Memorial Day Weekend in Georgia

This past Memorial Day weekend, my boyfriend and his family invited me to see a a small piece of Georgia – Conyers. Half an hour away from Atlanta and my boyfriend’s hometown, Conyers became more than just a weekend getaway from Daytona.

With only 3-hour halves, the drive wasn’t bad for him and me at all. Malik and I took the time to talk and share stories about how we got to Riddle and about our hometowns playing a role in our personal goals. Needless to say, I was eager to see somewhere new and where he grew up.

Malik and I with his car Diana (Yes, she is named after Wonder Woman).

The next day, Malik introduced me to a faculty member at Rockdale Career Academy (RCA). RCA is an opportunity for students of the surrounding area to excel in concentrated programs and complete dual enrollment for college courses. Malik in particular took well over five dual enrollment courses that counted for college credit. It was at RCA that he truly put his dream of becoming an Aerospace Engineer into action. Malik also introduced me to his mentor, Rass.

Rass is the type of person you could talk to about life and goals. He shared with me his garden where he grows varying fruits, vegetables, and herbs. If you’re from the Caribbean you are more likely to have an understanding for the term ‘old head.’ It merely means someone older in age with traditional values that stem from Caribbean ties or roots. In this case, Rass is the type of old head that shares his wisdom in hopes of youth achieving their dreams. He reminded Malik and I that success is not based on materialistic matter, but accomplishing our goals. This was only our first day in Conyers and I was being reminded to appreciate opportunity. We ended the night with something more aligned with tradition for Malik and me by attending the 2017 Atlanta J’ouvert. Its celebratory roots date back to slavery. Today, j’ouverts vary throughout different islands and countries of the Caribbean with the same goal – have fun and embrace the culture. There was music, food, and flags (never attend a j’ouvert without your flag).

There were we;;-over 600 people in attendance including famous Caribbean musicians and artists. The flag you see flying on the far left is of Trinidad and Tobago.

Exhausted from the j’ouvert, Malik and I made Saturday a lazy day. We stayed in and played Uno with his brother and sister. His mom even woke up early just to make us stewed oxtails, macaroni pie, and vegetable rice – all foods from the Caribbean that he and I don’t have often in college.

On our last day, Malik took me to the Golf Course where he worked and trained throughout high school. Keep in mind, I have NEVER golfed before. I know ‘zero’ things about golf! He insisted that I give something new a try. I took a swing at it. I took a very, very horrible swing. The ball didn’t move at all and I’m sad to say that I only sent a good chunk of the Earth about 10 feet away (pretty good distance in my opinion). “You’re not gonna hurt the Earth,” Malik reassured me. “Try again.” So I did try again, and again, and again. Eventually I started to get the ball; some landed near and others far. I’d like to think that I’m on way to being a pro, but Malik protests. I’m determined to try it again.

Malik taking a swing after almost a year. He was an all-star in golf and helped lead his team to a championship.

Malik ended the day with a surprise date at a drive-in movie theater. I love going to the movies, and there’s just something about a drive-in theater that fascinates me. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tells No Tales was a 10/10. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, stick around for the post-credits scene.

All-in-all, it was a memorable weekend. I’m happy Malik could share his hometown with me and even happier that we accomplished so much in a few short days. The road-trip was easy for us. We’re hoping to enjoy a few more long weekends throughout the summer and in between classes and work. The Florida Keys, perhaps? I’ll have to ask him what he thinks!

⋆ Dani

 

Fall Break

Well, Fall Break is now behind us which means that there’s about six to seven more weeks left of the fall semester. I’m amazed at how fast we’ve gotten to this point and everything that’s happened since the beginning of the semester until now.

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Tennessee is so beautiful.

For Fall Break, I went home with my roommate to Tennessee, and needless to say, I was really excited since I’ve never been to to Tennessee before. We left Port Orange at 5 a.m. and embarked on a 10-hour road trip north. We encountered scenic roads, strange billboards, and interesting individuals: All the hallmarks of a great road trip.

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The architecture is beautiful as well.

When traveling through the country, I-95 is typically the only interstate I used, so traveling on I-75 was different for me. I saw things that I normally wouldn’t see on I-95, got to pass through cities I’ve never visited before, and got a better understanding of the United States geographically.

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I also visited Nashville International Airport.

Once we made it through Georgia, I was greeted by the large, looming mountains of Tennessee. Coming from a place like New Jersey, where the land is constantly flat with no major land changes, this was a real treat: I’ve never seen mountain formations like this before, and with fall rapidly approaching, the browning of the trees made me feel like I was in New England. Coincidentally, the homes in the area where my roommate lived were modeled after New England homes. I guess if I had to compare, Tennessee has a rural Pennsylvania vibe to it.

My Canon 5D Mark III died, so I had to use my roommate's Nikon D7000 for the day.

My Canon 5D Mark III died, so I had to use my roommate’s Nikon D7000 for the day.

