:: eye of the storm ::

About Me

A 27-year-old PA student who wants to visit all seven continents, write a book, work at a pediatric clinic in Africa, and basically meet as many of the world's challenges as possible.

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current mood

Life List

(already accomplished)

Become a PA

Visit all 7 continents

Take a SwimTrek trip

Bike through Western Europe

Raft the Grand Canyon

Improve my Spanish proficiency

Go on safari in Africa

Trace my roots at Ellis Island

Vacation in Hawaii

Work on a hospital ship in a Third World country

Celebrate New Year's in Times Square

Visit all 50 states (29 to go: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY)

See the ruins at Pompeii

Swim in Capri's Blue Grotto

Tour Mt. Vesuvius

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Tour the Colosseum

Visit the D-Day beaches

See the Mona Lisa

Visit the palace at Versailles

See the Acropolis and Parthenon

See the Egyptian pyramids

Hike the Inca Trail

Walk El Camino Santiago

Take an Alaskan cruise

View the Taj Mahal at sunrise

Hike Table Mountain in South Africa

Climb through the Amazon canopy

Walk at least part of the Great Wall of China

Get laser hair removal

Learn to surf, ski, and snowboard

Learn to drive a stick-shift

Learn to play the piano

Go on a tropical cruise

Ride horseback on the beach

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get tickets to the Olympics

Go to adult Space Camp

Witness a shuttle launch from up close

Build a full-sized snowman

Sew a quilt out of my old race T-shirts

Update and continue my Life Scrapbook

Become the oldest person to ever do the River Run

Live to be a happy, healthy 100 years old - at least!

(unlikely dreams)

maandag 13 december 2004

OK - first exam, done. It was just swimming, though, and I'm sure I got a hundred - it was even easier than the midterm. I'm kind of sorry that class is over, but at the same time I'm glad I'll be moving on to Aerobic Swimming next semester. I didn't sign up for that at first because I thought it was like water aerobics, but that's not it at all - it's the 'workout' swimming class. Looking forward to that. :)

Tomorrow - nothing, Wednesday - TESL (bah), Thursday - anthropology, and Friday - astronomy... and then I'm DONE!!!

I've been doing some more research on that Channel-swimming idea, and I really think I could do it. It's not going to be easy, though - it's a distance of 21 miles, which is made longer by the currents and tides (you end up swimming something of an S-shape) and the water is very cold, usually between 58 and 62 degrees. You also have to do a qualifying swim of at least six hours in water no warmer than 60 degrees. (There's a swim around Manhattan Island every July which a lot of swimmers use as preparation - the water isn't as cold, but other than that, the conditions are very similar. I don't know if I'd be ready for that by this summer, but definitely by next year.)

And you obviously have to train a lot, in pools as well as in open water, with the focus not on speed but on being able to swim nonstop for hours. I gave that a go today (in the #$%^& 88-degree pool - ugh! Too hot!), but the important point I forgot was hydration. You don't realize how much you sweat in the water. Rehydrating has usually not been that important for me because I don't swim for longer than an hour and a half or so and I've never swum longer than about a half mile without stopping for a few minutes, just because there was no reason to do otherwise. But today I swam 2700 meters (about 1 and 2/3 miles) and then started feeling nauseous, so I stopped, drank a little water - and then was perfectly fine within a minute. Even swam a few IMs after that (with butterfly). Guess that boat is important for more reasons than one - not only do they pull you out if you can't make it, but they feed and/or hydrate you every 20 minutes or so. Plus they're your support group. If and when I get to the point where I'm sure I'm going to at least attempt this, I bet R would go along as coach/masseuse/friend all rolled into one, haha.

Oh, and as a side note: another plus to all this is that my build puts me at an advantage - a lot of smaller people have to gain as much as 30 or 40 pounds to insulate them against the cold. I didn't know that when I first started looking into this, but it turns out I have pretty much the perfect body makeup to do it. Cool.

On to another topic... P is gone - vacation in South FL for a while, then back home to Finland; I won't see her again - and R's mom is here. She got in this afternoon after traveling for over 24 hours (Cape Town to London to New York to Orlando, plus an airport switch in London). She's never even been outside South Africa before, so this is a major deal. She and R are going to New York for a week at Christmas - I've forgotten the date, but I think they're leaving after I do. And then she's staying until the 12th before she flies home again. I haven't really talked to her at all yet, but it's really funny to hear her and R jabbering away in Afrikaans. I can understand a lot of what they say, so it's fun to try to eavesdrop. R and I speak Afrikaans and Dutch to each other sometimes, if we're talking about someone or if we're just being silly, but it's cool to hear it 'for real' again. Reminds me of J, my friend from camp in 2002. If this Semester at Sea pans out, I've got to try to look her up when we're in Cape Town.

Speaking of Semester at Sea, I got a couple of things done for that today - my official transcript and my disciplinary clearance both got mailed, so now my application is complete and they can process it and give me the yea or nay and send me the scholarship info. (I debated waiting until after break, when my Fall grades would be in, but I'm above a 3.5 already so I suppose it doesn't really matter.) I also wrote to two teachers and got them to agree to write letters of recommendation for me, plus got another copy of my transcript, which I needed for a different application (there are five in total). So the only things I still have to do are write three essays (for various scholarship applications), pay the $150 deposit (waiting until my Spring aid is in before I do that!), and get passport photos taken. Oh yeah, and do the Academic Advising forms saying what classes I'll be taking, but I can hold off on those - I'll have basically no requirements left, so it shouldn't be too difficult.

I know I shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch, but I'm fairly certain I'll get a $2000 scholarship from the International Center and a $1000 scholarship from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (so both from within the university). That plus my normal scholarships makes about $7000... plus I've applied for a lot more things, plus I'm appealing to businesses, plus applying for a scholarship through Semester at Sea itself, plus I'll have some money of my own after next semester and after the summer of working... so we'll just have to see how it plays out. The goal is $20,000 - 15k for the cabin and 5k for in-country trips and airfare to and from the departure and arrival points - and more would not be remiss.

OK, this is a long, random, stream-of-consciousness entry... so... goodbye!

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