Friday, July 14, 2006

"I know that this is long over do..."

As the title might uggest, I am well aware that I have not written on my blog for months! (And I mean some MONTHS). Anyway, much has traspired since the last time I posted anything. FOr starters, I am no longer an undergraduate of Vanderbilt University. I am now an ALUMNUS! That's right folks! ON May 12th, 2006, four years of blood, sweat, tears, and hard work came to a conclusion. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and couldn't be happier. I must admit, it has taken some time for it [Graduation] to sink in. I'm considered to an adult?... Now allow me to make some corrections to that statement. I am an adult (LEGALLY) however, I am not an adult in the fact that my mom still takes care of me. I have no shame about it either. (THANKS Mom)
Anyway, life has been good since wrapping up at Vanderbilt. I've moved into my first apartment and I'm lovin' it. I feel so independent. I live right outside of Nashville, in an area called Bellevue. Trust me Bellevue is the way to go. It is only 10 min. outside of the city and the cost of living is AWESOME. I got a job a Meharry Medical College and that's going well. I work with research animals. I know this may ruffle some feathers but it is what I do. Just think about it; without animal research, we would have cures to most diseases. Also, any medication that you have ever taken, had to be tested in an animal before you could take it. Now that I have finished preaching, I'll continue. I am also wrapping up my last Pre-Med requirements at TSU. I am 3 weeks away from being complete and then I begin studying for the MCAT (YAY--Not so much). This next year will be donned "The Year of the Grind", because that is exactly what I'll be doing. But no worries, I'll be ready!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

P.R.I.O.R.I.T.Y

PRIORITY: (n) Precedence, especially established by order of importance or urgency.

So I tried to start this entry last week, but I was too busy to even putthoughts together. So if it isn't obvious, when one is in college, they MUST learn how to prioritize. Well, since this school year started I have most definetely had to implement this system. Now I know that you are probably thinking, "Yea, you should be prioritizing! You ARE A SENIOR!" This is true, but I guess I may have been thinking that my senior year in college would be somewhat like my senior year in high school. HA! I WISH! With 16 hours this semester, I am most definetely not cruising through. Now I understand that it is my senior year, and that after this year, college is in the past; however, I can't lose sight of why I am here you know. God has blessed me with this wonderful opportunity to receive a degree from a TOP 20 university. SO if that means that I have be on my grind Monday through Friday, then so be it. Plus, your boy has goals. I am trying to go to med school. I don't have time to get wasted every week/weekend/ I have to be on top of my game. I must say that I think some of my roomates disagree with me. Oh well, they will be alright.
Along with staying on top of school, I know that I can't forget to put God first.

"But seek first the his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." ~ Matthew 6:33

I can most definetely attest to that verse. God has contintued to be gracious and merciful, even when I get focused on myself. My junior year, my relationship with Christ grew so much, and the reason for it was that I spent time with Him (through prayer, reading the Word, serving, etc.) SO in summary, I gotta go back to the basics. Put God first-spend time with Him and allow Him to direct my path, be a steward of my time, and strive for excellence in all that I do. I know with that system, I can't fail!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Your boy is back!

SO after a 2 week or so hiatus from blogging, yo boy is back and ready to keep on dropping lines to make you and myself think. Since the last time I wrote, I departed Spain (Aug. 14th) and chilled back in my native SC for a week with the fam. Spain was such a life-changing experience. Since I have been back, I have thought back to many memories of Spain-Alicante-and all of the other cities that I traveled to. Actually, the first bit of culture shock that I felt was when I landed in Philly. After going through customs, I remember looking around and saying to myself, "Whoa! Where did all these Black people come from?" I know that may/maynot sound funny ( it depends on who's reding this) but you have to understand; I was one of FEW Black people in Spain that looks like me. I am referring to my skin tone. Many of the Black people in Spain were from Sub-Saharan Africa (Sudan, Ghana, Nigeria, etc) and were BLACK. I am talking midnight black. If you look at my pics you will see that I don't look like that. Sidenote: I AM NOT SAYING THAT PEOPLE OF DARKER COMPLEXIONS ARE UNATTRACTIVE. I love ALL SHADES OF COLOR! (If you don't believe me, TOO BAD!) Anyway, many Spaniards didn't know what I was. Some thought I was Brazilian, Afro-Latin, possibly African, or American. I think a combo of my skin color, bulid, and height threw them. Hey, I'm a BIG BOY!
Interestingly enough, that was my first feeling of culture shock. I really didn't have anymore until I got back to Vandy. You have to understand that Vanderbilt is a different world and a step away from reality. I love my school, but it most definetely breeds a certain mentality in a students; a mentality that I have been away from for 4 months. Being in spain, I learned a lot about myself, people and just life in general. I realized that you have to be able to see the forest for the trees. Meaning that you can't get caught up on the small things, and that the things that you do today can/will have an impact on your future, even if we can't see how.
Moved in last Sunday and started classes Wednesday, and can you believe I already have a TON of homework. Now I understand that after being here for 3 years, this shouldn't come as a surprise, but it is the principle. Nonetheless, my classes seem really interesting and i am looking forward to getting more into them. Senior year is going to be great, I can already tell! I have finally gotten the chance to see what it is like to be 21 in the states (in Europe, 21 is just another number) but in the states, a level of freedom is given. Along with the notion that I am GROWN (for real, for real according to the government). I never had a fake ID, so I never went downtown Nashville on Thurs. nights. I'll say that I am glad that I didn't have one. I feel like I appreciate it more. Well, I just wanted to get back up to pace. Senior year--> let's go!

