What’s so Great about Florida?

Being new to Florida, you may think we’re all about the beach. But as someone who’s lived in Florida all her life, I thought it would be a good idea to tell you more about all the things you can do in the area. Just this past month, I’ve done some fun things I want to share so you can think about experiencing them yourself.

I’ll start with the Annual St. Demetrios Greek Festival. Every year, around the second week of November, people everywhere come to check out Greek Fest right here in Daytona Beach at the Greek Orthodox Church. Going to this Festival is a literal taste of the Greek culture including authentic foods, music, and dancing. The festival has wonderful scenery as you sit back eat delicious food and enjoy an amazing view of our beautiful Florida waters. This event is an excellent idea to keep in mind as it is an annual event.

Another amazing thing about Daytona is how close we are to Orlando! Orlando is full of different exciting places, but it’s quite a busy place to live, which is why I personally think being in Daytona is a nice distance and a lot less traffic! With all there is to do in Orlando, I’m specifically talking about Universal. As college students, it’s nice to take a break and do something fun and since Universal is so close, it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to take advantage of such a super, awesome, fun escape! The most amazing part about all this is that Embry-Riddle sells discounted tickets, so with if you’re afraid to break the bank too much, you can purchase discounted tickets in the ICI Center in the Rec sports office (cash only). And although Universal is my favorite, discounted tickets for different parks like Disney World, Sea World, and Busch Gardens are also available for students.

Even if you don’t go to the parks at Universal, the best part about it is the grand entrance that is City Walk. City Walk has amazing stores, great restaurants, and awesome night life fun. And it’s all just about an hour’s drive away.

Day trip to Austin

Hello readers!

It was also my first flight on Southwest Airlines!

It was also my first flight on Southwest Airlines!

Last Saturday, I traveled to Austin, Texas for the day. I went to visit my friend  from high school who is currently studying at the University of Texas. I was supposed to make this trip in October but it did not work out. Thanks to Southwest’s no change-fees policy as I pushed the trip a few weeks later free of charge paying only the fare difference.

My flight was in the morning from Orlando (MCO) to Austin (AUS). When I landed in the capital of Texas, it was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit with rain showers. Coming from warm Florida, I didn’t even think of bringing a jacket.

During my short visit, my friend showed me his apartment which was about a 10-minute walk from campus. We then walked to the campus where we toured for a while. As we were walking past an open field, there were students running around throwing some balls and carrying a broomstick. I’m sure you already know what they were doing. Yes, they were playing quidditch like in Harry Potter. Well they weren’t flying but the game looked quite similar from the movie. It was fun to watch to say the least.

Quidditch game!

Quidditch game!

After watching the game for a few minutes, we went to get lunch at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Austin. Since I lived in San Antonio for three years, it was unquestionable that we had to go eat tacos! One of my favorite taco is called al pastor and comes with marinated pork, small pineapple chunks, chopped onions and cilantro and a slice of lime.

Later after lunch, we hanged out for a few hours before I had to leave for the airport for my flight back home. I really enjoyed my day in Austin!

Until next time!

Nicolas

Unexpected Very Long Weekend

As many of you know, the ERAU Daytona Beach campus has been closed from Thursday to Saturday morning due to Hurricane Matthew. Embry-Riddle announced on Saturday that classes would resume on Tuesday. This leaves time for students and faculty to return home in the Daytona Beach area. Many have driven away from Daytona heading west and north to places such as Tampa and Atlanta. I know people that even flew away north to escape the hurricane.

Knowing that the storm was approaching the state of Florida and that Volusia County would require evacuation, I left Daytona Beach on Wednesday night after classes and headed to my friend’s house in the Orlando area. On Thursday morning, we went to buy soil bags to protect the house from potential flooding. The store didn’t have any sand bags in stock.

The next morning, we woke up and Hurricane Matthew had already passed and was continuing on its way to the north. Compared to the east coast of Florida, Orlando was not badly hit by the storm. From the location I was, there wasn’t any debris on the ground. I am still in Orlando since my apartment does not have electricity. I will head back to Daytona once the power will be restored, hopefully before classes start on Tuesday.

