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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Don't Know How to Title This

It is time for an update, isn't it? I apologize for neglecting you, blog.

Things are good out here in the Netherlands! This was not the same case two months ago. Or three months ago. It was pure hell, in all honesty.

So I was in Wales for most of May to take exams and finish out the school year strong, and then I came back to the Netherlands at the end of May, around the 26th or 27th. Immediately after getting back, one of my best friends from Texas, Beth, came out to visit for two weeks. That was really good! I miss her all the time. The only difficult thing was I have a really small room, so it was a tight fit having the both of us in! We visited Amsterdam, spent time with our good friend, Cate, and went to Cologne, Germany with Cate as well. I was doing a lot of working during the week, so we weren't able to do as much exploring (and I was flat broke). It was a really good time, though.

Don't worry, I'll get to the traveling bits of the past few months as soon as I discuss the horrible, hellish bits of the past few months. It's always darkest before the dawn, right? Same in my blog. Always.

Inappropriate use of meme, but I use it anyway.

Right! So what made these past few months horrible? I had no money. That always makes things horrible. You can talk about how money isn't everything, but when you have no transportation, shoes with holes, and a hairdo like Yoko Ono, money becomes vastly important.
The bus, without an OV chipcard, costs me 7 euros to work and another 7 euros back home from work. My parents were helping me pay for groceries, but I really didn't want to ask more for that. Thus, the bus was not an option unless I felt like begging money off friends, but I hate borrowing money. My bicycle had been stolen back in April, so I couldn't bike to work. I had to walk. It took an hour and 20 minutes each way. One hour. Twenty minutes. 80 minutes. The same amount of time it takes to watch a movie. 80 minutes. At least I was healthy, right?
So that was one cost. Groceries were ok. Other things happened though. My shoes had holes in them. I could take a pebble out of my shoe without removing my shoe. All I had to do was bend the bottom of my shoe back. It came about halfway off. My hairdryer had attempted to catch on fire back in January, so I haven't had a hairdryer since. I kept telling myself I would buy one when I got paid... but when would I be paid?! Thus, as a result, I looked like Yoko Ono. My hair was unruly and poofy. 

I wish I had been this cute as a poofy creature.

Despite the walking, holey sneakers, lack of hairdryer, and rather puny wardrobe, I kept faith because I had headphones and a functional iPod. Haaaaa. The day after I noted that, my headphones broke. I was truly distraught. I felt like everything had been taken away. My transportation, my ability to look well groomed, my shoes (I only have 4 pairs, and two of those pairs are for church)... but you know, reading this, I don't feel like I had it all that bad. I think I was just frustrated because I needed to pay my rent as well, but I had no means to do that. Luckily, my landlord was lovely about the whole situation and was ok with me paying once I had been paid. It was so frustrating though. I was constantly stressed. Luckily, I finally got paid half of my wage (to be explained shortly) at the end of June. Mind you, I started working in April. It took that long to get bank details sorted and be paid. I was questioning if I would ever get paid. But why did I only get half of my paycheck? Because of the lovely Dutch bureaucracy. I had to get a BSN, a Dutch social security number. I couldn't even open a Dutch bank account without it. Before I went back to Wales for exams, I had a meeting to get my BSN. Long story short, I had to have a residence permit (which no one had told me about) before I could get my BSN. I was told they wouldn't give me a BSN until I had a residence permit. The residence permit wouldn't be granted until Philips (the company this internship is with) did the paperwork. I was told I would have to come back to get my BSN in June. So! When I was back in June, after Beth left, I had an appointment to get my BSN. I went in, talked to the lady my appointment was with, and she kindly informs me that my BSN had been granted... in April. FLIPPIN APRIL. They bloody lied to me! I could have been paid my full wage in May! But noooo! 

Frustrated doesn't even cover it.

