Last Year of University & Becoming A Scientist

This will be the last year of college for this girl and I am excited about what is ahead. It seemed like yesterday when I received my late acceptance to Northwest University two weeks before the start of classes! I thank the Lord everyday for this opportunity, especially since it took so long to finally go back to school.

 

I have learned and grown a lot since stepping foot on campus two years ago. In nine months I will be walking across the stage and graduate with my Bachelors of Science in Biology and Chemistry. I am forever grateful to my colleagues at Dendreon and Seattle biotech for support all these years for getting me to this point. So grateful for you all!

 

As I have said many times, life is a science experiment and there are many adventures worth taking. Being in science is an adventure in its self. The hard paths in life are the ones with the best views. I don’t doubt it! I remember thinking back when I was getting my Associates degree how so much had been found already that there is nothing left to discover. Fast forward years later, there is still a whole lot to discover.

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This year my main goal is to graduate from Northwest in May- nine months out. Other goals is to study hard, have time for self-care and have fun along the way. I realized back in Tanzania I needed to step up my game when it came to de-stressing from all the stress during the week. This year is going to be stressful, and I am ready for it.

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I love being a scientist and a women in STEM. Science is not an easy subject, but once you master it, you go far! I have done a lot in the short amount of time at Northwest and in biotech. I never imagined when I was in high school this is what I would be doing or helping to find a cure for cancer. I am still in aw at it all.

To all those girls out there loving STEM, keep going!! We need more of you! I hope one day you will graduate with a degree in something you are passionate about. Never give up!

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What I wore:

Shirt: Northwest University t-shirt (Eagle Exchange)
Jeans: Curvy Profile blue jeans (Old Navy)
Shoes: Maroon All Stars Converses (DSW)
Glasses: Via Spiga (Costco Optical)

White Lab Coat: Dickies Work Wear (Amazon)
Navy Dress: Sheath dress (Land’s End)
Shoes: Nude pumps Jessica Simpson (DSW)

Hair: Tracy King Designs (Seattle)

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Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation Day 5 (Hanauma Bay) & Day 6 (Mini Golf & Pali Lookout))

Updated: 12/2017

One thing about waking up early in Hawaii is the sunrises. The reason why I can roll out of bed so early for Hanauma Bay. Waking up before 7am to arrive at this very popular touristy spot is almost a must if you want to avoid the crowds and the tour buses/groups. Arrive well before 9:30 am or right as the park opens at 6:30am. So here I am awake and ready to go snorkeling!

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Hanauma Bay from the top
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Hanuama Bay

I rented my gear from an off site vender (Bellows AFS $10.00 for the whole set), other than that, you either bring your own or rent from the site itself. The parking was so cheap! A dollar cheap! But what really dings you, the admission price of $7.50 for an adult.  I can understand why change a price for entrance, the park is a conservation site.  After we all paid we all waited with other people for the video they show every one who enters the park outlining what the whole coral reef is and what you cannot do while snorkeling, swimming or scuba diving in the reef. The worst part of the video, knowing people are going to do it anyway because as Nana pointed out, people who do not have a grasp of the English language and watching the demonstrations of what NOT to do, will not understand. Believe me, I saw it happening!

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Ready to snorkel

After a walk down the steep hill to the beach, we staked out a claim under a shady coconut tree to put our stuff. At this time there was not may people down on the beach, so I decided I need to get in the water and start snorkeling before it’s too late. I went out with both parents around a section of the coral reef. I am amazed at how you can just enter the water, lay on your belly, put your head in the water and see underwater! Now you can probably guess, this was my first time snorkeling. I saw huge fish swimming past me, huge coral, some creature stuck to the coral looking like a human brain, lots of species of coral, and yes you guessed it, sea turtles. On my first try my mask kept fogging up to the point I had to un-fog  it multiple times with my own spit. Then I was having  a hard time breathing through my snorkel tube since water kept going in, and swimming with the flippers was a challenge. Eventually I figured out how to snorkel. I would do this again next time somewhere else in the Hawaiian Islands. Around 11:00am we decided it was time to go and have some lunch. At this point the beach and water had become very crowed. We all forked over $1.25 to ride the trolley back up the steep hill. At this point I was tired and did not want to pack all my stuff back up the hill.

