Working in the nations

Start of lab sessions. 9 o’clock. Incubating plates, inoculating, mixing chemicals, preparing gels, setting up PCR reactions, and waiting in between. Officially we finish at 5, but in reality we’re rarely done before 7.  It sounds worse than it is, though. We have a fika list on the blackboard and every day at 2:30 everyone from the course squeezes into the coffee room and tries out the cakes/buns/goodies prepared by whoever’s turn it was. In between things, there is usually someone around also waiting to talk to. If not, I read the ‘Introduction to Brain and Behaviour’ book that I borrowed from the library. It’s for my “internet-based” psychology course, and I’m determined to read it as I somehow don’t feel quite prepared for the exam after the couple of lectures in the parallel Swedish course I attended. If I do finish it, it will be the first textbook that I have read it its entirety. In high school the information in textbooks was too detailed and logwinded, and in uni it was too shallow and outdated.

When I’m not in the lab, I’m usually working in Kalmar. I wanted to work in Kalmar before, but somehow I never got to go to the bar and ask someone for work. However, they called me two weeks ago to see if I’d be up for working in a clubnight, and I said yes.

Working at Kalmar is pretty cool. True, you only get 120 kronor for a 9-hour shift, and I still need to go to the tax office and get registered so that they can pay me…  But I get to meet lots of people and they teach me how to cook! I had heard of tacos before, but I had no idea what it was until my first shift when I had to make it myself and I loved it. Cooking is so much fun when you don’t have to think way in advance, buy the ingredients yourself, pay for them and carry them home. I wasn’t even worried I’d have to eat it.

We get free soft drinks all the time and we get free food, which is much better that what I can do at home (I mean, when would I buy beans, lentils, oatmeal, buns, and a hundred spices and sauces to make a veggie burger). And at the end of the night, sometimes we sit for a chat and a couple of beers (or glasses of leftover wine in my case).

And the best thing about it is the people. People in Kalmar are crazy, this is why I joined in the first place. I met this Swedish girl who also happens to be travelling to Edinburgh to visit friends between 16 and 19 October. Got myself a train+flight+bus buddy. I forgot to mention, I decided to come back for a visit, since Ryan Air flights were so cheap (25 pounds both ways, silly card payment fee included). I’m very excited; from Sunday to Wednesday I need to climb Arthur’s seat, go to the beach, drink a bottle of Tesco’s ginger wine, get some chips ‘n cheese from KB house, have at least one major game of ring of fire, and meet all the awesome people I know. It’s definitely worth missing the final crystallization steps in the lab, and I’ll be back just in time for our final presentation and the end of the course.

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