21 April 2015

One Last Visit

With school beginning to wind down, my girlfriend Ava came up to visit me one more time before we both head home for the summer. She got in late Thursday night, so I was able to take the Max out to the airport to get her, and we made it back to downtown in time to catch the Pio back  to school. The next day, while she slept in, I went to the Festival of Scholars. This is an event for juniors and seniors to showcase their theses or research to the rest of the students in the school. While at the festival, I was even able to get information that will help with my biology presentation this week. From the presentation I attended, my group will be able use information about rainbow trout that we learned while there.

All classes were cancelled that day, so it was perfect for Ava and me. After the festival, Ava and I went and got lunch at the Trail Room, which is downstairs from the Bon and offers regular food such as burgers and pizza.  This weekend the weather was absolutely amazing. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and it was just warm enough to sit in the sun and eat our lunch. We were both amazed at experiencing what spring is really like since spring doesn’t exist for us at home because it’s so hot. Once we finished eating, we went out to the gardens by the reflecting pool to lay out in the sun and enjoy the amazing day. It was really peaceful to just relax after a long week and enjoy the sun.

For the most part, Ava and I didn’t do a whole lot this weekend except hang out and be with each other. Most of that was due to the fact that we had already explored most of the tourist places here in Oregon that we could get to by public transportation. Having her and my brother visit back to back weekends has really given me the energy to push through and finish this semester. It’s hard to believe that my first year of college is already over.
Enjoying all the sun!





Looking forward to this week, I have two presentations due this week for Biology and E&D on Wednesday and Thursday, and another two next week. Also, I need to finish up my research paper, which is on the decline of the cavalry during the First World War and the role veterinarians played in it. It has been very interesting doing research on this topic since I want to become a veterinarian myself.

Well, that’s all for this week. I know the deadline for choosing a college is close. Good luck with that. For me, Lewis & Clark has been a good choice!

-Remington Campbell

20 April 2015

Santiago

Hello, readers!

I got back last night from a weekend in Santiago. I've left the Valparaíso area a few times already in the two months that I've been here (to go to Patagonia, as well as Casablanca and other smaller towns around here), but this was the first time I'd left to go to a big city.

Santiago is a big, big city. It has about 5 million people just in the city itself (as a comparison, Valparaíso and Viña del Mar have about 600,000 between them). Because it's so big, it has a lot of things that I hadn't fully realized I hadn't been seeing in Valparaíso, but that I'm used to seeing in the US. There were a ton of North American chain restaurants (especially in the wealthier areas of Santiago), including Denny's, Fuddruckers, and Applebee's. There were clothing stores with big brands like Puma and Patagonia. Most of all, there was green space- and a lot of it. There's a big park right in the middle of Santiago Center called "parque forestal" (forest park), with trees and benches and grass. Valparaíso has one park that I know of, and it's pretty far away. I hadn't realized how much I'd missed walking in green areas- something you start to take for granted at Lewis & Clark, which has an extremely forested, green campus (as a side note, did you hear that Lewis & Clark just was named the US's most "green" school?) The main route that I walk in Valparaíso is a dirt median lined with palm trees on a fairly busy road, that's very rocky and noisy and not relaxing like a lot of parks. Santiago also feels very clean compared to Valparaíso. I think part of it is that, as a bigger city, they have more people available to work on keeping it clean. I think it also rains more, which helps a lot, and they have way fewer dogs (at least per capita), so there's less of the mess on the streets that comes with having dogs everywhere.

I was surprised how comforted I felt in Santiago. It felt so much more similar to US cities than Valparaíso, and like I said, until now I hadn't really realized fully how different my life in Valparaíso is from my life in the US. I still have access to most things here, but it's all different brands and looks different than what I was used to. I hadn't realized how big of an impact that had been having on me until I realized how nice it was to see products and things that looked the same as they do at home.

We went to the city on Friday as part of the program that I'm studying through, CIEE. We were in two groups (split up based on what class we were taking with the program). My class (a history/geography class) started out at La Moneda, the presidential building (but not, as I learned, where the president lives). We watched the changing of the guard ceremony (which was very similar to the one in London at Buckingham Palace) then visited the cultural center inside the building, which had a free exhibit on Islamic art.

some textiles as part of the exhibit
Then we took the metro to La Chascona, Pablo Neruda's Santiago house, to meet the other class (who, as a literature focused class, visited the house while we were at La Moneda). We all took a bus over to El Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (the memory and human rights museum), where we learned about the Pinochet dictatorship and the human rights abuses that occurred under it. It was very powerful. They had a wall covered in photos of all of the people who were disappeared (arrested and then never found, or found dead)- there were thousands of them. They also had an area with videos of people talking about the torture they experienced. It was very intense, but I'm glad I saw it.

