One down, one to go by Carl Fonticella

Well folks, my time in Montemorelos at Hospital la Carlota has come to an end! Yesterday I said goodbye to the small town and caught a bus from Monterrey to Querétaro, a trip that lasted almost 10 hours with two stops included in Matehuala and San Luis Potosí. The last time I took a bus trip that long was when I went from Granada to Madrid, and then from there to Pamplona last summer; on that trip, I loved seeing the Spanish countryside and it wasn’t much different this time around. 

Seeing the mountains and the small towns that dot the highway made for a surreal sight, and I could tell even from the bus that these were towns in which time could stand still under the bright Mexican sun. The bus stations here (and the buses themselves) are such a superior upgrade from those in the United States, making the trip comfortable and bearable despite the length of the journey. 

Querétaro (from what I’ve been able to gather from these last 18 hours or so) is an absolutely gorgeous city! It’s a city of just over 800,000 people, with an incredible history dating back to 200 AD. This area has seen Mesoamerican tribes, the Aztec Empire and it’s influence here, to conquistadors. Technically, this city is called “Santiago de Querétaro” and the city itself has been in existence since 1531. In 1986, the historic town center was named an UNESCO World Heritage site, and I’m lucky enough to live very near to it; be on the lookout for photos from there as I get the opportunity to explore throughout the coming weeks! 

What’s unique about Querétaro is the fact that there is an aqueduct that still exists, which was originally built between 1726 and 1738, and beneath the arches lie “alebrijes” which are actually from the state of Oaxaca, but have made their way here to Querétaro. Alebrijes are sculptures of fantastical invented creatures, although many are based off of real animals, such as lizards and fish. 

At the moment I’m staying in a hotel near where I’ll be working (IMO, or the Instituto Mexicano de Oftalmología) and tomorrow I’ll be moving into the house of one of the doctors who’s graciously allowed me to stay in his home. I’m currently in the lobby of the hotel, enjoying a Modelo Especial and listening to a live band play music. If these next five weeks are going to be as nice as these first 18 hours, Querétaro and I are going to get along quite nicely. Bye for now! 

Going Home (Pt. 1) by Carl Fonticella

I currently write this as I sit in the terminal of the Cleveland airport, waiting for my flight to Houston and then off to Mexico. I’ll be a photo intern for the NGO Vision for the Poor, documenting the work that they do along with creating photo stories about the people who use their services. 

What makes this internship special is that for the first time ever I’ll be going to the homeland. My entire family is Mexican, but my mom came across the border to Laredo, Texas so that when I was born I’d be a naturalized United States citizen. Afterwards, she went back home to Monterrey, and I was adopted into an American family. The only bit I know of her is her last name and that she’s from Monterrey. 

I’m not really sure what I should be feeling right now. It’s kind of a mix of excitement, anxiety, and a combination of a whole bunch of emotions that are swirling around; I guess we’ll see what I feel when we touch down in Mexico. You’d think that I’d be beaming with happiness right now, knowing that by the end of the day I’ll be in the country that I’ve called home my whole life but have never gone too. Rather, I’m sitting here with a rather blank face; to be honest, I think it’s more because I got up at 6 in the morning than anything.

Regardless, I’m super excited to start this internship come Monday morning, so keep along on here and my other social media platforms to see what I create! Next stop, Mexico (but not without this initial 3 hour flight to Houston)! 

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I’m now in Mexico, and my arrival was not treated with a warm welcome; at least from Mother Nature that is. The flight into Monterrey was really bumpy, and as soon as the driver picked me up to take me to the clinic in the small town of Montemorelos, the rain started to pour. 

I had only ever seen rain like this one time prior, and that was when I was in Natal, Brazil during my internship with US Soccer. There, the roads were pretty inundated, but they weren’t unnavigable or washed out. On the way in towards Montemorelos the roads were flooded, with many times the driver going through water at least a foot deep. 

We stopped off at this restaurant on the side of the road called “El Pariente” where Armando (the driver) and I had tacos, beer, and watched Monterrey FC take on Tigres in the quarterfinals of the Mexican soccer league (Monterrey won 4-3 on aggregate). The food was amazing, reminding me that we Mexicans really do have the best food on Earth. 

