Catch-up and Back to Traveling: Costa Rica!

As it turns out I am very bad at keeping up with my travels. I wish I was better about writing about where I am and what I’m up to, but maybe this will be the year I turn over a new leaf! As I write this, I am sitting in the Mexico City airport en route to Costa Rica for an Alternative Spring Break with Northeastern University. We’re been traveling since 5:45 AM this morning and it is 7:30 PM now and we still have a whole other flight before we get to Costa Rica in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow. Our will be learning about fair trade coffee in one of the world’s best places to grow coffee – San Marcos de Tarrazu – and doing service work at a local school. I’m not sure what exactly it will all entail, but I am excited to get out of Boston and the cold for a bit and explore Costa Rica!

For those of you who are wondering just exactly where in the world I have been since I last wrote, here is a quick summary. I started 2015 in Quito, Ecuador (and documented that time here!) where I was working at the US Embassy as part of Northeastern’s co-op program. I had an amazing time there and have definitely decided diplomacy is where I want to be, so I’ll be taking the Foreign Service Officer Test last this year (fingers crossed!). After Ecuador, I was off to India on a Northeastern Dialogue of Civilization program, basically a faculty-led study abroad trip on a specific topic. We focused on climate change science and policy and the way climate change impacts vulnerable populations, like in India. We traveled all over the country (16 cities in 5 weeks!) and I fell in love with India and its beautiful cultures. A few of the highlights were:

 

At the Taj Mahal in Agra, India!

 
 

My award-winning photo of women in a potter’s village in the Dharavi Slum in Mumbai, India

 

Elephant riding in Munnar, Kerala, India

 

Jungle safari in Ramtambhore National Park in Rajastan, India. This is a wild tiger cub!

 
After India, I went to Madrid and Barcelona, Spain and met my good friend Kate there. We had a great time drinking sangria, eating paella, tasting the churros con chocolate, sitting on the beach, and taking in the beautiful cities. It was a great break from India and being “in school.” 

 

Kate and I at the Palacio Cristal in Parque del Buen Retiro in Madrid, Spain

 
Two weeks was not enough of a break before I was off to Istanbul, Turkey on another Dialogue program, this time focusing on urban space politics and the intersection of gender, sexuality, and Islam in public spaces. The history on the topic and its relevance to current events was so fascinating. Plus, Istanbul is an absolutely breaktakingly beautiful city! I will definitely be back one day soon. We were able to visit the Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazzar, and even took a cruise on the Bosphorus Strait. For anyone who is looking for a fun place to travel to, I would highly recommend Istanbul.

 

Overlooking the Golden Horn and Bosphorous Strait in Istanbul, Turkey

 
We spent two weeks in Istanbul and then traveled to Berlin, Germany as part of the same course (there has been a huge diaspora of Turkish Muslims to Germany in the past 50 years). A big change after having spent most of the year in the developing world, Berlin was a really cool city! I was able to visit two concentration camps, which meant a lot of me given my Jewish identity, even though being at both sites was very difficult. 

Overall, my year abroad last year was incredible and I starting longing to travel again within a week of being back in the States. While my trips this year will not be quite as back to back nor as long as the ones last year, I am still SO pumped to be back overseas. I’ll spend this week in Costa Rica, finish up my semester at Northeastern in Boston, and then travel back to India as an assistant on the course I took there last year. We’ve been planning this trip to India for months and months now and I can’t wait to finally start that trip. After 6 weeks in India (hitting up about 13 cities this time), I’ll be traveling through Europe for a month. My plans are not set yet, but I know I’ll be in Prague, Czech Republic; Lyon, France; and Geneva, Switzerland. If any of you reading want to come and meet me somewhere in Europe, I would love that (and you can even pick the country!). 

I will definitely try to be better at updating this blog this year, and thank you all for reading!

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