals, those are not much more fun here than they are anywhere)

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    Little weekend Getaways http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/little-weekend-getaways/ http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/little-weekend-getaways/#respond Mon, 03 Dec 2018 18:17:24 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15418 Now that I am down to my last week here in Amrita University, I have been pretty busy with all my classes and the research project I have been working on. It’s the end of November and it continues to be 90 degrees with endless sunshine. Therefore, it was necessary for me to take advantage […]

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    Now that I am down to my last week here in Amrita University, I have been pretty busy with all my classes and the research project I have been working on. It’s the end of November and it continues to be 90 degrees with endless sunshine. Therefore, it was necessary for me to take advantage of this opportunity to go to the beach every weekend because it’s always summer in Kerala.

     

    Forty-five minutes by train, there is a little place called Varkala where everyone goes for a little weekend getaway. Luckily, I was able to get out of class and escape to the beach for my roommate’s last weekend in India. Unfortunately, time is not of the essence here in India, so the train was two hours late and we only had 24 hours to spend. My roommate, Kayla, was leaving back home to South Africa and she had never swum in the Indian Ocean, so it was a must. The funny thing is if you ask any native Indian person from Kerala if they have swum in the ocean, almost 50% of the time they will tell you it’s nice to look at, but they never swim and they also do not know how to swim. Being the foreigners we are, that did not stop us, so the minute we got to Varkala, my roommates and I ran to the beach. It was nearing sunset and we arrived late, so we dropped our bags and ran shoeless on the road for at least half a mile to the nearest entrance to the beach. It was really pointless because they don’t allow anyone to swim at sunset, but we went for it anyways just to swim for 2 minutes.

     

    At night, we went to this cute little café with some solid music and beautifully grilled fish, and my roommates and I were able to bond over the funny things we experienced in India. There are way too many to list in one posting, but I think the funniest experiences are the modes of transportation for us. After the morning on the beach tanning and swimming, I had to leave earlier than my roommates to finish up some experiments for my project. To shorten up the story, I got lost like the mess I am lol. Like I said, Varkala is less than an hour away and I trusted myself enough with 45 minutes of traveling.

                                                           

    Well… I ended up almost 3 hours away from home.

     

    I obviously found my way home, but I was on the bus for quite some time. Knowing a little Malayalam and looking like a lost puppy really wins over the pity of people, so they help you out. Other than that, people are genuinely nice here and are willing to wait with you and stay with you until you figure out your life. The biggest help ALWAYS comes from teenage girls who are really shy to talk to you at first, but are so kind in helping. After four and a half hours on the bus and four buses later, we got home and missed my experiment, but my project director understood my struggle.

     

    So, that’s the latest struggle of the week, BUT I am now confident in taking buses by myselfJ Transportation is one way itself understanding the culture in India, and you really get to bond with locals because buses/trains are really crowded so it’s best to be kind to the person you are being squished next to. Getting lost is not a bad experience at all and it doesn’t have to be stressful. The countryside is beautiful and passing through the towns really reminds you how tiny you are in the world and how much there is to explore. Lesson of the story: keep your google maps on and have fun getting lost if you are ever put in the position. J

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    Some Thanksgiving time thoughts… http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/some-thanksgiving-time-thoughts/ http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/some-thanksgiving-time-thoughts/#respond Wed, 28 Nov 2018 23:00:39 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15387 One of the interesting things that you learn when traveling abroad is that your sense of time gets screwed to all heck. Time goes slow, then it goes fast, then you wake up at 3pm, then you are waking up at 5am to catch a flight, and suddenly it’s 8pm on the day that is […]

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    One of the interesting things that you learn when traveling abroad is that your sense of time gets screwed to all heck. Time goes slow, then it goes fast, then you wake up at 3pm, then you are waking up at 5am to catch a flight, and suddenly it’s 8pm on the day that is Thanksgiving in the USA, but to you the day is almost over, you haven’t seen a single turkey, and you had class earlier in the day. Time warped. It may be turkey day in the USA, but in Spain, it’s just another Thursday. 

