Outside Temp: 42 F
Well, it's happening, I'm really here in Seattle! Training is pretty cool. It's still normal life, a little like a cross between a college class and a job interview. The class is focused on four basic topics: sampling procedures (aka how to actually do my job), filling out paperwork (putting numbers in little boxes), fish identification (playing with dead fish in ethanol) and safety (60 seconds to pull on your full immersion suit and jump into Lake Washington). It's a little like having your favorite class, everyday ... All . Day . Long.
But for fish nerds like myself, its pretty enjoyable! The training is at a secure NOAA facility, so they gave us all official badges with our pictures on them. Confession: I'm terrified to forget mine at home and have to wear the lame visitor's sticker one day. Our badges are connected to little retracting key holders, which when you've been in class for eight hours, are the most fun toy ever. They even have the Fisheries Management mascot printed on them ... An angler fish!
|Angler fish retractor toy attached to my ID|
Outside of class is when my life really gets interesting. I am staying in a moderately sized apartment, that, from the outside, looks generally unremarkable, aside from the foul weather gear and scientific equipment stacked in the garage. It can house up to 8 people, but comfortably 4-5. Unlike the other trainees, I am not staying in a trainee bunk house, but with prior observers who are traveling to and from assignments, briefings etc. Pretty much everyone is in a constant state of jet (or more often boat) lag. There are no normal sleeping, or meal times. Every day I wake up and check the bedroom whiteboards to see if anyone new has shown up and claimed a bed. People walk in from adjacent apartments just to check up on who's living in the unit next door for that day.
In the kitchen we have an entire cabinet shelf of free items left behind by observers that got called out suddenly. Most of the common items left behind include pasta sauce, beans, cereal, coffee etc. Its pretty much accepted that unless labeled or specifically noted, anything in the fridge is fair game as well (Be sure to confirm it is unspoiled before consuming!). It is good practice, upon arriving, to raid the free shelves, and if you're lucky you can eat for free for a couple days.
|Sunsets ... at 4:30 PM|
My bunk house at the moment is almost empty. I have my own room, and bathroom, for now. I also have a great living room with a patio and floor to ceiling windows looking over the hills to the west. It makes for beautiful sunsets ... at 4:30 in the afternoon. But the best part about my apartment is outside in the front, there is a small standing light-post. And for the holidays our housing manager decorated it with christmas lights. So when I come home, I always know my house, its the one with the lit barber pole. If she ever takes down our christmas lights I'm not going to know where I live!
|My Christmas-Lighted Home Sign|