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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

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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I’m spent.

But in a good way.

I am happy. Blessed.

But tired. Exhausted.

I haven’t had time to write for a while.

That’s because I am busy. Busy with lab works. With experiments.

And right now, I have to admit, I am enjoying the pressure and stress.

I need it to push me. To somehow motivate me.

But I know too that I need to stop for a while.

Body is shouting for rest and long sleep.

Bones and muscles are crying for massage.

So while, I cannot write more…

I am posting this photo.

Taken last May in Austria when I attended an ‘omics’ meeting…

during our last dinner after it just had rained.

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It´s spring time and I am so loving it!  The weather, the fresh plants, the green trees, the flowers, the butterflies and the bees, the birds, the sunlight, and the longer daylight.  And it´s the best time for a walk.

And so our group went into what we call a spring walk.  Into the small village called Eifel.

It was nice to be out of the lab as a group.  We enjoyed nature together; and basked in the sun, smelled the fresh air, and adored the breathtaking view of the vineyards.

We saw new things, new plants. Talked about different flora and fauna. Picked and ate wild strawberries.  Saw slugs of different colors and sizes.  Discussed about the movie Into the Wild… as we hiked up and down the wine road and mountain tracks.  While I enjoyed taking photos and documenting our walk. 🙂

It was tiring. However, refreshing. And cathartic.  It was a lovely walk indeed!

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I went to the Netherlands for the second time to attend a Proteomics course at Wageningen University.  I thought I will just be stuck in a classroom trying to understand and absorb as much information I can get from the course.  And for this I prepared myself for the next 4 days in the university.

It sounds hardwork and boring right?  But my stay there was as fun as one can get! Who would have thought proteomics, a combination of the study of proteins and genome, could also be a blend of study and leisure?

The university is located in the small town of Wageningen which is composed of about 37,000 residents and about 8,000 of which are students.  Wageningen is called the city of life sciences thanks to Wageningen University and Research Center and other research institutes.  The town is the center for Agricultural, and Food and Nutrition studies in the Netherlands.

The old campus of Wageningen University is the perfect place for a quiet, serene, and relaxing atmosphere.  Yes, it was relaxing despite the tough course.  Believe me, please.

The campus has lovely ponds and two botanical gardens where photography junkies and nature lovers alike can delight and take pride on the sweetness of the countryside life. Also, the nearby river Nederrijn or Rhine river (which runs through Cologne too!) offers a cool atmosphere and a breathtaking view.

On my daily 20-minute walk to and from the Biochemistry building and Hotel de Wageningshe Berg, I reveled on the spring weather, the flowers, the greenery, the river side, the sunshine, the birds, the lovely houses, the bicycles, and the friendly smiling people.

I too had the luxury of time to give way for a good reading in the hotel balcony overlooking the river.  The novel “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Shaffer and Barrows is just as alluring and captivating as this small town.  It also has as extraordinary a name as Wageningen, don’t you think? And it is as phenomenal as how one pronounce Wageningen (Va-ke-ni-ngen) with the typical Dutch spit sound at the second syllable.

The proteomics team, the lunch and the fair weather.

Wageningen University old campus

In and around Wageningen…

…during my most coveted afternoon walks with my camera.

That is the Rhine river- the same river I am admiring in Cologne!

And if you´d ask me…

…Yes, I do love plants!

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Started it a foggy day.

This is a view from my apartment window.  I was a bit delighted with the foggy, misty, fresh feel of the air this morning.

I went to the lab and, one by one, begun crossing out the to-do list of the day.

It was a struggle to get it through the day- packed with meetings, experiments and failures.  Experiments are yet again playing hard to get!  A slap on the face; a dagger right through my chest!  Science is more often than not frustrating.  Yes, I know.  Thank you very much for the constant reminder.

I walked home with a heavy heart. But found myself consoling me by taking pictures of…. hmmmm.. what else?  Plants. Of course.

Thanks to the therapeutic photoshoot with the plants, I was feeling a lot better.

Later in the evening, I, S and A headed to the city for an Iranian dinner with the rest of the lab.  Tonight we will say goodbye to F, one of my favorite postdoc in the lab.  It is sad.  I will definitely miss my mentor. But also happy for him with his new job!

One thing in science is people come and go so fast.  As a scientist you really have to move around. I think it is a curse (not necessarily bad) that comes with science.  Although, I still have to figure out if this is actually good or bad.  It is an essential and inevitable change that scientists have to live with, I guess.

This is a typical yogurt drink in Iran. It is a sour yoghurt with salt!  It actually tastes like a green sour mango dipped in salt, but in liquid form. Hehe.

F, who is half German and half Iranian, explained that since it is so hot in Iran, you need salt to replenish all those perspired salt from the body.  Hmmm… that make sense.  But then again, if you take in salt in a hot weather, better be sure to take in lots of water too! =P

So F, goodbye, but see you later! Okay?

I thought I will retire to my bed feeling a lot better despite today’s frustrations in the lab….

until I saw something (or someone) that just broke my heart. 😦

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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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