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Learn something new everyday #1

39% of Americans believe that evolution is real. Most of that percentage believe it from a theist point of view.

Well, that’s a start. 39% is an abominable number though.

Most of scientific findings are ignored by the public. Many of these findings are extremely important to the global scope of things. The problem is that people are too wrapped up in things like celebrity gossip, fashion, wedding trends, or diets. The problem is that we’re putting terrible things into our bodies without knowing what they’re doing to us. I feel like an idiot when I’ve read too much celebrity news or watched too much TV. My brain turns to mush. I feel much better when I’m stimulated by knowledge or good music (not like bassnectar, though he’s got his place in my heart.)

If you go on a raw food diet, you may not realize that it’s not going to be as healthy as you think. You need to cook and use oils for foods to be usable for your body. Salad needs dressing, or the essential amino acids you’re trying to get out of the vegetables aren’t going to be absorbed into your body!

Science can help you.

I’m going to try to help science.

Here is a TED talk (if you don’t know what TED is, check it out!) about the science gap. It’s definitely something to think about. It’s also the first in my series of posts attempting to help narrow the science gap.

You should also check out phdcomics.com, even though you may not get it if you’re not in academia. Try it anyway! I spent my last week procrastinating by going through all of them (they started in 1996!).

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7th inning stretch

7th inning stretch

I’m so glad I sucked it up and used my winter break on an amazing study abroad trip.

I’m so glad I didn’t necessarily care if I made good friends with the people I met on it, because that took a lot of pressure off.

I’m so glad I ended up becoming friends with the people I met through this program. I was sure I’d like them, but I didn’t expect us to try to hang out afterward. The first week we were back, half of us went to see the Hobbit, and the next weekend we had a party at one of our houses. Next week we’re planning a dinner date and soon after that we’re going to try to get together for another party.
I didn’t need necessarily new people to go on dinner dates with, and that’s not what I’m most thankful for.

I’m thankful for the resources I gained. I have chemistry every day with one kid that I met, and thank goodness I do, because it helps me get through it. It puts pressure on me to do well, and allows me to show what I know (you learn better when you teach it!). My four hour Friday lab isn’t so bad when I have friends working alongside me.

These are all genuinely good people. I had low(ish) expectations for them, so they easily exceeded my expectations and that’s wonderful. When we were in Costa Rica, it sort of felt like high school because we were constantly together and got way too close way too fast. It was really great to be able to relax and get to know a group of strangers like that.

I’m thankful that even in my last semester of college I could still find a new group to call home. The trip was kind of like a 7th inning stretch – a last chance to find something new at IU.

Cocinar para uno

Cocinar para uno

Cooking for one definitely takes practice, but I have it down to an art.  My bank account is totally empty and most of the food in my pantry takes too much work, but I’m trying to use up everything instead of buying more groceries. (Since I can’t afford to anyway.)

Tonight, I tried a different spin on my ho-hum tilapia and rice meal. Instead of rice, my carb was a slice of my mom’s homemade Dakota bread (my absolute favorite kind!) that had been in my freezer for months, and I had roasted brussels sprouts and onions for my veggie! It was delicious. I’m glad I discovered brussels! I’m worried I’m going to get a bitter bunch someday and hate them.

Who says meals on a college budget have to be ramen?

I’m also running out of coffee (and it’s old anyway), so I got some of my coffee from Costa Rica out of the freezer and ground up a serving in the blender. The difference between this cup and the cup I had this morning that I bought here in the States is amazing. I can’t drink my US-bought coffee black, and I feel like I’d ruin my rainforest coffee with anything I put in it-it’s that good! I always try to buy the best organic coffee here, too.

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The coffee I’m drinking is from the finca de cafe that we visited – maybe some of my beans came from this bush!

Family Dinner

Family Dinner

I may have mentioned this before in a better post. My sister is a PhD candidate here at IU, and she lives about two blocks from my house. Her boyfriend lives across the street from her, so this year we’ve had family dinners with his roommates, her roommates, and me and my roomie.

