Tag Archives: adventures

My Senior Bucket List

Since the semester ended, I’ve realized that after the summer,  I only have one semester left to graduate. Now before that happens, I want to do a few things around campus. So… I’ve created a bucket list.

My Senior Bucket List:

1. Go to Spirit Splash

2. Go to a Greek life event

3. Do all the campus trails

4. Kayak/Paddle board at Lake Claire

5. Complete the Challenge Course

6. Tailgate at Memory Mall

7. Go ice skating at Light UP UCF

8. Submit a paper to a conference

9. Take KnightLynx Downtown

10. Pegasus Palooza

11. Go geocaching on campus

12. Participate in a protest

13. Take a free workshop at Technology Commons

14. See a production at Theater UCF

15. Go for a swim at the Leisure Pool

16. Take a photo with Knightro

17. Step on the Student Union Pegasus Seal

18. Do an all-nighter at the Student Union during finals

19. Make graduation cap awesome

20. Graduate/Go to graduation

Source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/the-list/os-things-to-do-before-graduating-ucf-20150311-post.html

A Sunday to remember (June 1, 2014)

Today was pretty eventful!

Besides uploading pictures on Facebook and writing in my old blog, a few students from UCF and other schools decided to go on an adventure to Madrid. We were going to El Rastro.

train to madrid

On our way to the train station we found an event at the Plaza de Cervantes and stayed for a little bit to enjoy it. There seems to be something every day in this town. I love it!

About El Rastro:

el-rastro-madrid
Source: http://www.disfrutadmadrid.com

El Rastro might be the biggest open aired flee market in all Europe. It seems like it’s a Spanish tradition because it takes place every Sunday morning in Madrid. However, El Rastro is not just a market, it’s a journey of delicious tapas and beer through the neighborhood of La Latina. There is music in every bar, people performing on the streets, galleries and bookstores and people everywhere. It is incredibly crowded. You can barely walk but it’s an experience that you should not miss. Join the Spaniards for delicious food and feel like a local. This is the time to use those Spanish skills you have acquired throughout the years.

El Rastro is also an international spot especially during the summer days. You will see people from all over the world buying all sorts of things. You will see backpackers and hippies. You will see gypsies and men in suits. You will see girls in bathing suits and children running around. You will see a lot that might not make sense but just breath it all in. These are the Spanish ways.

I personally loved El Rastro. There were so many beautiful things and if I had the space in my suitcase or the money I would have bought a lot. There were so many books for 1-5 euros and I had to stop myself every time, because books are heavy and again, no space in my suitcase… Regardless, it was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to everyone visiting Madrid.

After we came back from Madrid, I went home and  watched T.V. with my host family and I still can’t handle the Spanish accent on the American shows. I laughed for hours watching law and order. Also, there is a really funny Spanish show called “La que se avecina” which is kind of like the Spanish show “Aida”. It was a great way to end the weekend before starting classes the next day.

Law and order:
-“Pero… ¿Qué ha pasado?”
-” El tio se ha tirado por la ventana”

Saying good bye is never easy…

There is no way I can summarize how incredibly crazy this year has been.I’m still going to try though. Like I said in a post before, It’s been a year of first times and amazing adventures.

I was 19 for most of the year. I turned 20. I traveled to California and had to make stops in Texas and New York. I traveled to Mexico, Spain, Germany and Puerto Rico. I visited Puerto Vallarta, Las Caletas, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Málaga, Barcelona, Tarragona, Pamplona, San Sebastián, Bilbao, Segovia, Toledo, Oviedo, Wiehl, Cologne and San Juan. I studied abroad. I backpacked. I traveled solo. I found myself completely alone at times. I had wonderful relationships. I made new friends. I met people from all over the world. I spoke to people in English, Spanish, German and Portuguese. I learned to read and understand Portuguese. One of my closest friends moved to Japan. Most of my classmates graduated. I won a poetry contest. A dear friend passed away. I took 18 planes, 17 buses, 16 taxis and more than 30 trains/subways/metro. I was diagnosed with a disorder.

A poem was a finalist in another contest. Another one got selected to be in a book. I figured out my college life. I cried like I’ve never cried before. I was featured in my school’s arts and humanities website and in the modern languages’. I pushed the limits of my body and my mind. I laughed like I’ve never laughed before. I met romance. I met love. I met passion. I met intense pain. I met myself. I discovered the things I like and the ones I dislike. I became stronger and compassionate.