    Here I am scratching my head and looking at the calendar and counting the days, and, wow, there’s only 12 days of class left, plus a few days of exams. Dang, that’s not even two weeks worth of days. Well, there goes this semester, I suppose.

    I guess if I look back on the days, it really didn’t go all that fast… it just may be that I’ve stopped counting days as much, and I have begun counting weeks by the amount of weekends, or important events. It’s a theory of mine that time only seems to speed up as you get older because you stop writing the date of the day down as often… You know how in primary school, every day you wrote down what day it was; you paid attention to what day of the week it was. Every day in primary and middle school there was a reason to write the date down, and so we all thought about the date for a moment. Then as we got to high school there were less dates to write down, and now in college, there are even less. I don’t exactly have a job but I know from some of the jobs that I have had that the date or day haven’t really been a big issue, and so you do your work and go home, same things each day, but with sleep in between. And the days go by. And it isn’t that we stop doing things or that time goes by more quickly, but that we remember less dates. We still get things done, but the days have started to run together. 

    Yeah, it gets really cold in Spain.

    I mean, looking back now, and thinking of the days, going back over my calendar, I can see that I have done a lot of things, more than just those on the weekend, or when I went out. It may have seem to go by fast, but I think I lived out most of those moments pretty well, no real regrets at the moment. 

    Looking back on my stay thus far, I am thankful for all the experiences that I have had and the friends that I have made so far. I mean, alternatively to my theory above, the time could have passed because I was having a good time, because I’ve certainly have. 

    Just because Thanksgiving didn’t happen on Thursday doesn’t mean that it did not happen at all… on Black Friday I hosted a small potluck Friendsgiving dinner at my flat. My biggest regret is that I couldn’t invite all of the friends that I have made here in Spain (and especially those in the USA), but my flat has the biggest open space that I have seen in most flats in Madrid and my parents kitchen in the USA is bigger than the entire space… so I could only invite a few friends, but nonetheless, we had a good time bring

    Friendsgiving

    together a bunch of random dishes (most of which had little to do with an American Thanksgiving). 

    One of the things that one of my friends asked at our Friendsgiving was why Thanksgiving is even a holiday, and to be honest, I had almost forgot. I eventually remembered and told them the story with the pilgrims, but I added that I think it has evolved into more of a day to give extra thanks and to be with the family or the friends (or maybe it’s just a holiday for capitalism if you’re pessimistic like that). But either way, that made us force everyone to say what they were thankful for, and because it was their first Thanksgiving, of course they tried to squirrel their way out of doing it, like everyone used to when they were teens. It was quite funny. But it also reminded me that maybe we should practice saying what we are thankful for more often because it does make you think about what you have, and how it could be different. And a little self-reflection never hurt anyone. Just saying. 

    Hope everyone had some good holidays or at least a good weekend of shopping through those sales (I did). 

    Un saludo, 

    Miguel Sabol

    A Pharaoh and I

    Went to a big Egyptian exposition with Art History students (they were pretty enthusiastic about everything)

     

     

     

    If you ever need to watch a old Spanish movie…

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    Tokyo Skytree and Pokemon Center =D http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/tokyo-skytree-and-pokemon-center-d/ http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/tokyo-skytree-and-pokemon-center-d/#respond Wed, 28 Nov 2018 22:59:51 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15399 Hey everyone, hope you all are doing well. So, these past few weeks have been fun, but I have mainly studied because we just had midterms here at Meiji Gakuin. However, I still managed to go out and explore a bit.  I also finally got to live out a childhood dream of mine and visit […]

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    Hey everyone, hope you all are doing well. So, these past few weeks have been fun, but I have mainly studied because we just had midterms here at Meiji Gakuin. However, I still managed to go out and explore a bit.  I also finally got to live out a childhood dream of mine and visit a Pokémon center.

