Author Archives: evavilloslada

2 Months in DC

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Finally, I have finished all my midterms. I had all of them during this week so I could summarize my week with me being stressed out and studying all the time. Thankfully I finished on Friday and I didn’t do bad on my exams.

It has been already two months since I’m in Washington DC, and I love this city more and more each day. Although I spent all my week studying, the weekend has been eventful. On Saturday, I woke up at 7 am to go see The White House Gardens, they did a tour around the gardens for free so I couldn’t say no to a chance to take a closer look at the White House. We had to wait for a little bit, but it was completely worth it. We were so close it felt unreal, however I wish I could be able to get inside,  I know people that have been inside and they told me it is amazing. The gardens were huge, and there were photos all around showing President Trump having events in the gardens, they even had an orchestra playing in the garden. Also the views of the Washington Monument were breathtaking. I can’t imagine living in a house with those views.

During the afternoon, we went to the Blacklight Run, and it was so much fun. It was $25, but I would definitely pay again for it. It is basically a run in which you have powder and you can throw it to everyone, also during the race there are people throwing  powder at you. And in the end, when you finished there was a DJ, like a huge party with powder flying everywhere. It is really a experience I would recommend to anyone. You end up being a mess but that is the best part. It was a 5 kilometer race, but if you don’t like running you can do it walking, lots of people didn’t run and had fun anyways. There were also food trucks so you could also have dinner there, everything was perfectly prepared.

On Sunday we started by having an ice cream sandwich in Captain Cookie. I had never tried one before, and I loved it. It is like ice-cream but with cookie, the perfect combination. It costs 5 dollars but you won’t regret it, I swear.

Then we rented bikes to go around the National Mall, and to  see the Jefferson Monument. Half an hour is free and you have lots of stations everywhere to leave the bike and take it again. An hour is 2 dollars which is quite cheap in my opinion. The day was wonderful and I loved biking around DC. This was my first time seeing the Jefferson Monument, and it is my favorite one so far. I loved Lincoln’s too, but seeing Jefferson’s one from the other side of the water is simply beautiful.

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Going back to the reality.

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These past two weeks have been amazing, going to New York and Florida has been an amazing experience and I can’t wait to go again.

Sadly the fall break has ended and we have to go back to the reality, studying for the midterms. This next week I have three midterms and lots of assignments, so I haven’t done anything but studying this entire week. As I have never had an exam here before, I’m quite overwhelmed with everything.

Nevertheless I got to do a few things during the week, one of them being going to the cinema. Here the cinemas are awesome, you have much more space and you can even lay down. We want to try all the types so we went to the Dolby Cinema and I have to say I was speechless. The difference with other cinemas is that there is an Astonishing brightness, deep darks and vibrant colors render each moment with spectacular impact. Also a breathtaking  sound in the room that flows all around you. The sleek, power recliners reverberate to move you deep into the story. It’s quite expensive, 18$, but is something you should try at least once. We went to see Blade Runner and the special effects were much better, I really loved it. Also remember to bring your GWorld with you because you will get discounts.

On Saturday night I needed to take a break so we went to have dinner to Chinatown. We went walking because it was a beautiful night and it is only 30 minutes walk. There were lots of places so we had trouble choosing one. We went to a small place and we ate for 15$. Then they gave us a fortune cookie, they don’t do this in Spain so I was kind of excited. It said that people will follow me to hear me talk, kind of a good thing.

This week hasn’t been a really interesting one, but after all, studying is more important. So I wish best week I have more stories to tell.

Fall Break

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The Fall Break has been simply awesome. In a short period of time I have done so many things I don’t know even how to start. Me and four other friends decided to go to Florida, but not only to one place, we wanted to go to Miami and Orlando, so that’s what we did.

We started in Orlando, everyone knows that the outlets there are amazing and who does not love shopping? I completely do, so we spent the first day shopping. The outlet was huge, you would need more than a day if you want to go inside every shop, and there were so many sales that the temptation to buy was really big, at least for me and my friends. I bought five pairs of shoes, and I didn’t spend that much. In Spain, brands such as Nike and Adidas are very expensive, but in Orlando I bought a pair of Adidas for 25 dollars when in Spain they cost 80 euros. You can imagine how happy I was that I had found such a bargain.

