My Parisian Experience! (so far)

Salut! Bonjour! Bonsoir! Hello from the 20th arrondissement in France!

Now that I’ve been settled in for a few weeks and don’t have much homework to do I thought I could catch my breath and recap on the tons of things I’ve done so far!

I’ve kept daily/weekly journals of what’s been happening each day but those have a lot of (probably) unnecessary detail to others. I’ve tried to explain stories to my friends in the past and they always tell me I talk too much about the little things and don’t get to the main point faster because of all the little things I point out in my stories so I will save you, the readers, time in your life by giving a (hopefully) quick recap!

Some interesting observations so far in Paris that I can remember:
~Metro (subway) is the main transportation I and a lot of people use
~In the busier lines like 9 or 1 where it’s very long you will find entertainers from people who play the accordion to violinists and singers
~There’s also a good amount of beggars around Paris who are always in the same area
~Paris is full of smokers…like a LOT of smokers
~Paris apparently has a lot of pets so there’s a bunch of dog poop smeared on sidewalks all over Paris, especially in the residential districts
~When Parisians talk, I’ve noticed instead of saying “um” or “like” they do this puffing sound; hard to describe but I can make the sound if you talk to me in person about it
~Everyone is well-dressed here—even the babies
~People are always in a hurry and never stand still on an escalator
~French versions of ALL the candy/chocolate in the U.S. is easily 10x better; even McDonald’s!

Week 1: Orientation
Jetlag + school + orientation = sleepy week.

Mom I made friends!

I didn’t know I was going to have a host brother from the same program as me so I’ll be mentioning the name “Therin” here and there so that’s who I’m talking about when I say his name. He’s a really chill person from Indiana/Missouri and he’s a film major who’s probably going to be writing the next Oscar-winning movie starring Ryan Gosling. Friend #2: I also met his girlfriend and soon-to-be fiancée, Destiny and she’s a writing genius who will probably be the next Hemingway or screenplay writer with Therin. Destiny is also an amazing cook, but we haven’t tried her famous crab pasta (yet). I basically made 2 friends with the effort of 1. My host family is really nice! There’s the dad, Philippe, momma Patricia, their son Timothy, and daughter Hanaë. We don’t see Hanaë much but Timothy has been home since we got to Paris, but he’s about to move out soon all the way across Paris by La Defense so we won’t be seeing much anymore either.   🙁

Eiffel Tower!

Pictured: Eiffel Tower

First week in Paris and my study abroad program, CIEE, already scheduled an optional boat tour (but seriously who wouldn’t pass this offer?) along the river Seine so we got to see the Eiffel Tower already!

My classes are okay. I’m taking Paris Collage: History, Culture, and Architecture which is a class where we basically leave every time we have class and go to a place that the prof hand-picked and we learn a lot about the history and architecture and I guess I can add culture to complete the trifecta, about Paris. So it’s basically a 2-for-1 class where we learn about the city and get to explore at the same time. We’ve gone to museums, historical sites, and mostly museums. My other class is Cultural Approaches to Disability. It’s really obvious that people should know about the subject of disabilities but I won’t bore you about that. I’m trying to get you excited to read this! I’m also taking an optional class called Survival French where we learn the basic stuff like phrases, how to ask things, so we don’t die or starve in Paris.

Week 2: Extra-Curricular Events!!

Pictured: Petit Palais

The amazing Berit, one of the staff at CIEE Paris organizes a lot of different events for people interested in many subjects like art, literature, food, and sports. I go to a lot of these events to get the most of my time in Paris and to meet people who are interested in the same things as me which leads me to friend #3: Zoey! Zoey a.k.a. Toad is from a small town in Pennsylvania and she’s an accounting major with a minor in English? Or was it writing…anywho, Toad’s dad is a legend around these parts and he’s got a lot of stories to back up that title. Destiny, Toad, and I have Paris Collage together but we were still getting to know each other and during the first art event at the Petit Palais was when we met and started to hang out. We’ll come to be the 4 amigos throughout this whole story.

More museums past by and we get towards the end of the week where I get sick! I’ll skip all the gross details but long story short, I had to go to the doctor’s the next day and I eventually get better in a few days. The healthcare system is awesome in Paris and my doctor is amazing. A museum I have to mention is the Louvre because it has so many amazing paintings and the Mona Lisa, but the gigantic painting in front of it is equally worthy taking a picture of.

