I returned from my 11-week J1 in America on the 28th/29th of July, so most of it was in America.
This was quite stressful to the end because I was putting pressure on myself to finish the project. That
didn’t happen but I’m still working on it here and I got to keep the laptop until I finish it so not too bad.
Funnily enough, stuff I thought would take forever and be really hard actually ended up being fun
(running a grid search that would’ve taken about 80 days to run - I learned to write bash scripts and
parallelised it, splitting it into 208 files and running it with my god-like 208 cores on the cluster). Then
again, one of the things I avoided because it would be hard indeed was hard - getting a set of genes
controlled for gene length and recombination rate and spaced out so that none were closer than 50 kb
to each other. I got it eventually though.
America outside of work
I was in America for the fourth of July - my aunt finally had a working pool (the riches! the glamour!) so
we celebrated there. I think that week we went down to Cape Cod to visit my cousins, which was really
nice, and they had a pool too so I got to hang out and catch up with my brother in it. Mad how I got my
biggest sense of having family while so far from home. I got back from Cape Cod (on a Peter Pan bus
that took four hours instead of two) and turned up late to a cookout held at Nathaniel, the lab manager's,
house, which was a fun time. The two weekends after that I went to NYC and DC. The week before I left
we had a small goodbye gathering for me at Emilia's house, and then on my last day Alyssa, Fernando and
Kate took me out for lunch at a Thai place and later Madza and I went for ice cream. It was really nice andI hope to stay in contact with them.
New York City: 12-15 July
I went to NYC and stayed with Carla, which was awesome. We went to lots of places including the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Brooklyn Bridge, the financial district, the ferry to Staten Island, the Met museum of art and Central Park. Read all about it here.
DC: 20-21 July
The next weekend I went to DC and stayed in a hostel for one night. I visited the Capitol, the NASA festival for the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing, the Smithsonian Air and Space museum and the Natural history museum. Read about that here.
I finished the first draft of my novel on the 18th/19th of July, at about 87000 words. I wrote about half a draft five years ago, but the only coherent chunk I found was the first 10000 words so I wrote the remaining 76500 words in the two months between 20 May and 19 July, with help from two writing challenges: 100-for-100 (write 100+ words a day for 100 days, from the Go Teen Writers site) and Camp NaNoWriMo (for which I challenged myself to write 40,000 words in July). I really enjoyed it and am itching to get back into it but know it's wise to leave a draft to sit for a while. In the meantime I'm thinking about other books. It's funny - I had pretty much zero book ideas in five years, but as soon as I started working on this book in earnest I've had four of them.
I finished 7 books in July, which were as follows:
- How to Lead When You're Not in Charge - * - library Borrowbox app
- The Quiet at the End of the World - **** - library Borrowbox app
- The Martian - ***** - library Borrowbox app
- Communicate Like a Leader - ** - library Borrowbox app
- Alanna: The First Adventure - **** - bought for Kindle app
- Creating Extraordinary Characters - * - found on Kindle app
- Because Internet - *** - bought for Kindle app
You can find mini-reviews of all of them here.
My siblings came over to visit America for 2 weeks, and it was great to see them. I had to sadly say goodbye to my aunt and uncle on July 28, but got to see Leon again which was a plus.
America was such an amazing experience, really. I'm so glad I went even though I was apprehensive the day before. I'm also glad I had things to come back to like my friends here and work in Aoife's lab, so that I haven't had time to mope over leaving. I loved it there but I did get myself fully used to the idea of leaving by the time I had to leave. I wonder why I liked it so much - it was great to get close to my family abroad, and I loved the sunshine and trees, and my coworkers in the lab as well as the space itself (have I mentioned the walls were white/blackboards) were nice.