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The McDermott Scholars Award covers all expenses of a superb four-year academic education at The University of Texas at Dallas, in concert with a diverse array of intensive extracurricular experiences, including internships, travel, and cultural enrichment.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Waxing poetic on the charms of Monterrey


Wall art on the side of a building

I like how everyone plays soccer here,
But for variety’s sake, I don’t like how everyone plays soccer here.
I like how Mexican food is made of tortillas, meat, and cheese,
But for variety’s sake, I don’t like how Mexican food is made of tortillas, meat, and cheese.


Poseidon fountain

I like how you take a taxi everywhere,
But for safety’s sake, I don’t like how you take a taxi everywhere.
I like how the hot dog vender across the street sells weed,
But for safety’s sake, I don’t like how the hot dog vender across the street sells weed.


Soon to be angry taxi driver (really not my fault)

I like how nightclubs blanket the city,
But for my liver’s sake, I don’t like how nightclubs blanket the city.
I like how alcohol is sold at every store,
But for my liver’s sake, I don’t like how alcohol is sold at every store.


Fa├žade of the “Iron Palace” mall

I like how there are many gift and souvenir shops,
But for solvency’s sake, I don’t like how there are many gift and souvenir shops.
I like how there are several gentlemen’s clubs,
But for solvency’s sake, I don’t like how there are several gentlemen’s clubs.


Used to be an outdoor theater downtown

I like how the atmosphere is so dry in Monterrey,
But for my throat’s sake, I don’t like how the atmosphere is so dry in Monterrey.
I like how all foods are served spicy,
But for my throat’s sake, I don’t like how all foods are served spicy.


A mother re-hydrating a daughter

I like how we live in dorms at Tec de Monterrey,
But for privacy’s sake, I don’t like how we live in dorms at Tec de Monterrey.
I like how the maid cleans our rooms each morning,
But for privacy’s sake, I don’t like how the maid cleans our rooms each morning.


Hawaii 5-0 restaurant

I like how restaurants are open late into the night,
But for my stomach’s sake, I don’t like how restaurants are open late into the night.
I like how tacos are sold at every street corner,
But for my stomach’s sake, I don’t like how tacos are sold at every street corner.


Some weird Americans
Left to right: Ramiro, Julie, & Chris


I like how many students are fluent in both Spanish and English,
But for my ego’s sake, I don’t like how many students are fluent in both Spanish and English.
I like how all the girls here are incredibly attractive,
But for my ego’s sake, I don’t like how all the girls here are incredibly attractive.


Charlie and his girlfriend

I like how I learned a lot of Spanish.
I like how juice is made from fresh fruit.
I like how the Spanish rock station plays awesome music.
I love how I’ve made friends for life.


Stuffed into the backseat of a taxi – Mexican style
Left to Right: me, Stacie, Heather, & Mila

Attending a baseball game in Taiwan



Nothing says summer like a hot dog and a baseball game, even if it's being played on the other side of the world. In Taiwan the baseball teams don't have home fields, instead they rotate between all of the major cities. So when my coworkers' favorite team, the Elephants, was in town to take on the Whales, it was not to be missed. Plus, the tickets were only about eight dollars or 240 TWD to sit along the first base line. My attempts to explain how much equivalent seats would cost for a Rangers game were met with such disbelief that I had to convince them I knew the exchange rate.

I never thought fans in the US were apathetic until I went to that game. The fans lived and died on every pitch from the first inning until the final out. After a while I had heard enough to join in their chants, even though I couldn't understand a word they were saying. Their fervor was all the more impressive because the Elephants are, to put it nicely, terrible. They rank near the bottom of the standings, and were trailing by 5 or more runs most of the game. Despite this they had still drawn twice as many fans and those fans were still cheering for the final strike thrown by their closer. For the fans the loss wasn't important, instead it really was all about how they played the game.

Granada, Spain



Plaza Nueva in Granada, on the way to see a Flamenco performance.

Granada, the fruit of Spain, the pomegranate of pithy flesh and thousands of tiny seeds, cultivates a trifold history of Arabic, Christian and Jewish influence. The gypsies, Arabians and Castillians contribute unique flavors to the savory picture that flows over all senses. Flamenco, the dance of Andalucia, with the backdrop of La Alhambra brings passion and meaning to lives filled with tradition and modern urbanity. The ancient songs of undulating voices decry times of war and of first loves. The wild stamp of feet and the rustle of many-layered skirts beat the rhythm of a simulateneously raging and trickling river.

Granada is a medium-sized sprawl of urbanity. Never before have I experienced the urban life in such vivid color. The people live in high rise apartment buildings. Few homes are within the city. Shops on lower levels with apartments above belie the intermingling of residential and commercial zones.

Beautiful parks with running trails and benches beneath beckoning branches of shady trees provide respite from the congested air. The city has wonderful treasures in remote locations with intricate networks of streets that begin and terminate at seemingly random intervals. Such is the paradise of an avid Spanish student. Small enough to allow glimpses of friendly faces on the street with an urbanity that reflects the character of New York.

The Sierra Nevadas provide a breathtaking backdrop to the skyline of the city. The ancient Moorish palace, La Alhambra, winds along a slope over looking the city, reminding the populace of several hundred years of Moorish rule. Andalucia prays upon the heart and awakens the deepest desires to dance with abandon.