North Carolina Museum of Natural History

We were up in Raleigh this past weekend. Asa had to work so I went to play. Of course the science nerd I am headed straight for the Natural History Museum.

This is the second time I’ve been there and it didn’t disappoint, again. The museum does a couple of things really well:

1. It’s free!

2. They have an amazing collection of live animals including snakes, fish, turtles, frogs, and insects.

3. They have a butterfly room you can walk through with lots of live butterflies. Warning – it’s closed on Monday’s.

4. They have a whole section of the museum dedicated to research and education. There are science labs with glass windows so you can look inside and see what the scientists are doing. In addition they have “meet the researchers and learn about the research” time.

5. Dinosaurs!
Great for kids and science nerds alike! I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

Advertisements

JanTerm and the Wassaw Island National Wildlife Refuge

As a teacher at a fantastic school, I get the opportunity to do some pretty cool things. This past week was no exception. The Westminster Schools (high school only) decided last year to implement a January term; a three week learning experience for students to explore concepts that they normally wouldn’t be exposed to during the regular classes. Teachers were requested to design courses that were interdisciplinary, with focuses on meeting people, traveling, and interactive hands-on activities. Classes include The Science of Cooking, Biotechnology, DIY Culture, Sports Medicine, Entrepreneurship, Journalism, and my favorite class: Coastal Ecology and Culture of the Southeast.

51QQKSS3BALThe class I teach (Coastal Ecology and Culture of the Southeast) was designed to introduce students to the science of coastal habitats like salt marshes, estuaries, maritime forests, and barrier islands. Within this context students learned about the local people and culture (the Gullah-Geechee) by visiting museums, talking to locals, and reading God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man By Cornelia Walker Bailey (a Gullah-Geechee woman that still lives on Sapelo Island, Georgia).

The highlight of this class is a week-long field trip to Skidaway Island and the UGA marine extension service. While there, students were able to interact with the communities they were introduced to in the classroom. They explored biodiversity, learned about the animals and plants, got their hands dirty, and explored.

IMG_0871

Sampling invertebrates off the dock at the marine extension service.

IMG_0874

Tromping through the salt marsh exploring and getting muddy.

 

IMG_0860

Under the Pier at Tybee Island.

 

IMG_0858

View from above the pier at Tybee Island.

IMG_0853

At the Pinpoint Museum, a Gullah-Geechee facility near Skidaway Island.

IMG_0849

Learning how to make a crab net from a Gullah-Geechee man at Pinpoint.

The week culminated in a trip to Wassaw Island, part of the Wassaw Island National Wildlife Refuge. Wassaw Island is a protected and undeveloped barrier island. People are allowed to visit without any permits, but no boats are allowed to stay docked or ashore and there is no overnight camping. Because of this, the island is pristine. The maritime forest is on its way to developing a climax community of live oak trees, alligators wander around in the holes they have dug for the winter, the wrack on the beach harbors little crabs, the birds stretch out in large flocks, and the beach is littered with shells and driftwood. There is not a footprint in sight.

IMG_0892                              IMG_0887IMG_0903.JPGIMG_0902.JPG

So, thanks to my school for making this happen. I can only hope that my students understand the opportunity they have been given to enjoy and interact with nature! I truly believe that experiences like these can shape people and help make them better stewards of the earth.

Panamerican Ultimate Championships

We found ourselves in a Spanish speaking country again last week, although very temporarily. Our visit consisted of a lot of ultimate, some relaxing, and reconnecting with some of our Uruguayan friends. Seeing them and chatting made me remember the joy and pleasure that writing this blog gave me when we were living in Uruguay and beyond.

I have decided to re-kindle my relationship with the blog. In reacquainting myself with the blog I noticed that I had several drafts of half finished posts. It seems that the longer I neglected sharing our adventures, the more burdensome it felt to catch everyone up. The end result was just a void. So… that being said, I’m not going to try to catch you all up. I’m just going to jump right in!

We (the husband, the roomie – yes the same one from Uruguay, and I) traveled to Cancun, Mexico the week before Thanksgiving to participate in the Panamerican Ultimate Championships. It is a 4 day tournament  of teams from North, Central, and South America competing, coexisting, and interacting in the wonderful world-wide ultimate community.

logo-fondo-blancob-1.png

I was playing for a master’s women’s team from Atlanta, the Atlantiques! Yes, I know the name is awesome 😉 The husband and roomie played with Team Uruguay. They could only field a men’s team so I was out of luck, but that’s okay. It was the first time in about 4 years that I have played on a women’s team and it was a blast! We won the third place trophy in the women’s division with 14 players all over 30. For those of you who can’t quite grasp the awesomeness of this feat, just picture a small number of slow ladies schooling an army of 20 year olds for nine games over three days. Experience counts!