Finally we went to the Gabriela Mistral cultural center. The exhibit we were going to see (surrounding the recent history of Chile) wasn't open, so instead we looked at an exhibit with art made from around Latin America.

Most of the people in my program decided to stay the whole weekend, since we were already there. That first night I got Korean food with a few friends (that's another thing I hadn't realized I'd been missing- food from other cultures! Almost all the food I've eaten here has been purely Chilean, and while there are a few Japanese and Peruvian restaurants in Viña, I hadn't seen Mexican, Chinese, Korean, or Italian (among many other cultures) food in this area). 

The next day I went up to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal, one of the highest hills in otherwise relatively flat Santiago. The view was amazing. We took a funicular (elevatorish thing, kind of like a roller coaster car that goes straight up some tracks) to the top.

one of the views of the city
After wandering around the top for a while, we came back down and went to a fish market called Mercado Central for lunch. Then the group split up, as some went back to Valparaíso. I stayed one more night with a friend. We hung out at some parks, went to a public art museum, and sat in a lot of cafes.

It was a really nice weekend, and I already know I'm going to go back to Santiago before the program is over. It's very close (only about 1 1/2 hours by bus), and there's a lot to do. I'm glad I went!

Please email me with any questions you have about studying abroad or Lewis & Clark! I know everyone is finalizing college choices right now, and I'm here to answer any questions you might have. My email is rekidder@lclark.edu.

Rebecca

19 April 2015

April showers? Nope. It's as sunny as can be.

I've been working on a paper and I'm really feeling burned out on writing, so this is going to be a shorter entry. It's a beautiful weekend up here in Portland. On Friday, my roommate and I went downtown to meet up with some friends for dinner.


We went to Brunch Box - a restaurant I have always wanted to go to! I got this fantastic sandwich-burger-breakfast thing. It has a sausage patty, bacon, ham, grilled onions, syrup, and a fried egg, and the buns are made out of French toast. Everything I love about breakfast in each decadent bite. Mmmmmmm! I already want to go back for more. 


After Brunch Box we went to Safeway for some groceries and I saw this... oddity. Very vague. Yes, please, I will have three "unique fruits." Um, what??? 

\

In other news, we just had the housing lottery. A lot of my friends are moving off-campus to houses in the surrounding neighborhood, but I will be living in Akin Hall again for one last semester before I go to Australia for a study abroad program in the spring. Have I mentioned how awesome Lewis and Clark's overseas program is? We have trips that go everywhere from Japan to Chile to Morocco! 

Well, now it's back to the library for more paper-writing. The poem I chose for my final English paper won't be the most interesting thing I've written about this semester, but it's still something I'm pretty intrigued by and have a lot to say about. Do you know the poem "Goblin Market"? It's fairly well-known and actually circulates as a children's book - though I personally think it's way too creepy to be for kids. Anyway, the poem I'm writing about is by that same author, Christina Rossetti. It's called "In an Artist's Studio" and I'm using it to discuss how women are portrayed in Victorian paintings. Rossetti emphasizes how the woman in the poem is portrayed "not as she is" but as the male artist imagines her - as a "queen," a "nameless girl," "a saint," and "an angel." And at one point, the narrator of the poem states that the artist "feeds upon" the face of the woman he paints! His art fuels his fantasies about her. So there's a lot to talk about with regard to gender.

If you have any questions about life at LC, just email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu!

Jess

14 April 2015

Almost there

This past week my brother Alex came up to visit me for part of his spring break. Alex is a junior in high school, so my parents and I thought it would be a good idea for him to come see what college is like for me. On Thursday he flew up by himself to Portland and was able to use the Max and the Pio Express to get to campus. After I met up with him, we went and got lunch together at the Bon. Then, while I went to lab, he got to go lie down and take a nice nap. Later in the day, he went  to the library with me while I was working on some homework, but he was able to read a book while I worked.

Friday, Alex again was able to just relax while I went to class all day. After I finally finished classes, we went down to the weight room so I could show him some of the facilities we have he here at Lewis & Clark. Also I got the chance to introduce him to some of my coaches while he was here too. While we were down at the weight room, we worked out a bit.  Later we played Spikeball with some of my friends. Alex really like it, and we both decided to try and get a set for this summer. The rest of the night, we both hung out with Mikey and Dylan playing video games and relaxing..

