First of all, since I am just starting the FoodSmartphone blogs, let me introduce myself! I am Ariadni, or for those who know me for years, Aria or Aru! I was born and raised in Athens, Greece. I finished my studies in the School of Pharmacy in 2015 and after that I obtained an MSc degree in pharmaceutical analysis. Now, I am the new ESR working on the “Mass spectrometric identification in ligand binding assays” project!
I started this journey one month ago, and since then it’s been a roller coaster of emotions. Before my move to Wageningen, I faced a serious issue of not finding accommodation. After a loooooooong search, and a fear that I was going to be homeless, I was able to find a really nice place to stay just next to RIKILT; the institute that is going to be my place of inspiration and hard work for the near, and hopefully, the distant future. As I was informed afterward, I was not the only one to face such a problem. Accommodation in the Netherlands and especially in Wageningen can be a time-consuming and energy-taking process, since, as I was informed, the number of students coming to study has raised, but the number of accommodation has not raised accordingly.
The first thing that surprised me in the Netherlands, was how flat and well organized it looks from the sky! No wonder why everybody cycles here…
The first weeks went by really quickly. Dutch people speak remarkably good English which makes moving here way easier than what I anticipated. Also, I met a few Greeks studying in Wageningen which was unexpected. However, most challenging for me until now was to get used to eating lunch “the Dutch way” which means 12:00 sharp. All the others gave me this surprised look every time I told them I usually ate later, because, as most of the Mediterraneans, I am used to eating lunch at 14:00-15:00. So the first days I was eating all alone in my office and eating with the other colleagues of mine, took me some time. Even if I try really hard not to make comparisons between my home country and the Netherlands, it is really difficult. Having lived all my life in Greece, and this being the first real time that I am abroad for a long time, getting to know a different culture and people from different places, I cannot stop thinking how different one country is from another, but at the same time, common elements are easy to be found.
One of the things I enjoyed most the first days of my arrival at Wageningen, was walking at the Arboretum Dreijen, which is full of beautiful flowers and trees and in a few places some really modern pieces of art. Apart from that, I also got to visit Utrecht. Reading the 1st blog of Gina, I was so motivated to visit this city, that it was the 1st exploration of the Netherlands that I did.
Thankfully, not only the garden is so beautiful, but also the place that I will be working. WUR’s campus is so well organized and the buildings’ architecture is amazing! And I was lucky enough to be here on the 100 years of the university’s foundation. The campus filled with stages, playing different types of music and singing, while other activities going on inside the buildings. I really enjoyed the performance of the guys from the WUR comedy club and also seeing the “silent disco”. For those who don’t know what that is, people are dancing on a stage with headphones on, and no-one else but them is listening to the music. So seeing people moving to an inaudible by the viewers bit, was a really funny and bizarre performance.
Unfortunately, the start of the project consists of a huge amount of paperwork, administrative tasks and many documents to read and complete, so, hopefully at my next blog, I will be able to share with you more about my progress on the mass spectrometric identification in ligand binding assays.
Till next time though,
Peace and Love!