IMG_0704

The Uruguay team almost made it to the quarterfinals, but a weird three-way tie in the pool threw them into the bottom brackets. It was disappointing, but everyone just seemed happy to be there and playing! Watching my old friends play made me super happy. They have come so far in the three years that we have been gone and it’s really gratifying to know that we have had a part (and continue to have a part) in their development and growth.

CM9J3yeWEAEKnz_

The weather was awesome in Cancun, especially for all those teams from Canada! The fields were really great, although they got a little muddy after a downpour on the second day. The only complaint I have, and I hear this is pretty common for international WFDF tournaments, is that the field site was really far from the lodgings and the arranged bus service was limited. All this basically meant was that we went to the fields in the morning and came home at the end of the day. This usually isn’t a horrible thing, but the AC of a hotel room is awful nice in the middle of an 85 degree F, 100% humidity day. We just kept telling ourselves… “We’re in Cancun! Life could be a whole lot worse!”IMG_0700.JPG

All in all… A fantastic experience and one to be remembered!

Big News: We Are Headed Back to Atlanta!

For those of you that haven’t been privy to my weekly rantings about how horrible the job market is, how saturated the applicant pools are, and how tough it has been to keep my head on straight… I finally found a job. Not to worry, it only took a full year of looking.

images

I will be employed by the Westminster Schools in Atlanta as a biology and environmental science teacher for the coming school year. I will be teaching four classes of 11th or 12 graders. The Westminster Schools are one of the top independent schools in the Atlanta area and boasts class sizes of ~15 students, state of the art athletic facilities, copious professional development opportunities for teachers, and unique learning environments (e.g., a greenhouse, organic garden, and a creek running through the property). One of the things I will be focusing on is trying to contribute a projects- and inquiry-based environment to my and other science classrooms based on my experience with those learning techniques at the college level. It will probably take a while to adjust to the high school setting, but I am very excited to become a part of the Westminster community.

images-2

images-1

Asa and I are both very excited to be headed back to Atlanta come July. Asa will likely be playing with Chain Lightening again for the club ultimate season and I will hopefully be training for a half marathon with old running buddies. In the coming months we’ll be looking for a place to live in the Atlanta area; hopefully where we can stay a 1 car family. Although it still feels like we are in some kind of limbo, it’s nice to know that we have a place we need to be and a purpose for being there!

Stay tuned for a future post about some observations I made while job hunting.

Matt’s 2012 in Review

A Year of Uncertainty and Adventure

In January 2012, I left my job, sold almost all of my belongings, and said bye to family and friends to embark on a journey that I had no clue where it would take me.

In January 2013, I’m still on that journey, living on the opposite side of the world. This journey is transforming into a way of life, and different way of seeing the world.

We’re at a point in time that the internet allows us to create our own jobs, live anywhere in the world and work whoever we choose. Luckily, I’ve been able to keep in touch with friends and family online no matter where I’m at in the World. Skype, Google Hangout, social media, and this blog have been great at helping us keep in touch. PS: Thanks Randi for writing so much and pushing Asa and I to write a couple posts! 🙂

Here it is…

January was a month of getting rid of the last of my belongings (thanks to advice from Joshua and Ryan) and saying bye to friends, family, my job, most hobbies. Luckily, friends are always willing to throw a party, especially if it means it’s the last time they’ll see you in many months if not years.

bonvoyagecookiecake

Thanks for the yummy cookie cake Michelle

I moved down to Palermo, Uruguay with Asa and Randi. They were pretty much the main reason I’m doing this. If they didn’t decide it would be alright for me to join them, I might have never made the trip. Asa and Randi, I owe you guys the World. You guys freakin’ rock! I hope you will come visit one day!

This is a good hair day

This is a good hair day!

I became conversational in spanish down there. We could have probably been fluent in spanish in 3 months, but making fun of each other in English was so much fun.

I was bad at taking pictures in South America. I’m blaming it on the fact that I didn’t have a working camera most of the time since the lens’ dinner of choice was sand.

Carnival in Uruguay!!

carnival

Candle Festival in Montevideo, Uruguay. They send boats with candles, flowers, and decorations into the water for good luck.

candlefestivalmontevideo

I met Carlos, JuanMa, and Maru in Palermo after finding out there was ultimate frisbee in Uruguay. Luckily they spoke enough English to communicate with us.

12-hour travel to play in the Bahia Blanca Beach hat tourney

8hrbustrip

I sang karaoke with 4 others in front of hundreds (it was the US National Anthem)

nationalanthemkaraoke

Champions!

campeones - pink gazzo

I wrestled an alligator (crocodile)

wrestledanalligator

Hey Mom! I’m a foreign TV star… in 2 countries!

tvuruguay

I played in 4 Ultimate Frisbee tournaments outside of the US

uruguaybrazilultimate

argentinasavage

3v3minitourney

In the voice of 300 Spartans… This is CIMARRON!

cimarronsudaka2012

The AFDC and Spin Ultimate made it possible to donate 80 discs and jerseys to help South America further Ultimate Frisbee as a sport

discs

I learned to salsa in Argentina at 4am. (I wouldn’t call it learning, more like drunken wobbling side to side)

dancedsalsa

We played fun tournament games

I learned how to play the piano… with my feet!

