How does becoming more mature even work? At the end of a school year, I expect to be a completely different person - older, wiser, and that much closer to successfully executing a backflip - but it never feels like that has happened. Then, there are times when I calm down and look at differences in how I navigate certain situations. That's when I see change most clearly.

DDCSP@UW is a two-year program and the schedule for the Year 1 scholars was roughly the same as ours last year. This means that early last week, Taholah's population increased by about thirty individuals and six UW vehicles. The Year 1s visited the reservation just like my group did last year. It was fun going around with them and touring the res again. My favourite moment may have been visiting the canoe stand in an old-growth forest. In my post on Quinault last year, I wrote about feeling discomfort in the forest but also feeling incredibly blessed. I realized this year that I'm a lot more comfortable in the bush. I'd like to extend that to also being more comfortable being away from home, and more comfortable voicing my thoughts, more comfortable pursuing my interests but I might just stick to being more comfortable in the bush. 

The past couple of weeks have been good. Filled with karaoke in the car, fanning away flies, nearly twisting an ankle, d o o d l i n g, driving an ATV on a beach, wondering if I speak too much, l a u g h i n g, involuntary squeaking, protesting an oil rig, feeling conflicted about whether I should be in the States or at home, hiking to the furthest point on the lower forty-eight, c a m p i n g, waking up with a slightly scratchy throat, self-induced awkward moments, practicing riding a bicycle, being concerned about budgeting, running on treadmills, e a t i n g, getting way too invested in The Bachelorette, wondering if I speak too little, playing games with a psychedelic football, good conversations, jumping into a lake at midnight, being confused, c o o k i n g, making new friends, learning to take those low-key pics, eating junk food, (regretting eat that junk food), joking around with old friends, feeling unsure about my project idea, visiting a new city, accepting that I truly love books, and doing many mini crossword puzzles.

There are about two and a half weeks left and I know the feels are going to hit hard this year. I'm going to have to sit alone in my room when I get home and process all that happened. (My parents might be a bit concerned but I'll be sure to emerge for nourishment.) But I won't think about that yet because I'm not there yet. I leave you with photos and captions that take a lot more time to come up with than you might guess.

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Hi everyone,

I'm starting back The Sunday Currently because I have more free time and they helped me process some of my thoughts.

A lot has happened in the past few weeks. From Orlando to Baghdad to South Sudan to Baton Rouge to Dallas to Taiwan to Saint Paul to Brown's Town. People are hurting and rightly so. There's a lot of trouble in the world. But there's also a lot of good. I've been going back and forth between feeling overwhelmed and confused at how many terrible things happen (and that's not even counting the stories that aren't published/publicized in the media) and then feeling overwhelmed and comforted by the good things people do. There was a particular moment when I was reading the news and trying to process the violence against black people in the US  and then went straight to eating breakfast and joking with my team and our supervisor because he invited us to his house as a way to get to know us better. I'm trying to remember how complicated life is - even when it seems like the world is on fire, I still have many blessings that I can count.

Now for the Sunday Currently.

Reading Black Faces, White Spaces by Carolyn Finney. Finney looks at why African-Americans are underrepresented in the outdoors, whether it be in recreation or environmentalism. The book was on my list but I'm reading it now because we actually get the chance to work with her next week. I borrowed the copy I'm reading but I might buy my own copy once I'm finished with it.

Writing Ideas for my project with the Quinault Department of Natural Resources. I'm still not 100% sure of what I want. I know I want to work with plants, think about ways of communicating science, and to draw. One of my teammates and I may work on a project together but we need to brainstorm first.

Listening "Sudden Flight" by Protoje featuring Jesse Royal and Sevana. And to fireworks. They really like fireworks on the res. I used to think fireworks weren't all that bad. I think it's when I don't have warning that they're going off.

Thinking About what I should do for dinner.

Smelling Remnants of campfire smoke in my hair.

Wearing Sweats

Needing To tidy up my things and do some laundry.

Feeling Hungry

That's what I have for now. I hope you're taking care of yourself wherever you are.

Thanks for reading,

Hi everyone,

It's summer (and has been for a while). Unlike last year, I had less time to pause once the school year ended. I went straight into helping out with a conference at school for a few weeks. I won't go into details but I did get the chance to meet intelligent and dedicated people from around the world who reminded me of two different but related things: 1) that (as much as media tries to make it seem), life is not centered around the United States/Western Europe and 2) that having English as my first language is a privilege. These are two things I know from growing up in the Caribbean but I forget them sometimes.

What am I up to now? I'm back in Seattle for the second part of the program I did last year - the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Washington (DDCSP@UW). Rather than travel around the state like we did for Year 1, the returning students are working on specific projects in Washington. The projects range from interviewing millennials in Seattle to gathering data on post-fire recruitment in central Washington. My group is on the Olympic Peninsula and we're working with the Quinault Indian Nation's Department of Natural Resources (QDNR). I wrote about our time there last year in this post but this time, I get to spend five weeks there. We just finished up our first week and it was better than I hoped it would be.

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