miércoles, 27 de noviembre de 2013

Random Facts About Me

So I started this list before the recent craze of posting random facts in Facebook statuses but I just finally finished it. So I thought I would post a longer list here. Hope you enjoy! =D 

1)   I have my ear lobes pierced, 2 other ear piercings, and am planning on getting at least 2 more done.
2)    I may seem nice and sweet, but that clearly means you haven’t gotten on my bad side. :P But no, for the most part, I am really nice.  
3)    If I could eat bacon for every meal of my life, I would. Too bad my arteries don’t allow for that.
4)    If I lived in a fantasy novel, I would want to be an elven mage who specializes in archery. I would also like to be a Dragon Rider. (Just a bit obsessed with the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini)
5)    I used to be terrified of roller coasters when I was 10. You couldn’t get me to go on any of them.
6)    I played a ton of sports as a kid. I played softball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball (only for one year. I was terrible!!) .
7)    When I was little, my dream was to get my Gold Award for Girl Scouts. But I stopped Girl Scouts in 8th grade so that never happened.
8)    I absolutely love snakes and would like to own a ball python as a pet.
9)    I drink a ton of milk. I usually drink a gallon a week. And that is because I start to limit myself after I drink half the gallon in one night.
10)  I love dyeing my hair black and will use any excuse to dye it that color. Halloween costumes seem to be the best excuse though.  
11)  My favorite animal is the wolf.
12)   I have a lot of movies that I like but I would have to say my favorite is Pan’s Labyrinth.
13)   I like more types of vegetables than I do types of fruit.
14)   I am not a big frosting person and prefer my cake lightly frosted or even better, without frosting.
15)   I do not like seafood.
16)   I don’t usually spend a lot when I go shopping unless I go into Bath and Body Works when they are having a sale….my one weakness. I probably could start a mini store with how many of their products I own.
17)   I have had some of my own encounters with the paranormal which fuels a curiosity about it.
18)   I do not like romantic/romantic comedy movies. But I myself am a hopeless romantic.
19)   I do not like the taste of mint, spearmint, or peppermint. Cinnamon candies and stuff is also not my favorite.
20)    I am not a big candy eater. I buy it, but I barely eat any. My little siblings would eat all my Halloween candy before I even had a chance to eat more than 5 pieces.
21)   I LOVE French fries. I order them 9 times out of 10 as a side for my food at restaurants.
22)   I love spicy food. My tolerance for spicy food has gotten higher since I have been in college.
23)   I really enjoy snow which makes it sad that my career requires me to be on the coast. Maybe I should become a marine biologist and move to Alaska. :P
24)   I am a somewhat shy person, but I am working on being more outgoing and I seem to be having quite a bit of success with that.

25)   The experience that changed my life the most was studying abroad in Ecuador. It helped me understand who I was as a person, helped me step outside of my comfort zone, allowed me to experience a new culture, and see a beautiful country. It also helped me realize one of my childhood dreams of visiting the rainforest, a dream that I never thought would happen. 

viernes, 13 de septiembre de 2013

A Trip to the Ocean

This is a different style than my previous blogs but it has been on my mind for some time now. It seems only fitting to just post it and get my thoughts out.

Life is not always the easiest. Struggles and trials are around every corner and often follow close behind some of the best times of your life. However, it is important to remember where you are headed and stay on the path to your destination. Getting lost can occur, but getting back on track is what is critical.

Certain times this summer, life got pretty chaotic. With working many hours, doing research, preparing for my last year of undergrad, studying, and just a variety of events, it was very easy to lose sight of the goal. There were times that I even doubted if I had chosen the right path for myself and questioned my decisions. It had seemed that I had gotten lost.

However, that was all changed by a trip to the beach. With one look at the ocean, I remembered why I had decided to take the path I began to walk so long ago. Seeing the power and the beauty of the ocean reminded me of why it fascinated me. The possibility for discovery within this vast body of water and the mysteries it contains has always been my interest…my passion. It is the reason I left home, a place I had known all my life, to venture to an unknown city, state, and region of the country. A venture away from the familiar friends of old to a place where every face was new. It is a journey that has provided me with amazing new friends, exciting opportunities, and is a gateway to a new life with new struggles and exciting challenges. It just took prayer and a revelation to realize that this path will ultimately lead to my happiness.

I am getting back on track and enjoying the semester. I am going to make the most that I can out of this year. I am going to live life to the fullest. I am not going to let any challenges get in the way of my dreams and make me forget who I am, where I came from, and why I chose the path I did. I am not saying that I won’t get lost along the way, but with friends, family, and God on my side, I think I will always find my way back. And trips to the ocean will always remind me of my future and what lies ahead. 

sábado, 27 de julio de 2013

About a year later.....

