A collection of thoughts about nature, life, and trying to achieve my dreams.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Where do I go from here?

So I've decided to update this thing again. Maybe I'll do it more often now, or maybe this is a one-time thing.

It's been a whirlwind of a year. Bouncing from place to place, attending weddings, trying to keep up with schoolwork- I feel like there's barely been a moment to breathe. But now, as this summer is settling out, I've realized something. Compared to last year, which was what I like to call highly structured chaos, this coming year is like a vacuum. Everything is up in the air and I don't know when it will come back down to earth and let me know what's going on.

It feels weird to not know where I'm going next. Not just my next vacation or volunteer trip, but in life. I guess it's finally sinking in because I've started applying to veterinary schools, and I honestly don't know what to expect. My plan in my head (which has been there as long as I can remember) is to attend Cornell Veterinary School. I think I'd like Ithaca, the culture there seems to mesh pretty well with my own personality and the winters can't be TOO bad, right? Right? Okay, let's face it I'll probably freeze there. But it's where I want to be, and so I'm willing to take that risk.

Recently, however, the possibility that I've always known has finally begun to sink in. What if I don't get in? Regardless of what friends and family say about my grades and my extracurricular activities, I know that there's a very real chance that I WON'T get in, because getting into veterinary school is hard. Like, really hard.

So if I don't end up there, where will I go? I'm applying to schools all over the place because well, if I'm not going where I originally wanted to, why not go somewhere crazy like London? Or Dublin? Or Australia? (My parents have their arguments against this, but have not been convincing enough to keep me from applying).

Of course, there are other American schools to which I'm applying. I could end up at the OSU in Columbus, Ohio with my cousin and her fiancĂ©... er... well I guess he's actually her husband now. I'm still getting used to that. Or maybe I'll be in Philly, close to my friend Amber. Or perhaps Tufts, just 40 minutes from my brother in Boston.

Basically, all of this not-knowing is killing me. But not because I'm scared of any of the situations, except maybe the one where no one accepts me. But even then I could take a gap year or apply late to St. Georges. My problem is that ALL of these options are appealing to me in different ways, and I don't know how to choose. Having options is kind of terrifying. When I applied to undergraduate, I had already decided that I wanted to be at Stony Brook, and I was reasonably sure that they would accept me. I applied to two other schools to make my parents happy and to give myself an out in case I decided I had to leave Long Island, but really, the choice was made before I applied.

I wish Veterinary School could be like that. I wish that I didn't have to run through all of these back-up plans and just-in-case scenarios. Maybe all of this fretting is for naught, and I'll get into Cornell and that will be that. But I can't bank on that, and I won't know what's going to happen until spring semester next year. And that's what terrifies me.

This picture was taken on Long Island. But it could be anywhere. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


"Something has changed within me/ something is not the same." -Elphaba (Wicked)

It's been a long time since I posted here.

Sorry to start out with a cheesy broadway quote, but it's been bouncing around my head lately because I really feel it. I don't know how to describe what I'm feeling but since coming back from Galapagos, things are just different. I feel restless, impatient, and almost apathetic, all at the same time. In the past year, I've seen so many different places and ways of living that I just can't quantify what I want anymore.

It's difficult to tell if this last trip was more influential than the rest, or if it's just a cumulative effect, but I'm feeling more and more disconnected from society. When I returned from Costa Rica and Honduras, I felt the disconnect initially, and then it faded. Now, I feel like it's growing stronger.

I lost my cell phone yesterday, and to be honest, I don't want it back. I will switch my service over to my mom's old blackberry at some point today, but if I don't find my droid, I'm seriously considering buying a cheap phone with just texting and phone-calling capabilities- you know, the "simple life." I think I'm more concerned about my reaction to losing my phone than about the actual absence of a phone from my life.

On the other hand, I'm quite excited for all of my classes this semester. And I'm excited about applying to vet school at the end of the semester. And I'm excited about Ghana and Harry Potter World and all of the other things I'm doing.

I don't really know where I'm going with any of this, but whatever this change is, I don't think it's a bad thing. Don't worry about me- I'm not depressed or anything. And also don't take it personally if I act strangely or seem disinterested in you. This is just another part of my growth as a person, and it may take some time to settle out.

Or, I could be completely wrong and it's just a short phase from my re-assimilation into the grand old American way of life. Only time will tell.

And here's a reward for reading through this nonsense:

It's a picture of a blue-footed booby with Daphne Major in the background. I guess that's really only a reward for biology/evolution nerds, but oh well, this is my blog.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day.
I am straight, and although I think coming out day should be EVERY day, I think that this is a way for people to feel more sense of community and raise awareness, and I fully support that.