Anyway, Philips has a cut off for when you can hand in bank details, etc. for payday, and I "got" my BSN too late for my June salary. I got paid a nice fat amount for July, though!
Things got better, though. My family came to visit for my graduation from July 11th to July 22nd. My mom loves me and gave me a hairdryer (NO MORE YOKO ONO) as well as headphones. My supervisor gave me this truly horrendous bicycle to borrow. Haha, I really don't think anyone will steal this one! Its seat is falling apart, it makes a quiet screaming noise when I cycle, the brakes fail sometimes, and you can't pedal backwards or else the chain will fall off. Plus it has two mighty locks. Not worth the effort to steal. I love this bicycle. (Let me just mention how distracting it is typing with Michael Scott telling me he is going to kill me).

This is my beautiful bicycle. Note the seat. It's gotten worse.

But! Don't think I'm being pessimistic now! I am truly grateful for everything, and I do genuinely love this bicycle. It has so much character. I'm also forever grateful for my friends and family who helped me out during that time. Things are better now. Side note: this update is going to be scattered and unorganized.

So! My family came to visit! It was really good. We started in Liverpool, flew to Amsterdam and spent a day there, then went to Cologne, Germany for a couple of days, then Ballymoney, NI for a couple of days, to Bangor for graduation, and then to London to finish off the trip. I did love the whole experience even though I was grouchy and rude to my family sometimes *I'm sorry*. We were in Cologne for the World Cup, so that was awesome. The Germans were going absolutely mental! In Amsterdam we went to the Rijks, did the Amsterdam Dungeons, and wandered around. I like Amsterdam, but not the billions of people aspect *to be discussed shortly*. In Cologne we saw the Cologne Cathedral, absolutely gorgeous. When I had gone with Beth and Cate I went up to the top. Picture time.

These are pictures from the top. Here is one looking directly at it:

Pictures never do the beauty of things [and people] justice. It's a gorgeous cathedral.
So in Cologne all the museums are closed on Mondays (unfortunate for us as we were there Sunday and Monday), and instead we took a trip on a cable car and went to the zoo. I really liked the zoo. My brother was even lucky enough to see some naked old women swimming in a pool below us in the cable car! My mom and dad saw it too. Poor, poor me. I missed out. *PLEASE NOTE THE SARCASM*

In Liverpool we went to The Beatles Story and just walked around Albert Dock/city centre. I've been to Liverpool, so it wasn't really anything new for me. 

Ballymoney was my favorite part of the trip. I was a member of Benbrook Sister Cities while I was in high school (it's been shut down by city council, don't get me started on that). Benbrook was sister cities with Ballymoney, Northern Ireland and Bled, Slovenia. I never did Slovenia, but I did the program with Ballymoney. I've made so many good friends through that. I didn't get to see one of my host sisters, Sara-Anne, but we did get to see my other host sister, Rebekah, and her family. I love Northern Ireland. I fell in love with it my first time there as a 16 year old. I'll be going there for Christmas this year, something I am well excited about! While there we did the typical touristy stuff: Giant's Causeway, Carrick-A-Rede bridge, White Rocks beach... oh yeah, went to visit Carrickfergus Castle, outside of Belfast. This was new for me. I hadn't seen this castle before. Umm... I think that's all? Here's a few pictures that I took:

A view of the ocean from Carrickfergus Castle.

White Rocks Beach.


Aiden, my brother, on Carrick-A-Rede Bridge.

It's not blurry... it's artistic...

Can you not see why I have fallen madly head over heels in love with this place?!

