Archive for May, 2013

Registration and Last Words05.24.13

When there are multiple videos on how to register for a certain class, the system may be a little too complicated. Especially if the links to the video are broken. At least it was for me, but I eventually figured out how to register for my one big scary summer class.

First day of class is June 17th.

I’m so excited! But, I’ll just come out and say this too: I’m scared shitless. There’s a quote floating around out there by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” In the last couple years, I’ve set out to achieve a few dreams that I’ve been kicking around in the back of my head. Climb the Mount Rainier, scuba dive in Great Barrier Reef, and get into law school.

Climbing a mountain with the giant gaping crevasses still scares me when I think about it. The night before my big mountain climb, I sat down and wrote out my will along with account login and passwords for Drew. In case I die.

After diving in Great Barrier Reef, we flew over to Fiji to do a bit more diving. We also did a snorkel tour of the coral reef there. This coral reef was twenty minutes boat ride out from the main Fiji island. The guide told us to put on our gear and jump off the side of the boat. Right as I got one foot out of the boat, I looked around in panic and realized we were in the middle of the ocean and there was no land nearby. Where the fuck is my tank of air and oh my god, I don’t know how to swim! Serious panic attack. Then I realized, I knew how to swim. I had to learn how just to get scuba certified, but I panicked because over 35 years of my life was spent not knowing how to swim. I also remembered I had my snorkel tube. I made sure my brother had my itinerary of exactly where I was. In case I die.

Trying to get into law school was tough for me. But now, it’s about getting myself through law school that is freaking me out. I’m not the only one scared to death of law school. We had Spring Visit day for all the newly admitted students on Monday, May 20th. Between talking to past, present, and future students along with teachers, I know it’s common to be afraid. Of course we keep hearing over and over, if you’re good enough to get into law school, you are good enough to do well in law school. But I can’t help but worry that I will be disappointed in myself. No amount of will writing or swim training will help here. Even with all the recent classes I’ve taken. I’ve heard from teachers that they prefer students to let go of all their previous writing classes because law writing will not care about participles dangling or not.

From SU Open House in April, one of my favorite piece of advice on not worrying about the Socratic method: “Don’t worry about sounding stupid if you are called on. Most students are too busy feeling relieved that they weren’t called on to pay attention to what you are saying.” I do pay attention to what other students are saying, so I don’t completely buy this, but I’ll take it any consolation I can get.

Don’t take my being scared as a complaint. It’s not. Being scared means I’m heavily invested.

There are a lot of concerns over what law school does to relationships. Drew is in IT. Apparently IT people and lawyer-types are sworn enemies. It’s Drew with the Cat-5 cables in the library. In case I die.

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Scuba Diving in Great Barrier Reef: CHECK05.10.13

Australia took me by surprise in how multi-ethnic it felt and how insanely expensive everything was. I was pretty sure even if I didn’t speak a lick of English, I could probably get by on Chinese alone. We only had two weeks to split between Australia and Fiji, so we stuck to the big “Must See” cities. As I mentioned in my law school bucket list from two years ago, I wanted to climb Rainier (check) and go scuba diving in Great Barrier Reef. The reef part of my bucket list was the driving factor behind this trip, so Cairns had to be on the list. We decided Melbourne and Sydney would be the other two places to go.

Drew had been a dear and done all the planning for us because I was neck deep in school work for a class that will not matter for anything but I refused to do poorly on any class after screwing up so badly in undergrad. I took my final exam the morning of my flight date, that’s how close things were. I didn’t get to savor any of the planning of the trip, but by the time I got on the plane, I had zero deadline looming, and it felt so so good.

We started out in Melbourne. I was told I would love Melbourne because the people are so nice and laid back there, and it’s true. Maybe it’s because of their crazy good weather, but in all three locations we visited in Australia, the people were so relaxed and always lounging outside. My friend also warned us that it’s incredibly expensive to drink in Australia. She was not kidding. I asked for their cheapest local beer to go with my burger (A$20 for their cheapest burger), their cheapest beer was A$8 a pint. We went to the convenience store to pick up a soda, just regular 12oz size drink was A$3.50. Food was consistently more pricey. We went to a popular breakfast place, the average breakfast plate was A$20, the two of us spent nearly $60 on breakfast. Drew and I had been saving for this trip for a long time and we were prepared to spend a pretty penny on the trip, but we didn’t quite expect food and drinks to cost nearly double of what we would pay for in the States. We got used to spending around $50-60 for breakfast and $100-150 for dinner. For the glory of the last big hurrah!

My favorite thing we did while we were in Melbourne was join a Penguin Parade tour. There was a tour bus that went around picking people up in Melbourne and drove us 2 hours or so out to Phillip Islands where we saw penguins return from hunting in the ocean at night to march back to their dens. When we first got on the bus there were two Asian girls. Then the next stop was Chinese family, who needed Chinese translator. Andrew and I looked at each other and wondered if this was a tour that only Asians join. The stop after that were another two Chinese ladies. Andrew said, “Oh my god, have we become Asian clichés? Wasn’t this trip recommended by our Asian friend too?” The rest of the stops were French/UK tourists so we felt a little less Asian touristy. Phillip Island was beautiful, their cows look happier than most cows curled up like kittens on the lawn, lazily munching on the lush green grass.