Friday, August 12, 2005

So long, farewell...




Well, as I have mentioned before, today is my last FULL DAY in Alicante (tear). And thugh I am excited about coming home, I must say that this experience has been everything that I wanted it to be, and some. Ever since I was in hihg school, I have wanted to study abroad. I am so glad that this dream of mine came true. I just thought I might put up a few pictures of the summer. The one up top is of myself and two other USACers during "Las Fogueres"-one of the craziest festivales I have EVER been to! The one to the right is an actual "foguera". These statues are the highlight of the festival. They represent current social, relgious or political issues. Also, they represent different things about the culture. This one in particular represented the Mediterrenean. The one below is just one pic of the beatiful Mediterrenean coastline. That was my back yard for 2 1/2 months!

I must apologize and tell you that the Mullet pics didn´t turn out too well, so I won´t be posting. Sorry. In closing, I will never forget the experiences that I have had here in Alicante and Spain in general. would strongly encourage anyone whois interestedin going abroad for a short time to DO IT! You will learn so much about yourself and the world. I take noting but the good that I from the people that have been in my life for this short time. You all have learned many things for you in this short time. Much love Alicante! Much Love!



*To Spain, le recordaré siempre. ¡Viva España!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Givin´ Props



I must say that over this summer, I have become quite a fan of blogging. It is such a release (not to mention it gives me a chance to commit many of my thoughts and reflections to paper). Earlier today, I had the chance to read some other blogs. In case you were wondering, there are some REALLY good ones out there.

Por ejemplo: I have to give major props to my boy Blogstar (Chad J.)- you bring nothing but the realness everytime.

*NOTE: I have you to thank for the notice about the new Switchfoot album, Nothing is Sound, that hits stores on Sept. 13. If you haven´t heard their last album, Beautiful Letdown- cop that disc! Too tight! I hope when they start there U.S. tour that they come to NashVegas! I bet one of their shows would be SWEET!

Props to my girls at "Black girls like us" (Tia and Toya)- Their commentary=INTERESTING

It is always nice to sit read other people´s ideas and opinions. It keeps you thinking, which is always good. In addition, it forces to not to just "settle" on one viewpoint, just because someone that is cnsidered important says it. It allows you to formulate your own ideas and opinions!

Sadly folks, this may one of my last entries for a little while (about a week or so). Tomorrow is my LAST CLASS DAY in Alicante and then I leave for Madrid on Saturday. Stay tuned for the farewell entry.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

"Back in the day, when I was young, I´m not a kid anymore..."


