Sunday, June 26, 2011

Oregon Fever

As I continue with my second week of my internship here in Newport, I have become more and more immersed in the peculiar culture of Oregon and the coast.  Two Fridays ago, my roommate Lauren and my officemate Margaret decided to check out the hip Café Mundo in the Nye Beach area of Newport (  Again, upon stepping into the café, I felt like a fish out of water.  The people inside reminded me of a mix of the stern faces and dreary clothing that one would see in old fashion black and white portrait photography mixed with the hip styles of the sixties – and of course, I can’t forget the flannel.  It is worn here like it is going out of style.  The décor of the place was another sight to see.  To me, it seemed as if the owners went out and found every mismatching piece of furniture and decoration and placed it in the café.  There were little mini doll houses on the walls and one wall was painted bright yellow with a purple door frame and red door. The restaurant was two floors and to get the food to the top floor, they used an interestingly decorated dumb waiter elevator. I felt out of place with my jeans and nice top.  I can’t say that I didn’t like it, it’s just not what I’m used to.  I never thought that living in Oregon for a summer would be such a cultural experience.

My new bag
The next day, my fellow “Sea Granters” and I had plans to go exploring around some tide pools, but unfortunately the weather was not on our side.  We decided instead to hit up the local farmers market, an outlet mall, and several thrift stores in the area.  Since I have not lived in a cold climate for several years, I am in short supply of things like shoes and sweaters.  If you have every been “thrift-storing” you know that you will probably walk in with a list of things in mind and leave with a ton of things none of which were on that list.   This is exactly what happened to me.  My first find is what I would describe as a cool hippie bag. It looks like it was hand stitched with yarn and reminds me of an American Indian blanket.  I also stumbled upon, a “West Linn” zip up sweatshirt which is where Tim grew up.  Since this summer I have no TV and little access to internet, so I picked up a couple of puzzles as well.  My roommates and I have completed four puzzles in the last week! Since it was still raining, we decided to head 40 minutes up the coast to Lincoln City to visit the outlet center they have up there.  All that I wanted was a couple of sweaters since it was 50 degrees outside, but since it is summer the only things that I could find was shorts and tank tops!  I think the shops at the outlet mall forgot about the Oregon Coast climate in the summer.  On the way home, we stopped at La Roca which is a cheap Mexican sit down restaurant.  Since I already had lunch, my friend Betty convinced me to try “flan” which is like a caramel custard.  It was pretty good, but Betty told me that she’s had much better, so I’ll definitely have to try it again. 

Stay tuned for my next adventures!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why this blog?

Hello everyone,

Upon learning that I will be spending the summer of 2011 in Oregon, I decided to start a blog to update my friends and family on my adventures while I am here.  I will be spending most of my time on the coast in Newport as that is where my internship is held, but I am determined to travel to as much of Oregon as I can. 
Last year I visited Oregon for about 10 days and had a blast.  I visited Astoria and Seaside on the coast, Portland, Mt. Hood, Multnomah Falls, Silver Falls State Park, and Seattle (which isn’t technically Oregon, but close enough).  By far, my favorite part was the waterfalls – they are absolutely spectacular! 
Beautiful float at the Rose Parade.  They used real roses for the flowers!
As for this year’s stay, I have been here for about 10 days and am three days into my internship with the EPA.  I haven’t been able to do too much sightseeing so far as this is a school related trip, not a vacation unfortunately.  Thankfully though, last Saturday, my boyfriend, Tim, took me to the Rose Parade in Portland which was a sight to see.  To say that Portland is “weird” is an understatement.  It seems as though mismatched worn clothes is in fashion and I didn’t get the memo.  While in Portland a few days earlier, Tim took me to Powell’s used bookstore which I have learned is a pretty happening place.  I found a book that I was interested in, and when I went to cash out, the cashier asked me if I wanted a bag.  I looked at him dumfounded because no one has actually asked me if I wanted a bag, they just give it to me and if I don’t want one, I have to tell them three times to get them to understand.  Being, in Portland, I was frankly embarrassed that I didn’t have a bag and needed one as I was going to be walking around the city.  I tried explaining to him how I wasn’t from here and I didn’t know that I was going shopping so I didn’t have my own.  Eventually, he cut me off and said, “Do you want a bag or not?” I quickly said, “Yes,” and ran out the store.  Oh, Portland…
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, my Portland adventures were short lived and I am now about two and a half hours southwest in the teeny tiny town of Newport (  The biggest shock to me upon arriving in Newport, was how cold it was.  The average temp in the summer is below 65°F.  I read this before I got here, but I didn’t understand the severity of the summer cold until I got out of the car.  Back home in Massachusetts, the coast is more or less the same as the rest of the state so I was expecting the same, boy was I surprised.  Goodwill has become my friend, as I have very little winter clothing due to my last three years living in Hawaii as well as the difficulty of packing warmer clothing every time I travel.  On the way down here, I picked up a nice Columbia Windbreaker for $5!  Market value probably $80.  So far, I think this is a cute little town, but I don’t know if I could ever live here permanently- haha! 
Thankfully, the Oregon Sea Grant, the organization that I received my internship from, provided me with housing at the Hatfield Marine Science Center ( for the summer. 
View Larger Map The apartments are right on the estuary, so I wake up to the sound harbor seals every morning – pretty cool! I share an apartment with two girls, Lauren from Alsea (pronounced “LC”), Oregon and Nicole from Michigan.  They are both really cool and we’re already having a lot of fun together.  Not exactly excited to live the dorm life again with three people in a room, but it just makes it more interesting.  I also don’t have internet or TV in my apartment which is a (positive) adjustment, so I’ll be able to get a lot more studying done for my GREs in September.  Last night, a bunch of us from the Oregon Sea Grant Scholars walked down to the beach (about a mile away).  The beaches in Oregon are very serene compared to many of the beaches back home.  They’re usually empty of people and are surrounded by towering cliffs on either side. 
At the beach about a mile from my apartment, 
trying to keep warm in my new jacket.  

One plus of living where I do, is that I can walk to work every day.  You are probably wondering what I am actually doing in Oregon for the summer, so I will tell you now.  I was luckily given the opportunity to do my favorite project out of the ones offered which is to work through the EPA on an environmental chemistry project assessing how wetlands, particularly the wetlands of the Northwest, are able to clean water.  I will be going out into the field often to set up little chambers to run experiments that will hopefully show the chemistry that is occurring in the wetland.  As of today, fieldwork is definitely what I want to be doing as I cannot stand sitting at a desk all day.  As part of my internship, I was instructed to write a blog post once a week on Oregon State’s blogging website about how much internship is going, so you can check up on what I am doing there:
Yaquina Bay Bridge - a landmark of Newport, OR,
my home for the next two months.  
I’m excited to see where this internship will take me this summer and I hope it will help me figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.  I’ll keep you posted with all of my interesting adventures here throughout the summer so check back soon!