Monday, May 31, 2010

What a week! I AM SO TIRED!

Well I had a great week in the ole 'Deen! But I am INCREDIBLY tired! This week things really got started in lab! I talked to my mentors about the work I do at Emory with fungus and then I immediately started working with a marine fungus that I can hopefully isolate some natural products from. Problem is, it take two weeks to grow. So, in the meantime, it's just my sea cucumbers and me. After I crush up and pulverize the sea cucumber guts and cell walls as much as possible, I slide the remnants into a methanol/water bath for 24 hours. Once the sea cucumbers have been sufficiently dissolved in the methanol and water, I do another extraction and then take the methanol and water solution to be "roto-vacuumed"

It's great fun, but it takes FOREVER! However, once I get all of my extracts I will be able to start the cool stuff so stay tuned! Last week I was incredibly lost though. I wasn't asking enough questions and was kinda shy around the other really great chemists in lab. However, this really really helpful scientist named Joijii finally saw that I needed help and taught me so many new things. He outlined how I was going to pre-clean my samples and even showed me ways to decrease the time it takes for me to roto-vac the solvents from my products. I can tell he is going to be very helpful in the lab. My fungus should be finished growing by next Wednesday. Hopefully by that time I will be able to learn how to extract the natural products from the fungal liquid media. This is my lab bench where MAGIC HAPPENS:


This weekend, I went to a music festival in one of my friend's hometown of Montrose. It is a very small town, and she seemed to know everyone at every pub we went to! I was so glad to see what Scotland is like from a local's perspective. Unfortunately I didn't get many pictures, but I assure you it was a great time! Everyone loved my accent and people were incredibly hospitable.

I also have found a great running path... THE BEACH!

It is SO COOL running on the North Sea. I love looking out and seeing all of the ghostly looking fishing boats. VERY COOL! Although, every time I have gone running, I have been rained on :(

Anyways, that's it for now! I have a big week of Chemistry lined up so I will let you know how it goes this weekend!

Friday, May 28, 2010

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Argentina!

I managed to come to Buenos Aires just in time for the biggest celebration this country has ever seen. On Tuesday, May 25th, Argentina celebrated the 200th anniversary of the revolution that eventually lead to its independence. The graduate student with whom I'm working in the lab, Juan, took me downtown on Tuesday evening to experience all of the excitement. All public transportation was free that day, so figuring out a way to squeeze into the packed subway cars was an adventure in and of itself. We finally made it downtown, only to discover that the chaos of the streets made the subway cars seem spacious and peaceful by comparison. The celebratory parade was supposed to start at 7:00, but knowing that the Argentinean attitude toward time and deadlines tends to be very relaxed, we knew that the parade would be late, so we decided to flee from the crowds for a few hours while we waited. Once we got away from the main avenues, we were able to find a coffee shop and enjoyed a traditional merienda (the third of the four daily Argentinean meals) consisting of coffee, sandwiches de miga (paper-thin, toasted, crustless sandwiches), and medialunas (miniature croissants with powdered sugar or glaze on top). Finally, we were ready to return to the deafening and boisterous crowds on Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the central avenues in Buenos Aires and one of the widest streets in the world. The last estimate I heard was that there were over two million people crowded into a single street. Here's an ariel view (courtesy of Google):

The parade finally arrived at around 9:45 pm, and it was still going on when we left at midnight. The parade was basically a depiction of the country's history, from the indigenous tribes to the colonizers, immigrant groups, wars, cultural and artistic trends, political turbulence, and the rise, fall, and rise again of democracy. Although I could only see bits and pieces through the overwhelming crowd, I learned a lot about Argentina's culture, people, and spirit, and I definitely feel honored to have been a part of such an important historical day for the country. Unfortunately, most of my pictures didn't turn out because my camera (or, more likely, my poor photography skills) couldn't deal very will with the quick movements and bright lights. Here are the best of my photos, though. The first one is just a view of the crowd and stage, and the next two show tango dancers and musicians who rode by on top of taxis.