Family dinner hasn’t happened in a long time, and I felt that since school hasn’t gotten too overwhelming for me yet I’d offer to cook to kick off a new season of dinners. I didn’t document my cooking this time because I got back from my long weekend with Steven late and had to rush to prepare the meal. So, no crappy food pictures for you. (sorry!)

I made spinach and cheese manicotti, garlic bread (straight from the grocery store, not homemade), and a romaine salad with apple, feta, craisins, almonds, and a vinaigrette that I made myself. I think the salad was the best part, but of course the pasta was delicious as well. I didn’t make enough for seconds (cheese is expensive!), but I hope that everyone was filled up. I definitely could have eaten more, but I’m not hungry at all and I don’t feel the need to snack before bed, so I hope the portions were equally as satisfying for the rest of the group. At least I got everyone together to hang out before the work week starts again!

So, there was my recipe #1 (and technically #2 but I’ll say meals made) for 2013. I got it here.

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Six for S&S

Six for S&S

Another thing that happened over winter break… Steven and I celebrated our six year anniversary! We had to have our dinner early since I was in Costa Rica on our actual anniversary. We went to Fuji for sushi and it was less than impressive but still delicious, and afterward we went to Zach & Jordan’s for a game night of Cranium and Bananagrams.

I can’t believe it’s been six years already (are we even old enough for that?), and yet I can’t believe it’s only been six years. Steven knows me through and through, and though sometimes he doesn’t understand me at all, his love and support never waver. I’m so thankful that we have persevered through five years of long distance, because I couldn’t imagine my life with anyone else.

Pura Vida – Costa Rica

Pura Vida – Costa Rica

I mentioned in my last post that I recently went to Costa Rica. I was there for a tropical biology class — 3 credits in 11 days. It was my last chance to study abroad in college and I’m so glad I was able to go!

We visited the cloud forest of Monteverde, the rainforest of La Selva, Arenal Volcano, Cerro de la Muerte, the beach of Tamarando, and the capital city of San Jose. We were in mostly rural areas so I’m sure I don’t have an accurate idea of how life for most people in Costa Rica really is, but what I saw, I want. I would love to live in the mountains, farm, and rebuild the forest. I can’t really describe the experience, so I’ll just show some of my favorite pictures.Image

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2013

2013

I’m back! Since my last post, I turned 22, passed all my finals with better than expected results, had a semi-relaxing winter break at home with my family and friends, and traveled to Costa Rica.

I wasn’t going to make any new year’s resolutions, but the more I think about it, I’ve realized I want to set some goals for myself. Here goes:

  1. Make 10 new recipes. This may seem like nothing much, but I’m quite certain I only cooked meals off a recipe twice last year. My diet is mainly pasta and couscous.
  2. Run 200 miles. I would really like to run a mini this year, but the entry fee may keep me from that, so I’ll just do it for pretend. Last year I did just a little over 70 miles in real runs, and I wasn’t exercising regularly at all. I can do this.
  3. Learn Spanish. I used to know basic conversational spanish, but apparently I have forgotten everything and when I was in Costa Rica I felt extremely inadequate. I can understand 30x more than I can speak, so this year I want to get what I knew back and more.
  4. Learn actively. It’s my last semester of college and I need to figure what I want to do afterwards. Looking into things that interest me may help open my eyes to subjects I’ve never considered.
  5. Come up with some kind of plan for my future. There are a lot of fields I’m interested in, but I don’t know anything about how to get into them. I need to use my professors as a resource while I’m still here in Bloomington and try to organize my thoughts.
  6. Do things I enjoy on a regular basis. This includes taking more pictures, hiking, birding, cooking, doing crafts, etc. Enough of this wasting my time stalking other people’s lives, I need to live my own.
  7. Keep up with current events. I don’t know much about what’s going on in the world around me. I’m going to listen to more public radio and read more papers so I can form my own opinions and be able to support them in conversation.

As a way to keep myself in check, I’m going to try to blog about as much of this as possible so I can look back and grade myself. Wish me luck!Image