Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My first week in Princeton!


So I'm still just settling in here, getting used to everyday life and the hassle of getting to the supermarket / grocery store. Everything's going really well! I'm attending this summer school for the week, which is really great and intensely educational, and next week I'll start right into my research work at the University. Some things that have hit me so far while I've been here:

Once I got to JFK airport, I got on a train to the subway and then a train to Madison Square Gardens and then another train to Princeton! There were a lot of stairs and I had two wheely bags... But everybody who noticed me offered me help... EVERYONE!! I've heard New Yorkers aren't so friendly, but I saw nothing but kindness yesterday!

On my first morning, I was walking towards the "dinky" train, which runs from Princeton Junction, where I live, to Princeton and it started moving. It's a pretty regular service, so I wasn't too bothered. But then the train stopped and the conductor came out and WAITED for me to get on board... A train!! 

There are no electric kettles in America. And I knew that already, but what really surprises me is that no one minds... Do they not know how awesome it is to boil your water quickly and safely??

There are squirrels everywhere!!

I've seen 42 so far!

The weather's been crazy while I've been here. I arrived in the middle of a heatwave and it was 35 - 40 C, then a thunderstorm hit on Friday! The weekend was about 25 C on average, so nice and manageable. Then ANOTHER thunderstorm yesterday morning in which I got caught. And today it's between 15 and 20 C... WTF?

On Saturday, my sponsor here in Princeton invited the research group to his house by the shore. That was a lot of fun! We sat on the porch overlooking the lagoon, having snacks and beers and chats. He then brought us out to Long Beach Island for a swim... My first swim on this side of the Atlantic Ocean! The island was beautiful!!

Lovely, isn't it??

I'm going to explore Princeton town this weekend and visit the farmer's market, pretty excited for it!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Passport... check. Visa... check. Sense of adventure...

As this is being posted*, I'm settling into Princeton, New Jersey, to finish off the experimental section of my PhD thesis!!

I'm both excited and apprehensive about this big step. I'm leaving some wonderful people in Ireland - my family, my friends and my incredible boyfriend, Paul. But I'll be gaining a fantastic research opportunity in a great combustion lab, an insight into American life and the chance to travel and explore a place I've never been before.

To my family - my parents, my sisters, my brother, my siblings-in-law, all the little (and big) ones - it's sad to be leaving when everything is changing and exciting things are happening! I know each one of you will have a super summer, autumn and winter of 2012 and I'll see most of you at Christmas.

To my friends, don't miss me too much while I'm away!! There'll be emails, Skype calls, Facebook and maybe even the occasional handwritten letter. To "the girls at lunch", as you all enjoy your new jobs, go for interviews, write up your theses and take steps into the real world, I wish you the best of luck. Know that I'll miss you all loads. To my colleagues, best of luck over the next year! I hope you all enjoy the Symposium and Poland. Don't let Christine do ALL the baking while I'm away. I'm sure some of you men have hidden talents we don't know about.

To Paul... I love you so much and I'm so glad we could spend the last few weeks more happily than I've ever been. It goes without saying that I'll miss you.

Next post should be interesting...


*Scheduling blog posts is pretty awesome!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tuscan Wedding!

We were in San Polo in Chianti last week for my sister's wedding and Oh. My. God. It was so amazing! Emer and Brad make a super couple and they have the most incredible friends you'll ever meet. I think we're all hoping to go back to Villa Fabbroni to sit by the pool, eat fantastic Italian food and relaaax...

Are you ready for another photo overload?

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