Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Prepping for Bonaire


Hello Everyone!

My name is Hannah Lee and I am a sophomore preparing to travel to Bonaire. This is my first time traveling to a different country (whoa!),and I couldn't be more excited. There are so many things that have to be done before going abroad and the Bonaire trip is especially unique. For example, I've had to obtain the following things:

  • Valid Passport (obviously)
  • NAUI lifetime scuba diving certification 
  • Recommended vaccinations 
  • Diving equipment
    • Wet-suit
    • Mask
    • Fins 
    • Snorkel 
    • etc,etc
That isn't even the whole list! It may seem overwhelming, but I have had people there to help the whole way. Going abroad for the first time can seem intimating, but I am so glad I am doing it with MC! I have learned a lot and having that knowledge eases the anxiety of going abroad. I've never been stressed about completing certain tasks for the trip or obtaining anything from the list above. This experience has been amazing and we haven't even left yet :) 

Bonaire in T-11 days!!!

Returning to the US after Study Abroad

Hello everyone,

I got back from my study abroad trip yesterday, and I have some things to share. I have quite the travel story. But before we get to that, I would like to talk about how it feels to be back in the US.

I mentioned in one of my previous blogs that I didn't experience much culture shock when I arrived in Canada. But being back in the states is so much harder than I thought it would be. It's really weird, but I feel like I don't belong here. It feels wrong to be back at Maryville College. I've only been here for a day, but I feel like I'm in a dream, that this isn't real. It's like I felt when I first arrived in Canada but I'm sad, not happy and excited. Nothing has really changed here in TN; the only difference is my perspective. I was definitely ready to get home and see friends and family in the week leading up to my departure, but now I just want to go back to Canada.

Now I know this is all part of culture shock and re-entry and all that, but I was not expecting it to hit this hard. When I landed in the US and headed to the bus station in Nashville, I felt very uncomfortable there and like I didn't belong. Now some (probably most) of that was because it was the Nashville bus station; that's just how bus stations are. But at least part of that feeling was directed at the US in general. I know this will pass though for the most part. I'll readjust eventually. I think what will really help is going back home (I'm currently staying in Maryville until graduation) and seeing my cats. I miss them very much.

Ok. Now for my travel story.

So, I was supposed to leave for Calgary at 8:25 pm on the 27th then go to Toronto, then Nashville, catch a bus to Knoxville, then head to MC. My friend Agnese was also leaving on the 27th, but her flight was early in the morning. I woke up at 5:40 am to get ready and take her to the airport to see her off and say goodbye. I then had several things to do before going to the airport for my flight. I got to the airport at 5 pm. I waited around and, closer to 8, my flight was delayed. I thought, "This is fine. I had a long layover in Calgary anyway. I'll still catch my connection." It was delayed again and was set to arrive 30 min before my connection. I was a little worried about that but thought I'd still be able to make it. It then was delayed again. This time, I wouldn't arrive in Calgary until 30 min after my flight left. I then went to switch my flight. The only option I had was to wait for a flight to Calgary at 6:30 am on the 28th, then take a connecting flight to Nashville after a 2 hour layover. That also meant I would have to get a new bus ticket, which was a whole ordeal in itself. I eventually got a new ticket for 7:20 pm, 5 hours after my last flight was supposed to get in.

Flights kept getting delayed and eventually cancelled so there were no cheap hotels in the area that had any available rooms. I decided to spend the night in the airport.

They didn't have any lockers for my bags so I couldn't just find a chair and fall asleep. I had to stay awake. To do this, I decided to watch movies. I ended up watching 3 movies and a few episodes of a show before finally checking one of my bags, going through security, and waiting for my flight to board. This flight was also delayed. It was only an hour and a half so it wasn't too bad. I'd still have time to catch my flight to Nashville, though it would be cutting it close.

I got through security and customs and ran to my gate which was all the way on the other side of the airport. I got there 5 min before boarding was supposed to end but the flight was for San Diego. They gate had been changed. I then ran to the new gate just for them to tell me that boarding hadn't started yet. The plane wasn't even there yet.

