27 January 2014


The spring activities fair was held today, and I was reminded of one of the (many) reasons I love Lewis & Clark.

There were a lot of tables, for a lot of activities. Sports teams, political organizations, community service based groups, co-operatives... the list goes on. When I made my rounds, people from the ASLC (our student government), the rugby club, and the co-op (a student run coffee house on campus) all tried to recruit me. I had to decline because I'm already so busy with the activities I am involved with- ukulele orchestra, ENVS Symposium, classes, community service days, College Outdoors... that list also goes on. The point is, we have lots of activities to choose from, and they're all very open groups that want people to participate. I would be involved in so many more activities if I felt like I could handle it, and I'm glad to know that, as a second-semester sophomore, I am still welcome to join activities that I haven't joined up until now.

The activities fair was a nice way to start my second week of classes. My first week went by quickly, and I can happily say that I like all of my classes and professors this semester. I can't say which class I like the most, because they're all so different, but I think they're my favorite set of classes (as a whole) that I've taken thus far (also, collectively, the most challenging).

I'm taking intro to econ, which I'm surprisingly enjoying. I really hated econ in high school, but it's been five years since I took it, so I guess it makes sense that my interests may have changed. My professor is really great at connecting econ to other subjects, which warms my environmental studies, interdisciplinary-loving heart.

My second class is Global Resource Dilemmas, which is technically an IA class but I'm getting ENVS credit for it. It's super interesting, and we're reading a lot of articles that are challenging "progressive" environmental thought and what it means to be an environmentalist. We're being forced to think outside of the box, which is challenging but enjoyable. I'm definitely getting a lot from the class.

My third class is Spanish, which is a lit class focused on Enlightenment-present literature. It's also challenging, but I think it may be easier than last semester- at least the Spanish is more current. For some reason I have a hard time making myself talk in Spanish classes, but I'm working on overcoming that, and I think I'm getting better at it.

My fourth major class is ENVS 330, or "Situating Environmental Problems and Solutions." It's the 3rd core class of the ENVS program. I'm really excited, because we are going on two field trips this semester- one to go canoeing in the Columbia Slough (which I'm especially pumped about, since canoeing is kinda my gig), and the second to go to Willapa Bay in order to learn about the aquaculture there (and go camping!!).

I'm also taking Self Defense for Women, which is a PE credit. It may actually be my most challenging class, just because I'm am pretty out of shape, physically. I'm still sore from class last Thursday. But I know it will become easier, and we are learning really valuable skills. Plus, it's good to get a work out now and then, probably. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

Finally, I'm also getting credit for Symposium work. At this point we are just meeting once a week, but we have a lot of work to do outside of the meetings. Tomorrow, we're having a workshop so people can work on proposing sessions. I'm really excited, and I have a good feeling about how they will turn out. We also almost have our keynotes decided on, which is really exciting, especially because that is something that I specifically have been working on.

All of this, combined with the WFR class I took over break, puts me at 20 credits, meaning I am technically over-loading. This is my first semester doing so, so we'll see how it goes. I feel good so far. I don't have any labs, which means I have about 8 hours more free time each week than I did last semester. Let the semester commence!
A highlight of the week was pondering how people got these plastic flamingos into a tree in the ravine.
As always, email me at rekidder@lclark.edu if you have any questions or comments or anything, on anything. I will respond, and probably quickly!


Çatalhöyük and Shigezo (Highlights of the First Week)

It has officially been one week of classes now, and I ended up quite pleased with my schedule, though I was a little unsure starting out. I’m feeling quite settled in at this point, and sort-of back on a decent sleeping schedule. I got a little too used to sleeping in late over break. Now, it’s seven o’clock at night and I’m curled up in bed with fuzzy socks on (having just finished my reading for class tomorrow), currently typing this blog while eating an apple. This comprises a pretty standard evening for me.

