Saturday, June 27, 2009

Planes, Trains, and automobiles

Stop this train, I wanna get off, And go home again, I can't take the speed it's moving in, I know I can't
But honestly, won't someone stop this train?

More random musings....
1. I'm officially on my own. I made it through my first solo day without any bruises, but i'm thinking it may get a little lonely. The plan was to spend the weekend on the beach but it is cold and rainy, so my loneliness has been hard to get away from. 
B. I bought toothpaste. It tastes like vicks vapor rub, but cleans my teethies really well
iii. The saint party is still lasts until midnight on weekdays and 1:30 on weeknights
d.) I need to find someone who gives really good hugs. The kind that let you know that they really care about you. One of those big ones that just swallows you up. Yes... i need that

-that's all. I have more, but it's starting to turn into a pity party. 

Next week - even more experiments, navigating Lisbon life by myself, and hopefully a little raising cain...we'll see what i can do 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I can only think of one...

Down a back road, Long, hot summer, A couple kids runnin' loose and wild
He kissed her, She said mister, Take an inch and I'll give you a mile

The breeze has finally made its glorious debut. It comes through the window and brings with it a release from the stifling heat that has been hanging on like an unwelcome guest for too long. The breeze refreshes the musty too small cramped bedroom with dark purple sheets as well as every bone in my body. The past few days have been so full, there is no room to even start. There has been no time for thinking or digesting what is going on, hardly any time for food, but always time for coffee. I have learned three new techniques, figured out a computer program, and run two assays that have not previously been done. I have proven 15 portuguese Phd's wrong....twice. This was only in two days. The speed at which things are progressing are ridiculously scary. I run to get things done in time, while watching advisors sit and check email. The hierarchy of science says this is okay, their name will even be put first on the journal article, in front of the people who actually worked on the project. This upsets me, makes me shut down and answer in only one syllable answers, but tonight the words return with the prodigal breeze, that makes everything better. 

I miss hearing my name. A lot. There is a familiarity and comfort that I get when I hear my name, but i haven't heard it in ages. The portuguese do not have a K in their alphabet. That makes my name hard for them to pronounce, so they just don't. 

I saw a man today sitting in the backseat of his car. Playing the accordion. I love portugal. 

This weekend I am starting a new adventure. My professor will leave and it will just be me in Portugal. I'm actually really thrilled to start this chapter of the trip. Hopefully I won't cause too much trouble... 

someone is puking outside my window. Yes the saint party is still raging. We are on day six now. 

I got invited to spend weekends with one of the Phd's in my lab. She's technically overseeing the project that I'm doing, and she is really funny. So is her husband. I'm excited because people don't ever invite guests into their house/family life here, especially elegant american giants.

Today at the store i was checking out in front of a man who was only buying nutri-grain bars and whiskey. I wish i knew the story behind that one... 

Work is calling my name and it is 11 o'clock. What happened to my fun laid-back adventure? 

Friday, June 19, 2009

tome minha mao...

I Love Scuffed Up Cowboy Boots, And Broke In Tore Up Jeans, A Four Wheel Drive Eight Point Bucks
And Rocky Road Ice Cream, And Hell Yes I Love My Dog, And Jack D In My Coke, But Honey I love your love the most..

The cool breeze that moves in from the river does not make it into my bedroom. It gets lost somewhere between the statue of Marquis Pombal and the graffitied bus stop a block from my front door. The curtains in my bedroom don't ever move and the oppresive 40 degree heat from the day doesn't want to give-in to the night. So I have retreated to the balcony of the apartment where I can at least imagine the breeze coming my way, sometimes even feel something when a car drives too fast down the road underneath me. I'm feeling tired, reflective, lonely even, yearning for things that I cannot have.  

I have to give a presentation to 15 PhD's on monday. I thought the professors at Jewell were intimidating, I can only imagine what these people can do to me. 

I have acquired a new love for vinho verde. Portugal wine that translated, yes means green wine, but it is sweet, crisp, and bubbly. A bottle is the perfect end to a blistering day. 

I have lost my willpower. Chocolate Croissants, coffee, and a certain someone are always on my mind. 

I had an overwhelming desire today to just hold someone's hand. Or I guess have someone hold mine. Complete with interlocking fingers and everything. I got used to it in Barcelona and now I miss that reassuring feeling that comes when someone takes your hand. It's silly really, but I like it... 

I got kissed on the shoulder today. It was as high as my landlord could reach. I cried from laughing so hard after he left. He's infatuated with my legs, as is the rest of Portugal. They aren't used to someone my height. I'm called the elegant giant in lab... I feel like the giant part might be right, but elegant is obviously not translated into english right. 

I want someone to sing this song to me... 

and to finish my presentation...

and to convince Portugal that air-conditioning is okay

until then, I'll be here. Blazing my own trail, dreaming of my forgotten cowboy boots, air-conditioning, and that certain someone who can take my hand anytime he wants.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Life, love, and lab

your the kinda boy my daddy used to warn, would walk into my life and lead me down the wrong way, Im the kinda girl who tried hard to ignore, those things that daddy warned about those kinda boys. Well whats a girl to do with a big old boy like you, when we sit around and talk those we can just talk about, like making love and drinkin until the sun comes up

I've had three days to work in the lab and am nearly convinced that this isn't what I want to do with the rest of my life. 

