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.
Senior At Northwest University Fall 2017
Sophmore At Northwest University Fall 2015
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.
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.
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!
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)
The bluest skies you see are in Seattle! Perry Como had it right, when the sun shines in Seattle it is a beautiful sight to see. After the Terracotta Warriors and lunch, it was time to walk down to the Olympic Sculpture Park on the waterfront. To get to the park I walked 0.7 miles down Broad Street (a hill!) from the Seattle Center to the waterfront.
There was a lot of people hanging in the park soaking up the sunshine and the view of Elliott Bay. With space and art installations scattered around the park, one could easily find a spot for the afternoon or day and relax.
The head sculpture has the best view
Look at this beautiful view below! Pretty skies you see are in Seattle.
Right about the time of this picture, there was a train coming through on the track below. This is a constant reminder of how industrial Seattle still is at the core and the reason why some of the parks here are in existent because of the train tracks creating an open space for the public to enjoy along the water.
Also, there is another park the Olympic Sculpture park merges into and this is the Myrtle Edwards Park along the waterfront north of the cruise ship dock. Here there is plenty green grass to picnic on and a beach to view vast blue of Elliot Bay.
A little blurry in the picture of a ship unloading cargo and cruise ships parked at the mooring dock. Below is the famous PI globe atop the old Seattle PI newspaper building. This globe is not longer spins as it uses to and is slated just like the old Rainer Brewery R as a historical relic in the MOHI.
With the weather being so gorgeous and the temperature was in the lower 70s, this was a perfect day to spend in Seattle. Make the long wet winter a thing of the past. After spending a few hours soaking up the sights, I made a sweaty hike back up the hill to Seattle Center for one last snack at a food truck before going home.
Traveling to Tanzania has not been a small task. It took months (six months to be exact) to get ready for this one week adventure all the way across the world. In those months I read about the area in which I was to visit, gather all the supplies needed for this adventure, and visit the doctor to make sure I don’t come home with any nasty disease. After all, this is Africa, and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity few people get to go.
The adventure started when I received my daily wake-up call from Maddie who no matter what major event is about to happen, still wants to be fed on her schedule. I did not need to board a plane until the evening (flight left at 10:15 pm PST) and so I went about my Sunday as usual. With suitcase in hand, and a uneventful ride to the airport, I started my adventure.
But things were not going to be uneventful for long……
Seattle Washington to Washington DC:
I feel TSA hates me at SEA-TAC. No other airport TSA has ever made me feel horrible as the TSA agents at SEA-TAC. Seriously they hate me. One minute everything is going just great and next I’m having a full body pat down all over my cell phone! Thank goodness the guy (yes it was a male who did this pat down!!!) decided not to explore certain places I should not mention. After finding nothing I was let go to board my flight.
But it still gets better! Getting told by United Airline’s gatekeeper “I’m in timeout” because there was a backup on boarding the flight. After awhile it got old when he went further in saying “don’t mess with me.” He was joking I hope because of a 10:15 pm PST. I really had not brain complicity to comprehend if he was. I joke about it, but in a way, it bothered me for some odd reason. I may have something to do with a certain incident involving a passenger being kicked off a flight three weeks prior.
To make matters even worst, economy class is horrible with all of us in our group crammed like sardines in the back to plane near the toilets. The turbulence was horrible for a red-eye flight, jolting out anyone from a little nap. At one point I did become sick enough to not know if it was low blood sugar, low blood pressure, or the stifling heat from all the bodies crammed in a metal tube. After eating a whole Pro Meal Bar and drinking some water I began to feel a little better and no longer felt like I was going to faint. I will not be flying United red-eye anytime soon after this experience. No one on the plane got any sleep except the guy in the same row as me by the window who snored all the way from Seattle to Virginia. He must have been a frequent flier to have that talent.