Other thing everyone know that you have to do if you visit Orlando is going to one of the parks. I am a fan of Harry Potter, so I didn’t have to think about which park we should go, I chose both that have The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Island of Adventure, and Universal Studios of Florida. It was quite expensive, 175 dollars for both parks, but as I said, I’m crazy about Harry Potter so I didn’t really mind paying that much. We were kind of scared because it was supposed to rain during the whole fall break, but we were lucky and it only rained when we were finishing the Park, so we could do most of the things we wanted to.

Although both parks were amazing, the main attraction was The Wizarding World. They had all the places from the movies there, from the Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, and everyone was wearing shirts and clothes from Harry Potter. There were many rides and restaurants to eat, everything imitating the films. My favorite ride was the one inside of the castle, it was like you were playing a Quidditch game, and the 3D was amazing. It was like if you were really there.  Even the waiting was good because while you waited you were walking inside the castle. The other thing I loved was that you could take the Hogwarts Express from one park to the other, and it was identical even in the inside. Clearly if you like Harry Potter this is your place. If you don’t like it you would also have a great time. Two of my friend haven’t seen the movies, and they loved it, so I think you should go either way.

 

It has much more things to do than the Wizarding World, two amazing roller coasters for example, water rides, 3D rides, Springfield,  etc. The other ride I loved  was the Jimmy Fallon Show one, it was like if you were racing through New York in a Ferrari and it really felt like it. I was in New York last weekend, and I can say that it felt really close to being actually there,  it was really impressive.

We finished our Sunday going to Disney Springs to walk around and have dinner, there were many restaurants there and it was beautiful to see it at night. Unfortunately we were so tired we didn’t go downtown, I have heard it is really nice but we didn’t have enough time to see it.

 

 

Monday morning we took a bus to Miami. We had the apartment in Ocean Drive, just in front of the beach, so we walked around and took some pictures at the beach.  Then we went to one of my favorite places there, Wynwood Walls. The whole neighborhood has painted walls, and the place where the famous ones are is amazing. I really loved the art, some painted walls were really special and they change some of them during the year. There are only few ones that always stay there.

 

 

We also went to Bayside where we took a cruise to see everything, I loved it, you could see all Miami and the islands from the boat, and the views at night were stunning. They even showed us the millionaires’ houses and a few yachts, it really makes you feel jealous, at the end of the day  everyone wants to be rich. The tour lasted one hour and a half and it cost 25 dollars, which I think is worth it, although it would be better if it was free.

 

 

Our last day was sunny, so we spent it chilling on the beach and enjoying the sun. The beach in Miami is a really good one, and there weren’t many people because it was Tuesday morning, so it was really nice. Then we finished our trip walking down Lincoln Road and visiting some souvenirs shops there.

I really loved Florida and I am planning on coming back,  even if we visited many things, four days is not enough to see everything. The good thing is now I have an excuse to go back.

“Concrete jungle where dream are made of”

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The best week so far, and that is because of New York. Right now I am writing this post at 1:00 am in the bus coming back to DC from New York, and I don’t have words to explain what this weekend means to me. Since I was 10 years old I had been dreaming about visiting New York, all the films I watched unfolded here, in the city that never sleeps, so coming here is something I always had in mind.

Unfortunately, we could only come for a weekend, three days are not enough to see everything but it is still worth it. Taking a bus from Washington DC to New York takes only 4 hours and, if you chose wisely, you can make it with 30 dollars. So at 7 am Friday we left to see the city everyone talks about. We arrived in Manhattan, we had lunch and start walking to two of the main attractions, the Empire State Building and Times Square, we didn’t go up to the top of The Empire Building because it is quite expensive and the views are better from The Top of the Rock, so we choose the last one.

The first time I saw Times Square, I have to say I was impressed, there is nothing alike in Spain so it was stunning for me. Then we went walking down to The World Trade Center to see the 11S memorial, and then to Wall Street, where we saw the bull and the little girl in front of it. But the best part of the day was seeing the sunset from the Staten Island free cruise, the views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty where breathtaking and the whole trip was incredible.

Then we walked to Chinatown to have dinner, the neighborhood was really cool, there are lots of places to eat there, and the food was amazing. We finally ended up crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and watching Manhattan at night. We had an apartment in Brooklyn, but it was quite far so we had to take the metro. I highly recommend you to book an apartment near or in Manhattan because otherwise you are going to spend a lot of money and time in the metro.

 

The next day we woke up at 9 because we had to visit many things. After having breakfast we decided on going to Central Park and there we rented bikes so we could see the whole park. We spent two hours cycling and seeing the park, and even in two hours we couldn’t see everything, so next time I am in New York I am definitely going to Central Park, it is a place everyone should take their time on visiting, seeing the lakes, going to the MET, lying in the grass, etc. Cycling there is one thing I highly recommend, it is only 15 dollars for having an amazing experience.

 

 

On Saturday we had dinner in a place called Black Tap, where they have amazing milkshakes, I tried the Oreo one and it was one of the best I have ever tried, besides they were huge and looked great.We then visited San Patrick’s Cathedral and The Top of The Rock. Clearly, those were the best views of Manhattan, I’m grateful we chose it because the sunset there was something especial.

We ended up going to Grand Central and finally to Times Square, at night is much more better and all the lights make it seems as if it was in the morning, We stayed there chilling and enjoying the atmosphere.

Our last day we spent it walking around Soho and Little Italy, where we had a wonderful Italian lunch. We also visited the Washington Square, and we were lucky to see a TV show being filmed, maybe we could even appear somewhere in the crowd.

We kept on walking till Chelsea Market, a beautiful place where you can find multiple places to eat and relax. Finally, our walk ended in the Flatirion Building, after that the group separated because some people was going back to DC. I stayed until 1 am, and my last moments in New York were in Times Square watching a magician that left me speechless with all his tricks, it was really funny and astonishing watching him.

Then we took the bus and here am I, writing this post, and so exited about the whole weekend. I did other things during the week, like going to Katy Perry’s concert, but New York deserved a post on its own, so I will leave that history for another time.

I would tell you guys to go to New York but I know I don’t need to because everyone wants to go there. I hope you love it as much as I do, because after all there is nothing you can’t do in New York.

 

 

University systems, new cultures and Kayaking

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Time flies, and being here for a month feels like it has been only a week. Thankfully I’m here for the whole year so I have time to experience everything without being in a rush.

This week has been a relaxed one in the new experiences field, so I haven’t done many things, but I had a lot of work to do for class.

I had my first exam on Wednesday and it was easier than I thought it would be. The system here is quite different from the one at home. Here they focus on practice and readings during the year, and the exams are not so difficult. Meanwhile, in Spain you don’t have much work to do during the semester but you’ll have to do well in hard exams in order to get good grades or pass. Normally I barely touch a book until the week before the exams, so in one hand it is better for me in Spain because I have much more free time, but in the other hand I think you don’t learn as much. Here, as you practice every week, you became more familiar with the topics and you acquire permanent knowledge.

I particularly prefer this system because, although I have many things to work on during the week, in the end I feel like I am  benefiting much more.

Even if I didn’t do as many exciting  things as the weeks before, I sure did three that I highly recommend.

First of all,  on Friday morning, we went to Walmart. Yeah, I know, not such an experience. But I recommend you guys go there to buy groceries because is way cheaper than Whole Foods. You can get there by uber and it’s 8$ more or less, so if you’re four it’s perfect. We bought nearly the whole market and it didn’t cost me that much, so if you have to buy many things Walmart is your place.

On Friday evening  it was Starry Night Eid Mela, an event the GW Pakistani Students’ Association organized.  It was at the  Marvin Center at 7:30, there were different dance performances, some of them were typical from Pakistan so I had the chance to get to know the culture better. I did that not only with the dances but also with the food. At the end of the day food is part of our cultures, and the food was amazing. Of course, the whole event was for free so I couldn’t miss it.

 

On Saturday I went to do kayaking to the Georgetown Waterfront. It was one of the best experiences I have had in DC so far. The tickets were 16$ for a one person kayak and 22$ for a double one, so it was quite cheap, and so much worth it. The weather was perfect, it’s better to go when it’s hot and sunny because you get wet while doing it, but don’t worry falling is nearly impossible. We had so much fun racing each other and then chilling. Just being there, without moving, enjoying the atmosphere, relaxing made me feel in peace. We even put some music on while we were rowing along the Potomac river. We ended up having  cupcakes and coffee in Baked and Wired, my favorite place in Georgetown.