    So, in terms of midterms (ba dum tss) there was not as many as one might think. The only midterm I had was for my intensive Japanese class.  The topics covered were just everything we went over for the first half of the semester ranging from spelling, to speaking, to kanji. But overall, it wasn’t too bad. After midterms I went to Tokyo Skytree with some friends.

    Tokyo Skytree is something you should check out if you study abroad in Japan. To put the size of Tokyo Skytree in perspective it is taller than Tokyo Tower with a height of 634 meters. There are two levels of Tokyo Skytree, three if you count the ground floor. But the first stop you get off is the observation deck where you can see a lot of Japan, and if the skies are clear, you can see Mount Fuji. Unfortunately, it was a bit too cloudy to see Mount Fuji. I guess you could say I had my head in the clouds (ba dum tss). We then went to the second viewing deck, which is higher up on Skytree, and if you like Dragonball Z you should definitely check it out. The elevator to go up to the second viewing deck is designed with Dragonball Z characters. Once you get to the second viewing deck there is Dragonball Z pictures and statues everywhere. My friends and I stayed on the second deck until it got dark and the sunset was just, wow!  Even with the clouds blocking the views of some parts of Japan, it was still a beautiful view. However, at night the view looked surreal with the amount of lights in Tokyo. After taking in gorgeous views, my friends and I decided to head home. However, on our way out we decided to check out the “sky walking” portion of Skytree which is a glass pane in which you can see the ground below. If you are okay with a bit of vertigo I highly recommend it.

    After Skytree my friends and I went to the Pokémon center nearby and it was everything I ever hoped and more. If I had to describe the feeling, it would be nostalgic as well as going from reality to a Pokémon world. Note, this was a small sized Pokémon center and there was still so many Pokémon items. When you step in to the Pokémon center you are greeted with a free souvenir which is a small see through picture of Pikachu, and then you can shop until your heart is content. After spending about an hour in the Pokémon center my friends and I finally went home.

    Although I did not do much exploring this month, even the smallest amount of exploring leaves one with a culture shock that you definitely remember. With that said, I highly recommend studying abroad because even the small moment stick with you. I have uploaded all the photos from Skytree and the Pokémon center on my Instagram @isaacxmaes if you all would like to see photos.

    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.

     

     

    Japanese words of the day:

    すごい            Sugoi               Amazing

    アニメ            Anime             Anime

    木                    Ki                    Tree

    かいもの        Kaimono         Shopping

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    “Oh, so you are really fresh…” Experiences from WE’18 Conference http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/oh-so-you-are-really-fresh-experiences-from-we18-conference/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/oh-so-you-are-really-fresh-experiences-from-we18-conference/#respond Mon, 26 Nov 2018 16:41:07 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15209 I am so excited this is my first post! Heading to one of the conferences I attended, I felt like such a cool kid for skipping class and heading to the ABQ International Airport. Hoping on a plane to Minneapolis, Minnesota, I was going to the Society of Women Engineers Conference based on breaking boundaries […]

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    I am so excited this is my first post! Heading to one of the conferences I attended, I felt like such a cool kid for skipping class and heading to the ABQ International Airport. Hoping on a plane to Minneapolis, Minnesota, I was going to the Society of Women Engineers Conference based on breaking boundaries and empowering women in engineering. I was so excited. Ready to not only have a break from classes but network with huge names in industry, my resumes which were printed on fancy paper were tucked in my suitcase. I even had business cards which didn’t say much since what freshman needs a business card. I felt prepare and ready and excited for this new adventure.

    The hours leading up to take off were hectic. There’s no other way I could’ve done it. I raced from my honors course to my room to pick up my luggage. My amazing roommate got food from the cafe for me . I ate it on the way. We got checked in and through TSA and the first thing I did was sit down in one of those airport waiting chairs, pulled out by laptop and started my homework. My president got such a kick out of it she took a friend and my picture.

