Commencing Break & Coffee

Greetings and salutations! I am currently blogging from a cuban coffee shop in Washington D.C. on a heated outdoor screened in porch with my sister across from me, we just had lunch at an amazing ramen restaurant and I must say folks, it’s spring break day 2 and life is good.

My spring break started at about 4pm on Friday afternoon once my Differential Equations class concluded, and proceeded to only get better. After class I went out with one of my friends to get pedicures and grab dinner at a super cute pizza place in Daytona One, which is a new shopping center across from the Daytona International Speedway, then I spent the evening packing and cleaning my room… ie preparing for takeoff.

Sandbag beach PT with a few of my favorite girl gang members the morning before spring break officially commenced.

I started Saturday morning by finishing up some laundry and last minute cleaning, followed by a road trip to the Orlando International Airport with one of my best friends. Before she dropped me off we stopped to have breakfast in Orlando at a brunch restaurant, where we got iced lavender lattes with shots of expresso, an acai bowl with fresh fruit and granola on top, avocado toast with poached eggs, and an immunity shot of fresh pressed juice before I left for the airport. 

I then proceeded to board my plane to head to Dulles International Airport, which is only about an hour and 47 minute flight, where I ran into one of my good childhood friends who was in DC for an internship and was currently heading back to Florida for her spring break to work on a conservation project in Stuart, Florida to protect the ecosystem and help the wildlife there.

Following this pleasantly unexpected reunion, I hopped into a car with my sister, and we blasted the tunes back to her house. Also a key point to mention, is that I went from 80 degree weather in Florida to 40 degree weather up north, and I’m not thrilled. Regardless of the climate change, if you are reading this and thinking, what an AMAZING start to a spring break, you are right, I 100% agree with you. 

When we got from IAD back to my sister’s house, she made an amazing vegetable and tofu ramen strip fry for dinner, we put on face masks, and we made homemade rice krispie treats to take on our next plane ride together (YAY).

Plus I got to refill not one, not two, but three essential oil diffusers, which are by the way life changing and I highly recommend. I have one essential oil diffuser in my dorm room and, to put it un-ironically, it is absolutely essential to have and is a total game changer from diffusing lavender when I sleep to rosemary when I study. I also got to light a bunch of candles around my sister’s house, which is a lavish task because living on campus, candles are unfortunately not allowed due to the fire hazard, so when I’m not at school I genuinely appreciate them. After that, we made strawberry nutella “smoothie”/cashew milk milkshakes for dessert. This concludes day one of my spring break.

Day 2: I woke up to my sister making breakfast, I leisurely got up and made the bed, then got to go around her house watering ALL the plants, which is one of my favorite things. Once I finished this up we drank coffee and ate breakfast, did yoga, checked into our flight for the following morning, and took a mid morning nap before running afternoon errands.

Current situation while blogging.

This brings us up to date in the present day moment, where I sit sipping cuban coffee while my sister works and my mom is currently en route from Virginia Beach, to DC to meet us. Our plane takes off late tomorrow morning to a tropical destination and the adventure has yet to begin. Will report back soon folks, take it easy over the break!

ERAU Family Weekend!

This past weekend was Family Weekend here in Daytona Beach. My mom and brother came to visit, but Chris also came to surprise me! When I pulled up at the airport to pick up my mom and brother, Chris was there!

We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Ormond Beach (we got a great deal) and first began the morning by grabbing breakfast. I sent Logan (my brother) off with a friend to an engineering class since that is his interest. Chris and my mom came to meet my Professor, but instead of sitting in on the class, they went to go “officially” check-in for the weekend.

Of course my mom went to the bookstore and got all the goodies. She also met up with a friend from Castle Rock (our hometown) since her son also is a student! This is a picture of Logan and I. Can you believe he is as tall as me? I can’t!

When my family came to Family Weekend my freshman year, they were sad Logan couldn’t come too. Now that he was able to come, we were all very happy. It is huge for him to be able to see the school he hopes to attend, but also hopefully makes his first couple days at college a lot less scary, especially since he was able to sit in on a class.

After my first class, I took my family to meet some friends and faculty that I love. The folks I work with in Admissions even gave him a t-shirt!

Coolest 13 year-old I know!
Logan really wanted an energy drink and I really wanted to show him our cool deck… So here we are!

