and the years go marching on . . .
The summer of 2005, although rather slow, started with a bang when I flew to Africa along with McKell, a fellow lab slave, to work on introducing quinoa into Morocco. We met up with Dr. J and Dr. M once we got over there.
We got off the plane and got through customs and discovered that the Rabat Institute of Agronomy had sent one of their chauffeurs to pick us up and take us from Casablanca to Rabat. The only way I knew this was because he was holding a sign with my name on it. His name was Felali, and he spoke only Arabic. McKell and I trustingly followed him to a van, put in our bags, and began driving. We couldn't even ask him how far we were from our destination or anything because of the complete language barrier. I was exhausted from the long flight and jet lag, but I didn't even come close to falling asleep on that drive. The road contained every kind of vehicle you can think of, from donkey-drawn carts and mopeds to beat-up trucks to nice cars to semis. And everyone was passing everyone else and I thought we were going to get in a head-on collision with large trucks multiple times.
However, we survived the trip and proceeded to spend two excellent weeks in Morocco. Our colleague and guide was a scientist named Oaffae (Waf-ah), who took us to little villages and bustling towns both for sightseeing and researching.
Returning to Utah, where I was still living at home, things slowed down considerably. I think the most exciting thing that happened to me was getting locked in the Gardens at Thanksgiving Point one evening. And getting locked in the growth chamber.
I really wanted to move back to an apartment when fall semester rolled around, but I wasn't sure where to go. I put out some tentative feelers and had just about given up hope when my brother Matt fortuitously found out that my old apartment, designed for six, was currently housing two sisters, my friend Jill who was just back from her mission, and her sister Julie, who was a freshman. They were great roommates. We had dinner together three evenings a week and sometimes had a Story Night Thursday, and stayed up late talking and generally had a great time together. I became thoroughly spoiled by having a large basement bedroom and bathroom to myself.
Meanwhile, I started applying to graduate school programs. I focused in on UC Davis, the University of Minnesota, NC State, and BYU. Fall semester went by great. Winter semester gave me a serious case of senioritis.
Lots of other things happened during Winter semester. It was a really challenging time and I must admit I'm really glad it's over. In short order, after being accepted to a few programs, I decided to stay at BYU for graduate work. I recorded what happened at my graduation earlier in the blog, so no need to do it twice. Graduating felt good, but it was a little anticlimactic to come back to campus the next day and keep on plugging away at my research.
No moving home this year, either. I stayed in the same apartment building but for some reason the management had me move to the apartment next door. Since there were two people in my old apartment all summer, I couldn't quite figure out why this had to be, but it did add four new roommates to my roomie count. That was a fun apartment, but we had a lot of boy trauma. And not the silly, flirting kind, but the kind that comes after a couple have been dating for a few months and one of them gets to feeling not-so-good about the relationship. My room roommate and I got it pretty heavily. For a while, I felt like I was walking through quicksand and trying to drag my roommate with me- it was all we could do to keep our heads above the sand.
But, we made it and now my roommate is happily married to her sweetheart and has a beautiful, chubby baby girl. Happy endings do happen. Or rather, happy things happen, and then they lead to even more adventures. For me, the happy thing was moving out of that complex with all its memories at the end of the summer. It was time for another fresh start.