Sunday, March 30, 2014

Splashing and flying

All right peeps, if I'm ever going to finish my Costa Rican report I need to lower my ambitions; I'll just upload some photos, write something stupid and be done with it.

Okay, okay... I can hear you all the way to Seattle: Isn't that what she always does...? Well, yes. And no. But yes.


Aaaaaaaaanyway. Here goes: From Tamarindo we drove towards La Fortuna, a little town about 6 km from the beautiful Arenal volcano. Our stay lasted only one night, but we managed to do all this (and probably more that I've forgot):
  • The Colombian was food poisoned by a massive bratwurst sandwich
  • We splashed around in the La Fortuna Waterfall
  • We splashed around in the hot springs at Tabacón Grand Spa
  • David and I exhausted our adrenaline supplies ziplining over the rainforest

Maybe we should've seen the stomach bug coming; I mean, really: a German brat place in the middle of the tropical mountains...?

The gorgeous (active!) volcano, as seen from the car on the way to La Fortuna.

The Queen of Fika showing off her wizardry with traditionally brewed Costa Rican coffee. Freshly ground black magic!

To get to the waterfall, we climbed down an interesting set of stairs through the densely green djungle. The rocks were slippery and the water cold, but the experience was marvellous.

Early morning walk.

La Fortuna; the shy volcano hiding her face among the clouds.

What else have I got for you...? How about some pictures from the zipline adventure high above the treetops, featuring my husband (the marine) and my mother? Yup.

...and then a couple of video clips, including a very excited Super Chica.

Then what? We loaded ourselves into the car and made the five hour long three-hour drive to San José. See you there!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Let's make it official!

Last Monday, papers were signed and a new date was set: August 31, 2015.

What it means? It means I'm doing a three-year postdoc. (Hurray!)

Sometimes I whine and moan about high work pressure and long hours, but there really is no place I'd rather be at this point. I'm deeply in love with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and cherish every day I get to spend with my knowledgeable mentors, committed colleagues, and fellow postdoc and student friends.

And Seattle? Well, I think you know how I feel about this town.

I can't begin to describe how relieved I am by finally being able to focus completely on my research, not having to worry about funding or thinking about plans B, C, or D. (Or E.) When these three years have passed, I'm absolutely confident that I will be ready to take on the next phase of my life and career - whatever it may be.

Friends and family back home, don't worry: I'm not lost. Arnold said it:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!*

I may be tearing my hair out trying to finish all my tasks on time, but David nevertheless managed to convince me to join him and some Irish friends in their St. Patrick's Day celebrations after work today. What do I have to lose, really? I could certainly use some Luck of the Irish...

Also, my gym greeted me with this lovely display this morning.

Green and sparkly! How can I not be in a good mood after starting my day like that? This is the Emerald City, after all.

Happy St. Pat's Day, everyone!

*Irish Gaelic for St. Patrick's Day blessings upon you!” (but you knew that, of course).

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Temporarily out of service

My apologies for being a terrible blogger! The past week has been slightly overwhelming at work, but I assure you that I will continue the Costa Rican report as soon as my plate is a little less full.

Hang in there! I will.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tranquil Tamarindo

All right, let's start this journey! First of all, let me introduce my fellow explorers:

No, those are drinks. Delicious, cheap happy hour cocktails, but still: drinks. Let's try again:

That's more like it! But who are these djungle creatures?

David. Well, I guess you know him quite well by now... This Tico was not surprisingly our travel agent, chauffeur, tour guide, interpretor, patron, benefactor, bartender, chef, and overall insider.

Amelia. David's girlfriend; an awesome chica that I'm glad I got to spend some quality girl time with during this trip.

Pedro. The iron kid. A Colombian with very strong opinions on how to eat one's patacones (fried plantains). Don't you dare dip them in guacamole!

David, Amelia, and a discrete photo bomb by Pedro.

Me and the lads.

David and Amelia had already enjoyed the tropical paradise for a week when Pedro and I left Seattle and flew off late Saturday night. We were picked up at the airport in Costa Rica the next day and the four of us set course for Tamarindo, a little town situated by the Northern Pacific coast in the province of Guanacaste, a three-hour drive from San José.

About 4.5 hours later we arrived at Playa Langosta, where David had rented a fantastic condo with a fully equipped kitchen, barbeque, patio, and pool. The place was amazing... I can't imagine the looks on our faces being anything but hilarious when we stepped out into the outdoor shower rooms, surrounded by banana plants and lush greenery. My jaw definitely dropped.

We spent four nights in this heavenly setting enjoying relaxed beach life, occasional shopping, tasty happy hour drinks, and delicious meals. All of us took surf lessons, and although the waves were of moderate quality we managed to improve our variable skills and get merely mildly beat up by our boards.

Lovely, lazy, luxurious days in the tropical heat; a promising start to this trip. Next: La Fortuna, a three-hour drive from Tamarindo. Volcano! Hot springs! Waterfall! Ziplines! German food poisoning!

Monday, March 3, 2014

There will be bloo...ogging

Friends, I'm back in Seattle, powered up on solar energy and ready to take on the remainder of this somewhat gloomy season with a smile on my face. Costa Rica was absolutely fabulous and I have hundreds of photos I would like to share with you. However, as about 3/4 of them show either sunsets and/or endless tropical beaches (with or without silhouettes of surfers or nesting sea turtles) my guess is you would prefer some kind of selection to keep you from passing out or being bored to death.

While I'm working on choosing my favorite pics, please enjoy these snapshots showing... umm... sunsets... and beaches... and surfers... and turtles. Ehm.