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! 


  1. Love your blog Sara. You've become a terrific writer!

  2. I really like your writing about the contrast between Portland and Newport, as well as HI and MA. Definitely an interesting perspective!

  3. When's the next blog post? Can't wait to read it!!!

  4. Sounds like you're having a lot of fun!!!


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