Hi everyone, my name is Ricardo Escobar-Burciaga. I made the move from Los Angeles, CA to Florissant, CO last weekend. To give you an idea of the drastic difference in lifestyle I will be adopting this summer, I moved from a city of more than 4 million people to a town of less than 120 people. The most difficult adjustment is going from checking email/social media accounts hourly in the city to having to drive more than 5 miles away to get decent signal and wifi. Although the remoteness and size of the area is quite a change, my heart has always been in the mountains, so I feel I am adapting quite well.

I could start off by describing my first week at the monument. However, I would like to focus instead on the experience I had during my move to Florissant, CO. Driving across the Colorado Plateau never ceases to amaze me! The sights, the sounds and the friendliness of the people is just incredible! I want to emphasize the fact that we are never in control of the events that take place in our lives. However, how we choose to invite the unexpected is completely up to us. Last Friday evening, on the way to Denver, my friend and I were snowed in Vail, CO (right in the heart of the Rockies) and I-70 was closed. We were supposed to get into Denver that evening to check into our hotel and my friend was to catch her flight the following morning. As you can imagine, I was panicking and concerned with where we would be spending the evening and how long I-70 would be closed for. With help from Susan of EFTA, however, we managed to book a hotel in Vail and made the most of the situation. In the end, we met some very friendly people there, we embraced the beauty the Rockies had to offer and my friend arrived to the airport on time. John Denver was absolutely correct; the purple mountains truly are majestic! And I mean that in all aspects! We made the most out of an unexpected situation!

For a brief insight into what I will be doing this summer; I will be working as an Education Specialist at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. It is one of the richest fossils sites in the world, with over 1500 species of insect fossils! My project will involve developing curriculum geared toward marginalized communities in the greater Colorado Springs area. There will be some component of outreach as well. I am incredibly excited to get started on my project as I am a strong advocate for promoting and increasing diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). I am also looking forward to working with an amazing set of individuals that I had the honor of meeting this past week. Stay tuned for more on the Florissant Fossil Beds next week!

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