The next two days involved sight-seeing around town and Nashville. While I’m not a huge fan of country music, Nashville wasn’t too bad. Then again, I really only spent time around the state capital building and the bicentennial park so I didn’t really get to see Nashville in its entirety. It’s kind of like trying to see all of New York City in one day: It’s impossible. I do plan on coming back to Tennessee though. There’s so much I want to do, and now that I have an idea of what the state is like, it’ll be easier to budget my time.

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So. Many. Mountains.

Sunday morning, we left my roommate’s house at 5 a.m. but this time took the scenic route home instead of the direct way we took there. The scenic route involved heading east into the mountains by North Carolina, southwest to Georgia, and then south back to Florida. Even though the route added an extra five hours to our journey, I think it was worth it. Tennessee just has something really unique and beautiful about it which no other state I’ve been to seems to have. Driving on the mountain roads with the morning fog was awe inspiring, and sharing the backroads with bikers was equally breath-taking. Passing through Georgia and Florida was pretty normal with nothing important to report. After driving non-stop, we managed to make it back to our apartment around 10 p.m.

The famous US 129 Harley Davidson store.

The famous US 129 Harley Davidson store.

I think this Fall Break will go down as one of the many highlights of 2016. I got out of my comfort zone, traveled to places I’ve never been to before, and got to see a lot of things that I didn’t know existed. Most importantly, the break gave me time to rethink my life and relax from all of the stress this semester has accumulated. I learned that I need to pace myself and take things one step at a time, which may seem cliché, but is probably something that will save me from breaking down one day.

With that said, I’m going to try hard to finish this semester on a strong note. Until my next blog entry, stay curious and be safe.

A Much Needed Break!

Hey everyone!

Let me start off by saying how sorry I am for not posting any cool entries lately! My life has been insane. Classes have definitely been keeping me on my toes! Which leads me to the topic of this entry…

Spring Break!

All of the students at Riddle just came back from their Spring Break vacation, and I was so excited to have a week where I didn’t have to worry about studying for tests or fitting things into my schedule. Since Daytona Beach is now the Spring Break hot spot for college students, I decided to get out of Florida and go to the best place to avoid crowds – the middle of nowhere.

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Spring Break house!

A group of 30 of my closest friends decided to rent a house up in Blue Ridge, Georgia for the whole week of Spring Break. The house was absolutely gorgeous – and also conveniently located on the edge of the mountain. Since we were basically in the middle of nowhere, the trip offered a chance to get connected to nature. One day during the week, a group of us decided to hike up Blood Mountain, which was a total of eight miles. Now, I’m not a hiker by any means, so going uphill was treacherous, but once we got to the summit of the mountain, the view made the fire in my calves worth it!

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Another day of the week, a couple of us decided to make the hour drive to the Atlanta Zoo. It was a lot of fun seeing what animals the zoo had to offer. My favorite part of the trip was going to the petting zoo (which was for children) and brushing the goats!

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Blood Mountain, Blue Ridge, GA

My best part about my trip to Georgia was being able to celebrate my 20th birthday! This was my first year not being home for my special day, so it was hard not having my traditional birthday dinner with my family. But I was surrounded by 30 of the greatest people I have ever met, so they definitely made my 20th one to remember!

Now that I am back from my much needed break, I am ready to continue the semester with a fresh outlook! Time to get focused!

The End of Summer

Once I completed my internship at Aéroports de Montréal at the end of July, I had about two weeks of vacation left before heading to Daytona Beach. My brother and I welcomed some of our friends from Texas that came to visit us for the weekend.

During their visit, we went to the Osheaga Art and Music Festival in Montreal. The festival takes place over a period of three days where more than 100 artists performed. We were there on the last day of the show and saw The Black Keys, ALT-J, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Charli XCX, and Tove Lo. It is not possible to see all of the artists because they perform on six different scenes simultaneously. It is fun because you don’t have to stay at one scene and watch the whole show; you can walk around and see different things.

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Group picture in front of the Osheaga splatter paint wall!

After a great weekend filled with music, we all headed to the airport at 4:30AM  to catch early morning flights. Some of the friends were heading back home in the Lone Star State while another was flying back to school in Boston. My family and I were flying to Jacksonville (JAX) with a connection in Atlanta (I don’t think I can count how many times I have been through ATL!).

When we landed in JAX, I almost felt like it was home since Daytona was only 100 miles south. We drove for about an hour north following the East Coast of Florida and Georgia. Our final destination was Sea Island, GA. We decided to make this trip because the area was reputed for its golf courses. There are also many other activities to do there since the ocean is a few steps away. Other than playing a few rounds of golf, we went paddle boarding, and skeet shooting.

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Sea Island, GA

The few days spent in Sea Island went by so fast, as we were already seated in the plane on our way back to Canada. My brother and I spent the last the week home so we could prepare and pack all the baggage we had to bring for our upcoming Sophomore year of college.

View from the Delta SkyClub Sky Deck in Concourse F. Hartsfield-Jackson has the largest control tower in North America, and 4th in the world.

View from the Delta SkyClub Sky Deck in Concourse F. Hartsfield-Jackson has the largest control tower in North America, and 4th in the world.

Next week, I will go over my arrival in the Daytona Beach area before classes started! Enjoy the extra pictures of Osheaga below.

Nicolas

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