Due to the gravity of Hurricane Matthew and the damage it made, ERAU students are enjoying a long five day weekend. This weekend is also Thanksgiving weekend back in Canada (Columbus Day in the US). Many will take these extra days off to cleanup debris around their house. Others will try to get some homework done. As of Saturday, many areas of Volusia County were still without power. It might take a few days before 100% of the residents get their lights back on.

Industry/Career Expo Postponed

Embry-Riddle has decided on Wednesday to cancel the annual “Career Fair”  due to the hurricane. The majority of the company information sessions and the interview day on Friday were cancelled as well. Career Services announced that the event will be postponed until the 2017 Spring semester. Keep checking your emails because Career Services will soon announce the new date for the expo!

Until next time!

Nicolas

The Happiest Place on Earth

As an Orientation Ambassador and a Women’s Ambassador, incoming students always ask me the same question: What do you do for fun in Daytona Beach? During my freshman year here at Embry-Riddle, a lot of my weekend time was dedicated to doing homework or just lounging around campus. This year I have made a huge 180!

One day, my big (sorority) sister, Melani, and I were working in First Year Programs and discussing how much we missed going to Disney World and why we weren’t taking advantage of how close it was. Naturally, all this talk got us so excited that we spontaneously bought annual passes.

Luckily, our past two weekends haven’t been as busy as usual, so Melani and I were able to visit Epcot and Hollywood Studios, both of which made us feel like we were ten year olds again!

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Melani and I wearing our Minnie Ears!

We visited Epcot with our friends Conor and Zach and it was the best day I’ve had in a long time. The four of us got to go on Mission: Space, Epcot’s famous ride that actually makes you feel like you’re making a mission to Mars. The rest of the day we walked around and admired each country we came across. The best part was going to Japan and eating the best sushi!

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Melani, Conor, Zach, and I at Epcot!

It was Melani’s first time visiting Hollywood Studios, so she thoroughly enjoyed every ride and show that we went on. We screamed on the Tower of Terror, sang till our throats were sore at the Frozen Sing-A-Long, and even got to meet different Disney characters! The highlight of my day was meeting Kylo Ren, the villain from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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Dream come true!

So when incoming students ask me what a Riddle kid does for fun, I am not going to hesitate suggesting going to one of the theme parks in Orlando, especially Disney World! These past two weekends have served as a great break from the engineering world and I can’t wait to spend more time at the “Happiest Place on Earth”!

A Very Short Trip To Boston

During the day of Halloween, I traveled to Boston to go see my brother, Christophe,  who studies at Boston College. I call it a very short trip since I only spent about eight hours in Massachusetts. I landed at Logan International Airport just past noon and left the same airport at 8:00pm the same day.

Many people are asking me why I did this. Well, it was only $62 roundtrip and I love traveling! I’m going to explain how it happened. On October 1, JetBlue Airways had a huge sale with fares starting as low as $31 one way from select cities for travel on October 31. To benefit from this offer, a passenger had to book his or her flight on October 1 and fly only during Halloween. This is where the idea came to my mind to go visit my brother.

My day started at 3:15am as I woke up and headed to the airport in Orlando (MCO). I was lucky that my roommate was able to drive me to the airport. JetBlue currently does not fly to Daytona, but the airline will begin a daily nonstop service to New York-JFK on January 7, 2016. My flight departed on time at 6:00am for New York Kennedy airport. One of the advantage of waking early is to be able to watch the sunrise from above.

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Sunrise seen at 7:00am at 35,000 ft over North Carolina.

After my three hour layover in New York, I took off on another plane bound for Boston. This flight was only a short 40 minute in the air. Arrived in Massachusetts, I quickly deplaned the Embraer 190 and made my way to the arrivals level to hop on a taxi. My brother and I met one of our friend at Harvard Square, where we had a quick bite in a cafe (accent) nearby. We visited her dorm for a while and then got onboard an Uber and headed  downtown of the city. We stopped at Copley Square to take some pictures.

