Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Summer in Spain - Terry Chaney

Spanish Survival Guide:
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
This should go without saying, but always make sure you know where you are, or have a good idea, in case something happens. Make sure you have some kind of idea on the area so you can find your way back to where you’re staying at the end of the day. You should also be conscious of who is around you, too, and keep an eye on your belongings.
I have a few examples to help illustrate what I mean. Let’s start off with the most serious, and end with the lightest and most humorous.
1.      First and foremost, make sure you are conscious of the people around you. Spain is full of wonderful, nice, and helpful people. But, no matter where you are, someone there is not going to be the nicest of people. I’m not saying this to dissuade you, or anyone, from studying abroad. I actually had no problem with this, but I also didn’t put myself in a situation where a problem could arise. Just as you would back home, make smart choices and most of the time you will be fine.
2.      Make sure you know where you are in case you get lost. Or at the very least, make sure you know where you need to go. I took a weekend trip to Porto, Portugal with some friends. Although it smelled horrid in some places, it was beautiful and well worth it. However, there was a bump in my trip that I had to get over.
My friends all drink wine and wanted to do a wine tour. I despise the taste of wine and decided not to go. I chose to walk around Porto solo until our meet up time, back at the bridge where the tour started, when the tour was over. The tour was supposed to end at 7pm. They didn’t get done with their first stop until 6:30; our bus left the same day at 9. Around 6 I had to go back to the bridge early to wait for them because my phone was about dead. I got a message saying the tour would last long and they couldn’t meet at the bridge. My return message was “Ok, my phone is about to die. Where should I go?” Then, my phone died. I was stuck by the bridge, no phone, no clue where I was. But I knew where I needed to go, the bus station, and I knew some monuments that could guide me there. So I went to the nearest train station and looked at the map, found out where I needed to go, and just kept bouncing from station to station until I found the street I needed, which lead me to the monument I was looking for, and then I found the bus station. All with an hour to spare!
It was an interesting experience but I wouldn’t recommend this. Keep a portable charger on you so you don’t go through this, too.
3.      The funniest story is next. I cannot claim ownership of this story, but I have permission to share it.
A friend I met here was in another city before she got to Salamanca. Her and her friend decided to go out and have a good night and were bouncing from bar to bar. One of the stops happened to look interesting. There were people coming out who looked like they’d been having a great time: smiling, pep in their step, super happy. You know the type. The place even had a beckoning red light. They decided to go down and check it out. It wasn’t long before the smell and appearance of the place made them realized that it wasn’t the kind of bar they were looking for. Needless to say, they abruptly ran up the stairs and left the area.
So, keep an eye on your stuff and where you are. You don’t want to lose anything important, get lost (although it was an interesting ordeal), or end up in a Spanish brothel.
Hasta Luego,

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Finals Week in Japan

My last week of Japan consisted of taking final tests and writing out the last of my essays for class. Studying for tests were hard, but I'm glad that they are over now.

Friday night, I went with three others from the seminar house and two more from Kansai Gaidai and sang some more karaoke. After doing that for about an hour, we met up with some more people, did a little bit of shopping, and then getting a really good dinner.

The food was really good.

Festival Time!

On Tuesday, I went to Kendo with a few others. This was the most boring of the clubs I went to. In the other clubs, we interacted and, in karate, we even participated in one of the meetings and did many different things. For Kendo, they had us sit down and watch as well as give us a manual to read over. When they say third time's the charm, I felt I was better off stopping after two tries.

However, the weekend was a lot of fun for me.

Saturday morning I went to Kyoto. I tried finding the Gion Matsuri, but I had no luck doing so. Instead, I did a little shopping in the area and went inside the Kennin-ji Temple. I went back to the Pokemon Center to buy another Pikachu for my sister and some keychains for people back at home. I also hit up a bookstore while I was there and managed to find a couple of manga that I was looking for.

Week 5 Dress Up

During this week, I went to another club on campus. This one was calligraphy. I went once on Monday and again that Thursday. I found a short video on Youtube that has a professional doing it (I didn't do nearly as well as he did).

Going to Clubs During Week 4

During Week 4, I tried out some of the different clubs. Now, as some of you are probably thinking, no, I did not go out to an establishment and decided to have some drinks while dancing the night away; I'm not that kind of person. What I mean by clubs is school clubs.

There are many different types of clubs that are here on campus: boxing, dancing, social groups, etc. The ICE Office allowed us to sign up for six different clubs to try out.  Aikido, Karate, Calligraphy, Sado, Koto, and Kendo. Since the two Aikido meetings we could've gone to conflicted with field trips (I don't know who planned that out), nobody signed up for them. I did, however, sign up for the other five and I did three this week.

On Monday was Koto. Koto is, what I was told, the Japanese harp. The one I played had 11 strings, although it can go all the way up to 25. You wear three picks on your right hand (thumb, pointer, and middle fingers) and use your left to hold down the strings to change the pitch of them. Many of us from the summer program got to try out to Koto.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Week 3 Adventures!

This week, unlike last week, had a bit more excitement to it.

Wednesday, I went to karaoke with some of the people from the seminar house. After having a bit of difficulty getting inside (I had trouble speaking with the worker), I finally got inside and I got to sing some songs.

I do have an example of when I sang, however, the file size is too big.

Thursday, there was a party on campus. One of the clubs was putting on an event to help students meet each other at a restaurant either right outside one of the gates. They had lots of different food to eat (pizza, clams, rice, different types of spaghetti, etc.) and two different things for everyone to do. One was the spiciest pizza I have ever had the displeasure of eating (I swear I have burns on my tongue from it). The other was bingo. They actually gave away some really good prizes (tickets to Okinawa, a bicycle, gift cards, and someone from the seminar house got a picture). It was a lot of fun and I am glad I went.

I talked a little with some first year student.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

In Japan: Week 2

First, with some good news: I got into the second class like I wanted! Bad news: It's really, REALLY tough. However, I was ready for that challenge when I came here and I've been studying very hard.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to do as much my second week here because I was busy studying for a test on Monday. However, that doesn't mean that my week or weekend was without adventure.

On Thursday, the resident assistants threw a welcome party for everyone. We had nachos, pizza (which has different toppings from American pizza like shrimp and eggplant), and sushi to eat and we also played Paper Telephone (kind of like telephone, but with pictures). Luckily, my team got second place and we didn't have to eat the mystery cream puffs (some of them were filled with spicy mustard and one guy almost threw up because of them).