Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy post-Thanksgiving y’all!

I hope you had a relaxing break and lots of yummy food! Maybe you found some good deals at Black Friday too! This post may not be of interest to everyone, but I wanted to share some personal things. I love sharing tips and tidbits about ERAU, but I also want y’all to get to know me! That way the girl with the “really good advice *wink*” isn’t too much of a stranger!

Here is what I did for my break!

Saturday, November 17th through Monday, November 19th – Chris landed early in the morning at MCO. We went out to breakfast at a popular restaurant called Keke’s (note: it was very good) and then shopped at Mall at Millenia. Later we came back to the dorms and ordered Buffalo Wild Wings on GrubHub. It was delivered to the dorm and we watched a Christmas movie while eating our wings! Monday was pretty normal with classes continuing, but I really enjoyed having Chris to run to after class! We went shopping at the Outlets in town and spent way too much money! We told ourselves we were being good and proactively Christmas shopping but in reality, we both left with clothes only for ourselves and a bag of candy. Oops!

Tuesday, November 20th – Chris and I headed to Orlando after class and stayed at the Embassy Suites by the airport since our flight left super early the next morning. We parked the car at Wally Park ($5 parking with a free shuttle) and then went to the hotel. We stayed in watching TV and eating the free pizza we scored from Blaze Pizza in Daytona for their opening. All you had was follow them on social media and show them at check out! I posted it for all my friends to see and enjoy for themselves! Update: it was super duper good pizza! I love making my own and if you’re familiar with Mod Pizza (our hometown favorite), it’s very similar but maybe even better (just a tiny bit pricier)!

Wednesday, November 21st – Wednesday we left the hotel at 4 am to head to the airport. It was busier than usual but nothing too crazy. Chris and I have TSA Pre so we zoomed in and out pretty fast. We got Starbucks and McDonalds since we had over-budgeted on time. What can I say – better safe than sorry?! We were lucky to have an open seat in our row, so we napped on the plane and watched Ocean’s 8, which I highly recommend (girl power am I right?!) My mom and brother picked us up from the airport. We went to Castle Rock and got my favorite green chili breakfast burrito (a Colorado specialty) and my driver’s license renewed (it’s finally up-right but boy is adulting fun!) We had lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Chris ran into an old friend, and then spent the afternoon watching my 13 year-old brother shop (who knew teen boys could shop so much/be so picky?) We ended up at my favorite dinner place, a Mongolian grill. The time change kinda kicked my butt this day, but I was super excited to shop at our fancy, new grocery store in town that night!

Finally arrived home!

Thanksgiving! – Chris and I made almost all the food and did all the cleaning. Can you believe that? What may be harder to believe is how delicious it was! Thanks Pinterest! The hit? Chris’ knock-off Honey Baked ham. Since we didn’t have time to run and get one, we decided to find a copy-cat recipe and try it ourselves. It was very rewarding when we bit into it to find out it was DELICIOUS! My personal favorite side dish was the green bean casserole I made without any cream of mushroom/chicken soup. The recipe I used was more natural and fresh-ingredient based. I forgot how much I love cooking until I go home to a kitchen (and free time)!

Corn caserole

Our version of a Honey Baked ham

I set the table!

Green bean casserole

Black Friday – We went Black Friday shopping with my best friend in the whole wide world, Olivia and her boyfriend! We went to the local outlets and had a blast people watching. Honestly, that was more exciting than any deals we could find. We also ran into old high school friends, but we may or may not have tried to be as incognito as possible. Next, we went to the restaurant Chris and I met at, where we both worked, and ate with his family. They had just gotten back from Thanksgiving in Las Vegas! Later on in the day we went to the base exchange (BX) in Colorado at Peterson to shop! We got Starbucks and found some goodies. Then we went to see Robin Hood, which I really wasn’t interested in but it turned out being able to keep me on the edge of my seat! I would highly recommend seeing it if you can! To end the day, we went home and made tacos! Of course we stopped at one of my favorite restaurants first to get some salsa!

Super irrelevant but cute picture of my cat Quincy!

