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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

So it’s been two weeks since I arrived in Vienna and I guess now would be a good time for a little update.

My internship has been going okay, but it’s a lot of work. I guess that’s what a full time job feels like. I’m usually at the lab by 8:30 am and leave at around 6 or 7, and sometimes have to go even on weekends. Right now I’m setting up crosses of my flies and doing behavior screenings, but as soon as I finish that (around 400 more lines of flies to go) I will get to dissect the positive lines and stain the brains and ventral nerve cords to see expression in the neurons. So my supervisor decided to “teach” me dissection the other day, which involved showing me this Youtube video of this Japanese guy dissecting a fly brain like he was peeling an orange (see below), then plunking me down in front of the microscope with a vial of flies and two very expensive forceps. Needless to say, it was much harder than peeling an orange and all I ended up with was a dissecting dish scattered with fly carcasses. Better luck next time. But seriously, trying to handle the brain of an animal that has a head the size of a grain of sand is next to impossible.

I haven’t really been working for two full weeks though, since last week the whole lab went on their annual lab retreat from Thursday to Saturday. I felt a little guilty going with everyone since I’ve only been working for three days by then, but they insisted that I come. We went to a place called Steindorf am Ossiacher See, a five-hour train ride away from Vienna. We stayed beside this lovely lake, and our room had a beautiful view:

I had a great time lying on the beach chairs by the lake shore, peddle boating, and kayaking.

This really cute duck family often came to visit :)

After getting back from the retreat late last Saturday night, I was determined to finally go see some sights in Vienna after missing two Saturday outings already. So on Sunday I dragged a couple of my new friends and took the subway into the city center. First stop was Vienna’s landmark, the Stephansdom. The front facade was under construction unfortunately, but it was still a magnificent building.

Next was Hofburg Palace:

The National Library (this puts Butler to shame):

Some museum I think?

Austrian Parliament:

I’m not sure what church this is, but I love it Nevermind, it’s the Rathaus, aka City Hall:

As you may have noticed, I didn’t go inside any of these places. I just wanted to walk around and see everything first, and maybe later I’ll take the time to visit the ones that interest me. I really want to go see Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss at the Belvedere, but some people from my group already went last Saturday, so maybe I’ll find someone else to go with me, or maybe just go myself because I don’t think anyone else is as much of an art geek as me. Also really want to see the Hundertwasserhaus because I think it looks so creative and fun. Must make the most of my time here!

Last night I went to this Chinese restaurant near the place I live with a friend. The food was quite good… boy do I miss Asian food. I also found an Asian vegetarian restaurant nearby, so I’ll be sure to go check it out soon. And yes, I am still keeping up with my vegetarianism for the summer. It’s been going quite well actually, the vegetarian option at the cafeteria every day helps a lot. Though I’ve been tempted a few times I must admit… by bacon, salmon, and chicken salad. At least now I know what kind of meat I really love.

PS: A thunderstorm is happening right now. I love it. there’s just something awe-inspiring about thunderstorms. Also hopefully this means the heat will finally die down a little tomorrow.


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