    We boarded the plane. One of my absolute favorite things to do is ride an airplane. Something about the take off, how the air hugs the plane helps it stay afloat in the middle of the sky, excites me every time. I’m lucky I don’t get motion sickness and can fall asleep anywhere. I basically slept and listened to music the whole flight, contrary to my original intention of doing homework.

    When we landed, things got more crazy. I flew with four of the five girls that were staying in a different hotel and according to the email, the fifth girl was coming in thirty or so minutes. It was completely logical to wait. There was another group that was waiting for our vice president on the same flight. So we waited. And waited. And waited until we realized we were in the wrong terminal. We rushed over to the place we thought we needed to be taking the light system, one of the first forms of public transport I’ve ever taken. Something I wasn’t quite used to was the tram we took since the Boise Airports is one of the smallest airports there are.

    Along the way we lost the other group; the president lost her wallet somewhere along the line and called an officer to check the kiosk for her. The four of us traveled down to go find our friends. We found out that the fifth girl was arriving much later when we met the vice president at the baggage claim. She accidentally put her arrival time for them. Tired, we ordered an Uber to our hotel. That night, we ended up at the hotel’s restaurant which was overpriced but delicious, because we were so tired. I had mac and cheese and a chicken wrap. Before we got ready for the first day of conference, we talked and laughed in the almost empty restaurant.

    We barely made the shuttle. As usual I was running late, racing to the car trying to put my other shoe on. A coffee in my hand, we went on our way to the conference center. There was so much happening. We all had our schedules made the night before. The conference had lectures on everything from resume critics to how to be equally successful as an engineer and a mother. It was quite frankly overwhelming. Knowing this, I designed my schedule to be a little on the simpler side.

    We walked in and there were so many girls. There was lines everywhere, for presenters, for attendees and for the keynote speaker… We took too long filling up our water bottles and found ourselves in the big group, desperate for a seat. I wiggle my way to the front with my friends and as soon as we look up there is a representative from Honeywell standing in front of us.

    You might need some background: One of the girls on the trip talked to me about Honeywell before we came. We were listing the companies from Albuquerque. Of course there were the national laboratories, Sandia and Los Alamos (Although, to my surprise, they had a much smaller booth that the conferences I have attended here). I had never really heard of Honeywell and not doing my background research didn’t help my case. Not sure what they manufactured, this was the perfect time to ask and to network. The representative right in front of me and not a single fear was holding me back.

    I told her my name and school and ask her what is Honeywell about and what were they looking for. Thinking the conversation was going great, the rep asked our age. I told her we are freshman. She asked if we were freshman in grad school, but I am definitely a freshman undergrad. She replied, saying “Oh, so you are really fresh…” I thought this was hilarious at first. Being a college student for only nine weeks does not seem so short until someone points it out. Unfortunately, this was somewhat along the lines of how the rest of the conference went.

    It was great experience to put myself out there and perfect my so called 30-second elevator pitch, but so many companies did not want freshman. I was discouraged talking to big names like Texas Instruments and NASA. Many of the recruiters discounted my abilities based on my year in school. However, I embraced the fact I wasn’t quite what they wanted yet. In doing so, I saw a lot of encouragement to keep up my research and participation in clubs.

    I had a blast at conference. Some highlights included an amazing panel by four powerful women at NASA. These women were so different, yet they all are such important parts of such amazing instruments and projects. It was the most inspired I have been in a very long time. I also had a blast with the keynote speaking on Friday. Marillyn A. Hewson spoke as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation. My friend and I scored seats in the fifth row right behind the sponsors right in the middle. They directed the speeches, it seemed, right at me. They left me with motivation to keep exploring STEM careers.

    I was put off for a while by the Honeywell comment. It felt like my age was the only limiting factor to these companies really giving me a chance. But I didn’t let it stop me. I think taking the pressure of a job or internship as a freshman made the experience more enjoyable. I got a lot of resume critics and advise to keep researching and engaging in career specific extracurricular activities to stand out in the years to come.