Enjoying the outdoors with no heat, unlike home. 
Saturday, we both slept in as late as we could before getting brunch. Then Mikey, Dylan, Will, Alex and I all went down to Pamplin to play basketball. It was the first time in quite a while that I had played basketball. It wasn't too pretty since I am not too good, but fortunately we were really just messing around and having fun.




Once Alex and I were done playing basketball, we showered and went downtown. The very first place we went to was Powell’s Books. Alex has been dying to go there ever since I came here in the fall. He probably spent an hour in there just looking for books. When he picked out some books he wanted, I bought him some books for him since it’s his birthday this Friday. After Powell’s, we found a small pizza place to get some dinner  before we went and saw a movie. We went to the movie theater in the Washington Theater Mall and saw Furious 7 late at night. Since it was almost 1 A.M., the Pio Express was not running. This gave us a chance to get a taxi back to campus and check out that mode of transportation since Alex had to get up at 4:30 A.M. to get to the airport! Now I know how to get to the airport early and I won’t have to spend the night there like I did earlier in the year. It’s not too expensive to go just between campus and downtown, then the Max runs up to the airport.
Getting some pizza.

I was really happy that Alex came this week. It was a nice break from all the work I have coming up. With only three weeks of school left, everything is starting to wrap up and get crazy. All of the last tests I have in class are this week and then all the presentations start. I am very excited to get this work done and return home for the summer!

-Remington

13 April 2015

Final Project Time

Well, I'm still sick, so I haven't got a lot to talk about. I've literally been in my room all week except for classes and a brief excursion to Fred Meyer to buy cough drops. I've been spending all my time sleeping, studying, and taking brief breaks to watch The Legend of Korra with my roommate.


AHHHHHHHHH KORRA IS SO COOL!

The fact that I've been lying low for a while gives me a chance to just talk a bit about what I've been doing in my classes. In particular, I'm excited to tell you about my final project for my Inquiry into Teaching and Learning class. Two of my classmates and I are researching place-based education, and it's going really well since the three of us are super passionate about the subject. If you don't already know, place-based education is kind of like service learning and environmental/outdoor education rolled into one. It synthesizes teaching and learning within both the cultural history of the surrounding community and the physical ecology and landscape interacts with. It takes real-life issues and responds to them. Rather than staying in a classroom and learning from textbooks that separate subjects like math, art, and science into neat little artificial boxes, students engage with the material in an interdisciplinary, hands-on, project-based way that makes everything more relevant to them.

One example of place-based education that we learned about was a school that did a river clean up for the town. Science classes took pH balance measurements and studied bacteria and pollutants in the water, while English classes wrote an article for the local newspaper. This benefits both the community and the students. Another example might be an elementary school classroom that learns about baking. The kids practice writing by making cookbooks and learn math by measuring for recipes and counting change for the bake sale. That way, writing, reading, math, and other things are shown to have a real purpose. There's no teaching to the test in that classroom! Other schools have done trail-building, interviewed community members for oral history projects, and looked at neighborhood street art. The idea is that establishing a sense of place and learning about the immediate local world provides a foundation for learning about more global issues later on.

Anyway, for our research project, we're creating a website to use as a portfolio for our work, which includes results from a survey we just sent out about people's experiences with place-based education, personal blog entries about how we relate to place and how place-based education could be implemented in our hometowns, notable examples of place-based education, and some lesson plans to show that place-based education can be reconciled with things like Common Core standards. Next week we'll give a presentation in class for about 45 minutes. It's going to be a lot of work, but it's something I'm really excited to see the end result of. By the end, all of us will hopefully be able to tie in what we've learned to how we want to proceed as teachers in the future.

In my other classes, I'm starting my final papers for my two English classes and studying kanji and vocabulary for Japanese as usual. Also, course registration for the fall term is in progress. Fun fact: Lewis and Clark is finally offering Arabic 101!

Anyway, that's all for now! If you have any questions, email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu.

