Being a research student working towards a degree, one of the most exciting things that can possibly happen is to get positive results. Science can be a fickle friend. After weeks of trying, I finally tasted a small measure of success! Now, to repeat the experiment until n=3 for statistical significance. To cap off such a happy event, I celebrated with a macaron whose deliciousness I will write about at a later time.
Sometimes, the lab can get a little too overwhelming, and so I escape… Specifically, I abandon the pipettes and cell culture and go in search for food. Unlike people, food is quintessentially uncomplicated. Food never throws a tantrum, or make ridiculous demands. Of course food wouldn’t be complete without friends, and so I grab my partner in crime. On these jaunts, we walk, bus, tram and train to reach those places that we’ve only read or heard about. We leave behind the world of Pubmed, and waltz into that of Urbanspoon. It is another dimension, another revelation.
We peruse the menu as closely as any materials and methods section in a paper. Then we make our orders, often sharing a dish or two as yardsticks to determine if a place is indeed as good as it was reviewed. In scientific terms, this is called peer assessment. During the waiting period (incubation), we catch up with what is happening around us. I find it incredibly fascinating that we never seem to run out of things to say. It is at the dining table that experiments are trouble-shooted, and new ideas take form. When the waiter lays down our order, there is a moment where my heart freezes as I catch sight of the food. It is a feeling that is very similar to the moment I have just before finding out my grades for the semester. Sometimes the food is wonderful, and sometimes they disappoint.
The excitement when we discover a new eating place is immeasurable. Immediately,our minds begin to whirl as we plan our next adventure. The plate of food is slowly polished off, their flavours and textures become a topic for lunchtime discussions over the next few days. Amidst all these, we realized that we did not have a lab book to document these thoughts, and so I created this blog.
My blog is as much for these food memories as they are to chronicle my time as a PhD student. I hope to look back on them with nostalgia one day. They are my youth.
This is a question that I often ask myself these days. If I look very hard, I can pin it down to two reasons. The first is that I really do enjoy learning and the second being how unwilling I am to let go of my status as a student. Being a student is awesome. Therefore, I embarked on the curious journey that is my PhD. Sometimes, I still pinch myself…