The bicentennial celebration was definitely the highlight of my week, but I did a few other exciting things as well. Juan is a musician, just like I am, so he has been introducing me to a lot of musical venues that are off the tourist-beaten path. On Sunday night I joined him at a jazz club and enjoyed incredible music paired with equally incredible food. Then today we went to a free concert after work and heard one of the most famous Argentinean violinists, Xavier Inchausti, play solo Paganini in the library of the Buenos Aires National Academy of Medicine. Somehow it seemed very fitting that I found myself in a room full of thousands upon thousands of books on science and medicine, listening to one of the most technically skilled violinists I've ever heard...

Unfortunately, this was a rather slow week for science. Our oocytes weren't expressing our receptor, so no data can be obtained until the new oocytes are ready on Monday. As one of the more experienced graduate students explained to me, "In this type of science, your boss isn't a person. Your boss isn't even a frog. It's a bunch of tiny half-frogs, and if they decide not to work properly one week, then there's nothing you can do about it!" On the bright side, I got to spend a lot of time practicing assembling and disassembling all of the equipment, which is actually the hardest part of these electrophysiology experiments. I've gotten a lot better at making the microelectrodes and impaling the oocytes without destroying them, so even though I wasn't able to collect any data this week, I still got a lot accomplished. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for good oocytes and lots of data next week!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Alrighty posting time about Montreal


Ok so I feel kinda behind on this blog, and I feel bad since I haven't posted in a while. So here's what I did and experienced in a week:

Montreal truly is a lot to take in. I was a bit overwhelmed with the city itself. I suppose it hit me all once, since it hadn't really sunken in that I was going to be away from everyone that I know. At the airport, it was a real trip for me to actually hear and see people interchange from French to English and vice versa so easily. It was even more shocking for me personally to hear Asian residents speaking French when I expected them to spew Mandarin or Cantonese. Quel suprise!

On the topic of French, I would say I quickly discovered how much I had forgotten by taking a year off from practicing the language. I pretty much made a fool of myself when I got my first metro pass. It basically boiled down to:

Me: Bonjour, je veux un billet pour le metro.
Ticket lady: [lots of fast French]
Me: [Looking confused] uhhhhhhh...vous parlez anglais?
Ticket lady: [does a LOL] yes

There go all those years of sitting in French class!

Anyway, when I moved in, I was slightly disappointed to find that only one other person would be on my floor for the summer. I live in an house with a bunch of rooms owned by McGill, but it's a sublease, so it's significantly less than what the University would charge me. It's a cozy little room with a good kitchen , see below:

Anyway, my neighbor Charles is an MBA student, and he seems to be really nice. He pointed me out on the first day where to go shopping and go for a quick bite. There are some people upstairs, so hopefully I'll meet them soon. Charles also told me that Montreal closes off one major street called St. Catherine's for pretty much the whole summer, because that's where all the bars are. Definitely will partake.

One criticism I immediately had were the prices for food. $3.99/lb for tomatoes!?! Absurd! I guess it's the city, but still. Outrageous. Startin' to miss those Atlanta prices right about now. So yeah, I also made two mistakes when shopping. I was 1. hungry when shopping and 2. i bought too much. The former kinda led to the latter, but ultimately, I looked like a fool dragging my groceries all the way back to my apartment. And I was starving. So now I try to shop every 1 or 2 days for fresh items, and I'm guarding my budget very strictly.

Oh and for the green folks out there: Canada charges you five cents per plastic bag. Annoying? For a guy who doesn't have a reusuable sac? Yes. I will get one very soon.

Also for the green folks. Exhibit A: Bag of milk. not bottles. not cartons. Bags.

I suppose the one benefit for being very close to the US is that you can pay for stuff in USD as long as it's in cash, which was very helpful when I left my credit card at my place on accident.