Pictured: sunset view of Paris from Parc de Belleville

Week 3: Eiffel Tower, Patriots, and Bordeaux!

Eiffel Tower again! This time we went into the tower and Toad and I went up the Eiffel Tower via the stairs route and learned some interesting facts about the tower and Statue of Liberty. There’s an ice rink and a salon on the 1st floor! The restaurants are super expensive so don’t go there unless it’s for an anniversary or something like that. The 3rd floor was closed for whatever reason so we couldn’t go up there.

Midterms was this week too. I’ll just leave it at that.

I know this is a UW blog but the New England Patriots beat the Steelers 36-17 and they’re moving onto Super Bowl LI!

This weekend we visited the southwest of France in a small city called Bordeaux. It’s a lot different than Paris in the way that it’s quieter, not as fast paced, but there’s still a lot of dog poop everywhere. It’s known as a wine place so we went wine tasting as a big school group. Bordeaux was supposedly voted the most beautiful city in France in 2016, but I wouldn’t really agree with whoever told me that. I tried duck for the first time there and that was an interesting taste. We (remember we is the 4 amigos or any of the combination) went shopping on the longest pedastrian street in Europe where there is a long street with stores on both sides. The train ride to and from Bordeaux was a mess because my seat was far away from the 3 amigos and we had to do so many switcheroos but it all worked out. I’m not a fan of trains. This trip also helped me realize what some of the students from other campuses really are. -eye roll-

Pictured: Cité du Vin

Week 4: now

Settling back into Paris after a weekend in the country. The plans for this weekend is Versailles and Chinese food because our host dad has been recommending to try it out.

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Closing note:

While there have been days that I’ve been really happy I’m in the city I’ve always dreamt of visiting, I wanted to open up and say there were times, especially the first week, that I wasn’t the happiest. Adjusting to a new world, basically starting fresh–was a little hard. My biggest support has always been my friends and family but with them being almost 5,000 miles away, FaceTime doesn’t really cut it. That’s all part of the experience of studying abroad. My advice to someone who’s been thinking about studying abroad is to go for it. There are a lot of resources out there that can definitely help you reach for your dreams and goals. I’m glad to have met so many amazing people from the U.S. and France and to have experienced all that I have so far in my first 4 weeks here and I’m excited to share future experiences with whoever is reading this.

Until next time.

Au revoir~

Alvin

P.S. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated no matter what it is!

Missing the Little Things, Makes Me Appreciate them More.

I am thankful to be staying in a pace that has a bed. I know that most of the things that I complain about are things that most people around the world do not have. I have a lower back problem and the beds at Eucalipti have made it worse. I cannot not complain that people would fight over a bed and some do not have a home that has a bed. You bring comfort and safety to most people. Our accessibly to beds in America is mind blowing. I have seen so many mattered shops across my town. I wonder if there are or is a charity where they donate beds to people across the world? Most third world countries work in agricultural or manual labor jobs and that can take a toll on their bodies from long term effects. Studying the migrate farm worker population in Washington State, most of them live in poor housing conditions with no or one bed which they have to share with their families.

When I complain about something as little as to having a bed that makes my back hurt, I feel awful about. I am so privilege to have these item and have access to them verses someone else who have to sleep on the floor or give up their bed so their wife children can sleep comfortably. We have access to a lot of things many people to do not and when we complain we keep forgetting about the people who are living without these things. I definitely forget sometimes and then I think about and realize what I complaining about. I hope this changes for me and I can be more appreciative about the things I do have in my life. Which I am don’t get me wrong, I have worked and paid for everything that I have. With my mother having cancer, she has medical bills to pay for and by helping her out I pay for my own things and help her out whenever I can. I want to not take life for granted and work my hardest at everything I do. I plan on volunteering in Seattle somewhere to give back to the community. I have a passion and interest in working with communities and I would like to have everyone have the same access to resources as do I, but at a more affordable price or free. Thank you bed for giving me and others a place to sleep.

What Study Abroad Means to Me.

I have always that each study abroad program was the same. The one most advertised are the ones where you get to travel to Africa and help the children and families out. I would always see people on Facebook taking pictures with the children and having such a good time. As my college years went by, I took a course called Global Health. One of the topics that my professor discussed was the issue about studying abroad. She said that it is not all what you expect. We are entering their home, their personal space, and culture. Especially in the line of work that she did (medical anthropology) she said that when the group of study abroad people or doctors would come over to Africa they would be given medical supplies but when they left, there was very little. The supply was so scarce and not easily accessible as it is here in America. As for the pictures, many of them do not want to be photographed. Many study abroad students do not ask if they can take their picture or if it is okay to post it on social media. The whole idea about study broad has changed my perspective. My idea of helping them out is a little screwed after talking that course.