My brother is gay. More importantly, my brother is a great person, a role model, one of the smartest people I know, and a valuable friend and mentor. He is my big brother and I am happy to see him in a committed and loving relationship that makes him happy, regardless of whether the other person is male or female.

To all of my friends and family- gay, straight, or bi, I wish you nothing but the best in life and love, because everyone deserves to have someone they love to live out the rest of their life with.

No one should ever have to feel ashamed of their love- it is our purest emotion and one of the things that unites us as humans. So go out and love someone today. And if you need some help deciding on where to start, how about loving yourself?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to School

I've said goodbye to the long hot days of summer, patrolling the interactive salt marsh for signs of spider-crab abuse, and explaining AGAIN and AGAIN that no, the horseshoe crab will not stab, sting, bite, pinch or otherwise harm you with his tail or any other body parts. As much as I love my job at the aquarium, I was beginning to feel burnt out because of how rushed and jam-packed my summer had been, so I am eager to return next summer with a fresh outlook.

So now, as my second week of junior year (yikes!) is wrapping up, I finally feel like I'm starting to settle back into the rhythms of collegiate life. I'm all settled into my new apartment (sorry to all of the Toscanini friends I abandoned, but I really like living in West!), and I've only eaten campus food twice (and those two times were because I went out with people to get food)!

This year is going to be a lot different in a lot of ways, but I'm excited for the changes! I am one of those people who gets bored by routine (which is probably why running/exercising never really worked for me), and I am really excited because all of these changes will help me work towards my independence and my career in veterinary medicine.

The hardest part about the change will be seeing less of people who I am used to seeing almost every day, and budgeting my time so that I do get to spend time with everyone! Does anyone else ever feel like they're spread too thin socially? I'm not saying I think I'm super popular by any means, but I find myself revolving around a few core groups of friends, with some overlapping events, but otherwise all existing in separate spheres.

Sometimes, I feel like more than one person. It's not that I'm fake, or putting on a front when I hang out with different people, but different facets of my personality become stronger or subtler, depending on who I'm hanging out with. I truly enjoy all of the things I do with my free time- from riding my horse, to going to social events, to watching Doctor Who, playing boardgames, or even just roaming around campus and being spontaneous- but I find that I fall into a pattern as to what friend group I do each of those things with. I guess everyone does this to some extent, but sometimes I feel like I don't have the ability to give each friend the attention, time, and friendship that everyone deserves. It's no wonder I don't have a boyfriend right now- I can barely juggle all of the friends and acquaintances that are already in my life!

So if you ARE reading this, and you ARE one of my friends, I'll say it right now- I'm sorry if we don't hang out as much as you'd like, I truly WANT to spend time with everyone, but there are only so many hours in the day, and I do have classes and homework and responsibilities to attend to. There's a reason I named this blog "Far Too Much."

So in that spirit, I'm just letting life take me where it will (which, as of right now, seems to point at Ecuador, Honduras, Ghana, and possibly Costa Rica again in the upcoming year). I just found out that my school offers some anthropology credits in Costa Rica over the winter, and so that might be my plan for the winter of senior year, because I'd love to learn some more about the CULTURE of Costa Rica, being that most of my current knowledge is about its ecological diversity.

If you'd like to learn more about my work in Honduras (and now Ghana), or even donate- every dollar helps!, please visit my fundraising pages:

You are welcome to make a donation on my behalf (to help with my personal program fee/expenses/fundraising goal) OR a general donation to the entire group, which would help cover medical supplies and other materials needed for the brigades. If you can't or don't want to donate at this time, please consider a random act of kindness just because giving feels so good!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Summer blows away...

And quietly gets swallowed by a wave..."
-The Decemberists

For whatever reason, the Decemberists always remind me of winter. Maybe it's because I first discovered that I liked them during the winter; maybe it's the fact that they're called the "DECEMBERists," but their songs always make me think of brisk fall days and cold, rainy, rocky beaches with pounding waves.

That's not to say that I don't listen to them in the summer (quite the contrary- I find them to be great "cooldown" music if I've been out in the sun too long!), but I just find it interesting that even in songs that have no mention of seasons or weather, I always imagine a chilly northern town, and there are often clouds in the sky.

This, along with their generally melancholy lyrics, has caused me to feel really sad/wistful/nostalgic lately when I hear them, because they remind me that summer is almost over and it will soon be time to trade my aquarium-issued polo, khaki shorts, and tevas for scarves, hoodies, and cozy flannel shirts. I used to think that I was a "seasons" kind of person- enjoying the different weathers for their unique qualities, but I learned this past summer that I am much better adapted for warm-weather living than cold. I used to be the type that was always arguing with my mom about the temperature in the house- she being invariably cold, and wanting to turn off the A/C or at least turn up the temperature. But now, being in air conditioning makes me shiver, and I spent all day at work today with a long-sleeved shirt under my sleeveless polo, and long khaki pants in lieu of my usual shorts.

