31 March 2014

Spring Organizing!

I guess spring is the time of year that people like to organize and clean everything up, and I'm not escaping these urges. Before I left to go home for break on Friday, I spent some time organizing my dorm room since a couple of my roommates were having friends come over during break. This is a task I'd been neglecting; all of my school work was taking precedence over having an organized room. At home, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had cleaned my room before I left last summer, so it was already organized. Regardless, I re-organized it a bit before I came back to school. Now I'm back, and spent some time today organizing my calendar. I realized that there's this amazing feature on Google Calendar that lets you put tasks in certain days, so I put in all my due dates for the rest of the semester (minus my readings for global resource dilemmas, because I didn't have my syllabus with me). I have to share how organized I feel right now, so look at my calendar!
This week!
Green is my calendarand is mostly my classes and meetings. Blue is Symposium, which is a shared calendar with all the co-chairs. It has our meetings and due-dates. Red is my assignments that are due on that day. On the right, there's a task list of everything I have left to do this semester, which some people may find overwhelming, but it helps me feel less stressed. Before now, I've kept my tasks organized via sticky note on my computer, which I'll probably still do on top of this, but now I feel even more organized.

Of course, I'm getting really organized when we only have about a month left of classes. I can't believe it! Most of my classes just have one more test/paper before the final. Summer feels like it's really soon, so I'm eagerly planning how I'm going to spend it. I'm getting excited! I'm going to have the same job I had last summer, working for my hometown's community education summer classes for kids. The job doesn't start until June, so I'm planning on going to Vancouver and Seattle for a few days each with my friend Gaby right after school gets out. Because she's an RA she's sticking around for a few days once the semester ends, so I may hang out with my brother or something during those days. Once I come home, I'm going to go on a canoe trip with a couple of friends from home. I'm currently working on planning the logistics of that trip, which is easier this year because I also did it last year, so now I have experience (you can see some of my canoe-related tabs in the above screenshots!). After that I'll be at my job, but I'm hoping to visit some Minnesota state parks on the weekends and go camping. One of my roommates is from St. Paul, so we're planning what all we're going to do with each other this summer. All in all, a lot of planning!

On the academic side of things, I'm working on organizing my schedule for next semester. My current debate is whether I want to only take 13 credits next semester (environmental education, Spanish conversation, colonial Latin American history, and drawing), or whether I want to take another class (Latin American culture studies) for a total of 17 credits. I know I can do the 17 credits and it would still be a decrease from the 19 I'm currently in, but I was kind of looking forward to having a semester with a smaller workload. It's my first semester where I'm not only taking major-required classes. I think I'm going to go ahead and register for Latin American culture studies, because I can always drop it if I change my mind. Also, environmental education is only going to run if at least 7 or 8 people register, which apparently may be a lofty goal. If the class is cancelled, then I'd have less than 12 credits (the minimum needed to be considered a full-time student), so it'll be good to have another class ready as a back-up.

We're also continuing to move forward with Symposium! Today one of the other co-chairs and I Skyped with one of our keynotes, who lives in Australia. We learned a lot, and I'm even more excited for Symposium now, especially for our keynote event. We are currently in the process of applying for a budget, and the co-chairs who were focusing on budget planning are interviewing for our budget on Wednesday. Everything is coming together!

If you have any questions about planning, organizing, or cleaning (or anything else), email me at rekidder@lclark.edu! 


30 March 2014

April 1st, 2014

So, I’m actually transferring because I don’t want to go here anymore.


Gotcha! Just kidding! I love it here and I am not planning on leaving this place anytime soon. Well, except for things like Spring Break. I spent the week at home in Auburn, California with my family. I got to hang out with my mom and my dog (Amber!) a lot, and my dad and my brother when they weren’t at work or school. My mom, Amber, and I took a bunch of "selfies" with my mom’s new iPad that she is super excited about.