My experience all throughout this trip is me not teaching them, but rather them teaching me. The people of Vel Mari and the University of Alghero have taught me so much about migration, social justice, and multiculturalism. Everyone’s idea about traveling abroad to specific places like Europe because it’s beautiful or it’s on their bucket list; it’s so much more than that. It’s more than the pictures that people post on Facebook of the people they meet or are supposedly “helping”. I know some students were angry in the first week because they wanted to work more with the people of Vel Mari, the doctors and so on. These expectations of making a change is solely by working with the people is not always right. I was a little upset that some students didn’t realize that we have to learn more about the project and background information of migration and the refugee camps before we start the project. I think that people have these high expectations of what their study abroad experience should we and are not opened to changes or different ways of learning. I say be opened to anything that happened during your experience and be accepting of it and just being about to study abroad.

Pre-departure Thoughts

I have wanted to study abroad ever since my freshman year of college. I would check the study abroad website a couple of time each quarter to see what they had to offer but none of them really drew my attention. I was in my junior year when I got an email from my Health Studies advisor about two different study abroad options; one of them being Sardinia, Italy. After carefully reading over the description of the program, I immediately applied! When I first was in search for a program, I cared mainly on what I would be learning and not where I was going to be learning it. I think that every place around the world has something to offer and you can’t be picky about where you are going to study but what.

The full title of the study abroad program is called CHID Sardinia: Island Migrations, Health, and Social Justice. What drew me to this program was the material and content that we would be learning. In the title of the program, those are the three main topics that we are going to be studying and also what I am very interesting in learning. When I first applied, I really wanted to get a different perspective on social justice and health around the world. I have been learning a lot about western culture and so little on others, that I wanted to add more diversity into my studies.

We are going to be collaborating and engaging with Romani migrants that have migrated to Italy in hoped for a better life. With migration, there comes discrimination. I would like to, personally, understand their culture and reasons for migration and get a sense of the daily struggles they have to deal with. For example, in America we have a problem with migrant farmers coming to work illegally and they have been discriminated against and misunderstood. Understanding, why they are doing this, why they are migrating and understanding their stories is a big part of this journey.

With intensive learning about Romani people and the engaging we are going to be doing when we arrive in Sardinia, I hope to develop skills that will help me be a better listener. I would like to learn how to better communicate and understand the different cultures and history of a person. I would like to have a better grasp on social justice and health and how the laws and policies can allow more people to have access to it. I have learned a lot about discrimination and stigma, but I would like to see how this is affects others especially in a different country and apply this back home.

This would be my first time studying abroad and my family won’t be able to come with me. The program is a month long and that is going to be very difficult for me. I have already thought of ways to communicate with them. I would most likely use an app that allows us to message each other but only if there is WIFI, and skype. Before, I applied to this trip my family was planning a trip to Spain around the same time my study abroad started. I had to make a difficult choice of going with them or studying abroad. It was a difficult choice but I knew that it would be beneficial in the future. The information that I will learn on this program, I can apply to my career to make laws and policies that fit more around different cultures that are more manageable for them.FullSizeRender (2)

4 Things That are Completely Different in Spain

  1. Drinking Gas – Yes, people drink gas in Spain… but not the kind of gas that you are probably thinking of. Gas is what people call sparkling water and it seems to be a big deal. In some restaurants, they will automatically give you sparkling water if you ask for water, unless you say agua del grefo (free water/tap water).
  2. Clubs – If you plan on going ‘clubbing’ as in dancing and bopping around with friends, don’t go to a club in  Spain. You may be surprised to find yourself in a brothel instead. If you’re looking for the dancing kind of club, use the term discoteca (or disco for short).
  3. Coca (Cola) – In America, we ask for Coca-Cola and think nothing of it. Ask for Coca-Cola in Spain and you may get some strange looks. People normally just say “Coke” or “Cola” because coca is slang for cocaine in Spanish (which makes sense given the notorious history of Coca-Cola).
  4. Preservativo – Many Spanish and English words sound similar to each other so I now have a tendency to think that if there is a Spanish word that sounds like an English word, they are likely to mean the same thing. Therefore, preservativo must be the same thing as preservative, right? Not right. Preservativo actually means condom, not those things that keep your mayonnaise and ketchup from going bad.

