Tag Archives: halloween

Halloweekend

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Bernie Sanders’ book tour is coming through GW next month, and the news of free tickets brought students out in droves. The box office was set to open at 12:00 on Thursday last week, but when my roommate and I arrived at 10:40 there were already over 100 people there. By noon there were closer to 1000. It’s not hard to see why people are so enthusiastic about it here, my media classes are understandably packed with political discussions and the I’ve met several people involved with explicitly or tangentially political associations.

In my first blog post this semester I said that I was looking for exciting and unique experiences from DC, and after two months I’m confident in saying that GW has delivered. While I still think Hasan Minhaj underperformed as a comedian, I can’t fault his drive to send a message. He filled a basketball arena with close to 1000 students and kept them engaged through what was essentially an hour-long anti-Trump pro-refugee lecture. A free ticket to Bernie was well worth the two hour wait for me, I look forward to writing about it.

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Damn socialists at it again

This week has also been my first real experience of Halloween. Most Americans don’t know this, but Halloween basically doesn’t exist for most of the world. At home in Australia there might be a handful of parties and a few kids trick-or-treating each year, but we’re talking tiny numbers. It’s not a national holiday by any stretch; seeing a carved pumpkin would be a bizarre novelty to most Aussies.

A handful of exchange leaders took charge and organised some stuff at 1959 last weekend. It was my first taste of a Halloween being taken seriously, and I have to say it was a lot of fun. Most of the exchange students there hadn’t ever experienced it before either, so it did take a while for us to work out what the deal was. The smell of freshly-carved pumpkin is a strange thing to the uninitiated.

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Solid first attempt

I’m looking forward to more Halloween fun this week. I’ve still got a bunch of assignments to soldier through, but I’m confident that they won’t stop me getting the cultural experience I came here for. Still have to wait almost a month for Bernie though.

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Halloween is a huge thing here and last weekend wasn’t everything, not at all. On Monday the exchange leaders prepared an event in the rooftop of 1959 E Street with pumpkins, music, and candy. It had been a long time since all of us were together, now all of us have things to do and I only see some of the exchange students and leaders. So it was really great to meet with everyone again. We had a really good time carving pumpkins, it was my first time and I really had fun, now I have my little pumpkin as decoration in my room.

Tuesday was the real Halloween day, and of course we went to do trick or treat.  A group  from the university planned everything for us, and when we saw on Facebook it was going to be in the embassies we thought there was no better way to spend the day, and we did´t need costumes. So we met in Kogan Plaza and walked to Embassy Row where we started going from embassy to embassy. Some of them only gave  one candy per person because we were many people, but others gave us tons of candy. In most of them there were people disguised, and you could take photos with them. I wasn’t  that exited about trick or treat at first, because in Spain only the kids do that, but it was a good time to get to know more about Washington DC. What most surprised me was all the university students that were doing trick or treat on their own, dressed up with costumes, as I said, in Spain this is not something a university student would do.

 

During the night there was another event in 1959 E Street, with free pizza, cotton candy, and cupcakes. I really love when they do things like this, because is the only way we have to meet people in the hall as we don’t have a dinning room to meet with the rest. Another crazy thing about the United States is that they really have a thing with free food. There is always some type of event with free food in it. You won’t see that happening any time soon in Spain. I think that is probably because we don’t have clubs as they have here, so no one is up for preparing anything. After all, students are much more invested in university activities here.

The rest of the week was as any other, although we went to Georgetown on Thursday to buy clothes for winter as the weather is finally getting colder, the rest was all about writing all the papers I have for next week.

However, on Saturday we tried something different and went to a coffee shop to study. It is especially prepared for that, with books everywhere, and enough space for you to study. It is called Busboys and Poets, and you can also have lunch there. In the afternoon we went to Arlington National Cemetery. I had never been there before, and I have to say I was impressed. There were so many rows of tombs creating a beautiful picture, being autumn made everything even better with the beautiful colors of the trees. Visiting it is a must of the things you have to do in Washington DC.

On Sunday we went to have brunch. We went to a place called Ted’s Bulletin, and I love this place. The food was amazing. But it was crowded, so maybe you need to make a reservation beforehand. Anyways, it was one of the best brunch I have ever tried.

