This day was not good. It was great.

12:00 am, Guess I’m twenty-five.
12:01 am, I’m an emotional mess. Happy birthday song in the background.
12:05 am, My family calls, I’m overjoyed.

She disappears under the blankets.

7:01 am, Happy birthday Post Its in the bathroom, my roommate is the best.

Phone calls, messages, laughs
Coffee, pizza, random shout out of my birthday at a job meeting

7:00 pm, Great restaurant, greater friends. I’m feeling home.

The night ends with love and more text messages.
It will be a good year.
Thank you all.


An Autumn weekend, a year ago

12 pm, It’s Friday and I just woke up, I should have woken earlier, have some work to do! I wash my hair, make my brunch and eat before going to my second house in Rochester: the VCD lab, where I spend hours using those overpriced beautiful creatures called Macs. – Now I own one.

Talked to mom and dad and they encourage me to stop being stingy and go to the winery tomorrow. At the trip office, I get a beautiful T-shirt that says “Class of 2017”, which I’m not.

By the way is hot. SO HOT! it’s supposed to be fall but the temperature is 23 degrees Celsius. I’m loving it, tank top and everything, My boyfriend loves my summer selfie, and my best friend jokes about how much skin I’m showing (My arms, WOW).

In just a few hours I’ll get free food – so many free-food-hunting around RIT, going to activities we don’t know in departments we’ll never be in just for the food… we are poor #cantaffordUSA – But this weekend it was legit, our program activity, and I had the opportunity to meet people from different programs: game design, computer science, and others from my own.

Finish your homework so we can go and eat some free pizza – She says.

At the end is not pizza, is cheese, meatballs, flatbread and art, so much art.

Afterward talk with a friend about writing, blogs, and sleep patterns. He recommends the use of offline Google docs and dim screen apps. I follow his advice.

9pm. Ready to go to another friend’s place and get some drinks – cold tea counts right? Tomorrow I’ll go to a winery so no alcohol for me today– After some, I have so much energy Johanna and we read beer cans with Japanese accent guys, we go to the arcade.

We play foosball, my best friend and I win every round. We play basketball. And I go from earning 4 points to 38. Horray!

Talk with my boyfriend afterward, he had his first week at his new job.

The bus is supposed to come at 1:30 am. We wait from 1:20 to 1:40. No bus. Walk or stay at this house? I don’t want to sleep in my jeans…  we are 5 extra people… but is so late and it got cold. One of the guests lend me shorts and the girls share the room while the guys sleep uncomfortably in sofas.

Saturday I wake up at 7 am, go home to take a shower and have breakfast. Take the bus to go to Gleason Circle and catch the bus to Three Brothers Winery. While we wait for the bus we eat breakfast pizza– is that a thing?– small muffins and juice. I’m going to the trip by myself and feel kind of shy. I say hello to a group of girls but they say hello and give me their backs, then I say hello to another group: two blonde girls, one red curly hair girl and one guy and they let me join their conversation. I spend the rest of the trip with them. Cool people.

We talked on the bus, and I started writing this on my phone.

We get to the winery, my first time in one, It’s a beautiful place. They give us “passports” and a glass, I don’t know where to go, so I follow the crowd. We get to a small cottage and go to what looks like a bar, There they check my “passport” and start the first round of wine tasting.  They all were sweet and nice.

We walk to the second cottage. Beautiful view and a big selection of wines. White, red, dry and sweet wines. I loved one of them and make a mental note to buy it to take home for Christmas.

Building three. Beers and hard ciders. I’m not a beer girl so I try one beer and 4 hard ciders. – So much has changed.

Food and pictures break. We go to a beautiful scenery windy spot. We were freezing. Group guides tell us we will leave a little earlier because is going to rain.

Building four. Super sweet wines and slushies. The bartender was too quick, so we had to chuck our drinks, then I go to the store and buy the wine before getting on the bus.

I was falling asleep all the time on my way home. It was raining and cold. We reached Gleason Circle and group guides asked who wanted to take the leftover pizza home. I volunteered. And then my hands were freezing holding the big pizza box.