Cultural Differences: Milk

One of my biggest worries about going abroad is the possibility of getting sick in any shape or form. I feel like I have prepared for the most worst case scenarios imaginable, yet I still worry. Especially when it comes to food.

When Gladys and I went to the grocery store to pick up some stuff for the hotel, one of our grocery list items was some milk for cereal. We started looking for it and couldn’t find it anywhere in the refrigerated/dairy sections. Do Spaniards not drink milk? Well, they do. Just not the same way we drink milk in America. Gladys came back to the cart with a cardboard box of milk. But that’s not necessarily the strange part… The milk wasn’t in the refrigerator; it had been sitting in a pyramid of milk just in the middle of the store. Room temperature.

Even “Silk” isn’t refrigerated.

I don’t know about most American households, but at every one I have gone to the milk is tossed if it sits out for just a few hours. So how is it that milk in Spain can sit out indefinitely and still be good? Apparently, there is such a thing as ultra-high temperature processing (UHT) milk. Aseptic processing is used to sterilize the product and use sterilized packaging. The difference is that the milk is heated to a higher degree for a shorter amount of time than traditional milk in order to sterilize the product. UHT milk has close to the same amount of nutrients as traditional milk, but has a shelf life of about 6 months!

If you would like some more information, here are some articles to start with:

How UHT Milk Works” – Milk Unleashed
Why does organic milk last so much longer than regular milk?” – Scientific American

 

How to be Cheap When Traveling Within Another Country

Traveling can be quite expensive, especially when working with a college budget. I’ve gathered a few tips on how I have tried to save money while traveling abroad. But forewarning, this doesn’t work in all countries and all instances.

1. Choose a hotel with complimentary services

A travel tip I learned from my mom is to always choose a hotel with a complimentary continental breakfast and airport-hotel shuttle. What would I do without my mother…

The Holiday Inn Express is fairly well-known for breakfasts as well as a few others. Tourist areas tend to charge a lot more for meals so a complimentary meal can go a long way. Especially if its all-you-can-eat.

The free shuttle is a big one, even more so if it goes to the city center where most activities will be. It saves a lot of money that might otherwise be spent on a spendy taxi. 

2. Shop at the grocery store instead of constantly eating out

Eating out is a large part of cultural experiences, but the food from the grocery store can contribute to new experiences as well and even cost less. Gladys and I decided to gather food from the grocery store for a few meals and snacks for the three days we would be at our hotel before the program started. It costed less than 25 euros for both of us during the three days and we only ate out once.

3. Wash your clothes in your own hotel room

Since we had a few days in hotels before meeting our host families, the limited amount of clothing that we all brought had its fair share of wear. In other words, it needed to be washed… and who wants to spend money on ridiculously priced hotel laundry service? We also didn’t want to show up meeting our host families and say “Hi it’s nice to meet you, now I have a full suitcase of laundry for you to wash”.

The only other (viable) option was to wash our laundry ourselves in our hotel rooms (tread lightly on this one because there are multiple variables that go into making this tip successful). Before I left for Spain, I did a whole lot of reading blogs, Google searches, Pinterest posting, etc. to find the best tips I could. One that I found was to buy single-use Tide packets (good luck finding these in the stores because I didn’t). Instead, Gladys and I washed our clothes in the sink and bath tub with shampoo. Now our mistakes were 1) we didn’t have much time for them to dry and 2) the ratio for clothes that needed to be hung and spaces to hang these clothes to dry effectively were about 10:1. Hence, most of our clothes remained damp for quite some time.

My advice? Try to find single use laundry packets or just use shampoo, make sure you have enough time and space for your clothes to dry, and don’t wash too many clothes at the same time.

4. Cost-efficient flights

If flights seem to be outrageously priced at your nearby airport, try flying out of another destination. Since I live in Washington state, it isn’t a great hassle to fly out of Vancouver, BC… especially when those flights cost about $300 less (~$850 roundtrip) than those coming out of the United States. It was even easier because Gladys lives in Bellingham which is a lot closer to the Canadian border than the Tri-Cities (or even Bothell) is.

You also really have to weigh your priorities as well. Our trips to Spain and back were both about 30 hours (longer than average) with about 3 connecting flights and long layovers because our flights were so cheap. If I were to do it again, I would consider paying a little extra for a more comfortable trip.