I was bit by a stray cat. I met disappointment. I was scared for my life. I got rabies shots. I met someone with my name. I realized what best friends are. I learned about literature and linguistics. About Latin American countries and about Spain. I learned to be an individual. To figure things out on my own. I met authors. I read around 40 books. I went to a Brazilian film festival, to the San Fermín festival, to a Hindu festival, to a Manu Chao concert at the beach. I traveled with strangers. I started a novel. I got injured and sick many times. I ran 5 miles without stopping.

Dedé Mirabal passed away. Luis Raúl passed away. My roommate turned 21. Presented a story at the Spanish Colloquial. I got new best friends. I did Relay for Life. I went to an ASL comedy show. I learned some ASL. I decided to go volunteer in South Africa. I applied for Peace Corps. I started my Capstone Project. I took a 7 hr a day intense class for 7 days. Made a stop in North Carolina on my way to Spain. Was incredibly jet-lagged.

Went to the Guggenheim Museum, to El Prado Museum, to The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, to the House Museum of Lope de Vega, to the Reina Sofia Museum. I hiked the Gibralfaro castle and the Alcazaba fortification in Málaga. I hiked the Monte Urgull in San Sebastián and The Park Güell in Barcelona. I hiked all the way to Roca El Yunque in Puerto Rico and to Cima del Malvecino in Alcalá de Henares. I stayed in hostels.

I watched soccer matches in Europe during the World Cup. I saw a wedding in Spain. I went to one in Mexico. Went to La Noche en Blanco in Alcalá. Went to las fiestas de pueblo in Valverde. Went to Kapi (7 store club). Went to the Festival del Mondongo, to the Calle Orange Festival.  I’ve felt unstoppable and heart broken.  I got the most amazing books. I tasted the best ice cream and the best empanadas I have ever tasted in my life. I got lost.

I found my favorite movie. I saw a gator up close. I read a book in Portuguese. I served as a translator. I went to a college football game. I read poems in Galician. I got insmonia. I went to Disney. I had poetry nights. I had partying nights. I got to be part of Sigma Delta Pi.  I made some delicious coquito. I finally created a decent blog. Reached 74 followers…

And out of all that the most rewarding experiences are the wonderful and frustrating times I’ve spent with family and friends during this year and understanding that I am stronger, wiser and more capable than I ever thought I was.

I’ll miss 2014, but It’s my mission to make 2015 even better!

Good luck to you all in making this upcoming year the best one!

Happy New Year!

Hindu Festival in the Caribbean (JAGANNATHA RATHA YATRA)

I like to think my life is full of pretty random moments. Today, I had one of those…

Monica Hindu

My sister, my sister-in-law and I were strolling down the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan when we walked into a Hindu Festival.

us hindu

Now, Hinduism isn’t a big religion in this island conquered by Spaniards for over 400 years. Needless to say the majority of the population, 85% to be exact, is Roman Catholic. So, to be able to find an exotic gem in this tiny place was beyond amazing.

Apparently, “Ratha Yatra is a hallmark of the Bhakti tradition, and dates back over 2,000 years. It symbolizes one’s spiritual self pulling the Supreme into his or her heart. In essence, reconnecting with the Supreme. The original Ratha Yatra, still celebrated in Puri, India, attracts millions and can be seen from space” (Wikipedia).

The first thing that caught my eye was the traditional Indian clothing. It was incredibly beautiful and full of colorful patterns.

After that, we noticed a line of people waiting by a table to our left to get their faces and hands painted.

Then, we walked two steps forward, and when we looked to our right we found a man greeting us with foreign words and offering each of us a disposable plate. He wanted us to taste Indian cuisine! And so we did 🙂

I think I had chick peas, yellow rice, potato and broccoli curry and Indian pudding, but I’m really not sure. The food was cooked without any salt making it hard for the Puerto Rican palate to adjust, but I really enjoyed it. The blending of the sweetness of the dessert with the rest of the food made the meal more like what my palate is used to… sugary things 😉 Then we enjoyed the music, the singing, the dancing, the performances, the beauty, the sunset…

Singing:

Hindu Festival Music

Dancing:

Performances:

Beauty:

Sunset:

IMG_4185
“Sunset del Mar”. Puerto Rico. 2014. Photography by: Mónica Zoé Cruz Ríos

All photography by me 🙂

❤ (Mónica Zoé Cruz Ríos) ❤