DO remember the song "Back in the Day"? It was on The Wood Soundtrack. I always like the opening lines to that song;
Back in the day, when I was young I'm not a kid anymore
But some days I sit and wish I was a kid again
The song is by Ahmad, and it most definetely is a classic. That song is so fitting for how I have been feeling lately. Because I am leaving Spain in 4 DAYS, I have eben emailing peeps back in the states and getting ready to see everyone. In connectiong with old freinds, a sense of nostalgia came over me. I could help but think about ALL of the people that I have meet in my 21 years of life. I thought back to my days at Mayo High schol for Math, Science, and Technology ( that was my first high school in SC) and then my final years at Centennial High (in TN) . Granted, nost of the friends at my first high school, I had known since elementary, but TN was a whole new world. And I LOVED IT! I gotta say that I really came into my own after I moved to TN. I didn´t have to worry about being compared to my older brother or everyone knowing my parents. DOn´t get me wrong, I had and still don´t have any problem with knowing me through my parents. But it is nice to be known as Michael, that´s it. ONe great thing about my move to TN was my growth spiritual. Now I grew up in church. Some could say that I was one of those kids who was "born under a pew". We went to church all the time! I remember I use to dread "revival season" and especially when OUR church had revival. That bascially meant that unless you were sick, you were at church almost every night! DOn´t read this the wrong way. I appreciate my church upbringing. I accepted Christ into my life when I was 10, and learned a fair amount when I was younger. But the kicker was that I never REALLY knew a great deal about the Bible. I knew the usual stories that anyone who has grown up in church knows. But I never really understood the REAL meaning behind much of the Word.
Well, that all changed after I moved to TN. A.J, a guy that I met when I was a senior, who would later become one mof my best friends from high school and even now, approached me and told me about his church, interestingly called The People´s Church. I was called FIrst Baptist for the longest, but as time passed they desired to go for a more non-denominational atmosphere. At first, I was a little hesistant, but then I thought " Hey, why not." I did want to strengthen my Christian walk so I went. That first time I went was life-changing. The service was AWESOME. Seeing all these young people (it was a youth group) praising and worshiping God was inspiring. After only one time, I was hooked. Lucky for me, Fusion (the name of the service) met every Wednesday night. Qucikly, I started meeting so many people (I mean hey I am quite friendly) Youth pastors, other students, worship leaders, etc. I made some lasting bonds with these people. ANd an even cooler thing was, I was the ONLY Black person in the youth group, and it was all good. Back in SC, I went to a Black church my WHOLE life. One time I went to a Vacation Bible School (remember those!) at a white church and loved it. But for reasons I still don´t completely understand, I had to stop going (Not because the church turned me away-they embraced me-but because my mom didn´t want me to go) . I asked her why, and she said that we HAD a church. Quick note: My mom LOVES White people! Just thought I needed to say that in case anyone was questioning my mom´s character, but back to the story. Well, my mom was really open to me going to Fusion and met some of my new friends. I remember when I went on my first retreat with them. It was GREAT! I met even more people and really bonded with some of the leaders (Jon, Jon, Darren, Diane, Chad J., Jennifer, Christy, just to name a few) It was awesome. And to this very day, I still keep in touch with most of them. I grew so much spiritually with that group, and for that reason, I squash all of the so called "rules and regulations" that said that people of different races can´t worship together. I actually prefer mixed churches; adds a different dynamic and you gain a wider cultural view.
Those people that I just named were there for me when my Dad passed away my freshman year. And they have been there through all of the stuggles that I have dealt with while in college. They have been and continue to be great role models. And even though I don´t attend The People´s Church anymore, I´ll never forget the growth I had there. God has continue to bless me and mold me into the Man that HE wants me to be. Since then, my church family has grown even more. Since I started attending Bethel (probably one of the most racially diverse churches in the U.S!), I have met a myriad of other believers that are passionate for Christ. With this new group, new spiritual mentors have entered my life. The teaching and encouraging that I have received from them has been great. The Doc, as I like to call him, has been like a father to me (both spiritually and emotionally), which has been great since my biological father is no longer alive. It has been great having him in my corner. I say all this to say that I am so grateful for each and every person that God has placed in life (both the good and bad ones),for they have helped make me who I am. At my church their is a saying,
When you find your people, you find your purpose!
I would have to agree! There is nothing better than walking into the destiny that God has for you withm other brothers and sisters in Christ walking beside you and encouraging you every step of the way. Man I can´t wait to get back to TN and see my church family. I love those guys, more than I think they will ever know!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Last call

Well folks, this past weekend was my LAST weekend in Alicante. In case any of you were wondering where in Spain Alicante was, the map on the left should help. As of this Friday, I will have been in Spain for a total of 11 weeks! The WHOLE SUMMER (which is what I wanted)
This weekend started of nicely on Friday night. My roomie and myself along with some others went out for drinks and the dancing t the port. The port was tight. The club I alwyas go to, La Divina, plays some of the best American and Spainsh music araound. I must say that I miss American music ( I wonder what has come out since I have been over here). Since my arrival in Alicante, i have notice one thing about the women here. They are either A) BEAUTIFUL; enough said! or B) Broke down lookin´whores - I am not exaggerating. The things girls to the club here are only worn in the states by those who turn tricks and work poles. I am serious. Yo boy isn´t that impressed. and to and more insult to injury, girls here are a combo of skin, fat, and bone (that´s it!). So many of them are natural skinny, and none of them really work out so it doesn´t look that great. There look is like an oversexed gross chic, if you will. Nonetheless, we stayed out til´about 5 in the morn, only to be back up at 9am for weekend activities.
Saturday, my roomate, another USACer (person form my program) and myself went to Benidorm. It is a smaller tourist city up the coast about an hour. We took the tram and a train to get there. That train was the most raggedy above ground trains I think I have ever seen. I wish I had a pic to show you. But nonetheless, we got there. We went to have a fun-filled day at AQUALANDIA, Spain´s premier water park. It was actually a good time. I felt like a kid again. The only and MAJOR difference was that they use salt water in on their rides. At first, I thought it was just wierd chlorine, bu after a while, salt dust was on my skin. Some people tried to down the place, saying it wasn´t as good as the states. If one hasn´t learned, when you are outside of the states for an extended period, you can´t compare the states to other places and vice-versa.
After being there all day, we got home around 9:30pm and tried to crash, but decides to go out on or last Saturday here. Yesterday was kind of rough. Not because I was hung over (I didn´t drink on Sat.) I was just so tired. Lack of sleep caught up to me. However, my roomate and I did manage to go out for our MULLET HUNT. That is right folks, the long wait id over. Mullet Hunt: Alicante has come. Pics coming soon!
Now I have just 5 more days and I am out! MAn, I can´t wait for some of my mom´s good food!