I really have been sucking at this whole blogging thing lately. Even though it seems like I’m busy all the time, summer has made me lazy. While it’s true that I’m taking 5 hours of class and working in a lab for the summer and trying to have a social life, I do have a lot of free time. Unfortunately, I’ve been spending far too much of that free time sitting at home staring into my laptop’s screen. I’m not sure why I do it. It’s not like I’m doing anything important or interesting on the computer. For the most part, I’ve been browsing Buzzfeed, Thought Catalog and Google News. It’s really an incredibly, terribly boring existence. I shouldn’t keep it up, but I can’t help myself. Even though I tell myself that I want to do something, anything, I still find myself plopped down on the couch… or my bed… or at the kitchen table… mindlessly gaping at a computer screen. I hate that I do it, but I can’t seem to stop.
Well, a few weeks ago, I did do something other than stare at a computer screen. Unfortunately, because I spent the next few weeks staring at a computer screen again, I haven’t posted about it.
The something that I did a few weeks ago was a just-before-sunrise bike ride. Even though I rarely see the early morning (unless I’m still awake from the previous night), I really love sunrises. There’s something magical and beautiful about waking up with the birds and watching the morning’s light spread across the sky. It’s really exhilarating to be awake before almost anyone else (of course, you can get the same feeling when you’re on a college campus on a Saturday at 9 am, but that’s beside the point).
When I went on my early morning bike ride, I (of course) brought my camera to see what I could capture. Here are a few shots from that morning:
Last week, during my cell biology lab, we did an experiment that involved staining actin in cells with a fluorescent dye and visualizing the cells under a special type of microscope. A few hours ago, the TA for the class sent out some of the images that were taken during the lab. Call me crazy, but I think fluorescent microscopy is an art form. The intricate beauty of cells and proteins and tissues is on display, set apart from the background in bright, vibrant hues.
The images themselves end up being surreal, hazy compositions. The cells turn into translucent, amorphous balloons floating through the pitch-black night. Cells are huge, dominating, in these images. It’s hard to believe that each cell is only 10-15 microns across, about 1/5 the width of a hair.
A week ago today, I arrived back in the United States after a week-long trip to Costa Rica. It honestly seems so much more recent, and it still hasn’t completely hit me that I’ve been back in the US for as long as I was away. I’m honestly still experiencing a bit of reverse culture shock (look it up, it’s a thing).
I was in Costa Rica for a class that I’m taking this semester. It’s a really awesome opportunity, available only to people in my major, to study sustainable development in a place that has devoted itself (politically, at least) to pursuing environmentally friendly growth. The class involved a weekly seminar and a series of presentations, all leading up to a trip to Costa Rica over spring break. Over the course of the trip, we hiked through national parks, saw all sorts of tropical forests, including the absolutely fantastic cloud forest, toured various farms, including a large-scale pineapple farm and a sustainable coffee farm, visited a volcano, listened to lectures by biologists in the area… I could go on for days. The trip was packed with educational activities, and I know that I learned a lot from it. There’s something much more powerful about experiencing the world first hand instead of just reading about it in a classroom.
I honestly think that travel, if done correctly, is one of the easiest ways to broaden your horizons. I’ve gained something from every place I’ve ever been. I’ll never forget the trips that I’ve been lucky enough to go on, and Costa Rica is no exception. The people there are some of the most generous and welcoming individuals that I have ever met. Wherever we went, we heard people saying “pura vida”. It means literally “pure life” in spanish, and it’s become a sort of catchphrase in Costa Rica. It’s become a greeting and a goodbye, a general response to a wide number of social situations. I think that the phrase neatly sums up the joy and satisfaction of living life. It’s a way of saying things are good without getting too cheesy.
While I was in Costa Rica, I took a whopping 670 pictures (yes, I literally did take my camera everywhere). Here are a few favorites:
pura vida, everyone.