Funny story about Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge. So, Aiden really wanted to go on it, but we weren't sure if we had enough time before our flight to Liverpool that evening. My dad hates heights, especially from a rope bridge, and no one else really cared if they went because we'd all done it before. I went ahead and took Aiden. It's about 1.5 miles to walk to the bridge. We did some speed walking, went across the bridge, and then Aiden goes, "Ok, I'm done." 
Let me explain. Once you cross this bridge, you're on top of a grassy cliff, that is quite a good size. You walk up to the top, see a marvelous, incredible, gorgeous view, and then you can leave. Aiden doesn't want to go up. 
"Are you sure, Aiden? It's really pretty up at the top!"
"No," he responds. "I'm good. I just wanted to cross the bridge. It wasn't scary."
What the flip, child. 
Since I'd already been there twice, I was like, "Ok, we'll head back." So we proceed across the bridge.
I have to agree with him, though... the bridge isn't scary. The scariest part is the stairs. They've made the bridge too safe. Here's a better view than the ones I've given you:

It's so beautiful. If you're an avid reader of my blog, I'm sure you've heard about Northern Ireland and everything before. I just can't get over how incredible it is. It's a place I will always recommend people to visit. Always.

What else? Umm... graduation was good! I learned that British ceremonies are 10000000x better than American ones. My high school graduation took ages. So many speeches. So much clapping. So much... grandeur. This one was simple. We walked in, sat down, crossed the stage one by one, congratulations, DONE. It was over in an hour. No long speeches. Fantastic. Here's a shot of me and my friends celebrating.

It felt so good to finally graduate! I graduated with a first as well! That's the British version of a 4.0. Next step for me: masters. I start in September.

Ok! Last stop on the Cook adventure: London. I'm not a huge fan of London. Apparently my dad is not a huge fan either. Oh! Right! By the way, this was Aiden and my dad's first time out of the US. Yay them!
Ok, anyway, London! I had never been during hardcore tourist season before. It was absolutely miserable. Go during the non-tourist season, ladies and gents, boys and girls. Or rather, anytime other than May through... mid-September. Yes. I think that would do it. It was so crowded! We had a good time though. We saw Big Ben, Parliament, the Eye, Thames River, blah blah blah. We also went to Ripley's Believe It or Not (better than I thought it would be) and did a Jack the Ripper tour, as I've done with my mom before. It was good. But all those people! We were stuffed like sardines on the tube. It was hot and miserable down there. It's always crowded, but so much worse during the summer. 

Man, this blog doesn't even begin to cover everything. I feel like I do a poor job conveying everything. New goal: become better at blogging. The thing is, if I were to go into detail about everything, it would take you centuries to read it all.

Anyway, after London we went to Manchester since that where we were flying out of. My parents and brother went back to Washington and I came back to Eindhoven. I miss them already!

Now, onto that topic about crowds and how much I hate them. I have learned that I definitely do not want to live in a city during the majority of my life. London and Amsterdam were the worst... but Eindhoven can be just as bad. The Netherlands is small geographically, but they have a really big population. As a result, there is always someone around. Always.

Not gonna lie, I'm enjoying throwing this in.

That's part of why I love Bangor so much. It's small, ruralish, and easy to get away from people, easy to get away from noise. There are parks here in Eindhoven, but you feel so confined in them. They're designated squares of forest. It's like a false sense of escape, a false sense of wilderness. I love being around people, yeah, but for small amounts of time. That's why I could never permanently live in the Netherlands. It is too populated for my liking.

I have learned a lot about Dutch culture. Not everything, no, but a lot. I've learned that the Dutch are very direct. They don't faff. They don't have a superficial liking for you. They say it how it is. I like it. They love licorice (some of which made me make faces I never knew possible; absolutely vile versions of licorice), they cycle everywhere, and sandwiches are the go-to meal. I fit in well with that. I live off of sandwiches. They eat this meat paste on their sandwich though. I've tried the tuna kind. It is good. I haven't tried the others though. The Dutch love dairy products. Chocomel (chocolate milk) is absolutely amazing here. The cheese here is awesome too. Haha, in Amsterdam, there are cheese shops everywhere! While I was there with my family, Aiden spotted a cheese museum and had us go there. It was basically a cheese shop with free samples. There was this one sample, truffle cheese. I picked up a piece, but then I got really scared at the last minute. I went, "Dad! I got you a free sample!" He ate it. And he gagged. And I think he swore. I'm pretty sure he said it tasted like sh*t [I'm making my blog Mormon-friendly, guys, for mah peeps]. He was not happy with me. Haha. 

