Semi-final

Nearly half of my time in Providence is already over, which feels strange, it passed so quickly! But to be honest, I had a strange feeling today of that Birmingham is my home. I was skyping with a friend (or whatever, I’ll just refer to as a friend) from Birmingham, and that accent made me suddenly think, that’s where my home is. I never thought I’ll get that feeling with England. I was quite ready to leave after my PhD, Brexit and so. But you never know. 😉

I’m currently drinking a Koelsch after my workout, the first one since Saturday. By now I’m pretty convinced I’m not pregnant, so I’ll just drink. If I was pregnant, I would worry about the child’s genes anyway, considering it would have been creating in a night full of alcohol and tobacco. But I’m writing with that friend from Birmingham, so I take it as an excuse that I’m not drinking alone. 😛 By the way, I recently read a study that one drink after workout doesn’t do any harm, so I feel even less bad about it. The truth is, I wasn’t hungry because I had eaten before, but I fancied a drink, mainly because it’s already weekend for me, I’m going to a 4 days trip to Washington tomorrow. 🙂 I am really looking forward now, all the bad experience from last Friday won’t spoil the time here!

I haven’t been up to much research-wise because Christie and me couldn’t start the experiment yet. But we tested it out today, it seems to work alright. I was the subject, it was so cool to see the images I created on the screen. 😛 I didn’t analyse the EEG data yet but I did the tutorials to become familiar with it, and I read some more papers about the background theory.

On Tuesday evening I went to an astronomy session organised by the physics department. That was so cool! We looked through telescopes at Saturn and Jupiter. There were many families. I guess if I had children I would go with them to events like that, rather than letting them play video-games or so. I might get a bit pathetic again but looking at the stars made me think how small and insignificant we are, just random people at a random planet.

Today I went to an event called „assertive speaking“, again organised by Brown. That was really good. It was about assertive speaking at the workplace, I think it’s useful in all kinds of human interactions though. I really need to learn to explain my wishes more I think.

This evening I went to the gym, I try to keep it up regularly, at least 2-3 times a week, it’s just nice after long days at the office. The trainer talked to me afterwards and said: „You’re so pretty!“ That was so weird haha, but it was a female trainer. I think I can enjoy the compliment more when a woman says it. If it’s a man I always think I’m just degraded to my appearance. I’d like to talk about it though. I used to hate that compliment, mainly when a man said it. Often men who were in relationships with me or dated me said how pretty I am, and I always felt that was the only compliment I got, and I felt I’m so much more. Now I can take that compliment more, but I still feel weird being told so often how pretty I am. First and foremost, I don’t agree. Honestly, I don’t think I’m pretty. I think I’m about average. Maybe I’m not terribly ugly, although sometimes I just feel ugly, but most of the time I just feel average. There are so many pretty women (women are prettier than men!) in the world, why am I being told that so often? But ok, maybe I am not ugly. Here I have to thank mum if she reads that, it’s her genes! Certainly not my father’s. But even here, looking at old photos of my mum, she was so much prettier than I am. But the more important reason that I don’t like this compliment is, I’m so much more than that! I’d like to have more talents, I’d like to be a good singer and a good dancer, but that won’t happen in this life anymore, but I still have some talents. I think I’m a good friend, I try to keep in touch with my friend. I like the photographs I’m taking. I guess my cooking and baking skills are alright. I developed my skills in hiking/navigation and climbing. I think I have the right political opinion :P, and sometimes I’m even proud of my way of analysing recent political events. I’m a good researcher, I really think that. So I think being „pretty“ isn’t a talent, but all those other things I mentioned are. And from a feminist perspective, I don’t like the way women are reduced to their outward appearance. So I know you don’t mean anything bad if you say I’m pretty and I try to accept that compliment, but I have more facets don’t I?

Let’s talk about (heterosexual) sex and responsibilities

I’ve been thinking for a while whether I should write this because this will be a horribly personal statement but it’s so much on my mind that I need to get it out, and I don’t mind of potential persons who might be affected by that.

I’ve been horrible this week so far, now I think I’m slowly getting better but I’ve been stupid but the other person has been at least as stupid as me. So that Friday night, after I went to the concert with Tom, he drove me back home and I invited him to come to mine „for a beer“ and I guess we both knew what that invitation meant. So we started kissing and it went further (his initiative) but we didn’t use protection. I think he didn’t care as much as I did and I was just thinking haha do you actually know what for a whore I used to be in the past? Lucky you, the last test has been before you, it was negative. But then I don’t know about his past so I asked him to stop and yes he listened to me, at least he didn’t intend to rape me or anything. The whole time I was more worried about sexual diseases (I thought the probability is low if he doesn’t come but of course it’s still there) than about potential pregnancy, although I knew that it was the worst possible timing to have unprotected sex and pulling out before is a bit like Russian roulette, it’s likely that nothing happens but it might happen. Something tells me that I didn’t catch any diseases, it’s intuition, but you shouldn’t rely on that, so I’ll do a test of course. But I’m feeling fine. And I guess deep inside I know that I’m not pregnant but those two weeks waiting are still horrible and they left me feel horrible. For the past two days I had different symptoms like feeling sick, a weird appetite, having to go to the toilet often and my breasts are just exploding, but maybe that’s just my mind playing tricks on me. I feel a refusal to alcohol but maybe that’s just because alcohol made me do that stupid thing on Friday…

I’m not going into details what we did, because that’s too personal and I want to protect his privacy that much (that’s why I also won’t talk about size or shape), I’m sure he didn’t come inside me but the risk that still something reached me makes me go insane. It wasn’t bad sex but why he had this idea of doing it without protection (why it’s apparently necessary to do that what’s commonly referred to as „sex“), I don’t get it, it spoiled everything.

