Never forget to

bring your phone when attending Dance Party with 25.000 other people. I went home on Friday (YAY) I could not wait to get out of Maastricht. Work has not improved, so as soon as I finished I grabbed my stuff and hopped on the first train to Roosendaal.  Dad came to pick me up from the station,  both him and mum read the examiner reports on my thesis. Dad was unbelievably proud,  he never really thought it was a good idea for me to go to Sydney to do my PhD and we hardly spoke while I was there.  I think that now after reading the reports he finally understands that I did work hard and did a good job.  Dad and I  finished  a few bottles of wine and talked heaps although I am not sure anymore what we discussed, it did seem very important at the time.

Saturday morning mum dropped me over to Judith’s house, since she is now pregnant, she gave me her ticket to go to Awakenings with Marcel (baby’s daddy) and Jeroen.  We were staying at Sander’s place in Amsterdam so no one would have to drive back after the party and therefore not drink.   We left around 9 AM and did a sing/scream along all the way to Amsterdam, it was really nice to not be the only one who can’t sing..  Once at Sander’s place we dumded our bags had a few beers (helps against the hangover) and left.  I am not quite sure why, but I decided to leave my phone at home since: ” I never lose anyone.” And also because I find it annoying to have stuff in my pockets.  The party was held in a big field, surrounded by woods.  To get there you had to take a special bus from the station, unless you were driving, then you could park near the festival. We arrived way too early to my liking, I was afraid that if I had to be there from 1 PM I would be rather fed up and tired  by 8 PM ( it finished at 11 PM).  Marcel bumped into a group of friends from Roosendaal so we were in a pretty big group of 15 people, they were on a Buck’s outing,  one of them is getting married in 3 weeks. (For future reference, I would love to attend a day time dance festival for my hen’s weekend).  The music was great, the beer cold and the weather really nice. While dancing around,  I suddenly fell in love with one of the boys from the Buck’s party … Ok it definitely was not real love since I have no idea what his name is anymore but at the time after numerous beers I was convinced that I had found the man of my dreams.. Luckily he felt the same way about me and when some of his friends decided to go to another stage we both followed.  I did not really think about not being able to contact anyone because of my loved up state ;-). After a few hours dancing and jumping on the jump castle (really not a good idea)springkussen kasteel 1

I realised that I had not seen Jeroen, Marcel or Sander but I was not too worried. Figuring I would bump into them at some point.. and I did but then I lost them again.. So when at 11 PM the final song was played (Michael Jackson) I had no idea where they were and finding them between another 25.000 people proved a little hard (well I did not really try) so I ended up having to go back to the hotel where what’s his face was staying (I was still convinced we were meant to be)… It was a 30 minute walk from the festival  and we went to the hotel pub for more beers together with all the other people from the Buck’s party.  I think I ended up in bed at about 4 AM and thought I had left a message on Marcel’s phone informing him where I was… The next morning we had breakfast and I called Marcel again, as it turned out I had the wrong number and so had never left a message on his phone.. .  When I finally got a hold of him he was not too happy… I managed to find my way back to Sander’s house and had to listen to a long lecture on how irresponsible I had been, I was too tired to argue and in all honesty, Marcel was right but I was in Love.   I left Amsterdam at 1 PM and arrived back in Maastricht at 6 PM ( oh how I love public transport!).  Since I still can not remember  the name of my future husband, I figure that maybe my  instant infatuation was driven more by beer  and definitely his spectacles (very sexy, a man with nice glassses) than by anything else…

Positive beginnings

Yesterday I met the second flat mate ; Wendy. I had heard running up and down the stairs a few times and while my door was open she had not yet said hello (neither had I) but I still thought she was being rude. When I went downstairs to get my laundry she was in the garden and I introduced myself and we talked for ages. She is really lovely!! I am pretty sure she heard me complain while I was on Skype with Lauren, since my windows were open and she was outside.  Regardless she invited me to join her and the other flatmate (Noortje) for dinner.  I went out and bought some wine from the supermarket since the grocery shopping had been done already. Dinner was lovely and only got better after a few glasses of wine. Noortje as it turns out is moving out of the house, but she was not as funny or nice as Wendy so that is OK.  After dinner Wendy had to go so Noortje and I finished another bottle of wine and were joined by flatmate 1: Charlotte. She really  is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen and nice too.