Oh! Also, this nationality is more forefront in... compliments? I've had more guys whistle at me and tell me I'm hot here than anywhere else. I feel so popular. Jokes. I secretly love the attention, though. Especially since I don't get attention from Mormon guys too often, and when I do it is short lived. Enough about that though.

What else? Oh! And I learned yesterday that it is normal for Dutch people to raise pigeons! I have a neighbor, Rob, who is lovely. Yesterday I thought he was dead creepy, though. So, back up info, we have a billion pigeons living outside of my window and they truly freak me out. I am convinced they will fly into my room one day (they don't put screens on windows here, American friends. Unnecessary). Here's a picture I sent to my housemate, Andrea, the other day.

We have an ongoing joke about these pigeons and them taking over the world. Anyway, yesterday I noticed that Rob has pigeons in a cage in his back garden. What, is he planning on taking over the world? Nee. (Nee = No in Dutch). I talked to him yesterday. He races them. I've been told this is a typical Dutch thing. Why pigeons?! I hate birds. And flies.

Ohhh maaaaan... anything else to say? 

Oh! American friends! You know how we typically eat dinner between 6 and 7? Well, the British and the Dutch do it too, but this is not a worldly norm. A lot of other countries eat way later. It makes sense, but it had never crossed my mind before that people would eat dinner after 9pm...

I guess that really is it for now. I'm currently working on my masters thesis (early bird gets the worm... and a free summer next year). Since my masters program is a one year program, I'm trying to figure out where to go for my PhD. I'm looking at Virginia, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, and New Zealand. I'm kind of rooting for New Zealand at the moment... but knowing me, I'll do a 180 during the upcoming year. Who knows where I'll end up? I refuse to take the GRE, so my options in the US are limited. Reasons to not take the GRE: I already have my bachelors, I will have my masters, I've done plenty of extracurricular research in labs, I refuse to pay the money, and it only tests my ability to take a test. The GRE test, specifically. Why the hell should I need it to get my PhD?! The money spent on the test, traveling to Manchester to take the test, accommodation in Manchester, and study materials for the test can very wisely be used in a much more rewarding fashion. The American education system already gets enough of my flippin money. I refuse, absolutely refuse, to take this test. I can get my education elsewhere, thank you very much.

Ok, before I start ranting on things, I'm going to end there. Adios muchachos! Vaarwel!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spraaken ze Dutch?

That's not even Dutch, guys. I think it's just American for "I'm gonna pretend to speak another non-Spanish language".

According to, well, everyone here so far, I don't even sound American. So I dunno how much longer I can play the American card when I'm lost. I need to practice my Texas accent.

Right! I am now officially in the Netherlands. Got here on 8th April! Y'all, this is a completely new bowl of fish. I'm quite impressed that I found my way to my flat without major problems. I did manage Prague alright, so I guess there was only hope there for me.

Spent the night in Manchester Airport since I had to be there at 5am. Been there, done that, BUT! I discovered the beauty of the prayer room. I did not abuse it. I literally went in and prayed and read the Book of Mormon for like, 5 hours. Read 20 chapters that evening actually. It was so warm and peaceful, I didn't want to leave. I fell asleep between 2 and 3am, though, so I decided that was my cue to take off.

So catch my flight, dead tired, get into Amsterdam and find my way to the trains. I tried reading the boards to figure out which train to catch, and I thought I'd done it successfully, but that wasn't true. Ended up getting help off the information people. As you do! Traveling to a new place (in a new language) is a humbling experience.

The view from my train. Definitely not Wales. How? No hills. Or sheep.

So I get to Eindhoven and meet my landlord for my new place. My house is 10000000000000x better than Bangor's housing and it's cheaper too. One caveat: I live in/next to the red light district of Eindhoven. I think it's pretty funny. I mean, only me, right? One time in high school my tennis coach told me, after going for a forehand and getting the tennis ball stuck in the racket triangle, that my life is like a comic book. I agree with him. Each day only brings stronger testimony to this.
Anyway, check out dis house.