-I have dissected way too many rats and wrestled with my ideas on the sanctity of life, even if they are rats
-I have cleaned and disinfected hundreds of glass sides.... hundreds
-I have sat through hours and hours of presentations on the brain, receptors, and caffeine. I have learned though that you shouldn't do meth and take caffeine at the same time... bad side effects
-I've mastered the metro system in Lisbon
-I've stopped using contractions in my speech, and slang, and big vocabulary. I miss that's what she said jokes the most

There have been some things that i enjoy however
-breakfast every morning with my landlord Hugo. He greets me with a hello darling, and compliments my beauty at 7 in the morning after i have rolled out of bed
-Beach time. I am four metro stops from a beautiful Portuguese beach. Expect a much tanner Kelsey to return to the states
-Cafe. This might be my downfall. Expresso teeming with sugar taken down in two gulps. I have at least three a day. 
-Running the hills of Lisbon. Up, down, and up again in only three blocks. I love it. My lungs love it. My legs love it. The Portuguese think i'm crazy... they don't run here

The Portuguese do not put their hands on their hips or cross their arms unless they are very very upset. It makes me stick out a little when i do these things... okay well maybe a lot. 

Life continues... this weekend we go to Sintra, i'll start more primary cultures, and start playing with chemicals... 

Sunday, June 14, 2009


A better rain, The kind that comes in off the coast and paints the sky, And lets you know that God's alive, A better rain, That'll wash me from your eyes so you can smile again, And be all right again, In a better rain

I spent the weekend at the beach processing everything I have seen and heard and done for the past 20 days. Here's what i've decided/learned 

1. I love fish. It is amazingly delicious
2. I love water. I think i was meant to live by a large body of water
3. Sand and sun is one of the best things to put anyone to sleep 

My ultimate decision is that I was not meant to be a Midwestern girl. I wasn't meant to live in the middle of a continent. I've been missing out on way too much! 

The tan is coming along nicely, the portuguese isn't as well, but what can you do? I start work tomorrow and man-oh-man am i excited/nervous/anxious/hopeful we'll see how it goes. They keep hinting at dissections... i think i'm going to be just fine here!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

stealing kisses and eating bocadillos

I don’t know, I don’t know what he’s after, but he’s so beautiful, Such a beautiful disaster, and if I could hold on, through the tears and the laughter, Would it be beautiful or just a beautiful disaster?


I’ve made it through 16 days of travel through Spain. It’s been ridiculously crazy, but I would have it no other way.


            After taking a train to Malaga from Granada and getting Sarah on the plane home, I had two days by myself and I decided to stay in Malaga and see the sites. I spent  time on the beach with the Hostel workers and some Canadians. Climbed up to the highest peak and saw all of Malaga, went to the Picasso museum, was introduced to a Malaga style botellun (basically a big street party where everyone drinks and drinks) and spent even more time on the beach. At the end of the third day I was on an overnight bus to Madrid, that included translating for some Canadians and absolutely no sleeping.



            The bus pulled into the station at 5 in the morning before the metro was even open. I slept on the bus bench and around 6:30 was awakened by the baton of a security guard. I guess my sleeping brain doesn’t respond to Spanish well… I made it to the hostel, checked in, slept on another bench, went to some free museums, found a couch to sleep on, met some crazy kids from Florida, Brazil, Switzerland, and a nomad and hit the town.  I found that bars offer free shots to get you in and it is common practice to get a free shot, then move on to the next bar without paying much. You can get a lot of alcohol without any money that way. I spent a few more days by myself, found the 24 hour McDonalds that offered happy meals and hookers outside. Got lost for about six hours, and in the process figured out the city, and spent time in the park listening to the Beatles with a Spanish accent, I met up with my friend Micah on the third and have been laughing ever since. Then I got to see the city with Liz and then got on a plane to Barcelona with Micah. We barely made the plane thanks to Ryanair and their cheap tickets. It meant my fifty pound suitcase was twice as heavy as allowed and would have cost two hundred euros to load it. Unwilling to unload that amount of money we ended up stuffing as much of my things into our carry-ons (and sneaking them on to the plane). But the call to Barcelona was to strong…. So we answered



            We arrived in the city at four and spent the next four hours lugging my suitcase up and down the streets of Barcelona in search of a cheap hostel or pension that was available. We walked and pulled and walked some more and finally after four hours found a pension that had open beds. In Barcelona we saw museums, crazy Gaudi buildings, markets, walked around the city, went to the beach, ate a bocadillo everyday, cooked dinner in the pension every night and I learned the actual Spanish meaning of Salir. Salir translated means to leave, however in Spain this is their word for going clubbing, and man did we salir! The discotechs didn’t open until midnight and the Spaniards didn’t get there until 2 or 3 in the morning. We left early with 2 Puerto Ricans, 2 Italians, 1 Portuguese, and the 50 year old owner of our hostel. We danced to hip-hop, got more free shots, danced to the oldies, more free drinks, then found the salsa club where we stayed for about three hours. Around five o’clock in the morning we decided to go to the beach and wait for the metro to open. The eight of us went to the beach, put our toes in the cold Mediterranean and laughed away the morning.  When we made it back to the sidewalk there were a few boys waiting for us, causing the owner of the hostel who is ex-military to go into high alert and scare them away. The best part of the night is one of the Italians, who was pretty fiery chased after one of them ready to fight, when he came back he said, “What kind of Italian would I be if I didn’t do something” and pulled his hands out of his pockets in the shape of pistols and fired a few “warning shots” That was probably Italy at its finest right there. 

Now I’m sitting in the Barcelona airport waiting for my delayed flight to Lisbon to arrive. I’m getting my country fix from my itunes and am busy digesting these past few days… I spent hours and hours talking to Sarah, liz and especially Micah. I have been comfortable outside of my comfort zone and even got something that was 4 years overdue. It’s been an amazing trip, and the stories are even better to hear that to read, but that will have to wait until I return in August.

More to come from Lisbon and my experiences with Portuguese and brain cells… delicious combination!