IMG_0226

I had another going away party. This time it was for leaving Uruguay.

despidiendoamatt

Viva Las Vegas!

I got back together with the family in Vegas. I went to my Sister’s and Blake’s (now brother-in-law!) wedding. It was a gorgeous and awesome wedding. It was a lot of fun. I lost money at poker (it was overdue) but had a blast with Derek, Blake’s family and my family! So many good times and fun things happened.

tiffandblakewedding

Yum! In-N-Out Burger with a creeper in the background.

inandoutburgervegas

Ziplining with Dad in Vegas!

IMG_1405

Off to Puerto Galera

After too much excitement in Vegas, I headed out to Puerto Galera, Philippines to get together with a bunch of people from the DC and the TropicalMBA. Joining the DC was probably the biggest game changer this year as far as business is concerned. I won’t talk about that now.

In Puerto Galera, I caught some amazing sunrises, had a birthday applechicken with the crew at Badladz and tried to swim with Dolphins.

amazingsunrise

Birthday chicken apple lunch!!

birthdayturkeyapple

Taking a short break from work!

horsegoatreindeer  junglemountainhike

Beautiful view of Puerto Galera from the top of the jungle trek

amazingislands

jungletrek2

Rented a villa with 2 friends for half a week in Puerto Galera. Our Dive master picked us up from our dock!

rentedavillaaccessiblebyboat

Survived a water buffalo ride!

rodewaterbuffalo

tmbaexploration

The crew chillin on the beach

tmbapgbeach

Tuk tuk transportation

tuktuk

Trying to swim with some dolphins

After this, I headed back to Manila for a few days to meet with some friends.

I slept on a boat in Manila

sleptonaboat

Enjoyed the Manila Skyline at night

manilaatnight

Off to Bangkok, Thailand!

After the Philippines, I flew over to Bangkok for a big meetup of about 70-80 Dynamite Circle members from all around the World.

This was my view for three days in Bangkok.

conferenceinbangkok

We met for three days in a convention center. I met people who hide from the public, well-known influencers, people just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey, and established ballers who are all living the lifestyle of their choice from wherever they want around the World.

I was bad at taking pictures here.

In Chiang Mai

Posing at a temple

dancedatatemple

Words of wisdom at a temple

mistake

Met up with Joel within my first few weeks in Chiang Mai. I was introduce to Melina and Orn then, two awesome people. Robert was laughing so hard he forgot to open his eyes.

Sick mustache, Joel.

joelandcrew

Marvin was traveling through so we went to the sticky waters where you can climb them. We decided some sort of Yoga pose would be best.

yogastickywaterfallmarvin

Cliff jumping in Chiang Mai.

jumpedoffcliff

Lantern release – sending bad thoughts away. Bringing in good thoughts.

badthoughtsgo

Thousands of lanterns released at Yi Peng lantern festival during Loi Krathong. This moment was incredible. At one point in time, I couldn’t even see the sky there were so many lanterns right above my head.

yipengloikrathong

Celebrating Turkey day with Apple Pie Shots

celebratedturkeyday

Temple in Chiang Mai

templeschiangmai

Manila Spirits 2012

Cabs R Here losing the 3rd place game to Derek Ramsey in Rock-Paper-Scissors

 losinggamesinrockpaperscissor

Was introduced through a Sam to Sam. Played with him in Manila

metsam

Dancing with the Aussies and Canadian!

dancedwithaussies

Photobomb #1 – Beer me!

photobombed1

Photobomb #2 – epic makeout scene

photobombed2

Photobomb #3 – Like a Boss

photobombed3

Surviving the Mayan Apocalypse in style!

survivedinstyle

Taking pictures of myself… as always

tookpixofmyself

Cabs R Here!!!

cabsrhere

What the Deuce in Chiang Mai’s first ultimate frisbee league.

wtdchiangmaiultimatefrisbee

Family sent me awesome christmas presents!!

celebratedchristmas

White elephant present – awesome Thailand Tshirt

bestwhiteelephantgiftever

Meeting up with cousins Jimmy and Janie and friend Sandy after their domination runs in Chiang Mai.

metcousins

Coffee at Ristr8o with the #DCCM crew on Christmas day

coffeewithdccmcrew

White elephant gift exchange

giftexchange

Christmas day street food dinner with cousins Jimmy and Janie!