He didn’t write that many texts anymore afterwards, of course not, I should have known that part. But yesterday I lost all my pride and wrote him an angry text about how lonely I feel because I messaged a few times afterwards about my fears and he just didn’t reply anything to that. I would have expected an „excuse me, I’ve been stupid“ but that didn’t come, I guess he might be not aware of that risk, although he’s 29! Sometimes I wish there would be consequences just to show him, but of course I don’t want that really. I don’t want a careless father for my child, an not one who’s that far away. And here comes the main reason why I am writing all this: all you men who have sexual intercourse with women, you need to take responsibility! There’s an urge to talk about sex. I think we don’t do it enough (and I’m not talking about sex like you see it in porns) and that’s why both genders are so confused with everything. The reason why, looking back at it, I had maybe more men than necessary in my bed is, it taught me a lot. It taught me mostly to also look after my own pleasures and not always think of just satisfying the man. Sometimes they don’t think about it, now I’m confident enough to just tell what I like and don’t like. But if they don’t want children, then it’s the responsbility of BOTH to think about protection! And I must admit I had a few times where I just didn’t care enough but the man also didn’t, I’m not proud of it but please don’t judge me. Then there’ve been accidents, like the condom broke, I forgot to take the pill. I always took the morning after pill but somehow I didn’t do this time (that’s why I’m so worried) but only a few men gave me the support I would have needed then. I wasn’t always in relationships with the men I had sex with, some where something casual, friends with benefits, that sort of thing. Most of those didn’t care enough for me but they should have to! Same as Tom should have to and it makes me incredibly angry that he didn’t take any responsibility for it at all. Every time I took the morning after pill (luckily not too horribly often but often enough) I felt horribly depressed, probably because of the high dosage of hormones. I felt like I would have killed something, although I don’t have this religious morality at all and it’s no abortion. But it still felt like, I shouldn’t have killed that potential life. I told my last boyfriend about this feeling and do you know what he replied? „That’s no life yet!“ Well, maybe not, but it didn’t help me! I think I know why all the men who were affected by those things didn’t care. Because they don’t get pregnant, they don’t have a life risen in them for 9 months, and it’s still rather mothers who are left with a child. But men should take this responsibility! Just before writing this entry I felt so horrible. I saw all those potential children in my imagination screaming, boiled, accusing me: „You shouldn’t have killed us! You are selfish, irresponsible.“ And all I can think of as reply is: „I’d be a loving mother, I hope I will be one day with the right, loving partner. But all your potential daddies, they wouldn’t give a fuck about you.“ And then all I can hope for is that it’s unlikely that something happened on Friday but for now I have to wait and that spoils everything here…

There were a few persons I confessed to, mostly women, I guess they can understand me better. Luckily no one judged me. I judge myself enough for that.

But writing all this down made me feel a bit better and it’s a call to all heterosexual men: Take responsibility! And to all heterosexual women: Expect them to take responsibility! And to both: Talk to each other, communicate what you like and don’t like.

(P.S. I like to make my writing all-inclusive but it naturally excludes non-straight people or bisexual people who aren’t currently in a straight (sexual) relationship. But that’s just how it is, and it’s due to the fact that most of my sexual experiences have been in fact heterosexual.)

Newport

Yesterday I went to Newport, a very nice coastal town near Providence, much nicer than the British Newport where I went with Elisa during our volunteering year. 😉

But first I’ll upload a picture of me climbing on Saturday and I don’t look too bad on it. 😉

And here’s a picture of the lab that Joo-Hyun sent yesterday:

So from left to right: Miles (an undergraduate student), Dan (a postdoc with whom I share the office and do the EEG task), Christie (with whom I’ll hopefully start on the CRT soon), Joo-Hyun (the professor who owns the lab), Tony (the other postdoc with whom I share the office), me, James (with whom I do the EEG task), Micah (another undergraduate student) and of the last girl I don’t know the name, sorry.

Ok, so Newport. I took the bus which is free for Brown students, yay! England can still learn some things from the US. 😉 It was more than an hour but easy at least, the bus starts in Providence and ends in Newport and vice versa. I went to the tourist office and got a map which was really useful and some postcards for friends. First I walked to the harbour but didn’t stay there too long, it wasn’t that horribly nice. Here’s a nice picture though:

Then I decided to walk to the other side of the town because I wanted to do the coastal walk, everyone recommended it. On the way I stopped at Thames street/ Harbour, that’s a square with many places to eat and many nice shops. I couldn’t resist and got a pair of earrings:

Whilst walking through the town I enjoyed looking at the nice houses and parks. Those houses are some historical mansions that you can visit but I decided not to because I didn’t want to spend money on it.