Saturday, November 24 and Sunday, November 25th – Chris and I had lunch with his parents in Colorado and did some last minute Christmas shopping. We came back to my house and decorated our tree! We were in a hurry to leave because we wanted dinner before our flight, so the tree is not 100% complete. Let’s be real… my mom would’ve fixed it to her liking anyways, haha! Luckily, our flight home was super empty so we had a whole row to ourselves again. We watched Ant Man and the Wasp and Adrift on my laptop, so the flight seemed to fly by. We slept in late Sunday since we didn’t get back until 2 am (our flight had landed at midnight but driving takes an hour and getting our bags and the car from airport parking took a bit of time too). Once we woke up, we went to De Leon Springs and got pancakes at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill. It’s make-your-own pancakes/eggs, so it was a lot of fun. It is also inexpensive and super filling, so I recommend it if you have time! Be warned you do have to pay to get into the state park, but it only cost us $6. There are boat rides, nature trails, and kayaking available for guests. There are also many spots to picnic and swim! After, we went to Andy’s Frozen Custard again and then on to Disney Springs. We had dinner at the Chicken Guy, which is the cheapest place we could find, and had THE BEST chicken tenders we both have ever had. And I might add, we both eat tons of tenders around the United States, so check them out if you’re ever in the area! Disney Springs was filled with carolers and musicians showcasing holiday classics. It really got Chris and I in the Christmas spirit – especially their huge tree and light-up, giant ornaments! Sadly, all good things must come to an end. We parted ways and I am just counting the days until winter break. Has anyone ever said they’re excited for finals? No? Well mark this as the first time in history because I am excited to have them come and go so I can get back home!

DIY Pancakes!

DeLeon Springs

Disney Springs!

Our flight home!

We were super sad to leave the snow!

P.S. It snowed in Colorado and I was very, very, very excited about it!

CPR & Subtle Changes

Happy November everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, but next week will be the Thanksgiving holiday, and henceforth I will temporarily venture up north into the cold for a few days (yikes)! Of course before the break there is still a lot to get done, inclusive of tons of homework, finals in AFROTC, and a rogue Statics test, but nonetheless fear not, the end is near.

I’m so excited to see my sister again at Thanksgiving!

Something I want to focus on as the weather gets colder and the semester starts wrapping up, is that although routines are pretty much set at this point, as winter and the holiday season nears, typically people associate New Years as being a time for change, which is natural. This is just a friendly reminder that you don’t have to wait until a certain day to initiate change, life is short, and the choices you make today will inevitably effect your tomorrow, so make them positive!

As I typically spend my Friday nights going to boxing classes and working on physics lab reports, recently I spent an atypical Friday night getting CPR certified with some other AFROTC cadets, which led me to reflect on how the small changes I’ve been making in my life lately are having an impact.

Some recent subtle, yet influential, changes I’ve made in my life lately:

-Trying my best to get as much sleep as possible (yes, even if that means my Friday nights consist of working out and homework)

Waking up to this wonderful view every morning is such an underrated but amazing aspect about being here.

-Working out more with friends, although I enjoy working out alone, my schedule is usually very busy and I don’t have much time to “hang out” with people. The solution to this problem, is you guessed it-coffee. Just kidding! Killing two birds with one stone, working out with friends gives you the physical benefits of working out, PLUS all the psychological and mental benefits that hanging out with friends provides such as stress relief, good conversation, extra motivation, and happiness. 

(Side note: study groups and homework sessions with friends inclusive of coffee can also be very beneficial when they are focused and productive.)

Morale PT with my flight!

-Making a solid effort to practice yoga more (preferably in the mornings before a long day, or in the evenings after a stressful day or a lot of homework and studying)

-I went to the chiropractor for the first time in my life! If you’re a student at ERAU going to see the chiropractor at Palmer Chiropractic Clinic in Daytona Beach is completely free, and something I highly recommend if you’re stressed or want to make some time to reset with an adjustment. I had originally gone because a friend recommended it to help alleviate being sore from working out, but they help with tense muscles from stress too!