Went to my best friend’s place to watch series and eat pizza. Typical Saturday night. It felt so late but it was just 5 pm. – Typical Saturday night now, working on my thesis.

Went home. Video call with my boyfriend for hours. Time to sleep.

Woke up at 12 pm it’s snowing like crazy. Laundry and procrastination till 4, it’s cold and I don’t know why I can’t manage to get any work done in my room. Take the bus to school planning to get to VCD lab. Stop at the coffee shop instead. Wrote articles while seeing the snow falling, till what seems like midnight, but it’s only 7 pm. This sun tricks my brain.

Inner Mongolia, Let’s ride a camel


4 am and I’m jumping a fence, duffle bag in hand, to go to a 4 days adventure.

I had a weeklong vacation just a month after starting classes, tour guys where wandering the school halls handing out brochures about where every foreigner National’s Holiday trip should be in: Xian, Shanghai, Hangzhou, you name it; with good prices and a lot of “beautiful scenery” included.  At the beginning I was planning to go to Shanghai, but none of my friends wanted to join me in that trip, so when my roommate told me she was planning to go to Inner Mongolia I quickly called home to tell them about my new destination.

Going to Inner Mongolia was a no brainer to me. In 2014, when I participated and won my country’s Chinese Bridge Competition my speech was about that province, and my performance was an Inner Mongolian song. Why not see it for myself?

Before the trip I prepared some food for the 8+ hours long bus ride: Fruit, cookies, peanuts…   I read some packing lists and was prepared for everything.


October 2, four o’clock in the morning, Beijing Normal University’s doors are closed and the bus could arrive in any moment,  my roommate and I help each other jump the school fence, after just a few minutes the bus is here. I take my seat, and an Australian girl sits next to me, we eat snacks while chatting: tons of snacks, tons of chatting (8+ hours, remember?) I learn about Australia, and I get surprised when she tells me they eat kangaroos (who knew?).

Fast forward to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. First stop a… craft store? gift shop?… kind of both. We walk through the store and see a lot of stuff we can buy for a not so small fee, instead, we take pictures with knives.

End of day one.



We left the hotel at seven to go to Inner Mongolia Museum, learn about the story of Inner Mongolia and see some folk dances.

We got on the bus again to go to the prairie where we did some horse riding, archery and drove cars. Galloping on the prairie was different than anything I’ve did before, these horses where not trained to respond to western commands, they only responded to sounds, and the horse trainers didn’t want to make it any easy for us: they told the horses to go as fast as they could, leaving us pretty sore. Anyways, it was fun , and we saw a lot of beautiful natural scenery.

Till now the food has been plainly bad, this was not the exception. The tour agency didn’t provide a good picture of Chinese food, serving over and over the same disappointing dishes.

That night we were sleeping in a yurt, but before, we shared some drinks and music surrounding a bonfire…  until some guys got crazy, start burning wood stairs, and one of my yurt-mates ends up with a bump on her head.

The temperature at night was so low I had to sleep with a lot of clothes on, winter boots included.



On the third day we went to a Buddhist Temple and then to the desert.

We took fast sandcars to get near the attractions: camel riding, four wheels, sand sledding…

I did first what I came to do: riding a camel. It was fun, camels are cute and soft skinned creatures. Afterwards, I was ready to do some other attractions, but I had lost my ticket! I walked the camel track by foot to see if I found it…I didn’t… I almost lost hope and then I found someone else ticket, and kept it.

I did everything but the four wheel ride, I’ve never like it since one of my middle-schoolmates broke her leg riding one. This time, one of the guys in our travel group ended up using crutches the rest of the trip.

We set out from the desert to the hotel at 7:00pm, but after 8:30pm busses couldn’t be in the highway, so we reached the hotel after 1am.



We woke up early and had breakfast on the bus: plain milk with plain bread.

We had to wait in the bus before departure because one of the guys lost his cellphone and went to the police to see if they could find it (they did).

Then, we arrived to Yungang Grottoes, located in Datong, Shanxi. There I was able to see lots of Buddhist statues of the V and VI centuries in amazingly good condition.

