At the time of booking my ticket for my secondment, I didn’t know I would be flying on the day the Leicester football team became invincible in the Premier League. Leicester had suddenly become a less unknown place to the rest of Europe and was finally turning into an exciting place. The second thing was too bad for me, because I was missing out the multiple celebration events. From the first thing I could take advantage however, as more and more people started to hear about Leicester I had to explain less and less how to pronounce Leicester and its whereabouts.
At the moment, I’m 255 miles away from my home and university in Leicester. I’ve exchanged the place I know for its dessert places on almost every corner, Tescos on the other corners, the addition of bacon to almost everything, outdoor gyms and squirrels in parks, weird phrases on menus, cycling on the left side of the road, paying in pounds, fish and chips, pies, queues at bus stops, tea with milk, scones and a lot more for Amsterdam, as explained in my previous blog.
When searching for a secondment location, I have to admit that I first Googled for Mediterranean (and even more exotic) places. After being told off a bit by Lisa and my supervisor (geography shouldn’t be a criteria for finding a place apparently), I was facing a small dilemma. At many conferences and events people had asked me if I knew about a group in Amsterdam working with dried blood spots for forensic purposes. I did know that group, because years ago I had done an internship for my forensic masters there. A secondment opportunity at that group sounded excellent for my early stage researcher’s career development, but my dilemma was that I was already familiar with the group (aside from the time restraint I was facing finding a location as explained in my previous blog too). Wouldn’t it be better to expand my experience to places I hadn’t studied/worked?
From the first week in Amsterdam, I’m happy I’ve accepted the opportunity at the UvA (in collaboration with the group at the AMC which I know from my internship)! It’s not only good to be back surrounded by friends, family and a bit better weather, but both research groups I’m working with are really nice too. I’ve had many stimulating meetings with people working in the same field to develop plans and ideas, learned a lot about LC-MS instead of GC-MS, met many new inspiring researchers and then there’s the social side at the analytical chemistry group making me happy too. With every day group lunches, Friday afternoon borrels (drinks), coffee machines on every corner, going to the gym together (although I have missed out on that opportunity so far:P) and some occasional evenings celebrating anything good with a La Chouffe (or two:P), I’m feeling home again:)
Besides the things directly relating to my secondment, the things in the title also make me very happy to be back in the Netherlands again. Google translates those words as Croquettes, Frikandels, Cheese Slicers, Double-decker Trains, Syrup Waffles and Chocolate Sprinkles, but it would be best using the Dutch words at Google images if you like to have a visual impression of my time in the Netherlands:P
See you later