Thursday, December 15, 2011

Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Zaanse Schans. Oh my!

This is the post before I leave for California, the last post of 2011, the post about the Netherlands. Are you excited? Because I sure am :)

On the 8th, Caitlin and I flew out of London Gatwick and arrived in Amsterdam at 6. The hotel, to our great surprise, was a pretty lengthy walk from the train station (Amsterdam Centraal, to those who've been there). However, we eventually got checked into the hotel and I popped back out to meet up with Jeff, Dawn, and Megan (all friends from Santa Cruz). We wandered around some of the popular sites of Amsterdam; the three leading the way, as they had all been there for longer than me. One of the delightful places we visited was Febo. A store that only consists of vending machines with fried food in them. Which is hilarious, given Amsterdam's notoriously loose laws. Which takes me a bit off track... The main things that really stuck out about Amsterdam: The amazingly beautiful architecture, the canals, and the rows and rows and rows of munchy-food-themed restaurants. Anyway! Sadly, I don't have any blog-worthy pictures of the night. If any of the other three post pictures that are of decent quality (it was night, afterall) then I will post some in a later blog.
The 9th started with a four hour walking tour of Amsterdam. I believe the tour group was run by New Europe Tours. I highly recommend. The tour guide was knowledgeable, it was fun, and it was free!


And then we feasted on Dutch pancakes

You need only to look at the pictures to see how delicious they were. Oh, I should also mention that at this point in the trip, I was FREEZING. It was SOOOO cold. I was wearing more layers than I ever have before.
That night, we took the train to Utrecht to visit Jeff. He showed us around the town and we went to multiple bars. It was in this moment that I realized- I'm not a giant after all, I was just living in the wrong countries. 7 foot tall men? Hello Holland!
The next day was a full Utrecht day. The beginning of the day started off with a bang- fresh, hot stroopwafel. If you don't know what stroopwafel is, you need to go to an international grocery store IMMEDIATELY and buy some. Then, enjoy the hours of bliss that follow. Honestly, if everyone in the world could eat stroopwafel, there would be peace on Earth.



The highlight was climbing to the top of the highest church in the Netherlands. The view was breath taking

I forgot to mention something that the Netherlands is heavily linked to- bicycling. And holly cow, were there bicycles EVERYWHERE. And yes, I almost got ran over by one about 5 times. Another point worth noting- they do not give tap water. Maybe, if you are lucky, they will give you tap water if you buy a drink as well. Ridiculous.
The next morning we were off to Zaanse Schans, a traditional Dutch village. We saw windmills, a cheese factory, and a clog factory. It was adorable!


Later in the day, we returned to Amsterdam and went to the Van Gogh Museum. Honestly, I didn't think the Van Gogh collection they had was all that impressive. I didn't get to see Starry Night :(. Although, they did have some AMAZING Monet paintings.
The next morning we flew home.
And then life went on, outside of the Netherlands.
My verdict:
Would I go back? YES, I didn't get to do an Amsterdam canal tour or see the tulips in bloom. And I could always go for some more fresh stroopwafel.
What would I do differently? Bring a water bottle with a built-in filter. And eat more fresh stroopwafel.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Days are Speeding By

Thanksgiving was a huge success, which I'm actually quite surprised about. The food turned out SO good and the turkey actually worked! Our lovely floormates, who live in a 7 bedroom flat and thus get a real oven, let us bake at their place. So our Thanksgiving had turkey. Hallelujah! And the mix of people worked out perfectly.
Such a good night full of good food and good people :)

Research is FINALLY gaining some speed. And it actually might be snowballing a bit out of control... I;ll let you know if I suffocate. But really, things are moving along nicely. I'm still getting training with the electron microscope, since at least two of my first experiments will heavily involved the TEM. My last training session, I looked at neuroblastoma cells. Have you guys looked at mitochondria and Golgi super close up? Because its AWESOME. I might be able to put up some of my TEM pictures once they aren't just being taken for practice. I will continue along with telling about my research in a moment, but I thought I'd break up this thread of thought with my adventures last weekend with....
DAWN AND MEGAN! Two good friends from UCSC, who I lived with me junior year.
They arrived in Brighton on Saturday, where we strolled around the Royal Pavillion and The Lanes before stopping at Seven Stars (a pub) for a bit. Caitlin and Chad joined us.

