I’ve heard a lot about people getting bored at home during quarantine, but that’s just really not my style. There’s still never enough time in the day to do all the things, so I thought I’d share just a few highlights from the last…nine months?! Apparently not enough time to blog, either.

As a side note, in case anyone is interested in life updates (although I know you’re mostly here for the adventure photos and witty commentary), after spending some time in the US I flew back home to my apartment in Chile at the end of August to continue working on observatory things, which means that for the twelve month period from September 2019 – August 2020 I spent exactly 6 weeks not living out of a suitcase. Fingers crossed I actually get to enjoy the other three-quarters of my wardrobe this year.

Anyways, here’s a taste of the things taking up my time in quarantine, and the main reasons I’m not (yet) an accomplished sourdough baker.

  1. Crack Den

This is not what it sounds like. Or, at least, not unless you’re a hardcore climber. Basically, we built a structure in the backyard that allows you to practice crack climbing upside-down. Check out the video below for how it works (and swipe/click through for a photo of the finished product), although I promise the first couple several million attempts did not look that smooth.

2. Rubin Observatory: The Revolutionary Space Movie

Mid-(northern) summer, I was invited to give a talk about the observatory I work for to people that work at observatories nearby (all part of the same umbrella organization AURA). I’m not stoked about presentations via video chat, especially considering I myself tend to get bored and distracted, so I didn’t want to do a lame powerpoint presentation where people are focused on the slides and can’t see my face (to know when I’m joking) and I can’t see theirs either (to tell whether they like my jokes or not). So, I ultimately decided to do a John Oliver-style video, which accomplishes a few things: I could embed the slides next to my talking head, making sure people see my facial expressions; I could add videos and animations easily; and I didn’t have to do it live.

I basically made the fun, easily-understandable video that I wanted to create (as opposed to a more technical and formal presentation, which is probably what they wanted but they should have known they asked the wrong person if that was the goal). I’m proud of the way it turned out, especially considering the fact that I did all the editing myself even though iMovie and I are not friends. It’s a solid half hour, so be emotionally prepared for that, but ideally it’s also entertaining and hopefully that helps. Also my favorite (subtle) joke in there is related to the TV show The Office and if you catch it we can be best friends.

3. CORE Science Institute

I’ve been involved in a summer science camp for kids through SLAC for the past four years, and we were super bummed that we wouldn’t be able to host the students at SLAC this past summer (turns out there’s a global pandemic, who knew?) but succeeded in running the camp virtually. It was a bit chaotic trying to help ten-year-olds troubleshoot their experiments via video chat, but maybe they learned something along the way. On the bright side, they’ll be experts at Zoom for the next time they need to use it at work (i.e. in ten years).

Together we made clouds in a bottle, wrote secret messages and learned how to decode them, created experiments around diffraction, and cursed our slow internet.

An astronomy image that one of the students made when learning about colored filters

4. Yosemite

It wouldn’t be a proper recap post without any climbing photos, so here ya go. Being able to go to Yosemite and frolick in the mountains while I was in California over the summer was definitely a big perk.

5. Fútbol

I got recruited back in February of 2020 to play on the local women’s club soccer fútbol team when one of the coaches saw me playing pickup with some colleagues, and because my life clearly isn’t busy enough as-is I decided to join the team. By club, I mean Club Deportes La Serena, which is in the first division in Chilean women’s professional fútbol, and we play against some teams that pay their players (but mine doesn’t).

We couldn’t play or practice from mid-March through September, but were able to play a shortened tournament at the end of 2020. For now I mainly bounce between the bench and the practice squad, since I’m still slowly getting back my touches after not having played for any sort of coached team for a decade. My main accomplishment of the season was getting to start in one game, and hopefully that trend continues for this upcoming season (slated to start in March/April), but I do have some skills I need to work on and also I have a full-time job which makes the time commitment tough. But it’s definitely an incredible experience, and overall I’m super stoked that I get to train my favorite sport with really good players and play against high-level teams.

So that’s what’s been happening around here. I also might or might not have told myself I was going to do at least one blog post every month, so I’m juuuust squeaking in under the deadline here. Hopefully something interesting happens in February or this is gonna get real boring real fast.