Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Spain Story

So there is always that 'one' story from study abroad.  You know the one I am talking about.  That story that just defines the rest of your trip.

My story begins on the last Sunday of Semana Santa (Holy Week)  This is the week before Easter and basically functions like a giant spring break for the entire country.

On a side note there are also a bunch of holy people running around in these outfits, which can darn near give an American like me a heart attack

This of course is not Spain paying homage to the Ku Klux Klan.  These robes are actually from a much older tradition that symbolizes the mourning process while respecting the anniversary of Jesus' passing.

But I digress.  On this last Sunday of Semana Santa I found myself in the Malaga airport, or better put, I found myself stuck at the Malaga airport.  
A highland cow with better hair than me
 Allow me to explain.  I had spent the better part of this break in Scotland visiting a friend.  It was very fun, lots of green spaces, cows and good food.  Unfortunately, my return trip to Spain was delayed by more than an hour and as a result I missed my bus back to Granada.  So there I was, stuck in a city two hours away from home with no hopes of catching a ride until the next morning. To make matters worse there was nothing but a metal bench to sleep on and my stuffed cow (whose name is cow) to keep me company.

Let's just say I did not get much sleep, but fortunately I did not pass the entire night in the airport.  THIS is when the story gets interesting.

     It's about 2am and the airport was then empty save me.  I had been dozing for the past hour or so when something sent me bolting awake.  I didn't have my glasses on, so what I saw was horror movie worthy: a dark shape looming just a couple feet away.  

     A tense moment passed between me and this shadow that I assumed was a person.  I finally broke down and muttered an 'Hola'.  It all went smoothly from that point.  I was able to get my glasses on and the 'O so scary' shadow turned out to be a taxi driver who had come in to see if anyone wanted a lift back to central Malaga.  

     I obviously did not need that and he couldn't leave until his shift was done so I asked him to pop a squat and chat with me since we were both stuck.   I found out his name was Juanma (a shortened version of Juan Manuel) and that he had 3 kids and a beautiful wife who was an amazing preschool teacher.  We talked for hours about life, the universe and whatever, and before we knew it his shift was up.  He thanked me for asking him to sit down and chat, and said it was the nicest thing anyone had done for him.  He then left to go home, but my story doesn't end there.
      About 10 minutes later he came walking back into the airport.  He told me he just couldn't leave me here and that we had to haggle.  I didn't mention this before, but the entire time Juanma and I were talking it was in Spanish.  This being said, I began to wonder if I was translating wrong as I had no clue what he meant by haggle.  Apparently he could see my confusion because he began to explain.  He began by saying it would cost about $400 euros to take me in his taxi from Malaga to Granada.  At this point I was just flabbergasted, because (A) I had not expected this in the slightest and (B) $400 Euros was my budget for 2 months and I could not imagine blowing that much money in one night.  I told him I could not possible pay that sum, that I only had $60 euros on me.  He smiled and said he couldn't take all my money.  A few minutes later he was packing my suitcase into his taxi and my wallet was $20 euros lighter.

     I spent the next two hours helping to improve his English, looking at the Spanish country side and singing along to the radio.  By the time we reached Granada it was 5am and Jaunma still had to drive two hours back to Malaga.

 The only thing I have left of him is this grainy picture and the hope for humanity he instilled in me.


Monday, January 9, 2017

🐡 My last post from this school year 🐡

Hello everyone 珞

Happy New Year  (slightly late haha..)! Lunar New Year is coming soon too on Jan 28, Rooster year , so don’t forget to celebrate! For anyone that cares , this will be my last post for this school year because I’m going to fly out this weekend for my study abroad trip with one of my best friends, Miss Christine Njiri 
My day 1❤
Anyway, I have some facts that I think are fun to know about studying away. 珞

Fun fact #1: Your scholarship will go with your study away trip if you do a semester or longer. However, this only applies on one approved program.

Fun fact #2: By studying away, you actually help contributing to EarthDeeds, local solutions to Global Warming. Isn't that cool? I think it is so~... 

Fun fact #3: You have to apply for visa to the country you are traveling to ✈ on your own (which is actually not so fun ). Just make sure to start early and look up how long the process normally takes. Find out if they have an option to apply for the visa when you’re not at your home country.

Okay, that’s all I can think of so.. I hope you know some more information . See you all soon! 