The day after I moved in, I was going to call the lab to let them know I was stopping by. Wait, I can't because I don't have a cell phone. Oh no! (Side note: as part of budgeting I decided to just forgo a cell phone, since I'm pretty sure I can just get by with email and the internet). Anyway, I decided to stop by the lab and make my existence known. Along the way, I got a good tour of McGill's campus...because I got lost. I'm probably the world's worst traveler (hehe). Anyway, I introduced myself to some of the lab staff, but the guy for whom I'll be working, along with my PI, were not there, so I did what any other sensible person would do: Go to the pub to watch the Canadiens/Flyers game.

I went to to this pub called McLean's, and it was the typical bar setting, except everyone was really into the game, since the Canadiens hadn't scored a goal in two games. The beer and fish and chips were good, and the Canadiens won! Unfortunately, they're not in the finals for the Stanley Cup but oh well.

More research: the next day the post doc for whom I work showed me around the lab and gave me a fast intro to what we would be doing for the summer. For most of the day, I observed electrophysiology experiments with hippocampal brain tissue as well as mouse hippocampus extraction. It was pretty darn cool.

After that Friday, Charles told me that it was a long weekend (Monday was Queen Victoria's birthday), which gave me loads of time to tour Montreal! I won't post all of it now; I'll save it for the next post, but one of the highlights of my weekend was going to the top of Mont-Royal in the Mont-Royal park, which was designed by the same guy who did Central Park in NYC. Here are some pictures I took on my hike: The first was on the furthest side of the park and the 2nd and 3rd are pictures of the city from the top of the mountain.

I also went to the Jean Talon Market, where local fresh produce and plants can be bought, and it was absolutely overwhelming. Prices were slightly lower than the local grocery stores, but the food there was awesome.

Awesome bakery that had the best bread!

People at the Market

It's Tin Tin!

Alrighty, that's all for now folks. I hope to post sooner about the other things I did this past weekend including going to Chinatown and Vieux Montreal as well as this weekend's events :)

Until then!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Okay, so maybe Scotland IS beautiful...


Okay people, went to my first scottish castle today and FREAKING FELL IN LOVE WITH SCOTLAND! I finally got out of the "silver city" aka gray granite filled Aberdeen and saw a freaking castle. IT WAS SO EPIC. It was so epic, I can't even describe. It was almost like I was having one of those life-defining moments in this SWEET castle. I was alone, in a foreign country, had no money (will get to THAT later), no food or water (no money to buy it), I was with new friends that I met a WEEK ago and it was just incredible. I thought to myself, wow, maybe I really can randomly enter into a foreign city, find a place to live, make friends AND enjoy the culture all by myself! I was so proud! (Hence my smiling in the pics).

I now know everyone's name in lab. In the picture in front of the "War memorial" you have (from left to right) Klaus, Patrick, Sven, Yvan and Karsten. They are the best! After we went to the castle we had lunch at this place that claimed to be home of the deep fried mars bar! I didn't eat it of course because now that I have a place to live, I have returned to veganism.

ALSO, DISASTER HAS STRUCK AUSTIN! I needed to pay my landlord. I went to the cash machine and withdrew 300 pounds (that is the max you can withdraw in one day). The next day I went back to get more money and the ATM wouldn't let me withdraw. I tried at another bank and THE FREAKING ATM RETAINED MY CARD! GASP! I went into the bank and the teller told me it was their policy to SHRED ALL RETAINED CARDS! HOLY MOLEY! I was in deep trouble. I had no money for two days. I was LITERALLY STARVING! As a last resort I had to drink water out of my hands from a random bathroom sink... I WAS SO DESPERATE! Worst feeling ever. So I tried calling my bank to figure out this mess and then... MY PHONE RAN OUT OF MONEY! I had no way of putting more money onto it either! EFF! I was so scared. I was like, I am going to STARVE! Then I remembered I have another credit card I can use. But I had to activate it and it I had no money. Anyways, I eventually activated my card by putting money on my phone over the internet. BUT I FORGOT MY PIN NUMBER AT HOME! AHHHH!!!! What the eff! It was so bad. Anyways, I finally got food and water today (see pics, i am so happy) after I facebooked my sister to tell my Mom to skype me my PIN. It was ridiculous.