It was funny chatting to them and hanging out,  I had to be careful not to say too many things about how things used to be since I need to keep my fake age of 27 (Or was it 26??).  They invited me to the pub but I thought it would be best to stay at home since I did not want to scare them with my crazy dance moves.

While work is still as boring as ever, at least the house has become a lot more fun. Will see how it goes for the next month; I really need to get some extra hours since  the work I am hired to do only takes 5 hrs.  Or I will try and find another job in Maastricht if I really do decide to stay.

What next

It is officially weird being back in a place where I had heaps of fun realising that you suddenly don’t know anyone.  As I said in my previous post, the lab really is not very friendly. Or maybe I am not very approachable??  Yesterday I invited mysef to lunch with some other PhD students, figured I should at least try and make some form of contact. It kinda worked at least I did not have to eat my lunch alone.. I should really stop feeling sorry for myself and grateful that I at least have a job.  The one guy who is helping me is really kind and another chick had to rescue me when I found myself locked in the basement of the building (I dont have a swipe card) she seemed really nice too but I did not really have another chance to talk to her.

Working in Maastricht is a huge contrast to working at Usyd, the facilities are really cool and the labs are set up really well. There is definitely no need for tape, glue, or drills to set up experiments. If something does break you have to contact a special department and they send someone immediately to come and fix it! The only thing I was rather surprised by is the lack of automated scoring. I have to sit next to experiment and score everything live.

Today is my day off and I have been working on my proposal, only 4 more weeks and I need to hand it in.. I am pretty excited about it and am quite positive about the outcome.  I am still waiting on Frenchy and really hope I can go there for a wee while. I even downloaded a lame French course so I can work on my French.  The German chicka did not want to hire someone for only a year so we just had a nice chat about science and Tubingen.  I think it was good I was honest about my plans.  You never know she might be reviewing a paper of mine next time.  And still no news on the final paper, it has been a month now at EJN.

Summer seems to have arrived, while the mornings are still chilly the temperatures are definitely getting towards summer values (25 Degrees today).   Unfortunately for me,  the weekend is going to be rainy and I am going to Awakenings an outdoor dance festival near Amsterdam.  I am sure it will be fun regardless seeing as we are going with a big group of people!

IMG_0627 One of the little streets I have to walk through on my way to work.

Hoftedagen Twente

Or in English, Summer festival in Twente.  It basically is a big beer drinking festival with different bands and DJ’s and lots and lots of Farmers.  I finally managed to catch up with my Uni friends and had a blast. We stayed with the parents of Femke who live in Hengevelde.  People from Twente have the most hilarious accent that is sometimes rather hard to understand so most of the time I just smile and nod.  As per usual Fleur and I got really really drunk danced on tables and peed outside (the toilets were way too busy and dirty).   Since 2 extra people decided to stay at Femke’s parents,  I ended up having to share an air mattress with Femke’s brother and trust me on this one; 2 people on a single air mattress is really a bad idea!! After 3 hrs of very restless sleep where I got pushed onto the floor several times we got up and had brekky.  Initially I was planing on staying until Monday however due to the fact I had to start work I had to leave Sunday afternoon.

I have officially moved into my new room, while it is not bad it does take some getting used to.  I met one of the girls that lives here and she was ok. I actually lied about my age since I did not think that they would want to live with a 30+ person. The average age seems to be 23..

This morning I started my first day of work and as expected it was rather boring and not yet better than being jobless.  The lab is not much fun, all the doors are closed and no one really talks.. Hopefully it will improve soon, I just hope I will hear from Frenchy soon so I can start in her lab.

