Wednesday, December 2, 2009

English 111 with Paul Gasparo, A Reflection

As I near the end of the semester, like the end of the year, it is time to reflect on what I did and how I did it. When I first stepped foot into the classroom I didn't know if Paul was a fellow student or my professor. He has that way about him, he is easy to relate with. Paul really made sure that everyone in the class was familiar with the library and it's numerous resources. My favorite part of the class was the two days we spent watching the making of the Born To Run album by Bruce Springstein. It was a great way for Paul to show the class how hard it can be to write, and how even a great writer like the "Boss" still can struggle. Would I recommend this class to another student, absolutely yes. Paul is a very patient person with a lot of knowledge to pass on. I have found my writing has come a long way since I have taken English 111, Paul Gasparo style. Our class wasn't always the easiest to control but Paul always seemed to gain control without raising his voice or treating us like babies. I know this post is a little short but it is the best I can do. Thanks for everything! You should teach other levels of English, I would love to take those classes with you.

Brian Jacobs

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Final Diagnostic Essay Draft: I Could Use Another Bahamian Adult Beverage

Link to picture found here

By Brian Jacobs

God, life in Virginia Beach can become so mundane! When I'm feeling like I have become entirely way to bored with everything around me, closing my eyes and retreating to my favorite place in the world always helps. It was the day after our wedding and my new wife Becky and I were ready for a vacation. Months and months of wedding planning had taken it's toll on the both of us. We had never really been anywhere together except for the occasional trip to visit our famlies and friends. Adventure is the name of our game. We will try anything once and usually fall in love with the kind of stuff that gets your heart pounding and your palms a little clammy so when it came down to our honeymoon we didn't want to spend it sitting around a resort doing what every other tourist is doing. A trip to Grand Bahamas, Bahamas is where we decided, it was the most non touristy place we could come up with. Bags are packed, house is locked, and away we go!

The day our "adventure" began was upon us. One final walk through of the house and we were on our way. After stopping at the local WaWa for some snacks and drinks we headed off on route 64 for a quick 3 hour drive to Dulles International Airport, located in northern Virginia. We would've rather flown out of Norfolk but as I said earlier, this was an adventure. We needed to stay the night at an airport hotel because or flight wasn't leaving till the next morning. After checking in and having dinner and a few drinks we were both ready to hit the hay. (It's funny, you never sleep as good as you do in some random hotel). Checkout was easy and after a short shuttle, we had finally made it to the airport, just a little longer and the troubles and stresses of our lives in Virginia were going to be underneath us and behind us as we flew away to paradise by way of Charlotte, North Carolina, our only hurdle between us and the white, sandy beaches of the Bahamas. Luckily, our layover in Charlotte was a breeze, we had plenty of time to walk all the way across the airport to make our connecting flight. As the plane took off over the Atlantic, we realized, no phones, no emails, and nobody could track us down, we were free!! The flight was short, so short I didn't even have time for a cocktail, which was fine since we were about to land in the land of rum. Our landing was smooth and before we knew it, we could feel a rush of hot air pass over us as the flight attendants opened the planes door. As we stepped onto the tarmac we could smell the salt in the air and were ready to get out and explore but... customs wanted something else for us. After that somewhat painless experience we were finally there.

Stopping immediately in the airports duty free store we got our hands on a few bottles of locally distilled Bahamian Rum. Hailing a taxi to get us to our condo was a breeze considering everytime an airplain lands, every taxi driver on the island comes running. It was a short drive to our temporary home which was right on the water with a full kitchen and a view of the Carribean Sea that would take your breath away. We spent the first night sitting on the beach, sipping rum, and listening to music (which seems to come from everywhere on that island). I could now see why pirates used to use this as a hideout, it was amazing. We attempted to keep an "island buzz" the rest of our trip so it was good we had already stocked up on "hooch". Renting a car was the best idea we had, it gave us so much more freedom, being able to go and do whatever we wanted. We hiked through the mangrove forests, we snorkeled in Deadman's Reef seeing fish in colors you didn't even knew existed, we ate local foods, and drove to just get lost but, the most amazing part of the trip was the local nightlife. Now, I'm not the kind of person that likes to go "clubbing", which is good because the bars we found were far from clubs. Instead of looking through Froders, we decided to ask the locals where they go at night. Bikini Bottom seemed to be the place everyone said they'd be after work. Once we got there we could see why. It was a bar built out of wooden pallets with a huge outdoor patio. There were swings instead of bar stools and live local music was played every night. It seemed like only "irie vibes were allowed". We had the time of our lives drinking and dancing with the locals that seemed to take us in like we were one of them. This is the life is all I could think. The love of my life, new friends, and music, it was all I needed.

Then it hit me, we're leaving tomorrow. Our departure went smooth, only long faces on the two of us though. Back to reality. The bad news was that the day after we got home was the first day of my fall semester in college. The good news was though that the memories I have of that trip will be mine forever. I can replay the whole thing over whenever I want, all I have to do is close my eyes!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Diagnostic Essay - My Favorite Place

Picture source found here.

My Favorite Place

I just got married a month ago, and with the natural progression of things we decided to go to the Bahamas for our honeymoon. We had never really been on a vacation together, except for the times where we would visit our families and such. With all the wedding planning and all the other work that is involved in walking down the aisle both Becky and I were more than ready to escape the stresses and work that are our lives in Virginia Beach entailed. So off we went on the adventure of a lifetime.

Friday morning came quick as we moved quickly through our house trying to remember any last minute details. Passports check, wallet check, money check, ipod check, all our ducks seemed to be in a row. We needed to drive to Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia because that is where we found cheap tickets. After a ride that seemed like it took four days we finally made it to the hotel we were going to stay at awaiting our flight the next morning. After a few drinks we were ready to hit the sack, both of us anxious to get out town for a week. Amazingly enough, checkout was nice and smooth, we were on our way. Once we were on the plane we both thought “one more quick stop in Charlotte, NC and Bahamas here we come.” Once we touched ground in Charlotte it was a long walk all the way across the airport to our attaching flight to Freeport, Grand Bahama. As we neared the beautiful island we were greeted with amazing views of the huge mangroves that surround the north end of the island. Landing at the airport made us realize where we were and where we came from. The airport was no bigger than a local Wal-mart. Customs was a breeze, straight to the Duty Free liquor store we went for a couple bottles of Bahamian Rum. The taxi ride to our resort was quick and painless. Check in was a little timely but I decided nothing was going to get me down no matter what. We got into our room which was spacious with its own full kitchen and a balcony with a beautiful view of both the pool and the gorgeous Caribbean Sea. Sun, sand, water, and drinks were all on the menu for us for the next week. We would wake up every morning and take a dip in the crystal clear waters. We did everything from snorkeling on Deadman’s Reef where we were surrounded by swarms of beautiful tropical fish of all shapes and sizes, to dinner and drinks at a place made up of wooden pallets and liquor. We have both never been so relaxed in our entire lives. We did not want to go home, and if it weren’t for our dog we might not have. Unfortunately it was time for us to head home. We reversed our travels and headed to Charlotte with a connecting flight to Virginia. The drive back home was surprisingly quiet, letting the weeks events resonate in our minds. We were on cloud nine.

As they say “all good things must come to an end”, we pulled into our driveway. Thinking back though I don’t think anything is coming to and end, I have an amazing wife and memories of the best vacation of a lifetime and those memories will never come to and end. We came, we saw, we conquered! It was finally time to get back to reality though being my English 111 class started tomorrow.