Then, early the next morning, we hopped on a train to London. Megan had never been, so we got to do all of the touristy stuff, which I love! We went to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park (second week in a row for me haha) because of its FANTASTIC display of Christmas cheer. We also saw Buckingham Palace, Green Park, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye, Soho, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge (and we crossed it), Regent Street, and the Covent Garden market. I think I named everything haha. Its amazing how much you can see in one day when you know your way around the city. And I'm getting a pretty decent handle on zone 1 of London. And of course, the cuisine we had paralleled their time in England. Chips (french fries) as a snack, fish and chips for Dawn and Megan (Sunday roast for me), and Indian food in the City of London. And of course, we went to another pub at the end of the day. Then on Monday, I took the day off from lab and we attacked Brighton again, this time the pier and the North Laine area. We stopped off at a pub, the White Rabbit, which is now probably my favorite in Brighton. There, we had a vegetable pie with veg sides and it was DELICIOUS. Again, just another show of the great British food you can get over here. Then on Tuesday, I said good bye to Dawn and Megan after a traditional English breakfast as they continued on their journeys around Europe. Their next stop was Dublin. Needless to say, I'm totally jealous.
BUT, I get to go to the Netherlands in 5 days, so I can't complain too much.
And now I bring us back to research. I will continue with my TEM training by learning how to make my own grids (which is the sample I will be looking at). After that, I can delve into my first experiment! I'm far more excited about it than I care to share haha. I also (finally) get training on how to handle amyloid peptides! So once I have that training as well, a whole door of opportunities for experiments opens up. I have molecular training coming up after Christmas break, but that can wait until I have my first few experiments under  my belt. The first three I need to do include behavioral and TEM use. They aren't molecular biology heavy. But the next steps will be. I'm still kicking around the idea of using electrophysiology as a means of research. However, its not really my area of interest. BUT it doesn't hurt to have even more specialized training to put on my resume. I think I might wait and see how my experiments are going and then I'll decide if electrophys is the right choice for me. Right now, I'm leaning towards learning it. I'm ALSO brushing up on my statistics and will soon be learning how to use statistical programs on the computer. I've currently got at least 7 experiments that I will definitely be doing being mapped out. This week was great for my research; I all of a sudden knew what I wanted to do and could create experimental designs.
So much to do, only four years to do it in. And the days are speeding by. NO. TIME.
Besides that, I've kept up with the gym classes. I tried three new classes this week (HIT, Dynamic Bodywork, and Metabolic MixUp) and continued with Yin Yoga. HIT was a nice mix of cardio and weight lifting, I'll definitely be going again. Dynamic Bodywork CLAIMED to be a mix between yoga, pilates, and dance. However, it really just wasn't my cuppa tea. I won't be returning to that. Metabolic Mix Up was AMAZING. Again, more cardio and weights mix, but this was a little more focused on getting cardio while weight lifting. Whereas HIT was a cardio session and then a weights session. And Yin, well, I love Yin Yoga. I already raved about it in my last post.
Now for a little less exciting news- I have the nastiest sounding cough. Seriously, it even grosses me out. But the weird thing is, I don't even feel sick. Sure, my nose is a little snuffly. But really, this cough is just gross. Its deep in my chest and super husky sounding. Dear family- Any idea on what I could/should do to make this cough go away? Please and thank you :)
Lastly, but definitely not least in my mind, the university gave a talk about moving off campus for next year. And now, I'm already thinking about rent comparisons, good places to live, living with others or on my own, public transport options, finding a furnished flat, NEEDING a washer and dryer, etc. My friends in lab have been really helpful as far as utilities prices and good places to live. A friend with a car has offered to help me house shop and move in. AND I have housemate options. Of all the bad situations that can come with housing, I think I'm in a pretty good spot right now as far as finding accommodation for next year. I'll probably begin looking around online during Christmas break.