-Switching to Dark Mode on my laptop (just wow friends). For Apple product users if you use Mac or MacBook this setting is life changing, especially when studying late at night. I strongly suggest using the Night Shift option which changes the screen brightness to less intense colors so if you’re working on a computer for long hours it isn’t so strenuous on the eyes. I use the Do Not Disturb option too, which silences notifications, that you can preset for certain times daily where your phone will be completely silent. I have mine set to automatically activate from 2200 to 0300 so I know at least every night I will have a minimum of  5 hours quiet time, whether I be up studying or (preferably, but not always realistically) asleep.

Will report back soon y’all. Have a safe Thanksgiving break!

Exploring the World’s Southernmost City

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego

In the first part of my trip to Argentina, I visited Buenos Aires for one day and a half. I spent the rest of the week with my brother and my friend in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world nicknamed “The End of the World.” We woke up at 3AM on Tuesday to take a 4:30AM flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. After a 3h30 nonstop flight, we landed at the small airport of Ushuaia. After we claimed our luggage at the carousel, we hoped on a taxi and headed to our Airbnb. Our place was located right in the center of the town where you can easily find various shops and restaurants.

The first thing we did when we arrived was to go eat breakfast in a small café just a few streets away from our Airbnb. After we finished eating, we walked a bit and explored the town. To me, the town felt like a mix of Vail and European ski resorts. We stopped by a grocery store to get a few items for the week.

Beagle Channel Catamaran Tour

In the afternoon, we went to do a catamaran tour on the Beagle Channel. The strait is located at the southern tip of South America and is shared by both Argentina and Chile. On the left side of the boat is Argentina while Chile is on the right side (the opposite on the way back). During the five hour tour, we visited islands of birds, sea lions, penguins and a lighthouse.

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Sea lions

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Penguins

We came back to the dock at around 8:30PM (Argentina Time) and it was still daytime. The sun in Ushuaia sets at 10PM but you can still see light in the skies at around 11PM! It is interesting to see that in the northeast of the United States it starts to become dark at around 4PM (EST) but the sun in Ushuaia sets 6 hours later!

Hike to Laguna Esmeralda

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Laguna Esmeralda

On the second day of our trip to Ushuaia we went to visit a popular place named Laguna Esmeralda. To get there, visitors have to do a 5.5 km hike to reach the lake. Once you arrive at the lake, the view is just beautiful! It reminded me of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. We were lucky enough to be up there when the weather was cooperating. It can often get windy and cloudy once you arrive at the lake.

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After admiring the view and taking some photos for about one hour, we made our way back using the same path we went through on the way up. The hike was not really difficult, but I would definitely recommend to wear boots because it can get muddy at some places as you can see in the photo above.

Hike to the Martial Glacier

The next morning, we did another hike, this time to a glacier. I would say this hike was more difficult than the one we did the previous day. The hike to the glacier was more steep while the one to Laguna Esmeralda was generally flat. The more you climbed in altitude, the more it got steep. At the base there were trees and vegetation, but as you were going up, the ground was getting more rocky.

Top of the glacier

Top of the glacier (2,707 ft. ASL)

A few feet away from the top of the glacier, there was a warning sign indicating that hikers needed a specialized guide to climb higher. There was no more visual path in the mountain but we decided to explore and hike a bit higher (I don’t think my mom would have approved this)!

View of Ushuaia from the highest point we climbed (~3,500 ft. ASL)

View of Ushuaia from the highest point we climbed (~3,500 ft. ASL)

We couldn’t climb much higher because the ground was all covered with snow and we did not have any kind of hiking equipment with us. One of the perks of climbing higher is that you can go down on your back where there is a slope with snow and slide down on your back. I tried it a few times and it was awesome!

Well, that’s it for the outdoors activities we did in Ushuaia. If you are an outdoor person, I would definitely recommend you to visit if you go to Argentina! The next day, we flew back to Buenos Aires where we spent one night before making our final journey back to the United States. During that week, I flew more than 18,000 miles in the skies. I will write a story about all that air travel in the next few weeks.

Until next time!

Nicolas

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

First Class of the Semester Completed

This Wednesday, I completed my first class of the semester. You might be thinking that this is impossible since we are only in November and the fall semester ends in mid-December. The professor let me take the final exam in advance. Just kidding!

