The Italian Connection

The Italian Connection
Nenad, Mar, myself, and Pablo in front of the Pasta Nostra Pizza Nostra restaurant we just finished eating at. (3 Nov)

It is always nice when we get a chance to get out of the residence and especially when we get into Madrid. Add pizza, pasta and meeting friends to that equation and you have a very pleasant evening indeed. One of our friends — Mar, who we know from residence last term, and is currently working in Italy — was in town for a couple of days and we arranged to have dinner together. So, last Friday night we found our way into Madrid and met up with Mar and two of her other friends. We had a very nice meal and conversations and then we had to go our separate ways. Fortunately Mar had her camera with her and we managed to get a couple shots before we left.

Location: FAM, Leganés @ 11:11

Thoughts of the day

Some source code The past week or so have been incredibly busy for me, I've been constructing an online store. All said and done, I feel that I did a pretty good job with it considering the time constraints. Of course, working 10+ hours per day for a solid week does allow you to accomplish a fair bit. It might not seem like a lot of work to some people, but compared to what I had been used to in the past little while, it was quite exhausting.

I have started coming into campus in the morning — versus before when I would sleep until 13:00. Now if I can only curb my natural tendencies to stay up past 3:00 in the morning, I might be able to handle this. But it is true that I get a lot more done when I am in this classroom and not in my bedroom, mere inches from my bed, who continuously sings her siren call. Instead of a traditional office or lab environment at the university, we are using a mostly disused classroom for our home away from home. This same classroom hosted all five of our courses last term, but now remains empty, except of course when we take it over. Taking over might be a stretch, since at the moment, this classroom for 30+ students now contains only Pablo and I.

The only other thing of note is that this past weekend, despite my crazy workload, Nenad, Pablo and I headed into Madrid and attended SIMO, which is the second largest IT fair in Europe apparently. It was quite interesting, seeing some of the technology and software that is available. There were displays by all the phone companies, not to mention a number of large IT companies: Adobe, Toshiba, HP, Microsoft, IBM, etc. While you could definitely feel the geek atmosphere, it really wasn't all that I had hoped for. I guess I didn't really see much that was new or “cool”, at least not to me. But then it seems to be taking more and more to impress me technically these days.

The screen shot above is a tiny glimpse into what I have been staring at for the past week or longer and I thought I would take this opportunity to share. To relieve the monotony, I changed from my home grown TextMate theme to one called Vibrant Ink, with a couple minor alterations. I'm liking it — TextMate makes the task of programming far less stressful. You know what else is a good thing? Bite-sized chocolate chip cookies that are covered in milk chocolate. AKA: “Choco Bom”

Location: Room 2.1.C17 @ 5:28

The Three... Hombres?

The Three... Hombres?

Myself, Pablo and Nenad. Captured with PhotoBooth on an iMac in a very large 'El Corte Ingles', and taken away discreetly using a USB drive.

Another trip to Madrid today to open bank accounts with Lloyds TSB España. After a relatively lengthy process we left with new accounts and renewed hopes that this time we would be able to transfer money finally from the UK to the residence account in Spain without costing us a fortune in fees. We hope that, but it is still yet to be seen.

After we finished with the bank, we walked around Madrid a bit more and visited a friend of ours from last term. It was a brief visit as she was working, and we went on our way in search of lunch. Once we sated our hunger, we found ourselves in a electronics store with a few Macs and that is where the photo above comes from. That is about it really, not a particularly exciting read, I know, but I have a lot on my plate at the moment, and don't really have the time.

Location: FAM, Leganés @ 13:08

Call for participation

As everyone knows by reading this site, I am currently in Europe pursuing further post-secondary education. What you likely don't know is that I will be attending a conference at the end of this month entitled: “Erasmus Mundus Conference on Enhancing Attractiveness of European Higher Education”, which if I refer to in the future will be just the conference. What I need from you oh faithful readers is some input. I would like as many of you as possible to comment on this post, about your personal perceptions of higher education in Europe, or just education in general, anything you can think of that might be relevant.

I try to provide content for you to read on as regular a basis as my schedule allows, and now it is your turn to reverse the flow. With your comments, along with your thoughts or ideas, if you could identify your nationality (if I don't know you) and your point of view: are you a student somewhere else, are you a student in Europe, are you a parent of students, are you an educator, etc. If you don't feel comfortable about leaving your comments on here, you can email me. Please send your messages to, or to me in any other way you know how. I will not reveal your name or any details about you to anyone, I simply want to get a feel for the ideas that are floating around. Make it seem like I have some idea about what they are talking about at the conference when they evaluate the value of paying ~€1000 to have me attend.

Thank you all in advance, and I will be sure to detail anything interesting that comes out of the conference for you.

- Colin

Location: FAM, Leganés @ 8:28


Well, I'd have to say that 6:23 is the “latest” that I've ever gotten back from the clubs. We just had our first residence party this year and despite a couple of potential international incidents it went very well. I return as sweaty and tired/dehydrated as usual, with the requisite smokey smell from a country that while it is making progress with smoking restrictions, isn't quite there yet. So a shower is in order and then try to reclaim what is left of my Saturday when I wake up.
Location: FAM, Leganés @ 0:32

Higher education

I am currently soaking up some free wireless in my hotel in Brussels before going down for breakfast. I have another day of meetings and I'm not going to lie, they are pretty boring. At least they were yesterday. But today we break into smaller groups for discussion, which should be interesting if not productive. So far, I haven't really had to contribute in any way. As a non-European here, my perspective alone is apparently sufficient to fuel the fire. We shall see how it goes. Unfortunately there is no free wireless at the meeting facility so I won't be able to get back online until I get back to Spain. However, I've been online more than I expected to so I guess that is something.
Location: Arlequin Hotel, Brussels @ 2:31

What Now?

Well, it would seem that for the most part, my Europe Adventure is over. It has been an amazing time. Now, I am reviving the ailing and going to make a go of it over there. All the best.


Nova Scotia, Canada
12:53 (Feb 25, 2021)
Reading/London, United Kindom
16:53 (Feb 25, 2021)
Thessaloniki, Greece
18:53 (Feb 25, 2021)
Madrid, Spain
17:53 (Feb 25, 2021)
Guatemala, Guatemala
9:53 (Feb 25, 2021)




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