We arrived to the floating temple, our next attraction late, ONE WEEK LATE. It was closed because of a landslide of rocks that happened a week before (how organized…!)

Day 5, 1am, we reached home, four hours later than planned (no big deal).

Our time in Inner Mongolia was short, we spent more than half of it on a bus and met a lot of new friends. It was fun, interesting, unforgettable.

¿21 días sin redes sociales?

celular redes

Día 1: Soy adicta a las redes sociales, pierdo mucho tiempo y no me estoy enfocando en lo que debería: Escribir artículos, completar mi portafolio, estudiar mandarín. Ya no leo tanto como antes, ni siquiera “tengo tiempo” para ver películas. Haré 1 semana sin redes sociales, mejor 21 días… Saldré de mi usuario en las apps de mi celular.

Día 2: Saco el teléfono de mi bolsillo frecuentemente sin razón, nadie me ha llamado, ni me ha escrito, la luz no parpadea… Salgo de mi usuario en la computadora para no tener la tentación tan fácil. Mi gran pasatiempo es YouTube, y no puedo salir de mi cuenta… es mi cuenta de google… ¿borro la aplicación?

Entro a YouTube un momento, solo 15 minutos a investigar algo a las 12:30am. Me duermo a las 2 de la mañana.

Día 3: Despierto a las 10am, es domingo.  No más excepciones. Salgo con mi familia y no uso el celular. En la noche salgo con amigos sin usar mi teléfono.

Día 4: Pude escribir un artículo completo y hacer diligencias antes de las 4pm sin perder mucho tiempo. He estado escuchando mucha música.

Modifico y envío mi portafolio. Veo una serie que hace meses que no veo. Antes de dormir planeo el próximo día.

Día 5: Estudio, hago ejercicio, diligencias y compras en el supermercado.

Revisa tu Facebook, te etiqueté en otra oferta de trabajo- Amigo a las 7pm, vía telefónica.

No me imaginaba que al alejarme de las redes sociales al mismo tiempo estaría alejando ciertas oportunidades como ofertas de trabajo.

Día 6: Aunque ayer accedí brevemente, puedo pasarme el día de hoy alejada de las redes sin problemas. Me siento productiva, tengo una entrevista de trabajo.

Día 7: Hoy es jueves, recibo una llamada para trabajar en un proyecto en las redes. Mi experimento finaliza.

Actualmente sigo usando las redes sociales, porque las considero una forma ideal de contactar con amigos y conocidos, enterarse de novedades y eventos. Pero dejarse llevar scrolling down y en el agujero negro de las recomendaciones de YouTube puede ser letal para la productividad, y más al no tener un trabajo y horario fijo. Alejarme me dio perspectiva, y me hizo dedicar tiempo a cosas que considero más importantes.

Just a bulky extra item I didn’t need

Today I woke up before 4am, I couldn’t sleep. I had to catch a flight at 8:45am, but there was a blizzard warning in NYC and Southern NY State with snow falling from 2am, and I was there watching the snow fall from my uncles apartment window as I refreshed the airline website over and over, to see if the green on time changed to a cancelled… and it didn’t.

Half an hour later my uncle and aunt woke up, I called the airline again to ask if my flight will take off, because a lot of flights were already cancelled, and I didn’t want to make my uncle go all the way to JFK airport just to get an I’m sorry in the check in counter. The website and the representative were on the same page, it was on time, as scheduled. So I drank my lovely aunt’s peanut butter banana shake and we left to the airport.

I drop-off my baggage, that big blue suitcase that has everything I have lived with for the last 6 months, and then headed to security check. In the security line I suddenly remembered I had to give my coat to my aunt, because I was going to the Dominican Republic, my warm paradise, and it was going to be just a bulky extra item I didn’t need, so I went back, and she thought the same, we met halfway through, I gave her the coat and said goodbye again.

After a couple minutes I was in my gate, I had an hour to wait before boarding time.

