Break & ChocoBananas

Happy March everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida and spring break has finally come to an end. Over the break I flew out of MCO to IAD then to… El Salvador! It was truly a thrilling experience and I can honestly say I’d rather be on a beach in the sun than back into the swing of classes.

Over the break my sister, my mom, and I went to La Libertad, El Salvador and spent the week soaking up the sunshine and eating really great food. Cue the fresh smoothies and pupusas.

We surfed, we hiked waterfalls, mountains, volcanos, went to the beach, the pool, and I (of course) did a lot of yoga and napping. We stayed at a private villa called La Casa Bonita that had coconut, mango, and banana trees on the property, so naturally we woke up every morning to enjoy fresh fruit or fresh juice with breakfast. I also ate a lot of frozen bananas and mangoes covered in chocolate, also called ChocoBananas or ChocoMangos.

My sister and I on the second level of our villa overlooking the pool!

The beach in the town we stayed in was absolutely stunning, and there wasn’t even sand! The noise the tide made when it rushed out and all the water fled from the gray stones sounded almost like a stereotypical babbling brook mixed with the familiar swish of the tides. It was hands-down one of the most peaceful places I’ve been, and a definitely well deserved break from the hustle and bustle of classes and my normal routine. The noise alone was breathtaking, and that doesn’t even take into account the amazing view.

My mom and I next to the pool before we went out to dinner!

It’s always hard coming back from a totally different atmosphere and being expected to flip a switch and forget about all outside things because we’re back in “school” mode. A lot of students get sad or really miss home after long weekends or breaks. Sometimes letting yourself be consumed with all your responsibilities truly ostracizes you in your own little world and it can at times even feel a little lonely!

One thing that I definitely fall victim to at Riddle is being consumed with everything it has to offer. Most of the time I feel like Riddle is its own little island, and even leaving campus for a few minutes to go to the store or the beach is a rain check that realigns my perspective and reminds me that although being a student is a huge part of my life, it is not my entire life. I’m on year two, and still working on balancing everything and figuring out how to not be so consumed with all I’m involved in here. It’s so important to take breaks, and breathe. Relaxing and recuperating after a long week of work and school is extremely important.

My sister and I at the top of the Santa Ana Volcano, featuring a ChocoBanana on a stick.

In lieu of nostalgia from spring break, while I try to navigate the balance between work mode and rest, I leave you from a spot at my desk on a Sunday afternoon about to work on some Aerospace Flight Vehicles homework, and I hope you all take five minutes to yourselves to breathe, whether its in the middle of the day, or you schedule your evenings as time to put away your phones and laptops and decompress, you deserve it. Work hard, and rest harder. Until next time folks!

RA Life, AFROTC, & Rest

Happy December everyone! Finals are over!!! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, but in a few hours I’ll be in Orlando departing from MCO, then I’ll be heading back home to Norfolk, Virginia. 

Just a brief recap of fall 2018 before the new year and spring semester begins: This has single-handedly been the most challenging semester of my life, but I passed all of my finals and my classes, friends, so thank you so much for the support. Key shout-outs here go to the boxing girls and my best friend Obie wan.

Many students have already left Daytona, but RAs are the last ones to leave (as well as the first ones back) as we do health and safety inspections and have to check all the rooms to prepare our residence halls for shutting down and for opening back up to residents. Fret not though, this process only takes a few days and after that is freedom. 

I am so excited to be able to relax over break. I’m sure it will be filled with all the things I love and only get to have sparingly while I’m in college, including but not limited to: lots of working out, home cooked meals with fresh vegetables, yoga (YESSS), seeing my best friend home from college, living walkable distance from the beach, my dog Kita, and also my family. I may read a book for leisure, shocking I know, as well as listen to lots of music. I also will be sleeping in glutenous amounts and will be going to all my favorite local coffee shops. Taking a break every once in a while is so well needed and deserved for both students, professors, and faculty. Everyone has been working so hard since August, we all really deserve this chance to reset, relax, and recharge before the spring.

Next semester in AFROTC will be Field Training Preparation which is extremely exciting as well because after that comes Field Training during the summer, which is one step closer to commissioning and graduation. Field Training in a nut shell is essentially a 15 day “boot camp” which is very strenuous and is a required step to complete before GMC (General Military Course) underclassman become POC (Professional Officer Course) upperclassman in fall 2019. Over Thanksgiving my early Christmas present was new running shoes and, although I feel I’ve broken them in, as soon as next semester hits I will probably rethink that.  

Some of my family from AFROTC and me after our final Pass in Review ceremony of the semester

Also here’s a picture from when I contracted around this time last year and swore into the United States Air Force, which if I haven’t mentioned before, was an absolutely amazing experience and I 10/10 recommend.

But for now, we are in break and de-stress mode and I will continue to get through the holidays with an open mind, lots of exercising and stretching, and good food. I miss cooking so much, but one thing I do not miss though is the cold weather. Perhaps I’ll have a white Christmas in Virginia? I do prefer the moderate climates a bit more though, as per expected with the majority of my year spent in Florida and other hot places.

For everyone traveling this holiday season, or even just driving a few minutes away, remember to de-stress and relax over break and state safe. Will report back soon! Happy holidays and almost happy new year!

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!