Friday, August 29, 2008


I was just reading about a polychaete that uses a sediment trap (a depression in the mud) to feed. When they removed the amount of food in the area, the polychaete would make a larger and larger hole trying to get more food! The scientific term they use is "grossly aberrant pits," and I imagine this worm desperately digging deep pits in the sediment. I caught myself smiling. Science does make me happy.

Window Cleaner

Today I taught my second lab (yay!). I have the afternoon lab on Tuesdays and the morning lab on Thursdays, which is torture for everyone involved. 8:30 on a Thursday morning, what were they thinking? Anyway, it was pretty short because we were just getting to know each other and going over rules and such. I made them all make animal noises and I think they now love me--well, maybe not, but at least they can join together and talk about their crazy lab instructor who made them make animal noises at 8:30 in the morning. So anyway, I decided to go home and take a nap afterwards. I got into bed and then started hearing strange noises at my window. I looked over, and there was this weird man hanging from a rope! Needless to say I was surprised because I live on the 16th floor and the last thing I expect to see is a human being outside my window. And because this is the last thing I expect to see, I leave my window open all the time, and often wander around my apartment naked. No more!! He closed my window and cleaned efficiently--I think he was also embarrassed by the awkward meeting (I pretended to be asleep). I guess I will have to start wearing clothes in my apartment now, but that takes away all the fun of living alone...

I have now been to most of my classes. I have Benthic Biological Oceanography on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. I was excited by it on the first day. We are going to be learning a lot about deep sea mud and benthic boundary layers and flows. But yesterday--the second day of class--I was already completely lost!! We are talking about velocity of flows and viscous layers and there are these strange equations with variables I have never seen before! I think I had a furrowed brow for the entire class. He kept asking if there were any questions, but I didn't even know where to begin. How do you ask him to start over? How do I tell him I'm already lost? I have a few articles that I am going to read and see if I can figure anything out. Ugh.

My animal behavior class is promising to be fun. We have to design an experiment pertaining to animal behavior as well as read a variety of articles. I just have to make sure I find time to do everything that needs to be done. I'm feeling very responsible for my lab students and I want to make sure they learn so I need to make sure that I know the material forwards and backwards, but I also need to learn for my classes. So it will be a delicate balance. I am also going to be doing some independent research on deep sea coral for my adviser.

I had a moment in my animal behavior class yesterday where I realized that by coming to graduate school, I have closed the door on acting. I won't have time for acting, for ceramics, for learning languages, for extracurricular activities...I started to feel a little trapped and suffocated. I love science and I've made a decision to study science for the rest of my life, but I won't know if it is the right decision until I realize if it makes me happy enough to give up everything else. I'm not sure that makes sense, but I have trouble making decisions. I always need a way out. That might be a product of my upbringing. Maybe because I knew I was always going to move somewhere else where I could start over, I never had to make a serious commitment to anything. Now that I've made a commitment, I'm already looking for a way out. I feel better knowing that if worse comes to worse I could just leave with a master's degree. But what a terrible attitude to start graduate school!!! I think I am feeling this way because I am feeling anxious about my research since my adviser is focused on deep sea and I don't want to pigeon-hole myself into deep-sea research. I think my interests are too broad to confine them to one specific area other than "marine-biology." I talked to another girl on the program who feels similarly, so I don't feel so bad. Well, this is a lot of run-on sentences and tangents and not very interesting thoughts, so I will end this entry. I need to read some cryptic benthic oceanography articles anyway.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Diamond Head

Yesterday I climbed Diamond Head--an extinct volcano in Honolulu. I was made fun of because I didn't realize at first that it was a volcano...I really need to read up on Hawaii so I stop making a fool of myself. Although, I think there is no danger of me not making a fool of myself any time soon. I bought a ridiculous hat to protect my poor sensitive skin from the burning sun. Here are some pictures of Diamond Head and a movie. Enjoy my crazy hat...

Hmm, I tried to put a video, but it didn't seem to work...