The Business Statistics class (MATH 222) I took was an online class through Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus. It was the first time I took a Mathematics online course. Even though I was pleased overall with the class, I would not recommend it to students who are studying at the Daytona Beach or Prescott campuses. The main reason is that an online Math class is quite different from the other classes students have to take.

As you know, a Math class is more about solving problems than writing essays. It happened a couple times over the semester that I did not understand how to do a problem. Professors don’t really teach you anything in online classes; you are on your own. You learn by reading the textbook and by looking at the slides. I found that my best friend during that class was the Internet. I watched videos that explained how to do certain problems. Sometimes, I thought the videos explained better than the textbook did.

Three Weeks Remaining
Only a few weeks separate today from the end of the fall semester! This also means that end of semester projects, essays and finals are arriving at the same time. I have my final analytical report due on Monday in my Tech Report class (COM 221). A presentation about this report is also required as part of the final grade. In Comparative Religions (HU 345), I have an essay due right after the Thanksgiving break. In my Supply Chain class (BA 363), I have a group project to do due on the last day of classes. Finally, I have a few tests left in some classes before the final exam.

Long Weekend
On Veterans Day (today), I am going to see my friend in Baltimore, MD. He works for a  ground handling company at the airport so I hope to learn a few things during my short visit! Before every flight I board, I try to sit by the window at the gate area to look at all the activities going around the aircraft. Today, I’ll have the chance to be walking on the airport ramp!

Until next time!

Nicolas

Editor’s note: 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. 

Turkey, Family & The National Dog Show

I am back from Thanksgiving break! I am so thankful for the fact that I was able to get three days off of school so I could go home and spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family and friends. It was definitely a break well-needed.

In classic Thanksgiving fashion, my mother made a turkey and my grandparents came over to my house to visit. While my family was making food, I got to watch The National Dog Show (a personal tradition of mine), and I was so impressed by the winner. The dog that won the “Best in Show” title was a Skye terrier named Good Time Charlie and he was so cute!

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My mom and I kissing my 100 year old Grandpa Bob!

After Thanksgiving dinner, my mother and I went early Black Friday shopping and I was able to get new clothes.  I also bought a Darth Vader mug (I love Star Wars), but I couldn’t find it when I was packing up for Daytona, so I guess my mom hid it away for Christmas.

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Connor and I at Universal Studios

On the day of Black Friday, I decided to stay away from the malls and instead go to Universal Studios with one of my Sigma sisters, Connor! Although I work at Universal, this was really exciting for me because I never get to go there during the holiday season. The best thing about going on Black Friday was that since everyone was out shopping, the park wasn’t too busy and we were able to go on all the rides we wanted to!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving break and is ready to tackle finals!

Thanksgiving Break

For some, the American Thanksgiving is a time of the year where families and loved ones reunite at a table and have a big meal. For me, it is totally different since my family is not American!

I still go back home for the break which is nice, but we do not celebrate any type of festivities. Our Thanksgiving (Canadian) is actually on the second Monday of October and we only have that Monday as a holiday. For us, Thanksgiving is not as big as in the United States. Our biggest holiday is Christmas and this is the time when we eat turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, pie, and all the good stuff.

During this break I mostly spend time with my family and see my friends from home. I also have free time to do school work since the finals are approaching very quickly. When I come back from the break, I will only have four days of classes left. Then the finals are the following week. I will be busy during the last week of classes. I will have three presentations to deliver and a group project to submit along with other assignments. I was supposed to have three back to back finals but I was lucky that one of my professors changed the schedule and put the exam during regular class time.

After I take my last final, I will fly back home for the long winter break. This year, the holiday will be longer than last year. Embry-Riddle added a week of vacation in January! This is awesome for students but it also mean that we will end the spring semester a week later in May.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nicolas

 

 

Fall Semester Comes to a Close

Greetings, everyone!

