am I a mermaid yet…

This week has been incredible, mostly because I have been trying to fit in as many adventures into this last week as possible.  It is crazy to me that I leave a week from today, I am so sad about it.  I have fallen in love with the sea, and I don’t particularly feel the need to leave.  My ultimate dream would be if I could turn into a mermaid and just live under there.  The underwater landscape here is like another universe.  The water is so crystal clear than when I am submerged I don’t even feel like I am in the water.  I feel like I am soaring above schools of fish, just weightless and flying.  I could spend my whole life exploring down there, it is just incredible.  Furthermore, I am going to be so heartbroken leaving the friends I have met here.  We haven’t left eachother yet, and we have planned several reunions and vacations.  These people are truly awesome, and I have no doubt I will have these friends for the rest of my life.

So Saturday I had a dive in the morning, where I went to my favorite dive spot, The Grotto.  The coral is undescribable, there is so much to see, and so many different species it is just so beautiful.  I swam through garden eels, who pop their head up and wiggle above the sand, until you swim over them and they retreat back to their homes.  I saw many southern stingrays, which I think are such beautiful creatures.  Overall it was just a stress-free dive, exactly what I needed before it was time to study for finals.

100 feet under the deep, not the best photo cause red light doesn't penetrate this deep, but know the colors were vibrant, just look at all these different species of corals
100 feet under the deep, not the best photo cause red light doesn’t penetrate this deep, but know the colors were vibrant, just look at all these different species of corals

After my dive, Luda and I headed to my friendship family’s house.  We did some coloring with Moeisha, she has an incredible imagination.  She is also so adorable and loves our company.  When we were at the house her mom reminded her that we leave so soon, she got really sad and it broke my heart.  It is actually so upsetting to see all of these kids form connections with the students, who only leave every semester to get replenished with a new group.   Anyways, we also hung out with her older siblings, than Luda and I played outside with the kids, biking and running around!  It was a blast

running with Moeisha on my back
running with Moeisha on my back
Swinging with Moeisha
Swinging with Moeisha
moeisha drew a dog.  Complete with a nose, back lumps and seven legs
moeisha drew a dog. Complete with a nose, back lumps and seven legs

After friendship family it was time for outreach.  Outreach was super chill because it was national “stop violence against children day”.  Violence against children is a pretty common thing here, which is so different from back in the states.  I have heard countless kids talk to me about times they have been beat by their parents.  Some times it is for the silliest things, like getting their hair wet.  It makes me so sad, but at the same time I get that raising children is different in different cultures, there is not one correct way to bring up a kid.  The announcer at the event made sure to tell the audience, after talking about how bad violence/rape against children is, she said “you can discipline your children however you want, but don’t kill them!”  like oh good, glad you specified.  There was also a poetry contest, where the kids wrote about ‘violence against children”  Sounds like many of them had friends that were beaten so bad they have to go to Provo, or got sexually assalted so they got new parents.  It was kind of a shock to me, but I guess it was good it spread awareness.  Those things happen in America too, I am just usually oblivious to what’s going on I suppose.  So ya, after this, I went back to the center and took a nap (passed out so hard…exhausting day).  Saturday night was spent at Darrel’s and the fishermen dock.  I was enjoying throwing rocks into the ocean, so I guess that happened for a good chunk of the night, cause my arms were so sore the next day.

Sunday was dedicated to studying.  I had 3 finals this week.  Marine ecology on Monday, resource management on Tuesday, and environmental policy on wednesday.  So my studying consisted on laying out next to the pool with my friends tanning, and quizzing each other about the material.  We had some music bumping, and honestly it was so much fun.  I wish all my finals studying was like this.

