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 :)

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