First of all, let me begin this blog by wishing you all a Happy New Year! 🙂
Similarly to many other people, I also have the tradition of beginning the New Year by reflecting on the previous one. I try to summarize all the lessons that I have learned, experiences (being good or bad) that I have gained and adventures that I have embarked on. From this summary I draw some conclusions and I set my intentions for the following year(s) by taking them into account. I not only reflect on the things that I have learned and achieved, but also on my failures and figure out ways of avoiding them in the future, for example by strengthening and improving my weaknesses.
2018 has been a really important year for me both personally and professionally. It has been the first year that I have entirely spent abroad, out of my comfort zone, away from my friends and family. These circumstances have made me appreciate the people that are continuously there for me even more. And yes, I know it sounds like a cliché but it is true that you only begin to see the value of things when they are out of reach. Dealing with a lot of issues in my everyday life this year has helped me improve my problem-solving skills tremendously. I have learned that no matter how helpful people are around you, in certain situations the only person you can count on is yourself. This year I have done a lot of things that seemed impossible a year ago (giving multiple scientific presentations and trying to solve problems in Spanish have certainly put me to the test). Thanks to being part of the FoodSmartphone project and the MSCA community, I have been able to attend various conferences and training courses and visit more places than I have ever had. Another thing that I have realized this year during my travels is, that no matter how many amazing places you see, the ones shared with the people you love will remain in your collection of memories the most.
Regarding the FoodSmartphone project, during the last few months my main focus has been on amplifying the electrochemical signal of my assays. Basically, I am testing different electrochemically active materials in order to find the configuration that gives me a reproducible signal that also correlates to the amount of analyte in my sample. This process has been pretty challenging so far, as we all know, in science things don’t always work out the way we want them to and the research plan can change every other minute, but I am optimistic and I believe that in the coming months we will be able to figure out the most optimal set up for my assays. Talking about the next few months, in a little bit more than a week I will start my secondment at CSEM. I am eager to go there and learn all that I can about electrochemistry and the printing of electrodes. Also, since I have never been to Switzerland I am really curious about the country, the people, the culture and of course about nature. Since winter in Barcelona is pretty mild, I really am looking forward to being around mountains and snow and experiencing real winter again (hoping that I will not freeze).
Talking about travelling, during the first few days of November I have visited the city of Seville in Andalucia (the South of Spain) and it has made quite an impression on me. I especially loved the architecture, my personal favourites were the buildings of Moorish influence with their beautiful gardens and tile patterns. It is not only the nice buildings but the entire ambience of the city which has a way of making you feel warm and happy (and of course the warm weather with plenty of sunshine doesn’t hurt eitherJ). While I was in Seville, I also had the chance to visit Cádiz and Jerez, two smaller cities nearby, which are charming as well.
Speaking about amazing architecture, a few weeks ago I have visited the inside of some of Gaudí’s famous houses in Barcelona that I haven’t seen before and they didn’t disappoint either. In my opinion Gaudí’s creations are the ones that make the ambience of the city so special and also attractive for tourists. I definitely consider myself lucky that I have them so close and can walk by them whenever I have the time.
Thank you for reading my blog!
Until next time from the Swiss Alps,