Jess


Observations

I think part of the beauty of a study abroad experience like mine is the simplicity of it- my day to day life consists of living with a family in Chile. That means that although I don’t have thrilling adventure after adventure, I do get to know the ins and outs of life here, and get to become comfortable in the nuances of living in Chile as a foreigner.
Here are some quick observations and stories from the last couple of weeks:
1) A few days ago I saw ten dogs all crossing the street at the same time. I counted. There were ten. I was waiting on one side of the street for the light to turn green, and directly across from me stood ten dogs, and maybe two people. As soon as the light turned, all ten dogs trotted across the street, weaving between me and the other people crossing the other way. All ten made it safely across. The dogs here are seen as a nuisance by much of the population, but I kind of love them.
2) Last week I went to Ruby Tuesday with a few friends. I’ve never even been to a Ruby Tuesday in the US, but we were all craving hot wings and were about ready to ride two hours on a bus to Santiago to get some, before finding out there was a Ruby Tuesday in Viña that had them. Our waiter definitely hated us. We all got combinations of hot wings and buffalo chicken tenders, as well as fries, drinks (it was happy hour!), and dessert. We also all spent way too much money. It was probably worth it.
at Ruby Tuesday- you might spot some LC faces in there!
3) My host family got a bunny. His name is Pascual and he likes to cuddle.
cuddling with Pascual
4) I think I dreamt in Spanish, but then I also dreamt that I was telling someone that I dreamt in Spanish right afterwards, so I’m not sure.
5) I’m not sure my Spanish is getting better, but my English is definitely getting worse. I keep putting my order in the wrong words.
6) It’s still really hard for me to speak in Spanish in conversational settings. Put me in a classroom and I’ll say super profound things, but put me around a dinner table and I’ll say two words in the hour and a half that we’re sitting there. I can definitely understand way more now than I could a month and a half ago, but by the time I formulate something to add to the conversation, the topic has shifted. Add to this that I’m normally a pretty introverted person, and it’s a surprise I manage to talk at all.
7) Today I rode a micro (the local bus) home that was fuller than any micro I’ve been on thus far. To add to it, elderly people kept getting on at each stop. It’s polite (as it is in the US) to offer your seat to an elderly person if there are no other seats, but that was nearly impossible twenty minutes into the ride because there was literally no space to move around the people standing in the aisles in order to make space for others to take your seat. I was stressed.
8) The other day in class I accidentally pronounced “Putaendo” (a small town in Chile that was the location of a story we read) wrong, putting the emphasis in such a way that it made it sound like I was swearing in Spanish, and my professor laughed for like a whole minute straight.
9) Sometimes I say things that I know are grammatically correct and still get blank stares from people. It's stressful because I'm doing the best I can, and accents are something you can only control so much.
10) Last week, there was a national empanada day in the US. I celebrated by trying to find an empanada before class, but due to time constraints we ended up going to the stand in the back of Jumbo, a supermarket (and an experience) right next to the main building of campus. I had the first disappointing empanada of my time here. But I also had my first egg roll of my time here. It was probably worth it.
11) I think I have turned into an ice cream cone. It was probably worth it.
12) My host family’s dog (Benito) will follow me for blocks and blocks, whenever I walk anywhere. I like him a lot.
Benito likes to stick his head through the window
13) I’ve been feeling a lot of homesickness for both Portland and Minneapolis, and it's hard knowing that as soon as I get back to the States, I’ll probably feel that for here, too. I wish it was easier to focus on where you are and not on where you could be.
14) It’s also hard to focus on being here when I’m talking with both of my advisor’s about doing theses and am registering for classes, but I think I’ve finally figured out my plan for next year, and that’s a good feeling. A few nights ago my host parents really sweetly started giving me advice for thesis topics and telling me about all of the environmental issues here. I can't realistically use any of the topics (because they don't have the depth that the department looks for), but it was really sweet and definitely helped me brainstorm. I feel so much love from them, and it's a good feeling.
15) On Good Friday I went to an orchestra/choir concert in the chapel of my university, which is Catholic. All the music was performed by students, and was really beautiful. I think we were the only students there. I tripped on the kneeling benches because I have very little experience walking in Catholic chapels, but it was a cool experience.
16) Easter candy doesn’t go on sale the day after Easter in Jumbo the same way it goes on sale at grocery stores in the US. I bought some anyway.
17) I’m slightly worried about coming back to the US lactose intolerant because all the milk I have here is lactose free, but I think I eat enough ice cream that I’ll be okay.
18) Two of my classes have been talking about Chilean history, especially that of the 60s/70s/80s (from when Allende [the first socialist democratically elected as president in the world] was elected, to the military coup that overthrew Allende and resulted in his death, and the Pinochet dictatorship that followed). Really horrible things happened, and really horrible things were supported by the US, and it’s making me think about my role as a US American in the world, and why the US education system doesn’t teach much about these things (especially before college).
19) I’ve been hearing a lot of US news via social media, and I’m curious how much of it I’m not hearing, and how much of the Chilean news I am hearing is news in the US. Do people in the US know about the floods in northern Chile right now? Do they know about the volcano, or the fire that happened here a few weeks ago? Do they know about the corruption scandal surrounding Michelle Bachelet’s son? Likewise, what is happening in the US besides people announcing their candidacy for president and the drought in California? I feel pretty out of the loop, but it definitely puts perspective on the news I've heard in the US versus what is going on in the broader world.
20) I rode the metro the other day. It was very clean and quiet.
21) I have found the perfect empanada- actually, two in one day! It's been a mission of mine since I got here, but all of the empanadas I'd had were honestly a little disappointing. Not these two! I'll need to make sure to go back.
22) I’ll never not love living by the ocean. The other day, it was the same color as the sky. The clouds were all flat on the bottom and were at the same level as each other and it looked like they were rising up out of the water on the horizon.
23) I went to a wine festival last weekend. It was really fun- it was half like a block party for the small town it was in, and half like a wine tasting. There were lots of kids running around, people demonstrating the national dance (the cueca), and lots of people drinking wine.
the square where the wine festival was held in Casablanca
24) I’ve gotten used to Chilean money. It’s very colorful and each bill is a different size. Each bill also has a person’s portrait on one side, and a landscape on the other. One of the bills has Gabriela Mistral, a female poet, pictured. I think that’s really cool. I’ve also gotten really good at converting between pesos and USD based on a gut feeling. Brains are cool. Today I estimated that 30,000 pesos is about $45 (it’s $48) on a gut feeling.
25) Last weekend I wandered around Cerro Barón with a friend. It turned out to be a mostly residential hill, and we got a few glares from people sitting in front of their houses. Eventually we stumbled across a soccer game and we sat and watched it for about half an hour. We were basically the only people in the stands. We almost witnessed a fight on the field, but it was broken up. It was oddly therapeutic.
I could go on! Everything is still great here; I just need to remember to keep focusing on the details and finding beauty in the small things. As should everyone all the time!
If you have any questions about my time here, LC, or anything else, email me at rekidder@lclark.edu! And to those of you hearing back from schools around right now, I hope you're figuring everything out and feeling the support you need. My number one piece of advice is to go with your gut, and don't worry about asking too many questions!
Rebecca