We had lunch at the park’s picnic area that overlooked the beach and water. As soon as the food was unpacked, all the park’s feral chickens made a B-line toward us. As you see, no shame for a chicken.

_DSC0130_edited-1After a picnic lunch, we parked up and left to drive along winding coast highway back to Bellows AFS. Along the way we stopped at the Makapuu Point Lookout. Oh my goodness this is a postcard perfect look out! The lookout towards the windward coast line, and the tropical blue water. This is a breath-taking view to see. There is a lighthouse by the same name on the side of the cliff. I would love to come back and hike up to see the place (every night at Bellows, I could see it off in the distance). The rest of the afternoon was spent getting ready for our dinner date with my cousin.

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Makapuu Lookout
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Makapuu Lookout

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Family

My cousin is stationed on Oahu at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay. Earlier that week my cousin’s “gunny” gave him permission to give us a tour of the place where he works  (a rare thing in this day an age). The whole family had the opportunity to meet his team, and see what his everyday job on base in logistics. Seeing him in action was very cool. It is amazing the last time I saw him was eight years ago when he was just a little skinny kid his older brother use to beat up, and now he is all grown up in a military uniform. I feel old just typing that! Also seeing more of the base then just the MCX (post exchange) and the Commissary. I will have to say, it is hard to pick out some of the guys when all of them are in uniform because they all look the same. Also like most active base, the base had the semi-desert feel to it.

Buzze’s Steakhouse in Lanikia . This place is where Nana, and my cousin had gone to the last time Nana was there for vacation. The place has a beach theme to it, with seating inside and outside. The menu is very limited to steaks, seafood and salad.  At first I could not find anything appealing except Teriyaki Chicken with rice. All meals come with the salad and fruit bar option. The favorite item at the salad bar was the mint cucumbers. My cousin raved about trying them and I have to say, they are pretty darn good! For desert my cousin and I split an Almond Joy cheese cake. OMGoodness! It tasted just like an Almond Joy bar! I would give the place an eight out of ten because even with the cool atmosphere, I think there needed to be a little more options on the menu for the steaks and seafood (I think this time the menu did not have any seafood on it).

IMG_0291The next day we all just relaxed and stayed on the beach and surrounding areas of Bellows. One major event was mini golf or as I call it put-put-golf on the Bellows mini golf course. For an hour all of us played a fourteen hole mini golf. Now I would like to say the game became competitive and there was throwing golf clubs around, but my family is pretty tame when it comes to these kinds of things (except Pit, oh boy this game gets very competitive!). For $6.00 for a mid morning game of golf (how do people find golf relaxing? I find it stressful) we went around the course hitting brightly painted golf balls through, under and even over obstacles that represents each of the Hawaiian Islands. Oh dear….I’m bad at golf and not much better at mini golf either. There was no score being kept, but Nana had all of us beat. Overall I had quit a good time laughing at myself trying to hit the ball into the hole. I know I will never be playing golf in the near future, and hope who ever I end up marrying will understand I should not be allowed on the “green” at all. I’m dangerous with a golf ball apparently.

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Family
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Us girls
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Me put-putting

After lunch Mom, Nana and I took a little trip up to Nu’uanu Pali Lookput in the Ko’olau Mountain range over tunnels of the Pali Highway. The lookout has a panoramic view of the Windward Coast, the Marine Base, Nu’uanu valley, and the spectacular view of the tropical blue water.

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As you can see from the pictures, it is very windy up there with strong trade winds. At one point when taking a picture of where the old Pali highway use to be, there was a huge wind tunnel effect.

After the little trip to Pali Lookout, I needed to have a few things washed at the laundry. Right by the small Post Exchange store is an outdoor laundry room. All I have to say is, the washer and dryers here work a whole lot better than the piece of crap of a stacker laundry machine I have in my apartment! While there sipping on my soda, an Airman (Air Force guy) drove up and bought a six-pack of beer at the Exchange. Then thirty minutes later, he was back for a pack of cigs. Then an hour later back again for another twelve pack of beer and two cartons of cigs. It must have been one of those hard duty shifts at the guard gate to need to buy 18 cans of beer and three packs of cigs! Then again, there are days where I need three cans of coke-a-cola to get through the day. After fresh laundry folded, I headed back to the cabin to relax from all the snorkeling I did the day before.

Disclaimer: All links mentioned in this post are for further reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive nor am paid for promotion of any products mentioned in this post.

