End of semester is almost here!

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re well and had a great Thanksgiving Break! I went to New Hampshire with my boyfriend, Brent, to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family. It was really fun. I went Black Friday shopping with his mum and some of her friends. We started at 1:30 am and didn’t end until 12:30 pm!!! We got really good deals. One of things I bought was  Keurig, and I’m super excited to use it soon!

We also had a Holiday Party on November 30th for Women’s Ambassador Program, where we decorated cookies. We all wore ugly Christmas sweaters and listened to carols to get in the Christmas spirit! It was a lot of fun, especially since it was my first time baking cookies AND decorating them!!!

 

I hope you all finish up this semester strong. Winter break is almost here! Good luck in everything!

Until next time,

Maryam

Holidays Travel Tips

Here are a few travel tips as we go through this holiday season:

Before The Trip
Pack light: You should only bring the necessary stuff you need for your trip. If you are allowed a free checked-bag on your airline, use it instead of bringing a carry-on. This will accelerate the boarding process and reduce delays at the gate.

Carry-on: You should pack your travel documents, medication, car keys and spare lithium batteries in your carry-on or in a bag as your personal item. If you are bringing liquids, they should be 100g/100ml (3.4 oz.) or less. Make sure your carry-on luggage has the right dimensions and weight depending on your airline. Many air carriers are strict about this and will make you check your bag if it’s too large.

Bringing gifts?: If you are carrying gifts onboard the aircraft, you should keep them unwrapped until you go through security. It’s just easier for the security officers if they have to inspect your gifts.

Flying international?
: If you are flying out of the country, make sure you have all the documents you need to enter the foreign country such as passport and visas. Ensure your passport is valid and is not expired prior to your trip.

24 Hours Before The Flight
Check-in: One day prior to your flight, you can check-in on your airline’s website or on their mobile app.

Flight status: Enable your notifications on your smart phone so you can know the status of your flight. If it is delayed or cancelled, you will know before heading to the airport for nothing. Winter weather delays can be expected even if you are not flying to/from the north as your inbound plane and the crew might be coming from Minneapolis for example.

At The Airport
Arrive early: If you are flying early in the morning or out of a major hub, definitely arrive early before your flight. There are a lot of people at the airport checking-in for their flights, dropping their bags and going through the security check point, which means longer wait times. Early for me means between 2 hours and 3 hours before departure.

Security checkpoint: To expedite security, I would recommend that you put your phone and wallet in your bag or your carry-on. You’ll have less loose items in the bins that you can lose. If you have a laptop, put it in a separate bin. Keep your boarding pass and ID with you as you go through screening. If “TSA Pre” is written on your boarding pass, just put everything in your bag and go through the walk through detector with your shoes and belt.

Boarding the Aircraft
Boarding time: Only go closer to the boarding area when your boarding zone is called so you won’t block any passengers in line that are boarding an earlier zone than you. To increase the odds your flight leaves on-time, only board when it’s your turn. I was boarding a flight earlier this week and a passenger tried to board during  Zone 1 while he was Zone 5…

Onboard: If you have a carry-on, store it with handle out or wheels out to make space for everyone on board. If you have a winter jacket, don’t put it next to your carry-on. Squeeze it on top of your carry-on or put it under the seat in front of you with your personal item.

Comment below if you have other good #traveltips to give to our readers!

Happy and safe travels!

Nicolas

It’s Over!

I can’t believe the fall 2016 semester is already over. I feel like it was not a long time ago that I ended my summer internship. I’m very happy that finals are now over and that we have a bit less than a month of vacation.

I had my last final on Tuesday evening. This semester, only has two finals during the four days that are considered “finals week.” In most of my classes, the professors gave the final during regular class time on the last day of classes. Instead of being a big comprehensive exam with the material we saw from the beginning of the semester, it was just a normal exam with the material covered in the last few weeks. To make it even easier, one of my finals was open book and we were allowed to reference our textbook, our computer (with no internet access), PowerPoint slides and notes. It was definitely my easiest exam!

I am now at the airport waiting for my flight to go home for the holidays! Before I left Daytona Beach, I made sure my schedule was set for next semester. I was on the waitlist for one of my classes that only had one section. Fortunately, the Department of Physical Sciences decided to add a second section of Biology because many students were on the waiting list for the class. If you are currently on a waitlist for one of your classes, you have a few options. First, you can wait until the first week of classes in January where the class might open since many students drop classes. Second, you can try to force entry in a class, but this process is more complicated since you have to talk with your Program Coordinator, the Department of your class and the professor teaching the course. Finally, you might be able to take the class online* through Worldwide. You can read my blog to see if an online class is a good option for you.