Out of all the classes I told you was taking in my last entry, my favorite so far is – well, it’s hard to choose one, since they are all so interesting in their own way. But right now, I guess it’s Ancient Greece. It’s actually making me consider a Classics major or minor. I’ve always been really interested in the ancient world and the culture of the distant past, and my professor’s lectures are so engaging. I might take a class in Classical Greek language in the fall if I’m still interested in the major. My other ancient history class, The Ancient City, my Exploration and Discovery section, is focusing on the study of an archaeological dig at Çatalhöyük (pronounced chat-al-hoo-yook). It’s located in modern-day Turkey and is considered a “proto-city." My professor says it would fit on the Lewis and Clark campus about four times, so it’s quite small, though huge for the time period – around 6500 BC. The people there lived in tightly-packed houses and buried their dead in small tombs beneath their floors. On the walls, there are many instances of early art. Here’s an example of a refurbished home in Çatalhöyük:

Apparently, that’s the first ever map. It supposedly depicts the volcano that stands above the site and that geologists say went off during the time when people resided in Çatalhöyük. The little red squares are the houses of the town. I find it all fascinating! And here is a picture of the archaeological dig:

The focus of spring term Exploration and Discovery is research. For my project, I’d like to do something along the lines of ancient astronomy and cosmology (since I took that awesome astronomy class last term) to fit the theme of the class. I’m going to ask my professor to help me flesh out my ideas a little more and see whether it is a plausible topic.

Well, enough about academics. Last night, I went out to – you guessed it – Shigezo. If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you'll have noticed by now that I mention that place all the time. I can’t help it. I love sushi. I go there whenever I feel like I have $20 to blow on raw fish. I went with my friends Ian, Sarah, and Sam. I had a Dragon roll and vegetable miso soup; Ian had green tea and a whole assortment of nigiri, including ikura with quail egg, uni, and unagi; Sam had California and spicy tuna rolls; and Sarah had beef don. Am I making you hungry yet? Have some rolls:

Best wishes from Portland to you all!


21 January 2014

New Semester

I'm back in Portland!!

Well, I've actually been back for about two weeks, but most other people have just gotten back in the last couple of days, and classes just started today, so it kind of feels like I just got back. I came back early to take a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course, sponsored by College Outdoors. It was an awesome class. There were 30 students, probably about a third of which were non-current LC students (both alumni and some people coming in from other areas just for this class). WFR is a certification that opens a lot of doors for you in the outdoor/environmental education job market, and it was appropriately challenging. We had class for nine days from 8 AM-5 PM, and two night sessions. It was set up so we got a lecture on some topic (i.e. broken bones), then we had a "scenario" where some of us would be patients and others rescuers, and the rescuers had to deal with whatever injury or illness the patient had. The scenarios were intense- we used stage make up to make it look realistic, and by the end our acting was getting pretty realistic as well.

The rest of my break was good. I watched a lot of movies and TV (Sherlock!!!), saw a lot of friends, and learned (kind of) how to knit.
I made a... square.
Minnesota was beautiful and I love it a lot, but it's nice to be back in Portland. I'm planning on going for more hikes this semester, which I am pumped about.
the sky was really pretty on my last night at home
Today, classes started. I had Econ 100 at 8, which is the intro course for econ. I like it so far! I've never been a huge fan of econ, but I also haven't taken it since I was 15, so I guess it makes sense if I feel differently now. My professor is very enthusiastic and also likes to draw connections to other subjects, which I like. After that, I had Global Resource Dilemmas, which is an international affairs class. Our class is about half IA majors and half ENVS majors. I think it will be really interesting. After that, I went to Self Defense for Women, a PE credit. I'm also excited about this- I heard it's really empowering, and I feel like it's good knowledge to have.

Tomorrow I have Spanish (enlightenment-present lit), and on Mondays and Thursdays I'll also have ENVS 330, Situating Environmental Problems and Solutions. On top of that, I'll have Symposium work every Wednesday night (and I'm sure other times of the week, too), ukulele orchestra once a week, and I'm hoping to volunteer regularly for Tryon Creek State Natural Area, the state park right next to campus. It's going to be an incredibly busy semester, but I feel ready for it.