I love my room so much. And that window!

It's small, but it's such a lovely room. There are 5 other housemates, and they are all guys. I love this so much. I prefer living with guys than girls. They're really cool as well. I mean, I'm terrible at being social, but when I am I enjoy it. Haha.

I have to admit, my first few days here I was ridiculously homesick for... Wales... but only because I kept getting so lost. Direction Challenged Chandrie. I picked that name for a reason, y'all. On Tuesday it wasn't so bad because I was so exhausted all I wanted to do was sleep. I only ventured out to find the grocery store, the local c1000. It was so small. Smaller than Morrisons. Smaller than Albertsons. Small, guys. Small. I thought Morrisons was small compared to the grocery stores in Texas, but (from what I've seen anyway) the grocery stores here are even smaller. I wasn't expecting that. However! I've only been in that store and an Albert Heijn somewhere on Hoogstraat. I don't think that's the big one in the city, so I can't exactly judge. Directionally, though, I was at a complete loss. At least in Austin, streets made sense to me. Downtown you had 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. Then on campus you had the tower as a reference point. As long as you headed towards the tower, you'd find wherever you're trying to go. I didn't have much of a reference point in here Eindhoven, and I can't even pronounce some of the streets. It's like asldfjs;lkjstraat asldfjsd;lkjflaan. I like the streets named after American people. Like John F. Kennedlylaan and Franklin D Rooseveltlaan. I can pronounce those. I couldn't pronounce Boschdijk until one of the guys in my ward figured out what I was trying to say and corrected me. Haha.
Anyway, last Thursday I went to find my way to High Tech Campus where my internship is so I could have a tour around by my supervisor. I left half an hour early (it was only supposed to take about an hour and ten minutes to walk there) because I knew I'd get lost. I got lost. I found my way though. Here's a picture of the road I was along. Way prettier in person, as it is with the pictures I take.

Today was the first day I didn't get accidentally lost, and I've been here a week. I did get lost on purpose, though. That's one of my favorite things to do. I only like to do that on a bicycle as it doesn't take 5 hours to figure out where I am and where I am going. All last week I was getting lost on my feet... so it adds a long time to the journey. On a bicycle, though, it's no problem. So today I went out for about an hour/hour and a half and just wandered around the city. I love love love the bicycle paths. Last week I was homesick, and wanted to give up so much a few times when I got ridiculously lost. Fortunately, after cycling around today, I have fallen madly in love with this city. I don't like cycling in city center/centrum so much because I prefer rural areas, but along some of the bike paths and around the less urban parts of the city is gorgeous. This city is like a combination of Bangor and Austin, and I love it. My favorite thing about Austin was on the weekends I would just grab my bicycle and go somewhere. I never knew where, I would just explore. In Bangor I don't have a bicycle, and I don't feel confident cycling in the UK. I do believe I've posted about this before. I know, I'm a wimp. Here I can go back to that again. I can reactivate my more adventurous side I guess. I think my favorite thing about Eindhoven/the Netherlands is how bike friendly it is.  In my above picture you see the sidewalk, the bicycle lane (red), and then the car lane. I've only been here a week, but I'm already sad that I'll be leaving it in 6 months. Haha. Anyway, here's a picture of the bicycle I bought yesterday. Super cheap. Simple Dutch bike. It's simple as in the first bicycle you had growing up. No gears, back pedal brake. Once I get paid and can afford it I'm going to buy a better bicycle. I need to buy a replacement for the one my bishop let me borrow as well... it got stolen. I thought it was secure and it was not. Congratulations to me. So buying bishop a new bicycle will happen first. Then I'll sell my current one and buy a better one. Apparently Eindhoven is like Austin in bike thefts as well. Cheers, Eindhoven.

Here is my temporary bicycle!

