By Marina Fennell
Hi, my name is Marina and I am a member of cohort 3 of ASLO’s LOREX program. My host institution is Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada and I will be coming from the University of California at Irvine (about an hour south of Los Angeles), where I am a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in Earth System Science.
I set out on June 1st from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to the first stop of my summer of travel: Spain! ASLO’s Aquatic Sciences Meeting was my first big in-person conference, and I was nervous but excited to visit Palma de Mallorca. Seeing as this was my first conference, and Palma is a huge summer tourist destination, I packed way too many fancy clothes! At least half of the attendees wore sandals and comfortable summer wear, meanwhile I brought heavy black jeans and collared shirts to tuck in. I took my first opportunity to do a little shopping and found my new, hot weather appropriate outfits.
With three different types of summer climates and almost three months of travel, my luggage weighed exactly 50 pounds, the maximum weight, and my carry-ons were stuffed full. With so much luggage to look after, I managed to forget my Bose headphones case with my phone charger on my flight to Newark. When I realized they were gone, I ran back to the gate to see if I could get them back, and then ended up late to my connecting flight! Sprinting through the Newark airport with two backpacks gave me quite the workout!
Hiccup number two was my taxi ride from the Palma airport to my hostel for the first nights’ stay. I gave the driver the address, he dropped me off, I said I could find it, and let him drive away. Turns out there are two squares with the same name on the island, but I was in the wrong town! We had driven 25 minutes in the wrong direction….so I walked down the street and found a bus stop. Silver lining? I found out how amazing the buses are on the island and took one bus 45 minutes back to Palma to my hostel for just 2 Euros! The taxi had cost me 25 euros.
Next up was the conference! On Wednesday, we gave our LOREX presentations, and my science session happened to be at the same time. Silver lining? I got great response from both my presentation and poster, but hiccup number three was testing positive for COVID two days later. Second silver lining is I got to spend a few more days in Spain to quarantine in my hotel, with a great view of the harbor, before heading to Boston for my next conference at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI). I’m flying there now to catch the second half of the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry (OCB) Summer workshop and to give my poster again.
Despite the hiccups at the start of my summer abroad, the silver linings and the excitement of getting to see new places are making me hopeful for a fun summer of sharing my science and working with others! Follow along on my science Instagram or Twitter @oceans_marina to see what more this awesome LOREX summer has in store for me!