Christmasdinner

Some lessons learned:

People all around you have a strong influence on who you are as a person. Surround yourself with people you look up.

Different cultures around the World can take a while to adapt to. By having a strong core, open eyes and ears, and the ability to see other’s points of view, you can go extremely far in life and be extremely successful (no matter what “success” means to you).

When you let yourself be open to opportunity, doors start showing up in front of you and you just have to choose which ones your going to open and which path your going to go down.

Learning a language is hard, but you’ll get a lot more respect and your stay will be easier if you learn some basic language and show you’re trying. You’ll also get good mental benefits from learning to speak a new language.

Leverage your hobbies to create strong and lasting friendships wherever you go.

There is something unique about Ultimate Frisbee and spirit of the game. If you play ultimate frisbee, make sure to look for ultimate everywhere you go. You will instantly create awesome friends and people all around. I have made so many friends this past year through ultimate and everyone is awesome in their own way. Whether I was partying in Uruguay at 6am with you, dancing/drinking in Argentina, surviving the Apocalypse with the Aussies in Manila, or playing league in Chiang Mai, you guys have been freaking awesome!

This journey would not be the same without ultimate and all the people I’ve met playing ultimate along the way. If there is anything I can ever do for you guys, you know where to contact me!

The same can be said for anyone in the DC. #DCCM, you guys rock! I’ve had a blast in Chiang Mai. Now, it’s time to move it to #DCPai and get more serious about health, fitness, work, and productivity.

It’s not as easy as it seems…

Going out and traveling sure does seem like fun, but there are a lot things that make it difficult. In the beginning, you have to give up on a lot of things like going out and drinking with friends a lot, skipping over to another country for fun, doing expensive dinners. You really have to be the boring friend sometimes who sits inside on a Friday evening and throughout the weekend getting the work done. Your good friends will understand, but most won’t.

Whatever you do, just make sure you follow Derek Sivers’ motto: it’s either “HELL Yeah! or no.”

Most people won’t understand what you do. They see the great pictures, the travel, the fun, but they don’t understand the struggles and the work you do.

Leaving friends is hard. Sure, I’ve made great friends along the way, but with everyday I make a new friend, that’s a day that’s passed that I haven’t seen an old friend from backhome.

The hardest part is probably leaving family. Luckily I can video chat and skype with my family back home, but it’s definitely hard celebrating birthdays, holidays, especially Christmas without the family. Technology doesn’t always work and frustrating times come along that. You just have to accept the fact that s#!@ happens sometimes and there will be another time to say hi!

You have to be like water in a stream, flowing over and around the rocks, the hard times. I think there’s a Chinese proverb about that.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned this whole trip, and it’s something I knew and learned from Mo, quality relationships are pretty much the most important things in life. Without trust, friendship, support, prodding, and pushing from peers, mentors, mentees, friends, family, others, life can be A LOT harder than it has to be.

Go out and create great relationships. Keep in touch, help others, and connect people when you can! Be good to others.

I could write this post about business stuff, finances, etc, but the most important thing to me is connecting, helping, and having fun with people.

2012 was a year of travel and creating incredible friendships. 

I’m looking forward to 2013 to be a year of creating and deepening relationships and fine tuning my habits and rituals to be more productive and grow my business efforts this year. 
Don’t worry, Mom! I’ll work on taking more and better pictures and keeping everyone updated!

2013 is a year for shipping. Get your work out! Go big or go home (going home isn’t an option here). Do something that matters and the world will reward you for it.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

I had the opportunity to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium a couple weeks ago while I was in the area for a wedding. I stayed at a local motel and spent a nice Sunday exploring the animals and new exhibits at the Aquarium. I would definitely recommend a trip to the Aquarium. In my opinion it is the best aquarium in the U.S., with a great mix of animals, good signage, plenty of activities for the kids, interactive displays and touch tanks, and some nice art exhibits. Here are a couple memories from my visit.

 

 

 

 

These are called Lion’s Head Nudibranchs. I was excited to see a tank full of them at the Aquarium because my family and I saw these in the wild for the first time while kayaking in San Simeon last month.

A Trip to Schererville

Earlier in September my mom and I took a trip to Bakersfield to visit my grandmother. While we were there we were coerced to visit “the farm” or “the ranch” as some people call it. No it isn’t actually a farm or a ranch… It is my Uncle and Aunt’s house in East Bakersfield.

I refer to it as a farm or a ranch because they have amassed a great collection of animals and plants which include:

4 horses

1 cow (named “moomers”)

1 goat

10 chickens (3 of which are named Huey, Dewey, and Louey)

Assorted dogs and cats

Various fruit trees (grapefruit, apple, pear, orange)

So my mom and I visited on the condition that she could ride the horses with my uncle. It was a great visit and always nice to see all the animals! Here are a couple pics from our visit!