Next time I update you will be after the Netherlands. I may even be back in California.
Until then :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Om nom nom nom

SO. MUCH. FOOD.
Which is exactly how I enjoy my life!
Last week a few of us from lab slipped out for lunch at a delicious tapas place (Casa Don Carlos) and some early sangria. Although... I ended up drinking most of the sangria. That wasn't my choice either; the other two didn't pull their weight with the jug of fruity wine. Later that night, I went out to the pub and then a club with my friends Caitlin and Chad. Chad found out that on Thursdays, Charles St. Pub has 1 pound Coronas and the club Revenge has cheap entry and 2 pound cocktails. However, a friend from lab gave me a VIP card to Revenge (so free entry) and some guy bought me a Jaeger bomb. A great night of cheap and free :]
Caitlin and I went out again on Friday, this time to a new club- Oceana. While we both knew that Oceana was pretty popular with the student population (which isn't really our scene), we found that they have a Disco room! They played Michael Jackson and songs from the 80s and 90s. It was great and totally my speed. We had to lie and say I was over 23 to get in, but I somehow managed to get into that room. It was great, but way more expensive than the previous night.
On Saturday, we went into Brighton to try some reindeer. However, when we got to the pub (Northern Lights) that serves reindeer, they were all out. Dominik, Caitlin, and I were very sad. I'm still hankerin' for some reindeer (which I probably won't even enjoy...). So instead, we went to Zafarellis... or something along those lines... which was a really good Italian restaurant. Dinner wasn't a total bust after all, but reindeer NEEDS to happen sometime soon.
Then, Sunday came. And Sunday meant that it was time for London-Christmas adventures with Caitlin!
First, we went to Hyde Park which was putting on a Winter Wonderland



Then we went to Soho and Covent Gardens. In Covent Gardens, we went to The Spice of Life; a pub that my aunt Mary Jo has been telling me about for awhile now. But not only did we go to The Spice of Life, but I also had my first Sunday Roast!!!! And it was DELICIOUS!









After lunch, we walked up to Oxford Street and Regeant Street, which have the best Christmas light displays in London.



For dinner, we got MEXICAN FOOD!!!!!!!!!! Which I have been missing and craving for a long long time. In Soho, there's a place called Wahaca (Oaxaca spelled incorreclty) and it was a mix between Mexican and Tex Mex. Which was good enough for me! However, I was so excited to dig in that I forgot to take pictures of our feast. Finally, upon the walk back, we stopped into a pub just outside of Victoria station and waited for our train. A FANTASTIC day, full of Christmas whimsy. However, the next day my feet were killing me from walking all over London all day long.
In lab I've been reading relevant theses from post-PhD students and have been looking a little into electrophysiology. Which, too me, is way too hard haha.
I've tried new exercise classes as well! Aerobatone, on Mondays, is fantastic. Its not super intense, but still a good cardio workout. On Tuesdays there's Dynamic Yoga, which is a decent workout (as far as yoga is concerned). I really enjoy yoga and actually zenned out at the end of Dynamic Yoga. In my zen moment, I had this really intense craving for chocolate, which I never get. SO weird. And then yesterday I tried Zumba and then Yin Yoga, which is restorative yoga, good for building up ligaments and strengthening joints (which is exactly what I need). Last night, my hips basically died. I'm pretty sure I'll need my hips replaced sometime in my life, but Yin Yoga made me realize that this replacement will probably need to occur by my 30s haha. I think this class will be really great for me. Zumba wasn't really my cup of tea.
Also on Monday, Caitlin introduced me to weight lifting. She's really into weight-lifting, specifically strengthening, not muscle-mass building. I really enjoyed our little gym time, so I am planning on continuing that track as well. As long as I don't get bulky, which isn't supposed to happen if I keep my caloric intake in check. However, knowing me, counting calories isn't really my thing haha.
I'm enjoying the gym here so much that I'm kicking myself over taking so long to sign up for it!
Which brings me to today, Thanksgiving. Caitlin and I are hosting a mini Thanksgiving, which has grown from 6 to 9 people. Here is the menu:
Turkey (premade in the grocery store, cooked by Caitlin and Lenzie)
Gravy (premade in the grocery store, heated by Caitlin and Lenzie)
Green Beans (Caitlin, Canada)
Turnip Puff (Caitlin, Canada)
Rice Stuffing/Casserole (This recipe! I wanted to make Moona's rice stuffing, but I couldn't find Uncle Ben's over here. America)
Biscuits (AMERICAN biscuits, by me. America)
Potatoes (Dominik, Germany)
Yams (Aahoo, America)
Cranberry Sauce (Aahoo, America)
Thanksgiving-themed beverages (Sarah, Canada)
Selection of pies (Chad, Canada)
And we still have some dishes unaccounted for. Not the most organized of events, but it'll be a nice get together!
I'll let you know how it all goes. It'll be an adventure, especially since our ovens are CRAP.
Fambam- I'll be seeing you tonight (for your Thanksgiving) :)

Later gaters!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Excited for the future!

