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Diary Entries

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Location: Cyprus

But there ARE a few things should update you on...


-I am now good friends with the professor of Law which I initially strongly disliked. I don't know if he will be giving anyone an A, but I really appreciate him giving all of us a challenge in his class. And I will NEVER be a lawyer.
-I'm having the best conversations in Greek with the taxi drivers. I dont know much, but trust me...these conversations end up pretty entertaining, you'll definitely enjoy a ride with us. Random greek words come out
-I went to Ireland and thought I fell in love, until I found out he was gay =( oh, the deception.
-I went to Brussels and Amsterdam as well, and had the time of my life.
-I have been watching episodes of Lost and am now deathly afraid of the fact that I will be on 4 different airplanes for a total of 27 hours on my way back home
-Mosquitoes are still the devil
-I want to study or travel in Africa
-I dont know how Im going to start driving when I get back home...I thikn I'll get on the wrong side of the highway.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Location: Cyprus

Wow! Its been over one month since I last wrote in my journal! It started out being my bible, I went to it at least 3 times a day. The main reason being that I forgot my password haha, but really because I got tied up with Cyprus life. And that's a good thing.

Im a few days away from finally coming home. And I am a bit surprised....I am finding that I am actually looking forward to going home, contrary to what everyone has told me about studying abroad. Most people who have done this before tell me that they didnt want to leave the country that they were studying, they wanted to stay longer. I have no doubt in my mind that this was the best experience of my life, but I honestly cannot wait to go home to my family. Number one, I miss my mother's cooking and the hot sauce that is literally NON-EXISTENT here in Cyprus. You say 'chile' and they look at you like you are a nut. I guess I am a nut.

I cannot believe that it has been over 3 months since I came to Cyprus. Believe it or not, the locals always ask me why in the world I chose Cyprus. I honestly have no idea, but Im glad I came. I wanted to try something different...I wanted to go somewhere where not many people have gone. Before I got here, I would have never been able to tell you where Cyprus was on the world map (mind you, Geography and Geology were my only C's in college). And here I am...on an island, with a population smaller than my city in California. And I have learned and gained more than I could have asked for. It was really a time of reflection for me, a great learning experience. Id love to tell you all about it, but its going to have to wait until tomorrow, because I am going to go eat some Greek food and drink some ouzo to celebrate the end of finals!


Sunday, 02 November 2008

Location: Cyprus

I have had one of the best weeks ever!

I finally took my GRE exam last Saturday. That was a crazy day. I almost didn't take the exam! My taxi driver took me to the wrong address, and he couldn't understand English so he didn't understand that I was telling him that he was going the wrong way. I ended up taking another taxi, by this time I was in the brink of tears because I thought I wasnt going to make it. I was 20 minutes late to the test location, and it took me another good 5 minutes to find the room. When I got there, there was a woman standing in front of the door. She just took one look at me and got to her feet, said, "You're in luck...they started late because there was a problem with the last room. Let me check if you can still go in." I walked in and I was soooo embarrassed, I walked straight to the back. They had just handed the students their booklets. Do you have any idea how lucky I was??? The next line of events didn't matter much, as long as I was in the room taking the exam. My pencil sharpener that I bought for 1 euro broke, so I couldn't sharpen my pencils, and one of them broke. I lost my eraser on the way their. And my hands were shaking for a good hour. In that second taxi ride, there were literally a million things running through my head....and it WAS a horrible day, but I cant help but laugh now that I think about it. Only Linda, only Linda lol

That Saturday I did nothing but watch movies and eat ice cream. It was GREAT!

On Monday I left for Egypt!!!

I got really sea sick that whole day. It took us about 12 hours to get to Egypt, and I was not enjoying my first day on the cruise. While most of the group was having a great dinner, having a few drinks and gathering on the dock....I had a date with my bed. I had no idea how hard the motion sickness would hit me. It was when the waiter put the dinner plate in front of me that I knew I had to leave. After a few hours, I was able to fall asleep (around 8 pm) and didn't wake up until the next morning. I had so much energy the next day.