Wow this has been a busy year. I forgot about my blog until just recently. But, since I found it again, I might as well do a review of the past year and my thoughts of the events that have occurred. This may be a long post but I hope you will enjoy hearing my thoughts after so long. =P

This has been quite an eventful year. First, I had my internship last summer at Rutgers University, which was a wonderful experience. Working in a research lab gave me some valuable experience that I would have not been able to learn from a textbook. I learned the techniques behind conducting an experiment. Of course, the techniques I learned had to do with culturing bacteria...not something everyone is as excited to do. I also learned that in science, most of the time, things won't go the way you want them to and you will spend a good amount of time brainstorming away around the issues. Another benefit of this internship was meeting some wonderful people and going with some of them to local restaurants and even to New York City!! It may not have been the most relaxing summer, but it was still a fun one!

Of course with the end of summer comes the beginning of a new school year. I began my Junior year of college in the fall. Can you believe that?!?! It seems like just yesterday I was in high school eating lunch in the cafeteria with my friends and thinking college was a long way off. But anyways, like any school year so far, my class schedule was a bit tough and filled with science classes. Since my Spanish minor was finished, it was time to get back to the biology and chemistry classes (which aren't always my favorite.). I also started working part-time during the year as well, adding another responsibility to my busy schedule. I don't mind being busy though. It makes it difficult sometimes, but I have made some new friends at work so it is all worth it in the end. =) But this year really flew by and I just can't believe it. I am now about to be a Senior in college.

But I think the biggest thing that has happened in the past year would have been returning from my study abroad experience in Ecuador. Before going, I could have not imagined the impact that this would have had on my life. Returning was not easy. When it came time to leave, I just wanted to stay there and never leave. I definitely had reverse culture when I came back. The things I noticed the most were I spoke to people in the airport in Spanish accidentally, ordering food in English didn't seem natural, and going to church in English just wasn't the same. Over time, these things became natural again. But the experience in Ecuador has forever changed my life. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about my adventures and wish I could go back. I plan to go back sometime soon, because I feel Ecuador has become a part of me, almost like my second home.

With all that has happened in just this past year, I look forward to what lies ahead of me and the adventures that are still in store. Sorry that this ended up being so long, but I shall try to blog more often about the exciting things that are going on in my life.

jueves, 10 de mayo de 2012

Baños and Mindo

     Sorry for the lack of blogging once again. I had a crazy time trying to finish all my projects, plan my trip to the Galapagos (which fell through), and just experience Ecuador.
     Anyways, back towards the end of March, my friends and I went to Mindo. It is such an amazing place!! The first thing we did was go canopying, which is zip-lining over the trees. It was incredible. With the guides' help you could even go on the line upside down or like Superman. I went upside down a couple times. It was really cool. Then, we went to this butterfly enclosure and it was so cool to see all the different colored butterflies. However, it was also very sad, because while we were there, a butterfly was dying because someone had it land on their hands while they had bug repellent on. =( I  went to Mass on Sunday as well in Mindo. The church was so small and start about half an hour late, but it was ok. The last thing we did was go tubing on the river. Tubing is kinda like rafting except you are just on a bunch of tubes roped together, holding on  for your life. At least, that is how my friends and I felt, especially since we went on the river while it was much higher than usual, making for one crazy ride.
     During the first weekend in April, my same group of friend and I went to Baños. This place is very similar to what you can do in Mindo, except it is a slightly larger city (I prefer Mindo to Baños any day because of the more natural feel). Anyways, we didn't do as much in Baños but we did take a tour bus to see all the different waterfalls. That was just absolutely breathtaking. Eventually, we broke away from the tour bus, and decided to stay and swim in one of the pools at the  base of a waterfall. Well, more like sit on rocks and enjoy the view and the cold water, due to the power of the water that streamed away from the waterfall. Either way, it was a very peaceful, relaxing weekend. Both those weekends were.
     Not much exciting since those two trips has occurred. I just have been working on school work, going to the movies, and I did go to a soccer game (the atmosphere is so intense). I did just remember I made a few smaller day trips, but I might sum those up in another entry. Right now, I have to get going to pack for my trip. Just because my Galapagos trip fell through, doesn't mean I couldn't take my finals earlier and go somewhere else right? =P So, on the agenda,  starting today: Cuenca, Montañita (a beach here in Ecuador; also kind of a crazy, party, little town), Puerto López, Isla de la Plata (Poor Man's Galapagos; that is the nickname not the actual translation), and Papallacta (thermal hot springs). I will be kept busy right up until I leave the country, but I wouldn't have it any other way. =)

Anyways, I must get going for now. Next blog will recap this adventure and another entry will cover interesting things about Ecuador. I decided also, that since this blog is not just about Ecuador, but is titled Kristin's Chronicles, why not keep it going after I leave and describe what it is like to have a science internship and what it is like to go to an awesome university on the beach? Let me know what you guys think....but for now, chao!!!

domingo, 18 de marzo de 2012

Here is what the view looking down from the platform looked like. As you can see, there is a big difference between the platform level and the canopy bridge level.