After Diamond Head, we went to a restaurant with traditional Hawaiian food. I had poi and pork and congealed coconut dessert. It was a treat! I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of poi yet, but maybe it will grow on me. I really liked the pork though--so tender, so juicy. Hawaiian food is delicious, but I doubt that many tourist actually get a chance to eat it because there are so many restaurants here with other kinds of food. Especially if you stay in Waikiki, your options are huge, but not too much traditional food.

After lunch, I went to the beach, slept, swam, read, and then, after the sunset they were showing a movie on the beach. Just like they used to in Swarthmore on Parrish beach (not really a beach). They showed Pirates of the Caribbean 3, not my favorite one, but still fun. It was wonderful to watch the sunset from the beach. Believe it or not, that was my first time watching the sunset in Hawaii since I've been here and it was magnificent.

I walked my friends to the bus stop after the movie and discovered that around eleven every night, my street becomes a parade of prostitutes. It was incredible! So many of them! I didn't see any tall, pale, red-heads though, so I have a niche to fill. And I won't have to go far for customers since this is the prostitute epicenter, apparently. My friends and I definitely enjoyed the show and were happy to see when our prostitute friends were successful.

I was watching some of the Olympics today and I have to admit, I appreciate the less traditional sports like rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming. The take a lot of precision and grace. I am definitely envious of their lithe bodies that move so easily. Olympic athletes make it look so easy. Oh, to be so limber...

Now I'm watching the closing ceremony of the Olympics and it looks like there is a human bloomin' onion on screen. I'm getting hungry, I guess. It's weird how large groups of people look like amoeboid masses with pseudopoda jutting out in all directions. Or maybe it only looks like that in China when they are choreographed that way.

Ok, I need to prepare for tomorrow. Classes start tomorrow!! And I have a very busy schedule...especially with teaching too. Ahh!!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Characters at the Movies...

We all know those people at the movies who dreaded movie companions: the tall guy who blocks your view, the loud snorer, the sniffler, the cougher, the couple that is obviously making out, the audience participant (those can be fun too), the talkers who are giving a running commentary on the movie to their friends (or whomever is around), and the loud eaters and slurpers and gulpers and crunchers. But usually there are just one or two. But not when you are me. No, when you are me, you go to the movies and everyone of these people are there and they are somehow in rare form where every ailment/characteristic seems to exponentially worsen as the movie goes on.

This is what happened to me today when I went to go see the Hulk at the $1 theater. But, I only paid a dollar, so I guess I shouldn't complain. But there were times when I thought I must be on candid camera. I thought, "Are you serious? Really? Is it necessary for you to keep slurping your soda? There is nothing left in there! We can all hear it!! There are just a few pieces of ice in there, I swear!" Or there was a classic moment when the man in the second row (who was on his cell phone talking full volume for most of the start of the movie) jolted awake after he nearly choked on one of his more impressive snores and then got out of his seat because he appeared to have lost something and started crawling on the floor after he strapped a head lamp on his forehead. I'm not even making that up!!! These were the loudest snores I've ever heard--I think he has a problem, he may have sleep apnea. I'd say he was snoring for a good two-thirds of the movie too. At first when he started crawling on the floor, I thought he was just trying to get more comfortable and he was going to lie down and go to sleep, but instead he spend about twenty minutes distracting me from a key plot point...When he found what he was looking for, he went back to sleep.

And there were many, many more! They were all there. The classic cast of characters that ruin a movie. I thought maybe I had stumbled upon a reunion. The woman behind me repeated almost everything that was said and occasionally she would yell at the screen or gasp so audibly, I thought she might be having trouble breathing. And whatever she didn't understand what was happening, she asked her boyfriend. I mean, seriously, just watch the movie! You'll figure it out! The Hulk is not that intellectually challenging, lady!