It's been an interesting week needless to say. I haven't explored too much so far. It's easier with a bicycle, which I got yesterday, and I need to finish my dissertation as well as study for exams in May.

I haven't been able to actually start my internship yet as we're still waiting for my work visa to come through, but it should be in any day now. Tomorrow I'm going to the hospital to observe some tests so once I start I can actually be helpful rather than learning everything.

*Warning, Mormon lingo ahead*

My ward here is absolutely amazing. I've never felt so welcomed to a new place before in my life. The YSA are fantastic, and it's just been a great experience. There are a few English speakers in my ward, but it's pretty much all Dutch, minus the fact that they have an English-speaking Sunday School. I love it, though. I do want to learn Dutch. Most people do speak English as well, but it'd honestly be so much easier to learn Dutch. Plus I'm in the perfect environment for learning a language, total immersion. I've even started attempting to read out of a Dutch Book of Mormon. Check it ouuuut!

I've gotten as far as the first two verses of Chapter 1 of 1 Nephi. I know, I'm a legend. (Sarcasm, guys).

Pfffft... what else? Oh! Tips. Huge tip. Ok, so, when I got here, neither my British nor my American debit card worked in the c1000. I thought, 'My gosh, I'm going to starve.' I even tried online shopping to see if my card would work there, but you have to order a minimum of 100 euros, and I don't need that much or have that much money. So I researched online forums trying to figure out a way to get money. I didn't think an ATM/cash machine would work because my American card never works in ATMs in the UK, and I'm trying not to use my British card at the moment as I need to save that money for my phone bills. (My parents are helping out - eternally grateful for them). In a last, desperate attempt, I went to an ATM and put in my American card... guys. It worked.


I nearly wept with joy. 
Jokes. I don't cry. I punch things.
Kidding guys. I am human. I do shed human tears every now and then.

I didn't cry, but I was so ridiculously grateful. I smiled. Man, I didn't just smile. I was beaming from ear to ear. I wasn't going to starve. I could eat more than peanut butter sandwiches. Although, let's be honest, I could happily live off of peanut butter sandwiches purely by choice.

Lesson? You can withdraw money with your American debit card from ATMs. However! Always inform your bank about any traveling you're going to do before you leave the country. Otherwise your card will be declined and your bank will put a block on it in case it's been stolen. This is important. You do not want to be stuck in a foreign country with no money, stuck on a phone, especially if you're having to pay international charges. 

I dunno if there's really anything else... I guess if you're moving to a house, you might want to check out the neighborhood. You know, so you don't end up in the red light district... but hey, to each his own. I guess if I need money I know what to do at night! 
Kidding guys. I don't want to be a pimp.
Or a prostitute. I really don't want to be a prostitute. 

I think that's all I've got for now. I'm way excited for this summer. 

Right-o. I'll leave it here for now. I'll make sure to take more pictures than I have. This place is too beautiful not to do so. So is Wales, though, and we see how well I've done there... 

Anyway, adios!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Let's Go Dutch

Eeeeeeey! Long time, no update. I don't think I've updated since before Christmas.
Right, so Christmas was great. I hadn't seen my family in a year and I got to spend New Year's with them this year. #win
Also, I was convinced I failed Biochemistry. Not only did I get an A on my lab report I thought was complete crap, I got an A on the exam I was sure I failed. #win
Another thing, my family is coming for my graduation this July. #win
Oh, and I've accepted my place at Bangor next year for my masters. #win
Oh, right, and, I scored an internship in Eindhoven, Netherlands this summer. #win


Confession: I only used #win so I could post that picture.

