Monday, January 30, 2012


Consider this the unfiltered version of my Augie blog. I don't want the administration to know my true feelings on some of these goings-on.

Vietnam is beautiful. With a population as large as NYC, Saigon is a force to be reckoned with. As we landed, I realized that instead of being built "up", it was built "out" because of the low cost of cement buildings. The sprawl went past the horizon when I looked out the window as the plane landed. They also have 4 million motorbikes in the city, so traffic is a little hairy sometimes. The group has learned the technique of crossing the street. It's called "show no fear". Basically, once you start to cross the street, you've really got to commit. Don't slow down, no matter what. See a dollar on the street? Leave it. A friend seems confused? Save yourself. You CAN NOT STOP. So yesterday when I was walking to the Vietnamese market (which seems awfully far when you're wearing sandals), this lesson was cemented in my head. They have a rough traffic law system here, which translates into "looks like there's more traffic straight than across my path. I'm going for it". So my friends and I stepped off the curb. I was somewhere in the middle of the pack when a motorbike started to turn right, subsequently, it would seem, into my path. I know to keep walking because they'll go around me. However my friends shout "Margaux!" so I freeze in place, because I guess that's my normal reaction? There I am, motorbike coming at me, another close behind. I nearly got run over (not that a scooter is really gonna be the death of me, but you get the gist). So. Do. Not. Stop. I'm alive to tell the tale, so don't worry. I just yelled at my friends to never talk to me in the street again.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


So the countdown has already begun for my study abroad term. I know that Vietnam seems like an unlikely choice, so in response to the numerous questions already posed and those that have gone unasked, I've decided to make a post on why I chose this particular foreign term.

LONG, LONG AGO... okay I'm lying. It was about a year ago. I signed up to go on Vienna term and Vietnam, ultimately choosing Vienna because of the musical/cultural experience that the term offered. I've always wanted to go to Europe and HEY it's freaking Vienna, for chrissake. Have you met me? It's right up my alley. However, I guess fate had other ideas in mind. It turns out Vienna term was cancelled due to lack of interest (probably because it was the most expensive foreign term Augie offers), and I was offered the opportunity to switch to Vietnam.

That being said, I did have my reasons for applying to Vietnam, and they still apply today. First, Vietnam is not somewhere I would choose to travel on my own. I pride myself on my traveling ability, having even helped my bf in his last minute attempt to pack (or rather unpack) for Brazil term. But even I'm not brave enough to travel to an Eastern communist country alone. My professors, God bless them, have much more gumption than I do and frequently travel to this far off land. My second reason might seem typical for a college student: I have friends who are going. Indeed they are, I'm sure, going to be my safety blanket throughout this whole term. My travel experiences consist of the United States and Ecuador, so being in a country where I haven't the slightest about what anyone around me is saying is a terrifying idea. The beauty of a study abroad program like this is that I have native English speakers to fall back on when I need it.

The third reason for this study abroad experience has really come together since I started the term. I've never been much of a history buff. I'll leave that to my Grandpa (who can, by the way, tell you where his family house is in Germany). Yes, it might be a shock, but the term "Tet Offensive" and "Tonkin Gulf Incident" meant little more than a dotted line to Asia and a shaky finger pointed at the Vietnam War as of a few months ago. I find this terribly sad. I've lived through one of the most atrocious incidents in American history. I know how appalled I would be if my children asked me one day "what's the big deal about the World Trade Centers?". And yet that is, more or less, how I treated every presidency and international incident from WWII- the Bush administration. This term has given me a more firm grasp on the history of my country, and for that I'm grateful. As one of my professors proclaimed after the first two weeks of class: "You now know more about the Vietnam War than 95% of Americans".

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New York

I recently (as in January 3rd) went to visit my good friend Josh in New Jersey. When I say New Jersey I'm not talkin Jersey Shore Jersey but I'm-a-half-hour-away-from-New-York-City New Jersey. The distance that has given me the opportunity to host Josh at my house multiple times so that he could meet and get close to my family had also robbed me of the opportunity to meet his family, even though we've been friends for nearly four years now. Besides meeting all of his friends at home, I also had the most amazing trip getting to go to his favorite places in the city, and some new ones. 

This is at the 9/11 memorial. It was a really beautiful, terrible sight. I went to New York City in the spring of 2002 and saw ground zero. Everyone there was very moved both of the times I visited the site.

the new/future 'Freedom Tower'. It'll be 1776 feet tall, making it the tallest building in America upon its completion. It's Tower One of seven that will be completed.

I found this extremely interesting. Every time I've mentioned going past the stock exchange, people have asked if I went inside. We couldn't even get close because there were guards and barricades. 

This was taken outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Apparently this is a private school. 

The classiest looking hotdog stand ever. Outside the Met yet again. 

Look how happy I am to be in New York!

A site that needs no introduction: Times Square. Note the happy young man in the hat. No, I don't know who he is. 

Hey! There it is again!

I love musicals, so I had to show you this one. [I've seen Phantom AND Wicked] (!)

I saw this sign on a wall in SoHo among movie posters and graffiti. I'm a fan.

A view of Little Italy and Chinatown way down the road. Note the back of Josh's head in the lower right corner. 

This place has been there for over 100 years. You just can't get those numbers in Chicago (or if you can, I haven't seen them). They also had the best cannoli ever, along with gelato, wine, espresso and other Italian baked goods.

For years [YEARS] Josh has been telling me that we Chicagoains don't know what a bagel is. I thought he was an idiot until I had a real bagel from Jersey. You haven't lived until you have a fresh bagel, still hot from the oven, first thing in the morning. Cream cheese and a side of coffee, too. The ultimate breakfast. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

and another thing...

So my boyfriend left today for Brazil and I'm leaving on the 26th for a Hong Kong/ Vietnam trip. It's my hope that I'll be able to post on a semi-regular basis about my travels, as my group is going all over Vietnam.

For now, appease yourself with a photo taken the day I left for New York City {a story for another blog entry entirely}

Aw! Isn't that cute?!


Yeah yeah, we've all heard it before. "New Year, New YOU!!!" "start the year off right" "I'm going to work out every day and never drink soda again and only eat vegetables during the week".

No on the last one? That's just me then...

Anyways. 2012 really started with a bang for me. As we all know I'm applying for grad school (insert applause from the studio audience), and decided to end the year focusing on me. 2011 ended with a party at my parents' house filled with my best friends in the whole world. The photographic evidence [[I HAVE FRIENDS?!]]

The besties.

A very random photo.

Myself and one of my suitemates from FRESHMEN YEAR. yes people, I can keep a friend :)

Anywho, I figured since I'm going to Vietnam in about two weeks, I should start my blog off with recent events rather than just diving into my Asian adventures (also, here's hoping that they're google friendly over there, as facebook is a no no).