And then there was a man who had a terrible sinus problem. I have never heard anyone sniff and grunt and snort so loud. It sounded like he must have been doing damage to his brain! Get this man a tissue! I was thinking about going to the bathroom to get him a paper towel (or twelve). And it was constant, there was a pattern to it. Sniiiiiiiiiiiiff, sniff, sniff (pause and begin again). I started feeling myself waiting for the next sniff. It was excruciating knowing it was coming, but it became a sort of comfort as the movie went on--something to depend on, knowing there would always be another sniff. Actually no, it was just excruciating. But hilarious too.

I couldn't help but be amused by these people. I know it sounds like I was angry, but really I found the absurdity of it incredibly humorous. People are crazy. And I'm not excluding myself from that category. We all just happened to end up in the same movie theater at the same time...

Also, while in the movie, I noticed another of my amber pieces in my ring fell out. I have bad luck with rings. Especially rings I like (which is pretty much all of them--including the mood rings I got in middle school).

Tonight one of my packages came. Not the teddy-bear package, but the Futurama package, which is equally important. I feel lost without my Futurama. I was thinking about getting a pug and naming him Zoidberg--don't take my idea!

Also, my landlady invited me over for dinner and I met her boyfriend(?). He lives on a different island but comes here once a month and I think they've "been together" for a very long time (15-20 years) so I'm not sure that he's a boyfriend. Anyway, very nice man. Also Swiss, like my landlady. When I left, I had that weird feeling that I know they are now talking about me. I hope he liked me. I like them both a lot. I've now seen a few other apartments, and I'm very lucky--in price and space(!!) so I don't want them to kick me out.

This post is getting a little long, so I will end it...Now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Ok, I was lied to about the mosquito situation in Hawaii. Definitely mosquitoes. And they bite hard. Poo.

Also, I was lied to by USPS. They told me my packages would be sent in 10 days--I've waited 13 (work days even!) and not a peep from my mailbox. Also, I have a tracking number for both boxes--and neither say they are in transit or anything. It just cryptically says that it was "accepted" in Vienna. But after that...nothing. Blarg! I want my packages! My teddy bear is in there and it's dark and sad in there...

Yesterday I went to the $1 theater and that is where I will go from now on. I saw Sex in the City and I really liked it. And today I think I am going to see the Hulk. For a dollar, why not? And I feel like treating myself because I have been super productive today--I signed up for health insurance, got an island bank account, got my student ID (quite an ordeal), cleaned the lab I will be TAing in, and canceled my subscription. Yay, me.

I feel like I must have some sign on my forehead that says "creepy old man, why don't you come over here and talk to me?" Because that is what happens. All the time. And not always creepy old men either, sometimes it's creepy old women. Maybe I look too friendly. Yesterday this man told me he was a writer and a photographer and gave me his card. But first, let me paint a picture of what this man looked like: He was a tall gentleman, about 6'2", with large wide-rimmed glasses (the kind you see old ladies wear), a giant white beard that reminded me of Merlin, a too-tight t-shirt straining to cover his belly, a work shirt draped over top and cut-off shorts to top it all off. The smallest, pockets-sticking-out-the-bottom, denim, cut-offs. This is the man who tells me he is a photographer and he wants to take my picture for a magazine. With my luck, that was my one shot at fame and I rejected it because he was wearing cut-offs. But mostly it was because he looked like he hadn't had a bath in about a year--and I'm not judging, that is a perfectly acceptable lifestyle, just one that I don't associate with professional photographers that work for a magazine...but who knows, maybe I'm naive...

Ok, I think I am going to try out my brand new student i.d. to see if I can check out some movies! Yay!

Tomorrow I go to the creek by campus to collect some specimens for our fish tanks :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Today was the start of the TA training. I was told that I should just sign in and leave by the guy I work for, but I decided to stay. Most of the information is pretty redundant and useless, but I appreciate having something to do and a place to meet people. I tried to organize another social event afterwards, but I'm not too good at that. I guess other people actually have plans and can't spontaneously go to the dollar theater. But oh well. Maybe tomorrow. I'm very excited about going to the dollar theater. They have all the movies I missed seeing about three months ago--and only for a dollar!