I really liked that building in a park:

And here are some pictures of the town:

And that’s the harbour square:

And here’s an old church:

The coastal walk was very, very nice. It was along the sea, so calming to listen to the sea (it was the Atlantic ocean) and to enjoy the views. I mainly liked the fact to be finally at the open ocean. There were many people on this walk but it was alright. I felt very superior to all those „chicks“ who used the walk as a catwalk to get their pictures for instagram but what you can’t see on instagram that their poor feet hurt after the long walk (luckily most of them had boyfriends to support them) and they didn’t look very beautiful whilst scrambling on the rocks but here’s where my knowledge came in, I jumped very gracefully over the rocks although I wore sandals, so also not proper shoes, but better than what they had and here’s where all my climbing/hiking knowledge came in! I took many pictures of the stones and the sea, I just think it looked so nice.

And here are some birds on a rock:

I took one selfie. I was about to ask someone to take a picture of me on a rock but somehow I didn’t want to spoil the romanticism of all those couples.

As you can see, it was a rather cloudy day but luckily no rain. I was glad that it wasn’t burning hot though. I still got a bit sunburned on my shoulders. 😛 But later the humidity kicked in, so it wasn’t that nice anymore. I was looking forward to my ice-cream at some point. 😛 The walk started at one beach and ended at another and there I jumped for a bit into the sea, it was very nice. First time that I swam in the Atlantic on the US side. 🙂 I found a nice big shell and some of you might have seen the picture on Facebook with the reference „Everything is great in America, even their shells!“

I walked back to the town centre at a street where I passed some more of those mansions, but I uploaded those photos earlier. Then I decided that I’m tired and wanted to get the next bus back, but first I got this ice-cream. 😉 It was very tasty, it was called Newport Mud, vanilla ice-cream with chocolate chips and caramel.

Today I went food shopping because the bread rolls I recently got have disappeared. 🙁 I don’t know who stole them, I put them in the freezer. So I wanted to get new bread to have for lunch and some more food for the week and I discovered Jewish rye bread, that’s the thing! It’s closest to the German bread we are used to. Took me three weeks to find that out. 😉 No one should dare to steal that! Germans don’t know pardon when it comes to their bread! So not too bad about those bread rolls as they were weirdly sweet but might have also been my hungover on Saturday, as I had them whilst climbing. I didn’t stay too long at work but I also couldn’t do that much. Dan didn’t yet upload the data of our experiment and Christie is still sick, so he cancelled the meeting for today but hopefully we can meet tomorrow to discuss the CRT. I still did some of the tutorials on the internet about EEG analysis though and I did some analysis with sample data (the thing I started on Friday but stopped early) and I was very pleased with how well it worked today, I guess I was just really tired on Friday after the presentation.

Today I made for dinner stuffed courgettes. They turned out really well. I’ll share the recipe, it’s two courgettes cut in half and both halves stopped so enough for a light dinner (what I had today) or you can have rice or so with it or make a bigger portion. There was still a lot of the stuffing left over though but I froze it, will be of use. I’ll share the recipe nevertheless like this:

Preheat the oven to 200 degree celsius. Wash two courgettes, cut them in half, take the inner out. Cut the inner of the courgettes, cut one pepper, one carrot, a few mushrooms and one onion (I used a shallot). Mix the vegetables with some sour cream and tomato puree, add salt, pepper and paprika spices and other spices if you like. Put the filling in the courgettes, top with grated cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes.

Here’s a picture:

Have a good start to the week! xoxo

Climbing, what else

But let’s first start with yesterday. My presentation went really well, I was very pleased with that. I had the feeling that everyone understood what I was talking about and that they were interested. I’m very relieved that it’s over. And they appreciated my cake too, a good psychological tactic to serve it first. 😉 Afterwards I started to get familiar with EEG analysis but you know, it was Friday afternoon, I had a complete lack of motivation, so I went home quite early and went food shopping for the climbing today and I saw Koelsch, the beer from Cologne, so I had to get that and I had some when I got home. In the evening I went to a free concert, I found out that they take place on some Fridays in Providence. It was really cool, it was in the Waterpark, nice atmosphere and I also liked the music, it was rock, Cannibal Ramblers and Unlikely Candidates was the main band but I even liked Cannibal Ramblers more, the other one was a bit too loud but it might have also annoyed me because at that point Tom, the climbing friend whom I met last Sunday, joined, and we talked and it was hard to talk when it was so loud. It was nice that he joined, it was hard to find anyone to go with and I was in the beginning alone but that wasn’t too nice. We also had really great conversations, also about politics, pretty much on the same wavelength. 😉 But I guess the more beer I had the weirder my explanations got. 😛 Here are two pictures of the concert:

 

