I've been in Dublin for almost three weeks now, which is shocking. Time has absolutely flown by! Getting here was quite the experience. My flight out of Dallas took off a couple of hours late because of a tiny rainstorm, and I only had an hour and a half layover scheduled in New Jersey. We landed in Newark about 10 minutes before my flight for Dublin was scheduled to take off. It was just like a scene in a movie- I was running frantically through the whole of Terminal C at Liberty airport, trying to make it. And alas, I got to the gate just a couple of minutes after the plane had departed. LET THIS BE A LESSON FOR EVERYONE FLYING INTERNATIONALLY: Schedule long layovers, even if it seems like a pain to sit around for a few hours. It will make your life so much easier. Luckily there was another flight to Dublin scheduled that night, and I got on standby and actually got a seat. All's well that ends well.
Dublin is a great city. Everything is exciting and fast paced on the streets, but there are seemingly a million parks scattered throughout the city where you can sit down to enjoy a cup of tea and feel so surrounded by nature that you almost forget you're in a bustling capital city. The Irish people are extremely friendly and very willing to go out of their way to help you in any way they can. So far I've gotten to do a bit of traveling in the area surrounding Dublin. I had my first encounter with the Irish countryside in the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin on a day tour. Let me say, it does not disappoint. Absolutely breathtaking. I've also traveled to some of the little coast towns north and south of Dublin on the weekend, and that's a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon.
I'm here doing neuroscience research for the summer at Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, and my project is up and going strong. It deals with ALS (often called Lou Gehrig's Disease in the States). We're using transgenic mice as an animal model of ALS and seeing if we can slow the disease progression using a chemical compound. I'm enjoying it very much, and learning a lot. I think this opportunity to spend time in a new environment living and working is allowing me to grow a great deal, not only as a researcher, but as a person as well. I've had such a great time over the past three weeks, and I'm sure it will only get better!