Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Final thank you, and sorry for the delay (aka QR5)

It's mid-November. I know that. I know that I left my blog hanging without a final closing post for these past three months. I've been processing my travels, adjusting to living back in the Washington, D.C. area, and getting started on a new life filled with astronomy education.  I wish I had a better reason why I haven't written until now, but in all honesty, I've just put it off. Today, however, I am finally putting this blog to rest. I added three other much-delayed posts today -- a full interview with Team India of the IOAA, my Watson final report, and a video project I worked on the second half of the year -- so feel free to check them out.

Since coming home, I've gone on some small adventures, like the final Watson conference in Amherst, MA and a 350-mile bike-trip from D.C. to Pittsburgh with some fellow Watson Fellows. I'm living back in my home-town, and exploring parts of nearby D.C. that I've never appreciated before. It feels good to nest and settle, and I'm surprised that I haven't gotten that urge to uproot like I did periodically during my travels.

I'm getting involved in astronomy and science education in the area, too. I'm tutoring physics and math, teaching Lego Robotics and Engineering to young kids in an afterschool program called The Great Adventure Lab, and volunteering at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Last week I visited my old high school and talked with the astronomy classes about my journeys before accompanying them to the local planetarium. It's like I said in my QR4 post, which I just uploaded today:

"This year, I’ve learned that through and through, my project is me. By which I mean that what I care about, what my life’s direction is, is based in the themes I explored this year.  I love astronomy. I love that it can be a tool to exercise our brain to stretch any boundary that we find limiting. I love that it’s something that everyone can experience deeply, regardless of nationality, age or gender, because as human beings, we are inevitably affected by the sun, the moon, the seasons, and have undoubtedly asked ourselves the question, “What’s out there?” I love that it’s both a science we can know with some amount of certainty, and also a bottomless mystery, so our imaginations will never be satisfied. And I love that children posses the ability to know all of this with the clarity, enthusiasm and elegance that any adult could ever hope to. "

So I'm trying to stay true to that. 

Thank you to everyone who followed my travels and supported this journey. Your insights and perspective guided me when I felt stuck, and you helped to make this year memorable and meaningful. 

Clear skies,

Me, as the Hubble Space Telescope, for Halloween 2013

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