AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

There are so many things I’d like to talk about here on my blog; my change of major last year, my move to France, my time on exchange, even my obsession with the TV show Arrow… Yet, as we find ourselves deep in *that* point of the semester, where getting up before noon any day might be too much to ask, wearing anything other than sweatpants is out of the question, and the main staple of the student diet is coffee, I’ve decided to try and hearten you instead with an encouraging story of how sometimes things work out in the best possible way.

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Train at Eigergletscher

So yeah, I’m in France for exchange, and I’ll go into that later, but what I really want to talk about is my trip to Switzerland.

It was my very first time travelling alone as a tourist, and I was a little nervous, as I am a firm believer of safety in numbers, and I love how having friends along with you makes every trip an amazing adventure. I was

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Stechelberg

deeply overwhelmed by the whole planning process. Not only did I have to figure out bus schedules, hotels, trains, and the like, but there is just so much to see and do in Switzerland and I just did not know how to choose!

After a couple of weeks of agonizing over the trip I finally I decided to take the most straightforward route and visit some of the cities that the internet said were worth it, (because you always want to trust everything online right?) but I also decided to not over plan. I mean, let’s not go crazy here. I did book a hostel for the first couple nights as I did not particularly fancy sleeping on a bench in the German part of Switzerland (most likely I would get arrested and not even realize it).  But as for the day schedule I simply decided to wait and see. And see I did.

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3X Glacier

It is relevant in this story to know that I am a huuuuuge Lord of the Rings fan. We’re talking reading ALL of Tolkien’s books (LotR multiple times, of course), including the obscure stories, watching all the movies every single weekend for months at a time (I’m not joking I can recite the entire thing) and at one point being somewhat able to read elvish.

The first days were absolutely wonderful. I met a Spanish girl at the first hostel and we went to the highest train station in Europe and a suspension bridge that connected two peaks. However, none of this can compare (in my mind) to my surprise and delight when after a fortnight of travel in Switzerland I found myself in Rivendell, or as it is most commonly known The Last Homely House. Kidding!

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Lauterbrunnen

Rivendell is the most enchanting valley in the LOTR books, where elves live peacefully surrounded by waterfalls and pines. I don’t mean that I fell through an orange portal that took me to a green screen studio in New Zealand. I was in the actual valley of Rivendell, or at least its real-world inspiration, Lauterbrunnen. Now I had done so little research about the places I was going to visit that I had no idea that Tolkien had trekked through much of the same dirt paths I was now walking on. I didn’t even know that Rivendell was based in a real world valley! But life is sometimes wonderful and funny, and one crisp October morning when you least expect it, you might find yourself walking, by pure chance, into Middle Earth.

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Lauterbrunnen Valley

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The Earthquake in Ecuador

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I am fortunate enough to have more than one home; I think that I actually have three. To me, home is Glendon, is where I long to be after a long day of braving the wind and snow. It is where my life and my future are right now; after a long day of walking downtown my pace quickens when I see that York University sign on Bayview and Lawrence.Home is Colombia, my grandmother’s cooking, horseback riding with my grandfather up in El Retiro and eating sweeting popcorn surrounded by my cousins in a movie theatre.

And last, and maybe more so, home is Ecuador. Say “think home” and the first image that comes to mind is a great green mountain. This is where I grew up, my parent live here. My room with all my books and pictures is here.  I read my first words here, I made friends, I graduated high school; I built all my hopes and dreams from inside the shelter of the Andes, even if they are not to be fulfilled within.

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#FetesGL

I know, I know. It’s been a while I’m sorry. How about a midweek post just in time for Christmas to make up for it. Speaking of which…

This year I am spending the holidays in North Carolina with my sister, aunt and grandmother instead of the usual way, with my mother, father and both sisters in Ecuador. One of the things I love most about is experiencing a different culture. It may sound cliché, but it is also very true. There something pretty awesome in seeing this same old world in a bright new way.  But want to know what’s even better? Sharing your own culture right back and seeing something pretty great emerge, because very often the result is not a culture clash as much as a truce. Proof? Eggnog, Yess! But pair it with Buñuelos and Natilla and the result is almost magical.

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