5. Apply, apply, apply

Honestly, there is no way I could have studied abroad without financial aid or scholarships. Fortunately, my financial aid covered the cost of tuition/housing. That just left the travel expenses, insurance coverage, food/activities, hotels not covered in program and some of the miscellaneous costs. I applied for about 3 study abroad scholarships for this trip and received one for about $1,600 and the only conditions are that I promote study abroad as a Study Abroad Ambassador (talk about my amazing experiences abroad and encourage others to join? Easy!). With an $850 airfare, the rest of this really helped me with food and paying part of the program so I didn’t have to take out as much of a loan.

Scholarships can be very discouraging, especially when you are someone like me who doesn’t receive many. The good thing about study abroad scholarships is that there is a much smaller pool of applicants because not as many students study abroad and apply for scholarships compared to the larger amount of students who apply for general scholarships. There are even program/location specific scholarships that give you a shoe-in. Still can’t afford to study abroad but want to travel to another country? Try an internship, working, or teaching English abroad.

6. Buy travel insurance

One of the best investments I made for studying abroad was buying the comprehensive travel insurance for students (okay, it was a requirement to go on the trip but still…). If anything, it gave me a piece of mind that if anything at all happened I would be covered. And something did happen. I got sick and ended up in the hospital for some time. No worries though because everything was covered and it only costed $75 (the cost of the insurance)!

8. Negotiate

Something Americans don’t do enough of. Many times we go to a store and think that the sticker price is the only price (which isn’t always necessarily true). Different countries have different customs, but I found haggling in Spain easier than I ever have elsewhere. I actually talked a guy down for a backpack that was $15 to $10 (so proud).

9. Convert currency before leaving (including any change)

I learned this one the hard way. I simply didn’t make enough time to go to the bank before leaving and thought I would be fine. Boy was I wrong. So much hassle could have been avoided if I had just converted currency beforehand… plus conversion rates may be more expensive in other countries.

10. Find a bank that has the lowest withdrawal fees possible

I heard of some companies charging crazy fees for withdrawing money abroad. I also didn’t want to carry all of my money with me in fear of losing it all and having nothing. Fortunately, I had a BECU account and was able to use this abroad with only a 10% fee.

The overall themes for being cheap in another country is doing your research beforehand and knowing when to spend a little more money for protection/comfort. It may not always be the best idea to go with the cheapest possible everything because you’ll get what you pay for: cheap. You still want to enjoy your time and feel protected… but if you are someone whom is okay with that, than by all means go for it!

Tears and Tapas: Part 2

When Gladys and I woke up in the morning, we realized that we practically fasted by accident for 24 hours and started feasting on trail mix while we decided on breakfast. We ate at the hotel buffet and made plans to meet up with Jaynie and Amy, two other members of our group. The hotel shuttle went downtown and apparently dropped us off in the middle of nowhere. Gladys and I spent about an hour trying to figure out buses to get from middle of nowhere to middle of somewhere to meet Jaynie and Amy. To our surprise, the bus dropped us off in the middle of somewhere so we adventured around while we waited. We ended up at this beautiful palace. Pics.

Palacio Real de Madrid

Palacio Real de Madrid (inside fence)

We got slightly lost then made our way to Plaza Mayor. I had paella for the first time and it was bomb. It was a tapa which is a huge thing in spain… Very affordable and very delicious. I also had a fresa (strawberry) juice which is always my favorite. We met Jaynie and Amy and adventured around some more getting very lost and leading to naps in the park.

After the adventure, Gladys and I went to the grocery store to get some food for the hotel. As we exited, the streets were absolutely crowded. No one could move. Is this how it always is in Madrid?? Apparently there was a “special religious person”. Gladys and I made our way out of the human wall successfully and began our trek to where the hotel shuttle would pick us up.

It was a long walk, especially having to haul groceries, so we took the metro for the first time which was fairly easy to navigate. We then had about an hour and a half to wait for the shuttle. After many fancy dressed people walked by, wedding photos taken, and a discussion with a nice old man, we had about ten minutes for the shuttle to arrive so we kept our eyes peeled.

