All posts by rockh

Our Last Day in San Marcos, TX

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Our team at the art festival

I have enjoyed an incredible three days at Texas State University at ORPL participating in the analysis of the skeletal remains that were recovered by the UIndy team in January, May 2013 or June 2014.  I learned an incredible amount in the process and I feel so far beyond grateful to be here.  After analyzing 9 cases (our goal was 6), today was our rest day before we travel to Rio Grande City tomorrow.  We left the hotel at 9am to go to Gil’s Broiler for Manske rolls.  We realized before we left that Gil’s didn’t open until 11am though, so we ran a few errands before going for breakfast.  A few of us needed a couple of odds and ends to survive the rest of the trip, so we stopped at CVS to pick up a few things.  We were on the hunt for a cooling towel, which will be essential when we are in Rio Grande City performing exhumations.  It is supposed to be around 100 degrees each day we are in the field, only allowing each of us to work about 4 minutes before we have to take an 8 minute hydration and cooling break.  During this time, a cooling towel will help tremendously to cool us down.  One of our team members forgot her cooling towel in Indiana, so we did some hunting around San Marcos to find one.

After CVS, we went to Lowe’s to pick up tarps to keep our van clean after our field days next week.  We want to preserve the beautiful brand new van as much as we possibly can, so we decided tarps were completely necessary.  After Lowe’s, we went to Academy, a sporting goods store, to find the cooling towel.  We were successful and what a cool store that was!  After that, it was nearing 11am so we headed for Gil’s to get our Manske rolls.  When we got there, there were a couple of people waiting outside.

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The doors finally opened a little after 11 and we were so excited.  We ordered our Manske rolls at the counter, a few of us adding half of a Hershey’s bar to our rolls, and then we found a table to wait.  After getting our rolls, it was very difficult not to scarf them down because they were so delicious.

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After our breakfast, we traveled a short way past Texas State University, a beautiful campus, to an art show we were invited to by Kate Spradley.  It was located at the Eye of the Dog Art Center and was a pottery show.  The pottery on display was so beautiful.  We really enjoyed seeing it all.  We spoke with one artist who informed us that they have three art shows a year and this was their biggest one.  It was so neat to see all of the different ways clay can be used to make beautiful pieces of art.

After the art show, we went back to the hotel to relax and do laundry before dinner.  We left at 6pm for a restaurant called “54th Street”, which turned out to be extremely busy because of a prom being held nearby.  It was a lot of fun to see the prom dresses as we were waiting for our table.  We waited for about an hour before our table was ready.  The food was fantastic, and thus the wait was well worth it.

Tomorrow morning we are leaving for Rio Grande City at around 10am.  It will take us about 6 hours to get there.  I am so excited for this next leg of our journey in Texas.  I have had an amazing experience here thus far, and I very much look forward to being able to learn so much more about this process, as well as observe a different culture.  I am so glad that the University of Indianapolis offers experiences such as this one, and I am so thankful for Dr. Latham and the wealth of knowledge she is able to share.  I have learned so much from this experience already, and I am looking forward to learning a lot more.

Haley

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Traveling to Texas

Our group before we departed from Indy!
Our group before we departed from Indy!
Such a clear day to fly to Texas!
Such a clear day to fly to Texas!

We arrived at the Indianapolis International Airport this morning at 6am for our 8:05am flight to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.  It was a much anticipated flight as I had been so eager and excited to travel to Texas for the first time.  The first leg of our journey was as smooth as is humanly possible, as we had no issues checking all seven of our bags, and no issues boarding all seven of us.  And as Leann so precisely put it, our landing was “literally as smooth as butter.”  When we arrived at the DFW airport, we indulged in a delicious breakfast at Pappasito’s Cantina!  Everybody really enjoyed the jalapeño cheddar sausage!  After a short layover, at the DFW airport, we departed for the San Antonio International Airport, where we picked up our (brand spankin’ new) rental van.  It only had 15 miles on it!