Also you can see my room. When I moved in there were cigarette butts and tobacco everywhere. You get what you pay for I suppose. But I cleaned it, so it's livable now. I would say about 6 people live in this TINY house, and no one is from the UK. A lithuanian lives next to me, and then some arabs live below me. It's crowded, it's cheap, and it's close to my work.

So, I am surviving. BARELY, but I am surviving. OH ALSO, legally bought my first beer from the grocery store yesterday. Props to me!

Okay, here comes another week! I am SO EXCITED!

Friday, May 21, 2010

¡Buenos Días from Buenos Aires!

I've been in Buenos Aires for almost a week now, and I can officially say that I am in love with the city. I have an adorable studio apartment on the top floor of a building in a trendy residential and shopping neighborhood. Here are a few pictures of the area surrounding my building:
As a whole, the city reminds me a lot of a larger, cleaner, more vibrant, friendlier, and more laid back version of Manhattan. I've had the chance to do quite a bit of exploring by foot around the neighborhoods in which I work and live, and I'm hoping to venture into new neighborhoods in the coming weeks. There's a subway line that runs almost directly from my apartment to my lab, so I generally get off a few stops early or a few stops late in either direction in order to give myself extra time to explore.

The weather has been surprisingly pleasant here: mid 60's during the day and around 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night. It has been raining off and on the last few days though, and I had quite an experience trying to find an umbrella in the city. I still don't quite have the hang of shopping in Buenos Aires. Instead of having large stores that sell practically everything, like we're used to in the United States, Buenos Aires tends to have tons of miniscule stores that specialize in just one or two specific products. This layout comes in handy when you finally find a store that sells the product you want, but it can be a little frustrating when you're wandering around for hours looking for a relatively simple item. Another thing that I've noticed while wandering the streets and gazing into stores is the rather disturbing nature of the mannequins in Argentina. This one is like a cross between Pink and Chucky:
I think the goal is to frighten customers into making a purchase. Apparently this scare tactic is effective, judging by the number of horrific mannequins that I've seen.

My Spanish has improved a lot in the short time that I've been here, although I'm still struggling quite a bit with the accent. Porteños (people from Buenos Aires - literally, people of the port town) have a very distinctive accent, as well as their own unique set of slang terms. The most difficult part about the language is the "yeísmo," the pattern of pronouncing the letters "y" and "ll," both of which are typically pronounced with a "y" sound, using a soft "j" sound that is similar to "sh" or "zh." For example, when saying "Yo me llamo Rachel," (meaning "My name is Rachel," which sounds like "Yo may yamo Rachel" in most Spanish dialects), a Porteño's pronunciation would sound like "Sho me shamo Rachel." This aspect of the language, although very beautiful, can be quite confusing, and when combined with the fast pace of speech and rising-and-falling, song-like tone, it causes the language to sound more like a combination of French and Italian instead of the Mexican Spanish that I'm used to. Luckily for me, all of the students in the lab are fluent in English, since most of their science textbooks and all of their publications are written in English. We've worked out a system in which all of the science talk is done in English, and the rest of the communication is in Spanish so that I have a chance to practice. It seems to be working great so far!

The lab work is going very well. I'm learning a completely new skill set here - specifically, my project involves doing electrophysiology recordings using Xenopus oocytes. It's a great technique to know, and I think it will complement my knowledge of molecular biology techniques very nicely. I actually already have some preliminary data after my first week - although I attribute this entirely to beginner's luck and an excellent teacher, and not at all to any personal skill. One aspect of electrophysiology that I'm really enjoying is the ability to get my results almost immediately. It's very satisfying when performing an experiment to know within a matter of seconds whether a certain drug treatment or condition is effective. Each time that I marvel at the instantaneity of this type of work, the lab members tease me for being a Western blotter at heart. Although experimental results are obtained much quicker, other aspects of my new lab work are more tedious. For example, the process of microinjecting every individual oocyte with cRNA, although kind of fun in its own way, does make me miss chemical-based transfections.