Anyway, I'm pretty psyched. One of my supervisors/Biochemistry lecturer had told my friend and me about the internship literally minutes before our Biochemistry exam. I sort of forgot about it in the stress. About a week later I remember and emailed him asking. He'd said that the internship was closed because students were needed asap, but if I gave him my CV he'd forward it to his cohort in Eindhoven. I thought, 'Mmm, I'll send it just in case.' I didn't think anything would come of it, though.
Shortly thereafter my supervisor told me to get in touch with this guy. So I emailed him, he said my CV was 'very interesting' and we had an informal skype chat about the internship. The whole time he kept talking as if I already had it. I'm quite paranoid, though, so I kept thinking that was just wishful thinking. He told me if I was still interested after that chat we'd have a formal interview via Skype. I didn't even have to think about whether I wanted it or not. I knew I did. I've never wanted something so bad in my life. I wanted this more than I wanted to learn how to drive. Speaking for my 15 year old self, that's a big deal. 


I'm caffeinated.
So we had a formal interview, but at the end my future supervisor said, 'We have a few more CVs that were submitted. Once we've interviewed them we'll let you know.' My heart literally sank when he said this. First off, this internship is only for masters students... I don't graduate until July. Second, I never ever get jobs or internships I really want. Third, he said it'd be a bit tough sorting out visas just because of the time frame we're looking at. I thought that surely the other students he was interviewing would be better apt for the internship. Anyway, I figured it'd be a few days at least until I heard back so I put it to the back of my mind and went on with life.
The next day I was at Normal Site doing labs for my research project and I ran into my supervisor. He said something like, 'Oh the interview went well yesterday?' I was like, 'Oh yeah, I think it did...' and he responded, 'Well, yes. Did you not get my email?' I had been at NS all morning and hadn't had the opportunity to check my emails, but my phone did tell me I had two unread emails. He goes, 'Well, you have an email from me congratulating you and an email from Francesco. You got the internship! Congratulations!' I was like, 'Whaaaaat' and my jaw dropped. Haha. No lie, it was one of the most exciting moments of my life. 

This was my face. Curlers included.

Even more exciting than discovering I'd been accepted to Bangor's study abroad program while I was still in Austin. That's saying something! 
Right. So. I'll be in Eindhoven in April during the Easter holidays, come back to Bangor for my exams in May, then back out afterwards for the summer! Look for more exciting travel stories. I think I'm finally going to get to Denmark, and that's been top of my list of places to visit since I took Danish. Haha. OH. AND I GET PAID. Best news ever.
Also, I can finally become like my idol. The one person I look up to more than anyone else in the world.

That's right. Carl the Intern.

I'm actually serious about that. I absolutely love Carl. 
Right. That's my life. That and bruised arms, along with a couple of my friends. We're taking a phlebotomy course for our research project. My largest motivation is getting over my... discomfort... with needles and blood. I love blood. Absolutely love it. It's my favorite body fluid. (Bet you didn't think you'd ever hear someone say that). There's so much research to be done and info to be taken from your blood. But I don't like it leaving my veins. With this I get to take people's blood and they get to take mine! Only problem is I have crap veins. *Sorry, Kerry* Makes me wish I was a heroin addict so I was a pro at this. 

I'm totally kidding, by the way.

Anyway, this time next week I will be a trained phlebotomist, and I am pretty much ok with needles and removing blood from my body now. That first time, though. Flippin heck. I was thinking the first session would be health and safety, etc. No. Within five minutes the man training us had us paired off and told us to take blood. I was like, 'What. Are you kidding?' The guy I was with had fantastic veins, thank goodness. But I was so scared. The whole time I was thinking, 'My gosh, I'm going to kill this man.' I asked the instructor to come over to make sure I was doing it right. Had the tourniquet on, vein sticking out, needle ready, and the instructor is sitting there going, 'Go on! Stick it in! Go on!' So I stick it in. The instructor's sitting there, 'Further! Further! Stick it in there!' And I'm just praying my partner doesn't die. 

I swear this was what was going to happen.

I know, I'm way too dramatic sometimes. 
Right, I need to get to NS for a research meeting. Research is my life, y'all. It was one of my main motivations in coming to Bangor permanently, and it continues to be a thriving and driving focus in my life. Yay science!

Right, I'm officially late leaving my dorm. Adios muchachos.