I will be home with my family until January 1. On the first day of 2017, I will head with my family to London for a week!

Happy holidays and see you in 2017!

Nicolas

*Current residential campus students must submit appropriate paperwork before enrolling in online courses through the Worldwide Campus. Consult with the Record’s Office, your advisor or admissions counselor before deciding whether online courses are right for you.

Thanksgiving Break in Argentina

Instead of heading home for Thanksgiving like most students did, I decided to visit Argentina with my brother. As a former airline intern with Air Canada, I was offered two roundtrip tickets to go to any destination in the world the air carrier serves. The Thanksgiving break was the perfect time of the semester to use those tickets since they expire next January and there were blackouts dates in December for Christmas and the New Year. Because of Thanksgiving, I had five days of holiday including the weekend. Missing the first two days of the week made the trip possible since I now benefited of a full week of vacation.

Since we had to fly Air Canada, we had to go through Canada to fly to Argentina. I drove to Orlando and then I flew to Boston on Friday to join my brother. On Saturday evening, we boarded an Air Canada flight to Toronto where we connected to catch another flight to Buenos Aires. My brother and I arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina the next day on Sunday after a long day of traveling.

After getting settled in our hotel, we went out for dinner where we met our friend from high school who is studying abroad in Buenos Aires. After our dinner we walked around Palermo Soho, a popular neighbourhood in Buenos Aires.

A street in Buenos Aires

A street in Buenos Aires.

The next day we visited the city since it was our last day in Buenos Aires. We visited La Recoleta Cemetery (Cementerio de la Recoleta) which is one of the most visited site in Buenos Aires. We also visited the Floralis Genérica, a big metal flower. The six petals of the flower close in the evening during sunset.

Cementerio de la Recoleta

Cementerio de la Recoleta

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Floralis Genérica

The next morning (Tuesday), we all flew from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city. We spent the rest of the week over there doing some fun activities. Stay tuned to learn more about the city with the nickname of The End of the World! In the meantime, you can enjoy some fun facts about Argentina below:

Interesting Facts About Argentina

  • While I was on the taxi going from the airport to the hotel, I noticed that drivers drive very close to other cars. Cars in Argentina are quite small. It is rare to see an F150 on the road. Most vehicles in AR are manual and not automatic.
  • Did you know that Argentina has the widest street in the world? You’d be surprised how long it takes to cross Avenida 9 de Julio.
  • When you go to restaurants, the waiter will usually not bring glasses of water to your table. You will have to order a bottle of agua if you are thirsty.
  • Argentines apparently do not use black pepper in their recipes. You will only find salt on the table.
  • Unlike North America, Argentines eat dinner pretty late. You will probably be the only customer in the restaurant if you go eat at 7PM.
  • When two people greet each other, they kiss on the cheek. Even men.
  • The seasons are the opposite. When it is winter here, it is summer over there and vice-versa.

Until next time!

Nicolas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Being in Florida during December, it is hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit. All of the palm trees, 80 degree days, and flip flops are not what you picture when you think of the holidays. However, I have found a few places in Florida that are full of Christmas cheer.

Over Thanksgiving break, I went to Disney World for a couple days. Of course, Disney is always decked out for the holidays! The parks have incredible Christmas trees and decorations, while Disney Springs has amazing Christmas themed merchandise. One of my favorite things to do is to go to all of the resorts to look at the gingerbread houses. They are incredible! The one at the Grand Floridian is a working sweet shop! They sell gingerbread cookies, chocolates, and gingerbread houses. I also enjoy looking at the gingerbread carousel that is at the Beach Resort. Another one of my favorites is the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios, which is where they decorate an entire street in the park with Christmas lights. All of the lights dance along with the Christmas music that is playing. The street is always packed with people wanting to get some Christmas cheer. This is my favorite holiday activity to do in Florida, as it is always a good time. Sadly, this is the last year that Disney is putting on the light display, due to the new additions to the park that are being built.