Other exchange students had told me about running in the National Mall, and how awesome it is. So to finish my week I decided to go for a run instead of going to the gym. I’m not used to running, but I enjoyed it anyway. Of course I had to stop to take some photos because the monuments at night are breathtaking. I’m definitely doing it again.

Halloween Week

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I know it’s not the Halloween week yet, but in the US they start celebrating it the whole month of October and especially this week. In Morocco, we celebrate many holidays during the year. So, coming from a cultural-rich region makes holidays my favorite period of the year. I was so excited to experience Halloween in the US since in my country we’re not used to celebrate it. We only have some parties going on the night of Halloween and that’s all. But here, it’s a whole new level.

During the week, there were many Pre-Halloween events organized by the university. Donuts, apple cider and candies were served everywhere for FREE. The scary Halloween decorations were all over the places on campus. They also organized a pumpkin carving event in which you can carve your pumpkin and take it with you for free. Me and my roommates decided to take 2 pumpkins home to get in the spooky vibe. There was also that event that I really loved in Kogan Plaza where they served popcorn, cotton candies, pizzas, burgers, and a lot of candies. Being the foodie person that I am, Halloween celebration was happiness for me and I wouldn’t tell you much candies I brought home with me to survive the next days. And to get more in the Halloween vibes, we also decided to bake ghost-themed brownies and share them with our friends.

Even if it’s not Halloween yet, there were a lot of parties organized this weekend. But I wasn’t very lost between my options since they were already limited because of my underage. I was so confused about my costume but at the end I went for the mainstream skeleton. We had so much fun and it was definitely much more better than the Halloween parties we have in my country. It was also really funny to see people in all types of costumes walking DC’s streets during all the nights of the weekend. I’d say that Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next Tuesday in the actual day of Halloween.

Haloween weekend

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As all of you know halloween is a huge thing here in United States, in Spain we don’t even celebrate it. Maybe when you are a child you do trick or treat but that is all. Normally what I do with my friends is watch a  scary movie, that is how all of our halloweens are. But here everything is different.

We started our week by going to the cinema to watch a scary movie, Happy Death Day. Yes I know, I’m always going to the cinema but I love it so we have decided to go once a week. Anyway, the film wasn’t that scary, there were even funny parts in it, although some scenes really creeped me out. It wasn’t the best movie ever, but it wasn’t that bad either.

Halloween parties are also a huge thing here, and all the clubs had scary themes nights. I usually don’t tell you about parties because after all they are all the same, but I really wanted to talk to you about this place. That night, we didn’t get inside any club because it was too late, so we went searching for food, and we found Crepeaway. I have to tell you guys, this place is amazing, not only because they sell crepes, but because at night it was better than a club. Everyone was dancing on the tables like crazy, and you could ask for any song you wanted. They put every song we asked for, and we stayed there until it closed at 3.  On Fridays it closes at 4 so it is even better.

On Friday afternoon we went to see Georgetown university, I really liked it, but I think being in the center of the city is way better. However, I think our university is not that typical (film like) because of that, after all you can’t have a normal campus just three blocks from the White House.

After that, we came back to campus because there was an event in Kogan Plaza called Boo Bash. It was an event created by some students groups and it was awesome. There were lots of free food, pizzas, burgers, hot dogs, cotton candy, popcorn, and cookies. Also they made a costume contest and other giveaways. They even had a photo booth with hats and things to put on for the photos. And two acappella groups sang a few songs making the evening even better. They also had planned a movie night outside, but we found out too late. We stay there chilling out for a while and then we went partying.

After that my whole weekend was about partying and painting my face because I didn’t have a proper custom. Overall I really have to say I like Halloween way better here than in Spain. Also I love seeing pumpkins everywhere and all the other decoration.

Halfway through the Semester

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I don’t know why they call it Midterms week because for me I’m having midterms for 3 weeks now. This week again I had two midterms and I still have one to go. I can’t wait to see the grades to finally know how I’m performing here in GWU. So, after a tough week of exams, I deserved some rest and fun during the weekend.