    This conference was much more memorable due to the great friendships built and lots of free stuff obtained. I had a great time exploring the city as well. Conference was a great time. Almost exploiting my “freshman-ness” let me soak up each and every aspect of this opportunity. So I leave you with the advice, no matter what stage of life you are in, if you encounter something new, enjoy it and learn because at one point or another we are really fresh.

     

    Anna

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    Thank you UNM :) http://thepack.unm.edu/ravn-s/thank-you-unm/ http://thepack.unm.edu/ravn-s/thank-you-unm/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 16:44:24 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15317   My journey in New Mexico started out terrifying. Moving to a different state your freshman year of high school? Sounds a lot worse than it actually was! I found some great friends that helped me pass the time with endless One Tree Hill marathons, sonic trips and laughs. Eventually, I graduated! That summer I […]

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    One of my proudest accomplishments, Graduation! (2016)

    Some friends from my HS! (2016)

     

    My journey in New Mexico started out terrifying. Moving to a different state your freshman year of high school? Sounds a lot worse than it actually was! I found some great friends that helped me pass the time with endless One Tree Hill marathons, sonic trips and laughs. Eventually, I graduated! That summer I signed up to live in the dorms, unsure of who I would be rooming with, and unknowingly spent one last summer with my three high school best friends! All of a sudden, August came and swept my friends away to college… out of state. :/

    My roommates and I from my freshman year in the Casas Del Rio dorms! (2016)

    Starting college without my best friends was hard. I had spent the last four years with these people and now I found myself starting over again. I hadn’t even moved states this time! It almost felt like I had; since both my parents had also now moved to different states! (My mom now living with her Fiance in Minnesota and my dad living in Wyoming with my step-family. ) I started hanging out with my roommates a lot, along with other students we met, we had formed a little friend group! After a few days I knew Patricia, my suite mate, was going to become my literal other-half! I have met so many amazing people since I’ve started at UNM! I know people say friends last a lifetime but sometimes friends also grow apart! You don’t have to feel obligated to stay with the friends you made in the beginning if you’re on different paths. It’s a part of life, and it happens but I’ve also learned that sometimes you reconnect with old friends. Everything works out in one way or another!

    My roommates and my boyfriends roommates all went to the state fair together! It was my first time! (2016)

    Patricia and I in the hot springs! 6 miles in Birkenstocks and flip-flops. (SB 2017)

    College has given me some of my favorite memories! Late nights with friends, Random Dions picnics, making food at 1Am or even a spontaneous road trip to LA, just to name a few. I feel like I get a chance to stand out and be who I really wanna be here in college without the fear of trying to please everyone around me! The only person I have to please is me. If I don’t like something, I’m an adult and I don’t have to do it! Unless it’s something I should do, like go to class! Go to class, Always. Your college experience is what you make of it. I loved high school and how purely blissful and innocent those years were, but college really has grown me into a person I can be proud of. I finally see where I want to be in the next 10 years, and that is such an enthralling feeling! Honestly, I encourage everyone to go out and find what makes them happy and excited and follow that path because it will be a successful one if you put in the work!
    Thanks for taking the time to read my post and I look forward to sharing part of my college experience with all of you!
    Remember to be kind to everyone! You never know who could use a smile.
    XX, Ravn S. 🙂

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    The Pit: A Legacy http://thepack.unm.edu/victoria-p/the-pit-a-legacy/ http://thepack.unm.edu/victoria-p/the-pit-a-legacy/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 16:43:32 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15361 As a Lobo, everyone has heard of the Pit—whether you’ve been there or not. The mile-high arena, but 37 feet underground. The Pit has a legacy that it has been upholding since its doors opened in 1966. The Pit isn’t just a place to play basketball; it’s a force to be reckoned with. This arena […]

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    As a Lobo, everyone has heard of the Pit—whether you’ve been there or not. The mile-high arena, but 37 feet underground. The Pit has a legacy that it has been upholding since its doors opened in 1966.