Today I went climbing and it was so hard to motivate because I really felt pretty hungover after those beers and cigarettes. When I stood in front of the rock I thought there’s no way I’ll ever make it but I’m happy to say that I had the best climbing day ever so far! I finished all four routes and my belaying didn’t kill anyone. There were just Ken, Michol and David from the local climbing group but it was actually nice with a small group. They also taught me abseiling or rappelling how it’s called here. I’ve done it before in Cornwall but it was good to practise again and it went much better this time. And I did my first trad lead belay without being backed up, and Michol said it was good, that was my highlight of the day, because climbing is so much more than just you on the rock, the belaying is an even more important part. They told me quite a bit about the theory of trad leading and I think I really want to try it once although it scares me for now but first I want to get more practise in climbing outdoors. I was so pleased when I finished the climbs, first time I finished all of them here in the US, but it was such a great feeling to get to the top and look at the landscape. This time I didn’t ask for pictures of me, but you know, Julia being hungover and with horrible dark circles around the eyes doesn’t need to be on here, I’m vain, I know… I also offered my cake, they liked it very much, which pleased me.

But here are some pictures of Michol:

And of Ken:

And a very nice one of Maggie, their dog:

I also love this picture of Michol and David belaying her from the top because it shows what for a social sport climbing is:

After the climbing we went for food, it was a very nice place and the food was good. I had ravioli, I managed to stick to the vegetarianism.

I also had a beer, the counter beer. 😛 („Kontrabier“)

Michol and Ken invited me for the food, so kind of them!

Because Chester Bennington died: a few notes about depression and suicide

This is a very serious topic, I know, so I included the trigger warnings in the title in case any of you or your relatives/friends is directly affected by depression or suicidal thoughts.

So as most of you probably know by now Chester Bennington, the leading singer of Linkin Park, died, very likely by suicide. I recently got into that music again but I wouldn’t say that I was a fan and I never attended a gig of them. It’s just time to talk about depression and suicide in general. As you can see, it even can affect famous, successful people. It can affect a married man, a dad to six kids. Probably celebrity is a danger though, it puts a lot of pressure on people. And there’s a correlation between artists and mental illnesses. Often mentally unstable people are great artists, think of Van Gogh, Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Chester Bennington, just to give a few examples.

Depression is a damn annoying illness and I know what I’m talking about, I’ve suffered from it myself but recently the intervals between the phases became bigger and I didn’t have any serious depressive phase for quite a while, so I’m kinda hoping that it’s over but the knowledge that it might come back isn’t a nice thought at all. The only thing that helps me is to know that even if it comes back, one day I’ll be over it again, like in the past. I think the symptoms everyone experiences are quite individual and I guess I’ve been lucky not to have suffered from any serious depression. But it was bad enough. I was still able to get out of bed, go to work, even see people but I didn’t have any joy at all in all those activities, and believe me, that’s horrible! I felt like a failure, completely worthless, a burden to everyone, and you don’t want to live like this. But luckily I feel that I have responsibilities towards my family and friends and partner at times where I had one and also towards the work I’m doing, so that „keeps me on my feet when I think I might just fall apart“.

Many people suffer from depression and even suicidal thoughts, sometimes in silence, sometimes you know about it. You are not their therapists and if they commit suicide be aware it’s not because you weren’t there for them enough! But you can be there for them, just be there, try to do things with them (which might be a hard thing to convince a depressive person to). My family and my friends saved me so many times probably without being consciously aware of it, just by asking how I am or asking to go out, because that made me feel loved.

Chester Bennington was abused in his childhood and his parents didn’t care enough about him, which probably was the source to most of his problems. Many people with mental health problems experienced traumas, but sometimes it can affect you „without any reason“. I also experienced many horrible things in my life (but luckily no abuse in my childhood), I don’t want to talk about it here in public, mainly because if I talk about it then people become so sad by only hearing it, I don’t want it. The cumulation of all my traumas is what’s the worst I guess. Luckily I didn’t experience any serious horrible thing for 1.5 years, the longest time period I think. I hope things will become better now in general and I definitely found things that are worth living for. I don’t want to say that I’m a hero and Chester Bennington is a loser because he chose suicide but think of me and all those other persons, those who experienced horrible things but still chose to live, that’s brave.

I wish Chester Bennington and all other people who chose to commit suicide would have received the help they needed, and would have asked for it (which especially for men is a big step, unfortunately the gender stereotypes we have don’t help with that).

Writing about it has made me very sad. Every time someone commits suicide I think of a good friend of mine, we were good friends, then we lost contact. He committed suicide 3 years ago, a mutual friend told me that. (That’s the only trauma I experiences I’ll tell about.) I wish we hadn’t lost contact, maybe I would have been able to help him. Unnecessary thoughts, I know. I’ll never forget him, that’s all I can do.