Similarly to the Mt. Hood snowshoeing trip I told you all about previously that kept getting postponed due to rainy weather, my plans to go Nordic skiing in the Sierras over break were brought down by an ill-fated storm. Bummer. I was a little disappointed to come back to California to find myself back in the rain, but goodness knows we need it with the drought and everything. I ended up just spending a lot of time indoors, except for Friday when I went to a track meet at my brother’s high school. He’s a freshman, and goes to a different high school than I did, but my high school was also at the meet and I got to hang out with some friends from my old distance team! I had a great time talking with the seniors and juniors who wanted to hear all about college. I must have spent a good two hours talking with my friend Anderson – whenever he wasn’t warming up, racing the two mile, or cooling down, we were talking college. I couldn’t stop telling him about how awesome my professors are. They are so incredibly passionate about what they do – especially my English professor, Lyell Asher. We’ve been reading Nabokov’s Pale Fire, and Lyell is obsessed with that book. It’s infectious. I love literature already, but he makes me fall so deeply in love with it I can’t imagine myself studying anything else at this point. Even books I didn’t like at first, like Pride and Prejudice, I ended up loving by the time we finished discussing them. Being less interested in English literature than things like science, Anderson was less interested in my ecstatic rambling about my reading list than what time I got up in the morning and what the food was like. Regardless, it was great talking to a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. 

Well, tomorrow, it’s back to the old regime – 9am class and lots of studying and eating at the Bon and living in Portland! It was so hard to convey how much I like going to school here to people like Anderson back home who want to know “what college is like” or my grandparents who just want to know how I’m doing. Back here, I don’t have to explain why I love it here – I just live it.

Questions? I know all you seniors have heard back from the admissions office by now, so if you want to talk about decision-making, email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu. I had such a hard time deciding where to go, but I’m happy with my choice.


26 March 2014

Seraphie's Study Abroad: Lamington National Park

Dear Readers,

Last week, our group bonded together for a camping trip a couple hours south of Brisbane at Lamington National Park. Our first few days were spent exploring the eucalypt and rainforests with our lecturers, researching the completion in those forests and presenting our findings—the ecology section. We then split into two groups and while one group set up traps and studied mammals, the other worked with birds. I’ve been trying to become a birder for a long time and coming to Australia has prompted me to be a little more dedicated, so I borrowed our professor’s book and went out looking for birds. For those of you interested, my favorite bird I saw was the Red Capped Robin, beyond adorable. 
Our South African Army Tents!
Swinging in the Rainforest
Paddy Melon :)

Group Presentation
After two days of trapping, and cataloging of animals and birds, we moved to insects. This section was by far my favorite. To start off, we went and collected as many different kinds of insects from the forest as we could. Nicky and I were the official log checkers—basically we flipped over logs and grabbed the biggest bugger we could find. In the evening, we took a night walk deep into the forest, turned off our headlamps and searched for glowworms. Out of the darkness you could see tons of little green lights that you felt drawn to and apparently that is how the glowworms catch their dinner, by attracting supper to the light. The next day, we hiked up to the lodge and looked at our catch of inspects under microscopes. Our instructor was hilarious and kept making all these super funny comments on our attempts to identify the insects. 
Insect Inspection
 Our last day in Lamington was a free day where seven of us took advantage and decided to go on a supposedly 7 hours hike to see a clump of waterfalls. Deep into the rainforest, we soon discovered that there not only were there snakes, abbies, and spiders to watch out for, but there were the leeches! TONS OF LEECHES! I realize now, I should have gotten a picture of the creepy things, but I was too busy flicking them off my shoes. By the end of the hike, I had pulled 38 leeches off my body. Mind you, we were moving most the time, so how those things latched on to me, I will never know. We completed the hike in 5.5 hours, and it is my belief we did this so fast in order to get away from the leeches (or that was my motivation). 
The Serious Hikers
One of Four Waterfalls
Jungle Selfie
Lastly, and I am mentioning this for the bragging rights, I climbed this huge tree in the forest right up through the middle. It was at least a 50 foot climb and while I was proud when I poked my head up through the top, I noticed a HUGE yellow and black leech on my sleeve. I promptly screamed looked around and saw the other leeches hanging out (for some weird reason) at the top of the tree and I scurried my way back down to the bottom. 
During our free time, the group usually played cards. I pride myself on getting everyone to play Rummy 500.
Playing Rummy 500
  I think I’ve described enough to make you bored, so ciao for now and as always if anyone has any questions my email is sallen@lclark.edu