So now I was sweaty and tired and stressed. I ended up waiting for 3 hours past the original departure time before boarding. This meant I got to Nashville later than expected. And with the amount of people at the airport, it had a hard time getting a ride to the bus station. I eventually got a ride and got to the bus station 15 minutes before the scheduled departure of my bus. There was a long line to check my bags and I was once again worried about missing my transportation. I went around the line and told another worker about my situation. She checked my bags and assured me that I would not miss my bus, that it wasn't even at the station yet.

To make an already long story just a bit shorter, I waited an uncomfortable 4 and a half hours in the Nashville bus station surrounded by sketchy people, 2 of which tried to sell me drugs and another who was shouting and verbally abusing the security guards at the station.

I stayed on the phone with my mom pretty much the whole time I was at the station to have someone to talk to and give the other people there an excuse not to talk to me. I eventually boarded my very late bus at midnight and arrived in Knoxville at 5:30 am on the 29th. I was going on 48 hours without sleep when my friends picked me up. We then went to get breakfast then went back to the college where I promptly crashed on the couch and slept. I got about 5 hours of sleep then got up and started typing this post.

All in all, I didn't have the best time travelling back to the US, but I'm choosing to look at it, retrospectively, as an adventure. Yes it was difficult and frustrating, but it was just part of the experience and is, if nothing else, an interesting story to tell.

That's all I really have for now. This may or may not be my last post; I'm not sure. But here are some pictures to share anyway (I didn't really know where to put these within this post, so I'm slapping them on at the end. Hope that's ok.)


Saying goodbye to Agnese at the Regina International Airport.

On the first plane. Saying goodbye to Regina. 

Landing in Calgary.

A small view of the cockpit on the plane leaving for Nashville.

Heading to Nashville.

Back in the US, landing in Nashville. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Final Class update before departure: Bonaire

Hello everyone! So this Friday we had our last exam for the required class for the Bonaire trip! We have covered many fish, critters (non-fish entities), corals, sponges, birds, amphibians, and reptiles during the entire semester. What a crazy and exciting semester it has been! We leave for Bonaire in just 13 days! It is crazy to think that just around a year ago I was hesitant to apply, but I am so glad I did.

As a group we dedicated the whole day to practicing diving with our partners, and going over emergency safety procedures. The water was VERY cold, but not as cold as our check out dive when we were getting certified. It was nice to have the warm sun to look forward to when we were out of the water. Yesterday was useful so we could work out all the kinks with diving again since we haven't really been able to practice since last semester, this was very beneficial so we don't have to go through that again in Bonaire when we start our first dive.

Anyway! If you have any questions about the trip in general, please feel free to contact me by email:

laurel.woodward@my.maryvillecollege.edu

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Finals and Studying in Canada

Hello everyone,

This update is late yet again, and I am sorry. I have been doing a lot of studying and not much else. I've gone out for walks around the lake here near the university to take breaks from studying which have been fun. It's getting warmer here and I don't even need to wear a jacket most days! Here are some pictures from some of my walks.


A Canadian flag in the background as Agnese and I walked around the lake.

Agnese doing her best goose impression at Wascana Lake as the ice was melting.

I haven't been able to get another vlog out yet due to finals but once I finish this Friday, I should be able to get all of my stuff together into some kind of video. 

I have less than a week left here and I'm not sure how I feel. I'm excited to get home and see my friends (and cats), but I'm also really sad to leave my friends that I've met here. It's going to be really hard to adjust to life in the states again, especially because I'm going to have about a million things happening in the span of like 2 weeks. I'm graduating, going home for a few days, then leaving for my summer job in North Carolina. I'm just going to keep taking it a day at a time and not get to stressed. 

I've had an amazing experience here so far that I know will be the highlight of my adolescence. I had another interview for a job the other day, and they asked me what the hardest thing I've had to do is. I thought about it for a second and realized that this, study abroad, is the hardest thing I've had to do. Traveling on my own, adjusting to a new place, figuring things out without having the promise of someone I know coming to my rescue if I mess up. I have loved every minute of it though. (And the interview went great btw).