One part of the lab work that I'm especially enjoying is the lack of regulation surrounding food and drinks. We generally eat Argentinean cookies and drink coffee/tea while doing our experiments, which makes the already fascinating science that much better! I've been eating very well (and very cheaply) here. The cuisine is drawn mostly from Italy and Spain, with an original Argentinean flair added. Based on the restaurants that I see on every block, the most common foods seem to be pizza, pasta, gelato, various pastries, and empanadas. Surprisingly, I haven't encountered much beef so far, but that may be due to the fact that I've been eating in relatively casual and inexpensive (though delicious) cafes and restaurants. A couple of my favorite traditional Argentinean dishes so far are the drink yerba mate (similar to a very strong and bitter tea, shared in a social setting) and the cookies alfajores (two or more cookies sandwiched around dulce de leche and covered in chocolate and/or powdered sugar).

I'm especially looking forward to the next several days, as May 25th marks the 200th birthday of Argentina, and I hear that quite a celebration is in store for the city of Buenos Aires. There's no work on Monday or Tuesday due to the holiday, and a few lab members are planning to take me downtown to enjoy the festivities. I'm sure I'll have lots of interesting news to report!

Starting to get my feet wet...!

Hello Friends!

The past week has been very up and down for me, but I would say I am on an "up" right now! After last Friday the weekend sort of remained to be kind of boring/anti-social. On Saturday I walked around the city with my camera for the first time and that was very nice/relaxing. I even went to the beach! The beach was very nice. I walked up and down and was amazed by how much of the Scottish coast I could see! I really enjoyed that, but it made me think of how horrible the oil spill in NOLA is! I want to help and I see all the reports coming in from the US but I can't do anything about it!

Anyways, on Sunday I slept for a VERY long time. I was so tired from all of the traveling I had done so i decided it would be okay to sleep in. OK ALSO! My sleep schedule here is totally different that it would be in the US. I went to bed at 9PM last night! When did I age 50 years? I don't even know. But I'm outta the hostel and OoOOoOoOOooO it feel soo good! (That's the hostel to the right)

On Sunday I went to a concert with a Spanish Marine Biologist and Brian the guy from Glasgow. It was heavy metal music, not exactly my thing, but it was culture and social interaction which I appreciated. Monday I was back to work!

I freeze dried my cucumbers and began the isolations. I have done most of my work with Morag's help. She is working on her Master's thesis. I talked to Dr. Ebel about what type of work I am interested in back at Emory and told him about my fungal experiments. He was very interested! I explained my plans to isolate 'cultivar's' anti-fungal natural product and he said that my experiment sounded very "publishable." Then he set me up with a fungal natural products chemist who works in the lab named Mustafa! He and I are going to grow some marine fungus in a liquid media and then use Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy to isolate some bioactive agents! The work is so incredibly similar to what I will be doing back home! I am so excited!

On Wednesday, on a whim, I decided to go out alone. Although I was nervous at first (even though the city is incredibly safe) I ended up going into a bar and making legit friends! Afterwards we went to several other bars and were out till 3AM! The next day of work was a bit rough, but I had some friends! After work they asked me to go get some drinks at a bar called Revolution.

Yes! They had VODKA AND FOOD! But I was really "tired" from the night before so after some social time I went home and got into bed.

This morning I moved into my new apartment! I found a room on It's really cheap and small but it's just what I need. Only 5 mins from campus! I'll take some pics of it and post them later!

Anyways, this weekend on Saturday I am going to some party with a British celebrity? My new friends are taking me. It should be quite a good time. On Sunday I am going to Stonehaven to see the castle! I will definitely post pics.