    The Pit isn’t just a place to play basketball; it’s a force to be reckoned with. This arena has created a reputation for itself that strikes fear in the hearts of all the teams in the Mountain West.

    But to truly understand the legacy of The Pit, you need the background story.

    Before The Pit, Lobos played in Johnson Gym, but eventually there came a point where there was too many Lobo fans to fit in the small Gymnasium.

    It was time to think bigger and better. UNM wanted to build a huge arena where everyone had a clear view of the game, and the easiest way to build their arena was to build down.

    So, they dug a huge hole in the ground, and built the arena underground. Students quickly began calling the arena The Pit, and the name just stuck.

    The story of The Pit didn’t end there. The legacy of The Pit really revolves around the fans. Our arena is known for having the highest attendance, but it’s really all about the noise. WE. ARE. LOUD. Our noise levels have been known to reach noise levels up to 125 decibels—which is so loud that it can actually hurt your hearing.

    Now, I’m a huge basketball fan, but being in The Pit brings a whole new level of hype to the game.

    A prime example was this Tuesday’s season opener against Iona. Sitting in student section made it so clear as to why teams are afraid to play here. We are loud and ruthless. Students would jump on the bleachers to the point where it felt like the bleachers were going to break.

    Our student section was so insane that the Iona players were constantly breaking their concentration to pay attention to what insane thing the student section was yelling that time. Even after we won the game, Iona fans were asking for pictures with the infamous student section.

    The hype didn’t even end after the game—you could hear Lobo fans continue to cheer as they walked to their cars.

    The legacy of The Pit obviously isn’t dying anytime soon, and if you haven’t experienced it, you definitely need to.

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    The Daily Life http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/the-daily-life/ http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/the-daily-life/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 20:51:04 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15334 So, I am down to my last full month here in India. It’s weird to have been here for almost 3 months now. It has been quite the adventure with the most random, crazy experiences. I am spending the first full weekend in my flat because I have to finish up my project so I […]

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    So, I am down to my last full month here in India. It’s weird to have been here for almost 3 months now. It has been quite the adventure with the most random, crazy experiences. I am spending the first full weekend in my flat because I have to finish up my project so I decided to just write about some cool things about where I live and my day to day life.

     

    I don’t really know how to put this, but I live in ashram? For those that do not know what an ashram is, it is defined as a home of a spiritual master who lives there and their devotees visit the ashram to find spiritual guidance. My university, Amrita University, was founded under the guru Mata Amritanandamayi, also known as Amma. Definitely look her up, she is a spiritual guide and a humanitarian who has done some serious good deeds in the world and she holds the Guinness world record of most hugs given set at 22 million and counting. It is definitely a rare study abroad experience to say the least to “live” at the ashram and be able to go to university here.

     

    Casually enough, the university and the ashram are connected by a bridge and the guru Amma has a universal following with dozens of different ashrams in the world, but this one is the one she resides at because it is her hometown. Hundreds of international people flock to this here to get one of Amma’s famous hugs and some end up becoming devotees living here. I have had around 7 roommates, including the ones I live with now, because different students come for different projects. I currently live with 4 international students: Patricia (German), Kayla (South African), and Anais and Alexandere (French), and we are the only international students here so we are like a little family.

    So, I start every morning with zero effort, compared to getting ready in the morning back home, and get some food at the canteen in front of the school. In India, we traditionally do not eat with utensils, so I have eaten with my hands every day… for every meal… for more than 3 months. It is definitely a new feeling at first, but in a way, I understand why it’s necessary to eat with your hands here. A man told me once that in Ayurvedic practices, that when you touch the food with your hands, it signals to your brain that it is going to receive food and prepares the body for it. Many say that it enhances the food experience, making you appreciate your food more and understanding the blessing it is to hold energy that sustains you in your hand. And for everyone, it is just easier to mix curry with your hands and makes it taste so much better (its true). I have eaten many different types of curry, so I cannot even tell you which ones my favorite, but I usually have potato curry, appam, and chai every morning and I enjoy this breakfast to the fullest. Also, the smell of curry on your fingers, it doesn’t go away lol.

