Friday 6/24/2011

Today we went to the Hofbräuhaus in Hamburg. I went to the original Hofbräuhaus in Munich when I paid a visit to my friend while he was in Germany. I really enjoy this place because of mainly the atmosphere, and the beer. They serve you full liters of beer at one time, and it comes with great people. You meet some of the nicest people you could imagine in these types of places. There is a lot of history that goes with the Hofbräuhaus, and with this history comes tradition.

Founded in 1589, the recipe for the beer that is served is only with natural ingredients. They like to use natural ingredients to give a much cleaner and crisp flavor. It really does not even compare to American beer. When you take a look at German beer and how it compares to your typical “Bud Light”, it is hard to not see the difference. American beer is very light and has very little flavor. There is a festival just like Chicago that goes on all over Germany, and that is called Oktoberfest. During Oktoberfest there is only one beer that is served, and that is the beer that this original brewery makes.

I preferred the Hofbräuhaus in Munich, however, it still gave me the same feeling. It was a great time with great friends; you can’t beat that. The food is not the greatest but the beer truly makes up for that.

My AWESOME fact of the day: I think it is AWESOME that the German students are always so willing to take us out and see the town, any night of the week.



Thursday 6/23/2011

Chipotle is a mexican sort of “fast food” company in the United States. When you walk into the restaurant, you form a line near the beginning of this step-by-step process to get your desired food. At the beginning of this selection window, you choose wether you wish to have a burrito, 3 tacos (hard or soft), a burrito bowl, a salad, or 2 tacos (hard or soft). Once you have made your selection, you then choose whether you want their delicious cilantro rice, black bean, pinto beans, and/or peppers and onions. I prefer the cilantro rice with the peppers and onions, definitely not a fan on any type of bean. The foiled plate of food is then passed on to the next employee in this production line event. This employee is in charge of the meat decision, which tends to be my toughest choice of them all. You can choose between spicy steak, somewhat spicy chicken, not-so spicy pork, and nowhere near spicy beef. My choice normally is not about how much spice I would prefer, it is whether I want to go with steak or chicken. That usually depends on how full the steak bin is, and how good the steak looks. The chicken is normally the safest route, but when the steak is in good shape, it does not even compare! Now I have a burrito laid out with some cilantro rice, peppers and onions, and the steak floating on top of this mexican heaven of ingredients. Then comes the final stage in the process.

I do not normally go crazy with the final stage, but every so often I spice things up in my Chipotle world. The final stage is basically the toppings decisions in your adventure through the food line. You choose a salsa which all differ in look, but mainly how spicy they are. I choose the spiciest sauce they have and I generally get a crazy look from the employees when I request for more sauce than they originally put on. What can I say, I really enjoy my mexican food! They also have a medium salsa as well as a normal salsa that has no spice added to it. Once you have chosen your salsa, then comes the rest of the toppings to choose from: corn salsa, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, and lettuce. Well, I am not a fan of corn, not a fan of sour cream, and not a fan of guacamole. So, it probably will not surprise you that I normally add cheese and lettuce to my fantastically delicious burrito.

Now comes the fun part in this whole process. Depending on how many extra ingredients you choose as well as if you did “double meat” for an extra cross determines how easy it is for the employee to roll your burrito. They are like artists in how they package these burritos. I have never had any problems opening my burrito and finding holes or leaks, it seems impossible. You also get one final decision before you leave this adventure, and that is whether you would like some chips or a drink. They have their own freshly made tortilla chips that are extra salty but still quite good. They also have a selection of different beers, water, sodas, and margaritas. I am yet to have a margarita at Chipotle because I would drink too many trying to keep the spice down in my mouth.

As you can probably tell, I really do like Chipotle and I surely do miss having those burritos. I would say the best thing about this restaurant is that it uses soy oil for all of the meats to increase the healthiness of the restaurant. Chipotle Mexican Grill was ranked in the top 50 healthiest fast food chains in the world. Founded in 1993 by Steve Ells of Denver, Colorado, he wanted to ensure that the meat was naturally raised, and he did just that.

My AWESOME thought of the day: I think it is AWESOME that tomorrow is my last day of school, bringing me one day closer to finally being home.

My First Marks

Wednesday 6/22/2011


As you all probably know, in the United States, when you get assessed on your work with school (even when you are a child) you get something called a grade. A grade is a scaled assessment of your work, presentation, understanding, and/or implementation of your studies. The scale is in letters ranking from A being the highest to B, C D, and F, respectively. Thinking about this now, I have always wondered why they skipped the “E”. Of course, F stands for Fail, but it is interesting to me that we skip things in the United States.


Germany uses something called a mark for their interpretation of grading students. The mark is a numbered scale that works just like the American grading system does, but with numbers. They run from 1 to 5, 1 being the best “mark”. Well, today I received my first marks in two of the classes I am attending. We had two presentations we were assigned to create; one for the Economics class, and the other for the IT Systems course.


