Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Christmas

Hello Everyone,

So since I last talk to you all I have since moved from the Waggett's home in Bristol to a Hotel in London with my Grandparents. I made the 3 and 1/2 hour journey from Bristol to London on Tuesday to meet my Grandparents in their hotel in Greenwich. I had to get off my train straight onto the tubes and that to be honest was quiet easy with an oyster card to be honest. It was a good move to get an oyster card before coming into the city. But I made it to Greenwich in no time in the under ground and then I met my grandparents in their hotel. We ended up getting dinner that night, where I stood true to my word were the first round was on me, and well I got dinner as well, which they yelled at me for but I was glad to buy it.

So after a first quiet night in London, we got a nice fry-up in the morning and then we headed into the city. Once Mama Liz and Ed figured out how to get an oyster card it took no time to get onto tubes and into the city. Once we got onto the tubes the decision was made that we were to get off at Westminster, and see Big Ben. For me and Ed since it was the first time we were in the city we finally got to see Big Ben for the first time. But I didn't realize that Big Ben was right outside of Westminster station. So you know that scene in movies where the actor was blind when they got off the plane or train then got to see where they were, that is what I experienced when I out of the tube at Westminster, and it wasn't until I could finally see after sun blindness, Big Ben and it was a moment I could never forget.

But the three of us made our way around Parliament Square seeing Churchill and the rest of his gang of statutes that were in Parliament Square. We made our way over to Westminster Abbey, and Saint Ann's Church, both even more beautiful than I could have even imagine. The Abbey itself was simply a piece of beauty and is something I'm so glad I got to see in person.

As you can seem to tell I got a chance to be a bit of a tourist after living here in England for about 4 months almost, and it was nice to be that with my Grandparents. But we finished off our day was a way across the bridge to see the Parliament Building across the River Thames, and of course the London Eye which I hope I get to go on later this week. But we ended up walking along the Thames and through a Christmas market to make our way over to Waterloo station to get the tubes back to Greenwich.


The next day after a slow start we ended up braving the rain and seeing what Greenwich had to offer. All three of us journeyed out to see what we could, but one of the first things we had to do was eat, and so as pictured above is the Greenwich Tavern where we all had lunch Christmas eve day. Myself and Mama Liz had the Classic meat pie, and Ed had Fish'n'Chips which is an instant classic here in Britain. From there we walked up step hill seeing nothing but the London skyline, and the old naval college, and of course Greenwich University. All thought the Greenwich observatory was closed we went on a hunt to find the Prime Meridian, which we found and got a chance to stand at zero degrees longitude. After standing on a line I only know because of Mr. Nekton's Geography classes, we managed to walk into the downtown part of the city. After seeing the Cutty Sark, I wandered off into the University. I know great minds were molded here, far more sophisticated than mine, but I know if I pushed myself I could sure past the those minds as I stood on the middle of the University.

We finished that day after our tour of Greenwich we head back to the hotel, and we got ready for the holiday today. We managed to get to fine a fine wine shop before they closed Christmas eve day, and I got a 2011 French Malbec from Chateau Croze De Pys and to be honest it was so good my uncle Daryl would be proud. But we had our Christmas dinner accompanied by our Christmas crackers, (Flatmates: Thanks for showing me these I made sure to pass on the tradition!) and it was great.

But being away from home though it is tough it makes me a better person seeing how another culture celebrates a holiday, and England surely did that. But I want to thank again everyone who helped me get here, and pushed me to get here otherwise I wouldn't have gotten here. So from the Moss's here in London, Tucker, Liz, and Ed, we all wish you a Happy Christmas, and a great Holiday season!

    Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Bit of Bristol and Bath

Hey everyone,

So over the past three days I found myself in Bristol with my flatmate Rob and the rest of the Waggett family at their home in Bristol. I got the chance to head to Bristol before I headed to London for the holiday's which as great, and Rob and his family opened their doors to let me stay with them for the past few days and I have to say it was a great time.

