26 November 2009

I get to travel to lots of cool places

This week has been full of big plans. The week began with a lot of stress because the supervisor was on my case about all this stuff that she wants right now. Plus all the travel that is being planned has been very up in the air. And I have been steadily running out of money. And of course Mum is coming to visit this weekend so I have been trying to get everything tidy and sort out stuff for us to do.

So today is only Thursday but it feels like this week has been going on forever. Work has been sort of slow, but in a good way. Suddenly my supervisor has had a huge mood-swing and doesn't seem at all concerned anymore with having any results produced at all. Must have other things on her mind. But it's great for me. So the last couple of days have been spent with looking after barnacles, doing a lot of reading and research, doing a wee bit of practical work and quite a lot of goofing off I guess. But that's not the point. The point is that now I am definately going to Austria in January!

So first of all, it is Thursday today and Mum is coming on Saturday for 5 days. She will leave next Thursday. And then the Wednesday after that we are going to Belfast to go to this workshop being run by the organisation that is funding the other barnacle PhD who is working with me. So there is no presenting for either of us, it is more just that we are going along for the hell of it, and it will be a good experience and hopefully interesting. And they are putting us up in a fancy B&B and everything. Then about a week and a half after that it is practically Christmas time and I will be flying to Abu Dhabi to spend Christmas with Mum. And finally, I will return by the New Year, in time to pack up all my things and go to Austria! And even better, in Austria I don't have to pay for my accommodation, the grant pays for it! Lastly, it looks like there will be a further trip to Germany in February, and then possibly staying in Austria right through until April.

So things are all finally happening now and happening very quickly. Yet for once I don't have to do any organising, all the travel and accomodation and everything is being sorted by my supervisor and these big grants that she has. In Austria it will be freezing cold and snowy! It all sounds really good. I will miss my first Irish St Patricks day but there will be plenty of those still to come. Austria will probably be very hard work of course, I have to learn histology and all sorts of ultrastructure techniques in quite a short amount of time. But still looking forward to it.

And of course nothing further has really been planned yet but the trip to Germany to learn protein stuff will probably be next year too, so that the first year of the PhD will focus on training and then the rest of it will be working. So heaps of travel and exciting stuff should happen this next year.

Also in a couple of weeks yet another PhD student is joining our lab, which will make four of us. This new PhD is a more mature student, a physiologist, and he is from Malaysia. He is studying something to do with fish I think. And while we are away in Austria there will be an undergraduate student from France coming to do some work here, I am not sure why, but it is very helpful because he can look after the barnacles.

Now it is 5 o'clock and I am going to go home at a decent hour, I usually stay later but I have a lot of housework to do before Mum arrives, because I have been living like a slob. I have just had a delivery of algae so the barnacles will be happy for another week or two. I have had lots of deliveries the past few days because we have been ordering all sorts of supplies. They send the smallest of things with the most ridiculous amount of packaging, it's crazy. And it hasn't all arrived yet either. Hopefully it will arrive tomorrow, along with my long-awaited pay check. So I am going to go downstairs now and turn the recirculation tank back on so that the barnacles will have clean water and still be happy and active when I come in in the morning. It is dark already which makes it feel very late but really it is not.

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