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Myself, Berkeley, and Christophe in front of the Trinity Church.

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This Episcopal Church was built between 1872 and 1877.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The three of us then took a walk on the beautiful streets of Boston. Some of the architecture of the buildings reminded me of Montreal. I think that these two Northeastern cities of North America are very similar to each other. Around mid-afternoon, we said goodbye to our friend since she had to go. My brother and I continued to tour the city afterwards. He showed me one of the coolest stores I had never been before. When you enter, people think it is simply a convenience store, but there is more. If you approach the vending machine you will find out what is behind. It is actually a door that slides to let you enter in this shoe store. It’s pretty amazing!

Adjacent to the store we caught another Uber and headed to Brookline, MA, which is just a few miles west of Boston. There, we met with two of his other friends. We went to a Trader Joe’s close-by to buy some food for dinner. We decided to buy pasta and salad since it was rapid and easy to make for a big group. Now you have probably guessed on which mode of transportation we went back to his friend’s dorm. Yes, we got on another Uber again!

Arrived at destination, we quickly started to cook because I had to leave for the airport soon. Four other of my brother’s friend joined us. I made pasta for 10 people and my friend Mattie made a delicious lemon dressing for the salad. We all ate dinner together in the living room which was fun. I left in a Uber at around 6:15pm for Boston Logan Intl. Airport to catch an 8:00pm flight that would bring me directly to Florida this time.

I am glad I had the chance to see my brother and many of his friends. I have not seen him since he started school in August. I had a lot of fun and the many Uber rides enabled us to see various parts of the city in a short period of time. Overall, the cost of all the ground transportation in Boston was more expensive than my plane ticket itself, but it was definitely worth it!

Until next time!

Nicolas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Break Fun (Plus Everything Since)

I’m running out of creative ways to start these entries. Generic greetings are so boring…

My shiny Charizard, Deimos. Named after one of Mars’ moons 🙂

We left off last time right before fall break, so you’re probably dying to know what I did for that long, 4-day weekend. In short, I really didn’t do anything. I caught up on sleep, played Pokemon Y (I hatched a shiny charmander – if you know what that means, I know you’re jealous), watched some Breaking Bad, and took some time to just chill and forget about school. It was glorious, apart from being sick for most of the break. But thanks to my friends orange juice and NyQuil, I was able to bounce back pretty quickly.

My new bookshelf (well, CD/DVD/Spaceship shelf) from IKEA on the left, along with my new Gravity poster 😀

The only real exciting thing I did over the break was spend some time in Orlando on Saturday. After waking up at about noon, I read on Facebook that Buzz Aldrin was doing a book signing in Kissimmee at 1 PM – well it was 1 PM when I read that post! So I took the quickest shower of my life, hopped in my car, and booked it to Orlando. We called when we were at about downtown Orlando to see if it was still going on, and it wasn’t. 🙁 I was pretty bummed about that, especially because his book is about the future of space travel (i.e. Mars). So since we were in Orlando anyways, we spent the day at IKEA, ate some cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory, and ended the evening playing some games at Dave N Busters – and I won a telescope. 😀 I have yet to see anything interesting with it though, it’s probably worth about $20; but still.

The week after a break is never fun. Especially the first couple days when you haven’t really recovered the motivation you left behind. But somehow I found the strength to get back into school-mode. Which was good, because I had my EP 501 midterm – and boy, was that an experience. I don’t think I’ve ever studied so much for a test in my life. Grad classes are scary because you have one exam and one final, so if you mess up the midterm chances are that your grade is doomed. I managed to scrape out a 90, which I’m very proud of (I would have hung the exam on my fridge except that my professor doesn’t give them back). Not to brag, but I’m 6 for 6 on exams this semester, which means this is my best semester yet – including freshman year! I have two more exams this week, in Spaceflight Dynamics and Thermodynamics, so hopefully I’ll be able to maintain the streak… fingers crossed.