Koala

We went to a koala conservatory, where we watched a koala lick a eucalyptus tree for 5 minutes straight because it was raining and that was probably his water supply for the month. This was the only time I’ve seen koalas where I didn’t feel a bit bad about it, like maybe I’m contributing to his woe by visiting. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the zoo, Drew is a huge zoo lover, we go whenever we can, but sometimes, I do feel bad when I think the conditions look less than ideal and maybe if not for zoo goers, these animals might be out in the wild. Like we saw the most unhappy looking brown bear in Melbourne Zoo, and we talked about how far from home he is. Koalas at the conservatory look pretty happy despite being all sopping wet from the rain.

Penguins

Before the penguin parade we went to The Nobbies where we saw a few penguins that were molting and weren’t water ready hanging around. They are so cute. There were also a good number of wallabies jumping around. At night, we went to see the penguin parade.  There were no musical fanfare nor big floats, but we saw big black patches on the ocean as they swarm toward the shore. We “ooooh’d” and “ahhhh’d” over the large black patches coming to shore, and suddenly there were penguins waddling through. Hundreds of them slowly waddling through, stopping for some rest a few feet away from us to rest, before marching back to their dens. Some of them would fight loudly by their dens because “Who the hell are you? And what are you doing in my den!?” It happens a lot apparently. Penguins are loud. Apparently one of the wallaby got sick of the noise, we saw him bounce along the edge of the parade path, and choose a spot where it was dense with penguins to jump right into. It gave them quite a shock and one little penguin got pushed into the brush a few feet from the main path, and he looked confused for half an hour.

Sydney 164

Sydney was mostly a food tour for us. It’s a big city. We saw the Opera House and walked around their botanical garden. We walked and walked. We went to the Sydney Aquarium because as I told Drew, “Good thing we are paying to see their caged fish because we are only diving in Cairns and Fiji where there might not be any fishes to see.” He called me a smart ass and directed me to the dugongs, which are these big happy manatee like creatures. I took photos of sharks’ teeth to give myself a view of what I might be seeing last. It’s not morbid unless you think I plan on losing to the shark.

Most of the popular places to dine at Sydney were Asian cuisine, so had Thai, Chinese, Taiwanese and some other Asian fusion food. The best thing about Sydney was Oxford Social. The food was sooo good, I would definitely eat there more often if it wasn’t halfway around the world. One thing I’ve found to be priced reasonably were the steaks. Another thing is, their wine by the bottle was reasonable too, but I’ve found even their most full bodied wine to be too watery for my taste. Still, I was ready to do less “city” vacation after walking around two different cities.

GiantClam

Cairns. My sister and our friend, D joined us for this part. When I decided I was going to learn how to swim and take scuba lessons a couple year ago, I was so vocal and excited about it, I got some 6 people all riled up and ready to join me in swimming/scuba lessons. In the end, four of us made it to certification. When Drew and I planned our trip, we asked our certified group to join in. I don’t know why, but I was expecting Cairns to be all beachy and resorty, when really, it was Australia outback. Mud and sticks and rain foresty. It’s a little bit like our Oregon Ocean Shores, with murky cold water. The beach life guard, next to the little resort we stayed out, set out a net for those that want to swim in the muddy water, but didn’t want to get stung to death by jelly fish. That’s about how attractive the water was. We joined a day tour to head out to Great Barrier Reef. The reef was a good 45 minutes choppy water ride from the shore. I have to say, the reef was a bit disappointing. I had built my in my head that the reef would be crystal clear water, teaming with more life than I could possibly hope to see, instead the water was very murky. We had to stay near our dive buddies or risk getting lost. I know the reef is huge and there are probably areas that are crystal clear, but it would probably take more choppy boat ride to get out there and it’s probably much further out than most dive tours will go. There were some really cool things, we got to touch this giant clam that was surprising quick in snapping shut despite it’s ginormous size. We dove around some reef chasms. This was our first use of our dive knowledge outside of school, so it was neat to dive for fun and not have to do lesson tests.

We visited the rain forest by Cairns and saw a spider that was bigger than a smart phone. It was definitely not a spider that you want to kill with your own shoes.

Someone once told me, scuba diving is the closest we can come to flying, and it really is. We did three dives at the reef and as we got more comfortable in the water, it felt more and more like flying.

Fiji dive was much much better. To be continued on next post…

 

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Not Shark Food05.07.13

What kind of person tells people that she is off to swim with sharks and maybe will get eaten by one and then disappear for weeks without saying anything? This kind. Sorry, but internet has been iffy throughout Australia and Fiji, and I was both too cheap and too not wanting to tether myself to the World Wide Web pay for internet access anywhere.

I didn’t end up being shark food. The bull sharks were so well fed they hardly looked at us with any interest. They were swimming so close we could touch their fins, which was a bit scary and awe inspiring. I’m happy to say I will be reporting for law school come June. I do want to talk about my trip, but here’s a video from my shark dive in the mean time. Pardon the quality, I’m too lazy to use any of my programmy knowledge to figure out how to get a better quality video for now.

Here it is:

SharkFeeding

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