Our group at The Alamo.
Our group at The Alamo.

 

From the rental car company, we traveled to The Alamo to do some site seeing, and then we visited the River Walk.  It was my first time visiting both sites.  It was so interesting to learn about The Alamo and to see it! It is truly a beautiful piece of history, aside from the sadness the event ensued on Texas in the form of many deaths.  I really enjoyed seeing cacti and palm trees at The Alamo site!  I have never seen either in real life and I was completely enthralled by their beauty!

 

 

 

 

At the River Walk.
At the River Walk.

 

We had to stop and take a picture in front of the cacti.
We had to stop and take a picture in front of the cacti.

After walking the River Walk, which was gorgeous, we travelled to our hotel to get settled

Our group at Buc-ee's!
Our group at Buc-ee’s!

in for the night.  On our way to the hotel, we stopped at Buc-ee’s, the biggest gas station I have ever seen in my entire life!  The place was massive!  It had everything you could ever want in a gas station, from every type of candy imaginable to decorations for your home.  We each got two kolaches, which were absolutely delicious!  And after seeing the amazing world of Buc-ee’s, we had to get a picture with Buc-ee himself!

After we were through exploring Buc-ee’s, we checked into our hotel and got settled in before visiting HEB.  What a cool store that is!  I have only heard about HEB but I have never been.  It was a really cool store that lived up to all of my expectations.  It truly is a store that sells everything!  I could not get over the cheese selection they had!  After HEB, we went to Sonic to get a quick bite to eat for dinner before settling in for the night to plan for our day tomorrow.

Today was such a fun day of exploring and site seeing!  It was a day of many firsts for me, and I am very much looking forward to tomorrow and the rest of our time here in Texas.

Haley

 

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Fears, Worries, and Excitement

As the craziness of my first year at the University of Indianapolis winds down and our departure to South Texas fast approaches, I keep asking myself if I am prepared.  I wonder if I have bought all the things that are necessary for the 12 days I will spend in Texas.  I wonder if I am prepared both emotionally and physically for this trip.  I imagine how it will be, but the reality is that I have no idea what it will be like until I get there and I am immersed in the work we will do.  I am both extremely excited and extremely terrified at the same time.

I am terrified to encounter a scorpion or a snake, but I am excited to overcome my fear of these creatures.  I am nervous about how hot it will be while we are there, but I am excited to be in a different culture and meet different people.  I have heard that Texas food is very spicy and I am not a big fan of spicy food.  However, this will be an excellent way to become more accustomed to spicy foods.

Over all of my fears and worries though, I am excited and humbled to be a part of this amazing mission.  I have a strong belief that every person on this earth deserves the same basic human rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  I believe that regardless of sex or ancestry, every person deserves to live a free and happy life and if an untimely death occurs, every person should be reunited with their family.  In my “Human Rights” and “Peace and Justice Studies” classes at Michigan State, we delved deep into basic human rights and how those rights have been denied to people over the course of our history.  We discussed how we might be able to help people who are denied the basic rights of life and we talked about how it seems impossible sometimes, to help people who are in desperate need of assistance.  I wish this world were perfect.  I wish that no human would ever suffer and I wish that no human would ever be left unidentified.  Unfortunately, that is not our reality.  The reality is that a crisis is occurring at our border and the world needs to know about it.  While I cannot stop this crisis, nor directly inform the world of it, I feel extremely grateful to be a small part of the process working towards change.

As the days fly by and our departure to South Texas rapidly approaches, I find myself eager.  I am eager to take part in this amazing mission.  I am eager to visit Texas.  I am eager to try spicy food.  I am eager to meet new people and get to know my team better.  And I am eager to better understand the crisis occurring at the border.  I know that the knowledge I will gain while in Texas will positively impact me, and I look forward to sharing this knowledge with my family and friends.

Haley

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