A Post Long in the Making

27 06 2011

First of all, sorry for taking so long to update you all (although some of you are certainly happy cos you don’t have to read what I write). But I have been quite busy and been up to so many things, I had to check my calendar to see what I got up to. First up was a visit to Belfast to meet my supervisor there. This was the third time I met him, though I have been in contact with him regularly via email. So On Wednesday 15th May I made my way up to Belfast, to be there ready for the meeting next morning at 9am. I planned the trip to allow me some time to go around Belfast on the Wednesday, and luckily had some gorgeous weather allowing me to wander around the city and take in some sights. Thursday was a day at the University. I will write more on that in myresearch blog in the coming days however, as I do not want to bore you about my research here.

On Friday, I then woke up as usual ready for my day at Uni. However I received a special call from Bernard asking me about my plans for the weekend. He does not normally call, but Oh well, I thought it was a nice thing. However before saying goodbye he asked me whether I was able to pick him up from the airport that night, and that is when the rollercoaster began. YIPPIE!…he decided to come on a surprise visit. That meant that I first had to organise my room a bit, and keep up with the Uni stuff. That evening I had a birthday party for one of the girls from the School of Biotechnology, Markella. I headed to her birthday party, but then had to leave early to go pick up Bernard from the airport at around midnight. Fortunately, Ross offered to drive me to the airport to pick Bernard up, which made things much easier, since buses stop running at this time (thank you Ross). We arrived a bit late to pick up Bernard (though it was because the plane landed very early), and then headed home.

The weekend was a packed weekend. We went shopping, visited the Street Performers World championship in Dublin (great event, really enjoyed it, even though it rained), went to the Jameson Distillery Tour (where we got selected to get a whiskey tasting…though at 12 noon it might not have been the brightest idea, but it was great fun), went to Monika’s for the evening where she told us all about her trip to China for a conference and Zahra and Ali showed us the photos from their trip to Malta and Italy. Then Monday, I made my way to the lab, since I had a couple of things I had to do after my visit to Belfast and so on, whilst Bernard entertained himself in the city centre. That evening, a good friend of mine, Marco, was visiting Dublin and DCU, with a group of 9 other Maltese for a course on Science education and inclusion, organised by AcrossLimits from Malta and DCU partners. So that evening, Bernard and myself joined the group for dinner at the city centre.

Tuesday morning, was time for Bernard to leave 😦 :(. However since Marco et al were in Dublin, I ended up going out to dinner with them most nights. The whole group was a great lot. I really enjoyed myself with them and we really had a great time. I hope they did not mind myself butting in to all their evening activities, but oh well, they seemed to be OK about it. It was a good craic as they say in Ireland. The group finally left on Friday afternoon (Boohoo, but thank you Marco for the goodies weeeeee, and Bernard too 🙂 ).

The weekend was here again in the blink of an eye. Oh I forgot, I went to a softball game on Wednesday, and we WON!!!!…I did some good plays, and some horrible ones as well, but Oh Well. I was pretty tired when the weekend arrived, but first up was a farewell party for Ilaria, a girl from Italy who was doing her masters at DCU. I was pretty exhausted, but I made it to her house and stayed for a bit, before going home to flop into bed and sleep a long long sleep.

The weekend was pretty relaxed. On Saturday I went to IKEA with Monika. Then Sunday I went to softball training and to mass. Then it was back to another week. Sorry for a long post, but I tried to include everything in it. Sorry for the delay, but I was quite busy, and I needed a whole weekend to get my energy back up to write it. Will try to write more regularly, and keep the posts shorter from now on 🙂

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Belfast!

5 12 2010

Finally, I have sat down to write my blog posts as promised…do not worry…I am not too busy having had a long weekend…it was more a question of wanting to finish the Grey’s anatomy series (which I now did). Well, first up BELFAST! You can read more about the meeting as such on my research blog.

I really enjoyed myself in Belfast. I got to go up by car with Ross and Nora, 2 people from DCU who were going up for the first part of the meeting and we managed to arrive at the hotel successfully (bar a short detour at the beginning, but Oh Well…overall things went well). I have not seen such a big room in a hotel for ages…OK I have only seen such big rooms when I worked in a 5 star hotel in Malta :). I had a big TV, coffee-making facilities and all the stuff you want and 2 big beds :).

