Curry and Spice

Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Travel: Home, Washington, and Jordan

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2011 at 9:57 am

It’s been quite a while since I posted – I made it safely home from Mexico, and decided as I stopped over in the Mexico City airport that, not only can I not wait to go back, but I am very excited and interested in exploring mainland Mexico (which I really did only view from airplane and airport windows).  In spite of all of the concerns people are raising about Mexico, and the safety of Mexico, I never felt unsafe, and I really would like to go back and see more.

After my arrival in Denver, I began the slow process of rebuilding my running strength and reintroducing myself to my kitchen.  Because my camera was still broken at the time, I was unable (sigh) to photograph any of the wonderful things I made.  However, because they were received with such positive reviews by those in my family, I will certainly be making them again and promptly photographing them, etc.  I have missed food blogging more than I would have expected.  It was nice to take a break, but I am nonetheless excited to return to my “roots”.  In other news, I ended up buying a new/refurbished camera.  When I sent my camera to Canon, the repair estimate was well over the current market value of the camera, and as a result, I have upgraded (though very cheaply!) to a Canon T1i.  I am very excited to start photographing with it, and look forward to exploring my new options.

Simultaneously with and against my better judgment, I had planned to go to Washington in mid-May to see my friends, my house, and to see my senior friends graduate.  I was so excited to go when I made the reservations, but also had some worries about how close that would fall to when I was leaving for Jordan.  Nonetheless, this past weekend, I packed my backpacking pack again and got on the plane to go to Walla Walla, and I am so glad I did.  It was so wonderful to see all of my friends.  Some of my closest friends and I haven’t seen each other in a full year – they were both traveling abroad while I was in school, and I was abroad when they were in school.  As a result, I hadn’t seen them in a year, and it was so amazing to see them again.  Our friendship picked up right where we left off, and it was so great to sit and chat with them again.  I also got to see my friends graduate, which was surreal – it’s astonishing to think that in a year, that will be me.  I will be a college graduate in a year (someone pinch me, I can’t be old enough for this…).  The campus was beautiful, and because of the late spring, the trees were all still in bloom.  It was a treat to see everything.

I came back from Washington and almost immediately had to start getting ready for Jordan.  I am flying overnight to Frankfurt today, and will be flying with one of my very close friends from Frankfurt to Amman.  We will then finish getting ready, and by June 1st, will be in the field, excavating a Late Neolithic necropolis.  I am both terrified and excited.  I know that this is going to be an amazing trip, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity (and I’m also excited that this is one of those stories that I will get to tell my kids that will hopefully make me a cool parent…Certainly the stories I’ve heard from my own parents about their travels make them way cooler in my eyes).  I am also nervous however – not about the political situation, but more about the new things I will be facing.  I really have no idea what to expect – Jordan is a very moderate and progressive country, but it is still an area where Islam is important, and I have no idea what to expect in terms of comportment, etc.  I’m nervous also because, as much as I had a serious travel bug a year ago, I’m now really ready to be at home/in one place for a little while.  Nonetheless, my bags are once again packed, and I am almost ready to go.

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Travel: Speaking French during a Spanish Presentation, and Heading Home

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

As unlikely as it seems, it is finally time to start packing up.  This entire semester has flown by, but even moreso, the last week and a half seemed to go at warp speed.  We have been in a constant flurry of finishing our research, finalizing papers, posters, and presentations, before finally! finishing our work.  After spending an entire semester working with whales, I am done.

Last Saturday was one of our first “This is our last…”.  We went out to the dunes again, as an entire group (including most of our professors) to relax and enjoy the Pacific Ocean.  We laid out, read, took walks, and dipped our toes in the ocean one last time.  It was our last panga ride, and it was an adventure!  It was quite windy in the morning, and it took us back to our first panga ride to go whale watching, when we all were rattled around.  This was more mild, and certainly more fun.  The waves were big, but they weren’t rattling.  The dunes, as always, were beautiful, although because it was so windy, we all got very sandy.

That was our last time for relaxation as we headed into a week full of exams and stressful late nights working on research.  Exams went surprisingly well, and it was a tremendous relief to know that we were done.  Unlike college, however, it was frustrating to know that we would have more work to do even once we finished our tests.  As soon as we did finish our tests, we went right back to revising our DR papers to hand them in – one last time.  This was the final (written) hurdle of DR – perfecting our major research paper and ensuring that it was fit to print.  We all stressed out about our tables, our figures, and if we had enough resources.  The collective stress, had it been harnessed, could have powered the planet for a day.  Nonetheless, in spite of all of this, we came out on the other side, glad that we were finally done writing on Monday morning.  Monday, however, heralded more fun: a presentation of our project and the results to the entire group, including all of the professors.  As nervous as I was about mine, it went very well, and I am very pleased.  It was also incredible to hear about others’ research.  Considering we’ve been living together for three months, it still astonished me how little I knew about the projects outside of my group.  My roommate, for example, worked with octopuses, and believes that she may have identified a new species in Magdalena Bay!  Considering the magnitude of that research, I couldn’t believe she and I hadn’t talked about it.

While it seemed (yet again) like we should be done with our projects after our presentations, this was still not the case: we next had to prepare a poster.  We did not present our posters, which was a relief, but it does allow us to present our research to others, if we ever attend a conference.  While a number of others think this is ridiculous, I thought it was really cool, and am considering presenting my poster at the WUC next year.  And still, we weren’t done!  The final portion of our directed research occurred early this morning, when we all paraded over to Cet Mar, the high school, in order to present our research (in Spanish!) to the students.  With some technological difficulties, this was pulled off – however, I certainly did speak partially in French, as was my fear.  Nonetheless, we are officially done with classes, research, and work for this semester.  I think the relief will finally hit me once I’m home, but for now, I am reveling in having a modicum of free time.  I am incredibly excited to finally go home (on Thursday!), but there are certainly things I will miss here, including:

-My friends.  The people who are in this program are some of the most interesting, diverse, and talented people.  They are kind, funny, and extremely enjoyable to be around.

-My bed.  As odd as this sounds, my bed has become one of my favorite places on campus.  It is not in its own room, and it isn’t even that comfortable, but it is MINE, and as tired as I am when I fall asleep, it is a blessed relief to finally crawl into it.

-Running.  Running here has been a mental challenge: there is only one route through town, and it’s not very interesting.  It frequently smells terrible in town, and I don’t like being leered at while I’m running.  Nonetheless, it has been a way for me to calm down.  Additionally, I have seen some of the most amazing sights while running, including a number of beautiful birds, and the most fantastic sunrises I’ve ever seen.

-The scenery.  While the scenery around the bay is often blocked by smog, when it is visible, it’s unbelievable.  The bay is surrounded by mountains, and while they aren’t mountains like those in CO or WA, they are still beautiful, and they make an incredible picture.

There are certainly other things, but those are what come to mind immediately.  As sad as I am to say goodbye, however, I can tell it’s time to go home.