If you have any questions whatsoever, please email me at rekidder@lclark.edu!


20 January 2014

Seraphie's Study Abroad: First Week in Sydney, Australia

G’day Mates!

This is my first post from my study abroad in Australia! To start with how the weather feels thus far in the country Down Under: we usually enjoy a brilliant, blue sky with hot, humid days and wonderful warm, windy evenings. Sometimes I forget that I am in a different country (continent, hemisphere) because most things (buildings, cars, stores, people, etc.) are similar to the US. But it’s those little things—when you can’t find that brand of peanut butter, or when you must remember to look right before crossing the street— that make you double take and remind you: we are in Australia! 
A friendly safety reminder to folks new to Australia: "Look Right"
            Sydney is an awesome city. As our faculty leader, Dave, says, “Sydney has the weather of San Diego, the energy of New York, the architecture of Chicago, and the layout of San Francisco,” and, in my opinion, the funky pubs of Portland. Our group is living together in a dorm-like house on Arundel Street, across from the University of Sydney. We are ideally situated at Arundel, because not only are we across the street from classes, but we are a 10-minute walk from Glebe Point Road, a street with great pubs, restaurants, bookstores and more, and about a 30-minute walk to downtown Sydney.
            Our first day in the city, we took a bus tour and saw the iconic Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay, other famous sections of the city, and ended the tour with a swim at the famous Bondi Beach.

Our group in front of Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House, and the Harbour Bridg
Enjoying the view at the entrance of the harbour
View of the harbour
            Starting our second and third days, the mornings consisted of classes about the geology, archeology, and climate of Australia. After class, the afternoons were our own. Most of us took this opportunity to explore and/or go grocery shopping, as Arundel kindly provides breakfast, but we are in charge of our other meals. In the evenings, many others and myself have been spending our time on the roof of our Arundel home. Not only does it have a fantastic view of the city, but also as the sun is setting in the east, we have an ideal view of the fruit bats flying up from the botanical gardens and snatching at bugs in the air. When the bats swarm up, they resemble something both awesome and creepy… like the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz
The view from Arundel House
          In the morning on Thursday, we had classes about the history and mythology of the Australian frontier. We learned about the cultural diversity of the aboriginal communities that lived in Australia long before European colonization. Pre-colonization, it was estimated that there were 500-700 distinct and diverse groups and that the major similarity between all the communities was a sense of respect and importance placed upon the land. Similar to the colonization of the U.S., Europeans brought diseases that the indigenous Australians had not previously been exposed to, which caused thousands of deaths and wiped out entire communities. I find it incredibly distressing and downright criminal how European colonization has destroyed so many different groups across the world and that current governments (U.S. included) continue to oppress those people.

          In class, we also learned about the first colonizers, the convicts and their caretakers, and how they learned to survive in Australia. In the afternoon, we took a field trip to the Hyde Park Barracks and the ANZAC Memorial and Pool of Reflection, also located in Hyde Park. The ANZAC Memorial was originally created as a WWI memorial for those who had died, but now honors all of those who have died serving their country in the many conflicts in which Australia has deployed its military. “Lest We Forget” was written on the memorial and is now a regular Australian phrase used to show remembrance of those who have served in the Australian forces. Upon entering the memorial, people are asked to be silent, in order to show respect for the fallen. I found this experience to be deeply melancholy and moving. 
Hyde Park Barracks

ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Memorial

Sorry to end on that somber note, but I hope y’all will keep reading my further adventures in Australia!



I'm Back!