The Economics class involved reading a chapter in this book that the instructor printed a hard copy for us and presenting the idea of that chapter and what it entails. This one required very little work and preparation. The IT Systems presentation was much more complicated and required a lot more planning. It involved designing a fully-functional network that fit the customer’s needs, specified in a handout given by our instructor. It entailed cabling, planning, and designing a network for a company in a 4-story building with 4 different departments. They threw in a “curve ball” when they made it slightly more complicated with 2 floors having different departments on them. What I mean by this, is that the 4th floor had Advertising and Graphic Design on it, and so did the 3rd floor. This required a little more careful planning in making sure that each department could not access data and information that is supposed to be only for the dedicated department. I was put in charge of the Packet Tracer file, which ended up being the most difficult part of the project. This program is used to virtualize running networks, as I have stated in my previous blogs. However, I have never configured a network with 1 router, 7 switches, 6 servers, and 38 PC’s. I am actually overly satisfied with the quality of the work that I completed. Not only was I the first person to complete my portion of the project, I was also the one bestowed with the most work and the most important work. I got a complete feeling of satisfaction when I looked at the final project. And when it came to the presentation, I was praised for doing such a great job on it. Most of the other groups had problems with their network running correctly and accessing the servers without a problem, however, once my network was cabled, it ran perfectly.


My grades for the projects were as follows:


Economics: 1 (A)

IT Systems: 1- (A minus)


My AWESOME thought of the day is: I think the food center at the school is AWESOME. The sandwiches are surprisingly very tasty, and the price is more than reasonable. It is actually the cheapest place I have eaten since being here in Germany. They have a wide variety including assorted milks, juices, sandwiches, filets, and full lunch/dinner servings. Cannot beat having good food in the place I spend most of my time!

The Final Week

Tuesday 6/21/2011


I have to come to realize that this will be not only my last week here at school in G18, but my last week as a Robert Morris student and a resident of Hamburg, Germany. Not only is my education with Chicago ending, but my life as I have known it for the past year is going to be changing dramatically. No longer will I be taking trains to school, practice, and to my social “outings”. No longer will I be living in a dorm 21 stories in the air, thanking myself for the invention of the elevator. No longer will I be surrounded by the friends I have made in the last year, and the atmosphere in general. The city of Chicago is an amazing place with a ton of energy and a great night life. I truly enjoyed my stay in Chicago and will never forget it for the rest of my life.


Robert Morris taught me a lot of things in my life. It taught me how to handle being pressured with several responsibilities at the same time. It taught me what I wished to do with the rest of my life. It taught me the value of an education, and the importance of small classrooms and caring personnel. Robert Morris University made me realize that I learn better in smaller classrooms with more attentive instructors that actually care about what you learn and how you are doing. I transferred from the University of Central Florida where the class sizes averaged around 200 and it was near impossible to ask a question. The instructors told us if they answered everyone’s questions they would get through minimal amounts of material. I completely understand where they are coming from, however, I do feel they should allocate more than one hour of office visits per week where every student is waiting in line in order to get their questions answered. You take the risk of either getting to the instructor and getting a quick, non-educational answer or not being seen at all and watching the instructor walk by to his car apologizing for not getting to you. It is the worst feeling in the world knowing you waited all that time for an answer that will most likely be on the next exam. It was not like you could do poorly on one exam and end up getting a decent grade in the class. Most classes were graded by 4 exams with no assignments or “busy work” as you could call it, in between. Imagine the pressure that you are faced when knowing if you do not do well on these exams, you could potentially fail the course.


So, this brings me to my AWESOME thought of the day: I think it is AWESOME that Robert Morris taught me this value of my education and allowed me to find the right school for me. The new school I will be transferring to will have a class size average of 34. I know my questions will be answered. Thank you Robert Morris University, for showing me what I need and want for my life.

The Value of Sleep

Monday 6/20/2011


Most people disregard the value of sleep. We are told our whole lives that the required 8 hours a night will help you to get through each day without being tired. However, they fail to tell you that there are some nights you just cannot sleep. The nights where your mind goes crazy and is going in a thousand directions. The nights where the only thing you want is to be home, in your own comfortable head. The nights where you cannot stop thinking of all the things you need to get done before leaving where you are, and what responsibilities are bestowed upon you once you get back home.


The last few nights have been filled with all of the above. I cannot seem to get my mind off of all the things not only that I have going for me, but how much work that has to be done before I can reap the benefits of my success. I still have so much to do before I can begin my horny into finishing my education as well as pursue my dream career with Lockheed Martin. Between making appointments for fingerprinting, appointments for a drug screening, doctor’s appointment for routine check-up and medication for quitting smoking, and finishing proper documents needed for my security clearance. With all of this on my mind, I still do not know exactly where I will be living when I move to Pensacola. I suppose the plan is to stay somewhere temporary to see the area, find a good place, and make the best decision on where to live. Several factors come into play, the main one being location. It is about a 1 hour drive from the school to my internship, so I need to see how the internship goes and determine if they are going to ask me to continue working through my education. If so, I need to weigh which one I will be at the most, and what is the most reasonably priced and accommodated. I have found several places near the school that are beautiful apartments, right next to the beach, and close to everything in the area. I am leaning more towards staying in Pensacola so that I am not far from my school and being able to hang out with the new friends I will be making in the area.


