Old & New Discoveries of the Self

My lovely cup of Bewley’s hazelnut hot chocolate (with a teeny tiny biscuit, yeah…seriously) and his cappuccino across the way.

A Sweet Monday (11/11/13)

Today, I learned something about dessert wines I never expected to learn. I was in my plant disease class and I leaned that apparently the best, sweetest dessert wines are made from grapes that are infected with a plant fungal disease commonly known as “noble rot”, or Botrytis cinerea. The fungus supposedly dehydrates the grapes, thus reducing the amount of water present in the grapes, thus making the grape itself much sweeter. Thus, these grapes are harvested with the fungal symptom of dehydrated fruits. Interesting stuff science is.

At the end of the long day, I met up with a French friend. I had previously met this friend randomly at the campus pub when a fellow international student invited a random group of us on the Facebook group to just hang out. Then, I connected with this French friend again online when he said he was returning to France for a weekend. I asked him, as I do almost every friend when I find out they’re traveling, to bring me back a postcard. He was kind enough to agree to it. So we met up today so he could give me the postcards – and pictures he had taken and printed. We enjoyed some hot beverages at Bewley’s. It was amazing. He had a cappuccino and I had a hazelnut hot chocolate. It was pleasant and simple. However, I’m not used to this thing of kissing people on the cheeks to greet them and everything. Anyways, I love Bewley’s.

This…is a confocal microscope, an Olympus DSU Spinning Disk Confocal to be specific. It’s hella expensive.

Exploring New Horizons (14/11/13)

For one of my biology classes today, I got to play with a confocal microscope. Oh…my…gosh. I think I’m in love all over again. I had always known that I love to take pictures and I love biology. I’ve always dreamt of doing this for a career. However, I had never been able to play with a confocal microscope until now. Not only this, but I noticed that on the walls of the biology department here, they have advertisements on the walls for a Master’s in imaging and microscopy. I think I might consider it. It sounds AMAZING and Perfect. We’ll see what happens though.

Almond milk and HAZELNUT milk. Too good.

Anyways, we were looking at the microtubule structure in stomatal guard cells compared to mesophyll and epidermal cells and also the distribution of chlorophyll in these cells. It was SO FUN! We worked with a PhD student on his last year of graduate studies from Malta, a little island of a country off of Italy.

After classes, my flatmate and I went shopping for food again. This week’s discovery: milk. So yeah, I knew that soy milk and almond milk existed, but HAZELNUT milk?! Too good. I must try it one of these days. Then, there was this other thing. Yeah, it’s typical to see whole milk, 2% milk, 1% milk, and fat free milk. However, I found <0.5% milk here. Seriously?! What?!

Essay Expectations (15/11/13)

So, needless to explain, I did EXTREMELY poorly on my first essay exam. As a result, I went to go see the professor about it. Apparently undergraduate science majors taking upper division classes, level 3 and 4 modules, equivalent to junior and senior level classes, are trained (by the school system over the years) to search out and read scientific articles pertaining to the class and read them. These scientific articles are then REQUIREMENTS to read in order to supplement Powerpoints given in class. Then, when an essay exam is given, students are expected to write about topics and examples given in these scientific articles. Crazy stuff! Man, I hope I don’t fail my class because of this difference in examination style, especially since essay examinations are the norm for the upper division classes.

Curly kale chips! YUMS!

Snacks Galore! (16/11/13)

I was up, from last night, until 7:30 in the morning working on my third article for the school newspaper. Apparently the sun went into hiding for FOURTEEN hours! (5pm-7am). WOW. Just…WOW. Anyways, I had a sudden realization while writing my article that whatever topic I’ve ended up choosing, I tend to write about whatever I’m learning about in life. It’s sort of funky, and fun all at the same time.

Anyways, I had bought curly kale the other day and in my boredom today, I made kale chips. OH MY GOSH….SO GOOD. I had never imagined kale chips to be this delicious, but they were amazing! I think I might make them more often now. I rarely find kale when I’m back home, much less look for them, but they are delicious! Not only that, but they make a great alternative to my expensive taste for roasted dried Asian seaweed snacks, or at least in my opinion.

My Italian flatmate’s homemade mushroom risotto. Yums!

Then, my Italian flatmate and I went to the Tesco in Dun Laoghaire again and went shopping. Gosh, I keep forgetting how wonderful this place is. I found honey roasted peanuts there today. It was amazing. I’m so excited to have honey roasted peanuts again! While waiting for the ride back home, I ended up snacking on some salted cashews I had bought previously. I forgot how delicious roasted nuts were. I think I’m going to have to readapt them into my diet! How exciting!

Dinner was equally exciting as rediscovering nuts. My Italian flatmate decided to make mushroom risotto. Delicious. I never thought I’d enjoy mushrooms that much. It reminded me a lot of Asian rice porridge, except the mushrooms are cooked AT the same time as the rice, and vegetable broth is used to cook the risotto. I wonder what else you could add in risotto that I’d possibly eat.

Soup mugs are necessary: for chicken pot pie soup (right).

The Little Joys of Life’s Luxuries (17/11/13)

I remembered that there is a French Connection store in Blanchardstown Centre. So, I decided to be bored and browse the website for French Connection. I was just skimming through their sale section. Then, I came upon this GORGEOUS dress. I really, REALLY wanted it since it was on sale for £30 and shipping to Ireland was only £8. I’m not sure if I want to buy it, but browsing the website sure reminded me how much I love French Connection and the European style in general. If only European style clothes were not so expensive in the US, or to import for that matter.

Today, I also came to the conclusion that soup mugs are officially vital to everyday life. I use my giant soup mug every day for tea and for soup here. I love it. I think I might buy one, or two, or ten when I go back home. Maybe it’s just because warm things are nice to have when you live in a country where it’s almost always cold.

Thing I learned “today”

  • There’s muesli, and then there’s granola. They seem like the same thing, but they’re not. Yes, you can have both for breakfast. Yes, they’re both made from oats, nuts and fruits. However, museli is more often made with dried fruits as part of the mixture and often has a lot less additives and things other than the oats, nuts and fruits.
  • Radicchio, a kind of salad ‘green’, is grown in my Italian flatmate’s region. Also, it’s in the daisy (Asteraceae) family.
  • To study in a foreign country with a different education and do just as well as you do at home, it’s highly possible that you have to be the cream of the crop and really be that persistent student who asks an endless amount of questions to the professor.
  • I apparently cannot balance my personal life, school/work life, and social life as well as I thought. I’ve somehow managed to shove my social life into the same category as my school/work life. Time to unlearn and start from scratch again.

Words/Phrase of the Day’

  • “l’affaire est ketchup” (Quebecer Expression) – this is the best situation
  • Vest – undershirt or a shirt without sleeves
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