I’m definitely doing everything  again, all of you should.

4th Week

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New week, new things to tell. As always here, Washington DC is full of  things to do, and of course I took advantage of it.

We started by going to the Pentagon on the 11 of September, as all of you know it’s been 16 years since the terrorist attacks, and what a better place to remember it than in the Pentagon? Of course, we couldn’t go inside, but a guide was there to explain us everything. He even had pictures to show us how the place ended up after the plane crashed. Later we walked around the memorial, and I have to say it was beautiful. The way they have represented all the victims there is inspiring.

 

 

 

 

During the week I was so occupied doing all my homework, and reading so many things, I barely had time to go to the gym. And talking again about the gym, I feel obliged to tell you about the bowls they have on the bar upstairs. These bowls are healthy, made completely of fruits, and they taste so good. It’s a bowl for 10 dollars but it’s so worth it, and it’s like a whole meal. There are four types to choose from, and you can add any fruit you like, so you all should try them.

 

The weekend arrived and I had so many things planned. First we went to Alexandria, it’s a city near Washington, and you can get there by metro or uber. It isn’t that big of a city, but it’s a great place to go for a walk and spend the afternoon chilling in the harbor. The view was amazing so we took a coffee by the river, and then came back. We were planning a gathering with the other exchange students, and each one of us brought different kinds of food, so we decided to make Spanish tortilla. We had so much fun. I wish we could do that everyday.

 

On Saturday we went to the H Street Festival, it was full of trucks to eat and to buy things, from clothes to jewelry. Along the street there were like five stages or so where people were singing, dancing and performing. It was a really cool place to go. We spent the afternoon there, walking around, buying things, and trying different types of food. The place was so crowded it was difficult to even walk, and it was so hot that at times I feel so overwhelmed I just wanted to leave, but later in the afternoon it was much better, and I really had a great time there.

 

To finish my  fourth week here, on Sunday I went to St. Agustin Catholic Church to see a gospel mass. The church is really beautiful and the atmosphere was something I had never see before, all the people were singing together, really feeling the songs, and I was moved with all of it.  I think it’s something everyone should see, whatever your religion is.

Getting to know DC and its sourroundings.

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One week more, and many new things to tell.

It’s been my third week in Washington DC and I’m starting to feel like it’s not summer anymore, two weeks since classes started and everything is overwhelming. I have so many readings and papers to do that I can’t catch up, but it’s okay, I need time to adjust to this new system, everyone of you is probably having the same problem.

Either way I also had time to go to new places and even visit a new city. We are still adjusting to Washington DC, and one of the things that I really love is walking down to Georgetown and looking around all the shops and restaurants. Georgetown is really beautiful and the walk there by the Potomac river is too. One girl from DC told me that the best cupcakes of Washington were there, in a small place named Baked and Wired, so there we went. The place was awesome and we had an oreo cupcake that tasted incredible, the coffee was also really good compared to the ones I have tried in The United States, as coffee here is also different from Spain it has been difficult for me to find one that I really like, but I found it there, and all of you guys should go to try at least the cupcakes, there are so many  cupcakes to choose from and the place is also really cool.

I also want to talk you guys about the gym, I have been going this three weeks, it’s a really good gym and it’s for free. It has all the machines that you could possibly need, the only problem is that there are usually lots of students there, but you should probably be able to use any machine you want if you don’t go at 5 pm.

This week I also went to Baltimore to spend  a day there. Baltimore was really nice but I didn’t like it at much as  Philadelphia because there weren’t many things to visit. Anyways it was a really good place to spend our Saturday, we arrived at 11 am, walked around for a bit and then we had lunch in Hard Rock Cafe,  the food was awesome, as was the place. After lunch we went to the Italian neighbor and we were so lucky because it was the Madonna Arts Festival so the streets were crowded with people and lots of paintings in the floor. It was really beautiful. Then we went to  Fell’s Point neighbor took some pictures and came back to the Inner Harbor. It’s not a must, but you should probably go there to chill and have a nice day.