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

 

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

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