I feel like there's SO much to tell you, but in reality, I haven't done that much this past week and a half. I'm mostly excited about all the fun things I will soon be doing, but I'll get to that in a moment...

Last week, I took a Red Cross Life Saving class. So now, if any of you happen to faint, choke, or have a heart attack while I'm around, I am certified to save your life. But please, try to refrain if possible. Its a lot different practicing CPR on ResusiAnne than on a real person.
Friday was Veteran's Day (although they call it Armistice Day here); it also was 11/11/11. I hope you all made the most of the numerically magical day! But back to the remembrance aspect- over here, they wear red poppies on their lapels as a sign of respect for fallen soldiers. It was really something to see. There was also a two minute, country-wide moment of silence. Veteran's Day actually means something here; the respect is still alive. In the States, Veteran's Day means you don't have to go into work/school. Not really the same AT ALL. So, I suggest we start a movement in America. Let's bring back the poppies. Let's actually show respect to the people who fight for our continued freedom. I don't care if you are an extremely reactionary or radical individual, or anywhere in between those two on the political spectrum. I don't care if you disagree with war. But let's show a little respect for those who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Let's bring back the poppies. 
On Sunday, I finally meandered around Brighton on my own. With no plan besides exploring, I jumped on the train and took off to the city. I now feel relatively confident in my lay of the land (the city really isn't very big...). While I was looking around, I became nostalgic for Santa Cruz. Brighton reminds me of Santa Cruz SO much. The general feel is the same. A smaller town, by the ocean, with a liberal feel. The pier even is similar to the Boardwalk- dirty, a little sleazy, but perfectly good fun. Little alleyways are covered in murals painted by locals and you can see rainbows, "sustainable", and "organic" everywhere. Love it.