Christmas tree at the Animal Kingdom

Christmas tree at the Animal Kingdom

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Decorations in the Magic Kingdom

Decorations in the Magic Kingdom

Decorations in the Contemporary Resort

Decorations in the Contemporary Resort

Gingerbread house in the Grand Floridian Resort

Gingerbread house in the Grand Floridian Resort

Chocolate from the gingerbread house

Chocolate from the gingerbread house

Gingerbread carousel in the Beach Resort

Gingerbread carousel in the Beach Resort

Osborne Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Once Finals were over, I headed up to St. Augustine to see their Night of Lights. The entire historic district is decorated with Christmas lights. You can walk around the city and look at the lights, or ride on one of the trolleys. I had never been to the Night of Lights before, so it was fun to see something new. There were a lot of visitors walking around, all enjoying the Christmas music and lights. After, I had to go to the Milkshake and Waffle Bar for a Nutella and Banana milkshake. They’re delicious.

Christmas tree in St. Augustine

Christmas tree in St. Augustine

One evening I went down to the Halifax River to watch the Christmas Boat Parade. It is a parade that the Yacht Club puts on, which includes approximately 30 boats that are decorated in lights. I was amazed at the amount of people who were out by the river watching. I had never experienced a Christmas boat parade before, as I am normally in Washington during December. It was a cool experience, and a fun, free way to get in the holiday spirit!

Most recently, I traveled to Fort Myers for the weekend and saw the Edison and Ford Estates lights. Each of the houses are decorated for Christmas, as well as the entire property. It was interesting to be able to see inside of the houses, while also getting in the Christmas spirit. I learned a lot about the two inventors, who both resided in Florida just over 100 years ago.The Estate is a beautiful piece of property on the river in Fort Myers, and is decorated every year for Christmas. I would definitely recommend going!

Inside Henry Ford's house

Inside Henry Ford’s house

As of now, there are only 11 days until Christmas, and I am sure I will find even more fun things to do before then! It may be weird singing “Winter Wonderland” while driving in Daytona Beach on an 80 degree December day, but there are many ways to get into the Christmas spirit in Florida… you might just have to look at little harder to find them!

Wishing you a happy holiday season!

Lindsey

 

R&R

By the time finals week rolled around here at ERAU, the library became completely packed, Starbucks was busy at all hours of the day (and night), and all of us students were eagerly packing our bags for our journeys home for the holidays. After all of the stress of finals week, our Fall 2014 Semester was finally complete and we were free to relax for a few weeks. I spent my break at my home in Lake Tapps, WA with my family and friends. Although it was filled with rest and relaxation, I also kept a somewhat busy schedule…

Before I left Florida, it only felt fitting to go to Walt Disney World one last time. I went with my boyfriend and we enjoyed looking at all of the spectacular holiday decorations Disney puts up. We also took time to ride a few rides (although it was very busy), visit Minnie and Mickey, watch the Electrical Parade, and end our night with the fireworks show.

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Once I finally got back to the Evergreen State, I was greeted with cool, crisp air the minute I walked out of the airport. As I got used to the cold over the next week, I had the chance to go to my first NBA game, which was the Portland Trail Blazers versus the San Antonio Spurs at the Moda Center in Portland, OR. It was a really cool experience getting to actually go to a game. I also went to The Nutcracker Ballet in Seattle, as well as a Michael W. Smith Christmas Concert with my family. My friends and I spent one night driving around Seattle to find the best Christmas light decorations around. We definitely found some over-the-top decorations. 

Our view at the NBA game.

Our view at the NBA game.

The curtain at The Nutcracker.

The curtain at The Nutcracker.

The week before Christmas was spent baking cookies, wrapping presents, having the annual gingerbread house competition, and watching Christmas movies with my family. It really is the best time of the year!

David and I's entry in the Gingerbread House Competition. We definitely won!

David and I’s entry in the Gingerbread House Competition. We definitely won!

Although we did not have a White Christmas at my house like I was hoping for, we did manage to get some snow in the Cascade Mountain Range with just enough time left for me to go skiing before I departed for the Sunshine State once again.

My dad, younger sister, boyfriend, and two other friends all went up to Crystal Mountain Ski Resort one day, and we had an amazing time. The mountain had just got over 20 inches of snow that weekend, so the snow conditions were wonderful! What wasn’t so wonderful was the weather… After a few runs on the small hill, we decided to head up the chairlift to the Summit. That day it was 7 degrees and very windy, however we did manage to make it a great day full of skiing.

David, myself, and Brian waiting to ride the Gondola to the Summit at Crystal Mountain.

David, myself, and Brian waiting to ride the Gondola to the Summit at Crystal Mountain.

The drive to Crystal Mountain.

The drive to Crystal Mountain.

All in all, I would call my break a success. It was full of rest and relaxation, family time, and adventures. Now that I am back at ERAU, I do miss the feeling of being stress-free and spending time with my family and friends, but I am also ready to see what this semester has in store for me!

Until next time,

Lindsey