June 11, 2007
It is almost time to return to the United States, but before I leave I must tell you about what happened in my last two weeks abroad and thank those people that have made this semester a memorable one.
On June 1st, my roommate, Demetrius Brown, and I traveled to Marrakech, Morocco. The highlights of the trip were watching belly dancers, riding a camel in the desert and charming a cobra snake. I was a bit nervous being around those animals, but after I got used to them I was fine. In Morocco, the primary languages are French and Arabic. Neither Demetrius nor I could speak those languages, but luckily we met a Canadian woman and a French man in our hostel that joined us on our adventures through the city. We went to the market where I perfected my bargaining skills. There are no set prices on items in stores so the vendors would start off asking for some outrageous sum of money. I talked them down to a much more reasonable price for both of us involved in the transaction. This is the favorite line by every Moroccan vendor, "Is this your first time in Morocco? WELCOME!" I thought that was funny. The food was delicious as well. Couscous, kebabs, tangine and mint tea were pretty much all I ate and drank while in Marrakech. Furthermore, Islam is the major religion so we often heard a man praying in a microphone from a mosque. This happened several times a day. In contrast to what you may see in the media, the Muslim people of Morocco are very peaceful, courteous, respectful and actually quite funny. They were calling me Muhammad Ali and my roommate, who has dreadlocks, Bob Marley or "Rasta Man." We had a wonderful time in Africa.
On June 8th, my teacher, Dr. Sally Karioth, took me to the Imperial War Museum here in London. If I had gone by myself, I would have just been looking at planes, tanks and mines in amazement. But having Dr. Karioth present at the museum to educate me on the story behind these World War II treasures was priceless. I learned more about D-Day and the strategic planning that went behind the attacks on the beaches of Normandy. There was a Holocaust section as well. I read about the rise of Adolph Hitler. He was a great orator, but, in my opinion, a deranged man. He burned books that were written by Jewish authors. One quote that stood out to me was by a Jewish poet that said, "One who burns books, will, in the end, burn people." After visiting the Imperial War Museum, I gained a better appreciation for all of the events surrounding WWII.
My former teacher and advisor, Jody Spooner, visited me in London. I met Jody on my recruiting visit to Florida State when I was a senior in high school. During that meeting, Jody, who was accompanied by future Rhodes Scholar Garrett Johnson at the time, sat down with my family and discussed how his Office of National Fellowships aims to help promising students fulfill their potential and earn fellowships along the way. No other school I visited (Oklahoma, Florida, Penn State, Michigan, Miami) offered this program. As time went on, Jody left for Williams College. We stayed in contact through e-mail. I find Jody possessing one of the most superior minds I have ever been around. Like my father, Jody can assess something with such clarity then present it to you in its elementary form so you can truly understand it. I admire Jody and his visit was certainly welcoming.
I have been following www.seminoles.com closely to see what my teammates have been doing as far as workouts for the summer. It looks like they are grinding pretty hard. In fact, I have spoken with Tony Carter and Graham Gano about the workouts and they said that I better be ready. They also assured me that our team will benefit from the training that we are currently doing. I am excited to get back and join my brothers on the field.
Congratulations to the Men's Track and Field team that won the NCAA National Championship for the second consecutive year. That is an outstanding accomplishment. I got the opportunity to train with the sprinters during the spring. Coach Bob Braman and Coach Ken Harnden do an outstanding job with their athletes and deserve much credit.
I have a final exam in a few hours so I must part ways, but before I leave I want to share my general feelings towards spending a semester overseas. Studying abroad has been a gratifying experience. You get to meet new people, travel to different places, and indulge in a new culture all while earning college credits towards your degree. My time in Europe has helped me expand my scope to a global level. I want to thank all the people that have made this opportunity possible: My family, Whitney, Beverly, Marchant, Marvis, Mordecai and Mckinley Rolle; London administration, Elaine Breckenridge, Jeanne Craig, Julia Lazarus, Tyler Brown and Tess Lauchaire; my teachers, Dr. Sally Karioth and Dr. Juliana Fuzesi; people who contributed to the experience, Derek Kingsley, Jody Spooner, Mark Melaney, Randall Vitale, Marlon Dechausay, Mark Ziegler, Pam Overton, John Lata, Garrett Johnson and Elliott Finebloom.
Thanks and GO NOLES!