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.

Hasta ahora, el mejor

Unos días atrás, restaurant con amigos, víspera de mi cumpleaños

-En unas horas tendré 22, el tiempo pasa muy rápido.

-Este año ha sido el mejor de tu vida, ¿verdad?

-Bueno, no exactamente este año, habría que remontarse a unos meses antes.


De mayo de 2014 al día de hoy han ocurrido muchas cosas significativas, algunas realmente importantes, y otras que simplemente me emocionan. Cumplir metas, implementar nuevos hábitos, conocer nuevas personas, nuevas cosas.


1- Ganar el concurso en el que había participado 3 veces antes sin éxito

La primera vez me lo esperaba, no llevaba ni 6 meses estudiando mandarín y solamente los sábados, la segunda también… al menos gané el 3er lugar. La tercera vez que participé la derrota me tomó por sorpresa. Pero el fracaso es la madre del éxito, y armada de valor y orgullo me dispuse a participar nuevamente: preparándome meses antes, retándome a cada instante, practicando de domingo a domingo y logrando el éxito anhelado.

Me siento bendecida, agradecida, feliz, orgullosa de mí misma. Hoy he cumplido uno de mis sueños, gané el primer lugar del Puente Chino, competencia de mandarín para estudiantes universitarios, ¡con 98.7! ¡Aún no me lo creo, me voy para china!

Gracias, muchas gracias, a todos aquellos que han estado conmigo, que me han apoyado, a los que estuvieron ahí aplaudiendo y a aquellos que estuvieron allá con el corazón. Gracias a mis profesores de mandarín, a profe Zhang, a Intec, a los amigos que me aguantaron practicando mandarín en cada reunión, a mi novio por ayudarme a practicar y darme ánimo; a mi familia, mis hermanos, mis padres, por estar siempre ahí, apoyarme, ayudarme, pues sin ellos no hubiese podido llegar hasta aquí, a mi nana, a la modista, a mi amiga bailarina, a los jueces, a mis compañeros de clase, a Dios por encima de todo, de verdad, gracias.

(Mayo 2014)

2- Viajar sola

Gracias al concurso mencionado tuve la oportunidad de  viajar a China.

Anteriormente, mi idea de viaje consistía en hacer mi maleta (la cual sería revisada con mucho cariño por mi mamá para que no faltara nada), despertar a tiempo para tomar el auto/avión y hacer lo que mis padres hubieran organizado.

Esta vez al cruzar las puertas del aeropuerto todo estaría en mis manos: check in, aduanas, llegar al avión a tiempo, acomodar mi maleta en el maletero superior, entretenerme en un vuelo de más de 15 horas, hablar con extraños, buscar maletas, darme cuenta que no está y reclamarla en otro idioma, y afrontarme a cualquier vicisitud que se presentara.

Resultado: Enamorarme más de lo que ya estaba de viajar.

3- Conocer personas de todos los continentes

Ya conocía a algunas personas de otros países de América, a algunos pocos de Asia y Europa. ¿Pero hacer amigos de cada continente? ¿Conocer a personas extraordinarias de países como Uzbequistán, Madagascar, Indonesia o Zambia? No me lo imaginaba.

4- Aparecer en televisión 

El 汉语桥 no es solo un concurso en el que participan estudiantes de mandarín de casi todos los países del mundo, sino que también es un show de televisión transmitido en toda China, y disponible online para público de otros países.



Practicar una y otra vez este pequeño intro se sentía como una fiesta en la cual todos éramos uno.

5- Graduarme

Amanecer cortando cartones, papeles, diseñando en la computadora, sacando presupuestos, lijando prototipos. Sufrir por una capa de pintura que no se seca a los pocos minutos de una entrega. Conocer personas fenomenales con puntos de vista muy diferentes.

Y luego, graduarme.



Summa Cum Laude, by the way.

6- Amar

No es mi primer amor, no nos hicimos novios este año, pero no puedo dejar de añadirlo a la lista de cosas que hicieron que este año fuese increíble. Punto.



7- Empezar a nadar

Este año me digné a empezar a practicar un deporte, y la natación de cierta forma me eligió. Empecé gracias a algunos dolores en las articulaciones y seguí porque estar en el agua es excepcional. Ahora con los preparativos del viaje me he alejado un poco de las prácticas, espero que en China pueda retomar esta actividad tan relajante.

8- Trabajar en la radio


Siempre he escrito mis pensamientos, pero el escenario me estaba llamando así que hice un Diplomado de Oratoria y Maestría de Ceremonias, tomé un intensivo de Locución para aumentar mi capacidad de expresarme y me atreví a hablar en la radio.

Puedes escuchar la grabación de uno de los programas aquí.

9- Grabar una canción

Me gustaba cantar desde pequeña. Mis padres me cuentan que le quería tomar el micrófono a todo el mundo: el padre en la misa, el cantante en la fiesta… Canté por muchos años en el coro del colegio y de la iglesia. Y luego conocí a un grupo de intérpretes que buscaban una voz femenina. Y pues nada, Johanna puede decirles a sus futuros bisnietos que grabó una canción.

10- Ayudar

Nunca había cruzado la calle tantas veces, no me imaginaba que las personas que van en carro público dan más que los que andan en vehículos de lujo; y tampoco que juntos, pesito a pesito podemos recaudar más de tres millones.

11- Iniciar un blog

Leo blogs, paso mi tiempo libre viendo videos de Youtube, escribo artículos, y no me había atrevido a iniciar (y mantener) un blog. ¿Qué mejor momento que éste?