Friday, February 4, 2011

Welcome to a New Chapter; Shaping My Future as a Marine Biologist

Walking Down the Chosen Path; Cape Canaveral, Florida 10.2008

My family had stayed for a few days and helped me settle into my condo. My aunt Shir is a fabulous cook – my favorite dish that she made me religiously as a kid was famously called, “Chicken a La Jessica;” this included cheesy mozzarella garlic bread! The main dish had an assortment of vegetables and small pieces of chicken soaked in olive oil; the perfect weekend dinner meal. Sorry I kind of got lost in the moment there! Anyways, before my aunt Shir left she taught me a few quick dishes to create for on the go. 

Beautiful Cloudy Day; Cape Canaveral, Florida 10.2008

Once both the cars were unloaded I officially felt at home. I had training for my new job the next morning after I arrived in Cape Canaveral, Florida. My brother Jake loves to go fishing; while I drove towards the Ecoes office, my family accompanied my uncle Matt and went fishing on the Indian River for the morning until the late afternoon. As I continued my drive towards Cocoa, Florida with my sunroof open, I listened to the cool wind breeze brushing through my hair, smelled the fish and salt water seeping from the local fish markets nearby, and viewed a beautiful sunrise over the ocean. I cannot believe how long it took me to be in such a beautiful and peaceful place, but I knew at that moment that this was a great location to call my home

Paradise; Cape Canaveral, Florida 10.2008

I quickly arrived to my destination and was overly excited to know that today will shape my future in the field of Marine Biology. Proudly I walked into the office and recognized Mary Jo or MJ and several other unfamiliar faces. The classroom was filled with a dozen of people in their chairs. The week for the Protected Species Observer (PSO)/ Safe Gulf training went really well; there was a high focus on the marine environment and a brief overview of the identification of marine mammals and sea turtles. 

After reflecting on the past and recapping the challenges I faced, this moment in time revealed what I have been waiting for since I was 3 years old. I am one step closer to achieving my goals and studying cetaceans (whales and dolphins) in their own natural habitat. One really cool Biologist that I met during the training was this cute brunette girl named Whitney - "Offshore Lifestyle Unraveled; a Greater Appreciation for Marine ." We started chatting the first day outside the classroom during our break. One immediate similarity we shared was that we both adored our sororities and missed our college years deeply. I discovered that she is a Phi Mu alum as well! It really is a small world! If you know anything about the Greek life, you would know that this is an instant connection to the sisterhood. Whether or not she would have been a Phi Mu, the Greek affiliation brings us closer together already. I highly recommend “Going Greek” if you crave adventure and life-long friendships.

At the end of the week training was completed. One of the most unforgettable experiences of that week, besides my training, was when my little brother Jake saw the ocean for the first time. Being the great big sister that I am, I took his hand and guided him into the ocean - I may have kicked water on him on a bit to give him the full effect of the ocean. I tried to explain years what the ocean meant to me, but it was not until that moment where he fully understood why I wanted to live and work on the ocean. Reality had sunk in after my family had left to drive home - I was leaving the next morning for my first project as an official Marine Biologist. My first offshore assignment... Boston, Massachusetts to research and carefully observe the North Atlantic right whale!

Beach, Sand, and Sun; Cape Canaveral, Florida 10.2008