Sorry for the long hiatus in blog posts! Last season, we left off with the D-Lab beginning the fall quarter of 2016. Jen was about to give birth at any moment…and, I won’t leave you in another year of suspense… she welcomed Hugo Vinh Dionne Vu on September 26th!
Let’s catch you up and reflect on the past academic year! I’ll focus on group highlights and celebrations, sparing you details on the not-as-great moments like experimental failures, the paper writing/waiting for edits/re-writing/waiting for reviews/editing/waiting/re-writing process, emotional breakdowns, etc. Though, these tough moments, I’ve realized, are often just as important as the sweet ones and make celebrations that much more meaningful.
Group retreats: there were two this past year, one for the winter/snow season and the other for the beginning of summer. The Bay Area had been blessed, for the first time in a while, with a wet winter, meaning that the snow was full and fluffy when we were in Tahoe again for our annual ski trip this past March. We had a blast, from skiing, snow-shoeing, and sledding to sipping hot chocolate in the cabin.
The recent summer retreat in May was in Monterey, with half of the group participating in the Spartan Race, an intense 9 mile running course with obstacles in between. Katherine and I woke up early to watch the pros, including our very own Rea, carry a gigantic bucket of rocks up and down hills, crawl and roll under barbed wire, and climb rotating monkey bar rings. We were so proud that she won 4th place overall! The bravest of our crew tackled the same obstacle courses…see them in action below!
I took the lazier route and instead took a leisurely hike near the beach. There was a beautiful valley full of wild calla lilies! Katherine and I also nearly burned the tongues off our group mates with our spicy jambalaya. How were we supposed to know that 3 tablespoons of cayenne pepper was too much??!! We shall see if we are ever allowed back in the kitchen…
Champagne and diamonds: our group has the tradition of popping signed champagne bottles whenever a paper has been published. Here are some pictures during happy hour celebrations for Shings, Fariah, and me (sadly, Fariah has forbidden me from putting up a snapshot of her bottle-popping moment)!
For the completion of my project, I also hosted a cathartic party, themed “Diamonds are NOT a girl’s best friend,” complete with a homemade diamond piñata to smash and release years of pent-up frustration. Unfortunately, I made the piñata a little too durable and didn’t have a baseball bat. Here, you can see how we improvised 😉
New doctors: another year means another set of graduates. This year, three group members successfully defended their theses! Congrats to Justin, Brian, and Michael on such a huge accomplishment! I really look up to you guys…and your unique sense of style, displayed below 🙂
Old doctors: as the years go by, more D-Lab alumni are out in the real world, making an impact. Of course, that doesn’t mean I miss them any less, so I’m always SO happy when they come back to visit. Sometimes, I even go visit them! (Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of Aitzol and Andrea’s double visit…but they were here!)
That brings us back to the present. It is summertime and we are ready to goof off some more. Here’s to another eventful year and hopefully, more blog posts!