It took us three hours to get to Cairo and we had a great history lesson on our way there. We had the BEST tour guide! His name was Hany and he is from Alexandria, Egypt. He taught us a lot about the pyramids, King Tut and his family, King Tut's love story, and much more. There were about 5 buses all together (they were all part of the cruise) and each bus had an officer and a government official in them. And our bus was in the front of the line, so we were led by a convoy and a police squad car. Crazy huh? High security, for many reasons but since we were all tourists, we had to be on high alert, especially since it wasnt not too long ago that 11 American tourists were kidnapped in Egypt. I did feel safe though, even though it was a little overwhelming.

Our first stop was the Cairo Museum. Im a history nerd, so I absolutely loved everything in there. For 8 extra euros, I was able to go into the Mummies Room....and guess what I saw!??? King Ramses's mummy! Along with 14 other mummies. It was creepy, interesting, and amazing as well. King Ramses still had his teeth and some of his hair. He ruled Egypt for over 50 years. I also had the opportunity to see King Tut's tombs, his coffin, the canopek jars where they kept his liver, stomach, intestines, and lungs, I saw the jewelry....basically everything from his tomb site except his actual mummy. It is in bad condition and is kept in the British Museum. Cant wait to the see that in the future! The jewelry was so beautiful, it is over 3,000 years old and still looks like new.

After that we headed on the the Nile River, where we had a delicious lunch.

After lunch we drove to the pyramids! This was the most exciting part because I could not wait to ride a camel! Almost all of us decided to ride the camels, so our bus dropped us off a little further, so we could ride for a while towards the pyramids. My camel's name was Michael Jackson (although later, others told me that theirs was Michael as well lol). The owner asked me if I wanted him to trot, only he didn't TROT, he SPRINTED! it was funny. We got to the pyramids and had a great time taking pictures. By the way, I have the BEST PICTURES EVER! I'll upload them soon.

We saw the sphinx as well! It is enormous.

By this time, we were all pretty exhausted, but Hany had promised to take us to the department store to buy some paintings made on Papyrus paper (this kinds of paper lasts forever). Earlier in the day, he also asked us if we were interested in buying Kartoushes (symbolic necklaces in which we can engrave our names in hieroglyphics). I bought a kartoush and I also bought a papyrus painting of The Last Supper for my dad. I cant wait to give it to him!!!!

The ride back home was much better. Do you know why? Because I took some medicine about 2 hours before I got back on the boat. The ride back was much rockier than the first night, but I didnt get sick....and everyone else did. I slept like a baby :)

End of story: I LOVED EGYPT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Location: Cyprus

I've had better days. Today was just a nervous wreck for me. I can't wait until my exam is done and over with!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Location: Cyprus

It was raining cats and dogs today! In fact, for a few minutes, I think it hailed. It all happened so quickly! I got up to shower and it started to thunder. I thought to myself, 'Here we go again.' And when I was showering, I COULD HEAR the thunder and rain. This was nothing compared to last time. We were literally right under the storm. I took some pictures, I'll post them up soon. It was crazy! I was debating on whether I should go to class or not; I have to walk, you know. I was about to call my professor when I heard it get lighter. Don't get me wrong, it was still raining pretty hard, but the wind relaxed and the thunder seemed to have moved on. I had to be in class no matter what though, because I was going to miss Monday and possibly Wednesday because I am going to Egypt!

Yesterday was my brother's birthday...and tomorrow is my dad's 50th birthday. I spoke to my dad today and I asked him how he felt to be half a century and he laughed. In spanish, he said, "I may be old but I still live life as if I was younger than you." And you know, my dad is the clown of the family. By appearance, he looks like a vato loco, but he is the goofiest in the family. I'm definitely sad that I'm missing his big birthday, especially since the whole family will be there...with a mariachi and all (and we've never had a mariachi for a birthday), but I am over the fact that I am missing these big events. What am I gonna do? I wouldn't be in anyone's shoes but mine right now :) Even though I miss home, it's not as bad as I thought it would be...I call home or I receive a call from home at least once a day. If I'm bored, I'll call my mom twice, just to bug her. But I love hearing from them.

