June 12, 2007 8:44 AM

Back to work - wait, I never had a break!

Seems like when you leave the country for a couple of weeks, people assume that you spent your time on vacation. They expect you to return all rested and happy. Well, that's not so much the case. Especially when you go to Europe for research. Jetlag is no fun, either. So what do you do when people say, "Welcome home, now get to work!" I haven't figured it out yet. I just kind of mutter, "I never stopped working in the first place."

It's been non-stop since returning from the weeks at various European herbaria. I arrived home, spent a day with my family, drove back to Berkeley, threw my bags in my room, and made it to work at Starbucks - just in time for a 4pm shift. Closed the store, ran home on my own two feet, fell soundly to sleep, and woke up in time for the 8am class Monday morning. Except I didn't know what room it was in - so I showed up at the wrong place, found someone who knew what room it was in. They failed to mention the building so I wandered the wrong building for a half hour, then showed up late at the proper room. Learned the first few steps for making microscope slides. Went home at 6:30pm. I had 20 minutes for lunch in there somewhere, in between paraffin steps and not at a usual time at all.

People at the Co-Op seemed to think that I was just back from a wonderful vacation. They wanted to hear about all the places I saw in Europe. When I explained that they all looked about the same - shelves or cabinets with dried, old plant samples on acid-free paper - they figured out that I just wanted a bit of a break.

In a way, last week was a break. Microscopy is fun, and I realized that I was actually decent at it. On top of the fun I was having with the course, I wasn't running to Starbucks every evening to help with the close. Class got out too late to work a normal shift, so I just spent more time making perfect slides, then coming home to eat dinner, crash, and maybe watch people play a game of poker before sleeping. Saturday I was supposed to have the day off, but I made a horrible decision and took someone's morning shift at work. An eight-hour shift starting at 5:15am is not the best way to end a stressful week of slide-making. I slept all day Sunday, when I wasn't walking a love-able dog named Otis, who I happened to be pet-sitting. So, Sunday was my break, until I went to work at 4pm, that is.

This week I'm spending time in the Specht lab, learning new skills. Yesterday I spent my time extracting DNA from some Cheilanthoid ferns, the start of my SPUR project for the summer. I don't work at Starbucks again until Wednesday - thank goodness. Working while going to school is a rush. Unless you're crazy like me, I don't recommend it.

Christina | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (0)

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