04 March 2014

Spring!

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!

-Rebecca