It was 8am, and we were still sitting by the gate. Our flight boarding time is delayed, we are de-icing the wings our new departure time is 9:05am, thanks for your patience, said the curly-haired announcer. And we waited, as we saw cars, machines and people working beside our plane.

She announced it was boarding time, for a moment I forgot the soon-to-arrive blizzard and felt happy that I will be in less than 4 hours in my warm paradise. I got in the plane, put my carry-on in the overhead compartment, my bag under the front sit, buckled my belt and waited. Sorry, take off is delayed, now we are leaving at 10:30am, take your belongings and go back to the gate.

Not long after that delayed flight turned into a canceled flight. And I realized I was stocked in an airport without telephone, internet or a coat.


I asked the airline staff for a call home, and lined to rebook my flight. I told them about my no-coat situation and they gave me a taxi voucher. And then I was sharing a taxi with a random Dominican man with a stop in Brooklyn before going to Manhattan.  The taxi driver dropped the Dominican man a block away from his home, because of the snow accumulation, and then told me he didn’t know if he was going to be able to get to Manhattan. He called another taxi-driver to ask for advice, and the advice was not to go. He told me he will drop me somewhere I don’t remember because I have never heard about it, and I told to him to take me to a subway station where I can take the A train instead.

He didn’t know where subway stations where, and we were in a not-that-good neighborhood. He asked a person in the street, gave me an umbrella and dropped me off in the first subway station he saw, which happens to be an outside one.

Freezing, lost, and without communication I took my carry on through more than 1 feet high snow and went upstairs to the subway station. I asked the subway woman for a map, and to help me figure out where we were and how to get home.

Aren’t you cold?  Random man in the train station.

I sat in the train, with wet feet and trembling hands. And after two stops transferred to my train in another outside metro station.

After that, I was fine. If only I could tell my family where I was…

Subway stations in NYC are supposed to have Wi-Fi, right? I was soon to know that only happened in Manhattan… I asked a stranger for a phone call, but we were underground so it didn’t deliver. And soon after, the stranger left the train wishing me good luck. I had a few stops to go before being able connect to the internet and say:

Hello, I’m OK, I’m on a train home, don’t worry. Pick me up in the subway station, and please bring a coat. I’m fine.

I kept updating my cousin of my location every moment I was able to get online. I arrived to the cold subway station and walked to the exit, where my aunt was waiting for me with a bag full of good warm clothes. And after walking through almost knee-high snow I got in the car, and breathed.

Just a bulky extra item I didn’t need

Dear grandma, I’m eating well, don’t worry

I completely disagree with a few people who have come to China and then tell that every dish is bad and there’s nothing to eat. What I agree is that Chinese food is a little different from the one you can enjoy in Santo Domingo (even though some dishes are exactly the same), and that after a while in a place where gastronomy is so different you really miss your day to day food.- By the way I really miss mangú and yellow plantain pastelón! Here they don’t even know what a plantain is.

In my last time in Beijing I ate in hotels and restaurants picked by the competition staff, but now, after eating in canteens, restaurants, street trucks etc. I can say that here there’s plenty of good food to eat.

For breakfast I have bread, milk and coffee, oatmeal, baozi (a type of bread filled with vegetables or meat), boiled eggs, fruit… I can enjoy good and cheap food at the university canteen. My favorites? Eggplant, sauté spinach, orange chicken, noodles… and after eating fruit again I can sometimes finish my day with baked sweet potato!

The problem of the image of Chinese food is that tour agencies do not provide a better picture for how Chinese food is. In National Day Holiday vacations I had the opportunity to go to Inner Mongolia, a province in the north of China. The trip was unforgettable: riding horses on the green grasslands, sleeping with winter boots because of the extreme cold at night, going to a desert, riding a camel, going to Buddhist temples… and eating over and over the same disappointing dishes.

Some curious things in my search of stuff to eat:

Bagged milk and yogurt

Milk cartons? Bottles? Why if we can sell bagged milk! You can get plain milk, chocolate milk, and mysterious flavored yogurts packaged in 250 ml bags.