I have had a great day today. It was very productive, I got some great news from my financial aid office, I enjoyed my classes more than usual, and I can safely say that I am ready for the GRE. Well...I'm ready as I can be, and I have come to accept them. Now I just need to focus on sleeping better and resting, because I haven't had enough of that in the past week. I dont even have midterms this week, but I am growing gray hairs. Everyone else that's not in my program (the GLS kids are all broken up into 4 different programs and mine is the smallest) is having midterms this week, and you can see it in their eyes that they are stressed. I feel the pain!

I made another Cypriot friend today!! Her name is Elena, and....I know this is bad....but we were complaining about our professor (who I think is from another planet). We just don't like how he talks down to us and treats us like we don't know anything. It is SO hard to learn when you're treated that way. I have to bite my tongue on most days. I always respect my teachers and their credentials...but some people are not made for teaching.

By now, I have learned that the Cypriot locals are not going to come up to me. My program director told me they are straight out shy, mainly because of the language barrier. I thought it was just because they didn't like me. So I have to build up some courage and start conversations like I would back home. I went in to the GLS office today to tell them of my plan to start a new organization on campus, and they also told me that several students have come in the office and expressed how hard it has been to mingle with the locals. This new organization, I have named it Global Learning Semesters Student Association (GLSSA), is going to help bring the American culture with the Cypriot. Im soooo excited! Long story short, I have managed to collect about 20 signatures from my GLS folks. There are definitely more, but they were all that I could find today. I wull submit the form tomorrow so we can get the approval process started right away.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Location: University Library, Cyprus

3:30 pm

I came to the library to study and on my way there, I decided to stop by the Student Affairs office. Even though I'm only going to be here for one semester, i still want to get involved or volunteer for any events that the SA office puts together. The young woman who was helping was very excited that I was interested in being involved. She provided me with the list of organizations (there are less than 15) and the number to call if I wanted to join any of them.

Then I asked her how I could start my own. And she asked me if I was sincerely interested, I thought about it for a second because I knew how much work it would take and I would be leaving soon anyway. But I decided that if I found enough students to join, then they could help me keep it going long after I was gone. There are 8 cultural clubs on campus but none are Latino oriented...and that makes sense because I am one of the few Latinas that has studied there. I have met about 5 Spaniards, 2 Colombians, and 1 Mexicana. I dont know the exact statistics on how many study there per year...but I know it's not a lot. Then it occurred to me that I could start a campus organization for my study abroad program, Global Learning Semesters. We could do volunteer work, cultural, educational and social events. I am a genius! :)

I emailed the staff from GLS to see if that is a possibility and I cant wait to hear back from them! I have to have a minimum of 5 members to start (and there are about 60 of us), and once I get those signatures submitted the director approves or disapproves, then we have elections. The cool thing is that each new club is given 250 euros to hold events. I am getting too ahead of myself, especially when I should be thinking about EXAMS right now! But you know what, I have been over stressing myself out. I need to breathe, smell the roses and do something that I love.

As if I didnt sign up for enough, I bumped into the Vice President of ASG (like ASI back home) and he said he heard that I was interested in becoming involved. He asked me if Id like to come to the next meeting and see if I would like to help out with future events. I sat and spoke with him for a while and I told him that I was very involved back home, especially with ASI and organizing events.

So I cant wait!!


back to studying :)

Monday, 20 October 2008

Location: in my kitchen...Im hungry!, Cyprus

9:00 pm

I just got home from my last class. Monday's are my looooongest days!

This sounds very much like my first day of school, but I made a new friend today! Her name is Natalia and she is in my Anthropology class. And I've seen her before, but we never talked. And today we sat next to each other in class, we were sitting RIGHT next to a girl and a guy who kept on talking during the whole class. I mean, I've had some rude classmates in the past, but man...these guys did not stop. And I don't think they heard one word from the professor. Natalia and I kept looking at each other the whole time because it was getting very distracting, and we were debating whether or not to say something to them. Just as I was about to open my mouth to say something, the professor clapped his hands and told them to be quiet. He said that he's been trying to get their attention for the past hour and that if they'd like to continue talking, they could leave the class. Finally! But do you think that stopped them from talking? No. How rude!

Anywho, Natalia and I exchanged information and I told her that I was glad to meet her because I had not made many Cyprus friends here, especially girls. She said, 'I know. They're B's...' yea, that. I just stared at her though, I didnt know what to say lol. She was born in Cyprus, but at three years old she and her family moved to Los Angeles and she moved back to Cyprus two years ago...but she says she is moving back to California next year for graduate school. She is really cool and we are meeting up for coffee soon! (Coffee....there I go again. I am always drinking coffee now! no bueno).

