The most

boring Xmas party in the world was what I experienced yesterday.  Instead of going to a pub and getting drunk my new lab celebrated Xmas by staying in the lab and standing around eating food that was made by different people of the lab. We did have heaps of food especially cakes and cheese and that was really nice but the whole atmosphere was rather boring and except for a glass of champagne and a glass of wine no one got drunk and made a fool out of themselves. So after 1.5 hr of eating we cleaned up and went back to work, yes LAME.

Tours is totally into the Xmas spirit (me, not so much although I do like the lights and the crappy carols) and even has a Xmas market, although market is giving it a little too much credit.  There are about 10 stalls all selling very overpriced crap and then there is the Vin Chaud stall.  Warm red wine with spices, it is the best and it is where Elsa and I spent most of our time. A big cup of wine is only 2 euro’s and the smell of it is unbelievable and way to good to resist.  Luckily they also sell  bottles so I am definitely bringing one or two on the train back to Holland.

I really hate the cold with a passion and to top it off; tomorrow there will be snow! I had totally forgotten how much I hate European winters and am wishing I was back in Sydney enjoying the beach instead.  Since the disappointing outcome of the Fellowship and the trouble in replicating my initial success in my experiments here I am definitely looking into going back to, what I now realise is home for me, Sydney.  For now though I am still waiting on the definite email which is supposed to come some time in December and I have to admit that  deep down I am still hoping for a miracle.. 1700 people pulled out, there is suddenly 10 times the amount of money in the budget;  they make a mistake and give me the fellowship anyway.. you know any one of these very likely scenarios.

Looking very much forward to going home for a few days and spending time with family and friends.  J my best friend who got pregnant when I just got back from Sydney and therefore ‘ruined’ all the party plans we had, just had her son.  It was a bit of a surprise since he was not due until Jan but luckily for me I get to see Luke when I get back since I was a bit worried that she would go into labour after I returned to Tours.

And now I am going to get ready for the snow by wearing even more layers and checking that my shoes are waterproof.


I never thought I would ever get homesick, but I have been thinking about is going back to Sydney. Not sure if it is the weather (rain and cold) since during the months that I was at home I never really missed Australia or maybe it is because I am coming to terms with not getting the fellowship and am actually a lot more disappointed than I actually dared to admit;  whatever it is I am pretty sure that it will get better with time.

Since I wrote the first paragraph last week (and then could not be bothered to finish it): I can now say that YES it does get much better!!  I would still like to go to Sydney and see everyone and the ocean and eat the food but I am quite happy in chilly Tours.  At least the rain has finally stopped.  The Weekend was FUN.  My friend J and his Boyfriend J drove from Holland to come  and spend some time in Tours.  I can describe the weekend as LOTS OF FOOD and WINE ; I mean the amount we ate over 2 days would have kept 100 starving people well fed for over a month.. It was great though! Besides all the lovely food we also drove to some neighbouring towns such as Amboise. This is where Leonardo Da Vinci died. We checked out his lovely home with a lot of his fake drawings and the models of some of the things he designed. Amboise also has a castle but we decided to skip the castle (and go find some food) since 1 hr had past since breakfast with pain au chocolat and Croissants and a  baguette.. Next we drove to Blois; another very cute town where we saw Robert Houdin; he is a magician who died there but more importantly  he inspired Houdini to become a magician. We (me and J2 ) initally thought that Houdin was Houdini but WIKI proved us wrong. Unfortunately the magic castle was closed since December is out of season but I for one am definitely going back!! After all this walking around it was time for us to go home but not before we stopped at E.LECLERC  Super Marche.

I thought I knew supermarkets but this beats everything. These places are huge!! Selling everything from wash machines to bread.. It is a very weird thing to experience well at least it was for me.  All I did was buy cheese and wine for our afternoon snack since it was rather intimidating to walk around there.  And so our little eating weekend continued.  We got home had more wine and food waited and then went out to dinner.. Sunday it was raining so instead of walking around Tours (again) J and J decided to hop in the car and take the scenic route back while I hopped on my bike and went to the lab.

Things at work are getting better (another reason for me feeling better too) I finished my first pilot studies and got the immuno to work. I will be going to an in situ lab soon somewhere near Tours and hopefully next year I will also be able to run the in situ successfully. I had a chat with my boss and we will also be applying for more funding since I doubt I will have finished the experiment by September.   It looks like I will be applying for lots of things since I also want to get money to go to the UK. As long as I can keep the applications separate and apply to different funds I am hopeful I can be successful in at least one application.