Well, that's all for this update. Again, I haven't done much recently, just studying. Which is pretty much just like it is in the US except we get 2 weeks for finals, so more time to study šŸ˜‰. I have a final in about an hour so, back to studying.






Monday, April 22, 2019

CariƱoso

Some days are better than others. Some days I wake with intentions on moving mountains, walking around like I'm a true Chilean, adventuring far past my comfort zone for the sake of a better Allison, and others -- I wake with an oddly uncomfortable feeling; a feeling one can only get from waking in a bed that isn't their own. Those days are the challenging days where I really just want Olive Garden, a Dr. Pepper, and for the Office to be on my Netflix (three things Chile doesn't have). Those are the days where I really want to talk to my mom in person or cuddle my dogs or just eat horrible, American, junk food. Those are the days where I don't want to speak Spanish before 8:00 AM or run down the street the catch a bus or commute 40 minutes to school. Those days are tough. But luckily, today wasn't one of those days.

I got a mass email over the weekend from a professor at my school looking to hone in her English and practice with native English speakers. Thinking it would be a good opportunity for me to squeeze in some Spanish practice as well, I made an appointment with her for today. I left the house a little late and though in Latin America, 5 - 10 minutes late is nothing to sweat, I didn't want to make her wait. Knowing I would be much later if I waited for a bus or a train, I treated myself to an Uber and off I went. The driver was instantly kind and warm, as most Chileans seem to be. He told me my Spanish was good and that he could understand me well. He asked me where I was from, what I was doing in Chile, and everyone is always surprised when I tell them I'm studying Spanish (Chilean Spanish is notoriously quick, casual, and filled with slang / profanities) but I'm always happy to tell them that I love Chile and its beautiful people. Just in time, he rolled up to my school and let me off at the front door, a sweet treat after using any sort of public transit combined with walking. I could see a sweet looking lady standing on the stairs, I instantly knew she was the person I was looking for. "Alleeson?" She asked, as I approached her. She greeted me with a kiss on the cheek and ushered me inside the building. After a shorter meeting than I  had planned for with her, I went to the cafe inside my school where my friends and I often sit. I've come to know the cashiers well. I frequently request a "coca cola normal", to which they happily give me with a smile. Today, I felt extra adventurous and ordered a sandwich with yummy melted cheese, on top of shredded beef, tucked in a toasted bun. Not at all what I meant to order, but I'll surely order a barros locos again! While waiting, I saw a familiar face.

A few weeks ago I had a project to complete for my conversation class. My task was to ask 20 Chileans a series of questions about the minimum wage in Chile (a difficult topic to say the least). Chileans earning minimum wage make about $500 dollars a month, in a country that already has a higher cost of living than most Latin American countries. Three sweet girls had taken extra care to share with me some nuances about Chilean society and culture that further complicated the issue of minimum wage and passionately shared with me how they thought it could be better. Though I sadly can't remember all of their names, I did remember sweet Coni, whom I saw in the cafe this morning. She warmly greeted me, kissed me on the cheek like we'd known each other forever, and saw that I had Instagram open on my phone. I had been messaging with two other Chilean friends I met over the weekend. She told me if I needed anything or had any more questions that I could message her on Instagram and she's be happy to help. She also told me that her conversation with me about my project had made her day and that of her friends, which in turn, made mine! Coni grabbed her sandwich and bid me farewell, I grabbed mine too and had a seat in my favorite corner with the intentions of doing homework. But after talking to an American friend about the weekend, and then another, and then our Chilean friend Sebastian, my homework was put aside and talks of cultural nuances began, accompanied by talks of the Avengers (which is being released on Friday, to mine and Sebastian's excitement). He also likes to practice his English on me, but I always like when I can trip him up with an American expression he hasn't heard yet. Those are often the times that I get to explain in Spanish and sometimes, I just respond to his English questions with Spanish because, well, I can, and he understands (which is so exciting)!