Good luck with the rest of the school year.  Byeee 🙈

Friday, December 16, 2016

Final Debate Tournament of the Semester

Round 5 Resolution

 Last weekend I had the opportunity to debate at Seattle University’s Seattle IV tournament as a member of the T.O.H. Karl Speech and Debate team (PLU’s debate team). Our team participates in British Parliamentary debate which is popular in the United States, Canada, and most of Europe. In this form, teams of two students are randomly assigned a position in the debate as Open Government, Opening Opposition, Closing Government, or Closing Opposition. If the team is on the government side, they will argue in proposition of the argument, meaning they agree with the resolution. Additionally, the opposition argues against the resolution.
              All teams are given the resolution 15 minutes before the debate will begin. The debaters cannot access any preparation materials except informational briefs that are printed before the round begins. At the end of the 15 minutes, the debate begins in front of three judges that decide 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place in the debate between the Open Government, Opening Opposition, Closing Government, or Closing Opposition teams.
One resolution that was given at the Seattle IV was “This House regrets the narrative at United States citizens must ‘support the troops’”. My partner and I were on Opening Opposition for this round and were expected to argue that US citizens should be obligated to ‘support the troops’.
Award for 2nd place in the Novice Finals
Debate is exciting because the resolution can be torn apart and put back together to help your team win. Important words that need to be defined in this resolution are ‘must’, ‘support’ and ‘regrets’. If a citizen ‘must’ do something, what does that look like? Is the ‘support’ monetary? Or just emotional support? And does ‘regretting’ something mean wiping away the history that comes with ‘support for the troops’?
All of these questions were answered and debated within the round. The winning team is expected to be the partnership that best defined these questions, had the most interesting and powerful arguments, and accurately defended the other team’s arguments.
While my partner and I didn’t win this round, we ended up in the Finals Round of the Novice section. Novice means that a team is in their first year of debating in collegiate debate. In that final round we got 2nd place arguing that ‘the European Union was not a failed experiment’.
Receiving 2nd place was a great end to the Fall semester and energized me for a Spring of more debate!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Post Thanksgiving and Finals Week

Hi again,

So the past couple weeks went by as a blur as Thanksgiving and preparation for finals took precedence in my life. For Thanksgiving, myself and a group of international students went to Vancouver, BC in Canada. Harald, my co-worker and good friend was with us as well! Shunying, an ex-worker here at the International Admissions Office (2014) also came up and joined us! 

From L to R: Joakim, Harald, Me, Shunying & Alex!
Vancouver is a really beautiful city. We spent 4 days and 3 nights there and had lots of fun. It has a large Asian population and this can be credited to the University of British Columbia, which attracts many international students who mainly come from Asia. We spent half a day at UBC and actually interacted with some international students there. We met this club on campus that was run by Chinese students, and they focused on video production and photography. Alex had a chance to interview with them about Taiwan! 
Alex conducting his interview about Taiwan.
We also spent another day in downtown Vancouver, and we rented bikes and cycled around Stanley Park. That was amazing as the weather was perfect that day and we just enjoyed the scenery that Vancouver had to offer! 

Fast forward to dead week and finals week, I'm doing pretty well. I had a fitness test and ruck march (6 miles with 35lbs) for ROTC that counted towards my GPA last week and that was fun. 

I also took my ROTC (MSIII Class) final exam last Tuesday and finished my Financial Accounting final today. What's left is a Computer Science final on Wednesday and a paper due for a Conflict class on Wednesday as well. 

My parents will be flying in on Friday, and we will be road-tripping to Idaho, Montana and Spokane, places which we've never visited before! 

Have a great week and good luck on your finals to all students out there!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

~Thanksgiving in Oregon~

Hellu~ 珞

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving break ‘cause I did! This year, I was invited to my roomie’s house in Oregon City (her name is Michelle) and we went to IKEA in Portland to shop for our new apartment eyyy 

Anyhow, this post is going to have a bunch of food pictures that we had during Thanksgiving break. I didn’t take any picture so...

Here they are:

Smoked Turkey 旅 - Yes, it actually looks that good,
and tastes amazing too 

Yams with marshmallow and pecans! It didn't look exactly
like this picture but I made it so of course it tastes
good  - People like it, I swear
We also made cranberry sauce  I didn’t know that cranberry pops
while boiling 

Green Bean Casserole - Michelle made this, it was so good 
Stuffing~ Still Michelle, still good Yummy
Okay, there are more but I can’t remember…樂

I miss those dishes so much  After eating them now the food on campus is so insipid…

We had a bunch of cool stuff for the apartment too but can’t take pictures cause they’re still wrapped up. No touching until move-in day - by Michelle's dad 

Alright, now back to study for final week that is coming soon  You can do this, good luckkkk ✨