All that varieties of milk and yogurt, and not a single good cheese, what a pity. Cheese is not common at all in China, or butter.

Sweet bread

I’m used to salty bread, but Chinese bread is sweet. You can’t make a regular sandwich with it… trying different brands found one that suits me and have stick to it since.

Cocoa powder

Oh cocoa powder, I searched you everywhere! They just sell it in a few places, or in the internet, you can find anything here on the internet. Occidental products are expensive everywhere though.

Nuts and dry fruits

Here is so common eating dried food, and Chinese people love peanuts (and so do I). You can find places that sell them and see all the toasting process and then by per pound. Convenient and at a good prices.

Eating in China is an experience: a lot of things to choose and try. I’ve had a lot of good surprises, and a few bad choices.

En español aquí.

Querida abuela, estoy comiendo bien, no te preocupes

Estoy en completo desacuerdo con las personas que han venido a China y dicen que todo es malo y no hay nada que comer, aunque claro, para los gustos los colores. En lo que estoy de acuerdo es que la comida china en China es distinta a la comida china “aplataná” que se puede disfrutar en Santo Domingo (aunque ciertos platos son muy parecidos) y que luego de un tiempo en un país con una gastronomía tan distinta  es muy común añorar la comida que acostumbras comer- ¡Ay, cuanto extraño un mangú o un pastelón de plátano maduro! Aquí nunca han visto un plátano.-

La vez anterior que vine a Beijing comía en su mayoría en hoteles o restaurantes seleccionados por el staff del concurso, pero esta vez, luego de comer en cafeterías, restaurantes, puestos en la calle y demás puedo afirmar con seguridad que aquí hay muchas cosas buenas que comer.

Desayuno pan, café con leche, avena, baozi (un tipo de pan relleno de vegetales o carne), huevo hervido, frutas… Puedo disfrutar de buenas comidas bien asequibles en la cafetería de la universidad, ¿Mis favoritas? Berenjenas, espinacas salteadas, pollo agridulce, fideos chinos… y luego de comer fruta nuevamente puedo culminar el día de vez en cuando con ¡batata horneada!

 Creo que el problema a la imagen gastronómica China son las compañías turísticas. En las vacaciones de la Semana Nacional China tuve la oportunidad de conocer Mongolia Interior, una provincia en el norte de China. El viaje fue inolvidable: cabalgar en las verdes praderas, pasar un frío tremendo en las noches a nivel de dormir con botas de invierno, conocer el desierto, montarme en un camello, visitar templos budistas… y comer una y otra vez exactamente los mismos decepcionantes platos.

Algunas curiosidades en mi búsqueda de comestibles:

Leche y yogurt en funda

¿Cartones de leche? ¿Botellas? ¡Para qué, si se puede vender en fundas! Hay fundas de leche blanca, leche con chocolate y yogurt de distintos sabores de lo más curiosos…


Con tantas variedades de leche y yogurt podría pensarse que aparecería algún buen queso, pero la verdad es otra. El queso no es común para nada en la dieta China, así que es uno de esos productos en los cuales alto precio no significa buen sabor.

Pan dulce

Estoy acostumbrada a que el pan sea ligeramente salado, pero aquí el pan tiene un dulzón bastante peculiar que cambia el sabor a cualquier sándwich, por pura casualidad encontré uno al que me he adaptado bastante bien.

Chocolate en polvo

¡Te busqué en todos lados y al fin te encontré! En pocos lugares venden chocolate en polvo, algo tan común en occidente (aunque pude haberlo encontrado fácilmente en internet, los chinos compran muchas cosas por ese medio en páginas como taobao).  Los productos occidentales son en su mayoría bastante caros.

Nueces y frutos secos

Aquí es muy común comer frutos secos, ¡Los chinos aman el maní! (y yo también), se pueden encontrar puestos de nueces y frutos secos, ver como los tuestan y comprarlos por libra. Bastante convenientes y a buen precio.

En fin, comer en China es toda una experiencia, hay mucho de donde escoger y he tenido muchas gratas sorpresas y claro, de vez en cuando alguna mala elección.