As I walked to the train station today, I couldn't help but feel loved and welcome, and somewhat like a real Chilean. Since I arrived here, I've heard many times "Chileans son cariƱoso", they're affectionate. In my experience, this is absolutely true. I'm so happy to be here.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Dos Temporadas de OtoƱo :)

Whenever we think of Latin America, we instantly think of warm weather. Thoughts of the beach come to mind, blazing temperatures in the summer and mild, but never really cold, temperatures in the other seasons. As Tennesseans, we can't help but be excited by the forecast and the very slim chance of having any snow at all. These were my thoughts as I was packing my bags in a chilly, blustery, and unusually rainy February in East Tennessee. I packed T-shirts, shorts, the only footwear I thought I'd need (Chacos and Birkenstocks), with a few "colder" weather items mixed in. I landed in a very toasty Santiago, unsurprised by the amount of sweat my body was producing, only to end up in the moderately tempered ValparaĆ­so. To my surprise, blazing hots days, even though I arrived in the middle of summer, have been very few. I've yet to need my rain jacket or umbrella. The high and low for the days rarely differs by more than 5 degrees and as I sit here writing this blog, there's a familiar feeling in the air, one I thought I wouldn't feel until I returned to the United States; it's fall!

Even my cactus Roberto is enjoying the change of seasons :)


Fall has always been my favorite season. Summer brought excitement and a sense of freedom, as school wasn't in session and all any school age child had was time, sunshine, and fresh air. But fall always brought feelings of change. Physically, the air was getting cooler, the leaves were changing, a welcome relief from scorching Southern summers. Fall was a new year in school, another opportunity to do well, new teachers, new classmates, new things to learn. And of course, with fall there's always the excitement of the holidays. I guess that's why I can't help but feel that same enthusiasm for change here in Chile.

My friends and I have noted a different feeling lately, dare I say, a little bit of a homesick feeling. Our town, our homes, our commutes, they aren't new anymore. Everything is becoming more routine and with that, creeping toward the mundane. We're ending our second month here. Classes are becoming more serious with graded work being returned, exams to take, and papers to write. Weekends used to be blissfully busy with our Whatsapp group full of energy and excitement. That has now been replaced with regretful declines of invitations and complaints of feeling tired. I too, am guilty of having felt this way, frequently complaining to my family (Chilean and American) about feeling perpetually tired, not wanting to go anywhere for the weekend, and just a general feeling -- tired. But perhaps I'm too hasty to label my feelings as tired or even homesick. I think what I'm feeling is change. Living in a place is very different from visiting a place. Visits are full of nerves, excitements, and new stimuli filling all of our senses. Living is slower, more relaxed, sometimes a little boring, but it's living (it's what we do).

Lucky for me, it's impossible for me to be down in Fall (even if it's April). :)

¡Chao, nos vemos!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Comida, Comida, y mƔs Comida

In the United States, we are a food centered culture. Lots of cultures around the world are similar. We eat for celebration, we eat on holidays and special occasions, some of us eat when we're sad, and others eat just because their just bored. It's been nice to see that this aspect of American culture, isn't so different from Chile. 

The first day that I arrived, I sat down to a Sunday lunch with my host family. It would be the first lunch of many where my family patiently listened while I tried to produce some sort of coherent Spanish. We had a simple salad, only lettuce, carrots, and a little tuna on top. Everyone else was dressing their salad with with oil, salt, and lemon juice, I did the same, only to find out I quite like salads without ranch dressing! The next course is a little fuzzy, but it was a large course (something that we would normally think of as a dinner plate), and then coffee and a sweet treat for dessert. This was probably my first introduction to the Chilean schedule of eating.

Lentils, beans, and barley. A staple in our house!


