I have been very busy with work, planning future trips, and enjoying current ones. The daily life here has remained fairly consistent and very enjoyable. I have continued working on my projects in lab and have become a lot more comfortable in the laboratory setting. This is my first experience of actual lab work and it is very different from labs in school. At LVC we always know what the results should be and learn the procedures, which I use now. The lab work here is very different and the outcome is not known. We are constantly attempting to do new assays that we review from other researchers and attempt to adapt them to our research. Some of these have been successful, while others have only rewarded us with experience and no positive results. I am starting this week an experiment that will hopefully be able to determine if a seed has been genetically modified. Right now we must plant the seed, wait about a week, and then test the DNA to see if the transformation has occured. We are not sure if it will work in Arabidopsis (the plant I am doing research on), but the only way to find out is to try..... Albert Einstein has a great quote, which can be found in the chemistry department @ LVC. "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
I have also taken advantage of being in Europe and visiting nearby cities with some cheap Ryanair flights. I flew to Sevilla, Spain on the way to Ibiza, Spain. I spent 2 days in Ibiza and I have never enjoyed myself more. The island was truly magical and everyone was beyond friendly. My luck on the island was also incredible. When I arrived I met some friends from Miami, that just happened to be there that same night. i had no idea how to get there and asked a couple at the bus stop. They explained where it was I had to go and that it was right by where they lived. We took the same bus and they even walked me to the hostal, since it was a bit complicated in the small back streets. All the people I met on this trip were equally friendly and willing to help.... It was amazing. I also met people from everywhere (Canada, England, Scotland, Florida, Vietnam, Russia, Virgina, and I am sure I am missing many places)
Small cove, where I spent a whole day relaxing
I had heard a lot about Ibiza and especially the night life. It definitely lived up to my expectations, but also offered a lot more than I expected. The beaches of the island and their beauty was truly breathtaking. I rented a moped and traveled the island my second day there with a guy I met in the hostal, who was from Virginia. Neither of us had any idea where we were going, so we just followed the coast and toured half the island. The beaches were all very different and it was a lot of fun. I also got to see one of my favorite DJ's my last night there DeadMau5... I had seen him a couple of times in the past and once again he did not disappoint and made my last night in Ibiza unforgetable.
First stop, with Eivissa in the background
On my way back to Santiago de Compostela I had a 22hour layover in Sevilla. I met a girl in ibiza who was on the same flight to Sevilla, stayed at the same hostal, and was also taking the same flight to Santiago the following day (CRAZY COINCIDENCE) When I landed in Sevilla I also found my friends from Miami, who I had met in Ibiza, waiting for the bus that I needed to take to get to the city. I knew they would be in Sevilla, but had no clue when and no way to contact them, since I did not have a computer (CRAZY COINCIDENCE #2) We all went out that night and enjoyed some tapas in Sevilla. The following day I did a walking tour of the city and got to see a lot of the famous landmarks, such as the torre de oro, where Columbus set sail from on his voyage to find America. My stay in Sevilla was long enough for me.... it was incredibly hot in the city and I was nowhere near a beach.
Torre de Oro (Sevilla, Spain)
Entrance to largest Cathedral in the world and the famous symbol of Sevilla
After this adventure to Ibiza and Sevilla I was very happy to be back in Santiago to rest a bit. This past week in lab has bit a lot more work than usual. I went on my trip, because the researchers with whom I am working with had a national conference to attend and I had time off from lab. They came back with a lot of ideas for future research and that means that we are all very busy now. The workday is now from about 10am-9:30pm. This includes the 2.5 hours for lunch break, where I have just enough time to run to the park to workout, get home shower, eat, and take a nap. The nap is essential to be able to return for the second half of the day. There is only 3 weeks left of work and I am amazed at how fast it has all gone by. I have had a great time so far and I will continue to enjoy the time I have here.
Main entrance to the Biology department
I stayed in Santiago this weekend and spent some time with my floor mates and others I have met while on this trip. This upcoming weekend there is the running of the bulls in Pamplona and a outdoor music festival in a northern city of Spain. I am not sure which I will be going to yet and I actually need to look into finding transportation and which trip will be possible. Either way I know I will enjoy myself and get to have a new interesting experience to add to the collection. :)