Anyways, the "store" is open and I have to get some funnels to finish my extractions!

Stay tuned for more posts!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Depart tomorrow!

I can't believe I will be departing for Montreal tomorrow! I'm finding myself glancing at the clock repeatedly, but I have so much stuff to do in 24 hours before I leave (and that includes a little sleep). Admittedly, I am doing the last minute packing thing; and well, I'm going a little crazy. I also have to tie up a bunch of loose ends here for the nonprofit organization that I oversee so that it can function while I am away. And I also have to withdraw some money from the bank, and...the list goes on. But aside from the never ending to do list, I'm super excited to be in Canada; and I'll post an update soon!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What a Interesting First Few Daze!

Hello World!
I am currently sitting in the Youth Hostel, looking out onto Queen’s Road in Aberdeen! This road is kind of boring and is basically full of businesses and banks. Nothing really fun. The two main streets in the town are King’s Street and Union Street. People go here mainly to shop it seems. It’s kinda like a tourist trap. I haven’t been to the water yet, but I have seen the harbor from afar. There are HUGE ships in it, so I’ll probably check it out. It’s been sunny the last few days, but don’t let that fool you, it’s always cold. I am never warm, even when I go to sleep. It is a nice city, although it is entirely made of granite. I have yet to see any building that isn’t made of granite. Although uniformity is nice and all, everything looks kind of gray and post-industrial. Oh, and everything they say about British food is true: generally sub-par. The first day, I tried to upkeep my veganism. I had a Cliff Bar I brought from home and a bag of chips. There was nothing else available in the super market, not to mention this was after an entire day of travel without food. So, I have to admit, today I had a macaroni salad that had mayonnaise in it ☹. Oh also, EVERYONE here uses a car, not just an American thing. I try to walk as much as I can, but occasionally I pay the 2 pounds (ouch) and ride the bus.
The Lab is incredibly interesting and different from our US labs. First of all, my project has nothing to do with what I did my presentation on. Essentially, I will be isolating Natural Products from newly freeze-dried Scottish Sea Cucumbers, YAY! But in all seriousness, it’s going to be really hard. After I isolate the natural products, (I don’t know how, I just know this German woman is going to freeze-dry my sea cucumbers on Monday), I am going to run my saponins (the natural products I am interested in) through a two dimensional NMR. What’s a two dimensional NMR you may be asking. Well, it’s this huge scary machine and spits out a ridiculous amount of data that the chemist must then analyze. In organic chemistry at Emory, I dealt with common 1 dimensional NMR. 2 dimensional NMR is a totally different beast. There are 3 maybe 5 different measurements you can take with the NMR depending on a nucleus’s spin and its proton shielding. Think of it this way, the NMR spits out a giant puzzle of a graph that If read correctly, represents a chemical structure. Hannah, who works next to me, said she had no idea how to read 2D NMR’s when she arrived just a couple of weeks ago, but now she seems like an expert, I HAVE HOPE.
They take safety incredibly seriously. I was at work from 10-5 today and all I did was go over safety things, and I haven’t even watched “the movie” yet. There is so much to remember, and I will probably forget so oh well. I work mostly with a 4th year German student named Hannah. In fact, I might as well be in Germany because everyone in my lab, except Dr. Jaspars, is German. While I am here I will specifically be working under associate professor Ranier Ebel. He is a great guy who really wants to teach me how to read the 2D NMRs, and that’s very exciting.
I’m kind of nervous about this weekend because I have zero friends and no prospects (besides Hannah). I was going to ask Hannah if she wanted to go get beers or something today after lab but she was working with Dr. Ebel and I totally forgot. Plus, she has a boyfriend and probably already thinks I am coming on to her because of my social desperation, Yikes. Oh well, I have only been here 2 days. Not to mention I have yet to meet “the boys,” these other German undergrads who work in the same room as me. Hopefully they will be a riot, but for now, lonely weekend.
On the first day of living at the hostel I met this aussie named Reese. He is nice, we say hi. Tonight I noticed some Americans coming into the hostel so I quickly and awkwardly asked how they would be spending their Friday night. One girl responded, equally as awkward, and said they would be making dinner but I could “hang out”. Thanks for the invite I suppose…. Hahaha. Anyways, they are all outside right now, being cooler and more social than I am, and I am going to go on a run because, oh yeah someone forgot to tell me but, IT NEVER GETS DARK HERE! HOLY EFF!
Oh, and I might have found a “flat” stay tuned for deets.
It’s now 1:50 PM on the day after the above was written. And I have had such social success! Last night, after I finished my run, this guy from Glasgow named Brian who is living in my room said he needed to get a few drinks because he had had a hard day. Of course I obliged. We started off the night at some bar across the street. It was really ritzy and full of old women… so after about one beer we left. But then the night got exponentially better. We walked to the city center, and I swear… at night this place goes NUTS. Totally different city! All of the churches that people tour right in the downtown area are transformed into… hold onto your seats… nightclubs! Girls and guys are wearing their best club attire (the girls here, despite the cold, wear much less clothing than Americans) and the city streets are literally bustling with young college kids from the two universities here. Anyways, first we hit up this really chill fun bar where I got my lecture on the difference between Scottish Whiskey and American Whiskey. After some taste tests we went upstairs to the first night club. It was very cool but kind of empty, so we left. Next we went to this punk club. We walk in, there are green laser lights and foot high mohawks everywhere. After a few more drinks I decided it was time to start dancing. At this point we had met Reese the Australian and three of his friends. Next thing you know, the whole pack of us are head banging alongside the crazy goth punk kids and screaming odd things like “Angels deserve to DIE.” Good night. After we left and went to this CHURCH! Inside was a huge dance floor! The DJ played his set where the priest would give his sermon, high above the crowd, and colored lights that blinked to the sound of the bass illuminated the stained-glass windows. IT WAS AWESOME! After (at about 3:30AM) Brian and I lost the Australian and his friends, they were all wasted, at one point in the night I had to help one of them stand up. The Australian is still nowhere to be found and Brian is still asleep. All in all, I call that a good first night in Aberdeen. I think later today (it’s not freezing outside today) I am going to grab dinner at a supermarket and head towards the harbor to eat it on the shore. BYBEYBEYEBYEBYE