Goodbye Auburn, hello Portland! I had a lovely winter break (though it didn't feel much like winter). I returned home to California to spend a month with my family, and although it was a lot of fun, I was bummed that I didn't get to go skiing. I live about an hour away from some good ski places in the Sierra Nevada mountains (and about an hour and a half away from Lake Tahoe!), but since California is going through a serious drought, there wasn’t enough snow. I did get to go hiking a lot though. The weather was very warm back home – so warm, in fact, that I was actually looking forward to coming back up here where it’s cooler. Running when it's forty degrees warmer than you're used to is no fun. When I arrived here, I was not disappointed. Right now, the sun is shining, the wind is crisp and chilly, and I can wear leggings and scarves again!
The landscape near my home in Auburn

Annoyingly hot weather aside, my break was packed with everything I love about home. I caught up on sleep, non-academic reading, and Doctor Who, and saw a lot of my high school friends. I celebrated Christmas with my parents, brother, and grandparents. 

Christmas dinner

Gingerbread Tardis, anyone?

Later I visited those same grandparents as well as my aunt, uncle, and three cousins for a second Christmas in the Bay Area. Seeing my extended family always involves playing lots and lots of games: card games, board games, games like Charades, and storytelling games where we sit in a circle and each person adds another word to the increasingly-crazy sentence. Later, my family went to San Francisco to eat clam chowder, try on kooky hats, and see the sea lions on Pier 39.

I arrived back at Lewis and Clark yesterday afternoon. Transportation from the airport to the school is very easy as long as you schedule your flight on a day the shuttle is running. I flew in from Sacramento, took the shuttle bus, and was back at in the dorm chatting with friends and unpacking suitcases in no time. That night, we reserved an auditorium in one of the academic buildings to watch the first episode of the new season of Sherlock. I won’t spoil anything, but it was so good.

I’ve ordered all of my textbooks from various sources (both the bookstore and Amazon) and they will be steadily trickling in over the next few days. I am incredibly excited to start my new set of classes. They will be very different from last term’s lineup, I think. I am taking Ancient Greece via the history department, The Art of the Novel in the English department, Logic in the Philosophy department (which can be used to satisfy one of the General Education math requirements!), a second semester of Exploration and Discovery called The Ancient City with a religious studies professor, and Taekwondo for PE credit (which I am taking with a bunch of people from my dorm). I will also be continuing to host prospective students overnight. I hope all of you considering Lewis and Clark will come and visit sometime this spring! An overnight visit is important in making your college decision, though it is by no means always the factor on which you should solely base your decision.

Have an excellent start to the semester, everyone!


19 January 2014

New beginnings

This marks the final Sunday evening before the spring semester gets under way and the work starts to pile up.  Today was the last day of freedom, I was able to watch an entire football game without the guilt that usually accompanies any non-homework-related activity on Sundays during the semester.  This morning I ran in Forest Park in NW Portland and followed a great run with a delicious breakfast at Stepping Stone Cafe.
  It is a glorious day and, as much as I am not looking forward to the rigidity of the semester I am very excited to begin classes again and get back to wonderful Watzek.  I will be navigating my last semester at LC this spring and that brings a whole other slew of excitement and nervousness.  Winter break is a restful time between semesters but there are some very productive things happening on campus during the weeks between New Years and the first day of class.  I participated in a program called Get That Job, a workshop to help give us some tools and insights to navigate the frightening world beyond Palatine Hill.  I learned a lot, we talked about everything from resumes and cover letters to interviewing to researching industries and job postings.  Other things happening on campus during the past two weeks include Wilderness First Responder certification course and a winterim entrepreneurship and innovation course that is part of the new department by the same name.  Not many people came back early so the campus is quiet and peaceful, a very different place than what I left back in December. I am happy to be back with all the people I know and love!


10 January 2014

Christmas In Wales

Being away for a year can sometimes be hard, especially during the holidays. When the rest of your family is celebrating Christmas and New Year's together and you are by yourself in a foreign country it can be quite lonely. Thankfully most everyone on our program figured out something to do with another family or with friends from the program. Some people were even lucky enough to go home for the two week christmas break.

