University of Wisconsin–Madison

Departure

7:29 AM CDT, June 16, 2015 – Chicago, Illinois, USA

I’m currently chillin’ in O’hare, waiting to get on my connecting flight to DC. I walked by five different Starbucks in between terminals. Not bad, but we can do better, America. I shouldn’t have to walk more than fifty feet to rehash my caffeine levels with a venti caramel macchiato. Anyways… packing was fun. Did the majority of it last night, because why not? Last night also seemed like a great time to code a program which allows me to access my server while I’m in Kazakhstan. Quick backstory: I researched stellar flares for a few years at Madison and ended up designing a program on my free time that detects flares on the Sun and automatically tweets images of them. You can check it out here if you feel so inclined (shameless plug): www.twitter.com/realtimeflares. Anyways, I ended up getting about two hours of sleep, but hey, now I can control my server from half a world away. You win some, you lose some.

Isthmus

We have orientation in DC for a couple days before shipping off to Almaty. In DC I’ll get to meet the other students in the program who come from universities all over the country. The program leaders will go over all the basics for the next two months abroad. We’ll cover things like class times and locations, cultural sensitivities, and so forth. I’m really excited that we have a brief stay in DC, though, because it’s no secret how much history the district has to offer. Not to mention, there’s a freakin’ space shuttle parked a few miles down the road from my hotel. So hopefully there’s enough time to do a bit of exploring and maybe learn a thing or two.

Learn Russian - Bye

I found out who my host family will be a few days ago. They’re more like a “host couple” because they don’t have any kids and they’re both under 30 years old. AKA THE FUN HOUSE. Additionally, I’ll only be a few minutes from campus, which was great news. I’m super pumped to meet them and for everything to start coming together over the next week.

Thanks for reading,

Garrett