Category Archives: General

General Postings

Dia de viaje (travel day)

The morning of any travel day is always so hectic! It usually involves scrambling to pack last minute items and going over a mental list (several times) to ensure that nothing gets left behind. Below is an example of items that our team leader, Dr. Latham suggests to bring during days of search and recoveries. Not something you think about every day.

(insider view of my backpack for search and recoveries)

The team meets early at the Indianapolis International Airport. We haven’t seen each other since the beginning of December so it was nice to catch up and hear about what everyone was up to during the holidays. There was a lot of out-of-state traveling to see family, a majority of the graduate students in the human biology program are not from the Indianapolis area. It seems as though we all equally value any time off from school to be able to spend quality moments with family that we don’t get to see often.

Once we check in and go through TSA we grab a quick bite to eat and huddle to discuss soft plans! I refer to them as “soft” plans because anything is subject to change. It is important to have a rough outline to make the most of our time but, equally as important to remain flexible. I cannot emphasize enough how trips to the Texas borderlands are unpredictable. The only thing we can expect is the unexpected!

(Beyond Borders Jan. 2022 team at the Indianapolis airport)

I got a window seat during our first flight with a destination to Dallas-Fort Worth airport. I look out the window to see snowflakes and think to myself how lucky I am to be escaping the 18° degree weather. I took advantage of the first flight to catch up on some sleep as I barely got any the night before.

(view out airplane window)

Remember mentioning the need to be flexible at the beginning of the post? Well when we got to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport we were met with a delayed flight of two hours to San Antonio. We passed time by people watching, sharing jokes, and talking. We finally boarded, I played four rounds of expert level sudoku and the next thing you know we were landing in San Antonio. This is not our final destination though, we still need to make a three hour drive to Falfurrias. We accomplished such with the help of our trusty, fancy rental car that was not what we originally booked (another challenge) but turned out to be a pleasant surprise. At first it took several minutes of trouble shooting to get adjusted because it is a high tech vehicle. The rental is also very sensitive, it literally sounds like it is about to detonate if any seatbelt (even if the seat is not being occupied) is unbuckled. It is so nice though, there is lots of leg room and big windows to look out of and gaze at the sunset. Eventually the night sky took over and we were able to see a waxing crescent moon and the planet Jupiter.

(view of San Antonio from car)

During our roadtrip to Falfurrias, we kind of just scanned through different radio stations, singing along to whatever songs were playing. We also talked about several movies that have made us cry, and concerts that we have attended in the past. It has been such an amazing time getting to know each other more. We checked into our hotel and made our way to H-E-B, a local grocery store where we grabbed food, water, and snacks that we will be consuming throughout the week. After, we grabbed dinner at Whataburger which was so good… nothing beats the spicy ketchup! We ate in our room and had a group meeting where we discussed what the plan is for our first day and were assigned different roles to be in charge of while in the field.

(Whataburger cup)

All-in-all it was a very long, tiring but fun day. It is a little scary knowing that this is supposed to be the day we get the most rest. I remain excited to see what the rest of the week has in store for us!

Tanya

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Pre-trip Post

The holidays always seem to go by quickly, and with the trip coming up in a matter of a week, time is speeding by. There are many things on my mind before we leave but most feel very superficial at this point. I am just coming back from visiting my family for the holidays, so my mind is in 100 different places. Right now, my priority is actually getting the things I need for the trip, such as the proper work clothes and other materials. I want to take extreme care in choosing what I bring. I want everything to be the best possible tool for the intended job. That is where my worries are lying at the moment, making sure I have everything I will need. I am also an extreme over-packer, so I am trying to be efficient at the same time.

It is very apparent that this trip will take a significant amount of work and not only physical but mental energy. The mental toll this trip can take will be hard work to process, so before we go and our posts hit a bit deeper, I want to share the lighter things I am looking forward to. I am ready to meet the people who have been doing this remarkable work and whom I have learned so much about already. I am excited to build a strong bond and even stronger friendship with my team. Less relevant but still very important, I have heard many, many stories about how amazing the food is in Falfurrias, and I think we may stop at Whataburger.

Izzy

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