Monday, February 25, 2013

Vicarious Lessons

It seems these days I post more to Facebook than my blog, violating an unsaid promise I made myself when my brother-in-law signed me up for the seemingly social Mecca of the Internets.  Amid the immediate stress I felt to be more true to myself, I read a post from my close friend Catherine and decided vicarious lessons are the best. So instead of worrying about unwritten (and likely not that interesting) moments, I'm looking ahead.  And most definitely not shamelessly running for the ringing phone hoping it's NASA.  Meanwhile, I figure the new blogging attitude encompasses posting unsuccessful attempts at baking a fairly easy raspberry chocolate cake. It's certainly not as sightly as Giada's version, but it tasted pretty yummy with my substitution of a mildly sweetened mixed berry glaze for frosting.

Ahhh, continued examples of maturity.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The answer...

to the question I get fairly frequently, though the answer always seems so obvious to me.  Here's what I told the Committee last week on why I want to be an astronaut.

It's about dreams.  About the unknown.  And a yearning to know the unknown.

It's about taking time for the things that matter.  To pay homage to the sacrifices made by my parents.  To exalt their diligence and dedication for a better life.  It's knowing the reasons for which I will sit before you today.  For the mentors, supporters, and teachers.  It's realizing most individual efforts are actually team efforts.   That we rarely achieve such notable successes on our own. 

It's truly about the science.  The feat of engineering.  To stand on the edge of what is possible.  To explore an asteroid. Visit the moon.  Traverse Mars.  See the Earth.  Feel the warmth of the Sun.  To find the limits.  And defy them.

It's about inspiring.  Invigorating the next generation.  Instilling in them what I was so fortunate to have instilled in me.  To have a sister who encouraged experimenting.  Studying.  Understanding the why.    It's about taking a moment of your day to share the wonders and the joys.  To encourage inquisitive natures.  And imbue curiosity.

It's about courage.  Faith and trust.  Knowing that the thousands who work for the program aim to keep you safe.  To help you accomplish the mission.

It's these things.  And more.  It's mostly intangible.  Yet, in ways, palpable.  It's the only dream I've ever dreamt.  And the only thing I ever imagined doing. 

The entire process has been an incredible journey, and I truly am at peace with whichever direction life takes me.  Four years has shown me that maturity matters.  I have never been so at ease with life.  To feel sincere happiness without even a shred of jealousy for my friends who are in this whirlwind of a moment with me.  Gosh, this must be what growing up feels like!

I return to you after three days of socials, tests, and an interview to become an astronaut.  I can't disclose much of the process, but I can tell you that it was a fun few days.  The next step is the second and final round of interviews within the next couple of months.  But, the best part of my experience was being around the 9 other interviewees who shared the moments with me.  Our backgrounds were so diverse, and that meant dinner conversations were vibrant.  And educational!  Thank you, NASA.  It's been real!

Half of the group touring the old historical Apollo Flight Control Room

One of us could be an astronaut!  And this would be our future ride up! 

And totally get to hang with this guy!  Go Robonaut!