Walking In The Tulips

Our first stop on my adventure was the Starbucks. I needed a caffeine before we headed off towards Mount Vernon an hour long drive towards the Canadian border. Outside the town we decided to take a different exit from the one we have used in the past. Well we drove up to Burlington before we exited off the freeway and realized we should not have taken this exit. Me being the navigator, I could not read the map were the fields are due to how confusing all the smaller roads (mean country lanes and roads not on the map) because everything looked the same. We ended up going in a circle before I saw the sign with the arrows pointing where Tulip Town is located. While lost in the country, Mom headed towards La Connor to turn around using the roundabout they have. We ended up having to turn around at the fire station and in the process of backing up, ran over their flowers! Oops! I feel bad just typing this, and hope the flowers bounced back in the end. after going around a circle again we found Tulip Town.

In the past Tulip Town is where I end up at every time I came. This year there was some added features like the memorial garden dedicated to those who are serving in our armed forces. Even on a week day there was still a lot of people in the fields and a lot of people buying tulips for the trip home. I bought three bunches of tulips for my desk at work, one for mom and one for a friend of mine.

A few miles down the road is the small town of LaConner where Mom and I had lunch. We decided to try the La Connor Brewing Co for lunch. The place was packed when we stepped in, and were very luck at the time to have snagged the last table before a line started to form outside. Our table was near the open kitchen where we can see how they made the wood smoke pizza. Due to so many diners, the service was very slow and at one point a waitress came by muttering under her breath how crazy busy the brewery was .We ordered the fish tacos, and chicken artichoke pesto panini, and did not receive our meal until 45 minutes later due to how crazy busy they were. When we finally left, there was a lot of people still waiting for a table.

After lunch we walked around looking at the small shops lining the main street. Our first stop, World famous Nasty Jack’s Antiques. World famous? I must have missed it. I have been before years ago, but this time there was nothing really “world-famous” about it. Just over priced on some antiques and odd ends like a huge whiskey flask which could get you sh*t faced really fast! We rambled along the waterfront looking at how much the Indian reservation across the river has grown. Before we headed home we stopped by a candy shop for some chocolate before we left. The only candy store in town La Connor Sweet Shoppe. A chocolate cover cookie, English sea-foam, chocolate covered peppermints, and chocolate cover peanut butter bar were what picked out.

On the way home, Mom and I took the scenic route towards Conway were the freeway connection is at. This route goes through some of the scenic farmland along road, and old Victorian farm houses in the middle of vast amounts of flat farmland. At one point I took this picture below from the car.

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Folk Life Festival and Chihuly Museum

Also on Memorial Day I was at the Seattle Center where Folk Life Festival was happening. Every year Seattle has a festival to celebrate the folk arts, and music during the thee day weekend. Its our huge block party for the city in a way. This was the first time I have attended (yeah I know been here most my life and now I’m just attending!) this festival. Mostly it about the lesser know bands in the area performing in front of the masses. Of course we will have those who are street performers who can really make a crowed stop to watch or those who you just walk on by because there is no way they have any musical talent as they think they have (cruel, but true). The homeless are out in force, and one even hit in Mom in front of Dad.Pretty much all the crazies come out to play when mixed with beer and lots of music. The crazy political activists are out trumping their opinions to the masses, especially the ones who have a message so hateful (I do not need to say the name of the group-you know who I mean), and ones who just want to make you think for a moment with some funny message. Lots of things to buy from street venders, and lots of food to chow down on (The Frankfurter Hot Dog Stand), and all the lemonade you can possibly drink (where is the water? Oh yeah Seattle has banned plastic disposable water bottles). The smell of marijuana in the air at times, even people smoking in public near police officers (my hair smelled of reef later, and I think at some point I might have been high just breathing it in accidentally). Overall it was fun and great to feel the pulse of many people having fun.

On a more serious note…..I also went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Mom wanted to go since it opened this past week. I never was a person to walk through art galleries, but I made the exception this time. Some of the pieces I have seen a few years ago in Tacoma on the glass bridge that spans part of interstate five road way were displayed here. Dale Chihuly is a local glass blowing artist in the area. His work is displayed here for the masses to see, and for people to learn more about glass blowing. Garden where some of his work is display is wonderful against the backdrop of the Space Needle.

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