On the 19th Steve, Rob's Dad, came and got me and Rob from Plymouth and drove us back to Bristol with him. Steven and Rob chatted on the drive to Bristol, and I almost fell asleep in the back, but when I wasn't falling asleep I got the chance to find out some more about Rob's family. It took a bit but we finally made the trip from Plymouth to Bristol, which was one of the first trips outside of Plymouth for me since I arrived. Rob and his family live in a part of Bristol that I have never heard of, but got a chance to learn a lot about during that day, which is Westbury-on-Trym just outside of the city center.

Shortly after I arrived at Rob's home, I was greeted by Rob's mother Clare and all four of us sat down to a quick lunch and then we headed headed into the city where I got a chance to see a local Christmas fair. After Rob's girlfriend Georgia meet up with us we went on a tour of the village. In the picture above that is the local church of Rob's village, which was one of the many things that Rob showed me along our tour of Westbury. After our tour we relaxed for a bit and then just before dinner we headed to get Rob's younger brother Doug from work and made plans to get a drink after dinner. Doug had just turned 18 which was the legal drinking age here in the UK, and Rob had yet to get a drink with his brother, so the three of us headed down to the Black Swan, or the Dirty Duck as many call it, for a drink.

  After drinks we called it a night and got ready for the next day. When we arose we had a quick breakfast and planned out the day in Bristol. Rob, Doug and Georgia where my tour guides to their beautiful city, and anything they forgot to tell me about their youngest brother George was sure to fill me in on when we got home. We first stopped to see the suspension bridge which crossed the River Avon. Rob explained the history of the bridge but I was caught up in the beauty of where the bridge was and how the sun was shining on it.

After seeing the bridge Rob showed me the local rock slide that had formed because of many years of people sliding on the rock. It is something that I might have missed, if I went on a tour of the city alone, and it's a great local secret. We then went to see the ground of Bristol City FC, which they played Queen's Park Rangers the day before I arrived. But it was amazing to see such a massive stadium devoted to the sport I love. Then we made our way over to the city harbor, and walked along the docks to the city center. Along the way we saw, along with getting soaked from rain, the SS Great Britain, Aardman Animations who make Wallace and Gromit, and the Mshed which is a local museum. When touring the Mshed I got to see a piece of art that I have wanted to see for over 5 years, a piece by Banksy called "The Grim Reaper", which was painted on a local boat in the harbor, and the owners of the boat cut out the piece and have been displaying it since. It was amazing to see that piece in person for the first time, which inspired all of my art, so to see his work in person was amazing.

 We then went back outside into the weather and braved the rain to see the hippodrome theater, the aquarium, and @Bristol. And as we went back to the car we searched for one of Banksy's new Bristol pieces "The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum", and low and behold we found it right next to where we parked. Again I found myself going back to High School and looking a Banksy pieces in wonder, and to see once in the streets in person, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

We then went home to a roast lunch that Mr. Waggett had made, which was wonderful then relaxing for most of the night. The following day we took another journey to Bath. I will be writing a post all about Bath later, but with the tour guides like the Waggett's I have to let you all know what they showed me.

It was a short drive from Bristol to Bath, and once we parked the car, it took Mrs.Waggett two seconds to show me the first thing that Bath had to offer. The Royal Crescent. It is a beautiful piece of architecture that could not go unnoticed in the city. Shortly After that we went to our next stop The Green Bird Cafe, which was one of Mrs. Waggett's favorites in the city. The coffee and cake were amazing and I will be going back soon.


We then made our way down the streets of Bath. It was amazing the amount of shops mixed with the architecture of the city. There were specialty shops everywhere you looked mixed in with the brand name titans. It felt like the Kittery Outlets, ME and Downtown Portsmouth, NH mixed. Again it was great to have the Waggetts as my guide because if I was to go there on my own I would have been lost. They made sure they showed where the Roman Bath's were and the cathedral was so I can show Haley when she arrives in about a week. From there I saw the River Avon which runs through Bath and next to the Bath Rugby Club. Everything was just amazing in Bath.