My AWESOME thought of the day is: I think it is awesome that 1 week from today I will finally be returning not only to the United States, but my TRUE home in Florida. I really cannot wait to finally be comfortable and feel at home and at peace.

TED – Awesome

Sunday 6/19/2011


As you have probably read previously in my posts, I blogged about the word awesome. The idea of recognizing what is awesome in your life and not taking things for granted in your life. Along with this idea of awesome is a clip on a website called TED which consists of videos of people with innovative ideas, inventions, and movements that are inspiring. I have previously been an avid viewer of this website, but never knew that this video existed. I decided it would be a great video to watch considering my support of the idea of AWESOME.


When the video begins, a man tells you the story of his life prior to being there. His parents moved to Canada with basically nothing but the clothes on their back. As he grew up, his parents gave him everything they possibly could, even though they had to sacrifice things for themselves. At this point in the video I was hooked. It made me think of my childhood and what my mother did for me, being a single mother and raising a child, working full-time, and going to school full-time. It took me until I was in my early twenties to really grasp how much my mother loved me and all that she sacrificed in order for me to have a great life. She sometimes thinks today that she could have done more or been less protective, but she does not realize how perfect she really was. I look at my life now, and I can proudly say I am who I am today because of my mother. I looked up to her when I was a child, and as much as I said I would not be like her when I grew up, I can now happily say I am my mother’s son. It’s funny the things you realize and that cross your mind as you get older and more mature. The saying has been fully lived in my life, “With age, comes maturity”.


The video continues on with the gentleman telling you about how he had the greatest life. He went to college, had a best friend, and married his dream girl. For his graduation, he went and toured America with his best friend. However, one day his best friend called him on a Sunday night and they had their routine talk about the show they had just watched. The night ended as it usually did. The next morning, his best friend was nowhere to be found until later in the day where they found his corpse; he had taken his life. If things were not already at it’s worst, his wife, behind many flowing tears, told him she did not love him anymore. Think to yourself how hard it would be to lose your best friend and the woman you love, all in less than a year. After all this happened, he knew he needed some way to stay thinking positive and “keeping his chin up” if you will. So, he came up with a blog that was the 1000 Awesome Things website (1000awesomethings.com). From this, he came up with this idea of the three A’s of AWESOME. They are, in no specific order, Attitude, Authenticity, and Awareness. That is, your attitude towards a situation you are put into, your Authenticity when faced with troubles, and your Awareness of what is good around you. With my situation being as hard as it has been, I did not realize how important this idea was until it really happened to me. My previous sorrows were now masked by re-watching this video and practicing the 3 A’s of Awesome. It has been one of the most inspiring stories and movements in my life.


I will leave with a final quote from Neil Pasricha, author of the Book of Awesome:


“You can grieve, but then you must face the future with newly sober eyes ”


This quote could not be more suiting to my situation. I can now focus on this idea of awesome, and what throughout my day I think is AWESOME. So, from now on throughout my blog, I will end with my AWESOME idea or site of the day. Today’s AWESOME was being inspired to look at the future with newly sober eyes. Stay tuned for more!

Forms, forms, and more forms

Saturday 6/18/2011


I found the perfect way to keep myself busy for the day, filling out the paperwork that is due for my internship by next week. The first form I had to fill out was called a “Department of Defense Secret Security Clearance Form”. This form requires about 3-4 hours of sit-down time and about 1-2 hours of research to gather all the information necessary to complete the form. As I am filling out the form, I thought about something pretty funny. I can officially now say, “I could tell you what I am doing at work, but I would have to kill you”. It is amazing to me to think about the line of work I am getting myself into when I get home for the summer. I am going to be doing work that requires a Department of Defense clearance form and me swearing not to speak about the work involved. What other interns can say they are restricted on speaking about their terms and conditions with the employer, as well as the material involved in everyday work?


Another thing I though about was towards the end of the clearance form. At the end of the form, they asked some security questions asking me if I had every been part of a terrorist group, or any group involved in the attempt to overthrow the U.S. Government. I am pretty sure by now in the process, I would not be a terrorist. Seriously, what terrorist could get through not only the interview and application process, but the preliminary background check prior to filling out this 40 page form?


In addition to the clearance form, I had to fill out a Certification Form, a Release of Information Form, a Medical Release Form, as well as a Citizen Verification form. On top of all these forms, when I get back to the United States, I must go to one of the Lockheed Martin locations and get two fingerprint forms completed and, either by their software or by fax, send in these fingerprints for verification at work. When you try and go on google and search Eglin AFB, FL you will see the base, however, when attempting to do a street view, no information is available because it is protected. The only part of the base that you can see is the security check point at the entrance of the base. I can officially say, I work in a place that even Google Maps can’t see!