It’s official: Fall 2013 has ended and winter break is upon us. Although here in Daytona Beach it certainly doesn’t feel like it, with temperatures continuing to hover around the low-80s. Everybody back home loathes me this time of year, when they’re starting to get the big snow falls and I’m just wishing I could wear a sweatshirt. I suppose nobody is really ever happy with the weather they have. I got this photo from my aunt, taken outside her window:

and responded with this one, taken outside mine:

Usually my Facebook posts about the weather aren’t well-recieved. But it’s just so much fun. 😉

My last post was right before Thanksgiving break, so I suppose I can start there. I had a good time spending a few days back home, even though I spent a lot of the time working on homework and final projects. The end of the semester was poorly timed this year, because the week after the break was the last one, so everything is due. I don’t know what the general opinion is, but I think that the last week of classes is way more stressful than finals week. Finals week is actually pretty chill – you only have to go to school for finals, and have a lot of free time. Which is, of course, deceiving, because you really *should* be studying, and not staying up until 5 am playing Pokemon Y or anything along those lines. But I digress. Nonetheless, it was nice to see my family and friends back home, even though I’ve adapted to Florida and spent the whole three and a half days perpetually cold. It’s only funny to make fun of them for the weather when I’m not there, I suppose.

This is what was happening in my simulations for my Spaceflight project – the blue is the orbit of the Earth and the green is the orbit of the moon. Which isn’t so much an orbit, but a beeline straight out of the solar system.

I got back to Daytona early on Saturday, and had a massive homework assignment due at 11:59 PM that night. So much for having a break. I think I turned it in at like 11:58:43 or something like that – oops. Then it was final projects, papers, and exams for the next week and a half. My biggest project was probably the one for my Spaceflight Dynamics class, which involved simulating a three-body orbital problem in MATLAB. It was going well until I made some calculation error and was flinging the moon straight out of the solar system. But I ended up fixing that, woo! Aside from that and the ten page paper on black holes that I had to crank out in one night, everything else wasn’t too bad. I had finals in thermodynamics and astronomy that I thought were pieces of cake (not that I didn’t study, mind you.) The only thing that gave me real trouble was my EP 501 final exam – I only needed a 62 on the final to get an A in the class, thanks to my midterm exam and homework successes, and I was legitimately worried I didn’t even get that. But I managed to pull off a 78 (don’t even know how I scored that high, to be honest) and thus managed to secure my 4.0 Master’s GPA for another semester. Still waiting on grades for my undergrad classes, but from my calculations I am looking at straight A’s! Not to brag 🙂

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch as seen from campus!

Another cool feature of last week was SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch, which scrubbed on the first two launch dates but went off the third time. And I got to see it from campus! It was super cool; we went up to the top of the AMS building where there is an observation deck for watching planes go in and out of the airport, and got a really great view. Even saw the stage separations of the rocket!

Stage separations of the rocket as it went up into space!

This week I’ll spend some time helping pack up the labs to move over to the new College of Arts and Sciences building, and then I’m homebound on Wednesday for about a week and a half. It’s crazy how quickly this semester went; I feel like it just started yesterday. But that’s life I guess!

That’s all I have to talk about in this entry. Haven’t gotten word if I will be writing again next semester, but I hope to be able to continue to share my stories with you! Feel free to always email me questions, or just to say hey, and I wish you all a happy holiday season and a successful rest of the school year!

Also before I close out, I’d like to dedicate this entry to my dog, Skip, who passed away last Friday. We got Skip as a rescue in April of 2001, when he was thought to be 2-4 years old, so he had a long life, and was always very happy and full of energy. He was a really great dog, and we all miss him very much.

My brother and I with Skip, 2004

 

 

October 2011

Six months ago, on April 28 at 12:30 AM, I received a phone call from my Mother saying that a tornado had come through at 12:15 AM. I was sound asleep when I received this phone call because the next day was the last day of my junior year at ERAU. My home, my Grandparents, and Aunt/Uncle’s home were destroyed. Luckily no one was injured and everyone is still with us today.

Today my Grandparent’s home and my Aunt/Uncle’s home are rebuilt. My home is still in progress, but we hope to be moved in by Thanksgiving. Over the month of October, I went home for the weekend to see the progress of the house. Everything is looking great and is on schedule for us to move in right before Thanksgiving. I would like to thank Embry-Riddle and its staff for being there for me through this hard time. Homes can be replaced, but family can’t.