So I’ll end with something more cheerful, give reasons why it’s worth to live.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlDgQOd3p-0

 

 

Third week in Providence

It’s Friday, 21st July, 10 a.m., and I’m waiting for my cake to be ready- it already smells delicious! I’m doing a presentation later at our weekly lab meeting about my work in Birmingham, but I’m quite confident for a change. I’m looking forward to the weekend as I have the feeling I’ve really achieved something this week. James and me finished testing the first set of participants on the EEG experiment. Now we will look into the results and decide whether more testing is needed. I will need some introduction into the analysis of an EEG but it feels good that we are good in time with that experiment. And yesterday I realised that I’m quite confident with starting an EEG experiment so I definitely learned something. I also read the papers behind the theory of that experiment, so I know what it’s about. I also finished designing the stimuli for the choice reaching task experiment, that was hard to get the right size and right position but I think it looks good now, I’ll meet Christie later to discuss it, wish me luck, would start to test next week!

Tonight I’ll go to a free concert in Providence I think. Again want to make the best out of my time here. 🙂 And I’ll treat to a drink or two, I didn’t drink since Saturday! 😉

Yesterday I was a bit sad when thinking about the fact that in one week already half of my time here is over. But afterwards I have Montreal to look forward to and England isn’t that bad after all. 😉 I’m looking forward to seeing my friends from Birmingham again. And I guess I try to make the best out of the time here, both work wise and in terms of how I spend my free time.

I’m working quite long days, definitely much longer than in Birmingham but I don’t mind that horribly much, I want to get as much work done as possible during my time here. Only sometimes I feel how tired my eyes are after sitting the whole day in front of a computer screen and how much I need a walk, so I try to take some time at lunch time for walks or sometimes I go to work a bit later if I can, like today for example.

On Monday evening I went for a walk in the area after a long day at work and I walked for a while along the water, that was very nice, and I could smell the sea again! And I saw a cat. 🙂

On Tuesday I went at lunch time a bit around the campus, here are two pictures:

In the evening I attended a group exercise class in the gym I’m a member of, it was called boxing bootcamp, it was very, very intense! 😀 Lots of cardio and strength exercises. But I was the only woman who didn’t give up during the whole class, I was pretty proud of that. 😉 There were quite a few men in this class so I guess that’s an indicator of how intense it is, because men generally don’t attend less demanding classes.

Yesterday I treated to a frozen yoghurt, but it was a very big portion and I felt very full and a bit sick afterwards, maybe due to the milk (I’m lactose intolerant but normally I can have yoghurt), it wasn’t the best one I must say but I craved something cold, it’s very hot here! Due to the heat I also didn’t sleep that well the last few nights but last night I finally slept better, I think my body craved some sleep anyway and I made sure to put the air con on full power during the day.

One nice thing that happened to me yesterday was that a participant we were testing asked whether I’m from England (after I told that I’m doing my PhD in England). Apparently my English isn’t too bad and also my accent isn’t too horribly, especially the thing with the accent makes me happy. 🙂

No better way to spend a Sunday than going climbing

Well, you can exchange „climbing“ with „hiking“ or „kayaking, surfing“, whatever, basically being in the nature and being active, that’s just great before going back to a week full of work in the office I think. 🙂 I feel tired, but nicely tired, and after having a shower and dinner I feel ready for just having a nice evening. Although I might practise my presentation after finishing this entry, it’s due on Friday but I want to do it well, nearly forgot about that… 😛

Well, but let’s start from the beginning. I had to get up at 7 because Ken’s friend Tom was supposed to pick me up at 8, again a very early start… 🙁 To be honest I felt pretty tired but we stopped on the way and I got a second coffee and that helped a lot. We climbed at Pine Ledge in Connecticut today, a great place for sport climbing I think (I’m mainly writing it down for my own reference, in case any people ask me about climbing in that area at all). It was nice, again in the woods and the shade was very good again, I felt that it was a hot day today. There were a lot of people, so I had to wait quite a while until I could do my first climb (because I still don’t feel comfortable leading, even not easy routes, I think I would do it if I knew the routes. But I took some nice pictures of the others:

      

     

           

        

I also took a picture of Ken’s and Michol’s dog, Maggy. Tom’s dog was there as well, Molly (but I forgot to take a picture of her, she liked licking my sweat, weird dog. 😛

I didn’t have the ambition to do anything super great today, to be honest yesterday after the sports course I felt my legs hurting quite a bit, maybe I should take it a bit slower, like not doing sport THAT often… I did a 5.7, I did it twice, and the second time went much easier. I think it’s good to do routes more than once, I also do it indoors in Birmingham a lot. I finished it both times, so that was good, would have been bad not to finish a 5.7. 😛 I also nearly finished a 5.8, just at the last move my arms got very tired, just spent a long time there. That’s another thing I’m trying to learn at the moment, apart from using feet a bit more and not always stretching arms out that much, just go for the move a bit quicker because if I spend too long on it, then I get tired and scared and then it’s almost over.

Here are some pictures of me climbing that route:

    

And here the pictures of the move I couldn’t do in the end:

   

At this point I also injured my finger, it was bleeding and hurt quite a bit, so basically from this point I was a bit too tired to do anything great. I tried a 5.9, I tried it twice and the last time it already went a bit better but the first move was already quite hard and I didn’t manage it, my fingers just starting hurting too badly (there were no proper footholds). One of the guys was making a few jokes about it, not in a mean way, but still, my hands are quite sensitive, can’t help it! 😛 And men have thicker skin anyway!