After the four of us made it back to Westbury, we all had plans for the night. Rob and his mother had to go shoe shopping, Doug went with them. George was defending the Kingdoms he forged in his games, and Rob's father was making dinner. For me this gave me a chance to meet up with a teammate from my Enactus society back at Plymouth, Anthony. We went to the Black Swan and had a drink, and talked Enactus, plans for the holidays amongst other things. Shortly after we parted ways I made it back to the house in time for dinner. After experiencing my first meat pie, which was amazing I might add, I experienced something that I hadn't experienced since I left home. The Waggetts had gotten me Christmas presents. It was something that I didn't see coming at all since they had hosted me for only the past several days, but I was so happy for the fact they had thought of me during the holiday season, but they had already given me a gift for the holiday season that I didn't expect. They made me feel at home, and almost apart of the family, and that was something I was missing this holiday season, and I can't thank them enough for that. But after I got on the train today headed for my next stop I got a chance to think about what they did for me and I can't thank them enough. So Rob, and the rest of the Waggetts thank you so much for your hospitality and for all you did over the past few days, it really was amazing. I hope you had as much fun as I did.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Devon Derby: Plymouth Argyle v. Exeter City

Hey everyone,

So few weeks ago I told you all about my trip up to Grantham with Enactus Plymouth, and all the awesome things that I learned well I was there. But now it's time to tell you a different story, a story of hatred between two cities. Plymouth. Exeter. The Devon Derby. This is how I saw it and what I experienced in my first derby match.

I had gone to Home Park to see Argyle play, it was always a happy vibe everyone was welcome and everyone that walked into the stadium wanted to see how Argyle would do that weekend, but it was different this time. Just on the short walk up to the ground from my flat you could tell that every fan that you passed seemed on edge and wanted to get one over on Exeter. I walked up to the ticket booth to get my tickets and you could hear both groups of fans volleying back-and-forth with song after song.

The atmosphere was tense and you could tell that both sides wanted to win, and side that lost would lose their mind. Because of the the local Devon & Cornwall Police were out in full force and riot gear to make sure order was kept from kick off. But after walking by a legion of officers I made it into the park and taking my seat I sat there and took it all in. For these people, some of whom have supported Argyle from the day they were born wanted nothing but a clean game and and solid win over their rivals, for some this game was more important than going up to league one. You could feel the passion these fans had before the ball was even kicked.

Moments before the whistle we were all asked that if we have something under our seats to hold it up. I had never been apart of a tifo and I finally got a chance to. I held up my piece of green plastic and I started to sing with all of the green army to push the argyle boys. It is a moment I will not forget. The plastic went down and then the whistle blow and the game kicked off.

From that whistle you could tell that Argyle were on the back foot and went down 2 to null in the first half. The fans knew the the boys had something in them that they were not showing, and Derek Adams the manager needed to get the boys going. They clawed one back in the second half but it wasn't enough. Plymouth fell 2-1 against rivals Exeter. I felt as angry as some of the fans, but I put it aside knowing that it was only a game, but for some it's not just a game and for those people they had armored police on the pitch right after the match. I hurried out of the park to make sure that I wasn't going to get caught up in the violence if any was to happen, and made it home in one piece. But that game will stay with me for the rest of my life. It was by far the most passion match I've been to behind any USMNT games with the Outlaws, but the fans made the match. When they say football is nothing without the fans they mean it 100%.

Well that was the Devon Derby. I hope you found reading this as interesting as it was for me to be there. I want to take a second and just say thank you to everyone who has helped me get here. If it wasn't for you all I wouldn't be able to experience these amazing things, and I thank you all for that. I will be out of Plymouth for the holidays so I will keep you all updated on my whereabouts in the next few weeks. Till then, stay classy everyone!