The past month's adventures....

    I am sorry for my terrible lack of blog posts. I have just been busy with several things. But I can give you a recap of the events that have occurred here in the Southern Hemisphere in the last month since my blog.
     Well, the first exciting thing that happened was going to the beach for Carnaval. This was from February 17-20. Anyways, for those who don't know, Carnaval is this huge holiday here in Ecuador before Ash Wednesday. Think of it as an extended Mardi Gras celebration. The official days of Carnaval (the days you get off of school and work) are Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday but the celebrations start over the weekend (and my friends and I decided to miss a day of school to start the party even earlier. =P ) Anyways, the typical events that occur during Carnaval are: spraying people with foam, throwing water balloons, eggs, and paint, lots of music, dancing (at least for us on the beach), and of course with any party here in Ecuador, lots of alcohol. My friends and I went to this place on the coast called Canoa. Even though the place we stayed at wasn't very nice, we still had an amazing time. It was the first time I saw the Pacific Ocean so I was really excited. Besides swimming and just relaxing on the beach, my friends and I took a one hour surf lesson. I wasn't very good at surfing (I couldn't get to a standing position; I could only get about half way up) but for the first time, I thought I was ok. I definitely want to try going surfing again even though it was really exhausting. The only sad part about Carnaval was that the last day, I got food poisoning and got sick during the day, especially due to the heat and sun. But overall, it was a lot of fun.
    The next thing that happened is I have been going to the movies a lot with my friends. Except we go to the theater that has all the movies subtitled with Spanish but the voices are in English. However, this was not the case for the first movie I saw here. My friend and I planned this outing last minute and there weren't many choices of shows we wanted to see at the time we got there. So we bought a ticket for The Girl Who Played With Fire (the sequel to the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). However, after buying the tickets and getting some food, my friend and I realized we had bought a ticket for a movie that had Swedish voices and Spanish subtitles. Even though it was in this format, it was actually not that hard to follow and I really enjoyed the movie. The other movies I have seen here are The Descendants(wasn't a fan) and Chronicle(I thought this one was pretty good). I got to see Chronicle for free because I had gotten a free movie pass since the theater had so many problems while showing The Descendants (they had to stop the movie about 7 times). Movies here are a lot cheaper too. Tickets range from $2.40-$4.80 and for a large popcorn and large drink, it is only $6.60.
    Well, I suppose I should get to the part that everyone wants to here about in this blog: the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the rain forest. First off, this place is pretty much in the middle of no where. In order to get there, our group had to take a 30min plane ride, a two hour boat ride, a two hour bus ride, and ANOTHER two hour boat ride. When you are on that second boat ride though, you begin to see the rain forest clearly and begin to appreciate just where you are at that point. On the way to the station, we saw a Harpy Eagle and even the guides were surprised to see it, since it is not a common occurrence. The atmosphere was just absolutely amazing. I always said when I was a little kid that one day I would go to the rain forest and then I actually did. You don't usually think that one day you will actually get to experience a thunderstorm in the rain forest. Some activities that we did were a night search for caiman, floating down the Tiputini River(which is the 7th largest tributary to the Amazon River), hikes during the day, eating lemon flavored ants from a tree (which I did) and a boat ride on this secluded lagoon. My favorite part was the canopy walk and climbing this ladder to a platform in a tree. The ladder was two parts and one was securely attached to the base of the tree, but the other part, is attached only at the top and the bottom and at that point, you are basically climbing a ladder over air. I will post a picture that my friend took from up on the platform to give you an idea of what it was like. Anyways, animal wise, we saw frogs, toads, bullet ants, beautiful butterflies, dragonflies, turtles, howler monkeys, wooly monkeys, titi monkeys, bats, a gecko that was in our cabin, a tree frog, scarlet macaws, a toucan, various other birds, a kinkajou, and a tree boa. The last two were up in the trees during our night boat ride to look for caiman, However, I was focused more on the stars. You would not believe how many stars you can see when you are out in the middle of the rain forest. There are other stories I could share but they are too many to list for this blog entry since it is getting pretty long.

    Anyways, that is all for now. The next blog entry will include the trip to Mindo I will be taking next weekend and possibly, my experience going puenting, which is basically the same as bungee jumping. Chao!!!