For the average Chilean, their breakfast is quick. They'll usually have a piece of fruit, some bread, and then they're out the door or on their way. Their lunch though, is slightly different. Lunch is the heaviest meal of the day for Chileans and it comes at around 3:00 PM in the afternoon. During dinner one night, my host mom handed me a fork, spoon, and knife from her drawer of spare cutlery. She told me to keep them in my backpack and to wash them when they were dirty. I would soon find out that this also is very common for students in Chile. Since lunch is their heaviest meal, they often bring, salads, soups, pastas, beans, or rice, occasionally, but not always accompanied by some sort of meat, meant to be reheated in one of the university's many microwaves. Since these meals can't be eaten with your hands and a recent campaign against plastic bags and cutlery has come about in the ValparaĆ­so, reusable utensils are a must. Dinner is an entirely different adventure. In fact, most Chileans don't eat dinner at all, they have something called "once" (pronounced like the number 11 in Spanish). "Once" is what my American family would call "picking" or what some might think of as an evening snack. Chileans eat "once" between 8:00 - 10:00 pm and sometimes as late as 11:00 pm (as the name suggests). It usually consists of bread with butter, some sort of lunch meat (salami, ham, or turkey) and mantecoso, a Chilean cheese. Once is always a la carte and served with a warm cup of tea or coffee. Dinner has been a tough concept for my friends and I to adjust to. Most of our families graciously warm us up an extra serving of lunch to subsidize our once. 

Personally, I'm just happy to be surrounded by those who love food, socializing over food, and well -- eating food!

My host mom keeps me healthy, despite my resistance :)


Friday, April 12, 2019

ę”œ Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)



Every year, Japan is blanketed with the beauty of pastel pink and white sakura to usher in the spring season. The sakura are not only alluring, but also strong representations of Japanese identity and culture.

In Japan, spring is associated with the concept of renewal. Many people begin new jobs or new positions, also students begin the new school year in April.

The season is between March and May with the full bloom lasting for about only a full week. After the brief time, the small flowers begin to flutter away to wherever the winds desire. As the official sakura watch is released, many across the islands take time to enjoy the full bloom of these magical flowers. Many Japanese people associate the sakura with times of renewal and the symbolic fleeting of human life. To celebrate this time, festivals, performances and even light shows are presented in various parks. However, more intimate parties called hanami (which means flower viewing) are conducted under the trees with smaller groups of friends, coworkers, and families to enjoy together.

For my sakura experience I chose to take a break from studying and go out by myself to enjoy the blooming season. With a great playlist and lots of time, I set out to Osaka Castle. A famous Japanese landmark and historical site in the heart of the city. I took the time to reset and enjoy the sakura and also reflect on what this time of renewal means for me.

               










Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Diving into Bonaire!


Hello everyone,
My name is Laurel Woodward and I am a junior Biology major here at MC. In just one short month 11 other students, myself, Dr. Unger, and Dr. Duncan will be departing from Maryville to fly to Bonaire! This is my first study abroad trip so I am pretty nervous, but I know I am in good hands! I am also excited for this trip, because this is where I will be collecting data for my senior study!

Bonaire is a Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela that is along side of Curacao and Aruba. Because of local impacts, governmental efforts, and the islands location outside of "Hurricane Alley", Bonaire's reefs are considered one the last "healthy" reefs in the Caribbean. Attached below are images of Bonaire's pristine reefs, an amazing NY Times article about Bonaire, as well as an interactive google map link of the island.

T minus 30 days!
Google Map:
https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?ie=UTF8&t=m&vpsrc=6&oe=UTF8&msa=0&hl=nl&mid=1ht7y96OX-Q6nSt6x-ubHxsRP1Rk&ll=12.187608171884186%2C-68.19553934235114&z=11

NY Times article:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/18/travel/coral-reef-bonaire.html




Image from: https://www.buddydive.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/slider77.jpg

dive bonaire
Image from: https://www.tourismbonaire.com/bonaire-fish-reefs

Bonaire National Marine Park, Bonaire
Image from:https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/netherlands-antilles-nan.htm


QUICK NAME THAT FISH!!!^^^^

Getting Chilly in Chile!

Hello from South America! My name is Allison, I'm currently studying abroad in ValparaĆ­so, Chile!

Someone asked me the other day if I had experienced "culture shock" during my time in Chile. I smiled, thought for a moment, and although briefly, yes, I had experienced it.

I set out for the airport with my parents at 5:00 PM on Sunday, February 23rd. The next morning, I was landing in Santiago, Chile. Everything from that moment, seemed to happen at a blazing pace.