Group Shot

18 March 2014

Things to Do on the Weekend

Last week was a grueling schedule: writing my first article for the school newspaper (The Pioneer Log), going to class and taking midterms, and throwing the BuildOn benefit dinner. We had gotten a grant to pay for the catered Caribbean food, so every penny we made will be going towards the elementary school in Haiti. I am really happy to be a part of this club on campus. It’s a great cause and I’ve gotten to meet a bunch of friends through it. For financial reasons, I’m probably not going to be able to actually go to Haiti to build the school like some of the other club members are, but despite that, I still am passionate about the power of education and want to stay involved. Some other globally-minded organizations on campus that are similar in focus to BuildOn, whose official goal is to break the cycle of poverty and low expectations through education, are Amnesty International, which advocates human rights across the world, and L&C Effect, which raises money for providing business education to women in Guatemala. A full list of Lewis and Clark clubs can be found here. It’s incredibly easy to get involved, and if you don’t see something that you really want to have on campus, you can always get it started. I know someone who started a Rice Club where people just get together and eat rice!

On Friday night, there was a double feature of Frozen and Catching Fire on the big screen in the Council Chambers on campus. I had already seen Frozen, so I just showed up to watch Catching Fire. It was incredible! I had forgotten how much I liked The Hunger Games series. After an adrenaline-packed couple of hours doing that, I just walked right upstairs from the Council Chambers to check out a dance that the Black Student Union put on. They played a lot of hip hop and 90’s music, which was a nice change from other dances. It felt good to get moving after sitting still during such an exciting movie. On Saturday night, my roommate and I went to see As You Like It, which was a performance thrown by the theatre department. It was so energetic and engaging, and mid-way through the whole audience had to get up and move to another, more specialized stage hidden behind the curtain… I loved it. It was set in the 70’s and there was plenty of cross-dressing and loud singing and wild dancing and, of course, a healthy dose of Shakespearean comedy.

As you can see, Lewis and Clark has plenty of on-campus activities going on during the weekends, so there’s no shortage of things to do! And of course, there’s always the stuff that happens on a smaller scale. Sully and I had a Doctor Who/potluck food party in our room. That was fun. We just pooled everything that was in our fridges - leftover beans, rice, and tres leches cake from the BuildOn dinner, juice, soda, bread, apple butter, cranberry sauce, coffee brownies from Grace down the hall...

Right now, I can hear from the loud laughter that Sully is taking a homework break to watch The Mindy Project with Sarah from down the hall. I’m finishing this blog up, and then I’ll probably start reading Nabokov’s Pale Fire for my English class. Might take a break to paint something or watch Doctor Who after that.

Just a few more days here and I’ll be on the plane back to Sacramento where I get to see my family! Can’t wait to spend some time at home for spring break! Some other people I know are driving to the coast and renting an apartment for a few nights, then there are service trips to places like South Dakota or El Salvador, College Outdoors trips to the Redwoods or to Santa Cruz for surfing, and, of course, plenty of people staying on-campus.

For any questions, you can contact jessicakostka@lclark.edu!


17 March 2014

Almost Spring Break!

I'm going home in four days! I just have two midterms before then (and some miscellaneous readings and other assignments), then I'll be on my way home to see family, friends, and pets! I'm eager to have a week where I don't have too much work to do, because I know I'll be hitting the ground running when I get back. There's only about a month of classes after break, then finals!

Besides going home, people have a lot of options for spring break. Some travel with friends to nearby cities like Seattle and Vancouver. Some go home with friends, to experience their hometowns. College Outdoors offers spring break trips, like hiking/kayaking the Redwoods in California, doing yoga on the Oregon coast, and surfing on the coast. The Student Leadership and Service program runs some alternative spring break trips to places like the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Northern California, the Arizona/Mexico border, and El Salvador. Other people stay on campus and use the time to explore Portland, or go out on their own camping trips.

This last week was pretty good. I had my midterm in Global Resource Dilemmas, which I think went well. We're getting it back tomorrow, so we'll see. Symposium planning is continuing to be a lot of work, but it's rewarding.

I also got a disposable camera developed, which was fun. I felt kind of silly using a disposable camera, since I have a phone and it's so much easier just to use that, but I really liked the way the pictures turned out.

A small waterfall on the hike I took about a month ago
My friend beginning to walk behind a waterfall on that hike
The reflecting pool, when it snowed in February
Downtown Portland, near Powell's
I have one more disposable camera, and I'm eager to use it and develop those pictures.

