Tuesday May 20th, 2014

We made it to Rapa Nui! It felt so nice to get off the plane and finally be here. We got in around 12:30 PM (our flight from Tahiti was delayed, so we didn’t leave until 4 in the morning). Going through customs was pretty long if you consider that only a third of our plane was actually going through customs and staying on the island (the other 2/3 simply had a layover before they continued on to Santiago on the mainland). We got flower leis when we landed from the airport people. Sean and I also received leis from Bastian and his mother. Basitian is one of the Rapanui students who is coming to the UO in the fall. It was exciting to meet him, both he and his mother are very nice. After meeting them we went to the house, which is different than I expected (larger but also a sort of strange shape). The house is super nice. We ended up setting up our tents on the back porch, which has a huge covered area. Isabela and I are sharing a tent, it is huge. I’ve decided to call it our McMansion. After setting up the house we went to Hotel Hanga Roa for refreshments and for WiFi (the house doesn’t have an internet connection). Then at around 7:30, Dr. Hunt, Sean and I went back to the house and were met by Noah (one of the other future UO students). We went to a dinner party of sorts at Noah’s house. It was really interesting, both Noah and Bastian were there, along with their families. We also met a couple other people, Anita and John. Anita is Rapanui and John is from the United States. It was a delicious meal, and also very interesting. We were able to listen in and get information about the politics of the island, as well as answer questions about Oregon and the university. I am excited to show Noah and Bastian Oregon.   

An End to an Adventure

I’ve had a couple of days to reflect and think about this post.

I finally presented my final presentation. It went really well and seemed like everyone was fairly interested and impressed of what I had come up with the past couple weeks. The archaeology students also seemed intrigued.

Then it was time to start packing up and saying goodbye. I realized how powerful of an experience this had become. The people I had met and the things I had done were incredible. The thought of graduate school in the coming year not only intrigued me, it excited me. I had practiced what I had loved and done it with intelligent, thoughtful people.

I want to thank everyone for their help this year. Everyone will be missed and I will think of everyone often on their journey to success. Please stay in touch and I will try to do the same.

 

Now i’m off to another adventure! To China!

Departures…

I’m waiting in LAX for my flight to CLT.  It has been a great learning experience, coming up with a research question and attempting to answer it. Even if I didn’t answer anything conclusively in the timespan I had, I learned a lot of new tools and methods that can be applied to other projects. This program showed me that science really is an iterative process. A student next year might read my project and decide to approach the problem in a different way. Everything builds off something else.

The knowledge of the professors, the teaching assistants, and the fellow students helped everyone learn and approach their research question in the best way possible. The last few weeks have showed me that science is largely collaborative. People need to share, discuss, and build off others’ ideas.  Very little science is done in isolation.

I want to thank the National Science Foundation, Cal State Long Beach, and everyone who helped the REU for the great experience I have had in O’ahu.

Mahalo!

 

Day 27: It’s see you later

I don’t want to say goodbye. This experience has been amazing, I’ve learned so much and I’ve made lifetime friends for sure! The first week in Long Beach was one of the most intense weeks I’ve ever had, but it was so worth it. Everything we dipped our feet in that first week, we delved into here in Oahu. The comradery that has come of these past few weeks is exceptional. I’ve never met a group of people who have been so ready to help anyone and everyone. Pablo, Briton, Emily, and Michelle have been the best TA’s ever!!

I hope I can implement everything I’ve learned here back at school and get people pumped about geography by telling the stories of the amazing moments we’ve all had!

Thanks to the professors CSULB, NSF, and Kualoa Ranch!

Now time to pack.

It All Comes Together

Today was the day we all were to present our findings at Kualoa Ranch for everyone, the archaeology field school, and assorted interested people. I woke up at 8 and started cleaning up my products. I realized I was going to have to shorten my presentation because we had to fit our talk into a 10 minute time slot, so I reduced it by 7 or 8 slides. Reading over the paper I had almost finished last night was hilarious- I had been writing stream of consciousness style and switched between four different tenses. I cleaned it up and added my figures, tables, and appendices, and finally it was all done. The last little thing to do was to clean up all my data so that the professors could review our process.  It was a huge weight off my shoulders to finally have every assignment completed.

At around 1 ‘o clock we loaded up into the vans and drove over to Kualoa. We assembled in the dining hall that serves meals to tourists and guests of the Ranch, and there was a projector set up at one end. As we settled down and Dr. Lipo gave an introduction of the program, I began to feel the anxiety that accompanies every public speech or presentation. The presentations were organized by general focus, and the progression went vegetation, hydrology, terrain, and finally archaeology. It was really exciting to see what everyone had been up to and hear a formal presentation of their findings. Everyone did a really awesome job with their presentations and it was impressive to sit back and see what we had all accomplished in just 3 weeks of work (imagine what we could have done with a whole summer).

