I apologize for my long silence these past few months. My PhD work has been keeping me much busier than I expected, and last semester was the most difficult three months of school I’ve ever had since starting kindergarden. Because, I’ll admit, I did once go through a fingerpainting crisis that still gives me nightmares sometimes. So what have I been up to while not writing for skepchick?
Over the past few months, I survived differential equations, dated some rocks, divorced my advisor (“It’s not you… it’s me”), found a new advisor, designed a new thesis topic, submitted funding applications for this new project, lost weight, lost sleep, lost my mind (at times), learned about double diffusive convection, contemplated plagioclase, decided to leave my advisor sooner (“I think it’s better if we don’t drag things on”), arranged a new source of salary, fell in love, took up astronomy, remembered that I love to rock climb, made peace with my advisor (“I’m glad that you can still be part of my life” See? It really is like divorcing someone), and went to South Africa.
I bought my ticket to Africa during my Thanksgiving “break,” which I spent carefully selecting crystals under a microscope. I was overworked and exhausted, so I decided I needed to take a trip. I went all-out and planned a two week vacation in South Africa in January. I had an amazing trip. Cape Town, where I spent most of my time, is a breathtakingly beautiful city. I was outside every day. I went swimming, climbing, hiking, spelunking, and sightseeing. I saw many incredible animals– penguins, various kinds of buck, ostriches, lions, baboons, rhinos, and many kinds of birds. I also saw some incredible geology.
Anyway, in the next few weeks I plan to write some about the geology and wildlife of South Africa as well as about my current research, including some of the scientific results from my summer cruise to study volcanoes in the Indian Ocean. I’m looking forward to being back!
As a preview, here are a few photos from my recent Africa trip: