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

 

First Trip of the Year

I started off my first day of the year by travelling to London-Heathrow for a family week vacation in United Kingdom’s largest city. I think the winter season is a good time to travel to Europe because there a lot less tourists than during the busy summer season. Streets are less crowded and the wait time to do some activities is reduced. The temperature during winter varies between 0oC (32 F) and 10oC (50 F). We were lucky to get a few sunny days during our stay.

Below is my Top 5 of the things I love to do or see in London.

London Eye

The London Eye is one of my favorite attractions in London. The 135 metres (443 ft.) high Ferris wheel was completed in 2000. It was first sponsored by British Airways for many years, but now Coca-Cola took over the branding.

The London Eye

The London Eye

From the cabin, you can see most of the city from above. You can see the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Bridge, Big Ben and the Shard just to name a few. One wheel rotation takes 30 minutes so you will have plenty of time to take pictures and enjoy the view.

If you would like to experience London with a 360 degrees view, regular adult tickets sell for £23 (US$29). When it is crowded and there are long queues, you can purchase a Fast Track Ticket for £32 (US$40).

Tower of London

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The Food

You will eat well when traveling to the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. London is a multicultural city with people speaking over 300 different languages. You can basically find a variety of food from all around the globe. I love the food in London!

Poached Scottish salmon with fennel, grapefruit and dill pickled cucumber.

Poached Scottish salmon with fennel, grapefruit and dill pickled cucumber (Starter)

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Braised jowl of Tamworth pork with bacon marmalade, cider pickled cabbage and apple (Main course)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Harrods

Harrods is a luxury department store with more than 330 departments. There, you can find  almost everything such as restaurants and a bunch of stores. I visited twice in a week!

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Big Ben

Big Ben, also known as the Elizabeth Tower, is the famous clock in London!

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I hope 2017 brings you to new exciting places!

Nicolas

My 2016 Travel Map

In 2016, I traveled more than 108,000 kilometers and spent more than 148 hours in the skies! Here are some of the best trips I had over the past 12 months. The ranking is not in order of best flight experience but is rather based on chronology.

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My 2016 Travel Map

1. Flying All Over America in One Day
In February, I flew for fun with my friend touching the East Coast, the West Coast and the North of the United States in less than one day. We flew from Orlando to Orlando via Atlanta, San Francisco and Minneapolis.

My ride from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

Flew this type of bird (Boeing 767) between Atlanta and San Francisco and between Minneapolis and Orlando.

2. First Business Trip
In May, I flew on my first business trip just a few days after my first day as an Aircraft Programs Intern at Air Canada. I travelled from Montreal to Seattle for a week.

I got upgraded in Business Class from Toronto-Pearson to Seattle-Tacoma.

I got upgraded in Business Class from Toronto-Pearson to Seattle-Tacoma.

3. Customer Delivery Test Flight
While I was at the Boeing Everett Factory with Air Canada, I had the opportunity to fly on their brand new Boeing 777-300ER (C-FKAU) that was going to be delivered a few days later. We were only between 10 and 15 people on the plane for the flight that lasted a bit more than 2 hours.

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View from the jump seat while climbing out of Paine Field.

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The Boeing 777-300ER has a wingspan of more than 212 feet.

4. Flying on the Bombardier CSeries Before Commercial Entry Into Service
At the end of June in Montreal, I had the chance to fly on a Bombardier CS100 aircraft during a 45 minute flight for the media. The state-of the-art aircraft is very silent and offers a wide body feeling in the cabin.

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FTV5 (Flight Test Vehicle Number 5) with the SWISS livery.

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View of the CSeries wing after touchdown.

5. Flying Across the Atlantic to Ireland
After my internship was done, my family and I flew to Ireland for a week vacation.

Starter: smoked trout Niçoise said with roasted garlic aïoli.

Appetizer on the flight to Europe.

6. Weekend in California
During Labor Day weekend, I traveled to Los Angeles for a few days.

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The famous Hollywood sign.

Plane spotters love to take pictures at Los Angeles International Airport.

Plane spotters love to take pictures at Los Angeles International Airport.

7. First Time in South America
I flew to Argentina for my first time during Thanksgiving break. This trip from Florida to the Southern tip of the world required many flights.

Boeing 737-800 of Aerolineas Argentinas at Ushuaia airport, the world's southernmost airport.

Boeing 737-800 of Aerolineas Argentinas at Ushuaia airport, the world’s southernmost airport.

What were your best flying memories of 2016? Share them with us below!

Happy Flying!

Nicolas

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.

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

Weekend Getaway to California

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Los Angeles, California

This past long weekend, I went on vacation to beautiful Los Angeles. For me, the Labor weekend officially marks the end of summer, even if some students have already started school. After this date, air travel decreases and starts to rise again around Thanksgiving in the United States. I decided to come to Los Angeles to enjoy the last days of summer!