But it was a very nice day. My camera fell down a part of the rock by the way, the second time that happened, but luckily it’s a very robust camera, I still could upload the pictures. 🙂

After coming home I first had a shower, was nice to get the sweat and dirt off and clean the wounds. Then I made dinner, it turned out nicely, was again a salad, this time without curry and cumin so I didn’t put too much of it in it. 😛 I didn’t take a picture but I liked the recipe, so I will share it with you if you are interested:

The quantity is enough for one big dinner and a lunch what I did or two small dinners:

Cook 100g of rice (I used a bit less). Cut one raw courgette, two peppers, 3-4 tomatoes, 2 spring onions and I added a bit of sweetcorn. Mix all together. Make a sauce out of garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and I added a bit of mustard too and put it over the salad.

When I ate, Mae and her son who’s there at the moment ate too, they had takeaways, burritos, I don’t get the Americans, eating out or having takeaways is really a thing here. Well, it’s not necessarily more expensive, at least not if you compare if to Eastside Market, where I do my shopping, because cheaper shops are too far away, but still, I like to cook, just nice to expand the cooking skills I guess and I prefer to know what I’m actually eating. And takeaways are so bad for the environment, all the rubbish they left! But well, sorry to say it, Americans have to learn a lot about caring for the environment, but hard under the current government I guess… :/ Mae then commented the amount I ate, which annoyed me, she said it’s so much, ehm, sorry???!!! You are the fat one! 😛 Sorry to say it, I’m totally against body shaming/fatshaming, especially in females, but why the fuck did she have to comment how much I am eating??! It was a quite large bowl but not massively big, I went climbing today, it’s just rice with veg, I guess their burritos weren’t necessarily better in terms of calories and carbs and certainly not in terms of fat but actually, I HATE PEOPLE WHO ALWAYS NEED TO COMMENT EVERYTHING! JUST CARE ABOUT YOUR OWN SHIT AND LEAVE ME ALONE! So, if you wanna know how you can achieve that I hate you, here’s the recipe: Just comment everything I do/ eat/ drink/ wear/ say, and I mean comment it in a negative way, and I’m gonna hate you. Simple as that. 😉 Ok, I got over my anger haha, it’s just, I don’t comment others all the time, so leave me alone! I didn’t get into an argument with Mae, could have said she should watch her carbs, I have a WAY better body (in terms of what is considered as a „sexy body“ in women, but I honestly think my body is much healthier, she should lose a bit of weight) and I could have said how she destroyed the environment with her take-aways, but not worth it, don’t need to get as low in my standard as other people. But honestly, lol, I had a bit of cornflakes with half an apple and non-fat yoghurt for breakfast, one sandwich with cheese and half an apple and half a pear for lunch at climbing and then this dinner, rice with veg. And one cappuccino with almond milk and one ice-tea, that was it, generally not like horribly much and especially not much considering I went climbing today. I quite like the fact though that I don’t need as much food anymore as I used to when going climbing or hiking, I take it as a good sign like that my body is more used to that sport. 😉

Right, I think I will try to do my presentation now, tomorrow will be a long day of testing but I’m quite looking forward to it actually.

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring Providence and attending a gig

Yesterday (Friday) was a very intense working day. I attended the second part of the EEG tutorial and this time it was very demanding as we learned a lot about the analysis but I have no experience at all with that. But I guess I’ll get there once I actually have to do it. In the lunch break we had our weekly lab meeting where Christine presented about the choice reaching task and she talked about the experiment I’ll do with her. I provided the cake I made the night before, they were all happy about that. After the EEG tutorial I finished designing the stimuli for the choice reaching task, in total it was 9 hours of work without a break, that was really too much actually but I guess I have a reputation of working quickly and effectively. Well, as I said, I want to learn as much as possible during the 2 months I spend here. After coming home I spent another hour designing the stimuli, but that means I should finish them by Tuesday and hopefully Christine is ok with starting testing soon. Next week will be pretty intense work wise, I’ll start testing with James for the EEG experiment and hopefully for the choice reaching task as well and I will present my work from Birmingham on Friday. But I don’t mind, it has been pretty relaxed so far and I am willing to sacrifice a lot of my time for the work. The only thing I’ll stick to is free weekends, I think in academic work where you don’t necessarily have fixed working hours it’s important to not work 24/7.

Today (Saturday) I was effective in making the most of my free time. 😉 First I went to a sports session again, and that at 8 a.m. on a Saturday! Then I bought some food for the next few days, went home, had a shower and a proper breakfast and installed my American Sim card which I finally got and then I went out to Providence. I passed the art museum by coincidence, I liked the outside of the building:

When I saw that it’s actually the art museum I decided to go inside because Aynur recommended it. In fact, it’s interesting, there’s old American furniture (from the 18th and 19th century), some painting from French artists from the 19th century (I like them) and some contemporary art and some ancient Egyptian, Asian, Roman and Greek art. I enjoyed watching at it, I like art but I don’t go often to exhibitions or museums. But after some time I decided that it’s „too much“ for now, I get that feeling at museums. There’s still more to see but luckily that museum is free for Brown students and not far away, so I’ll definitely come back.

