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[personal profile] sangre_fria
This week has been filled with good things of all kinds.

Staying in England to do my research project is going to be incredibly expensive, especially with the exchange rate from dollars to pounds being nearly double at this point. So I applied for three different grants to help pay for all of my expenses. An email last weekend let me know that I've received a 400 pound research grant from my college, once I present my receipts. This is incredibly good news, because at this point I don't know exactly how much the actual equipment and such for my project is going to cost.

Then on Monday, I got an email from my research advisor; I've somehow managed to convince the Nuffield Science Bursaries to fund my project, so that's another 1,360 pounds. You can't even imagine how stunned and thrilled I was...That's a ton of money, guys. Money that I will never have to pay back. A ton of money.

Then I got a letter from our college Accounts Office, telling me that I've been awarded the Overseas Hardship scholarship, for an additional 300 pounds. I can't even begin to say how happy and grateful all of this makes me. It's such an utter relief; a great weight off my shoulders. This whole time, I've been anxious over how my family would be able to afford something like this, on top of all my regular school expenses. But it seems like I was able to solve the problem on my own.

On top of the letter from the Accounts Office, I also received an awesome "get well soon" card; thank you, Chris! You utterly spoil me with all of your letters and packages. Speaking of Chris' packages, he sent me something wonderful, and I want to share it with anyone else who's interested.

Doctor Who 2006 Cardiff Concert- A Celebration (77.71MB)

It was hosted by David Tennant, and contains music from the latest three seasons of Doctor Who; nearly all of it is purely instrumental and choral, and it's incredibly beautiful. You definitely don't have to be a fan of the show to appreciate this music.

Here are a few tracks, for those of you who'd like a small taste before you go through all the trouble of downloading the whole thing:

Prologue (1.24MB)
Rose Sequence (Melancholy) (3.48MB)
Lady Cassandra Theme (1.65MB)
Clockwork Men Theme (2.44MB)
Doomsday (4.82MB)

On Thursday evening, I went to see a production of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband with Clare and Farhana, and it was wonderful. I love Wilde's plays; they're so witty, it should be a crime. The play was held out on the lawn of Trinity college, so it did get a bit chilly; but they served hot drinks and provided us all with blankets, so it wasn't too bad. All in all it was a lovely evening, and I'm so glad I went.

The farewell picnic in the Botanic Gardens yesterday was great, too, and I really needed a break from exam revision. It's so sad that everyone's heading home until our exams, but I understand. If I had the chance, I think I'd spend the next few weeks back home. But in a way, I'm glad I'm staying. The weather is finally starting to feel more like summer, and all the irises and such as in bloom. I think I'll head back to the Gardens again sometime; it's the perfect setting for a relaxed lunch.

And now on to family matters. They're all coming to visit me here in England for two weeks. Well, only some of the time will be spent in England. I have my exams on Wednesday and Thursday of 9th week, and then they leave for England on Friday. There rest of the two weeks will be a blur, no doubt.

They're going to spend a few nights in Oxford, but then we're off to tour London, then Paris, then back to London. We're planning to rent a car from Oxford and drive over to the west coast of Wales, passing through Cardiff; then we'll take a ferry over to Ireland, see Blarney castle (and the Blarney stone, of course) and continue driving up through Ireland until we reach Dublin, then further north into Belfast.

We'll take a ferry from the northeast coast of Ireland over to Scotland, and see the sights over there (Loch Ness, etc.), including a night's stay in our ancestral castle (this one, in case you were wondering). The rest of the trip will be spent driving down through England, seeing things here and there as we go (such as Alnwick Castle, which was used as Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter movies). Then they're back in London just in time to catch their flight home.

It's going to be amazing. ♥

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-02 01:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] don-cristobal.livejournal.com
Wow, an ancestral castle. I do not believe any of my family has been able to claim such a treasure. Of course my grandmother believes we are related to Lord Byron, but I'm not really sure that's accurate. Very well, I shall simply have to construct my own. Or I could take this one Maybe even we could find one on a nice "Even Mountain" and claim it for La Familia Monteparo.

I'm sure your sister is going to be all over Cardiff trying to find Torchwood. By the way, while I'm thinking about it, we are going to have to add another stop on our tour next summer.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-07-09 10:04 am (UTC)
ext_104199: (Bugger)
From: [identity profile] sangre-fria.livejournal.com
It was pretty funny, actually. We were driving around the Cardiff Bay area, and Margo and I were able to recognize all the buildings. My parents had no idea where we were supposed to go, but I was like, "Yeah, it's over there..." Man, this makes me a total dork, doesn't it? ; )

Scotland = Infinite Win

But that reminds me, we need to go over all of our plans for next summer. It's time to start seriously thinking about a schedule and budget...

