Posts Tagged ‘research’

For the first time in my life, I am having the experience of being very much in the minority. From the bubble of Naperville to MIT to even the Berkeley group in Peru, Asians always abounded!

Not so here, although I am hardly complaining. My experience with Europeans has been so pleasant and so friendly that it almost seems surreal. Last week I set a goal to talk to one stranger every day – a couple of encounters were what you’d expect, with the cordial hi-bye and nothing more, but there were a couple of exceptions:

  • Rebeca, the Spanish graduate student who I met in line for EasyJet flight 5480 who excited to see her boyfriend in London but dreading British weather.
  • Paolo, the Italian-born London antitrust lawyer who lived in Ireland for a year and generously explained the European economic crisis to me, while simultaneously cycling through all of his accents.
  • Syra, the oldest of three daughters visiting her sister in London, who offered to put me in contact with her younger sister at the Polytechnic Institute of Madrid once finals were over so I could meet more Spanish locals!

It’s amazing how drastically different it feels to live versus vacation in a country (though really, who are we kidding – I’m definitely indulging in both). Key factors include having a place to work, renting an apartment versus a hostel, and how you deal with food.

I’m employed this summer at a tiny biopharmacy company that’s hosted in a building with ~20 other bio-related companies on the Universidad Autónoma campus a little ways north of Madrid.

The commute is a lot more than I’m used to, but it stops by Puerta del Sol on the way back each day (which is highly convenient for errands and shopping), and I get to see some beautiful things on my 1.3 km walk to work from the train station each morning:


I’ve realized since taking this picture that the many sculptures made of wire and wood are meant to represent various types of bugs…which makes it all rather less charming than it was initially, haha


The building that I work at is quite beautiful – it’s clean and modern and made of glass, and right outside it there’s a grand expanse of water fountain that workers are constantly cleaning. 😛

To wrap up – today I became aware of how much darker I am than I was…yesterday. This is probably a result of taking coffee breaks and eating lunch outside in the back, but at least my Vitamin D levels should be up and kicking now!


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