After that I decided that I need some fresh air so I walked a bit around with no special plan but that was enjoyable, I don’t do it often enough but without a plan you actually see a lot I think. I went to the war memorial park but as I said, the only time I accept American intervention in war without a discussion is second world war:

The park was very nice in general though.

 

I also passed a bank which was a nice building, shame it’s a bank. 😛

Then I walked a bit along the river, I definitely need to spend more time at the water once I’m here, I love it so much to walk along the water. And you could smell the sea! Ace!

Afterwards I saw another park where there was an Irish famine memorial, there was also a bit written about the history of the Irish famine in 1845-1851, very sad.

  

And here’s another picture of a Providence building:

Then I went to the shopping mall because as I said in a previous post, they actually have some nice shops in there, so I wanted to do a bit of shopping once I’m here. And psst, my stepdad will come in end of August. I think it’ll be his first time in America, so it will be nice to show him the country but it also means I can give some of my clothes that won’t fit in my suitcase, so I can do a bit of shopping, dangerous for my wallet though… I bought two trousers that were on sale:

    

I also bought sunglasses because the ones I have correct my short-sightedness, so I need some if I wear contacts. And I bought earrings because I didn’t bring many over, and I quite like wearing earrings.

I saw that a pizza chain was giving away free pizza today so I joined the queue because I thought then I can save on food today at least to make up for the shopping (some of you might have already seen my Facebook post about it). There were a lot of poor people in the queue and a man in front of me started talking to me that he recently lost his job and doesn’t know how to feed his family anymore. We had to wait longer in the queue than expected because they had run out of pizzas but most people kept waiting because they said that they are starving and they need to use this opportunity. I saw so many broken people there, broken because of poverty, drugs, alcohol, hopelessness. The despair I saw in those faces was horrible. So I decided that I can’t keep my pizza anymore and I gave it to the man in front of me and he and his partner were so happy about it. I didn’t change their lives but I think it was worth it, it was a basic human act and if you call yourself left then you have this responsibility. I’m not horribly rich and I also sometimes worry about my jobs in future, academia isn’t the most secure sector, but I have more money than them so I had to offer my pizza.

I went inside the mall for my food and it wasn’t too expensive by the way, but also not great. Just a simple „boerek“ with spinach and cheese, but not a very good one. I wouldn’t recommend it and I won’t eat in there again, I guess Providence has much better food places! But I was a bit in a hurry because I attended a gig tonight.

I had decided that I would like to attend a gig because I like live acts like gigs, musicals, theatre or poetry slam but like with art museums/exhibitions, I don’t do it often enough. So I googled it and found out that „Have Mercy“, an American rockband, will do a gig tonight. The tickets were only 12 dollar and I listened a bit to the music and thought I quite like it, so I got a ticket. Unfortunately no one I know went with me but I thought, well, attending a gig alone is something you have to do once in your lifetime I heard. 😛 And it was definitely worth it! All of American alternative scene was there, that was so cool because it reminded me of my past times where I was a bit more active in this left/alternative scene. I always feel very comfortable in those surroundings. The venue was nice as well, didn’t seem commercialised at all and two girls directly started talking to me, so I spent all evening with them and wasn’t lonely in the end.

Here are some pictures:

And here some pictures of the actual „Have Mercy“:

I also bought a t-shirt:

There were less hardcore than I thought, I actually really liked it. Here’s a song if you are interested:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYC-ftl-ciY

I’m going climbing tomorrow morning again, so I had a few drinks but paid attention to not drink too much, but I had one of those days were my tolerance was pretty high actually. But I smoked a hell lot, as always at those alternative gigs, so I wonder how this will affect my fitness tomorrow…

I was glad that the gig already ended at 8 p.m., because that meant walking back when it was still bright and not being home too late before the climbing tomorrow, it means I even had time to write this entry. 😉 On the way back home I passed some graffiti which I really liked, that’s really a nice thing about urban life, also all the people that were still outside at that time.

Alright, I’m off to bed now, want to be fit for climbing tomorrow. Goodnight xoxo

 

