While the new

project is interesting and will definitely give me something to do besides swearing at my crappy computer and browsing the internet.  I realised that  when I applied for the job it was because I was interested in neurogenesis, not depression.  So on Friday  I sat down with my boss and told her that I would rather learn a new technique than get a publication in a field that I m not interested in, doing things I have done for the past 5 years (behaviour and immuno).  It felt good to say it and I was not completely dismissive of the new project,  I just made it clear that I was not ready to give up on the first project since it will give me a chance to work on something new! In the mean time I have found motivation to finish papers from my PhD so will at least have 1 or 2 publications in 2010.

The weekend was rather quiet,  I had a big night on Thursday with Arnaud (one of the PhD students) and thought that my liver would appreciate some quiet time plus even with a salary I seem to be unable to really budget myself and don’t have money. Luckily I will get paid by the end of this week.

Next Saturday I am going to Rockomotives. A festival in Vendome about an hour North of Tours. I have no idea who the  bands are, but when I listened to them on myspace I really liked most of them  and fesitvals are usually fun regardless of the bands performing.


And then everything

changed once again.   As I mentioned I was a little peeved by the fact that when I signed the contract I was under the impression that most of the things I had to do, had been tested in the lab previously. To say I was shocked when I discovered the lack of  equipment in the lab is an understatement.  However I decided to not let it bother me too much and was secretly planning my MEXICO trip.

My boss is a lovely person, but like most bosses she does not like spending money… I had emailed her a list of all the things I would need to order to do half of my experiment (it would have been impossible to complete the experiment in our lab, due to the lack of things and know-how) but I was willing to at least attempt to do half. While the grand total of the order was not a shocking amount of money, my boss was a little concerned suddenly.  I am not sure if it was the thought of having to spend money or something else but after sending the email we had a good chat.

I was offered another project to work on,  something completely different but at least something that as far as I can tell has no technical difficulties and can be completed in the lab.  So here I am reading up on depression and the HPA-axis. While I am still working on the first project I will not worry too much about setting up the new protocol.  Suprisingly and very unlike me I am not too bothered about the whole change of plans and am taking it one day at a time. I think that for me having lovely people to work with is way more important than getting a fantastic paper and I am enjoying my life here very much. I know that there will always be hurdles when it comes to doing research and as long as I can learn something new and gain more experience in different techniques without losing sleep my time here is not going to be wasted.

Worst sashimi

ever. I  have been craving sashimi for the past 4 weeks now and on Saturday we finally went to a Japanese restaurant. I had been warned that there are no Japanese owned sushi places in Tours, which might explain the crap I got on my plate.. Luckily I was in great company and slightly tipsy from the plum wine. After the Sushi place we went for beers and ended up in a club so wrong that it became right. In Tours all clubs have cover charge, however  you can also buy a bottle of spirits instead of paying the 7 € p/p. So we ended up buying a bottle of vodka going downstairs into this basement and danced to really crappy music with totally weird people! I really did have a great time.

In other news: I finally received word from the international office regarding a French course. Very excited I  replied that YES I am interested and that I was more than willing to do a test to assess ,my level of French but that I could already tell them it was ZERO. Showed up to the test on Thursday afternoon, entered the room and asked a girl sitting on the back row whether this was the French language test. She replied in French which I thought was slightly odd, since I thought everyone would be like me, no real knowledge of the language. Then the teacher entered and proceeded to babble on in French about class times and scores. She was talking pretty slowly so I could follow most of it and since everyone seemed to understand perfectly what was going on I figured that I just was really really bad at French.  When she handed out the paper for the test I knew I was in deep sh*t since I did not even understand the first page  (name and some other info was required). The first part of the test was a listening excercise, something I did not realise at first. I started answering the questions as if they were directed to me. Yeah yeah I know!

After the listening part which took about 40 minutes and where I guessed every single answer we had a short break.  I thought it was  pretty funny that I really had no clue!  As it turned out there was one other girl who had exactly the same problem as me and she was sitting in front of me, we quickly decided it would be best for us to leave the test since we no idea what was going on.  She turned out to be really lovely and works in the lab next to mine. We went into the city for coffee followed by me showing her around a bit and some beers. So my circle of people I know is very slowly expanding.

The international office called that afternoon to apologise for the test, and is trying to organise a real beginners course for us (apparently there are 6 other people with the same lack of French as me!) .

Work is still a bit frustrating, my boss can be a little ignorant about things sometimes, but other than that I do think that everything is slowly coming together and I have not had any sleepless nights anymore.

I always thought

My street

My street

that once I had a real job I would be able to go home at day’s end and not worry about things considering my work. Unfortunately as it turns out I am unable to let things go and lie awake half the night worrying about work.  Looking back I realise that I have always been a stress-chicken.  As a child I would break out in eczema and since my PhD the eczema has been replaced with sleepless nights. I really prefer the itching to the tossing and turning.

petit Jardin

petite Jardin

While Tours is great, the past week in the lab has been a total roller-coaster of highs and lows.  I signed the contract under the impression that everything I had to do had been tested and done before. Unfortunately as it turns out not one thing that I have to do has been done and neither do any of my co-workers have any experience in the techniques I need to use. Since I am only here for 1 year I realised that it would be near impossible to set up the new protocol AND collect data resulting in sleepless nights and a lot of MERDES!  Luckily my boss finally realised that the whole thing was going to be a bit of struggle especially since the know-how is not available in our lab or any other lab in Tours for that matter. She agreed that it would be in our best interest to send me to another lab to learn the technique and mentioned MEXICO.  This is when I was able to sleep again and the only MERDES that came out of my mouth were directed to my crappy PC at the lab. While nothing has been confirmed I feel a lot better knowing that I will not have to waste too much time trying to work out a new protocol without any help.



My French is definitely not going as rapide as I hoped, this week has been particularly bad but today I am going to work on my vocabulaire and now that I don’t need to worry about work it will be a bit easier  to focus on learning French.  As I have said a few times the Frenchies are really lovely; I was doing my laundry last week and since I have to wait for nearly 1 hour until it is done I bring my French exercise books. So there I was trying to work out the grammar when an older Madame walked in and I gave her hand with the laundry, she then sat down next to me and for the whole hour gave me a hand with my French; so very sweet!

Yellow rent-a-bike

Yellow rent-a-bike