In english here.

Primeras semanas en China y emociones encontradas

Estos días todo ha estado en altas y bajas: rodeada de un sinnúmero de nuevas e interesantes personas, pero sintiéndome más sola que nunca, lejos de mi familia, amigos, amor; conociendo nuevos lugares, agobiada de tareas y exposiciones…

Llego a China, esta vez con todo mi equipaje sin ningún percance, y entre la multitud de letreros en mandarín encuentro el que corresponde a mi universidad, sonrisas me dan la bienvenida y espero con el staff y los estudiantes que ya habían llegado al resto de los estudiantes que llegaban el 1ro de Septiembre. Me siento alado de una chica de Norteamérica con cabello trenzado y de un estudiante y banquero alemán, conversamos mientras esperamos la invitación a irnos del aeropuerto y Beijing nos recibe con su famoso tráfico apretado.

Esa noche, el no tan blando colchón de lo que luego llamaría casa se sintió como dormir en nubes, y la simpática americana con trenzas pasó a ser mi compañera de habitación.

La semana pasó rápidamente entre papeleos y ubicación geográfica. La diferencia entre una semana como turista en New York y una semana ubicándome en lo que sería mi nueva universidad y casa por el próximo semestre es abismal.

Empiezan las clases: el primer día el nivel se siente demasiado avanzado, pasan los días y me doy cuenta que aunque bastante exigente, entiendo a los profesores, las asignaciones y a mis compañeros. Tal como se burlaba uno de los estudiantes de otra carrera: los estudiantes de idiomas tienen 4 horas de clases y 6 horas de tarea diaria (por lo menos).

Emocionalmente: altas y bajas. Conozco un montón de personas interesantísimas pero me siento más sola que nunca, aunque poco a poco va mejorando, y ya no me permito desayunar, comer y cenar sola el mismo día. Extraño demasiado a todas las personas que forman parte de mi vida y un abrazo no me caería mal.

No salgo del campus hasta el fin de semana luego de la primera semana de clases (dos semanas después, ¿en serio?, si vieran lo grande que es el campus y la cantidad de asignaciones me perdonarían). Nos dirigimos a nada más y nada menos que una disco, 1:30 am y mis compañeros no tienen ni la más mínima intención de regresar, me duele la cabeza, escribo a ver si algunos de los estudiantes que están en la cercanía están en las mismas que yo, y obtengo dos nuevos amigos para compartir taxi de regreso.

Hoy, entre café exageradamente caro, conversación awkward con una china random para una tarea y unos largos minutos perdida en Beijing junto con nuevas amigas, llego a casa: a prepararme para una nueva semana de estudios, quehaceres, buenas y malas decisiones alimenticias, lugares, personas y emociones encontradas.

Libros, belleza y amor

Cierro los ojos y me imagino que todavía estoy en ese mágico lugar, sentada al lado de otras personas que como yo, buscan la inspiración en este gran edificio que me dejó enamorada en el momento que pasé sus puertas. The New York Public Library me dio la bienvenida en mi quinto día en New York City, y yo sencillamente me enamoré.

Quizá piensen que estoy exagerando, pero como buena amante de los libros me sentía en mis aguas: el ambiente, la arquitectura, la paz, los libros…  Y ver a los niños sentados leyendo, apreciando los libros desde corta edad, me hizo recordarme de mi niñez, cuando iba a donde abuela a pedirle que me leyera un libro una y otra vez para sumergirme en las historias; cuando me pasaba el recreo en la biblioteca del colegio, donde conocí a una de mis mejores amigas. Momentos que recuerdo con mucha felicidad.

No he leído muchos de los clásicos de la literatura, algunos de los libros los leí hace tantos años que ya no recuerdo su historia, pero aunque mis gustos fueron cambiando, los libros me han acompañado en cada etapa de mi vida, ahora más que nada en formato digital y aunque muchos digan que no es lo mismo escuchar el pasar de las páginas y sentir el olor de los libros los encuentro más convenientes, en especial viajando, y los e-readers optimizan la experiencia.