Tomorrow is more TA training, and Wednesday too, but I have to meet with the guy I'm TAing for that day to learn the lay of the lab. So it's going to be a busy week!

I think I'm going to try to get to Hanama Bay sometime this week too--it's touristy, but I'm still a tourist since I don't really know where anything is...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tropic Thunder

I went to the movies tonight. I didn't have much energy for any other adventures today. So, I found the movie theater and went to see Tropic Thunder. And it didn't disappoint.

I also found a "sushi-go-round", which is what we call it in my family when the sushi is on a conveyor belt that goes around the restaurant and you pick the food based on the plate value. It was delicious, but I ate too much and spent too much money again. I'm looking forward to being busy so I won't be out spending tons of money.

The bus stop at the movies also seems to be home to about 12 homeless people and I made some friends while waiting for the bus. I couldn't help but notice I was the only one who actually was waiting for the bus there...But everyone was very friendly and helpful. When I voiced my concern that perhaps the buses weren't running anymore since I hadn't seen one for a half-an-hour, they assured me one would come soon, and it did. They also offered me some drugs, but I politely declined, and they weren't too pushy. While I'm sure it's no fun to be homeless, it seems like Honolulu might be a bit more pleasant on the scale of cities to be homeless in: pretty constant beautiful weather, a nice breeze, friendly people, coconuts, bananas....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

You have bewitched me...

Body and soul. Yes, Pride and Prejudice was on t.v. And although I had planned on going out tonight, I ended up staying in and drinking wine and watching chick flicks--when did I become Bridget Jones?

Last night I got some drinks with some of the people in my grad program. I think I made some friends :) But I was going to go to a concert tonight with one of the guys on my program and he bailed on me. He said he had been snorkeling all day and was tired. Ugh. I tried to go snorkeling today, but it was a failure. I went to the beach at Diamond Head (beautiful by the way) and it seemed like there was a wind surfing competition or something happening. And the water was really choppy, and I didn't really know where I was going. It's a big beach and I wasn't sure if I was just supposed to swim out and hope for the best...So, I just read a lot of my book and had relaxing beach time instead. But I would really like to go snorkeling. I love skin diving because I think it brings you one step closer to the ocean from SCUBA. It's just you and the fish, corals, and water. But, not today for me. I just hope someday I'll be friends enough with these people so that they will invite me to go along with them. I like living alone, but it seems to be to my detriment at this point. Most of the other grad students know people here already or are living with people who are showing them around and taking them to all the hidden treasures. It's hard to explore by myself. But it doesn't stop me from trying.

Another thing I've learned about myself is my hair is everywhere. Everywhere!! I didn't think I lost this much hair--but seriously I think I am balding. Maybe I should just shave my head and get it over with. Or maybe I will just have to vacuum a lot...

This thing is weird. I think I've decided I need to take my profile off. I've had people in Florida and California contact me--hundreds of miles away!! And I started what, three days ago? And I've had about fifty people contact me. It feels creepy. I think I need to put on my profile that actually I have a mercurial personality and I'm not as nice as I seem on my profile and I have a hair loss problem. Then maybe I could get these people to stop talking to me--but I guess that's why I did it to begin with--to meet people. Oh well. I'm sure I'll be too busy to even think about this soon. I just need more things to distract me so I stop worrying about being lonely. The Oxygen channel is my best friend (and the Olympics--where would I be without the Olympics?).

Ok, I need to stop rambling and get ready for bed...

Friday, August 15, 2008


I passed!! I passed them all!! Not with flying colors, but I passed. So now I can relax. But I locked myself out of my apartment...So I guess I'll get a drink until my landlady comes home. Ugh--stupid, stupid.

Yesterday I had to chase the bus down (in flip flops) because it passed my stop and now I have shin splints--poopy bus driver.