    I work in a lab called Sanitation Biotechnology with PhD students working on their own projects, but working towards clean, sustainable technology in “reinventing the toilet” (this is a Bill Gates initiative if you want to look it up) and they are doing some top-notch research. I, on the other hand, am working with water quality and studying the formation of disinfection byproducts from chlorine (this is very boring to talk about in a blog so just bear through it). I also take some lab courses like genetic engineering and medical bacteriology, so my time is pretty filled here most of the time with science.

    On my off days, my roommates and I go on an adventure because you can basically maneuver your way anywhere here with rickshaws (tuk tuks), trains, and buses. If you are lucky, you can grab a seat in a train or bus, if you are unlucky (like me <3), you have stand for 3 hours on a very crowded bus (like really crowded and its more than 90 degrees and humid). We also watch a lot of random movies and since all of us speak different languages, we teach each other little things so I can now say I know how to say, “what time is it?” in German, Afrikaans, French, and Malayalam.

    Life here in India Is really chill, attracting a very different crowd of people, along with having some really funny and bizarre experiences. I wish I could put it all on a blog, but some experiences can never really be written down, so if you are interested about studying abroad in India, please do it. There are so many misconceptions about this beautiful, organized chaos of a country, but you learn so much about yourself and the life that emanates from every single direction here. The people, culture, food, religion, everything about this place is mesmerizing and life here is sweet and simple. Since the theme is international education, traveling abroad expands your social awareness and breaks the traditional classroom barriers because you also get to learn lessons about yourself. I am loving every moment here, and I hope many can do the same. 🙂

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    Some things about St. Petersburg http://thepack.unm.edu/zoe-c/some-things-about-st-petersburg/ http://thepack.unm.edu/zoe-c/some-things-about-st-petersburg/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 20:50:00 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15346 If someone had told me one year ago that I would be in St. Petersburg today, I would’ve been hard pressed to believe them. Without considering the convoluted relationship between the US and Russia (especially currently) logistically, traveling to Russia is complicated to say the least. My grandma once told me about an ill-fated trip […]

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    If someone had told me one year ago that I would be in St. Petersburg today, I would’ve been hard pressed to believe them. Without considering the convoluted relationship between the US and Russia (especially currently) logistically, traveling to Russia is complicated to say the least. My grandma once told me about an ill-fated trip she and her friend attempted to Russia years ago, in which they never made it out of Alaska! My grandma thinks that on a previous trip her friend was accidentally blacklisted without her knowing it so when their visas didn’t come through, their travel group left Juneau without them. This isn’t to say that’s a likely situation to find yourself in, but it does require quite a bit of planning to get the visa required even for a short 3 day stay.

    When I heard that it was possible for me to get around the visa requirement by taking a ferry through Finland, I jumped at the opportunity and I’m so glad I did. I feel like growing up in the US there is so much unconscious stigma toward Russia as a whole, not just politically but culturally as well. Instead of being fed everything through the bias of some media outlet or another, it’s refreshing to think about politics and consider a country in the context of actual individuals, people that you can talk to and a place you can visit. Obviously politics were on my mind some of the time especially while entering Russia and at times like when a guide mentioned Putin, but just exploring and learning about the city was an amazing chapter of my study abroad.

    What I did take away from the three days I enjoyed St. Petersburg was the grandeur of the city. I was told by many people that compared to the rest of Russia, St. Petersburg is a very European-style city. I definitely did notice that, however to me the scale of the streets, plazas, buildings, and basically everything was twice that of the other European cities I’ve visited.

