Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Hello friends! I didn´t write in a very long time... But I´m back in Spain, I´am a senior now and my graduation is going to be next May. A lot of things have changed in my life, now I live in Madrid with two of my friends, I go to class in the mornings, I have an internship in the afternoons in a newspaper and I have to talk in Spanish almost all the time.
I miss the United States and China so much! But thanks to Facebook, Skype and MSN I can talk with the people. Two of my classmates in China are now in Madrid learning Spanish and I went with them to my hometown. And now it´s Tuesday already! And I have to go to my work!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Take advantage of the opportunities

Today is the international orientation day! I was helping the new international students. I talked with internationals from last year, I saw some members of the staff and I have a lot of good and sad memories.
It is really nice to welcome the new students and help them telling where are the buildings on campus but it is also really sad to realize that my year is over and I'm going back to Spain in less than a week.
We meet at 8.30 am at Olmsted and we started to meet the new students. They are from all over the world, including France, Spain, Italy, China, Japan, Kenya, South Africa, Mexico, etc.
I met two students from my home university who are going to study here for one year.
During the morning, Leslie Mamoorian, the Associate Director of Admission, talked about education in the States and gave examples about how to study, attend to class and asked me to give an advice to the new students.
I just said to do the readings before class because it helps you a lot and you don't feel lost when the professor is talking about it.Then I gave a campus tour with stops at Bell Center, Cowles library, Health Center, FAC, Old Main, Meredith and Olmsted.
The best part was when I introduced them to the Journalism School facculty. I had lunch with Carla McCrea and Professor Wright and we were talking about my first days at Drake and how everything worked with work and talking with people.
They told me to talk about how I success on campus and I just told them to take advantage of all the opportunities and do as many things as possible.I gave the example of the newspaper, The Times-Delphic, and how writing and taking pictures I met new people and my English improved.

Picture from last year meeting with American host families

Monday, August 13, 2007

Coming back to Iowa

I arrived on Saturday night, after taking three planes, a panic moment at Beijing airport, a lost plane in Minneapolis, another lost baggage and 13 hours of difference.
On Saturday morning, while I was checking in at the airport I had some trouble with inmigration. I had to buy a plane ticket from the States to Spain so I could probe that I'm going to be here less than 90 days as a tourist. I bought my ticket and then the computer chose me to do a security checking. I almost lost the first plane.
The stop in Japan was cool and nothing unexpected happened. But when I arrived in Minneapolis more things happened. I was waiting at the immigration line for more than one hour, then I spoke some words in Chinese when I was supposed to be speaking English, and I was at gate B and my plane to Des Moines was from gate G. I tried my best to take it but I didn't make it. When I arrived at the gate my plane was leaving the airport. I had to wait for another couple of hours until the next flight.
I arrived in Des Moines around 7pm and one of my suitcases didn't arrive! I went to the help desk and the assistant told me that my baggage was in Beijing, but I just saw it a few hours before in Minneapolis. I was so confused, disappointed and worried that I couldn't believe why my baggage was lost again.
But I have good news. On Sunday they called me and they found my baggage, they delivered it at home and everything is perfect again.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My Chinese graduation

Last Friday it was my graduation from IES Beijing. All the students and the staff members went to a Chinese restaurant to have lunch together. After the lunch we received our diplomas, there were some awards, people talked about their experiences and then time for pictures.
In this one all the IES Beijing members: they were really nice and helpful. My Chinese class with our professor, Zhong Laoshi: she was very helpful. My first two weeks I couldn't differentiate the Chinese sounds she was teaching us and I couldn't memorize the characters for our daily exams.
Our calligraphy class, our teacher didn't speak any English but thanks to Anne-Reed and Connie everything worked. Fang Laoshi is a man full of culture and knowledge who can teach you amazing things about China, specially calligraphy!
It was really cool that some students were wearing Chinese dresses during the graduation. The silk looks so pretty.
Next destination: Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Just one more week in China!!

At the end of April I was sad because the year at Drake was almost over, then I keep my international experience abroad one more month with a Drake Summer Seminar in China, then I applied for a two month program with IES Beijing & Chengde and now: FIVE MORE DAYS and this course is over too.
Why does time fly? Why the summer was so great and fast? It was like yesterday when I was doing all the applications, applying for a visa at the China Embassy in Chicago, moving out of Carpenter Hall. But now, it isn't May 16th.
It is already August 6th. I have travel all over China, I have met many Americans and Chinese people, I have learned Chinese, I have improved my English, I have read some books, I have visited almost everything in Shanghai and Beijing, I have taken thousands of pictures, I have taken calligraphy classes, I have gone to a Chinese soccer game, I have gone to a Beijing Opera, I have lived with a Chinese family, I have gone to the coolest place in the world: Tibet, and I have missed Drake family a lot. I have learned so much this summer!!
And yes I'm Spanish, as it appears written in the Chinese calligraphy in the picture, 西班牙人: xībānyá rén, and I miss my family, friends and home, but this have been the year of the opportunities and the year of my dreams and I don't want to say goodbye to it.
I don't like goodbyes and I'm next to another one. But at least on Saturday morning (Chinese time), I'm going to take three planes and arrived 24 hours later and with a 13-hour difference in Des Moines and see all of you again. I can't wait to share stories, go to Kansas City, walk around Drake campus, go to Drake Dinner, go to Mars Cafe, go to an Iowa Cubs game, visit the Iowa State Fair, etc.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Woody Allen in my hometown!!

Yes, the movie director Woody Allen is in Oviedo, a city in the north of Spain, my hometown.
Allen is doing his new movie next to my mother's job in the center of the city, Mercado el Fontan. But he also has been in Barcelona and other places in Asturias next to the ocean.
There are some movie stars like Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem with him. I hope it is as good as Match Point, my favorite until this moment.
Penelope Cruz riding a bike in Oviedo.
Photos: my friend Juan and Reuters.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Trip to Xi'an I

Last weekend I went to Xi'an. It is located in the center of China, around 12 hours by train from Beijing. It is a place full of history and it has been the capital of 13 dynasties.
We left Beijing on Thursday afternoon after our Chinese midterm. We went by taxi to the West Railway Station to take the train that departed at 7 p.m. When we started to plan the trip we were going to be just four people but at the end we were ten. We bought our tickets very late and we only found hard seats!! The trip was long, we couldn't sleep for more than three hours and the train was crowded and hot at dinner time. Everybody was eating noodles. We arrived at Xi'an around 6 a.m. and we tried to buy train tickets to go back to Beijing on Saturday night but all the tickets were sold out, so after two hours waiting in the train station, we decided to go to our hotel.
We asked a taxi driver about it and he said that our hotel was very closed and we could walk. We started to walk, we get lost, it started to rain, etc. It took us around 45 minutes to arrive in our hotel... By this time we just wanted to sleep, but it was too early and our rooms weren't ready yet.After a long nap, we went out for lunch and we found some Starbucks coffee. I really miss coffee in China, but there are Starbucks everywhere in Shanghai, Beijing and Xi'an.We explored Xi'an all the afternoon and night. We visited the Forest of Stones Steles Museum, the Bell Tower, the Drum Tower, the City Wall, etc.

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