I feel sick

I have my meeting this afternoon. I feel like I might vomit...or cry. I was feeling fine before, but now that it is actually going to happen--it's real. I am going to be here for a long time. I'm excited, but also, I've realized that I did kind of back myself into a corner by applying to work with Les. I will spend the next five years studying deep sea coral. Is that what I really want to do? Was I supposed to know what I wanted to do? Apparently, yes. Everyone else knows. Ugh. I just feel sick.

I'm going snorkeling this weekend. I've decided that I am just going to go. I need to spend some more time in the water. That's what keeps me going. I have to remember why I came here. I just hope I don't cry in front of the professors. I've been holding it together, but now all of the sudden I feel overwhelmed with emotion. Bad timing...


Ok, no. This Match thing is weird. I feel creepy. I feel terrible because I want to reject these people. Ugh! But maybe I should just get together with them, give them a chance, maybe we'll be friends? I don't know...I feel weird about it...I shouldn't have done this because I already feel like I'm leading people on. Just by having my profile up makes them think I am looking for love, right? Stupid. Poopy, poopy, poo


Also, I forgot to mention the weirdest thing that happened to me today! There was a student who was doing a project and since I didn't really have anything to do, I told her I could help her out. It was about 15 minutes and I got a $10 gift certificate to Wall-Mart (ooooooh yeah!). I had to close my eyes and smell 10 smells (with coffee in between). I liked the lemon verbeena and the sandalwood the best, which I realized is because my mom likes lemon verbeena and my dad likes sandalwood. she didn't tell me which was which, but I just had to rate them. Then, she showed me some fabrics and asked me to pick my favorite. And then she asked me to smell the smells again, this time matching them to the fabrics. Very interesting. I'm not sure how she is going to draw conclusions from this. Hmmm....Curiouser and curiouser...


So, yes, yesterday was the last exam and I was very happy...but for only about a second, before the impending doom of Friday's meeting with a panel of professors started to weigh on me. But, once that is over, I will finally be able to relax. Until then, I'll continue to worry that I failed every exam and I'll be sent home.

Today I went to the beach because I felt like I should be going since I'm so near by. And along the way, I saw a woman with two parrots on her shoulders, but she was surprisingly unhappy looking. She had a sour look on her face and looked like what I imagine a Polynesian Professor Umbridge would look like (what is with all the harry potter references?). And then it started pouring...So, I went swimming and then came home pretty quickly so my book didn't get soaked.

My mom said that I would learn a lot about myself living alone. I think I've learned a lot already. First of all, I'm terrible with money. I have one side of me which is terribly responsible and wants to save money all the time and then there is this other side of me that sneaks in every once and a while which says "I deserve a treat." And the latter always wins. And it's dangerous! I need to stop going to my favorite store (Don Quijote) because they have these amazing bento boxes with sushi and fish and these cool mashed potato things (I think they are called croquettes). So much deliciousness!!! These bento boxes are my nemesis...

Today when I met with the professor I am TAing for, he asked how I like being in Waikiki with all the Japanese tourists and whether I feel like a giant. I told him I feel like a giant most of the time and it's not a huge difference from everyday. Although, I think I may actually be the tallest woman in Hawai'i. So I may feel more like a giant here than anywhere else.

I was thinking about joining to make some friends. Well, actually, I did join match last night after a few glasses of wine and now someone e-mailed me and I'm terrified! I don't know if I can do this...weird. But, maybe it will be interesting. I just want to make some friends--and if they know more about the island that might be nice... We'll see.

Also, I found a frangipani tree today!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Second test. Blarg

Ok, second test over. And I think it went better than yesterday. But we'll see. I had to stop myself from writing about everything in the world, I'm not sure if that would have helped though.

