Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July and good bye Brighton

July has been an absolutely insane month, but also extremely slow moving. SO much has happened, but in between those moments, there has been just SO much waiting. And that waiting drags on and on and on.

Let me back track. I submitted my thesis in May and so I was waiting for my viva, which was in early July. Besides the obvious desire to finally get my PhD, my viva outcome also decided when I could start my job and thus when we would move to New York. That wait was brutal.
However, I'm glad to say that my viva went very well indeed! And I was able to turn around a final, corrected version within a week. The University is currently sorting through all of the necessary paperwork, but for all intents and purposes, I AM DONE!!!! And as far as my future job is concerned (which, one cannot be hired without a PhD), I am a doctor. So I'm going to go ahead and say, I'm a doctor now!
The viva experience was definitely not what I expected. I was expecting an amazing catharsis at the end of my viva, but really I was just a little shell-shocked and felt it hard to believe that I was finally done. With the viva being the final hurdle to jump, after my entire educated life leading up to this moment, it just didn't live up to my expectations. However, I'm happy its over so I will definitely not be complaining.
In celebration, there was much drinking, multiple parties, burrito eating, and Ben made a fantastic dinner:

We've also been extremely busy with internationally moving. We had to plan over a month in advance for the International movers to collect what we were shipping overseas. There was actually A LOT of planning that went into this, more than I realized. To start, we couldn't afford to move everything and much of our larger items are more easily/affordably replaced for new as opposed to shipping. BUT, we have personal items and a few furniture items that we certainly wanted to take. So we basically had to go through every single thing that we owned and decide if it would be: sold, donated, thrown away, shipped with movers, or flown in our airplane baggage. I have never been so grateful for our minimalist living lifestyle. A week after the movers were in, we were finishing up packing and cleaning our flat because our lease was coming to an end. Saying good bye to our Brighton flat was hard; I loved living there. We decided to stay in Brighton for part of our remaining UK days and so moved to a teeny tiny AirBnB place in Hove. The location is great, the price was right, and really the size hasn't been an issue thus far. After our move out of our main flat, we headed to Robin Hood to recreate the night from when we first moved into our Brighton flat. Before, we headed to the first pub we could find for some beer and food. It only felt right leaving our flat with the same experience.
Tomorrow we move to Eastbourne, and mid-August we move to NYC. I'm looking forward to the end of our moving process (which will have been over an entire month) and to not have to live out of suitcases anymore.

We've also been making slow but steady progress in Ben's visa, which has been ongoing since February. The visa process is notorious for being slow and painful, and it was no different for us. We will be flying to NYC literally as soon as his visa comes through in the mail.

In between the BIG life events, we have been keeping busy with a lot of other events.
On 4th July, we headed to the Royal Albert Hall to see Back to the Future on the big screen while an orchestra played live alongside. It was so cool, as shows at Albert Hall always are.

We managed to fit in a weekend trip up to York! And wow, was it worth it! Not only is York extremely interesting, but the surrounding countryside is breathtaking. For future York travellers, York can be accomplished in a day (especially if you don't go into any attractions). And this is good, because it would be an absolute shame to go all the way to York and not visit the North York Moors.

I really enjoyed York, but to be honest, the North York Moors put it to shame. We were only able to do one hike due to time restrictions, but it was still amazing.

The town where Hogsmeade train station (from Harry Potter) was filmed is in the middle of the moors. And its pretty awesome.

On the way back to Brighton, we detoured to get 2015's top rated Fish and Chips in England. However, the best fish and chips I've eaten in this country was from a roach coach at a campsite we were staying at in Cornwall. So no Mister C's, you are not the best fish and chips (in my opinion).

As I'm sure most of you know, the amazing Harper Lee has released a prequel to her famous To Kill a Mockingbird. Since Brighton is awesome, one of the local theaters held a midnight showing of To Kill a Mockingbird on the night of Go Set a Watchman's release. With the book purchase, I also received a Harper Lee tote bag and a small popcorn. It was a fantastic night and oh so literature-nerdy!

Throughout the month, we have been to an insane amount of leaving parties. There are quite a few people finishing degrees, retiring, and generally moving on at the moment. And while its sad to see people go, leaving parties are always epic.

Things I loved to eat this month:
Smoked turkey sausages with sauerkraut

Polenta skillet eggs with chorizo. I'm pretty sure I've already written about my love for eggs. I like them so much that Ben often teases me about how much I like eggs. Well, this combined with chorizo (which is smoked paprika-y, fatty goodness) and polenta (which is quickly becoming my life blood as I become more intolerant to wheat) makes for an amazing meal.

Zucchini boats

Polenta with italian beef, wine-sauteed mushrooms, and braised kale. I WILL make this for a dinner party at some point in my life. Also... and I know this is lame... But that huge wooden serving board in the post!!!!!!! Need.

Banana and peanut butter ice cream. This is ACTUALLY just frozen banana and peanut butter blitzed until completely smooth. Which means, its healthy. I love bananas, but often in the summertime they go brown within a day or two of buying them. So we always throw them in the freezer for later use in baking. However, when we moved out of our big flat into our teeny AirBnB, there wasn't enough freezer space for the bananas. So we made this "ice cream" and I fell in love.

Steak and grilled vegetable salad

Grilled shrimp and veggie bowl

Things I loved to listen to this month:
Science Friday. Recently, Science Friday (a public radio science podcast) had my future boss Dr. Eric Kandel on to talk about some of his recently published work. When I start work in his lab, this is the project that I will be joining. So if you are interested (don't worry, you don't have to be a scientist to understand! This program is geared toward curious non-scientists), give it a listen!

Mau Mau, by Radiolab. Radiolab is fantastic at punching me right in the feels. Mau Mau is particularly intense, uncovering the truth about some of the horrible things that went on in Africa under British rule. I 100% believe that journalism like this is extremely important.

Gray's Donation, by Radiolab. I was actually tearing up by the end of this one. So much life came out of one family's sadness.

Things I loved to read this month:
These are both multi-part (series) stories posted on to Reddit. With my recent free time, I've become really obsessed with a lot of the story-related subreddits. Particularly /nosleep, which both of the above stories are from. What has really drawn me in is the quality of writing coming from amateurs. The writing in the above stories are better than many published pieces of work I've read and so I would highly recommend both stories. A word of caution- /nosleep is meant for horror stories, written as if they were true (some of them are true). Which means that both stories have scary elements, and I have been disturbed by certain sections. But really, they are fantastic reads.

Today is our final day in Brighton. And that makes me sad. But at the same time- I'M READY FOR NEW YORK, LET'S GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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