Saturday I student coordinated a College Outdoors birding trip to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington. We left around 12:30 and got back around 6, and saw 49 different kinds of birds (and a variety of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians)! I've signed up for a few more trips this semester (backpack service project, edible plants and wildflowers, and canoeing (!)). I'm excited!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me at rekidder@lclark.edu!


13 March 2014

Seraphie's Study Abroad: Mardi Gras in Sydney

Parade Day in Sydney:

Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to fly back to Sydney to attend the Mardi Gras parade! Oh, not only did I attend the parade, but I marched in it! For those of you who do not know, the Mardi Gras in Sydney is like San Francisco’s Pride! When I arrived in Sydney on Saturday afternoon, I could already feel the buzz of excitement on Oxford Street. Queer-looking people were everywhere! All the shops were adorned in rainbow colors and many of them had “Happy Mardi Gras” displayed on their windows. The ATMs… well, just take a look: 
Sydney Mardi Gras

And look at the receipt I got from the ATM! 
Sydney Mardi Gras

I marched with Dayenu, an organization established to meet the needs of Jewish gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, trans and intersex people, as well as their friends, families, partners and other supporters. They provide outreach through education, information, resources, social activities and other events.
We met a couple hours before the parade began in order to get all sparkled up and to rehearse our dance to a remix of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You!” I could go into much more detail, but I will spare you and just give three highlights:
  1. Making awesome friends (my favorite were the three older ladies I got drinks with).
  2. Walking around before the parade and seeing all the awesome floats!
  3. Getting the biggest rush marching past thousands of people who were screaming and out there to support us!
Grocery Store Celebrations! Happy Mardi Gras
Favorite friend of the night!

Too much! Oh too much!

You Have the Right to Remain Fabulous

More friends
On Sunday morning I slept in, worked on my paper, ate Moroccan food with my friends, watched Tangled, and went to bed. Monday morning I flew back to Brisbane at 6am and was in class at 9am—ta-da! 
The End! 
PS: Australia is awesome!

11 March 2014

Brace Yourselves... Midterms are Here.

I’m starting to count the days until Spring Break. I think everyone feels this way right about now – with midterms and the promise of a little rest in a week and a half or so. I’m just so happy at the idea of getting to go back to California and see my parents, my little brother, and, of course, my dog. I’m planning on going cross country skiing and hiking with them, and just enjoying some home-cooking and relaxation!

I only have two midterms this semester, which is a relief to say the least. I took my Exploration and Discovery one on Monday, and I have to say... it was tough. I probably should have studied a little more, but the vast amount of material it covered was so daunting that I just sort of skimmed it over the weekend. I’ve mentioned it before, but I am in the section called The Ancient City, which is a lot of history and archaeology. It’s very interesting, but dry at times, and there’s a lot of memorization. The midterm covered the three cultures we've gone through so far - Catalhoyuk in modern-day Turkey (7400 – 6000 BC), Uruk in Mesopotamia or modern-day Iraq (4000 – 2900 BC), and Akhetaten in Egypt (1340 – 1331 BC). The emphasis has been on material evidence such as art and architecture and what that implies about the society. A lot of the authors we have been reading make these huge leaping assumptions, and our professor reminds us that no one knows for sure whether the bracelets on the infants buried beneath the floors of a house were supposed to be apotropaic (symbolically protective) or not, or what the motives of an Egyptian pharaoh really were. Without written evidence, there is so much left open to interpretation. Next, I think the class will move on to the archaeology of Athens, especially the portion called the Acropolis, (500 – 400 BC) and Rome (100 BC – 100 AD).

I should probably be studying for my other midterm right now, which is in Ancient Greek history. It's going to cover everything up to 400 BC, ending with the Acropolis. It’s really cool how Exploration and Discovery AND Ancient Greece will be studying the same location and time period at the same time. I wonder whether there will be a repeat of information or whether Exploration and Discovery will focus on an entirely different aspect of Classical society. We might focus more on the layout of the columns and the appearance of the carvings than the writings by Herodotus and Thucydides, for instance. Guess I will find out soon.

To procrastinate doing my work, I am going to go running in Tryon Creek now. It’s blindingly sunny outside right now and just so incredibly beautiful that I have no choice! My friend says it looks like somewhere out of The Land Before Time. We haven't seen any dinosaurs there, though. At least, not yet.

