Ella in Buenos Aires: Una Semana Linda

April 18, 2018

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Wow. What an beautiful week it has been in Buenos Aires! The weather was absolutely perfect; around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny with a nice breeze every day.

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This week, I went to a food truck festival in Palermo, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in BA. There were all different kinds of food, from argentine comida parrilla, to middle eastern cuisine, to trendy mediterranean and even Vegan trucks! I was so overwhelmed, I wanted to try everything.

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The festival included live music, which was super cool. The lady singing had a great voice, and the band was doing covers of a lot of old American music (the Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc.). The crowd was loving it, clapping and singing along to the songs they knew. I always think it’s so funny to listen to Argentines sing the words to American music in their accents.

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This weekend, I went roller blading in the rose gardens in BA. It was incredible, I’m definitely going to be coming back during my time here. People can rent roller blades or bikes for only around $150 argentine pesos an hour ($7.50 USD), which is plenty of time to blade around. My friends and I went right around sunset, so the gardens were absolutely beautiful.

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Lastly, I wanted to show my typical BA breakfast. Most people here drink coffee, tea, or orange juice and have toast or a croissant with jelly, cream, or dulce de leche for breakfast. I’m not a huge toast person, but since it’s the custom here I’ve been adapting. Usually in the morning I make myself either toast with peanut butter and banana, or avocado toast!

Chau for now!

Ella


Justine in Russia: Midterms and Moscow!

April 13, 2018

Midterms and School Trip to Moscow!

Hi everyone! I am currently writing from Saint Petersburg, but so much has happened that I decided to back track a bit. It’s been a long time since I have written anything, but this is because I have been extremely sick and also caught up with midterms at the same time. I had to makeup seven school days of homework and readings for five classes, including two quizzes. Thankfully, everything including midterms went okay and I am not too behind in all of my classes.

Although, I am picking up Russian grammar and conversation quite alright, I still feel like there is a gigantic gap between my knowledge in grammar versus my knowledge of vocabulary. I feel like I am in a good place in my grammar class, but conversation class is really where I start to lose it a bit. The class moves a little fast for me and I am unable to pick up all the new words thrown at us within one class period.

I was really worried about my Russian Conversation class since it was an oral exam. Whenever I am called on in class, I just feel the entire class come to a screeching halt because I am usually confused. I actually received my mid-semester grade for my Conversation class today and I am hovering around an A-/A, so I am very pleased with that. I think all of our professors acknowledge that we are working really hard for our class and they are patient with us when we are confused during class.

After the whirlwind week of midterms, CIEE took us to our trip to Moscow! When I mean right after, I literally mean 5 hours after our last exams. We traveled in an overnight sleeper train from Saint Petersburg to Moscow. We arrived about 9 hours later and we were ready to start our three-day weekend in Moscow! I have to admit that I never really looked into Moscow in terms of traveling and had no idea what I was going to see there besides the Red Square.

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Slippers provided to us on our train to Moscow in our sleeper car. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the sleeper car itself, but it was a normal setup of two beds on the top and two beds on the bottom.

We first went on bus tour around the city where we stopped by the embankment near the Kremlin. After that, we were taken to Red Square for a lunch break where I was surprised to find out that the fancy shopping mall in Moscow (ГУМ) was located right across Lenin’s Mausoleum on Red Square. The juxtaposition of these two structures instilled a stronger opinion for me regarding Moscow. Here you have a communist revolutionary and directly across from this mausoleum lies a department store selling extremely expensive brands like Dior. One of my professors talked about this when we came back from our trip and called it “Russian inconsistency”. 

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Fast picture of Lenin’s Mausoleum because people are not allowed to stop there for a long period of time unless you are lining up to enter it.

 

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Picture of ГУМ at night.

 

Our second full day of Moscow consisted of a tour of the Kremlin. Unfortunately, I do not have much to say about it besides that I was intrigued by the size of the area. The term “Kremlin” itself actually means fortress. Our four-hour long tour consisted of visits to different buildings including the Dormition Cathedral and the Kremlin Armory Museum. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos inside some of these buildings, but it was indeed an interesting place to be.

