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Home again August 10, 2010

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That picture above is by far my favorite sight of the entire trip.  For those of you who don’t come through Hartsfield-Jackson on a regular basis, that little girl is at the top of the escalators leading to baggage claim, welcoming everyone to Atlanta.  When I saw her (after an hour of going through customs) I let out a breath I had been holding all day long.  I could feel the tension draining out of me and a smile came across my face.  I knew then that my adventure had ended.



Mr. Donohue goes to Brussels August 2, 2010

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For those of you who haven’t seen Star Wars, please watch the video below.

Done?  Good.  That’s the European Parliament.

Well, sort of.  It’s by no means a “wretched hive of scum and villainy,” there are no rubber masks, and there is no catchy music (most of the time).  Allow me to explain myself. (more…)

The Traveling Life July 25, 2010

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We were in Germany for their victory over the UK. Awesome!

Three cities, three weeks, a whole lotta traveling.

The first three weeks of my program were spent in Brussels (you can read my previous posts here and here), and the second were spent with one week in Paris, one in Berlin, and one in Krakow, Poland.  This was a great opportunity to see three totally different parts of the EU and get a feel for the different cultures.  Let’s take them one at a time by publishing some excerpts from my journal. (more…)

Herman and Cathy, Barry and Hil June 26, 2010

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The Group at NATO

Wow. The past three weeks have been something of a whirlwind, having traveled to at least seven cities, being exposed to three languages, and watching the USA pull out a literal last minute victory over Algeria (for which I will be billing USA Soccer for the 5 years of my life I lost).

I’ve been in Paris for a week, but I’m going to focus on my site visits in Brussels to all of the EU institutions.

In short, the EU is made up of four main institutions. They are the Commission, the Council, the Parliament, and the European Court of Justice roughly analogous to our Executive Branch, Senate, House of Representatives, and Judiciary. We visited the first three along with several think tanks and other organizations including NATO and SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe).

Much of the conversation at these places was driven by the topic of the four people named in this post. Herman von Rumpuy is the new president of the European Council, Lady Catherine Ashton is the new High Representative for Common and Security Policy, and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are well known to us all. (more…)

Europe in 14 points June 6, 2010

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It’s been two weeks since I arrived in Europe, two weeks of new cities, new languages, new experiences, and a whole lotta learning.  In honor of the American president who gave us so much of what eventually became liberalism (and because I’ve spent 14 days here) and in no particular order, here are 14 points on my travels in London and Belgium:

  1. Overnight flights with personal entertainment screens, free dinner, free breakfast, and a packed second dinner are surprisingly bearable
  2. Astor Hyde Park = awesome hostel in London.  It’s located in a great place to play Embassy Bingo and has a great “Student Traveler” atmosphere
  3. Best experience to have within 12 hours of entering a new continent? Testing out the local health care by bringing your travel mate to the hospital for falling off of the bunk and needing stitches.  He’s fine.
  4. Mind the Gap. ‘Nuff said.
  5. Yes, the cars drive on the wrong side of the road in the UK.  London’s authorities recognize the confusion this causes in the minds of American travelers and so conveniently paints on the roadways which way to look while crossing.  It’s true!
  6. London is old.  Really old.  So old it makes St. Augustine look like a punk kid city still going through puberty. (more…)

Summer (and travel) approaches! April 28, 2010

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Wow! Spring is just flying by! Spring break is turning into a distant memory, we all enjoyed the spring game (that’s my friends and me at last year’s), Tech beat uga at Turner field, and the days are finally becoming warm and sunny. But in just a few days finals will be upon all of us. While our focus is on studying (most of the time anyway), I know a lot of us can’t wait until summer rolls around, and we can board a plane to destinations far flung.