Sunday, January 5, 2014

October 2013 to Happy New Year!

Its 2014! And in an attempt to start anew, let's just have one huge catch up for the end of 2013 instead of keeping my horrible record of being months behind.

October was full of A LOT of continued hard work at the research (to ease off of the week off for Oktoberfest), especially on a project for my co-supervisor's lab. And now, I am VERY excited to announce, I am published in my first scientific article for the work I've done. Want to read it? Click here: to access the article. I also became very immersed in teaching- besides the discussion sections that I hold, I also had 3 final year project students who I co-supervised. Finally, I became involved in the University's Athena Swan program- a women in science program that aims to increase gender diversity within the science, math, engineering, and technology fields. I am the PhD representative for the University of Sussex and have really enjoyed the work we have done so far.
Between hard work and Oktoberfest (which has already been covered, but I will still post my favorite pictures), I did try a few new things: a few new recipes (of course), a few new restaurants (of course), and read The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. I'm starting to think that my favorite classic authors are Russian... but more on that later.

Oh right, and I've also seen my first live NFL game. 49ers v. Jaguars in England! It was pretty epic, except I think I am slowly losing Ben to an NFL obsession..... haha

More hard work filled November, but so did a lot of fun as well. We took a last minute trip to Prague to visit my friends Chelsea and Megan, who are teaching English there. I LOVED Prague, moreso than I thought I would, and now can't wait to see more of that part of the world. We also saw Kutna Hora, a little town outside of Prague with the infamous Bone Chapel.

 Absinthe in Bohemia!

We went to go see Kimberly Anne and Lewis Watson perform; two artists that we discovered at the Great Escape Festival back in May. We survived through all of Kimberly's set, however, once Lewis went on, I was feeling far too lightheaded and faint to continue in that tiny venue. So we unfortunately had to cut the concert short :/
Finally, the end of November brought Thanksgiving. I didn't have a typical get-together with a lot of people, but I did still make all of the delicious food. Except this time, I made it with a few new recipes. My first ever full turkey went wonderfully; it cooked perfectly and was delicious. I also made a caramelized onion sausage stuffing, American biscuits, green beans baked in bechamel, sweet potato latkes, and pumpkin pie with a maple meringue top. It was SO good.

I was only in England for half of December, so was working up until the day before I flew off for the States. With the work, Ben and I did a "12 days of Christmas cookies" baking adventure. I didn't make it to all 12, but I came close. And ate way too many cookies in the process. The best cookie? Carrot cake whoopie pies with maple cream cheese frosting. Amazing. I'll be trying a banana whoopie pie recipe in the near future and am hopeful it will be even half as good as the carrot cake one.
We did make it up to London to see some of the Christmas decorations:

And then I was in California. I was in Novato/Petaluma and Santa Cruz for the first week and then in Sac with family for Christmastime.
I came back to England just in time for New Years, where Ben, Sarah, and I went to an 80s/Back to the Future themed party:

 and that's it! Now we are all caught up to January 2014!

Oh right, and the Russian author comment from before- I've decided this as I'm reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and am loving it just like The Master and Margarita. I don't know why we never read Russian authors in high school, but we should have. The writing style is wonderful and the stories are epic.
Until next time!