We also toured the school and then went to lunch. My mom went to my dorm and napped while Chris and Logan came to my last class of the day with me. My Professor was very sweet to them and they both really enjoyed the class. Logan now loves Aviation Business since my class was very fun and his morning Engineering class was more serious. I feel bad for tarnishing his view but… I’m also not too mad about it, haha!

There were many options for us on Friday and Saturday (like trivia night), but I just really wanted my family to see the campus and for Logan to sit in on a class with me. We decided to go to Disney since most of Saturday’s activities would not be super fun for Logan and because my mom had already been to most of the activities my freshman year. Plus… I mean it’s Disney!

After spending an arm and a leg, we went to Epcot. We decided to go to this park since we have not been in a long time. Logan is 13 (almost 14) now, so he has grown to like it a lot more than he did when he was way younger. The weather was great and the longest line we waited in was only 30 minutes!

Please enjoy some pictures from the weekend!

My adorable mom and I!
Just hanging out with my boys!
I was so happy Chris came to surprise me!
Epcot’s yummy and surprisingly affordable food!
Left: chocolate tasting Right: beef wellington

Sunday was the day scheduled by the school as “free time”, but my family left Sunday afternoon. So, instead we went to Orlando (since they were leaving out of MCO) and went to the outlet mall there!

I was sad to see everyone go, but I was also glad they came. It was honestly one of the greatest weekends of my life! When I am at school I greatly miss my family. Seeing them gives me the motivation and strength to continue to work hard on my studies!

Some restaurants we ate at (and that I highly recommend):

  • Tia Cori’s Tacos
  • Oklahoma Joe’s
  • Giuseppe’s Steel Pizza City
  • Neighbors Ice Cream Parlor
  • Blaze Pizza
  • Chicken Salad Chick

You go through life wondering what is all about but at the end of the day it’s all about family.

Rod Stewart

Until next time! ~ Maddie

Home & Holidays

Happy December everyone! I’m currently blogging from Washington DC. I traveled from Daytona Beach to Orlando then to Richmond, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach to see family and friends, and now I’m spending some time up north visiting with my sister. It’s starting to get so cold here, I feel like Florida has definitely gotten me accustomed to warmer climates. I’m definitely lucky to have been able to borrow my brother and sister’s warm clothes while I visited because my small carry on included jeans and a flannel that were not cut out for this 30 degree weather. Such a drastic climate change from blazing summers in Kansas and mild and humid temperatures in Florida.  

In other news, I have been enjoying my break so much. I’ve done a ton of yoga at a studio only two blocks away from my house (score!), have been running on the beach (in the cold yikes), doing push-ups and ab workouts, have gone on a couple hikes, and of course took my dog, Kita on walks with my dad, in addition to eating a bunch of good food, visiting local coffee shops, and sleeping.

One of my favorite things I got to do over break was paint a shed my dad built. Surprisingly enough painting the entire thing only took a few hours in the afternoon with my family all grabbing brushes.

Painting a shed! I promise the tiny brush was only used to cover nails.

Kita got painted too!

I also got to spend some time hiking with my sister and mom, which was great! Got to break in my new hiking boots I got for Christmas, broke in some new running shoes, and also some new ABU boots for Field Training Preparation (FTP) next semester. To say the least my feet are extremely sore, but better now than later.

On a hike with my mom and sister!

My aunt also took some amazing family photos for us that are currently being uploaded but will be sure to be included in the upcoming posts.

I fly back to Florida in a few days and can definitely say I will miss the leisurely pace of a balanced life and no homework. RAs always arrive back to school early to decorate, inspect, and set up the dorms again before all the residents return for the upcoming semester. Until then though, I’ll be sleeping and eating well in preparation for FTP, as well as working on scholarship applications and internship applications for the summer.

Happy new year and I hope everyone has been enjoying their holidays. Will report back soon once the semester starts up again!

Spring to Life!

Hello everyone!

I hope you all are having a fantastic spring break! My spring break has been eventful so far! For the first weekend of spring break, my family and I went camping to Salt Springs in Ocala for the weekend. Salt Springs is one of Ocala’s jewels. The spring was named due to the fact that there are potassium, sodium and magnesium deposits making the water saline. We had four tents set up, so we all pretty much had our own tents, except for, of course, my parents who shared a tent!

