Humble Pie Season

As I slowly arise very un-phoenix-like from two weeks of back-t0-back midterms, I find myself still looking up at a pretty sizable mountain that I’m not sure how to climb. In fact, it’s more like a jungle gym with moving parts and trap doors that open up right when I think I’ve found some stable ground. And somewhere in it, there is a guy who punches you in the face whenever you get to the top of a ladder. Oh! And there are sharks! (Somehow.) Yeah, sharks. And then there are Spartans throwing spears at you! And… thorns…everywhere…I think. Definitely thorns. And cockroaches. I HATE cockroaches, so they are crawling around making things worse. And… Ok, OK. Enough with the metaphors. (By now you should know that I can get carried away with those.)

Galapagos Hawk. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. October 2010.

Forgive me. I’m just excited to be using words instead of “science” right now. Words are home. Science is that dark alley in a foreign country that you have to walk down knowing you could and/or will get robbed. But it’s the only way to get to your friends, so you clutch your bag, hold your head up high, and put on your don’t-fuck-with-me face as you begin to walk. Science is not home for me. It is not comfortable or natural to be surrounded by it. Not yet.

Street in Cotacachi, Ecuador.

I’ve gone from one goal to another, gradually lowering each one from big, grandiose goals of success that people write books about all the way down to the most basic and unappreciated accomplishment of all: survival. I wish I could say that all it takes is hard work, but what if even that is not enough?

I am the kind of person who thinks she can do anything. I think I’m taller than I am, I think I’m stronger than I am, and as it turns out, I guess I may think I’m smarter than I am (this one is the toughest pill to swallow!). I took a couple of hits these past few weeks, so it is important now to regroup and get fired up for a new round of the game. For what it’s worth, I discovered during the happy hours following each midterm that, when it comes to beer pong, which I haven’t played in years, I’ve still got it. HEY! Right now I’ll take being good at something, just to remember what it feels like. I’d like to be good at anything again!

Faceless woman. Old Town Quito, Ecuador.

Sometimes, in life, there are moments when you take a nibble of humble pie. Then there are the moments when you get the whole fucking pie thrown in your face by some asshole (right now, that asshole would be YOU, Biology!). This may be one of those moments. But I don’t care what kind of pie it is… I’m going to gobble it up until there’s nothing left.

As most of you know, I write not because I like to listen to my own thoughts and sulk or cheer or aimlessly share the minutiae of my life for shits and giggles [wow, I’m cursing a lot this morning]. I write because I know my experience is more universal than it feels, at times. Nobody wants to sit and eat their humble pie alone!

So, for all you readers out there (echo…echo…echo?), who wants to have a slice with me? The sooner it’s gone, the sooner I can conquer the world again.



Filed under Ecuador, Life Stuff

16 responses to “Humble Pie Season

  1. Kenny Elson Kelson

    Hey, Rachel,

    It sounds like you’re going through a hard time, but that you’ve come up with some supportive thoughts. I believe in you. Always keep your chin up and don’t forget to smile.

    Kenny Elson Kelson

  2. You CAN conquer the world no matter what you might think at the moment!!! Like my Mom says, “Chin up, boob out.” 🙂

    • travelswithtavel

      Thanks Andi!! You’re always so supportive 🙂 And I’m not giving up! Can’t give more than my best, but will try! Love your mom, btw. Heh. Cheers.

  3. Geordie

    Hey T,
    Grad school (post-bac, whatev) is definitely to be survived, not conquered. If you’re still standing at the end of the day, that’s what really counts. Big electronic hug from Philly.


    • travelswithtavel

      Still standing, sometimes barely, but still standing… Thanks G 🙂 Hug back from NYC. Hope you’re hanging in there too!


  4. Susana Tavel

    Just keep plugging away. And beer pong every once in a while may help you keep your balance. Are you still in the fight, or did they toss you out mercilessly?

    • travelswithtavel

      Will do. I’m glad you support the beer pong, Mom. And don’t worry: I’ve got more fight in me. Not giving up.

  5. Cheer up! I’ll share a piece of that pie with you 🙂

  6. I hear you, Tavvy. 27 soon and I’m looking back on my “what I learned when I was 24/25/26…” lists, and realized I’ve learned some lessons several times over… One slice of pie over here, please! Hang in there, and let’s do brunch again soon! I might be up through NYC in late January/early February!

    • travelswithtavel

      Isn’t it incredible what we’ve learned since we were actually in school?? And even back in school, the learning just keeps on comin’!

      Ummm…. YES to brunch!! Keep me posted on your next NYC visit. I might try to get down to DC in Jan too, so make that TWO hangouts! 🙂

      Hugs. Thanks for sharing a piece of pie with me.

  7. Hi Rachel! I decided to take a look all the wonderful writing and photos you have on here rather than starting my Chem HW. Good move? I think absolutely.

    Very cool stuff. You are very talented! (At more than just picking out microscopic worms and planting seeds in Agar it appears).

    See you in class in the morning!

    • travelswithtavel

      HEEHEE! Thank you Margot!! Clearly I am not doing my chem HW either right now. Oops! (Both of our faults now.)

      Thank you for your comment, and for your kind words. Now the whole world will know how GREAT I am at planting tiny seeds in agarose gel! Yay! But I appreciate that you didn’t mention how many of the microscopic worms I may have accidentally killed while trying to figure out how to pick them up using a nematode pick and a microscope (not our fault we’re expected to know how to operate this machinery!). TGFC (thank goodness for Carlos the undergrad!)

      See you bright and early 🙂

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