And here is a picture of the Lemon Bus (which I talked about two posts ago) stop
Sorry the picture is sideways. I tried to fix it, but anything technology related really isn't my forte. I know, go ahead and mock the scientist-in-training for having NO techie skills.
My research seems to be taking the tiniest of baby steps, but its finally stepping in the right direction. I've been training with the electron microscope, which will let me look at amyloid fibers and take pictures of them. This is mostly important for seeing their aggregation. Now, if that jargon was a little over your head, no worries. The electron microscope lets me take pictures of SUPER small things. And this is an important tool for my research. I'm still waiting to get training on how to handle the proteins I'll be working with. That's the one thing holding me back from starting molecular and behavioral experiments. But... hopefully I'll get that training soon. I'm still reading literature. I've got a pretty nice stack of notes growing.
I FINALLY signed up for the gym this week! I had been putting it off, partially due to laziness, partially due to other excuses such as- I was jogging on the trails but now its too muddy to, I was looking for a gym with a pool, etc. However, I finally bit the bullet and paid for a year membership. And I'm SO happy I did. The facilities are good enough, but the real winner is that they offer weekly drop in classes. This week I took a Boxercise class (cardio boxing- epic) and Core by 4 (a WAY too easy pilates class). I'm still hurting from my Monday Boxercise class, so I've decided to stick to my own cardio and weights for the rest of the week. And I wasn't impressed with Core by 4 at all. Simple pilates isn't my thing; the pilates class I took in Santa Cruz left me with an ab burn, which is what I was looking for here, but didn't get. I have a huge list of all the other classes I want to take and I'll keep you updated on those. But anyone who is looking for fun exercise should take a cardio boxing class. I'll definitely slip that into my weekly work out routine.
As most of you know, I spend far too much of my time looking at recipes. I'm a food blog junkie and often get an itch to write a quick blog about the food I've cooked for dinner, but I've refrained thus far. BUT- I need to share two recipes with you. First gumbo! Not my first gumbo attempt, but a realllllly delicious recipe. Also, I hate making roux, so this probably won't be made again anytime soon. Second cauliflower soup! Healthy and so so so so good. I highly recommend both recipes. So go off and cook, my fellow foodies!
It all seems like joy and smiles over here, which for the most part it is, until I get a monthly email that knocks me down a bit. I got the monthly email yesterday. SallieMae's "friendly reminder" that my loan is incurring interest. My soul cries a little as I quietly say good bye to my left kidney (which I'll obviously have to sell to pay off my student debts), but then I remember than I'm in England, doing my PhD in something I love, and will be traveling to the Netherlands soon, and my soul brightens right back up.
Which brings me to my current excitement- TRAVEL! It will be happening SOON :D! I'll be going into London this Sunday to look at all the Christmas stuff. And I can't wait. In England, they can actually put up decorations, lights, and ice rinks without someone with opposing views getting their panties in a wad. So I'll be frollicking around Hyde Park and Oxford Circle looking at the Christmas lights and I might even attempt my first ever ice skate at the rink by the London Eye. My next fit of travel comes with Dawn and Megan (friends from UCSC) who will be visiting after Thanksgiving. I will definitely be spending time with them in Brighton and London. I MIGHT be doing a weekend trip into Dublin, Ireland with them as well. That's not for certain, so I don't want to get too excited about that just yet. THEN the big adventure right before I go home for Christmas- I'll be going to the Netherlands aka Holland aka EPIC. I'm going with Caitlin and will be meeting up with my friend Jeff (from UCSC) who's studying abroad this semester. Dawn and Megan will also be in the Netherlands for one of the days. Its going to be amazing and I can't wait!!!!!
In between these amazing traveling adventures lies Thanksgiving. I will be celebrating with friends here and will update you on what I'm making/ how it goes when I've planned a bit more. Then, that night, I will be skyping with the family while they are celebrating Thanksgiving. It'll be a good day- a celebration with friends and food, and then with family. I'd like to say in advance- thank you to the turkey who will be giving its life for me to stuff my face.
The post is now coming to an end. I've run out of things to say and I've spent far too much lab time writing this post (...oops haha). I took advantage of the fact that the majority of the Neuroscience community is in Washington DC at the Society For Neuroscience convention and so the office is quiet and lonely. But now, I must bid you adieu. Please note though- You can follow my blog! This means that you will get automatic updates whenever I post something new. Its a good idea, better then just randomly checking to see if there's a new post or waiting for word of mouth to spread to you.
Byeeeeee :]

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Promised Pictures

This is going to be last week's blog post, in picture montage form:




video




I hope you enjoy!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Remember, remember the fifth of November