It makes me thankful that I had the wonderful foresight to book myself another 3-week neotropical excursion this winter, and I'm pretty sure I will only make it through the winter by clinging to this idea. Hopefully I'm wrong, and my body will re-adapt to the fierce winds and freezing temperatures of my college campus, but I think I'll be bringing along lots of scarves and hoodies to school, just in case.

I guess this post doesn't have much of a point, except to express my sadness at summer's passing. I'm excited for the new semester and the opportunities it will bring, but after experiencing such a magical summer, it's difficult to let go and let the wave swallow me, as well. For now, I'll be clinging to those rocky shores of summer until I have no choice but to surrender my grip and let the winter take me where it will.

Pico the Japanese Macaque (aka Snow Monkey), who is looking forward to winter much more than I am!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Horse-Crazy? Or Just Crazy...

Today I had the day off from work. Rather, I specifically requested to have the day off. The reason? There was a horse show, and after so much traveling I am cramming to get back in shape in time for the Hampton Classic at the end of the month! Sounds reasonable right? Well, let me tell you how my day went.

First, after a not-so-great-night's sleep (dog barking at 2AM), I woke up a full hour earlier than I have to for work. 6:00AM isn't TOO bad on a normal night's sleep, but this was a bit much. Then, I left my house a full hour and a half before I have to for work, and proceeded to spend all day (all hot, humid, sticky day) walking around outside in long pants, leather boots, a long-sleeved shirt, and a wool coat. As if that weren't ENOUGH to make this sound crazy, add the fact that in the afternoon when I was showing, it started raining. Oh, and food? Who has TIME for food at a horse show? I went all day on just my early morning oatmeal, a cup of fruit salad, and half of a granola bar (the other half went to the real star of the day, Hero!). Add in the fact that I got home a full hour later than I would from work, and then factor in the idea that I was spending money rather than making it, and this whole picture could seem a little puzzling to a non-horse person.

But you know what? I loved EVERY minute of it. Hero was, like I said, the true shining star of the day, living up to his name by faithfully carrying me around even though it was only my 4th time riding since I got back! And that's what it's all about to me- the bond I share with this absolutely remarkable animal.

When I got home, hungry and tired from a long day, I whipped up some fresh-picked tomato and basil pasta. The tomatoes were amongst the sweetest, ripest tomatoes I've ever had, and all-in-all, it was the perfect way to end the day (plus, it was quick and easy to make!). Since my recent transition to weekday veganism (to help with my self control, I allow myself to indulge on egg and dairy products on weekends), I've had to be even more creative and selective about what I eat than usual, but tonight's meal was a nice throwback to old times- a meal I've been enjoying since I was old enough to chew solid food! I will admit, I didn't have the appreciation for tomatoes then that I do now, but even so, this dish is a better comfort food to me than the traditional mac-n-cheese or other fatty greasy dishes (it's a good thing since that I don't eat cheese, usually).

So although my day today was unconventional to say the least, and would not even fall on the radar for most people's definitions of a "good day," I can express nothing but gratitude and contentment at the way things have turned out, today and also just in my life in general!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Whirlwind Summer

Wow, I can't believe it's August already! With all of my traveling, my summer has absolutely flown by, and now that I'm working 4 days a week, it certainly isn't slowing down any.
Costa Rica was an absolutely magical experience for me- I had so many amazing experiences there I can't even think of how to sum it up here. Luckily, I kept a journal, so in the future I will probably post some excerpts from that.

Part of our trip included a day tour at Fundacion Santuario Silvestre de Osa, a wonderful little wildlife sanctuary that has had tremendous success in the rehabilitation and release of animals such as scarlet macaws, several species of monkey, and even top predators like ocelots. The owner, Carol, is an inspiration, and was a very lovely woman to talk to. To learn more, visit their website here.

It's weird to think that less than a month ago, I was living with virtually no internet, absolutely no cell phone, and allowing my sleep patterns to follow those of the primates we were studying- early to bed and early to rise! It's really quite astonishing, how quickly we can assimilate back into both the perks and the drawbacks of this modern life.

The rest of my summer entails working long hours and trying to find a balance between the easy rhythm of tropical rainforest life and the hustle and bustle of suburbia. I'll be sure to post my progress here, although I can't guarantee any degree of regularity with posts- sometimes I just get sick of the internet and need a break.