I keep having this feeling that I am going to fall out of my window or off the balcony. I'm not usually afraid of heights, and I'm not sure that this particular fear of defenestration stems from a fear of heights. I think it has to do with the fact that my window opens really low, lower than mid thigh, and is open up to the ceiling. I feel like I could lose balance easily and just slip out. Also, the balcony where the garbage chute is has the same problem. The railing is so low that I hug the wall to get the the chute. Also, I'm on the sixteenth floor so maybe my fear isn't that irrational. They should make balconies and windows for tall people to feel safe. Until then, I mostly avoid the window but keep it open all the time for wind. Last night though, there was a terrible storm and I had to close my window (but I waited for a while to see if it might pass...) Also, I have to sit right next to the window and keep my computer balanced on the ledge to get wireless internet, so one of these days a strong wind is going to take my computer (and maybe me) with it.

It was cold for the first time last night. I had to use my quilt and I was happy to have it. It is made all the warmer because my mom's beautiful hands made it for me, so it was like she was tucking me in (awww).

Alright, cellular and molecular biology, here I come!

Monday, August 11, 2008


I just took one of those naps that feels impossible to wake up from. I REALLY NEED TO STUDY!! But I fell asleep. And I dreamt that Professor McGonnagal had a mustache and I was dating Professor Lupin. So, yeah, weird.

I took the first exam today and it was a lot harder than any of the previous exams they gave us as examples. So, poop. I think I did pretty terribly, I just hope I did well enough to pass. I need to pass all of them--and at least one on a PhD level. Maybe it will be tomorrow's test, but not if I don't start studying right now!

Also, a lady gave me a fragipani flower on the bus. She said it was because my eyes were so blue. So now I have my own fragipani flower, but still no tree...

Sunday, August 10, 2008


So apparently Obama is here. O-Blama! That's why the traffic is so terrible. Also, his family is from here! So, the Hawaiians love him. I want to meet him, but I'm not sure exactly where he is.

Don't do it Ms. Kubelik!! Last night the Apartment was on. I love that movie--it makes me think of my sister. Also, this year they were supposed to play it on the screen on green in DC--but I missed it because I was on a Hawaii. Apparently, they have screen on green here every weekend, but it's screen on beach. I'll have to look into it. And they have a $1 theater. I can't wait to have some fun when these tests are finally over. Arg!

I need to stop saying "the states" when I mean "the mainland." But it is very hard to do. Also, many times I've said "the states" and I have not been excluding Hawaii, but people assume that I am because of the way I look. So, it's going to be better for me if I can figure out how to say "the mainland" for everywhere else, and Hawaii for Hawaii. People get very angry...

Yesterday we had a meet and greet with the new grad student in the Zoology department. I found out that the University of Hawaii Zoology department is in the top three in the country--so that was nice. I really should have done more research before I got here, but it's been a struggle to get even the simplest things done, so I'll just let everyone else fill me in. Anyway, there is another girl from Swarthmore in the program!! She's younger than me--and I can't tell if she started this year (like me) or last year--I only met her right before I was leaving and it was loud. So I'll find out. For some reason, I was initially upset that she's younger than me--I thought that reflected poorly on me. But, now, without any alcohol in my system, I've realized it doesn't matter at all.

Everyone has the nicest things to say about my advisor. I'm very excited to work with him. People keep telling me how lucky I am to work with Les. I'm hoping my lucky streak continues through the diagnostic exams. I've decided if I don't do well, I will just start yelling. I think that is the best way to deal with most situations. Maybe if I yell enough, they will just let me take the courses I want...

Ok, studying will commence now...after breakfast...and a shower...and the dishes.

Tomorrow is the first exam!! Superorganismic! Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Ok, the building I live in has 24 hour surveillance. At first I thought that was a good thing. But now, I've discovered that if I put my tv on channel 57, I can see every single camera--flipping from one to the other (there are at least 20) and I can watch people in my building! Then, last night I had dinner with my landlady, and she told me about a woman who has a plasma screen in each of her rooms with that channel always on. The other day she came over and said "oh, I just saw you get home and I wanted to check in!" Eww! She knows where everyone is at all times--and she lives in the penthouse on the top floor...I better not pick my nose in the elevator.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Heather 2

I am not the only Heather in the group of TAs. In fact, I am the second Heather--the first has been there four years and thus is deservedly Heather 1. So I'm either referred to as "you" with a pointed look, or "Heather 2." It is said with a chuckle, but I think it might stick.