I am lucky enough that I have a family in the UK that I am very close with and I went to visit them. We spent most of the break in their house in Wales. It was quite wonderful. I had been to their house in Wales twice before in my life. Both times were in the summer and my family was there as well. Since the last time I was in Wales they added electricity but they still do not have wifi, and while we were there they didn't even have a working phone because the phone lines had come down.

Wales, for me, has always been a majestic place. Whenever I have been, the time is spent playing games, washing dishes, preparing food, drinking, taking walks in the countryside and laughing our heads off. Being in Wales was the second best thing for me than being at home for Christmas. We had a tiny bit of snow but mostly lots of rain. My parents sent me my stocking in the mail and the family I was with was incredibly nice and gave me christmas presents as well. We had a couple of outings, one to the beach and then we went to the nearest town a couple of times as well.

Beach in Wales

For New Year's Eve we went back to their house in Norwich where they live. I worked at an Italian restaurant, where my friend and her boyfriend work, and it was incredibly fun. I had never worked at a restaurant before, but now I think I may want to try and get a job as a Hostess or Waitress when I get back to the United States. Anyways, I worked for the night from 5:30 until around 11:30 and then went and celebrated New Year's until 5 in the morning with my friends. It was a wonderful experience and a great way to ring in the New Year's.

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year's and Christmas if you celebrate it! And if you have any questions about Lewis & Clark, Studying Abroad, Foreign Languages or anything else, as always you can contact me at drussosavage@lclark.edu

03 January 2014

From Break

Hello readers!

I'm writing from a very comfortable chair in my house in Minnesota. It's currently 18 degrees outside, but it's expected to get about 20 below 0 in a couple of days, with a windchill of -50. So, I hope you are all in warm, sunny places right now, in the hope that I can live warmly through you.

My break has been excellent so far, though it's going to end really soon- I go back to Portland on Wednesday, so I can take a WFR (Wilderness First Responder) class. I'm really excited about it- it's a 10 day long class held on the LC campus where we learn about wilderness first aid. I get a PE credit from it, and get to hang out with a bunch of really cool people from College Outdoors. I'll admit, I'm not entirely ready to go back yet- homemade food, my own bed, a cat almost always on my lap, and yes, the cold, are all really nice. I don't think I'm going to be back home until the summer, so I'm enjoying it while I can. But classes don't start until after MLK day, so even though I'm going back early I'll have a while until I'm overwhelmed with work again.

I went into break hoping to be productive, and I have been, at least a bit. I worked on some Symposium related stuff at the beginning of break, and am hoping to do more before I go back. I am almost done applying to go abroad- I emailed my references, did the initial application and the essays, and sent my transcript to the overseas office. I just have a couple more forms to fill out, some passport photos to take, and maybe an interview before I'm done with that. I'm still hoping to apply for some scholarships while I'm home, but mostly I'm just enjoying relaxing and binging on Netflix.

My family has a lot of traditions, so the week around Christmas was very full of family and food. Now that most of my family is gone, I'm spending more time with friends from home. I'll be honest, friendships from before college change while you're away. I don't really talk anymore to a number of people I was friends with in high school, not because we don't like each other but because you just lose contact. But I'm always amazed when I come back how easy it is to talk to the people I have stayed in contact with, and how different everyone is from high school. I've spent hours since I've come home just talking with old friends and sharing college stories, and it's impressive how different everyone's experience in college is. The more I talk about it, the happier I realize I am at LC, and the more I realize that I couldn't have made a better decision for where to go to college.

Highlights of break include:

cutting down a tree in the dark (I felt like a horrible ENVS major because I was excited to cut down a tree)
decorating said tree (it turned out to have kind of a curvy, crooked trunk- makes sense, because we cut it down in the dark)
eating lots of cookies (including ones my friends made shaped like Minnesota)
So, overall, a good break so far. I look forward to what this next semester will bring!