Even though it’s Monday and the beginning of the work week, I technically am starting tomorrow. I’ll gradually be taking portraits of all of the workers here at the clinic in Montemorelos, and I’ll also be taking photos of surgeries that take place and other happenings around. 

That’s it for now, and I’ll try my best to keep this blog updated with what I’m doing here in Mexico. Hasta luego! 

Spring Fests by Carl Fonticella

Ohio University has always had a party school reputation, and was ranked #1 by the Princeton Review a couple years ago, and this year was again named #1, this time by Playboy Magazine. All in all, there are 7 spring fests that take place in the short time between students coming back from spring break and the end of the semester. While I know that I won't be able to cover every fest, I will try and cover as many as I can, with the exception of Numbers Fest. It's the largest college musical festival in the country, but the company who runs it is very, shall we say, sensitive when it comes to over whether the photographers own the copyright of their photos or not. 

This photo gallery is from when I covered Mill Fest, the first daytime fest of the spring. Milliron takes place the night before, with many students reporting that they started drinking at 9 or 10 AM the following morning. I also covered this by doing multimedia as well, so go and check out the multimedia tab to see my Mill Fest video as well. Enjoy the photos! 

 

Sports, Rocky Horror, Rallies and Avant-garde plays by Carl Fonticella

Wow it's been a busy semester! As you can tell by the title, working with The Post has given me a bunch of opportunities to photograph a lot of really cool events around campus. Ohio football has qualified for a bowl game for the seventh straight season, volleyball has clinched the 2nd seed in the MAC postseason tournament, basketball just started, and campus has been alive these past few weeks with the changing of the leaves and the crispness of the fall air arriving in Athens. 

Covering sports is my absolute favorite, and I've gotten some great photos from the games that I've covered so far. I also went back home to cover my high school's homecoming game to work on a story on small town homecomings, and came away with some great shots from that. 

So finally, months after coming back to Athens, enjoy a gallery of some of my favorite work that I've created this semester! I'm also working on a multimedia project on Little Fish Brewing Company, a local microbrewery here in Athens, so be on the lookout for that. 

Morocco (Vlog) by Carl Fonticella

This vlog is a little video I put together to document my group's trip to Morocco and hopefully inspires you guys to go and study abroad! I've had the time of my life here in Granada and with AIFS so hopefully my vlog convinces you all that going abroad is the trip of a lifetime; plus, did you know that only 1% of college students go abroad? Studying abroad not only expands your language abilities, but also exposes you to a new culture and new way of life that you're probably not used to! It also gives you the chance to meet friends you'll have for the rest of your life and create bonds while hiking in caves or riding camels!

Morocco by Carl Fonticella

These past three days a group of us traveled to Morocco, a Muslim country on the northern coast of Africa and saw four cities; Tangier, Tétouan, Chefchaouen and Asilah. I've never been to Africa before, nor have I spent a considerable amount of time around anyone of the Muslim faith so this segment of my time abroad was the first time I felt culture shock! It's easy to blend in when you're Latino living in a westernized city in Spain, but all eyes are on you (not necessarily in a bad way) when you step foot in Morocco.

We first had to take a bus ride from Granada to Tarifa, a port city on the south of Spain where we waited to take a 45-minute ferry ride across the Mediterranean Sea to Tangier, Morocco. While this was all really cool and we got to see some amazing views on the ride to Tangier and on the water, we all had to meet at the bus station in Granada at 7:45 in the morning and didn't reach Morocco until the early afternoon. When we got there, however, we were all told to turn out clocks back one more hour than we were expecting; Morocco is one hour behind Spain, but because we went during Ramadan, clocks were turned back another hour,

Within 10 minutes of stepping off of the boat in Morocco, we heard the Adhan, or the call to prayer that resonates from the many mosques, and heard it again when our bus stopped near a souk (market) in Tangier. I've never heard it before, and I can only describe it as a surreal, other-worldly sound, which goes...

Allahu Akbar
God is Great

Ashhadu an la ilaha illa Allah
I bear witness that there is no god except the One God.

Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasool Allah
I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God.

Hayya 'ala-s-Salah
Hurry to the prayer (Rise up for prayer)

Hayya 'ala-l-Falah
Hurry to success (Rise up for Salvation)

Allahu Akbar
God is Great

La ilaha illa Allah
There is no god except the One God

Here's a link to a YouTube video with audio of the Adhan.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUHDYlJHaOQ

After traveling to Africa and a Muslim country, I now realize just how messed up America's view is of places like these. Now I know that I didn't travel to the Middle East (which is on my bucket list by the way) nor did I spend a lot of time there, but the stereotype that these people are all western-hating radicals is just absurd. With the exception of the stray annoying street vendor, we were treated with nothing but kindness from all we met; shop owners, business people, and were even welcomed to Morocco by people in the street who recognized we were foreigners. Morocco is a country full of historic culture and people and I'm so grateful that I got to go on this journey. In Morocco, they don't say goodbye and instead say "salam aleikum" meaning "may Allah's peace, mercy and blessing be upon you" but they use it in many different conversational settings, such as a welcome, thank you, and also as a goodbye. When said as a goodbye it's meant as a "see you again" and I know that I will be back in Morocco someday. And how fitting that as we boarded the boat to head back to Spain, we heard the beautiful music of the Adhan drift over the Arab landscape one last time.

Salam Aleikum Maroc. Thank you for allowing us to visit and experience your kindness.

شكرا لكم على السماح لنا بزيارة وتجربة لطفكم



Summer Abroad by Carl Fonticella

This summer I will be living in Europe for two months through the study abroad organization AIFS (American Institute for Foreign Study) where I will be studying at the University of Granada in Granada, Spain. I'll also be traveling to London, Morocco and hopefully another country in Europe during one of our free weekends. This blog will be dedicated to me updated my travels and sharing my experiences!

Well, it's been 22 days since I've arrived in Europe and this is my first blog post, so be prepared for a LOT of information. To begin my time in Europe, I spent two days in London, England. This was my second time there and I once again loved every second and got to experience things I didn't get to do the first time, such as ride the London Eye and go to Camden Town to meet up with a friend from college. Even though I knew that Spain was next on my trip, I wished that I could have spent more time there, but thankfully I am absolutely loving Granada.

I'm staying with a host family here in Spain, but it's a bit different than what I expected going into the trip. My host family consists of my "mom", Conchita, and her daughter Maria who is probably 10 years older than me. Both are vegetarian (something uncommon here in Europe) and both practice yoga and do meditation everyday after dinner. Both are extremely kind and open and love to engage in conversation with me about any topic. One thing we always do is watch TV during lunch and dinner; in Spain, these meals are more traditionally known as a slow process filled with family bonding and conversation, but in mine we watch Modern Family at lunch and either Friends or a movie at dinner. What I enjoy about this is that although there are English subtitles in both, I learn Spanish words and phrases, and since sometimes the punchline in the joke requires something to be read in English, I help my family out in learning English.

In our short time here we've already seen a bunch of cultural and historical gems, such as the Alhambra here in Granada, as well as the districts of Sacromonte (gypsy quarter in Granada) and the Albayzín. We've also traveled to Nerja on the Costa del Sol, and this past weekend went to Sevilla and Córdoba. We've seen cathedrals and mosques in Sevilla and Córdoba that date back more about a thousand years before the American Revolutionary War, and seeing how old artifacts are really puts American history into perspective.

I'll be trying my hardest to keep things up to date here, and also keep on updating my photo gallery with my best photos from my travels. This weekend we go to Morocco for three days so be prepared for a post about that!

Happy Blogging!

Welcome! by Carl Fonticella

Hi there! Welcome to my blog, where I will (hopefully) stay on top of updating you with my photography! Here in my blog you will find entries for everything that I photograph, be it on my travels to events on campus while working for the Post. I'm super excited to start up this blog, and like I said, I hope that I can keep this as up to date as I can. How this will work is that, for example, after a basketball or football game, I'll post the photos from that game here in my blog, and upload maybe one or two of my best photos into the gallery on the "sports" tab. Thanks, and enjoy my work!