Tag

travel

Browsing

It’s no secret that drinking is a huge part of college culture. This is something that is almost global and something I, personally, can attest to. Before coming to Stony Brook, I attended two other universities, one of which was in Europe. My freshman year I went to a school called University College Roosevelt in Middelburg, the Netherlands. Middelburg may be considered a city, but don’t expect towering skyscrapers. You would be more likely to find a group of elderly women biking than a businessman on his way to a meeting. The school itself was an honors college, and therefore only required three years and had about 600 students enrolled in total. Because of this, it was really easy to get to know your peers, and the school ensured you would during the “introweek.” Every incoming class had to take part in a week full of school-designated and -created activities…

Within the depths of my mind, beyond the library of recipes of international cuisine, the stacks of grammar (subjects on top of verbs on top of squished semi-colons and over-due periods), and through the shelves stuffed with anecdotes, stories, life lessons and memories, is a small box, made from vibrant red, Rajasthani silk, symbolic of my Indian heritage. Within this box are little things I’ve collected from my travels: a green leaf from the gardens of King Henry VIII, a crepe from France, a beautiful painting from Rome, a picture of a young girl from an orphanage in Peru, trinkets from Barbados and the Grand Caymen Islands, Patatas Bravas from Barcelona, Greek Delight from Thessaloniki, a vibrant orange that has managed to remain fresh and unblemished from the Amalfi Coast, and, of course, cloth from India and pictures of me at the orphanage I lived at for 5 years before…

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a very good musician, but from years of watching other people be, at the very least, okay musicians, I’ve made some friends who are good enough to take those talents on the road. I spent two weeks over the summer heading to Boston, Buffalo, Philly and back with my friends in Sinai Vessel, a small DIY/indie band from South Carolina signed to Tiny Engines Records. Whenever a friend of mine is able to take their band on the road, the first thing that I want to hear when they get back are the stories that they have. Weird shit always happens: I’ve heard tales of my friends being assaulted by men in green morphsuits in Pennsylvania and stories about kids in the South taunting other kids by, saying that they “heard they don’t believe in God.” My stories aren’t as wild, and…

It was on a train between Wuhan and Xi’an that I did the most illegal thing in my life. I criticized the government. Jing–a regular student at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law–had spoken about the argument over Weibo, China’s online news blog, about whether or not to give independence to Tibet and Xinjiang and their ethnic minorities. But it was while our classmates—Stony Brook students like me—slept in their overnight train bunks that she and I sat down to talk about the divide between China and the United States. She was a polite, soft-spoken girl studying French to become an international businesswoman. I had thought French was a useless language until I met fellow foreign students from Africa and France in our dormitories—which is rich coming from me, a German minor. “How do Americans portray China?” she asked me. Outside, the Chinese countryside, in all its familiar unkempt greenness,…

It always feels so good to go home, back to Paris. The city of lights, the city of love; the city I grew up in. There is something so special and invigorating about coming back. Almost four years ago, I left home to go study in the U.S. and live the American Dream, as people say. Since then the word “home” has taken a whole new sense for me. Home. And saying it out loud is like mentioning a guilty pleasure, something I can only have twice a year.   Coming back home is of course synonymous with the indisputable pleasure of seeing family and friends.  But it also means rediscovering Paris, its charm and its language. Coming back home means wandering in the old Paris of the Latin district, crossing the river and enjoying the view of the back of Notre Dame; it means strolling in the historic Marais…

In the most ancient wastes in their modern facilities,  for over sixty years the Leakey’s et al have been the (arguably) lead in human origins research. Richard Leakey, a faculty member of Stony Brook University along with his colleagues established the Turkana Basin Institute and began its Origins Field School for undergraduate students in 2011. Of course, only a group of wayward undergrads the field school does not make. That’s what I sought–as one of the waywardest of the undergrads at the field school. I sought to know the archeological origins of humans that surrounded that facility. Eleven of us set out from John F. Kennedy Airport, then we met two more voyagers in Nairobi, Kenya; Linda Martin, director of the field school and geologist; and Abel Ang, Singaporean well-read to-be disillusioned post-undergraduate student. It was late, the air smelt a little less like America and the unfamiliarity of it…

It’s been well over a decade since I last step foot on my hometown’s soil. From the peaceful suburbs of Long Island, I now find myself standing once again amid the middle of the world, the country named after the equator itself, Ecuador. It’s not quite the third world anymore as it now embraces things like smartphones, Wi-Fi and cable, but the roosters who serve as alarm clocks, the stray dogs who litter the streets in droves and the lack of warm water baths label Ecuador as a developing nation. To be in a developing nation as someone spoiled by the first world’s commodities, you can’t help but feel annoyed at not having certain things like an ice-cold beverage at any given time. And you feel like an ass when you find out your presumptions were wrong and they do in fact have certain other things like the previously mentioned…