Spring semester schedule. i.e. “Death by Physics”

Spring semester registration is now upon us! At least for the honors students – that’s one of our perks: we get to register before everybody else. So that means first dibs on the good professors. (I think I might be obligated to say that every single professor at Embry-Riddle is one of the “good professors.”) Of course it doesn’t really matter for me; I think I mentioned last time that every single class I am taking next semester only has one option, so my schedule is essentially made for me. Oh well, less work required on my part. This was also the first semester since I switched majors that I’ve been able to register online without it throwing an error at me for one or more classes and having to go sort it out with records! And the timings seem to work out very nicely – it’s just the classes that are going to kill me!

The new building is almost done and it’s beautiful – and it’s all mine! And, y’know, the rest of the physics/human factors/business/etc. students and faculty.

I also mentioned last time about the new College of Arts and Sciences building. All of my classes will be in there, and the lab I work in…. I wonder if I can just live there too? I am giving the presentation about our new lab to the Board of Trustees on Friday, so you’ll hear about that in my next entry.

Speaking of presentations, this past weekend I was asked to be on a student panel at the open house – so, any prospective students reading this, if you were there you probably saw me. I felt pretty honored to have been asked, which is why I was willing to wake up so early to be there (I don’t even wake up that early for classes!) I got to tell my story about choosing Riddle (my first entry – if you haven’t read it) to a whole bunch of people, so it was pretty cool. Then I went home and went back to bed for a little bit before lending my evening to freshmen who wanted help planning out their spring semesters.

My boyfriend and I with Echosmith (we are the two in the middle – it might be hard to tell because the band is our age!) They were really flattered when I told them we were at the concert specifically to see them. I suppose as openers they don’t get that a lot.

On Sunday I got to go to another concert! We went to see the opener, Echosmith. I’m pretty sure I talked about them in my entry about Warped Tour – they are all siblings that are age 14-20. And they’re awesome. The downside about them being the opener, is that we missed most of their set! 🙁 Orlando had some carnival or something going on so a lot of the streets downtown were closed and we couldn’t figure out how to get to the venue. But we caught their last two songs, which were really good, and then got to chat with them a bit after they played – which is the upside of them being an opener. There were three other bands playing; the second was For the Foxes, who weren’t really my cup of tea, but one or two of their songs were pretty good. Then The Downtown Fiction played, who I’ve had on my iTunes library but never really listened to aside from just shuffling the whole library. But they did play one song of theirs that I really like, along with some other I recognized. I also got to meet them, and got them to sign an album for me. The headlining band was Tonight Alive, a band from Australia. They were awesome! It turned out to be a really fun show, especially since we just went to see the opener. I got a signed copy of Tonight Alive’s album too (so I now have 9 signed CDs in total, plus 2 signed vinyls).

There is another concert I want to go to this Saturday, In This Moment, but nobody will go with me so I suppose I’ll sit this one out and save the money. But I only say that because I’ve seen them before and they haven’t released any new music since then. It’s really awesome how many bands play Orlando – I’ve been to more concerts since starting school at Riddle than the rest of my life combined. And that’s not counting the ones freshman year I would have gone to had I had a car.

One of my Bitstrips from last night. Hehe.

I discovered this super entertaining Facebook app called Bitstrips, where you make a cartoon of yourself and can put yourself in little comics with cartoon versions of your friends. There are some really funny comic templates, and my Facebook friends are probably sick of me posting them, but I don’t care because I think they’re hilarious. Although my parents and aunts started making them too, and everybody knows that parents ruin anything cool on the internet.

I think that’s about it for my life nowadays. I haven’t made too much progress on my research, mostly because I’ve been spending a good chunk of my lab time working on the poster for the Board of Trustees presentation. I have to write a major research paper about software development processes for my SE 500 class, so I plan to get working on that soon… I haven’t written a paper in about a year so I’m actually kind of looking forward to it; writing is definitely one of my strong suits (and for some reason I decided to be a physicist.)

I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but with all the prospective students who might start reading this, I’ll say it again: Ask me questions! I’m happy to answer anything about ERAU, especially about the Engineering Physics program. Or, y’know, just send me fan-mail telling me how awesome I am. Email me at schroel2@my.erau.edu, or you can probably find me on Facebook pretty easily. I don’t bite 🙂

Until next time….