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Enactus: UK edition

Hey Guys,

So I know a few weeks ago I told you that I was going to fill you in on some of the things that happened during that spell in October where I really didn't post because I was so buzy. Well now I'm going to try and fill you all in on a few things here and there that I think were cool that happened to me that month. So the first thing that I want to tell you about is the trip I went on with Enactus Plymouth to Grantham for the Enactus UK training weekend.

So that weekend started really early, and I mean really early. We all meet in front of the Cookworthy building at 5:00am to make the journey up to Grantham. There were eight of use including myself that piled into the van. There was Katie, Laura, Eleanor, Leecy, Fabian, Tom, Anthony, and myself that got up to get up to Grantham. When we left Plymouth I talked to Fabian for a short time then I was out like a light. We stopped once on the way up to Grantham, and that was at the poshest highway rest station I have ever been in. The rest stop had its own butcher! But after the quick ritzy stop we continued our journey. 

After Fabian took the wheel and finally got us to Grantham we pulled up to the place that we would be calling home for the next few days. The place that we would be staying at was called PGL, which I later found out stands for Parents Get Lost. Yep staying at a summer camps style place, but to be honest it wasn't as bad as some of you reading this might think it is. We got the room key after a bit of a wait where half of the group were off in pre-session to our actual training that the weekend had to offer. So it was myself, Tom, Fabian, and Anthony staying in a room, but since me and Tom had gotten to the room first we claimed our bunks first. But it was nice to be there. Made me miss working at Camp Lincoln this summer.

But after that me and Tom went to a career fair, which employers were looking for English born students, not international students. So it really didn't help me, but I still tried to make a few contacts. After that we all meet up as a group to get dinner. The food there was actually pretty good for what it was worth. After dinner we all went to the field house and had our kick off meeting. Enactus UK was still riding the high of winning the Enactus World Cup for the first time so everyone was extremely keen to hear what the speakers had to say. It was a lot of speakers and they gave out a few awards and grants where we, as Enactus Plymouth, got two grants. Shortly after that they explained how the weekend would work, and one of our many sponsors Enterprise Rent-a-car spoke, they also sponsored a bonfire and all the drinks for that later that night. I got a laugh of a rent-a-car company supplying drinks, when all we here in the states is 'don't drink and drive.'

We all when to the bonfire after and had a great time. We all called it quits early because we all know the next day was going to be a long day. We got up in the morning and right after breakfast we went right into sessions. It was a lot to take in a short period of time. I had three sessions back to back to back before lunch. Then after Lunch it was back to back to back again until we finally were done for the day. It was a lot of powerpoints early, and then later in the day it was a lot more hands on. But I will say some of the buildings that were on the property were stunning.

After all of our meetings we got a chance to relax for a bit, then we had to get ready for our send off dinner. We were all dressed nice and we got a great 3 course meal (it was only 2 courses for many of us because we were off to socialize), and we got to see the presentation that won the World Cup in person which was really great. After the presentation for some reason we got a picture with the World Cup. The rest of the night was filled with socializing and seemed a bit of a blur the next morning, but it was a lot of fun.

After slowly getting up the next morning we all headed off to the ropes course, where I realized I wasn't the only one moving slow that morning. We all had a go on the ropes course, and after we all jumped off a perfectly good tower, we went back to the field house to hear one more sponsor speak. Then we walked over to the other side of the camp and got a large group photo for Enactus UK.

We had one more meeting after the photo, and then we all packed our stuff got back in the van and we started our way back home. But as I slept on the way back to Plymouth I realized everything that I learned here will help me with my project Recreo: Renewing Creative Opportunity, and with any projects that I will work on when I am back home at PSU. That weekend I made new friends that will be around for a lifetime, and information that will shape how I do things, and interact with people for years to come. Thank you Enactus Plymouth for letting me come with you on such a great trip which let me learn so much. I hope I can put everything that I learned to use to make Recreo an amazing program.

So that was one of the things that I got a chance to do over the month. I have a few more updates that I need to give to you all, and those will be coming up over the next few weeks. Keep your eyes peeled for my experience watching the Devon Derby at Home Park, my first derby match here. As always I hope you have a good day!