This is my study spot, literally steps away from my bedroom down a little path.  SO COOl
This is my study spot, literally steps away from my bedroom down a little path. SO COOl

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The next few days were spent with tanning, studying, and some dock jumping.  Yesterday I finished my finals, and I was so excited.  Luda, Kirby, Shayna, Kristen and I all went to East Bay as soon as we were done with the test at like 10am. We tanned, and snorkeled a ton.  There is a small cay off a sandbar, so we all swam like a mile to explore this little island.  It was the most incredible sight I have seen here.  I don’t even know if words will do it justice.  There were gorgeous pink conch shells scattered everywhere, dramatic cliffs, and crystal clear tide pools.  I found so many cool shells and enjoyed the view of the ocean. We also had a nice little picnic on East Bay.  I had saved avocados from the night before, so I had an avocado sandwich, it was so delicious!

Kristen celebrating her last undergrad finals ever (she is a senior and officially done with school)
Kristen celebrating her last undergrad finals ever (she is a senior and officially done with school)

DCIM100GOPRO

beautiful helmet conch
beautiful helmet conch
View from Fish Cay
View from Fish Cay

DCIM100GOPRO

Me Luda and Kirby enjoying the view
Me Luda and Kirby enjoying the view

We didn’t leave East Bay until around 3:00, it was a long day at the beach.  When I returned to the center I worked on my paper for Directed Research which is due Sunday.  I honestly am procrastinating that so bad right now, I don’t even know where to start with my statistics.  OH WELL.  So at 5:00 me Lindsey, paige and natalie headed to the police station.  It was super random, but one night when the government officials came for dinner at the center, Natalie and I were talking to one guy about how we haven’t had lobster on South, so he offered to cook us some!  We saw him when we were out on Saturday night and decided to take him up on his offer.  And I am so glad we did, he fried us some lobster, and it was delicious!!  YUM.  We had to return back to the center at 7:30, so we didn’t have much time to hang out.  At 7:30 we reviewed our marine ecology tests, eek.

lobster tails
lobster tails
frying it up
frying it up

I actually did better than I thought I did, so I am just relieved that it is over.  After the text review, I went turtling.  I am so pumped I got to go, because it was the last turtling opportunity of the semester, and only 10 students could sign up, luckily I saw the board right after he put it up.  It was an incredible evening.  Now, I didn’t even see a turtle, but snorkeling at night was so cool.  Because all the buddy pairs split up to find turtles,we were off by ourselves in the darkness of the night.  I was partners with Jess, and we experienced some awesome luminescence.  We turned off our lights, and would wave our hands, and the water would literally light up.  It was so fascinating to me, ahh such a cool experience.  I kept on asking her to turn her light off so I could play with the lights. We also saw a comb jelly, and it was like a scene out of Blue Planet.  When it ungulates, there was like a rainbow of color pulsing down its body.  It is really hard to describe but it was very very cool!  The stars were also out at full force, making an incredible scene.  The moon was super low on the horizon, and it was literally a red crescent.  It was super cool.  I also wasn’t really scared of the darkness, I guess a few times my heart jumped into my throat when I thought I saw a huge shadow, of course my mind was making up these shark figurines, but it was okay.  The highlight of my night was when we saw a beautiful stingway soaring literally feet away from us.  It was not frightened by our presence, it was just peacefully swimming around, such a cool experience, I will never forget.  I am so excited for this Saturday night, when we will have our last night dive!

Now today is Thanksgiving, and it doesn’t feel like it at all.  It is probably 85 degrees per usual, and I am not surrounded by my family.  I will definitely be missing them quite a bit today, ah one more week!  I woke up at 7:00 this morning to help cook.  I am not a huge thanksgiving fan, and I don’t love the foods that are typical, so I decided I should just cook something I knew I would enjoy.  So I made a gigantic batch us garlic/sesame edamame.  It is delicious, except cooking 70 portions is much different than what I am used to.  It took a gigantic pan, and an entire stick of butter.  But I got a little of the thanksgiving experience getting to use the kitchen.  The smells in there were amazing.  There were pies, chocolate peanut butter desserts, gravy, and even pumpkin whoopie pies.  I am excited to enjoy these tonight!  Well, for now it is time for me to work on my paper.  I have all today and tomorrow, it is going to be interesting! Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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