Monday, 20 October 2008

Location: in my kitchen...Im hungry, Cyprus

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Location: Coffee Beanery, Cyprus

Im exhausted. Mentally and physically.

Ive been trying hard to study but I cant focus long enough. I've been sick-er this weekend. I've been sick ever since I got back from Italy, and the medicine the pharmacists didnt help. I just rested and drank tons of tea, I have been getting better. And now that everyone is back from their Europe trip, they have been getting really sick. My best guess is that jet lag has caught up with them or they caught something while they were traveling like I did at first. But now I FEEL HORRIBLE. Perfect timing, too. I woke up this morning and felt like my body was going to give out.

But I had to get out of bed. I planned on studying all day and I have to finish another presentation for tomorrow. I knew that if I stayed home, I would be tempted to study in my bed...and you know how that goes.

My GRE exam is next Saturday. Every time I think about it or even say that word....my stomach churns. I feel like no matter how much I study, I wont do well the day of. I'm a horrible test taker!


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Recent Messages

From Adriana B.
I'm glad you are having fun. Keep taking lots of great pictures!
From daisy
hey linda how u been i miss you alot....can u believe i have a 3.0 GPA!!!!OMG...
From Diana
Hey Linda: I'm glad you are having so much fun. Enjoy every single moment of it. You will cherish those days for the rest of your life. I know I still think about my days in Europe and I want to go back. By the way, I had a baby girl. Can't wait for you to meet her. She llama Sofia Isabel. Te cuidas!!
From Pati
I love the picture of you on the walk way sitting down...wow (Day2 Athens)
From Pati
Hey Chica!!

I love reading your stories its a nice distraction from the Southern Cali crazy life. I'll check in again later...take care
From Xochitl
Hola Linda,
Sounds like your having lots of fun....enjoy every minute....Did you really eat snails? Your Stepping UP family misses you and we can’t wait to have you back! Te cuidas!
Abrazos,
Response: Yes I did! They are okay, but too salty and a little too squishy. Say hello to my students pleeeeeease :) Are they surviving? lol
From Maggy
Wow!! Its sounds great. I am sure you celebrated your Birthday and had a blast. can wait for your next journal entry this will be cool to show our students.

Love ya
Response: yes! show them, its something they must ALL do! feel free to show them my pictures and if you ever need anything, let me know! miss you amiga!
From Patricia Perez
Felicidades! Happy late birthday!
Response: Gracias dra. P!
From Karla Carina!
sounds fricking amazing!
keep it coming!

:)
Response: sure thing cuz! keep up the good work at CSULB! make the familia proud.
From Dr. Juan Lara
Linda!
Thanks for the travel log. I didn't know where you were going with the Paris story. Don't take any boat rides with guys you don't know! Explore, travel and see as much as you can of that region, especially take the time to visit the Greek and Turkish sides of the island. No time to sleep. Sleep when you return to The OC! You have a wealth of archeological sites. Visit! I look forward to the next Journal entry. And, oh yes, keep your left hand ring finger free from the charm of a guy who believes he is the reincarnation of Alexander the Great!
Que Dios te bendiga!
Dr. Lara
Response: Dr. Lara! it's great to hear from you, and that you enjoyed my log. I hope you check it often, Im sure I'll have more interesting stories. Paris story: I dont think I'll ever be that....dumb...to do the same. No boat/car/trolly offers taken! :)

Not sure if you really want to hear this, but since it seems to be something EVERYONE mentions: the boys want to marry all the international girls! Ive gotten proposed to ( in a way) twice already. And I barely even knew their name! But I found it to be more funny more than awkward. They got over it in a heartbeat anyway.

un abrazo!

p.s. I got you your bow tie with the Greek flag colors!
From delia
I love this! Thanks for keeping me in the loop...this seems like so much fun ;)
Response: you are welcome! i want you to know how I'm doing :)
From Leo
Hello
Response: hi leo!!! i miss the stepping up family! Say hello to the gang for me, and Allen and Amin David!