Partial view of our campsite

Full view of our campsite

Photo of our tents ft mum & bro

Another campsite photo

Relaxing photo ft Brent

There are plenty of activities to do in the area. When we camped there for 2 nights, we all went for a little hike and even biked around the recreation area. There is a beautiful lake named Lake Kerr, where campers can enjoy plenty of water activities. It was way too cold to go for a swim, but we did bike around the area. We had our bonfire going on pretty much our entire stay due to how cold it was!

Lake Kerr

Lake Kerr

Me gooning around on my bike

My dad acting cool with his bike skills

Brent & I next to a tree that is more than 200 years old

Lake Kerr

Me posing in general

Our massive bonfire

After camping, Brent and I headed back to Daytona due to my Women’s Ambassador Program (WAP) travel. I traveled with the Admissions Department to Cincinnati and Detroit on March 12th-14th representing WAP. We hosted Accepted Student Receptions in both states, where we got to talk to all our future eagles that will be joining us in Fall! I talked to a lot of students there and below are some of the photos with the girls I talked to! In Cincinnati, I met Sophie and Sydney. I met Lauren in Detroit, who will be joining us in Fall too! All of them are such amazing and bright women, and I am super excited for them to be joining our Riddle family!

Sophie and I in Cincinnati

Sydney and I in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Accepted Students Reception

Detroit Accepted Students Reception

Lauren and I in Detroit

After my WAP travel, my boyfriend picked me up from KDAB and we headed straight to my house in Bradenton. We all went for a dinner to Chilis, which was super fun!

My family <3

My brother Savio

Spring Break is not over yet! We have a fishing trip planned for this Saturday and then we head back to Daytona! I will be traveling next week with WAP again to Texas so stay tuned for my travel updates!

Until next time,

Maryam

Autumn Break – Part 2

As I stated in Part 1, I spent Fall Break home in Canada. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of fall are the tree leaves changing colors. I spent many hours outside raking leaves on the grass and walking my dog even though it was very cold outside. To my surprise, it snowed a few times during my stay!

King George Park - Westmount, QC

King George Park – Westmount, QC

First snow of the fall and it's only in mid-October!

First snow of the fall and it was only  mid-October!

For the first day of my break, I went to my friend’s house to watch the first home hockey game of the Montreal Canadiens. In Daytona Beach, I don’t have many friends who are big fans of hockey, so it was great to watch a hockey game with friends back home. It is even better when your team wins! We won the game 3-0 that night for a streak of five wins. The last time the Canadiens won five straight wins at the beginning of the season was in 1977.

The next day, we celebrated my Dad’s aunt’s birthday. She turned 90 years old so it was a big event. More than 20 of my extended family members came to our house for dinner. There were people present that I haven’t seen in over 10 years, so it was great to catch up with everyone.

On Saturday, I attended the Montreal Canadiens against the Detroit Redwings at the Bell Centre in Montreal. It was my first time going this season. I am excited every time I go because I love the atmosphere over there. The fans are the best in the league and we have the largest arena in terms of seat capacity. We ended up winning the game 4-1, which improved the team’s record to six consecutive wins (as of today we have 9 straight wins!).

Face-off after the Montreal Canadiens scored their second of the game in the third period.

Face-off after the Montreal Canadiens scored their second of the game in the third period.

The weekend of the break marked the median of the fall semester, but it also marked the end of another legacy airline. On Saturday, October 17, 2015, the last branded US Airways flight landed at Philadelphia International Airport. Click here if you are interested on the full report of flight US1939. From now on, all future flights will be branded as American Airlines. For those who did not know, US Airways merged with American Airlines in December 2013 to form the largest air carrier in the world. As time goes, we will no longer see the US Airways livery as the airplanes are being repainted in the new American livery.

AmericanUSAirScreen
IMG_6346

After I landed in Montreal, I made a detour to the departure levels and took a picture of one of the US Airways check-in kiosk. When check-in at the airport on my way back to Florida, the US Airways brand had already disappeared!

This wraps up my Fall Break. Next weekend, I will be heading to a destination in the Northeast of the United States. Check back in a week to see which destination it is!

Nicolas