Conclusions about G20

I wrote a short entry about G20 when the event and the protests were still going on and most of that is still relevant. I condemn the riots because violence should be the last solution, when there is no other solution, e.g. in civil war or in a dictatorship (and we live in a democracy, we should be grateful for that!) and because the violence didn’t affect any of the G20 members but ordinary working people. But I also condemn unnecessary police violence and I personally experienced enough of that at those demos! And there are videos documenting how protestors were beaten down by police men. So I can imagine that brutal police tactics kind of provoked the riots. But there is no excuse for such an extent of violence and the most interesting thing would be to find out who was actually responsible for the riots and why they did it. The German news about it (and there isn’t that much in international news about it but a lot in German news) are, to put it in one word, disgusting. Actually I recently started to appreciate journalists‘ work. They do a necessary job, they often enough write things which the „powerful“ don’t like to hear (one cue: „fake news“) and they go in dangerous areas and risk their lives. But why do all German journalists suddenly seem to know that it’s the left-radical that was responsible for those riots? I can’t imagine those people were really what you call left. If you have a proper understanding of what left activism is, then you don’t burn small businesses and cars of ordinary people. And most importantly, you don’t put people’s life in danger. That’s also my criticism of the RAF, the red army fraction, a German left-radical group from the 1970s who kidnapped and killed capitalists. That isn’t how you start a revolution and it didn’t smash capitalism. Well, but why do all German news suddenly talk about the „dangers“ of left-radicalism? Even worse, why do they compare left-radicalism to the IS and to right-radicalism? You can’t compare the three, there are too many differences but mainly the comparison of left and right annoys me so much. Yes, I mostly don’t agree with the tactics of the so-called „black block“, although you can’t talk of „the“ black block. Simply because I think this tactic doesn’t mobilise the masses. And I always condemn unnecessary violence, also from the left. BUT FUCKING HELL, AND I NEED TO HIGHLIGHT THAT, I HAVE SOME FRIENDS WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE BLACK BLOCK AND NONE OF THEM EVER BURNED DOWN A REFUGEE CAMP OR EVER KILLED A PERSON SIMPLY FOR NOT BEING GERMAN SO DON’T EVER COMPARE THEM TO FASCISTS!

There is a lot of left-bashing going on in the news at the moment and it’s disgusting. Probably if will calm down soon but I worry how it might affect the results of the general elections in September.

I’m not an expert on those things but I have my political opinion and although I’m often switching between being rather far left and rather centre-left, in times like that I know „mon coeur bat à gauche“.

In many aspects I’m glad that my research projects will keep me busy from now. News can be just so bad for your mental health.

To finish this entry, there were 76000 people who were peacefully protesting against the effects of globalisation.

Update on the second week

There wasn’t that much interesting to tell about my second week. I didn’t have that much to do in the beginning of the week, but now it got a bit more busy. I started designing stimuli for one of the experiments I’ll be doing. To be honest I got a lot of help from my office-mate, but it was really helpful, I learned something about Matlab, a computer program which is really good for programming. If you manage to do it right that’s such a great feeling but if it keeps showing error messages that’s just so frustrating. It’s indispensable in research though so learning about that is always good. Apart from that I went to a tutorial about EEG yesterday which was interesting and helpful. I liked the way the lecturer presented it, I actually managed to stay concentrated which was amazing. Tomorrow will be the second part of that tutorial and if it finishes earlier I can continue designing the experiment, I hope to finish everything as early as possible, I really want to get a lot of work done in these two months here. I’ll actually start testing participants for the EEG experiment next week, and I’m kind of looking forward, it will help me to distract from the disappointing German news, but I’ll write a separate blog entry about that in a second.

Apart from the work I went to the gym quite a lot, I attended a few different group exercise classes. I liked the „barre“ one on Tuesday which combined posture exercises which ballet movements, that was really fun actually, I’d like to go there regularly but unfortunately it will clash with the testing next Tuesday. This morning (Thursday) I attended a conditioning class, which combined fitness and strength. It was a good start to the day to do sport. I can see improving my fitness a lot. I smoke and drink a lot less here (today was the first time since Saturday), which is good.

Yesterday I went out eating with a guy I was in touch with via Facebook from the Brown Outing Club, the university outdoors club. There were some of his course mates too. It was a Chinese restaurant, quite nice food but very spicy. I had shredded potatoes with rice, was ok but wouldn’t recommend it as it was mainly just the potatoes. I tried some of the other dishes too, they shared everything. I managed to stay vegetarian, which I was pretty proud of. 😉 Actually the guy and me were planning on doing a hiking trip this weekend but no one wants to join and he seems nice and really trustworthy but would be nice if some people join so we probably go next weekend but I hope it will happen then. Today I joined a social of the department, there was free beer. 😀 And some crisps and biscuits, but no proper food, so I didn’t stay too long, as I was quite hungry and I had enough of those moments just stuffing myself with crap food, but it’s not good, so I went home and cooked.

I also made a cake for the lab meeting tomorrow and I left some pieces for Mae and my flatmates. It was a German recipe, in case you are interested: preheat the oven to 200 degree celsius. Mix 250 g semolina, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, 100g of chopped nuts (I had pecan nuts) and whatever you like, I had about 150g of milk chocolate (it’s a pretty „creative“ recipe, just add what you like) and some milk (I guess I added about 200ml, just to get a good texture). The recipe said to add 250g of sugar, I added none, if you like it sweeter, add some sugar but certainly not as much as the recipe says! Bake for about half an hour at 200 degrees. Let it cool down and add something on the top if you like, frosting or powder sugar, I added lemon frosting. Unfortunately the cake fell a bit apart when I tried to cut it but I tried the pieces that were too small to serve and I’m pretty happy with the result. 🙂 Anyway I try to become less perfectionist. 😛

This week I was mainly annoyed by German news about G20 and I know it’s not good for my mental health but I kinda can’t avoid that. It’s good that at least I’ll be busy with experiments now, it leads to something at least, but I want to write my analysis of the events, so here we go…