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-02 11:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alexanderditto.livejournal.com
Congratulations on the monetary rewards! You deserve them, and much more. They should be throwing wads of cash at you! You're brilliant, after all.

Isn't Wilde fantastic? I'm in love with everything of his I read. I'd love to see one of them performed, must be fantastic, especially in England.

Hogwarts?! I knew it! She's a witch! <3

(no subject)

Date: 2007-07-09 10:08 am (UTC)
ext_104199: (Hell of a scary crack in your wall...)
From: [identity profile] sangre-fria.livejournal.com
I was this close to buying the complete works of Oscar Wilde in a used bookstore, but my common sense stopped me at the last minute. I guess it's all part of being a poor college student; I'll waste my own blood before I waste money...

Ah, Alnwick castle was amazing. The tours were fantastic, and I even got to practice archery there. Pictures are soon to follow, and possibly video as well...

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-05 02:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] futurelessons.livejournal.com
Wilde is just a DARLING. An absolute darling. Love him to bits.

Congratulations on the bursary! Nuffield Science Bursaries are wonderful things. When I was younger they gave me £400 for a project that was quite insignificant. What are you researching?

(no subject)

Date: 2007-07-09 10:23 am (UTC)
ext_104199: (Default)
From: [identity profile] sangre-fria.livejournal.com
Wilde is one of those authors that're simply a joy to read. I remember spending an hour or two on the Internet once, just searching for quotes from him; and laughing the whole time, obviously.

Thanks. : ) It's so expensive to live here, so it really is a life-saver. I can't even imagine how I could manage this summer without it.

My project is mostly focused on immunology, with a little help from genetics. To be brief, the initial immune response against bacteria is very similar between humans and fruit flies, so I'm using Drosophila to try to work out if there are any more unknown genes that are involved in the process. Using the flies is ideal, of course, because their genome is smaller than ours (only four chromosomes).

The great thing about it is that, even if my research shows that there aren't any unknown genes, it's still information worth knowing.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-07-25 08:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] futurelessons.livejournal.com
I love reading Wilde's novels out aloud. The dialogue and the conversation just fits so wonderfully. And the wit is to die for.
I really must find other authors like Wilde, come to think of it. There's something about that witty yet banal Victorian-era dialogue that is missing in other works (for example, Orczy's Pimpernel lacks such wit, even though he's Regency era and a delightful fop).

How are you investigating the genes? Are you doing knockouts or some kind of gene mapping? Hope the flies behave for you and don't start waking up and flying around the room. ;)

It's wonderful that you're contributing to scientific knowledge either way. Are you thinking of going into research as a career, or doing a PhD/Master's after your BA?

(no subject)

Date: 2007-07-25 11:23 pm (UTC)
ext_104199: (xxxHolic- Yuuko 'the body remembers')
From: [identity profile] sangre-fria.livejournal.com
Using knockouts would be really difficult in this case, since we'd have to actually create the knockouts from scratch and it's such a tedious, inexact process. So I'm using knockdown flies, with an RNAi sequence. Since the whole genome has been sequenced, this is both easier and more precise. Of course, RNAi does have its weaknesses, but it's perfectly sufficient for what I'm doing.

The flies have been incredibly well behaved so far, but I think that comes down to the fact that I'm not using ether to sedate them. We use small amounts of carbon dioxide instead, so there's no time limit and they're far less likely to die.

None of my flies have escaped so far, because I'm almost anal retentive about counting them before and after. But I did leave the lab one day, to find (after an elevator ride, walking two blocks, and crossing the road to where my bike was locked) a fly clinging courageously onto my yellow bag. I had one of the funniest "Wha-?" moments of the summer, and it just sat there and stared back with its little red eyes.

It was a bit surreal, actually. My bag was no where near the fly room all day, and I didn't have to walk through it to leave, either. I'm still at a complete loss as to how the little bugger managed it.

I'd love to make research my career, one way or another. Of course, it's probably best to pursue a higher education beforehand. I'm hoping that I can continue on until I earn a PhD, but I may have to start working because of student debt before I can manage it. Of course, the bright side is, many research institutions will pay for their lab workers to continue their education, or at least give them flexible schedules with which to do so.

I certainly have my fingers crossed.

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