When we all arrived in Virginia (Washington Dulles International Airport) no one got any sleep, all of us were at Starbucks like real true Seattle-lite and hoping the next flight would produce some sleep on the way to Ethiopia. The layover was five hours long of staring out the terminal windows at a beautiful sunny day in Virginia (and warm too) with flatness for miles. Trying not to be perplexed by the souvenirs being sold with the word “Washingtonian” which is weird since this is what people in Washington State are called, and hoping we all can have some sleep before touching down in Ethiopia.
Washington DC to Ethiopia: Thirteen hours of flying across the world at this point and you wonder how is this possible to be going forward instead of going backward? The flight was uneventful (unlike the red-eye) and I slept through most of the thirteen hours to combat the jet lag enough to function for the next few traveling hours to Tanzania. On the plane’s flight progress screen, the flight took us over Spain, Portugal, Egypt, part of Morocco, and Sudan. All those countries below ready to be explored in the near future. On the flight, I was in a row with a woman who was traveling back home to Ethiopia from the states, and she informed me it was winter time in Ethiopia. No snow on the ground except in the higher peaks (the plane flew over some white peaks) and it looked mostly arid desert. Snow is unheard of in these parts of Africa. The airport Addis Ababa is at the foot of Mount Entoto and near the city of Addis Ababa. The airport is an open, sparse hub for Ethiopian Airlines and got really humid waiting for the next flight to Tanzania. It was here I first encountered a semi-squat toilet and learned toilet paper is not flush-able but instead has to be put into a little trash bin by the toilet after use.
After waiting four hours for our group’s flight to Tanzania in the airport terminal, we boarded the flight, and I can say I have stepped on Ethiopian soil while walking across the tarmac to the waiting plane. I was very much glad to have a whole row to myself which meant I could look out the window when the plane arrived in Tanzania.
Ethiopia to Tanzania:
The flight was interesting because it was four hours and they fed us all lunch. Surprise! Once the plane touched down at Kilimanjaro International Airport, it was one of those scenes out of the Ladies Detective Series where there is a huge commercial plane next to a small town airport in the middle of nowhere Africa. As soon as I stepped off the plane the humid heat hit you full on. And being at the end point of travel all my traveling companions agreed we stunk of body odor and need to shower so bad! Getting a travel visitor visa took a while to complete especially in the humid heat with no cool air to relieve. Most of us girls had rosy red cheeks from heat by the time we all reached to window to hand over our passport, visa application, and our $100 USD (must be a $100 bill, not five $20 bills, or pay in Euros or higher weighted currency, and not Tanzanian shillings) to the immigration officer. Then after approval, get the real visa stamped into the passport at the visa verification line before picking up our luggage. It’s a process, a long one when there is a huge plane full of people, and I think next time I will apply for the visa prior to leaving the US. After all of us successfully got through visa line, we all boarded a bus to head to our hotel in Arusha.
Green Mountain Hotel, Arusha Tanzania: Our drive to Arusha from the airport took little over an hour passing what is considered in America as slums where garbage dump is next to a muddy river bank, people rummaging around in it, dogs roaming around, people walking along the road carrying large bundles of stuff home, fields of maize or corn, and crazy driving like never seen in the USA. This is what would be called poverty with muddy dirt roads leading off the paved roads into muddy red dirt roads with shacks crammed together. It is very different from what you see in the Americas.
Our group checked into a small hotel in the middle a busy neighborhood outside Arusha proper. Green Mountain Hotel is where we all staying for five of the nights we were in Tanzania (other was a Lutheran hotel). Once checked in I crashed for three hours before dinner from all the jet-lag. Which did not help later when it was time to actually go to bed. Dinner was a gathering of all of us eating family style, and meeting four new members of our team. After dinner it was off to figure out how to use the shower and then crash again for bed.