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Outside the Dormition Cathedral at the Kremlin.

 

I think my favorite part of our Moscow trip was going to the Museum of Cosmonauts. I do not really have a big interest in space, but it felt like nostalgia to me. I have been to the National Air and Space Museum a few times in D.C and I just felt like I was a child again. If Russians view this museum the same way I do for the museum in D.C, I am sure that it brings them the same feeling of nostalgia and pride in their country.

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Poster from the Soviet Union that says (at least the way I interpreted it), “For the sake of peace and progress!”

 

I think going to Moscow was an important and necessary trip for our group because there are many big differences between Saint Petersburg and Moscow. I also understand that it is a little difficult for us to make quick judgments regarding Moscow because we were only there for 2.5 days. As part of our discussion in our Russian Civilization class, we all shared our opinions of Moscow and held almost the same opinions regarding the city. Although we all felt a little more comfortable with speaking English in Moscow, we found more comfort in Saint Petersburg. This is not only because we have been here for longer, but the atmosphere feels a little more welcoming for us. Moscow feels more like a business center with many tall buildings, while Saint Petersburg feels a little older because of the types of buildings we are used to.

I know I definitely want to return to Moscow and take another trip to build a better opinion of the city, but for now I will end with an obligatory picture of Saint Basil’s Cathedral.

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До следующего раза (until next time)


Justine G.

Жюстин, usually Джастин, Жастин, or Жустин.

 


Ella in Buenos Aires: BA Cafes

April 9, 2018

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Hola from BA! I’ve had to get a lot of homework done this week since I accidentally didn’t get any work done during the long Easter break. It seems like the more time I have to complete assignments, the less productive I am!

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So, I’ve taken this opportunity to explore the different cafes and coffee shops around the city and find the best places to do some school work as well as enjoy a coffee. I forgot the name of this one, but it is located in the San Telmo neighborhood, and I loved how it had two levels of seating!

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The Lobo Cafe is definitely my favorite cafe to study/get a snack/grab a coffee in Puerto Madero. This is in the same neighborhood as my University, UCA, so I am somewhat of a frequent flyer.

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This was a new place I tried today in Recoleta near my host mom’s apartment. It’s called La Casa de Gretha, and it has the best pastries I think I’ve ever had. Even better, when you order a coffee it comes out with free mini cookies! The tables are super cute, they have dried leaves and flowers in all of them.

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Well this isn’t a cafe, but I wanted to feature my favorite ice cream spot, Rapanui, and its adorable back patio. Their dulce de leche helado is seriously addicting!

Chauuuu for now!

Ella


Ella in Buenos Aires: Easter Weekend

April 2, 2018

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Felices Pascuas from BA! This weekend was extra long because we had Thursday, Friday, and Monday off of classes. I was so surprised because at UR we don’t have any sort of break for Easter. I was hoping to run errands this weekend, but I felt like I couldn’t get anything done since so many businesses were closed for the holiday!

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It seemed like everywhere I went this weekend places were selling conejos de chocolate (chocolate bunnies) such and chocolate eggs such as these!

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This year, I was my own Easter Bunny! Here were some chocolate treats I bought myself from my favorite chocolate/ice cream place Rapanui. The chocolate eggs were filled with m&m’s and smaller chocolate eggs which I thought was amazing.

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Families filled the parks this holiday weekend. I saw so many parents relaxing on picnic blankets while kids ran around with a soccer ball or played with their dogs. Even though we’re a few weeks into fall, the warm weather makes it still feel like summer.

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Earlier this week, my friend and I went to an exchange student celebration! It included a ton of different activities such as bubble soccer, slacklining, soccer tennis, live music, and a polo match to watch! We had a great time meeting a bunch of other exchange students from all over the world.

Ciao for now!

