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Posts Tagged ‘Max Planck Institute’

Being an Asian who grew up in Asia and has only been to Asia (confined to the Philippines and Taiwan, and has recently been to India), I am so inquisitive on anything (different) about the Western culture, its people, its weather, its vegetation, and all nice things this temperate region has to offer.

I had experienced my first snowy wet winter.  Oh goodness!  That was hard.  It was always gray, gloomy, cold to the bones, and depressing.  Okay, I’m exaggerating… I know it’s not Alaska or Canada or Norway. It’s just Cologne, Germany. But you can’t blame me. I flew from hot Philippines to white, snow-covered Germany.  It was heat shock, if you must say.

I too had experienced a pleasant spring that filled my soul with colors and glow.  Oh!  How I loved those spring flowers abloom, the warm kiss from the sun, and the birds’ singing that greets me a nice morning.  Most of these flowers I met the first time.  Here is an interesting species of flora and fauna and I enjoy every sight of them.

Summer is not less fun either. I am so loving the long days here. Winter depression is now long time gone, and the spirit is on high. I am even much more productive and effective at work, even in doing  (frustrating) experiments.

The days start early at about 4:30 and ends at about 22:30  Is that not awesome?  That even after a long day’s work, one can still enjoy the sunshine for a jog… a stroll in the park….. or…. apple and cherry picking. How wonderful.

BTW and FIY, this was my first time to meet Mr. Apple Tree, Ms. Cherry Tree, and their friends Ms. Pear, little Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Bilberry, lovely Olive, and beautiful Plum.   My eyes twinkled at the sight of them!

Thanks to the gardeners who painstakingly maintains the MPIZ gardens.  Great to know that my new friends are just around the campus and I guess I will be their constant visitor from now on 🙂

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The plant chemetics laboratory had an international dinner party on a Thursday night in one of the member’s home.  It is a potluck party where everyone brings his or her own national dish to the table and everybody gets a taste of different cultural cuisine. This is particularly special as our team is very international- no two people are from the same country! We are composed of a Dutch, German/Iranian, Colombian, Indian, Pakistan, Chinese, Japanese and a Filipino!

And for me, this is just one of the best part of being in a multicultural world.  Science, fortunately, offers this unique setting where people of different backgrounds come together to do science, for the sake of science. The Max Planck Society especially recruits the best from around the world. (And exceptionally encourage women scientists!).  Now that’s a great bonus to be here!

I used to organizing similar “international” dinner back in Taiwan too.  I love meeting people of different nationalities and learning the differences, as well as similarities across different cultural grounds. I specially love sampling different cuisines, tickling my taste buds with different flavors, and learning different ways of preparing food.

Aside from the fantastic food served on the table, we also had a good long funny conversations and smart talks over dinner.  We ate, and laughed, and drunk, and talked, and ate, and giggled, and photographed, and teased each other, and ate, and drunk, and ate for over 5 hours!

The dinner was a blast!  It was a dinner to remember, indeed!

Typical German apple pie

Dutch (cheese) finger food

German meat patty

Colombian coconut rice

Chinese shrimp dish cooked in wine

Indian butter masala

Colombian guayabana drink

Japanese cookies

Bread. I think this is common to many cultures...

Since I was consumed by the fabulous dishes (or I consumed these fabulous foods? :P), I forgot to take photos of the others, including my pineapple chicken 😀

So, till next  gluttonous dinner!

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The IMPRS PhD program in the Max Planck Institute holds a retreat once a year, attended by all the students as well as the supervisors/teachers. And March 28-30, 2011 was my first retreat. It was held at Hotel Nassau Oranien in Hadamar.

I do not know what to expect. But I know that I need to give a 20-minute talk or presentation about my project.  Every student should. And we will do this for the next 3 days.  It does not sound a lot of fun, does it? Nevertheless, I was excited.  The week before the said retreat, I was already looking forward to it, even though I was not prepared for my talk until the very last night before my presentation.  I was scheduled to present on the last day, so I thought, I still have some time to prepare during the retreat itself.

I was excited.  To take pictures, what else? (!).  I just bought this new camera just in time for my retreat. And hell yeah!  I  made myself lots of pictures.  And beautiful photography it was!  (more photos can be seen here!)

Aside from my photography, I actually enjoyed the talks given by my classmates.  I admired them for the work they have done.  I admired me, for getting myself into such a beautiful PhD program.  And I praise and thank God for this wonderful opportunity He has given me.

I learned a lot from my classmates’ presentations. I enjoyed the discussions and exchange of ideas after every talk.  I embraced the opportunity to interact with the professors and scientists. I delighted in smart talks with beautiful smart people of our very own scientific community. I savored the meals (specially the fish and sea food dishes) served at our hotel. I celebrated the visit to the lovely town of Hadamar. And I cherished the bonding times with my mates.

And so, until the next retreat!

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The path to becoming a scientist

Wow, I actually survived the first retreat!  Thank God.

Although I have not gotten over the hang of it, today is “back-to-work” day.  I have to admit I somehow missed the lab and my labmates. Seriously. That should not come as a surprise actually.

So as much as I want to share and write about my experiences during the retreat, I do not have much time to do so at the moment.  I need to be back to the lab remember?  Nevertheless,  I will show you some snapshots I took during the retreat.  I think pictures speak louder than words. So enjoy the photos as much as I did enjoy taking and admiring them!  May these photos lure you into our world.  So go on, come on in, and maybe, just maybe, you can join us in our travel into the PhD world!  It can be fun, you know? Believe me, please.

I will post some more retreat stuff this weekend. I promise.

The first Arabidopsis plant seen during the retreat. Thanks to Maarten 😀

Parasitic plants growing on tree branches; that looks like bird nests from afar. Interesting?

I've learned that hotels here in Germany, perhaps especially in religious regions, provide bibles in every room.

The view from our hotel room- the big mansion on the left is a private music boarding school for boys.

The conference hall on the second day of the retreat

"Time for coffee- Do stupid things faster with more energy" 😀

Caffeine is a regular part of the PhD life, at least for me.

A picturesque view of the small lovely town of Hadamar

Lovely Hadamar

Ah... the sound of dripping water!

A church on a hill

On the church wall

Stained church window in black and white

The city hall of Hadamar at 10 minutes before 18:00 in the evening

The PhDs on their walk looking around admiring the city

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