    Add to that the Russian’s love of gilt, I was impressed by the architecture. The canals, palace lined streets, and golden domed churches adds to the winter fairytale vibe, and almost made me forget the cold gray weather and the trials of finding vegetarian food. Visiting the Hermitage museum (part of it is housed in the resplendent Winter Palace, and it’s the second biggest art museum in the world following the Louvre), and touring the Yusopov Palace and site of Rasputin’s murder were inspiring and fascinating. All in all, I felt like the dazzling art, architecture, and history was just a glimpse of what a huge city in an enormous country had to offer.

    Admittedly, traveling with a group of exchange students is probably not the most immersive experience but considering the circumstances I though it felt and was safer to be with at least a few people at all times, and the experiences I had when breaking off into smaller groups and exploring the city were great.

    With this trip I barely got my feet wet, but I was inspired to add Moscow to the list of cities I plan to visit, and I know to keep an eye out for further opportunities to explore Russia.

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    Endless Journey http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/endless-journey/ http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/endless-journey/#respond Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:49:08 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15315 What’s up everybody I just want to start with saying China has been great to me thus far and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I’m extremely grateful for the friendships i have made and the experiences i have had. Here’s what I’ve been up to. Went to the famous DuJiangYan (都江堰)irrigation system […]

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    What’s up everybody I just want to start with saying China has been great to me thus far and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I’m extremely grateful for the friendships i have made and the experiences i have had. Here’s what I’ve been up to.

    1. Went to the famous DuJiangYan (都江堰)irrigation system on a USAC field trip  
    2. Part of the irrigation system at night 
    3. One of the many meat vendors of Qiang minority village
    4. THE “China Squat” also wearing a traditional Qiang minority headset
    5. Sitting atop an archery/watchtower protected by the White Stone God
    6. Me accepting an arm wrestling challenge by a 78 year old man (read further for results)
    7. Went for a session of traditional Chinese fire cupping therapy or Baguan (拔罐)
    8. A couple of friends trying to teach me MaJiang while we buy candy from an old man 
    9. Sharing cake for one of the students birthdays at the end of class

     The DuJiangYan irrigation system is a very old and famous irrigation system in China that allowed a huge part of Sichuan province to thrive economically. It is also a very popular tourist destination for many Chinese people. Our next destination was the Qiang minority village. This village was very interesting and full of history. As you can see the meat vendors like to hang their meat on hooks outside to attract customers😋. This is a completely normal practice in China, but the head was definitely a new addition. I think the longer i stay here things i would normally think are very strange become completely normal🤷🏼‍♂️. Like the “China Squat”, its a necessity if you every have to use one of the squat toilets, and you will often see people just squatting like this anywhere. I remember one of my English students asking me if i was able to squat like that because he heard foreigners couldn’t do it 😅. The next picture is me sitting on the archery/watchtower that sat on top of the Kings house in the Qiang minority village. I’m not sure if i was supposed to do that, but one thing they told us specifically not to do was go anywhere near the White Stone God, a being that they revered in the village. It must give them some sort of strength because directly after i went down stairs and old man challenged me to an arm wrestling match. The 78 year old man then proceeded to embarrass me💪🏻 (although he did make me use my left hand). I blamed it on my Qi being out of balance😉so my Chinese friend brought me to a place where they do traditional Chinese fire cupping.  That was definitely a cool experience. I had purple circles on my back for a few days but it felt good. Supposedly it helps With circulation and relaxing the muscles. In the next few days some friends invited me out to dinner, at the restaurant was a few MaJiang tables. MaJiang is a very popular Chinese game and it is played all over the world. Since coming to China, i have wanted to learn the game and they were happy to teach🀄. While playing we went against everything i had ever learned in America and bought candy from an old man off the street😳, but the guy had a cool hat and good candy. He also used the oldest looking balance scale i had ever seen to weigh our taffy-like candy. The last picture is of me and my class celebrating one of the students birthdays! I love the school and all the little kids, i couldn’t imagine China without them. Thank you for reading! Till next time, Cheers✌🏻.

     

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