-Lynsey

Hanging Out in Orlando and Stuff

Oops – I haven’t written in a while. Sorry about that!

Today was the last day of classes for the summer. I think I escaped Electrical Engineering unscathed. All I have left on my plate is one last lab report and a lab practical on Monday, then it’s two weeks of freedom. That’s the longest break I’ve had since Christmas, haha.

While Daytona itself is kinda “meh” as far as cities go, its proximity to Orlando is great (if you have a car, that is.) I’ve spent quite a bit of time down there the last couple weeks. One of my favorite things about Orlando, is that bands always play there. Minneapolis was always kind of a hit or miss city as far as musical tours, so it was always disappointing to have to miss seeing bands I liked because they decided we just weren’t important enough for a show. But everybody plays Orlando! And it’s awesome.

Myself with Juliet Simms! Too bad I’m a sweaty mess in the photo (it was like 100 degrees and super humid – bleh.)

I spent the whole day down there at Warped Tour a couple weeks ago, which was awesome. I had never been before, and almost didn’t go because I didn’t have anybody with whom to go. Well, I ended up at the show for free, courtesy of Hawthorne Heights, who picked me to work their street team for the Orlando show! Although I was promised a backstage pass that never ended up happening, I still got to get in early and for free, as well as meet the band and get some free cool signed stuff, and all I had to do was hang a bajillion posters around the grounds. It was awesome. Except for the part where it thunderstormed and they tried to shepherd the entire audience at this enormous music festival into a big barn thing. But I digress. I also got to meet Juliet Simms, who is awesome. If you don’t know who she is, she is the singer for the band Automatic Loveletter (they aren’t super well-known, so I don’t really blame you if you haven’t heard of them. Oh man that sounded so hipster.) She was touring with Warped as a solo act, and she put on a really great show – her voice is amazing. She’s on my list of musical idols (along with Lzzy Hale, Amy Lee, and Ville Valo – if you don’t know who these people are, I urge you to find out), so it was really cool to get to meet her, and she was super nice.

All the signed CDs I got from Warped Tour, plus the compilation album. Woo! I also got a couple signed posters from Hawthorne Heights and Echosmith that I somehow managed to find wall-space in my apartment for.

I also met this awesome band called Echosmith at Warped. They are really new, their first album comes out in a couple months. But get this – they are four siblings between the ages of 14-20. Yeah, the drummer is 14. And they are good. I’m really looking forward to their album. I think they’re going to be super famous someday (and I have a signed copy of their first songs ever released!)

Another thing I like about Florida is that they do a tax-free weekend in August on things like clothes, electronics, and school supplies. So a friend and I went down to the big malls in Orlando for some shopping, (something in which I don’t frequently take part, I might add.) I bought some new clothes and running shoes and coffee cup earrings. And the government didn’t take more of my money! It was a fun day. Orlando has everything – including Panda Express. Mmmmm.

Between Kennedy Space Center, Warped Tour, and tax-free shopping (plus picking people up at the Orlando airport), I’ve put quite a few miles on my car lately! It’s not too bad of a drive though.

Those are the exciting things I’ve been up to. Other things I’ve been doing include super-cleaning my apartment last weekend, writing lab reports, reading about wave acoustics (that’s literally all I’m doing in SPRL right now), and hiding inside where it’s air-conditioned. I thought the worst of the weather was past, but boy was I wrong. It’s been consistently humid and about 100 degrees outside. It’s pretty much terrible. I also dug out my Nintendo DS and started a new game on Pokemon SoulSilver, but I got stuck at the third gym and got mad and stopped playing it.

Hopefully next week I’ll have a cool research project started that I can write about – so stay tuned for that. Then the following week I’m headed back up to Minnesota to see my family ’cause they miss me and stuff. It’s about 70 degrees there right now, so I might just not come back until Florida quits being so Florida-y. Then after that it’s fall semester! I’m really excited for this fall because I’m taking some really cool classes, but more on that later. And I get to blog for y’all again in the fall, so you’ll get to hear all about it. 🙂

I didn’t talk about much this post, so here is an astronaut sloth for your enjoyment:

“Slothstronaut”

Peace out for now, readers!