At around 5, the last of the presentations wrapped up and we took the obligatory group photo outside the building. After a few minutes of hanging around we took a drive south to a fancy restaurant. Cole managed to drop his flash drive in the water in this landscaped pond/garden outside the restaurant, which was funny. I ate some delicious fried calamari and a tomato based fish stew which was equally tasty. After dinner we headed back to Tradewinds and celebrated in proper fashion with each other. I can’t believe it’s all over!

Day 26 – Presentation Day

I was a complete bundle of nerves this morning, practically making myself sick, so I just kep reminding myself that soon enough, the presentations would be over and I’d look back at all that nervousness and laugh. And I did.

They presentations went really well. I cannot even narrow down the best ones because they were all so good! I was blown away by the speaking skills of the students. Everyone, even if they didn’t get the results they were expecting, did an EXCELLENT job of reporting their research. I feel like I learned so much from each and every person here, it’s going to be tough to top this anywhere in my life.

My presentation went well, I think. I felt like I may have enlightened people as to how severe the erosion problem is here.

Roadside erosion in the Ka'a'wa Valley

After presentations , we left the ranch and had a great dinner at a place that boasted beautiful tropical gardens and a Koi pond. It was nice to have some quality one-on-one time with some members of the group.

Back at the barn, we celebrated our last night together and began wrapping our heads around the reality that is tomorrow. One of our members, Scott, had to leave last night, so we sent him off with our best goodbyes, hanging over the barn railing.

I cannot really express how I am feeling about all of this… somewhat too difficult to put into words. But I can say for sure this is by far the best thing I have ever done in my life, and I’ve done a lot.

Godspeed.

Day 26: Presentations!

Yesterday was presentation day and everyone was amazing! After stressing the past few days over completing our projects it was such a relief to finally stand up and present our research. The morning was spent cleaning up our data and preparing our power points. It was so nice to see everyone dress up in civilian clothes! No more burred field work pants for us! Michelle pow wowed with me about how I should present my findings, which was a great help! Thanks Michelle!

In the early afternoon Howard, Gordan, and I moved downstairs and practiced our presentations with each other. It was great getting feedback from them and it really helped for when we actually had to present a few hours later. We stuck to our 10 minute limit, and were out of Kualoa Ranch around 5. After the presentations we took a few pictures and headed over to Haleiwa Joe’s for dinner. The restaurant was gorgeous!

Back at the barn we continued to clean up our data, for the data dump and finish up with last minute work. The rest of the night was spent hanging out, dancing, and swimming. I am going to miss everyone so much.

Day 25 The final touches

Today was spent in the barn working on our Powerpoint presentations. I think I am making this harder than it needs to be. Because I evaluated erosion features in the Ka’a’awa Valley, I also feel the need to understand a little more about what erosion is and how it works. This seems to be a continuing challenge working in remote sensing in GIS. We have amassed a toolbox that allows us to analyze spatial problems, but we often don’t have expertise in a particular subject matter, nor the access to subject matter experts.

Well either way, I feel like I did at least some justice to addressing erosion, though it will require future work and research to address the issue entirely. I am extremely nervous about tomorrow’s presentations, I’m not sure why. I tend to get overly nervous, but as long as I know what I am talking about, I do fine. I probably cause myself much undue stress over it.

Classification of erosion features in the Ka'a'awa Valley

With all of the work we had to do, we still managed to head to the beach to wind down after a long day. Moon rise was not as impressive tonight, but it was still pretty. I worked on coconut tossing and sand racing. Also improved my palm tree climbing skills.

It’s really starting to hit me how much I am going to miss everyone and miss Hawaii. We have done so well as a group, it’s actually hard to believe. Leaving these guys is really going to be tough. I have really gotten so used to everyone and even the barn! It’s probably going to be a big adjustment going home.

 

The Final Countdown

Today was the last day we had to work on our projects before the presentations tomorrow. I worked for 18 straight hours (and had dinner duty- we cooked up some delicious burgers made from Kualoa cows) and fell asleep at 3am with nothing finished. 🙁

Day 27

Today our tasks were:

1. Cleaning up and uploading our data

2. Filling our the questionnaire

3. Sharing photos/other data on the NAZ and dropbox

4.Pack up and get ready for our 2210 flight back to LAX.