Before I could even realize what was happening or take in my surrounds, I was headed through their airport security (very different from ours), nervously clutching my passport and visa paperwork, amidst a ton of other passengers, in an airport with no air conditioning. We were ushered through customs where I debated on whether or not to claim my apple and beef jerky from the plane. Afterwards, we quickly walked down to the entrance that looked oddly like a red carpet. Taxi drivers, shuttle services, and hopeful families hung over a railing with signs displaying the names of the passengers they were waiting for. In the midst of them, was our housing coordinator, Sergio, and a small sign labeled PUCV. He quickly scooped us all up and lead us out to a van driven by a man named Felipe, and off to ValparaĆ­so we went. 





One hour later, we were marveling at the beautiful hills of Valpo, mystified that roads could be so steep and curvy, amazed at the street art and colorful houses, watching the ocean glisten in the sun. In tourist fashion, we all snapped photos as we zoomed by, looking and pointing out the windows. Then, we stopped. "Ciao, chicas, nos vemos" Sergio waved as he exited the van, looking back at the horror on our faces. "See you tomorrow" he added with a smile. All of the students in our van weren't actually staying in Valparaƭso, we were living in ViƱa del Mar (a total score for us). It was easier to drop off Sergio first and let Felipe take us to our homes. "Okay, okay, primero, Elson" Felipe started, typing an address into his phone, "Leugo, Allison." My inner self screamed "THAT'S MY NAME!" After a 15 point turn to get out of Sergio's very narrow driveway and short trip down the road and I was home in Chorrillos.

A slender, gorgeously complected woman came out of the gate to welcome me. I knew from my study abroad paperwork that her name was Paula. "Look, it's your mama" Felipe laughed in heavily accented English. She kissed me on the cheek, grabbed one of my bags and ushered me into the gate past a very large, barking dog. "No Negra, no!" She shouted, trying to keep the dog from jumping on me (Negra and I quickly became dear friends).

A short while later, I was sitting at their table, trying to talk to the mother-in-law of Paula with little success. And that's when everything hit me. I was in a different country, no one in Paula's house speaks English, this is day one of what I told the Chilean government would be a 137 day stay. What had I done?! What was I thinking?! Then Paula asked me if I had ever heard of a Pisco Sour. After that, everything seemed okay. :) And sitting here, writing this blog, listening to Paula chat away downstairs, feeling the breeze of the changing seasons through my window -- everything's more than okay, everything's wonderful. 

Nos vemos, el estados unidos.




Saturday, April 6, 2019

A Long Overdue Update

Hello everyone,

It has been quite a long time since I posted a vlog update on YouTube and an even longer time since I posted a blog update. School has become quite intense. But I feel it is time to write something so I'll be talking about my study abroad experience starting with my trip to Banff and ending here, at the last Friday of classes. Strap in, and prepare for a lot of pictures.

So, Banff. How can I describe it other than amazing? The Rockies were so incredible and the snow was beautiful. Two friends and I went on this trip together. We started by driving to Calgary (a 7ish hour drive) which was quite the experience. Being that the car was rented in Canada and we were driving in Canada, I had to get used to thinking in kilometers, not miles. I got used to it pretty quickly, but driving at 130 km/hr was still exciting (130 just seems lightning fast until you realize its actually like 80 mph). But anyway, we got to Calgary and spent the night before heading for Jasper and Banff.


Calgary, Feb 17, 2019. Driving into the city on the first night.

When we began our drive to Jasper and Banff National Parks, it was snowy and cloudy, and you couldn't really see anything at all. This meant that we didn't see the mountains until they were pretty much right on top of us. I think I was mid-sentence when I noticed the mountains. I just stopped and stared before getting really excited and taking a video. This is probably a good time to mention that I made a vlog about my trip to Banff that you can find on my YouTube channel. I'll leave a link at the end of this post. But the clouds finally cleared, and we stopped to take pictures of the mountains before continuing our journey.


Outside Banff National Park, Feb 18, 2019. Our first good view of the Rocky Mountains.


Outside Banff, Feb 18, 2019. Me being excited about the mountains!


Outside Banff, Feb 18, 2019. Agnese being excited about the mountains!


Outside .... (you get it). Me still excited about the mountains. I may have been being a bit silly, but I was just so happy to be there. 