Then, it’s back to studying and then going to a BuildOn meeting where we'll make the finishing touches on our plans for a fundraiser later this week (we’re collecting donations for the construction of an elementary school in Haiti!). After that, I’ll be going to dinner, doing more studying, possibly watching an episode of Doctor Who with my roommate or re-reading The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman, and then, off to bed! Just a typical night at Lewis and Clark.

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu!


Fun when you're under 21? No problem!

Last Tuesday one of my friends and I were planning on going to see the Portland Cello Project at a theater in SE Portland. We were both pretty excited, and caught the pio in time to get downtown, eat at some food carts, then take public transportation over to SE. We waited in line for about ten minutes, when a guy who worked for the theater came out and started talking about the rules-- no flash photography, no video recording, cell phones on silent, and... this was a 21+ show unless you had a legal parent or guardian with you. Neither my friend or I are 21, so all we could do was step out of line and laugh at ourselves as we watched all of the 6 year old kids enter with their parents. It was kind of ridiculous, since it was a cello concert, but we should have known better- it said the restriction right on the front of the ticket.

So close! Yet so far!
A lot of venues in Portland close to minors after a certain time, so it can be a bit of a challenge to find things to do when you're underage and want to go downtown at night. Luckily, I've found myself in that place many times, so I have a list of fun things to do downtown if you're under 21 (or over 21 and still want to have an awesome time).

  • TartBerry! This is my buds' and my favorite froyo place. It's really sunny and happy inside, the frozen yogurt is good, and it's really close to the pio stop.
one of many excellent times at TartBerry
  • Glow in the dark minigolf! This is also pretty close to the bus stop, and is a lot of fun. I'm a sucker for minigolf, and the blacklights are a plus.
wee freshman me at the glow-in-the-dark minigolf place, in overalls!

  • Concerts! Even though a lot of venues are only open for people 21+, there are places that have all ages shows. If you do your research, you can find these places.
First Aid Kit! This was last year, at the Roseland Theater
Kimya Dawson and Paul Baribeau! This was last fall at the Backspace, which is no longer doing shows.
  • Food! Most food carts close at night, but some stay open. Besides those, Portland is known for its food scene. There are a ton of restaurants, with a wide variety of options.
I've eaten at a lot of restaurants, but don't usually take pictures at them. But here's my current roommate drinking tea at a restaurant last year, during the day. You get the idea, though.
  • Movies! My favorite movie place (Livingroom Theaters) is closed to minors after 7pm, but there are a lot of other movie theaters that are open. There are a couple right downtown!
...I am ashamed. But look, you can see movies!
  • Wander around downtown! The city is really nice at night, and the water is pretty.
thoughtfully looking over the Willamette at night.
  • On campus events! The school goes out of its way to provide a lot of on campus events for students. Movies, concerts, performances, dances, the list goes on. There's always something to do here!
As you can see, there's plenty to do! Fear not!

If you have any questions, please email me at rekidder@lclark.edu. I'm happy to answer them!


First Time Teaching

My internship has been going really well. I've been getting closer to some of the teachers who work at the Gymnasium (German High School) I'm doing my internship at. I taught my first class today. I think I psyched myself up so much about it that it ended up being so much better than I thought it would be. Of course teaching is by no means easy but I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be. Confidence and Knowledge is really what you need. Since I was teaching an English (as a foreign language) class I had the knowledge. Some of the kids actually came after class and told me how good my English was! I don't think they had been told I was from the United States and English is my first language haha. Even though English is my first language I still needed to plan the lesson and make sure I knew about the subject I was teaching.

Fortunately they use an English book so there were pictures and audio that I could use as tools. I was also able to talk with the teacher about my lesson plan and that was very helpful. I was mostly worried about the students not participating but thankfully that was not the case. I had been in this same 8th Grade class the previous week just as a spectator and so I had seen how some of the students hadn't really been paying attention to the teacher and were having a lot of side conversations. Anyways, there was some of that today as well but for the most part a lot of the students were very attentive and participated and were eager to speak in English and talk about sports.

I talked with the teacher after I had finished the lesson to see if she had any tips for me and she said that I actually did a really good job and I had "talent." Whether that's true or not, I'm not sure but it was still nice to hear. She did have a few tips though that were actually very helpful. All in all it went really well and I actually enjoyed it so it was very cool for me to see that I could actually teach a class.

