I was welcomed to Washington with a vibrant pink and purple sunset in the last hour of the flight and landed around 9:20 pm in a blanket of black hills and city lights of Pasco, about 20 minutes east of Richland.Trevor greeted me in baggage claim in the most affectionate way that Trevor knows how, he strolled up from behind and stood next to me until I noticed his presence. I turned to give him a big bear squeeze when I noticed a brown fleck in his eye accompanied by some serious red irritation:
Me- "What's up with your eye dude"
Trevor- "I dunno, I think I'm going to go to the emergency room after I drop you at the house"
and that was probably the most appropriate commencement to my summer with Trevor in Washington.
To those of you that I haven't already bombarded with my excitement for the summer, I (somehow) acquired an undergraduate internship at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA (Trevor is working on his PhD in the same lab). I am working for Dr. M. Hope Lee, who is an Oceanographer/Environmental Engineer/Microbiologist. I've had several conversations via phone and email for her and I'm pretty excited to work with her, especially after her summary of government lab dress code primarily entailed, "don't wear shirts with "I hate the government" and "I have a bomb"."
The project I'm helping with is studying the mechanisms and microbes involved in the cycling of Iodine isotope 129 in the environment. Needless to say I have been reading research papers and interwebbing out the wazoo because, well, I don't know anything. Hopefully I don't break too many things in the lab and avoid sucking at everything too much.
Trevor lives in a small, two-person, "duplex" which is one of the homes that was built in the 1950's with the population boom during the Cold War as Richland was a quickly growing city as it was home to the Hanford nuclear site, a portion of the Manhattan Project. Most of the homes in the surrounding neighborhoods are one of two layouts when housing was being mass produced. Trevor's place is quite open and very "airy", especially due to Trevor's minimalistic style of decor...
My favorite part of the place is there is more beer than food in the refrigerator.
My first morning in, I rode my NEW, AWESOME, road bike to work with Trevor to become familiar with the ride and explore a little bit. At around 8 am it was in the 70's and apparently this is very mild weather for the Tri-city area. I'm probably going to melt this summer. It's very dry climate here unlike the Seattle rain forest that most associate with Washington and it's what I would consider to be scrub land? Richland is located right on the Columbia so there is a fair amount of vegetation and some big old trees down by the river, thank god. I already found my favorite tree which I will have to share with you all later.
Here's the new beauty herself:
I explored the city a little bit by bike this morning while Trevor was at work. All the streets in the Manhattan engineering district are named after U.S. Army members of the Corps of Engineers and the streets corners have tiny "plaques" of sorts with a small description. Around our neighborhood there is a crumbling strip mall with a haphazard collection of stores like "Bible Shoppe" and "Emerald of Siam Thai Restaurant" which looks fairly sketchy and I am determined to eat there. I then rode the same work route as the morning but stopped at a pavilion of sorts on top of a hill by the Columbia and read some research papers, but mostly napped. All in all, a pretty okay first day.