Oh and sorry I don't have any more photos to share. I haven't really had a chance to go shoot yet. The castle is campus.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Leaving TOMORROW!!!

I'll be on my way to Buenos Aires in a matter of hours, and I couldn't possibly be more excited! This last week between the end of finals and my departure for Argentina has been a bit hectic with last-minute travel purchases, packing, and saying both "hello" and "goodbye" to friends and family. I've been preparing for this trip for months, and at this point I'm as ready as I'll ever be, so it's time to finally stop planning and start doing! I've been in touch with several members of my international lab lately, and everybody seems incredibly kind, helpful, and excited to have me. The project I'll be working on sounds fascinating, and I'm anxious to learn a range of new techniques that will be helpful throughout the rest of my scientific career. I can't believe that after all of this anticipation, the time has finally come! I'll be in touch from the Southern Hemisphere!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I leave tomorrow!

Wow, I can't believe I leave for Scotland tomorrow! I have had a few bumps along the road in the past 24 hours. In fact, my flight was canceled! Luckily I scheduled a new one ASAP and that one is just a few hours later. I have all my stuff packed into a hiker's backpack and a student backpack, and I find that incredibly amazing.

In two days, I have a 5 hour layover in London which is kinda a drag. Since I will be of age, I think I'll just pass the time with a beer at some bar. Make myself feel older, blend in with the locals, the usual. Oh! I'm going to be doing the tourist thing the entire time, so watch out for corny pics! More updates to come as the travels begin! Get excited!