Hi y'all! And welcome to my first blog post! Over the last couple of weeks, I've been spending my somewhat extended break(which was an extra study abroad perk) tackling visas, budgeting, flights, and all the minuta associated with studying abroad. However, after cracking down on all of the paperwork, I think I can comfortably say that I'm ready to fly off. It hasn't all been just grinding away though. I've also had the opportunity to visit and explore a little bit within the U.S. before I head off to Shanghai. I had the gracious opportunity to attend SLS18, a Catholic leadership conference which this year was held in Chicago, IL. So in addition to the greatness of the conference, I also got the opportunity to explore downtown Chicago! I've also spent some time a little bit closer to home in the city of Los Angeles, somewhere I've lived by my whole life but have seldom traveled to.
While in Los Angeles, I visited the famous Urban Light sculpure at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, better knowm as LACMA. Unlike much of LACMA, this scuplutre is free and open to the public, a big bonus for a college student like myself.
The canvas for this art piece is actually comprised of ten segments of the original Berlin Wall. It is now a permanent display in LA.
This is the Floating Mass, also on display at LACMA. That rock is solid too, not just hollowed out.
We also took a walk through LA's The Grove, a very popular outdoor shopping mall. There was a great view of the city as the sun set!
And I finally arrive in Chicago! This was the view I had from my hotel room.
I was very excited to see snow falling outside the convention center. It was worth braving the freezing weather to grab a quick photo, even though you can't quite see it.
I also got the opportunity to explore some of downtown Chicago during a small break in the conference. If you've noticed that this photo and the next are somewhat blurry, it's because I forgot my gloves during this outing. That was a brutal experience.
Once again, here is the bean resting at the forefront of the Chicago skyline. I was very grateful that we were able to slip some time in to visit this part of the city.
And back to LA! I made another trip into the city to visit some of my friends, and we took a hike in beautiful Griffith Park. With some effort, we made it up to the observatory.
During our hike, we were able to get a pretty nice view of the city. I was even able to spot the coast far off in the distance. If you want to consider how big the city is, essentially everything seeen in this photo can be considered Los Angeles.
I am grateful that I was able to do some travel within the U.S., but am still very excited about the travel I will be doing in China. Right now, I am not feeling too nervous, but something tells me that once I get on the plane it's gonna be a different story. But, that is all a part of the experience. The comforts of home that I'm leaving by studying abroad are part of the reason I'm going in the first place. Living in such an unfamiliar place will, whether I like it or not, leave me with a broader global perspective, new friends, and new, beautiful memories, in addition to improved language and communication skills. It isn't easy to leave friends and family behind for such a long amount of time, but I certainly plan on seeing them again, and indeed, my experience would be wasted if I came back to no one to share it with. Ultimately, I am excited for this new experience, and look forward to when it begins.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>My name is Ryan Dondalski, and I am a Mechanical Engineering major at the University of Tulsa. I love automobiles, building things, and most of all, people! I hope you'll find my posts enlightening, and thank you for stopping by!</p>