Everyone I've talked to about the diagnostics says--"Oh as long as you know BLANK you'll be fine." And of course I begin to freak out because I DON'T know BLANK!! So, I need to study. I'm so frustrated that I have to do this though. And it seems to be to my detriment that I went to a Liberal Arts school (albeit a good one). People here seem not to have heard of it, and since my curriculum was not traditional (especially for a science major) I have deficiencies that I may have to make up instead of embarking on a successful graduate career! Blarg!


Where is everyone getting their frangipani flowers? I have seen several people with them behind their ears, but I have yet to see a frangipani tree. It's a mystery.

Also, there is something weird with the weather here. It is pouring rain to my right, but directly in front of me, there is not a single drop. Also, there have been times where I'm outside and its starts to sprinkle and I don't see a cloud in the sky. And then, when I'm convinced it is going to rain and the sky clouds up with darkness--nothing. And my dashboard says that it is supposed to be sunny and 89 degrees forever--so where is this rain coming from? It's still going on! And only to the right! Oop, now it stopped.

I have another meeting today with the guy I am TAing for--hopefully I won't act as stupidly as I did yesterday. Also, I think we got off on the wrong foot because he told me he is pissed because I have the same color hair he used to have and now he has only grey hair. I think I will suggest that I dye mine grey so that he can feel better...

This is a fragipani by the way.

Procrastination in Waikiki

First an update. I'm in Honolulu about to start a graduate program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I got here Monday and I have three exams next week which I am frantically trying to cram for so I don't fail out before the program even begins.

I just met the professor I am going to be a teaching assistant for today. I'm excited but nervous too. I stupidly misidentified his stuffed platyhelmenthes as a nematode (ridiculous!) right off the bat and probably left a bad impression on him. Also, he asked what I am going to be doing with Les--my advisor...and I floundered. I'm not really sure. I've been spending the summer preparing to come to Hawaii but haven't really thought about what I'll be doing beyond attending a PhD program. So, now here I am and I am totally confused. I know Les does work with deep sea octocorals, but that's not really my interest. Sure, I love the deep sea, but I'd rather work on cephalopods. And now I'm not sure if I wrote in my application that I wanted to study deep sea corals, because that would help me get in, and now I've backed myself into a corner I can't get out of!?!? I guess we'll see...I think the first year is mostly classes anyway and not too much research. I met a guy today who takes a helicopter once or twice a month to one of the other islands and counts tree snails and does genetics on them. That sounds fun--well maybe the helicopter part.

Hawaii is crazy. Honolulu is a much bigger city than I imagined. Or actually, it's not really that big, it's just spread out and there is terrible traffic so it takes about three times as long as it should to get anywhere by bus. I live in the most touristy part of the city, which has its pros and cons. I'm close to the beach (pro) but there are lots of tourists (con). Also, in the past three days, I've had several people ask me if I'm Scandinavian, and even more people comment on my height. I am the tallest (and whitest) woman in Honolulu--maybe even all of Hawaii! It's getting old. People keep asking me how tall I am (and yes, I say six feet even though I am five eleven and three quarters). But, that is nothing unusual. WOW! I was about to write that I haven't seen any other redheads here and then TWO walked by the window of the Starbucks I'm in! Pretty incredible. Well, that is comforting--I'm not the only redhead.

So, even though Hawaii is part of the US, there is a culture shock element here. Billions of tan (or burned), naked (almost), tourists. And lots of wind!! It is so windy here I keep thinking my window is going to break. My hair is always in my face, and no studying is possible outside. Speaking of studying, I have fifty pages left in my goal to get to today, so I better get cracking.