I also got a call from my supervisor telling me that the examiners reports came in and that my thesis has been accepted without any emendations!  While I was pretty sure about it being accepted, I was expecting some major changes (I had even started changing somethings) but it seems that they were all very happy and excited about the work!

Moving and interview

Today is the BIG day. I am picking up the keys to my new place this afternoon, dumping my stuff and going to spend the weekend in Hengevelde with my uni friends.

Before the big trip down south I have a phone interview with a German chicka regarding a job I applied for ages ago. The work is interesting but not as good as the French job and definitely not as good as the fellowship.  My plan is to discuss with her the options, tell her I am applying for the Fellowship and see what she can offer me. Since the French job is unsure until the funding has been decided it would be good to know that I have the German job as a backup. Will see how it goes in a few hours.

I am a little anxious about the place I am moving into. It is an all girl house, the room is tiny but has a washbasin and as far as I could tell it was the only room upstairs..  There is a shared bathroom and kitchen but no lounge room.  The lack of lounge room is quite normal in the Dutch student houses; the lack of rooms for students encourages landlords to turn the communal spaces into bedrooms. In my previous house there were 9 of us living in this massive house with 2 bathrooms and 2 kitchens although we never used the downstairs kitchen and bathroom and for the life of me I don’t know why and when we would have dinner together we would all just pile into one of the bedrooms and eat there.   These rooms are tiny and they only fit a bed, desk and wardrobe and if you are lucky maybe a couch.   So we would end up sitting on floor and bed and eat with the plates on our laps.. oh the joys of share house living!!

Anyway I don’t think there will be lots of flatmates at the current place, since Maastricht has the weird effect on students that once uni is over (weekend or holidays) students get on the first train out of there.  It is a beautiful city and has nice pubs and shops but the people are really unfriendly and are not too happy with students besides it is far a way from everything except Germany and Belgium so everyone who is not from Maastricht just tends to leave…

Will update with Pics once I have been there. Now I need to read one paper from the German chicka and probably get dressed before she calls.

Getting ready for

my move to Maastricht!! I finally got  a phone call that I  can start there on Monday. The work is only 3 to 4 days a week and very boring, but it beats sitting at home.  Although sometimes being without a job does have it advantages. Last Sunday  I dropped my mum off at the airport and drove to Conny, like me she is also jobless or as we say it here: Koos, Werkeloos.”  We went to the pub to play darts (not the way it is meant to be played, our goal is to hit each number on the dart board 3 times) and have a few beers.

maastrichtAfter pub we decided to have an early night so we could visit a museum on monday. Unfortunately for us all musea are closed on Monday’s so instead we went to the Efteling ( this is a very beautiful theme park near Breda. We had a blast and since it was Monday and most people do still have jobs, there were hardly any queues and we managed to see and do everything we had planned. And suddenly not having a job was not that bad!  Except for the fact that we had to pay 30 euro’s to enter the park and 8 euro’s to park the car.

I am still waiting to hear back from the reviewers of my final (and in my humble opinion) best paper.  And I am getting slightly worried.   The paper has been rejected outright twice, the first time I totally expected it since the journal I sent it to has a pretty high impact factor and I knew I needed more data to get it into that journal. The second rejection however was a massive surprise since my supervisor and I were convinced it would fly in that journal and so once again I was reformatting to send it to journal number 3.  Other publications have luckily always been accepted in the first journal I sent them to.  So having to reformat a paper 3 times was definitely a first and hopefully last.  Besides waiting on the paper, I also examiner reports coming my way shortly.  feminist-housewife

I know there are a few things that I need to change in my thesis but am hoping that all I have is some typo’s and I am not being asked to go back into the lab cause that would really really be the end  of my science career and I would definitely become a housewife.  I am convinced I would have a happy and full life being at home, cooking, cleaning and doing crafts and watching heaps of day time tv!