Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On my way...

One flight down.  3 more hours in this airport, another flight, waiting for an hour, then an 8 hour flight across the Atlantic, and I'm in Italy!!!  Yeeeehaw

In the last two days I managed to pack up everything in the house I was living in and store it away in the basement; I won't be moving back into that house again when I return.  It was a lovely place.  I tried hard to pack light, but I'm sure I have too much stuff even so.  Sigh.  ~28 lbs in an external frame pack, including clothes, tent, sleeping bag, toiletries, sunscreen, hat, sandals, pocket knife, cord, clothespins, pack towel, first aid kit, and a water bottle.  All in plastic trash bags to protect against rain.  Then I've got a small day pack, with paperwork for the trip, a notebook for the workshop, camera, pens/colored pencils, travel guide to ireland, italian language guide, one pleasure reading book, and a laptop.  Wooo.

I don't like good-byes.  Eugenie is in the Galapagos by now; spoke to her several times on the phone yesterday while she was traveling, but now that she's in Ecuador, we're out of reach, probably until she returns in about two weeks.  Even then though, it'll be occasional internet access if anything.  You'd think that with as well as we've managed over the last year (!) spending most of our time in different places, 2 weeks to a month wouldn't be so hard.  But I'm really going to miss hearing her voice on the phone, and sharing each other's days through instant messaging.  Guess I'll just have to keep myself distracted.

Got my NSF rating sheets today, go figure.  Must have finally finished their decisions.  Looks like I scraped into the fellowship with two very goods and four excellents.  Sort of strange to read other peoples' comments about yourself.  Pretty good by and large, although there were some (rather justified) mentions of parts of my application that were vague...  That's what comes from applying without knowing what school or department or advisor you're going to have the next year!  Now I just have to do my best to live up to everything that I talked about.

Interesting happenings so far on the trip:

On my first flight I ended up talking with the person sitting next to me.  She's a local elementary school teacher/librarian and knows the bio station I work at.  She asked me if I knew anything about the guy she sees outside behind a house at all hours of the day digging massive holes in the ground.  But of course, I replied.  That's Terry.  He's nuts.  (He's building waist-deep trenches in the dirt around plots that he's setting up where he hopes to manipulate water levels and study drought effects.  Every year he also builds rain-out shelters that traditionally get trashed by summer thunderstorms).   So that was fun.  We also discussed principles of epidemiology (vaccination, social network models, mathematics, Jared Diamond), ecology, math in biology, traveling in Italy and china, and water issues in the south west.  Not bad for pre-8 am conversation!

Currently I'm looking at my juice bottle, which carries the phrase "When it comes to juice, we understand your need to get Naked".  Hmmm.  Probably I'll pass on that right now - might not be the best idea in an airport!

Ok, time to get some stuff done quickly on my remaining 30 min of internet time...


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