Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I fail at keeping on top of this blog

Sorry!!!! I'm over half a month off from my last post. Luckily for you, I have anecdotes and photos to distract you from the recent lack of posts....

As many of you, all over the world, probably know- the beginning of June was the Queen's Jubilee weekend. I went to London that Sunday to watch the Thames Flotilla Pageant. There was a World Food Festival also going on in the South Bank area, so of course I was all over that. The people I went with have better pictures of the actual pageant- we even have pictures of the Queen on her barge! But I'm still waiting for those pictures so I'll have to put them up later. Here is the madness of all the crowds and our view of the river:

I have more pictures of the food festival. The curry in the last picture ended up in my tummy :) :

We also went to a wine bar that was set up like it was in a cave! But, sadly, I don't have any pictures of that.

The Queen's Jubilee gave us Monday and Tuesday off. Wednesday I turned in my first year report!!!!! And was free of that. The next two days, my friend Jonathan came to visit, so I didn't work on those days either!
We didn't have much time to see more than the basics of Brighton, but the visit was still fun and it was nice to reminisce about UC Santa Cruz.

After Jonathan's visit, Euro 2012 started up. For those who don't know, Euro 2012 is a soccer tournament between different European counties' teams. The groups stage just finished last night (with England moving through, which is a rare event). Its been fun watching my favorite teams, England and Germany, but I haven't done anything particularly exciting to watch them. Although, it is nice to talk to Eva (who is my soccer buddy) while the games are going on, even though we are separated by thousands of miles.
Also scattered within the week days were workouts, hanging out with friends, pub quiz (and better than our usual second-to-last-place!), whining about the bad weather, and spending time in the sun while its out.
Work has been weird. I was feeling SUPER guilty about not doing anything the week of the Jubilee weekend. And still have that lingering a bit. I've cracked out some more sample prep and have attempted (but failed) to reproduce my Western results. Luckily though, my supervisors are both happy with my progress and with the report that I turned in. I'm hoping to get a big chunk of my main project done before October so that I have a lot to talk about during the conference. However, with the issues I continue to have with my Western results, I'm not so sure that will happen. But keep your fingers crossed for me! I'm really going to try and get it down. I also need you all to send luck to me for getting an Alumni Travel Grant that I applied for- which would give me 1000 pounds back. Oh please oh please oh please let me get the grant.
Finally, a couple weekends ago I did a mini vacation to the Berkshire area where I visited briefly Reading, Henley-on-Thames, Windsor, and Eton.

When I have enough money to buy many homes around the world, one of them will be in Henley-on-Thames.

It was a great little trip to get away for the weekend.
Next up- Spain and Portugal. Madrid to Seville to Ibiza to Lisbon to Porto :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summertime and the livin's busy

Growing up, EVERY adult around me would always mentioned how quickly time has gone by. I always thought it was part of polite conversation, like "What about this weather!" and such. But maybe when life really becomes your own, you do lose track of time. That's, at least, how I'm feeling. This year has gone by SO fast. I swear I haven't been living in England for over 8 months now! I think the time has flown by because I've been so busy- and when I've had free time, I've kept myself busy with living in a new country. But still, this is madness it tell you! Madness.
My last post was about my birthday, but the celebrations have slowly trickled on. That's probably the only good thing about being away from your family and friends during your birthday- that the cards keep coming in the mail well after your actual birthday. Helps to keep the celebration going! Its also helped that I've been uncharactaristically busy and the weather has been amazing. However, as I type this, I'm looking out at an overcast day. So I think the nice weather is leaving :(. But anyway, on to the past week:
Last Thursday after lab, a few of us popped down to the beach with some adult beverages and enjoyed the sun. They claimed its what the teenagers of England do. But I was too excited about the novel ideas of not only having alcohol in public, but also for having glass on a public beach. That's just craziness! The good times rolled into Friday, where some "lab bonding" time encouraged free food, booze, and a movie. It was awesome. The movie was The PhD Movie, based off the online comics that pretty much explain the life of a grad student perfectly. After all that, I went off to my first English barbecue! Which.... is a lot like the BBQs we would have at home. Although, here's the difference: when I think of American BBQ, I think of hella meat smothered in BBQ sauce. BUT, my family barbecues pretty much all summer long and our meals never consisted of that. Hmm.
The weekend was a much needed break from the otherwise hectic life I've been leading. I caught up with friends, jogged along the Downs, but mostly just lounged around and it was wonderful. But then my week exploded with business again as soon as Monday hit. I've completely finished my first year report and have written a travel grant, as of Monday. I just have one more scholarship to apply for and my writing-based work should be done for a few months. Tuesday I actually didn't have to do anything in the lab, so I went into Brighton, explored the North Laine area (I've now been down every street in that area) and got my hair cut (finally). Did I mention the last hair cut? Not sure. But last time I got my hair cut, I paid someone 50 pounds for it and I HATED it. I then had to wait three months for my hair to grow out to justify paying more money to potentially get it cut poorly again. Needless to say, I was missing Teresa (the lady who cuts my hair in Sac) a lot. But this past Tuesday's cut turned out great- for 12 pounds. I've found my new hair person, what a relief! That night, I went to my last Brighton Festival event- a break dancing show. The main group was AMAZING. And it was probably my favorite event of the entire festival.
The rest of this week has been mostly taken up by doing molecular work, which seems to be pretty hit or miss with me. I can't consistently get my experiment to work, which is REALLY frustrating. And it's 100% because I'm messing it up. Hopefully with more practice I can get results every time. This week, it luckily turned out well. And I'll know my results in about two hours from now :). I've also learned to play Texas Hold'Em (although I'm pretty sure I have a terrible poker face) and attempted a walk to Rottingdean, only to have plans changed and thus hung around Brighton instead.
Life isn't about to slow down at any point soon. I've got tons of molecular and behavioral work for the summer, the Queen's Jubilee, friends visiting, weekend trips around England, vacations (to Spain and maybe more), work-related training, (hopefully) starting my new tutoring job, and getting more scholarships in. Luckily for me, its all extremely entertaining. No complaints from me. I'll just need to schedule days to sleep throughout the week :)