Ella


Ella in Buenos Aires: A Week in Patagonia

March 19, 2018

This past week, my new Canadian friend and I took off to go hiking in Argentinian Patagonia. This is the most southern part of Argentina, the Santa Cruz province. We decided to visit the city of El Calafate, located right next to the Lago Argentino and the village of El Chaltén within El Parque Nacional Los Glaciares.

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This was the first place we went in El Calafate. This glacier is called Glaciar Perito Moreno and is one of the world’s only glaciers that is actually getting bigger, not shrinking. It was incredible to see the pieces falling off of it– each one made a huge booming sound as it crashed into the water. It was absolutely breathtaking, the photo doesn’t do it justice!

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Here was the best breakfasts we had at one of our hostels. It really hit the spot and helped recover us from long hours of hiking the previous day.

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As we arrived in El Chaltén, it was super rainy. We didn’t have the greatest weather, but we made the best of it! This village lies at the base of so many hiking trails up to and around the mountains Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy.

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One hike that we did lasted 8 hours. It was incredibly difficult towards the end and our legs were shaking as we came down the mountain, but it was definitely worth it! We saw the most incredible views.

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This was at the top of our longest hike, called the Laguna de los Tres. The mountain was a little obscured at the top, but it was still so spectacular to see up close. We hiked through water, mud, and snow to get there!

This coming week my classes are officially starting, and I’m so excited to finally have a concrete schedule.

See you next week!

Ella

 


Ella in Buenos Aires: Exploring BA

February 25, 2018

This week I took some time to walk around the city and explore. I’m feeling more and more at home every day. It really helps to walk around the different neighborhoods and start to get a feel for where everything is. People are always talking to each other on the street and always talking to me! Being so immersed in the language, I feel like my Spanish is improving exponentially. However, when people speak in slang or just talk really fast I can’t catch everything. Usually I just nod and don’t let on that I don’t understand everything they are saying!

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This is the area that I think I’ve heard people call “El centro.” There’s cool places to walk around, restaurants, and shopping near here! Also, it’s super close to my university, UCA.

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The “Pink House” is the Argentine version of the White House! It’s in el centro as well, and right next to the subway stop I use to get to school so I get to walk past it every day! Right now, they are re-doing the plaza that’s in front of the pink house, so there’s a lot of construction everywhere. I hope they finish it while I am still in Buenos Aires so I get to see the final product!

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I did some exploring around the Recoleta this week as well, which is the area where I live. It is so pretty with tons of parks, restaurants, a couple malls, and an old cemetery in the middle! The restaurants are my favorite, they are all so cute and well-decorated. These ones are on a huge patio at a mall called Buenos Aires Design. I love the string lights that are always lit up at night!

I’m excited for my last week of Spanish classes, my semester is starting so soon!

See you next week!

Ella


Ella in Buenos Aires: Summer in the City

February 21, 2018

Finally, I have arrived in Argentina and started my semester. It is so crazy that in less than a day I’ve gone from snow-covered Minneapolis to the incredibly hot and humid Buenos Aires where it is close to 90°F every day! This city is truly overwhelming. Everything is happening so quickly, people always seem to be hurrying from one place to another. So far, I have bought an Argentine SIM card so that I can use my phone here  and I have learned how to use the colectivos (public buses) to get to my university. I feel pretty accomplished just to have completed these basic tasks!

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My host mom’s apartment is so cute. Here’s her little balcony!

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Yesterday my Spanish class got to go on a tour of Teatro Colón. Our Spanish class got to take a tour of the theater, and we learned so much about its rich history. Though it is now almost 110 years old, it is still considered one of the finest theaters in the world. The tour guide spoke to the incredible acoustics inside the main stage.

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Here’s another part of the theater where the guests with the most expensive tickets would mingle. My favorite part of the theater was the fancy light fixtures that were in every room as you can see in this photo. While we were exploring this room, we learned that the theater took 20 years to build, and the creators had both Italian as well as French influences, and imported the valuable materials they used such as marble and gold from these places. This eclectic European style made me feel like I was inside a castle!

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The sun was setting by the time we were done with our tour. Another beautiful summer day in Buenos Aires!

See you next week!

Ella

 

 

 


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