I have arrived to the last destination of my adventure. And what a better way to end it than with a huge group of enthusiastic students ready to start their school year in the US, and with a cool CIEE staff team ready to prepare these kids for their adventure.
The orientation meeting took place at the hotel and, after that, we went on a tour to some of the main landmarks of San Francisco: The Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks, and Pier 39, where we all did some shopping and we also had dinner. Though the weather didn't look great, we did have a great day!
By midnight, you could see how all the students had become friends, as they hugged and said goodbye to each other, bidding farewell to those who were first to depart to their new "hometowns". I think it is really nice and reassuring to start this kind of experience making new friends that will be going through the same things as you, it makes you feel like you are not alone. It reminded me of my first days in Portland with Shay and Alex (my teammates!).
I do not know if you remember it, but I started this journey visiting Néstor, a student from Spain that had just finished his school year in the US, and his host family [you can see it HERE]. I remember all the amazing things he told me about his year in the US. And seeing all these students getting ready to begin their own adventures makes me think of all the hundreds of new amazing stories that will come out of this new school year, stories worth being told, just like the ones Néstor told me two months ago... Again, the best possible finale I could expect for my own CIEE adventure.
Me despido, hasta la próxima aventura...
These two national parks (which, by the way, could be considered as one, since they are next to each other, and you buy one pass for both parks) are located in Wyoming... yes, Wyoming! how many of you really knew that?... I didn't.
Well, the flora and fauna of these places are incredible, and the landscapes, breathtaking! I was told that there were bears and deers and many other different animals, but I didn't think I was gonna be able to see them all in just the few days I spent in the parks. Here you'll find some pictures of the different species I bumped into.
I also found that there are hundreds of Work & Travel students spending their summer here. It may seem a pretty secluded place at first but, in the small town where they live, they have everything they need and more! I mean, they have geysers and bears! Who has bears around the corner of their house? (zoos don't count). Anyway, I met with some of these students and they confirmed my ideas: they are really happy to have the chance to live part of their lives in the most famous national parks of the world, Yellowstone and Grand Teton
By clicking HERE you can see ALL the pictures from these parks! All the animals and the landscapes. Below you will find just a small selection. So, I really recommend everyone to click there, or HERE :)
While I was in Montana, I visited Doug, a CIEE Local Coordinator. I'm sure most of you are wondering what a Local Coordinator does. Well, in this small video Doug explains a little bit about it.
I spent the day with Doug and his family and honestly, I had a great time! Doug's grandchildren taught me how to play Horseshoes (by the way, Sam and I won!) and we also played a little bit of soccer. Doug and his daughter, Jennifer, shared with me some interesting stories about international students that came to Montana (Jennifer's family was a CIEE Host Family also). And Sally, Doug's wife, prepared a delicious dinner! Yeap, it was a great family day.
I had some time to walk around and take a few pictures of all the beautiful details of Doug's house. I hope you enjoy them.
[A few more pictures HERE!]
After dinner, Jennifer taught me and her children how to make taffy out of a marshmallow with our fingers. This was the result!
These guys came from Turkey to work in a ranch in Big Sky, Montana (and for some of them this is their second season here). When we asked them why they chose this town, they were pretty concise with their answers:
- They love the landscapes and nature of Big Sky.
- They can choose between many outdoor activities to do in their free time.
- They can save money in a place like this.
So they seem to have a pretty good deal in this ranch.
[Fun anecdote: After I left Big Sky, I found these guys in Yellowstone! So, I would say we could add "-Visit the national parks" to their accurate list, specially if you are in Montana, where you have some of the most interesting national parks just around the corner.]
"Big Sky, in my opinion, is one of Montana’s best kept secrets. People are so nice, the day-to-day life is so much slower, and the scenery is amazing." These are the words of a girl who used to spend her summers in Big Sky and that, when she heard I was going there, wanted to share her opinion about it. For what I experienced, I guess she couldn't have described it better. And, personally, it reminded me of the beautiful and quiet landscapes of Patagonia, back in Argentina.
At Big Sky resort, we were invited to share a BBQ with some of the work & travel students and their managers. These guys live and work in this resort, located at the base of the mountains. They also agreed with the Turkish students about the good things of living in this rural area. If you come from a city, this is a nice place to experience a totally different kind of life, to live it in a way that you wouldn´t even imagine back in your country. It is something that really makes you see life from a whole new perspective. And I must say I totally agree with that.
As always, there are more pictures of Big Sky HERE. Check them out! :)
After Colorado Springs, I drove to Taos, a small town in New Mexico where I had spent two consecutive winter seasons working at a ski resort (Taos Ski Valley) as a Work & Travel student. It was great to have the chance to see a whole new face of Taos... Less white, more green, less coats and, definitely, more degrees ;)
Here are some pictures of my visit...
Arriving to Taos Ski Valley! Where did all the snow go?
We used to ski our way down this road. That building is where I worked selling tickets, during winter 2008/09.
This was my 2nd job. Here I used to prepare salads and desserts!
Time to go hiking...
Nonstop to Kachina Peak.
I cannot believe that we hiked all the way to the top of the mountain that you can see on the right... yes!, the one on the back.
And here we are at the top. I never thought I was going to have the chance to go to Kachina Peak. It wasn't with my skis on but, anyway, I made it :)
James and Julie, two friends that worked with me at the Ski Valley.
I worked at this Thai restaurant, as a waiter, in 2007. And Marixa was there too! That was a nice surprise :)
Goodbye Taos! I'm sure we'll meet again :)
During my visit to Colorado Springs, I stayed at the Broadmoor Hotel, a 5-star/5-diamond hotel... wow!, so many stars and diamonds!, it sounds so awesome, right? but, what does that mean?? to be honest, I had no idea... until I visited this website. But, basically, it means that this hotel rocks! (it should be a 5-rock hotel :P). What it actually means is that the Broadmoor is one of the best hotels in the United States, not only for its amenities, but also for the quality service of its staff. So, what better place to do a hospitality internship than this monumental hotel. 'Though... it must be complicated to get a job in a place like this!' Well, I asked this to my roommate in Argentina, who happens to have worked at this hotel (what are the chances!?), but he wasn't doing an internship. So, I interviewed the interns that are currently part of the staff and this is what they told us about their experience.
All the photos of my visit to the Broadmoor are HERE!, just one click away!
Or, below this sentence, you can find a small selection:
If you want to see more pictures but you don't want to scroll your way up to the link, HERE it is again! ;)
When I thought about Texas
3 things came to my mind:
Well, it turned out that,
when I arrived to Galveston,
I saw none of these things.
Instead, I found:
...and Work & Travel students!
As you can see, preconceptions
can often lead us in the wrong
direction. That's why I decided
to let these students tell you a
little bit more about how it is
to live in Galveston...
I will also let the photos do the talking...
Yes!, there are more
photos of Galveston!
Just click HERE! ;)