On Friday I will be teaching another English class but this time it will be an 11th grade English Class. It will be not such a fun subject, because we will be talking about 9/11 and "America as a Global Superpower." It will be interesting to see what the students here will say about these two topics though and I am looking forward to it because their English is actually quite good.

If you have any questions for me my email is drussosavage@lclark.edu -- feel free to contact me for any reason if you would so like.



07 March 2014


In Germany Fasching is the equivalent of Carneval or Mardi Gras. During Fasching everyone dresses up in incredible costumes. There is a lot of partying, drinking and celebrating that takes place. It starts on January 6th officially, and people can and do start celebrating then, but the biggest celebration of all for Fasching takes place on Shrove Tuesday right before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent in the Catholic Church.

In Munich, in the beginning of January, there is a Fasching prince and princess who are crowned, huge parades, and a large gathering of people in Viktualienmarkt on Shrove Tuesday. These people are gathered to watch the "Dance of the Market Women." Viktualienmarkt is a great little food market right in the middle of Munich and the women who usually run the booths in the food market dress up and perform dances on a stage for everyone to see.

Unfortunately there were so many people that it was a bit hard for my friend and I to see all of the dances, but we moved around a bit and what we were able to see was really fun. It was also just really fun to be able to see all of the costumes that people had dressed up in, and the mood was wonderful as well. People start drinking at 9 am and will be drinking the rest of the day (kind of like at Oktoberfest). One last hurrah right before Lent begins.

Cow costumes

Huge crowd
Many crazy costumes
Market Women dancing on stage

My friend eating a Krapfen which is a type of doughnut filled with jam or creme that is especially popular during Fasching.

My friend and I enjoying the festivities
I have heard there are a lot of great Fasching parties that take place in smaller villages in Germany. Sadly, however, I did not have the time to go to any of those. In other news, I just finished dog sitting/house sitting for a family in Munich which was a lot of fun. For animal people it's hard going away to college or studying abroad where you don't get to regularly interact with your pet. So it was really nice to be able to dog sit for them, and the dog was incredibly well behaved which is always a plus.

That's also a nice thing about LC is that you will often see people from the neighborhood walking their dogs through campus. We also have a dog day where people bring their dogs to campus for all of the students to hang out with. To get your little fix! Some Area Directors also have dogs so - no need to fear - if you love dogs there will always be a way to hang out with some on the LC campus.

Anyways, if you have any questions, as always email me at drussosavage@lclark.edu
Until next time,


04 March 2014


It's starting to feel like spring here on the hill! The picnic table by my dorm has flowers blooming under it, it's been sunny and warm enough to wear shorts, and I sat outside and played ukulele with one of my friends last weekend. I still think fall is my favorite season (I love the crisp air and pretty colors), but spring is a close second.

The schedule was just posted for classes next semester, so I spent last night trying to figure out what I'm going to take. I've been so set on getting my required classes in that I haven't actually had much of a choice in what classes I've taken so far, but next semester I have a lot of options. I'm planning on taking an art class (hopefully sculpture, but if not that then drawing or photography). I am really into art and took some classes I loved in high school, but I haven't had much of a chance to do it in college. I'm really looking forward to taking an art class. I'm taking colonial Latin American history next semester also, to fulfill a requirement for the Hispanic studies major. I also hope to take an environmental education class, but I don't have the prereqs (the intro education class), so I've set up an appointment with the professor to talk about getting permission to get into the class. Hopefully that'll work out; if not, I may take a poetry writing class. Finally, I'm also taking a Spanish conversation class, since I've been advised to hold off on the topics class until after I go abroad. The conversation class is only 2 credits, but I figure it'll be nice to take in order to keep up my Spanish skills before I go abroad.

Speaking of going abroad-- I found out last week that I got into my program! I'm going to Valparaiso, Chile during our spring semester! I'm really pumped about this. It's a fairly independent program, through an external organization that Lewis & Clark works with, called CIEE. I'll have a few week long orientation in Santiago, then live with a host family near Valparaiso and take classes at the university there. I can't express how excited I am! The program runs from February-July, so I'm planning on staying after to do some traveling (hopefully to the Atacama Desert and to Patagonia), and maybe some research for my ENVS thesis.
I actually went to Valpo for an afternoon when I was a junior in high school, on a trip with a Spanish teacher from my school. The houses are all really brightly colored, so that sailors could see them from the ocean when they were sailing home.
The city is really hilly, and is often compared to San Francisco in terms of climate. They have these elevators that go up and down the hills as a form of public transportation- this picture is from the top of one of the elevators.
Other than finding out that news, my week was pretty calm. I went on a field trip for my environmental studies class to Willapa Bay in Washington. It's a really interesting community- the aquaculture industry in the bay provides about 25% of the US' oysters, but it's made up of really small towns. We got to talk to some oyster farms, scientists, and people who work for the wildlife refuge and interpretation center, so that we got a cohesive overview of all the processes involved in the bay.

