Dr. Madigan Fichter, Assistant Professor, School of Arts and Sciences
"I spent part of the winter holiday traveling in Guatemala with my family. Although Guatemala has had a pretty dark recent history of dictatorship and civil war, and much of the population still lives in grinding poverty, it’s a spectacularly beautiful country with a rich cultural heritage. We spent several days in the colonial city of Antigua, which is full of colorful, Spanish baroque architecture with volcanoes looming in the background. Next we went to Lake Atitlan, which is a beautiful lake, again, surrounded by volcanoes.
One of the really interesting things that we saw here was that a lot of the indigenous, Mayan traditions have still been preserved. People wear traditional, embroidered shirts called huipiles, speak the Mayan languages—sometimes instead of Spanish, and worship syncretic saints that blend Catholicism with pre-Christian beliefs and practices. We finished up the trip with the highlight, the imperial Mayan city of Tikal, which consists of these fantastic pyramids looming out of the rainforest."
Glenn Gatlin, Instructional Technologist, Information Technology Services
"During the break, I made a delivery to Orodruin, an active volcano in the northwest of the Black Land of Mordor, close to Barad-dûr. I wanted to stay at an Air B&B, but I guess I tried to book my reservation too late because there weren't any available. Orodruin is an amazing site to see, but if you go, I'd suggest flying. I hiked in, and was attacked by a number of nightmarish monsters. 8/10 - would visit again."
Dr. Barry Dickinson, Dean, School of Business Administration
"Here are some pictures from my trip to Miami Beach with my family. We drove down and back up, staying overnight along the way on each leg. These pictures were taken by my daughters, Zoe and Giselle. The South Beach sign photo was taken while we were out walking along Collins Avenue which runs adjacent to the beach, looking for dinner. The other photos are from a double-decker bus tour/water tour. The girl with her head in her hand with the ice cream cone behind her, on top of the bus, is my 13 year old daughter. That was taken in Little Havana. The roosters are also in Little Havana. They are all over the area and represent good luck. The other shots are from the boat tour looking over the city of Miami and the port.
Dr. James Acton, Adjunct Instructor, School of Arts and Sciences
"My wife, two dogs, and I are at our home in sunny Southwest Florida during the Christmas break. This will be our permanent home in two years. On occasion, an alligator will wonder into the lake out back. Hate when that happens, but a quick call to Animal Control and it’s 'See ya later, alligator.'"
"I visited the new museum in Washington, D.C., The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was very moving from the lower levels, which looked at the history from slavery to civil rights, to the upper levels, which celebrated accomplishments in all areas of culture—from science to music to sports. I took photos with the statues of Representative Joseph Rainey, Democrat, South Carolina, as well as Venus and Serena Williams."