I've actually done some exciting stuff recently. I'm so proud of myself haha.
Last Saturday was White Night, where the town stays open really late in celebration of the end of summer. I had heard there were a lot of art exhibits/ artsy things going on as well. Going into town, I really hadn't prepared like I should have. Only a Google search away was a huge list of all the things going on around town, including a handy little map. But of course, I didn't see any of this until the next day. We arrived at Old Steine and saw massive amounts of people, some dressed in costumes. I was dressed as a pirate, and so automatically was having a fabulous time. The parks were decorated with lights and paper mache peacocks. The Royal Pavillion was swarming with drunken young adults. Instead of an art night, it was more of a drunken mass of people. And wow, the open container laws still surprise me. They can have open containers of alcohol in this country. And seeing THAT many people with THAT much alcohol IN PUBLIC was crazy. It was an interesting night; next year I'll make sure I actually know where the art exhibits are.
Halloween was this past Monday and I celebrated by watching a scary movie with two of the people on my floor. Then we watched "Run Fatboy", which isn't scary but was still a pretty good movie! A quiet Halloween, but an enjoyable one nonetheless. There is an interesting difference between Halloween here and Halloween back home- they definitely try to go for the "scary" element over here a lot more. Like, they had the same costumes, except they whited out their faces and added some fake blood. Zombie, zombie pirate, zombie fairy, zombie skanky girl, zombie skeleton, ... you understand.
Diwali was two Wednesdays ago (I think... I may be a few days off on that) and sadly didn't get to celebrate. There wasn't anything going on in Brighton. Maybe next year I'll take a trip to London and celebrate Diwali there. I definitely think it'd be worth the trip. But in a pathetic attempt to make up for my lack of Diwali celebration, I went to an Indian food buffet with a friend from lab this past week. It was a nice break from lab and I enjoyed the food- but there is a Diwali-sized hole in my heart that Indian buffet couldn't quite fill. Although it came close with all of the naan I ate.
Last Wednesday I went out at night with the girls from cocktail night. We got 2 for 1 drinks at Bar Valentino (where they FINALLY didn't measure out the drinks) and then to The Font for some beers and pub food. And that night was awesome. I love spending time with those girls; its so relaxed and drama-free. Everyone gets along well and I don't feel so bad about putting on my "awkward American" hat when I'm with them. The best break from a tough week in lab, on a day where I was especially doubting myself, and they made it all better. We've planned on spending more time together- I've been promised Italian food and 80s nights, and I am fully planning to cash in on those promises haha.
On Friday, George had planned a lunch outing to a nearby pub to officially introduce me to the rest of the lab. I'd already met most everyone there, but I did appreciate the gesture. Although- to be honest, I was nervous about being the center of attention for a few hours. It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be, but I'm not the biggest fan of being the center of attention and its hard to avoid that when the outing is for you. Luckily, I knew most of the people there and was sitting next to the people whom I've become friends with. So I wasn't as much of a shining example of awkwardness as I've been in the past.
Yesterday was the 5th of November. Now if you are thinking "oh, that sounds familiar but I can't remember what its about", think of the movie V for Vendetta. Did that remind you? If not, go to this link. Anyway, a town nearby Brighton, the town of Lewes, has one of the biggest Bonfire Nights in England. There were thousands of people wielding torches, parades, fireworks displays, and bonfires. It was so awesome and anyone who's in England around this time needs to celebrate in the festivities. I tried to take some pictures, but they didn't turn out well. I'm hoping I can steal some pictures off of facebook and upload them onto here later.
And then today (see, I told you I've been busy) I went into town with Caitlin and Chad to enjoy some retail therapy and to go for tea. I FINALLY had my favorite tea, Lady Grey, in England. I also had an epic grilled cheese and scone (which, btw, clotted cream > butter). We enjoyed watching a big group of people dressed in olden times clothing and sipping tea in the Tea Cozy. Adorable.
And now I've caught you up! It was a good week socially. I even got to talk to Jenna, Eva, Sarah, and Ian this past week- which I always enjoy.
Before I leave, I have to tell you about the Big Lemon. The Big Lemon is a bus that runs through campus and into Brighton. It runs on used cooking oils and every time it passes by, it smells like a fast food restaurant. Some of you may be thinking "gross". But I prefer the smell of french fries (sorry, chips) over the cloud of natural gas smoke enveloping my face as a city bus passes. And the Lemon is bright yellow. AND the bus stops are yellow with a picture of a lemon on it.
Its a truck full of lemons, if there ever was one. And I love it.

I'll post pictures soon (maybe)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Looking forward to this weekend...

