Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Break from the Heat

The morning after we returned from Dallas, I boarded a flight to JFK to spend a week at Cold Spring Harbor Labs.  I was attending a course on the Genetics of Complex Human Diseases at the Banbury Center, a small conference center overlooking the Long Island Sound.

I learned so much this week from some really outstanding instructors and I've already put a lot of it to use since I've been back.  The days were long but the setting was incredibly peaceful.  Most nights we watched the sun set over the water and the cool mornings were perfect for runs.  My attempt to run along the beach, however, was met with swans and wobbly ankles.

Because we were the only people on campus, everyone at the conference had the chance to get to know each other in the evenings.  It was a bit like summer camp, complete with ping-pong and board games.  Here I am completing my first ever game of Monopoly (although I quit many in my youth).  It ran almost the entire length of the Olympics' closing ceremonies.

One night, we took a break and all went into Manhattan to see a few sights - Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Times Square.  I hadn't been to Manhattan since 2005 so it was fun to walk around, even if just for an hour.  Rockefeller Center always reminds me of the very first trip I took to NY with my mom when I was about six. 

As the sun set, we made our way to a rotating restaurant on the top floor of the Mariott.  The view was incredible as the city lit up.  From high above, you are removed from the noise and crowds.  There was something surreal about it.  I couldn't shake the feeling that I was watching a movie and Spiderman was going to swing by at any second.

My absolute favorite part of the trip, however, was getting to see friends on the way to the airport to fly home.  We visited the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.  Who knew that there was a bird sanctuary in Queens?  Only getting to see my little buddy, once a year means I'm constantly surprised at how much she has grown!  She's really turning into her own sweet, smart, little person and it was great to get to spend the afternoon with her (oh, and her parents).

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