We got to walk out on the mudflats. The bay is really shallow, so the tide recedes by about 300 meters every cycle. This whole area (and more) was covered at high tide.
We also tried going out on the mudflats at night, but got stuck in some mud. It went up to the top of our boots.
Here's part of our class learning about the process of growing oysters. That tank has more than a million oyster larvae in it. About 24 hours after this picture, they supposedly set on the shells. The industry then spreads the shells out in the bay, where the oysters grow for about three years.
We had lots of opportunities to eat oysters (both raw and cooekd over a fire), and most of our class was really enthusiastic about that. I'm not a big seafood fan, so I passed, but it was fun to see how excited everyone else was.

The field trip was all day Saturday and most of Sunday, so when I got back I rushed to finish my homework. Now we're almost half way done with the week again! Time is going so quickly! Spring break is in just a couple of weeks, then we're almost done with the semester. It's amazing how quickly my time here is going by!

If you have any questions, please email me at rekidder@lclark.edu! I'm nice!


Weekly Update

Good morning! Happy Tuesday! This is going to be a busy week for me. The annual Gender Studies Symposium is starting tomorrow and lasting until Friday, and I’m going to be attending as many events as I have time for. This year, the theme is “Gender, Power, Space”. Here’s a link to this year’s symposium page.

Another thing on my agenda is a pre-trip meeting for a snowshoeing trip with College Outdoors, and then of course the actual trip, which is going to be on Saturday at Mount Hood. You might have noticed that I mentioned doing this before, but then the “Snow-pocalypse” happened and everything on campus shut down or got cancelled, so the snowshoeing trip I should have gone on weeks ago was postponed until this weekend. I’m really excited to go enjoy the snow and smell that fresh, cold mountain air.

Finally, the Theatre department’s performance of As You Like It starts this weekend, and since I am a HUGE fan of Shakespeare, Shakespeare adaptations, and theatre performances in general, I am super stoked to be able to see it. It’s going to be set in the 1970’s, from what I hear. I will probably spend way too much money going to see it multiple times.

Otherwise, it’s business as usual. I’ve got my first history paper due on Thursday for Ancient Greece. I’m writing it on the role of women in the Spartan polis. Meanwhile, my English class – The Art of the Novel – has moved on from Anna Karenina and Pride and Prejudice to Madame Bovary. My professor for that class is incredible. His name is Lyell Asher and I know I will be taking more classes from him in the future, since I am fairly certain at this point that I will be an English major. He teaches two different Shakespeare classes and some classes in Renaissance Literature, and those are all subjects I’m interested in. When I was a prospective student and sat in on a class, he was the professor, and played a big role in making me want to come here.

The course schedule for next semester just came out, so I’ve been spending more time than I should fussing over the logistics of my sophomore year. I’ll be taking English 205: Major Periods and Issues in English Literature for my major, but as I currently have not decided on a minor, there are so many interesting classes that I can’t decide on. Introduction to Classical Studies and Classical Greek 101 for a Classics minor? Do I really want to learn Ancient Greek? Maybe I should just go with a History minor and take Early East Asian History. Then, I’m also interested in Philosophy, and I’ve heard good things about the class called Indian Philosophy, or maybe I could take Philosophy of Religion. Then of course, there’s science classes, since I still need one more for my general education requirements. I’m thinking maybe Climate Science. I wish they offered Environmental Geology this coming term... Anyway, I am clearly the most indecisive person I have ever met. My mom sometimes tells me that choice is a burden, and looking at the massive amount of awesome classes that Lewis and Clark offers, I’m going to have to agree with her. Right now, I'm fervently glad I didn't go to a big college where there are thousands of classes offered each semester.

If you have any questions, I’m available at jessicakostka@lclark.edu!