-Lynsey

October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween everyone! We are now just over the halfway mark. October is [almost] now long-gone, and November is just creeping up on us. Schoolwork has been ramped up, and professors are giving tests like there’s no tomorrow. Despite all the madness (not to mention the long days of studying), I have still managed to make time for fun! Last weekend was fall break. It was a bittersweet time, considering half the population on campus went home. Since I live so far away, it was impossible for my to fly across the country and back in the span of a few days. A couple of my closest friends, among them my roommate and Jim, stayed behind. Because nothing was going on around campus, we all decided to spend the weekend in Orlando.

On Thursday night, some of McKay’s RAs planned a trip for residents to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios in Orlando. A favorite among teens and young adults, HHN hosts a plethora of haunting creepy thrills, with scare zones scattered throughout the park, and, of course, haunted houses. The RAs drove us to Orlando on the university’s housing shuttles at around 6 pm. I have to be honest. I am what you would call a wimp when it comes to scary things. Especially mummies. I hate mummies. A lot. It’s probably one of the few things that really creep me out. My great friends, seeing as how much they love me, decided to go on the Revenge of the Mummy ride a few times. As a method of redemption, though, Jim and I went to see the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure show, which was a hilarious spoof of 2010’s pop culture icons and mishaps.

The next day, bright and early in the morning (much to my dislike, since we did not get back from HHN until 3 in the morning), my friends and I drove back to Orlando to spend a few days in the parks. Friday was dedicated to Islands of Adventure. Although I have an annual pass, I had never been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Trust me, it is as amazing as the media makes it sound. In fact, it was so realistic that it was almost scary!! Even the waiting line is great. I’m not big Harry Potter fan (my roommate is, though), but I was truly awestruck by the work that was put into designing the ride. The butter beer was great, too!

Saturday, we went to Universal Studios. Throughout the day, we went on as many rides as we could, along with a very interesting magic show! In the afternoon, we decided to go to Disaster!, a ride/show in which the audience is “cast” to be extras in a film director’s newest disaster movie, aptly called “Mutha Nature”. At the beginning of the show, the assistant casts some audience members to play some important roles. I was picked to be in the cast, and, although I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, I agreed, along with my friend Mary, who was cast as “an evil oil executive”. Turns out, I had to scream my lungs out while drowning in a tub full of balls….

That night, we all decided to go to Downtown Disney. Now, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I am a huge Disney freak. I have probably been to the parks over 50 times (and I am not kidding). We perused the stores all night, and I, being the nerd that I am, went around looking for Hidden Mickeys. These are Mickey Mouse figures that the Imagineers (the ones responsible for designing the rides, stores, and attractions at the Resorts) hide throughout Walt Disney World. We stopped by the T-Rex restaurant, much like the Rainforest Café but with dinosaurs. I had been there before, but my roommate stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the place. We couldn’t eat there, however, since it was way too packed. Therefore, we decided on Bongo’s, a Cuban restaurant. I miss my Cuban food from Miami…I was a very happy camper when we decided on eating there!!

As the weekend came to an end, the reality of going back to class hit me. This week, I had a Physics exam, a computing test, and a while launch system project to finish. Not to mention a 6-page essay due. It all went well, nonetheless. Friday night, Touch N Go productions, which are the ones in charge of organizing the entertainment around campus, hosted Rocktober. Riddle hosted 3 rock bands from Orlando, who each played 45-minute sets. Bharvi, Jim and I were lucky enough to help set up and work security. Really a very fun experience!!

Speaking of, this week also marked a milestone for me. I finally got to fly!! Well, I didn’t pilot the plane, but I went on an observer flight. It surprises me I have been at this school so long without going up in the air!!

As always, feel free to contact me! I love talking to future eagles. Facebook is probably the best way to get a hold of me, but e-mail works as well.