Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Break

Right, no updates for ages then two in quick succession! I just thought I would share some of my photos from my recent Spring Break trip to Chicago and Cancun, Mexico. I travelled with my good friend Christina, leaving West Lafayette on Saturday before heading to Chicago for a couple of days.
Waiting for the bus.
We spent the Saturday evening celebrating St Patrick's Day with friends of Christina's, then spent Sunday exploring the city. I am definitely a Chicago convert now, and loved being back in a big city again. We went shopping, sight-seeing and ate a lot during our day there.

Chicago, note the green river - they really get into St Patrick's here!

Christina and I

In Millenium Park in Chicago, in front of a thing called Cloud Gate.

Cheesecake Factory. Dangerous for the waistline.

Chicago, a beautiful, beautiful city.
After exploring Chicago, we started our trip to Cancun, Mexico. It took a long time, but we were excited to arrive at our hotel which was amazing. We were staying in the Hotel District, so we were definitely in the middle of tourist central. A very different from what I'm used to, but with a hotel on the beach, beautiful pools to swim in and a hot tub in our room I was not complaining.

Hanging out by the pool at our hotel.

We were there for Spring Break so there were a lot of students around, good fun.

In our hot tub.

Isla Mujeres.

With Christina.

Yeah, it was just beautiful.

Love this guy.

No complaints at the moment.

On the boat back to Cancun from Isla Mujeres.

Our hotel pool, we also had access to the one next door.

Almost time to leave, feeling very relaxed at this stage.
Cancun was the perfect way to combat the cold of West Lafayette. I'm not sure what the temperatures were, but there was no need to wear a jumper all week so returning to Chicago yesterday was a shock to the system. I learned a little Spanish last year so it was fun to try some of that out in Mexico. As we were in tourist central most people had at least basic English, but they humoured me as I tried to chat. I'm looking forward to continuing my studies back in NZ and travelling more in South America.

We had a long trip back to West Lafayette yesterday, and now I'm back at Purdue and getting ready to go back to class tomorrow. The end of the semester is looming too fast now, and I'm definitely not ready to leave here! My last exam is on May 8, then I head to New York to start a trip for my last three weeks in the States. However, between then and now life is sure to be super busy. There are plans for a weekend trip to Nashville, and I'm really hoping I might be able to go back to Chicago for another weekend. As well as that, there will be lots going on at campus. It's going to be fun, I'm just hoping time slows down a little for the next few months.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's been a while

First of all, apologies this has taken so long to write. I have a list of excuses, but they are not that interesting. Obviously home has been at the forefront of my mind lately with all the horrors which have hit my beautiful city but I'm pleased to hear everyone is safe and well, and I hope things will start to get back on track again soon.

Life as an exchange student is certainly busy, and of course this is part of the reason I haven't written more often. I'm actually leaving campus tomorrow to travel to Chicago and then Cancun, Mexico for a few days for my Spring Break. Hopefully it should be a fun trip and I'm travelling with a girl I met at school. After a cold winter I'm excited about the prospect of some real sunshine!

Since I last wrote, we have experienced a blizzard with school closed, some rainy days, but now thankfully the sun is starting to shine. It's still pretty cold, but at least it gets above zero celsius on a semi regular basis. Though it was snowing yesterday morning.

One of my highlights of the semester so far was going to a basketball game a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera, but I've hijacked this picture from the uni newspaper so hopefully you can get an idea of what it's like.

JaJuan Johnson - one of the stars of the team.
The stadium at Purdue seats about 15,000 so it's a lot bigger than anything in NZ and as it was the last home game of the season it was a big deal. We were lucky to be sitting in the student section so there was lots of chanting and clapping - so much fun.

I also attended the Blue Man Group, which is this really famous musical act thing which has performed in Vegas and London and all over. So I had high hopes they would be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, their humour was lost on the exchange students although visually it was pretty spectacular at times.

I'm trying to remember what else has happened since I last wrote... It's been so long, and as life here has quickly become normal I'm not sure what else to add. I have been lucky to find a great group of exchange students who I spend most of my time with, and we tend to eat out and go drinking pretty regularly. One of the favourite haunts is Cactus, which is a mad Thursday night experience.

Anna, Mikaela and Christina on the dancefloor at Cactus.
Christina (who is travelling with me to Mexico) and I at dinner.
Jonna, Christina, Mikaela and Monica eating at one of the dining courts here - so much food!

It was Mardi Gras week in New Orleans, so apparently the rest of the country also embraces another reason for drinking. Thus, the masks and beads.

I will make sure the next update doesn't take quite so long. And it will hopefully be a lot more interesting with loads of pictures from Mexico and Chicago (the goal is to remember to actually get my camera out of my bag - this can be a struggle for me at times!).

I hope everyone stays happy and healthy wherever in the world you are.