Agnese, Marco, and I all being excited. 


Some good mountains.... 

Our first stop was the Mistaya Canyon in Jasper National Park. There's not really much to say other than it was awesome. You could hear the water echoing far below us in the canyon and not much else. One of my favorite parts of the trip was on our hike out to the canyon. We were completely surrounded by snow about 6 or 7 ft deep and  only had a narrow path on which to walk. At one point, I just stopped and my friends followed suit. When no one was moving or talking, it was completely silent. Now, I don't mean the kind of silent that you get in your house at night or when no one is around. Then there is still background ambiance. On that trail to the canyon, there was absolute silence. It was incredible and so calming. The snow absorbed every tiny noise, and I felt like I was in a black hole for sound. Anyway, we also went to Johnston Canyon in Banff and that was cool but there isn't that much to say about it, so here are some pics of the canyons.


Jasper National Park, Feb 18, 2019. The beautiful Mistaya canyon.


Banff National Park, Feb 17, 2019. Me being excited at the lower falls in Johnston Canyon.


Banff National Park, Feb 17, 2019. The lower falls. (Image credit: Agnese Abbadessa)

So, we finished our adventures by going to a hot spring (which you can see in my vlog) and the Royal Tyrrell Museum which was a "dinosaur" museum. I say "dinosaur" because there were more than just dinos there. There were mammals and reptiles and all kinds of fossils (which, again, you can see in my vlog). 

After the trip, not much happened. There were midterms and assignments and such that were a bit scary but went pretty well overall. Once all that died down, Agnese and I started actually doing things again. We walked across a frozen lake, donated blood, played some pool, did stupid college things, and just generally had a good time.

Somewhere in that time, I applied for and was offered a job for the summer. It was really cool that, despite the fact that I am about 2,000 miles away, I was able to interview and do all those things you do to get jobs. šŸ˜œ

Now that I've talked about what I've done since my last post, here are some miscellaneous things that I want to talk about: the wildlife. While I haven't seen a moose yet (besides the world's 2nd largest moose in Moose Jaw) I have seen plenty of rabbits. They are huge and fluffy and adorable. And now that it's starting to warm up and the snow is gone, they are losing their white fur too. It's really cool to be able to see this transition. I've also seen lots of brown squirrels which are much bigger than the little grey squirrels we have in TN. There are big pigeons, big geese, pretty much big everything here and I love it! The only animals that aren't so big are the prairie dogs. They are so tiny and cute, and they scream at you. Like, it actually sounds like they are screaming at you; it's one of the cutest things I've seen in my life!

Well, this blog post has gone on for a long time. (Hopefully that makes up for those weeks I missed.) I just finished my last Friday class of the semester and my last Friday class of my undergraduate career. There are some feelings in there somewhere, but I'll save those for another blog post.



University of Regina, Mar 22, 2019. A tiny prairie dog.


University of Regina, Mar 25, 2019. A really cool pigeon hanging out near the dorms.


University of Regina, Mar 30, 2019. A big rabbit friend.


Moose Jaw, Mar 30, 2019. Mahmood, me, and Agnese at the world's 2nd largest moose with the UofR exchange students.


University of Regain, Mar 4, 2019. Agnese and me at the UofR sign.

My YouTube channel: SleepingGaius

Monday, April 1, 2019

MC in Bonaire May 2019

Follow Maryville College students as they travel  to Bonaire on this 8-day Field-based component of a semester-long course on Tropical Ecology.  The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the biota (plants and animals) and their relationships with the tropical environment of a different country (Bonaire).  Specific focus: coral reef ecology.

MC in Greece

Follow MC students in May 2019 as they explore Greece as part of this World Cultures course!

More information to come!

MC in Peru - What is this all about?

  • This 11-day course will take students to Cusco, Peru, and surrounding area in the Sacred Valley.  Goals include learning about the culture, traditions, food production and consumption, as well as the typical family life of Peruvians. 

    SERVICE-LEARNING:

    While in Peru, students will hear from guest speakers from the local community and take field trips to tour local establishments.  Students will provide significant service to the people of the local area!

    Follow their journey here - more information to come soon!

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