08 April 2015

April Already?

Hello again. I’ve been pretty sick the last couple of days, so I don’t have a lot of exciting news to report. Yesterday, I had to skip my classes, my work in the scene shop, and my weekly trip to kindergarten to volunteer because I had a fever. I was pretty bummed about that, but I knew that the best thing for my own health as well as the health of the people around me was to stay in my bed and sleep. I’m just trying to stay on top of my work at this point. The good news is that all my professors have been very understanding. There are resources on campus to help you when you get sick. First, the RAs in my hall have a “sick box” with everything from Band-Aids to herbal tea to Nyquil in it. You can get a friend to pick up a plate for you at the dining hall if you're too sick to go. Also, there is an on-campus health center if you feel like you’re sick enough to need care from a professional. We all get sick sometimes – that’s just the reality of college life!

On a happier note, I had a really good weekend. I went out to sushi with my friend Rose. It was a little place I had never been to before. Honestly, I didn’t think the quality of the fish was particularly amazing, but the setting was really cool because it was one of those places where the sushi goes by on a little conveyor belt. If you see something you want to try, you just grab it off and eat it!


Rose checks her phone in between plates.


Roe, salmon, and unlimited ginger.


I discovered the miracle that is takoyaki, or octopus dumplings.

When I wasn’t eating sushi, I was working on my paper for Literature of the English Renaissance. It was about a poem called “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” by John Donne. I focused on the way his language compares others’ purely physical love to Earth while locating his own more “metaphysical,” spiritual, intellectual love in parts of the universe thought to be closer to heaven. Here’s the diagram of the universe I was working with.


The Ptolemaic geocentric universe. It's awesome that I get to combine my interests in both astronomy and literature! Gotta love the liberal arts.


My work station.

It turned out to be a really interesting paper. Hopefully my professor will think so as well.

Another thing I did this weekend was go walking in Tryon Creek State Park around sunset. Tryon is a short walk from campus and I go running there all the time.




Beautiful, isn't it?

Well, back to my studies for now. Time to drink tea and listen to the rain while reading Virginia Woolf.

If you have any questions, email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu.

Jess