This past week in research news:
I met my co-supervisor. She's in Biochem and is working with the amyloid peptides that I'll be working with. I start basic training in her lab next week. Her name is Louise and seems very nice. I'm excited to have two good supervisors supporting me through this program.
I also gained a little more direction with what I want to be researching. For awhile, I felt like I was just reading random papers that had something generally to do with my interests. But I finally found a good, recent, paper and a good review. I talk with George about the practicalities of it all on Monday.
I feel like if I read through everything again, I'll form a better picture of the info. ...It'd be nice if my printer would come in the mail soon.... Sorry, I'm in England now. It'd be nice if it'd come in the post. :)
I'm currently trying to buy my plane ticket, but facing some issues with the actual purchasing. I finally have my bank account opened, access to the funds, and a working debit card. But I'm buying with United and they only take a card from the States. And, needless to say, I don't have a grand sitting in my bank account back home. Mom and Dad are going to purchase it for me and I'll just write them a check. So, hopefully, I'll soon be able to say with certainty "See you soon, California!".
What am I looking forward to most about going home for a bit? Seeing everyone (DUH. I feel like that is so obvious, it's hardly worth mentioning), driving down Highway 1, driving my car!!!!!!!, beef quesadillas at Kicos, hella Chipotle, chirashi at Sushi Totoro, and going to Blue and chatting it up with my faves Sal Corey Dave and Phoenix. I can still guarantee that they are the best bartenders. Oh, and of course- I can't wait to stroll down West Cliff and reunite with the Pacific.
Alright, the nostalgia is becoming a bit much. Time to move on...
Remember, a few posts ago, I mentioned that the university had asked to link my blog to their internet pages? Well, here are the links if you are interested in looking at that. The link to the ISAO website and the link to the university's USA facebook page. Caitlin showed me how to look at the stats of my blog and they've gone through the roof after these links were put up. I wasn't actually expecting anyone to look at it. Now I feel a little awkward haha. It doesn't help that someone, who I didn't know, asked me if I was the girl with the blog.
I'm too awkward for such things.

... And that's about ALL that happened last week. I feel bad, a week has gone by and I really have nothing interesting to talk about. BUT I will soon have interesting things to look forward to!
Tonight is White Night, the equivalent to Daylight Savings Time. Brighton stays open really late into the night and there are art exhibits out. I'm also headed to a Halloween party tonight with friends who I met at the International Student Welcome Party. Buuuut my costume is terrible. I brought a pirate hat from home... because why would I not have a pirate hat, makes perfect sense... and I kind of found clothes that work. Ish (not really). But terrible costume aside, tonight should be epic.
Diwali was last Wednesday (I believe... I might be wrong about that) and I'm looking to get some epic Indian food. Even if I have to go into Brighton by myself, I WILL find a restaurant to try. I haven't eaten out in Brighton since school started...
Monday is Halloween. And, if I'm being completely honest, I just want to go to Santa Barbara and enjoy the fantastic Halloween that Isla Vista puts on. Because they aren't as into Halloween here as back home. But that won't deter me. I have a jack-o-lantern outside of my door, going to a Halloween party tonight, and am watching scary movies and eating cheap candy on Monday with some of the floormates. I think that's an appropriate celebration of the holiday that I love.

I'm most looking forward to November 5th. I'm sure most of you have seen V for Vendetta and the character Guy Fawkes. Well, they celebrate Guy Fawkes Day over here with huge bonfires and fireworks. I'll be going to Lewes (one of the biggest Nov 5th bonfire sites in England) in celebration. Caitlin and I had talked about exploring Lewes anyway, so we are going to make a day out of the trip.

Well, that's it for now. I need to do some laundry (I'm gonna attempt to hand wash... wish me luck) and cleaning before tonight!

Monday, October 24, 2011

MyCityIsBetterThanYourCity

My city is better than your city BECAUSE:
We have a "Beach of the Dead" zombie walk. Where people dress up as zombies and moan their way through Brighton. I didn't participate this year, but when I was at a club that night, there were many zombies around.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15418899

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Explorations around the campus

So the research continues. This past week, I did my first behavioral test. Unfortunately, a lot of the snails died during the experiment. ... Potentially bad haha.
I went out on Thursday for drinks with my lab and it was awesome! I really like the people, they are all really friendly.
Yesterday, Caitlin and I explored the area just outside of campus- Stanmer Park. It is a National Park that is part of the South Downs and has a tiny little town in it. The walk was beautiful. We walked through the woods, through plains and graze lands, and the town itself. In the town, we stopped at a tea shop for drinks and snacks. I got mulled apple cider and we split a gingerbread man and apple crisp with custard. If anyone comes to visit, this is a must do! The hike is beautiful and the tea shop is very "British". Two awesome experiences.
Last night, I went out to my first club in England. It was so much fun! And I get the feeling that people are more respectful of personal space here. Way better than in the US. The entire atmosphere of the club seemed more respectful, so I'll stay hopeful that it wasn't some fluke just in that club. I have noticed, outside of just the night life scene, that the people in general are more polite and respectful than Americans in general.
The post is short... sorry, but I do have pictures to make up for the lack of interesting things going on in my life!