I arrived at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Saturday around noon. After touching the runway, things did not go as planned. Our aircraft had to sit on a taxiway for more than 45 minutes because our assigned gate was already occupied by another plane. Once we taxied closer to the terminal, we were towed to our gate and finally deplaned. I took the shuttle and headed to rent a car that I reserved earlier. At the car rental, they told me that all the cars are sold out in the area and that I have to wait until a car returns. I finally got a car after one hour of wait. Now I’m ready to discover LA!

Below are my Top 5 Los Angeles Moments!

5. In-N-Out Burger

One of my favorite location to see aircraft taking off and land out of Los Angeles International Airport is at the famous In-N-Out Burger. The restaurant is located right at the edge of runway 24R. What’s cool is that you can see aircraft just over your head! I arrived at the right moment to see a Lufthansa Airbus A380 landing.

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Lufthansa A380 taken from the iPhone.

4. Santa Monica Beach/Third Street Promenade

The Santa Monica Beach is located just a few miles west of Los Angeles on the Pacific Ocean. The Santa Monica Pier has attractions, restaurants, and shops. The pier has been featured in many films and television series.

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Entrance Sign

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Santa Monica Pier

Third Street Promenade is a popular street in Santa Monica for shopping and dining. Close to the beach, it is a popular destination for tourists.

3. Rodeo Drive/Beverly Hills

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“Two Rodeo Drive”

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Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive is located in Beverly Hills. Similarly to the Third Street Promenade, the street offers shopping with some of the most prestigious brands in the world. It also has cafés and restaurants to satisfy your cravings while you shop.

2. Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of the most popular place to visit in the Los Angeles area. When I went on Sunday morning, it was packed with people. More than 2,500 stars are spread across the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard. The stars represent the names of famous actors, musicians, directors, producers, etc.

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Hollywood Walk of Fame

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Hollywood Sign on Mount Lee.

Not far from this street is the well-known Hollywood sign. I wish I had brought my other lense so I could have zoomed more in it!

1. Getty Center

Central Garden

Central Garden

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View of Los Angeles from the Getty Center

This is probably one of my favorite moments during my Los Angeles trip. The Getty Center houses architecture, gardens, and amazing views overlooking the city of Los Angeles. During a clear day, you can see the skyscrapers of the city. Every year, more than 1.3 million tourists visit the Center.

Until next time!

Nicolas

Family – Living away from your home away from home

Hello, readers!

I apologize for not posting at the end of last week. My week got slightly more chaotic than I anticipated. Too much work and not enough time to do it!

I had the pleasure of hosting my mom at my apartment, graciously given to me by Gulfstream for the summer. To be honest, I’ve never had a parent come and stay with me before at somewhere other than where we live as a family (so basically our family home). So naturally, I wanted to be able to prove to her that, yes, at 21, I can too live by myself and take good care of myself because I’m an adult. Well, I’m supposed to be an adult, but that’s debatable. I spent 3 days after work cleaning (more like sanitizing), organizing, ironing, folding, rearranging, anything and everything that I saw my mom do when she would prepare the house for guests. Except this is my mom and is just impressed that I’m where I am, regardless of how I live.

While she was visiting, we called our time together her “vacation from her vacation” and my “vacation from my problems”. She wouldn’t let me do the dishes or my laundry or even cook. She just wanted to do “mom-things” as she explained. We traveled to a different beach in a different city each day, which really was like a vacation for me. The beach isn’t as easy to get to in Savannah than it is in Daytona at ERAU. We’re spoiled, but I can’t complain about living near the beach!

We shopped, ate great food, swam, and even just lazed around the apartment. What I often forget about, now that I’m living on my own, is how nice it is to be around my family. Of course I miss them like crazy when we’re apart, but you sometimes forget about how much fun and relaxing being with family is. But living on my own has changed my relationship with my mom, in a good way! We’re less of mother-daughter and more like best friends. Of course, she always has her “mom” moments, but we work things out differently. It’s very hard to explain other than it’s like a best-friendship.

Being away from home for college is always tough on the family at first, but it’s completely worth it. My parents saw me grow as an adult and I saw that their constant watching over me at first was nothing more than them just making sure I was happy. That can often get lost for some people. Just remember that you don’t want to push away your family when you move off to college! They’re your best and greatest assets. Take care of them like they take care of you. You’ll have best friends for life! Plus then you can have family “vacations from your vacation” or a “vacation from your problems”, which are too much fun. Riddle does a great job keeping parents involved with the university at different functions, like Parent & Family Weekend for example. Riddle takes care of everyone, not just the students!

Give your mom a hug and have a fantastic week readers!

Blue skies,

Emmy