One of the experiences that I loved doing during this weekend is going to a corn maze in Lawyers farm in Maryland. As you know Halloween is coming, and there are a lot of activities happening in Washington DC around that. The event was organized by GW Campus Outreach and honestly, we had a LOT of fun. It was my first experience in a corn maze and I really enjoyed it. I have never thought that getting lost in a maze is a real thing. But it was fun being lost for an hour trying to find the exit in the dark while scaring each other. By the end, we had s’mores around the bonfire. It was really cool to get around the fire and talk for a while, especially in that freezing cold weather.

Since I love outdoor activities, after a night in the farm around the fire, I had a hike with GW Trails to Mary’s Rock summit in Shenandoah National Park. The Shenandoah park was two hours drive from GWU but the scenery in Virginia’s roads was so beautiful. The hike was relatively easy, one hour up and half an hour down. But I can’t describe how fascinating the nature was. The trees were colored from red to faded orange colors. It was so beautiful to see the autumn vibe at its best in the park. Golden leaves were covering the narrow itineraries and I totally loved it. The best thing was the view from the Mary’s Rock summit. You just can’t get enough it. I would say it was totally worth the 15$ and going to Shenandoah national Park should be in your bucket list here in DC.

On Sunday, the White House opened its doors for the public to visit. It was a tour in the Gardens and apparently it happens twice a year. You can imagine the massive amount of people in line to get their tickets to the White House at 8 am. After a long wait, we finally got them. It was nice to get a tour around the White House gardens and get that close from the presidential residence. But as the non-morning person I am, I think it wasn’t as impressive as I expected but at the end it was a must thing to-do when living in Washington DC.

And the greatest way to finish the week was to get Moroccan food for lunch. I didn’t think that I would miss it that much. It was SO good and I can ensure that by the approvals of all my other friends that tried it for the first time. At this point, I’m still not homesick yet but going to the Marrakech restaurant reminded me of how much I miss my country and its food.

Host Dinner and the Spirit of Halloween

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What’s not to love about a dinner at an amazing apartment in Adams Morgan with two friendly American hosts, Grace and Matt? Absolutely nothing. Halloween was edging closer and Kinsha (another Aussie exchange student) and I were headed to the host dinner organised by the exchange office. We didn’t really know what to expect, I mean they were strangers after all. But as we walked inside the apartment, Kinsha holding a bottle of wine we bought as a gift, we both stopped and mouthed a little “wow” under our breath.

The apartment itself was really nice. The bare walls, the open kitchen and Halloween decorations to top it all off. We were greeted by our hosts Grace and Matt who were young professionals working in DC and were contacted by the GW exchange office to partake in the host dinner. We talked about Australian things and American things and had chilli and rice for dinner and pumpkin pie (fitting for Halloween once again) and coconut ice cream for dessert. So the dinner was way above and beyond of my expectations and I had lots of fun. But then again the exchange office never disappoints.

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On the topic of Halloween, as it is a tradition that never really took off in Australia, it is very interesting to experience it first hand. As kids, we never really had a chance to get dressed up and go trick-or-treating and eat candies like there’s no tomorrow. So first, in order to get into the spirit of Halloween, one must not go without pumpkin carving. I bought a 1 penny pumpkin off Amazon Fresh (I know!) and waited till it was weekend of Halloween to carve it out. The pumpkin was large enough to have three designs carved out. My roommate and friend and I all took a stab (pun intended) at it and although mine didn’t look nearly as nice as the other two, it was great fun! The pumpkin seeds were then roasted and devoured in the spirit of Halloween.

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Then it was time to think about dressing up. This was a hard one and I probably didn’t put as much effort into it as I’d liked. Something Australian would have been good, maybe the magpie one I’ve seen on Facebook, but ultimately it came down to what was easiest. I bought some shirts from the Church sale for $3, some socks that matched, and went as a….watermelon! Given that people kept thinking I was either strawberry or Christmas, I think I’ll just let them slide. For the ultimate Halloween experience, add in a little trick-or-treating at Embassy Row (I hear they give out candies from the embassy’s home country too).