On October 22-23 I participated in the 2011 Ocala Aerobatic Competition in the Advanced and Freestyle class. School comes first on my list and with my busy schedule I did not get any practicing going into this event. Having Friday the 21 st off from school for Fall Break though made it easy for me to leave for the event early and get to the field to practice the day before the contest. Friday I was able to get in three practice rounds before the contest started on Saturday the 22 nd .

The first day of the contest we completed three full rounds and I was very consistent and placed 2 nd and 3 rd throughout the rounds. By the end of the day I was in 3 rd place. I figure with hardly any practice this is not too bad! The second day of the event on Sunday we flew one more round and I ended up finishing 3 rd in my class. I also competed in the Freestyle contest and this is where all the pilots fly to a four minute music mix demonstrating all styles of aerobatic flying. I ended up coming in first in this class. Overall it was not a bad weekend. This contest was a test for me to see how much practice I need before the Southeast Regional’s Contest that is November 4 th thru the 6 th in Jacksonville, FL.

The end of the 2011 Aerobatic Competition is coming to the end and it all ends at the Southeast Regional’s, which is in Jacksonville, FL. This event is where the top 10 pilots from each of the five classes get invited to compete to see who is the best in the Southeast Region. I ended up finishing 5 th in the Region for the points race, so I was invited to compete against the top pilots in the region. School is still keeping me busy, but I have been able to sneak in a few practice rounds after class!

This is it for this month, between competing in Radio Control Airplanes, flying home, and school; I have been a busy student this month! Check back next month for updates on the Southeast Regional’s, and updates on the current progress of rebuilding home. Thanks for reading!

November 28, 2010

Food, food galore! These past few weeks have been filled with stress and work, but as always, lots of fun. This time: Disney, a glider, and, of course, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with my family.The highlight of these past few weeks has been a trip to Disney, organized by the First Generation program. Although I myself am not, anyone is allowed to attend the meetings and trips. However, anyone who is a first generation student competes for scholarships (and come on, who doesn’t want money for college!). For $25 each, my roommate, my boyfriend and I went to the most amazing place in the world.

If you didn’t know from my earlier entries, I am the biggest Disney fanatic out there. Seriously, I know anything and everything there is to know about the parks (just ask my friends!). Of course, I was more than thrilled to go when I found out about it. Can you believe I hadn’t been there for 2 years? That’s a new record for me for sure.

Anyhow, we left at around 8 in the morning to go. I couldn’t sleep the night before! We spent our entire day in the park. I was the tour guide for my group of friends, of course. The beautiful holiday decorations Disney is known for were up around the place. The park was fairly empty because of the season, which meant smaller waiting times. Although we had to leave early (6 pm!), Jim and I still managed to buy ourselves some Mickey ears from the hat shop down Main Street. My collection is now up to about 10…

Speaking of numbers, almost half of my classes are now over! We ended our EGR-101 class (introduction to engineering) with a glider project. This has to be by far one of the easiest things we’ve had to do in this class! Over 100 pages worth of technical reports and one balsa wood glider later, I am kind of glad this was over….This week was Thanksgiving. Not only did I have the thrill of having found out that my first class is now at 10:30—which means I get to sleep in–,but I also got to spend most of the week down in Miami. Because I live so far away, I couldn’t fly home. A friend of mine lives down there, so she was kind enough to give me a ride back to my old home.

I stayed over at my great aunt Ceres’s and spent a night with my high school friends. Speaking of, I finally got my IB diploma!!! IB is an international association that allows students to receive an international diploma on top of their regular high school diploma. After having worked 2 years for it, I am so glad it is now in my hand.

When visiting high school, I also got to see some of my old teachers. Needless to say I had to speak to the class, and, well, let’s just say the girls were happy with the “Riddle Ratio”. Kudos to all you “Reefers” reading this!

What is the best part about this holiday? Why, the food, of course! My Cuban side was overjoyed when my family prepared some delicacies traditional to the island. Pan con lechon, natilla, churrasco….all really bad things for your health, but oh so good at the same time! We had American classics as well, of course, like turkey, mashed potatoes, etc…All with a Latino kick.Needless to say, next few weeks will be crazy! Computing final project due on Wednesday, finals in 2 weeks…but on the bright side, I’ll be home in 2 and a half weeks!! Wish me luck!