However we were hungry when we arrived, so off to dinner we went. Nora had been given the job of looking up places to eat before we left Dublin and she had seen a Thai restaurant place online: Bo Tree. I have not had Thai food, but what the heck…here we go. I must say I was not disappointed. The food was great…even the wine we chose was really delicious (I am not a fan of most wines but I could glug this one down), and the company was really good. My main highlight of the night…my main course:

Bo Tree Special Fried Rice
Special fried rice with king prawns, chicken, beef, pineapple, spring onions and raisins, served in a pineapple.

I was curious to see what this brings with it, and here it is.

Bo Tree Special

Bo Tree Special

I was positively stuffed, but oh was it delicious. After that is was back to the hotel, where we met with two other people from DCU who came to the meeting. I had never seen them before, but they were really nice (and I got some good news from one of them…so who am I to complain 🙂 ).

The next morning we woke up to an Irish bfast (what a change from Fruit ‘n Fibre with milk I usually have) then off to the QUESTOR meeting. I really enjoyed the day, but more about that in my research blog. It did not take long and at about 1:30pm we were free to leave. Ross and Nora’s adventure in Belfast was over, but the other ATWARM people from DCU were coming up, so I messaged Monika and she called as soon as they arrived in Belfast.

We chatted a bit then went down to meet the others for dinner. I  was expecting dinner to be herself, the other ATWARM people and myself. But it seems it was a DCU effort, with my supervisor, their supervisors etc joining (we were a total of 8 haha so not that many people). One of the supervisors is from Belfast so he suggested where we could go, and since it was raining we got a taxi (the perks of being with the higher echelons of society). We went to this gorgeous pub (do not know its name sorry) and had dinner (to be paid from some account somewhere…no complaints).

After dinner it was back to the hotel, where I practiced my presentation for the next day’s meeting and went to sleep. the next day was the big day…my first PhD presentation, and also we got to meet the other ATWARM students.

Fellows Group

Fellows Group

Overall the day went really well…the people are really nice, my presentation went well (overall), got to discuss my project with some people etc. Then it was time to go back home. I got the train down with the Scientist in charge of the project at DCU. The train ride was interesting to say the least…with wrong stops, bowel movements and lots of discussions about everything (including my project…it was good to get the perspective of someone else).

Alas, back in Dublin we were and I made my way home to unpack, and repack to start the next part of my trip!





Visit to Belfast!

21 10 2010

Yesterday I made the long-awaited trip to Belfast. The main reason for the trip was to visit my supervisor who is located there (read more about it in my research blog). I have been looking forward to visiting this city, moreover since I will be spending at least 3 months there as part of my PhD studies. I had two options to get there…by bus or by train. Most people told me to get the train, but I decided I wanted to get the bus…why might you ask?…well the bus leaves from a place closer to where I am staying, and it only takes 2.5hours as compared to 2.10hours by train. So it was not worth the hassle.

Early morning (OK 8:30am) saw me getting the bus to the airport, and at 9:20am the bus left Dublin airport to Belfast. I had my trusty Lonely Planet: Ireland book, which my sister had sent me as part of my belated birthday present :). I started reading it, but did not feel all that well. So I had a short nap, then woke up to find myself in the UK weeeee. We went round some picturesque villages/town, and finally we reached BELFAST!

I was feeling quite dizzy at this point, so I made my way to the University campus (a 15minute walk away from the bus station) and stopped at a Starbucks shop for a hot chocolate. It was my fist Starbucks hot chocolate, and I must say I was NOT impressed. But I felt quite better then so no complaints.

I still had some time for the meeting to start. Therefore I went around the University a bit. It is quite an old University and very nice and picturesque. I even got to enter the Great Hall at QUB, since they were preparing for a function later on in the evening and I snuck in to see. It is quite an impressive room, and I would love to have a function there some time (they also do weddings there they informed me…so who knows :P).

The Great Hall, QUB

The Great Hall, QUB

I also so that a Careers fair for Science, Engineering and IT students was happening. So I went in and checked out the companies represented. I got some good information, and more importantly I got Freebies. I am really enjoying such freebie opprotunities…I cannot wait to get more. Some of the stuff is quite useful. I have gotten mugs, key chains, a rule, highlighters, a bookmark and of course loads of pens :). What I need now are some more USB sticks (haven’t gotten any of those free) and a mouse pad (or two…one for Uni and one for home).

Time had come for me to meet my supervisor. So off I went to find his building and office and knocked on his door. You can read more about that in the research blog however. After the meeting I walked through the botanic gardens and back to the bus station to get the bus back home.

I will be back in around 1 month for the first ATWARM meeting. And I should spend around 3 months of my PhD studies there. So I have certainly not seen the end of Belfast. Cannot wait to explore more!