Work in Pisa
Yesterday was my first day in the lab…I must say it is good to be back in a real chemistry laboratory here 🙂 (in London the lab is more geared towards the built environment than pure chemistry, though we have access to chemistry laboratories in other departments when we need them). Yesterday was mainly a time for discussing and planning what needs to be done, as well as getting settled in the lab and getting the things all prepared for today so that when we arrived this morning we could immediately start the extractions of the dyes to be analysed (this part of the work I should have done in London but the solvents, vials etc. hadn’t arrived, so couldn’t do it…In a way this is good, since some new equipment will be arriving in Pisa which we want to wait for, so this time before it arrives later on this week will be used for the extractions…if anything, the girl I am working with here is much more experienced with working with dyes than me! So she is giving me some good help).
Today then we immediately started work. The first extraction we tried didn’t work 🙂 However – that is not the end of the world of course! Following that first try we knew a bit more about our samples, so tried again. Second try was not successful either, but we learned more. Third try? We got some level of extraction! WOOHOOO! We then tried to analyse the solution and compare it with other results we have for the sample…it didn’t exactly match, but we immediately realised that we are not comapring like with like. So next step is to confirm that what we have is what we need…which is what I hope we will determine tomorrow :).
Life in Pisa
Ahh! But my life here is not only work of course ;). Yesterday my flatmate returned to Pisa. It’s so nice to have someone to eat with, clean with, watch tv with, and just chat…especially after the months in London where life at home was very much a solitary thing (besides some walks with Ruth and very sporadic chats with people). The girl, Sara, is from the University of Ferrara and is working in the lab where I am working in for a few months. Luckily there was a free room in the apartment she is in, and so I got to have this room after the landlady agreed (of course…the landlady gets more rent, so why would she complain? ;)).
Another good thing about this is that Sara needs to improve her English while I need to improve my Italian. So our conversations turn out to be a hodgepodge of the two languages, as we switch and turn from one to the other depending on what words we know in the other language, and what we want to say. Also, last night she said she will join me on the walk to university this morning, so I had company on the morning walk (I decided that I will walk the 20-25min walk to university, rather than take the bus – to save money and my health!)
Now I am at university (since I don’t have internet at home), but will soon be off…Have to think what to cook! Was thinking of chicken…will see how that goes 🙂
Hope to have time to keep you updated throughout the trip! And thanks for all your nice comments 🙂