Ending my abroad experience in Switzerland has arguably been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure. I’ve only been gone for three days, and for some reason I already miss the sound of the trains rushing by and the ridiculously expensive food that constantly had me checking the balance of my bank account.
Now I’ve realized that I can’t glance out my window and see the French Alps across the lake. I’ve realized that my default foreign language of French is no longer helpful. I’ve realized that all the customs that shocked me at the beginning are ones that I’ve grown to love. I’ve realized that I can’t just hop on a train with my half-pass and voie 7 and travel to basically any country in Europe. Continue reading “The End of My Abroad Experience in Switzerland”
When travelling around the world, especially to countries that have been predominantly Christian for hundreds of years, there are so many extravagant churches that are must sees: Notre Dame in Paris, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, or La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. But here are a few of my favorite churches around the world that are just a bit atypical… Continue reading “Six of My Favorite Churches Around the World”
The Christmas vibes in Switzerland are completely different than those in the U.S. Back home, there are Christmas lights on every building and Christmas music playing all the time. In Switzerland though, if any place is completely decked out in lights and blasting Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” it’s very “American”. But don’t get me wrong – the Swiss definitely know how to get into the Christmas spirit. They have a place so filled with Swiss Christmas spirit, it feels like Santa and his elves are right around the corner: the Montreux Christmas market. Continue reading “The Swiss Christmas Spirit”
Usually when people think of travelling around the world, they think of travelling to major cities: London, Paris, Tokyo, New York. And I’m not going to lie, that’s where I usually go too. But while those cities have amazing qualities of their own, many times the pure culture of an area is found off the beaten path. When I took a trip to Amsterdam, I took a day trip to a small town called Leeuwarden to visit some friends that lived there. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but it turned out to be amazing.
We all know that my time abroad in Europe so far has been full of surprises – that’s what this post is all about. But the season of fall was another big shocker. Growing up in Hawaii, I had never experienced the season of fall before. The leaves don’t change color and fall off of the trees, and I had never travelled anywhere at that time of the year – until this year. Going nineteen years without having this experience though, made me have some expectations about fall that didn’t really turn out to be right…
This week I went to Greece, where I tested my haggling skills. Now, there was a major mental barrier that I had to conquer before I could actually haggle. I actually felt bad thinking about arguing for a lower price with people who might need the money.
Then I realized that the vendors were prepared for people to haggle. They probably previously raised the price to compensate. And let’s be real, I don’t have a ton of money to be throwing around either – thank you, college.
I ended up successfully haggling for two of my souvenirs…well, I got them down to two-thirds of the original price. Obviously, I’m no means an expert, but here are a few tips that I learned on through my experiences. Continue reading “The Art of Haggling”
I’ve officially started my study abroad experience. I’ve been in Switzerland for six days. Six whole days. I’ve officially been studying abroad in Switzerland for six whole days. And it’s been amazing. Lake Geneva, locally known as Lac Léman, is one of the most picturesque areas I’ve ever seen. The food here, especially the bread, is amazingly delicious. However, there are still some cultural differences and surprising Swiss customs that take a little getting used to. I’d been to Europe before and noticed the obvious cobblestone streets and ubiquitous smokers, but there were a few aspects of the culture that I’ve only noticed now that I’m living here.
Last week, the new International Market Place opened in Waikiki. Now, before I went, I didn’t have high expectations. I just expected it to be another shopping mall with the same old stores, but, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
Hawaii is always described as a melting pot of different cultures, but, let’s be real, it’s always thought of as a melting pot of Asian cultures. I’ve even written quite a bit about the influence of the Asian cultures in Hawaii in my posts on Chinatown and the Japanese Byodo-In Temple. However, there are other cultures in Hawaii that, while they have smaller populations, have an influential presence, like the Greeks. Just this past weekend, Honolulu’s annual Greek Festival took place at Ala Moana Beach Park, and, as precedented by years past, my family and I stopped by.
Monday morning, I woke up to a bunch of texts and phone calls from some friends telling me that they were going to hike Manoa Falls that morning. I’d wanted to go on a hike the entire summer, but it just hadn’t happened. But that day, it was going to happen.