More Information: Flights: United Airlines (Seattle to Washington DC) & Ethiopian Airlines (Washington DC to Tanzania) Hotel:Green Mountain Hotel
The question most asked when I tell people Tanzania is where Northwest University is being called to serve in community development. The thing is most have heard of this country from stories of daring climbers who summit Mt. Kilimanjaro and the old world charm of going on a safari and Disney’s Lion King to name of few. But beyond these thrill adventures is a world very few even touch. The porter who lugged your suitcase to your room, the tour guide driving the vehicle on safari, go home to a very different world beyond the luxury we as travelers enjoy. After all, this is Africa, and even in East Africa, there is still poverty starring the traveler straight in the eye.
Beyond the wall of a luxury resort is a reality seen by few who look closely. Even though Tanzania is relatively a safe country, there is still citizens who live below the poverty level of a $1 a day, and unrest still in present in some parts of the country. You can say it all stems from unrest, wars, colonial period (German and British) and refugees coming from other African countries. All are true, and all are a part of the fabric of what makes the Tanzanian people such a vibrant group of people.
This vibrant group of people is the reason why I went to Tanzania. A once in a lifetime opportunity to see the world from a different perspective, and to find what I have been told is Ubantu, “the belief we are defined by our compassion and kindness towards others.” Something I found to be the heart and soul of the people of Tanzania and Africa.
In the following posts is a recount of my journey in the heart of Tanzania, and the ubantu of Africa.
Finding lovely in moments of life. As I move on to the next decade of my life, I want to reflect on the lovely moments in my twenties. The small details that are at times overlooked during a period of life when learning to be an adult is the hardest. Where the bigger picture in one’s head drowns out the smaller pictures making up the bigger one. This is what being twenty is about, finding lovely and looking for lovely in the smaller aspects of life.
I’ve made most of my twenties by working hard at my jobs and played a fair amount along the way. I ran half marathons, ran from God and then ran back to him and flung my arms around his neck saying please don’t let go. I have read countless books on many topics. I ate a lot, stopped eating, then started eating differently, and more healthy. Developed healthier relationships with God, my body, and friendships. I have traveled to places, dreamed and took scary steps to the next stage in life. I have had good days, ugly moments, ugly cried and laugh-cried my way through ten years. Days have been long, but these years were short and time was sweet summer nights on a front porch.
I have wrecked and renewed relationships. Loved my friends and failed them. Times I have asked myself where all my friends had gone and then learn to be a better friend. I have built friendships from the ground up and resurrected relationships after I set fire to them through careless actions. I have pushed my family away and then ran back to them to seek comfort and security I needed. I sought meaning, love, and value where there were not meant to be sought. I have been broken and emptied before I could slowly patch myself up and be filled again. I have questioned my motives and at times God. I have said goodbye to destructive relationships with people who were toxic. I have left a trail of broken and imperfect steps of my past behind me as I did so. I left an abusive relationship and became stronger in my single season of healing. I have poured myself into others lives as they have poured theirs lives into mine. I can never say I wouldn’t do anything differently but looking back I called it redeemed life.
I’ve changed for the better. In the ten years, I’ve worked hard, taken risks, changed jobs, and changed direction. Changed my philosophies and perspectives about what is life. I’ve been changed by my faith and my faith has changed me. I have left behind many of the misconceptions I once held to be true. I have dropped, picked up and then dropped again the baggage of my past I have collected. I have found new joy in same old things I have been doing for years. I have been stagnant, stretched and renewed. I have broken out of my introverted shell only to later retreat to long time comforts of being an introvert. I’ve held titles of a student, lab assistant, lab technician, research associate, friend, blogger, daughter, sister, girlfriend, learner, wander and beloved. I’ve evolved into a person my twenty-year-old self would not be able to recognize, but I think she would love a whole lot.
Looking back I have pictured myself as a twenty-year-old a career, marriage, and possibly a baby, but along the way, things changed. There are mere lovely details along the path to thirty that makes up for the disappointments of my twenty-year-old self. My twenties taught me anything it’s changed is slow and often imperceptible at the whole of a period. The tiny moments collected along the way propelling forward into bustling new life ahead. I see this as a view a small part of the larger picture of my life. I have found lovely in my twenties.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~John 14:27