Puerta de Alcalá A popular place for wedding photos in Madrid, Spain. Also where Gladys and I waited 90 minutes for a disappearing shuttle

Puerta de Alcalá
A popular place for wedding photos in Madrid, Spain. Also where Gladys and I waited 90 minutes for a disappearing shuttle

A few minutes later and Gladys spotted the hotel shuttle. Leaving. It didn’t even go past us it just went to the other side and left without stopping! A little panicked, we decided to wait a bit to see if it came back. It passed on the other side of the roundabout. And never came back. We decided that our only choice was to hail a cab. We didn’t even know how to hail a cab! Gladys and I finally walked up to a cab that was parked at a stoplight. Then we realized another problem: we didn’t know where the hotel was. Fortunately, we had the phone number and the cab driver was kind enough to use his phone to call the hotel and ask for the address (even though we were being charged for that duration of time. Ugh).

The next day we decided to just stay back at the hotel and relax. We went to the pool, did some homework, and had much less stress.

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I’ve heard many things about studying abroad. For instance, it is a life changing experience that may change a person as well as his/her views. Also that a lot of stress may come with it on top of the amazing experiences. Either way, I’m really looking forward to the rest of this adventure… As long as there are a lot less tears and a lot more of those tapas.

 

Tears and Tapas: Part 1

I’ll be honest, when I am extremely exhausted AND hungry, I become rather “hangry” (but who doesn’t?). Take both of those and add being completely lost and not being able to speak the local language and well… Let’s just say its not fun.

That’s exactly what happened to me when I got off of the plane and to say the least, I wanted to find a corner and cry. Fortunately, I was traveling with another student in the program. And I was in luck… She speaks Spanish.

I’ve heard mixed things about having to know Spanish in Spain. Some say I’ll be fine with English and my limited knowledge of Spanish because they speak English there. Others say I’ll learn Spanish quickly because I will definitely need it. I would say that for the most part I would’ve been fine with my basic Spanish knowledge, however I would have been screwed if I were to handle the situation that Gladys and I were in solo.

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First of all, we couldn’t find the baggage claim even though the flight attendant gave directions in three languages. Those languages happened to be Spanish, Dutch, and what I assumed was French or German (those are nothing alike but please forgive me, I was half asleep at this point). We meandered around looking for our specific baggage claim but “Brussels” was nowhere to be found. We finally asked for help and were sent on a wild goose chase around the airport to “Lounge 6”.

We got to the lounge and there were sliding doors with human stick figures drawn on them and red X’s crossing them out. Well what can this possibly mean being the only possible entrance! No humans allowed? Limbs will be lost if you stand in the door? It ended up being the entrance and I still don’t know what the signs mean. When we finally found the “Brussels” baggage claim, it was closed. Awesome. We then had to head over to the “lost baggage” counter and finally found our bags. Now to find the shuttle.

We asked the tourist info for help on this one. He kept looking at me and talking as if I would understand him or something (nope). Turns out the hotel shuttle isn’t frequent and we have to call for it and ask someone to come. There was a payphone around the corner. Payphone. With coins. Coins that we did not have. Gladys and I spent about an hour (or what felt like an hour) trying to find different ways to find change since there were no currency converters around. We finally found a vending machine and got a Kit Kat and some coins. We waited even longer for the shuttle. When the shuttle finally dropped us off at a cute little hotel, we both showered and crashed at about 6pm. I was done with that day.

~Roaming Roma~

Hello again!!

It has been a little bit over a week since I have first touchdown in Roma, Italy! Although it has only been a week, I felt as if I have been here for two-three weeks. I still can’t believe I am actually here, in ROME, the eternal city!! It’s such a surprise that me, an Asian American, first-generation student is the first in family to be in Europe. I am still incredibly grateful for the experiences I had thus far on this trip and all that I will be having the next three weeks in Rome (plus a week in France!).

So far, I have been to the Vatican, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and so much more! My first week has been pretty rough due to the lack of working appliances in my apartment (wifi, refrigerator, oven, washing machine). Although some fixed now, others are not and my roommates and I are all getting a bit frustrated. Despite this, we still enjoy going out to explore this BEAUTIFUL city and go on tours of some of the most famous places here.

Living in Seattle my whole life, I was so, so fortunate to be surrounded by the diversity. Being in Rome this past week, I got a bit home sick due to this. I was so used to being able to have hundreds of options of ethnic foods, while here I have so little (probably less than 10 around this area). The other day, me and some of the other students took a (short) mission to find an Asian market, roughly 30 minutes bus ride (excluding walking). This first week really made me realize how fortunate I am in the U.S. in so many ways. Anyways, enjoy some photos I took during my past week. Thanks for reading 🙂 Ciao!