Friday 2 am and I still haven’t written a word. That’s so unlike me. I always write my blogs, at least 2 weeks in advance. So now, just before going to sleep, I am going to reflect on the last two months within the FoodSmartphone project. A friend of mine suggested I keep some kind of diary, writing down the most important things that happened related to the project, and then, gathering them in the blog. However, since this suggestion was given a few minutes ago, and since my memory is worse than that of a fish, the way to recall the main things that happened, is by scrolling into my phone’s photos.
Before talking about the past, however, I’ll talk about the future. In one week the midterm review meeting is going to take place in Wageningen. A great opportunity for me to meet all the other ESRs and to get to know their personality apart from their project because until now they are all just a number. ESR“ ”. Now they are going to be replaced by names, identities, and faces. This midterm review meeting is one of the reasons why now Friday morning is rising, and I still haven’t my blog ready for upload. Since the last few days, I have been working on my presentation for this meeting, preparing a lab tour at the MS facilities and also progressing at the experimental part of the confirmatory analysis.
So, starting the scrolling on my phone’s photo gallery, I see a picture from the welcoming meeting on the first week after the Christmas holidays. A lot of drinks and a few bites from RIKILT for the employees. I love those moments of relaxation at work.
Next is a photo of Gert’s introductory presentation. Gert is now the 5th member of our office on the second floor. And despite the fact that he is Gina’s new supervisor, and we were all skeptical of what the situation might be of having one’s supervisor at the office, I have to admit that nothing changed. After Gert’s photo, I find one of my laptop while preparing my progress meeting presentation, having some magnetizing colors of the sunset at the background. The meeting went better than anticipated hence why I’m still here.
A few scrolls up, some photos with an acronym written on some cakes. “WFSR” – Wageningen Food Safety Research. The name of the new institution after the merge between RIKILT and NVWA. And a few more scrolls, the first snow in Wageningen…. aaaand the first chocolate Easter eggs at the supermarket! YES! 28 of January and they are selling Easter eggs, which brings only two words in my mind… consumerism and commercialization… pffff.
Moving on I reach early February, and the Advanced Food Analysis (AFA) course that was held in Wageningen, at WICC. Even though the project offers a lot of opportunities to travel abroad for conferences, courses, and secondments, I was not so lucky until now, and all the activities I’ve participated in, take place in the Netherlands. Regarding the AFA, it was one week of everyday courses related to food analysis and novel approaches and applications. For those who don’t remember, my background is that of an analytical pharmacist, so I am not so familiar with food-related research, and listening for it from inspiring scientists was a great opportunity. I really enjoyed, among others, the presentation of prof. Chris Elliott and prof. Henk Schols. Also, prof. Saskia van Ruth, Dr. Hans Mol, and prof. Michel Nielen applied an interactive approach to their presentations, by incorporating videos and polls, using technology to their advantage. That was really interested, because the audience instead of being a passive intake of information, is able to participate in the process of learning!
During AFA, I presented my first poster as a member of the FoodSmartphone project and I got to meet some very interested new scientists that I really wish to meet again or possibly collaborate in the future. Moreover, apart from the above-mentioned presentations, the program of the course included a trip to Unilever, located at Vlaardingen. This trip was the perfect opportunity to explore the potentials of food science applications and see it in action from an industrial point of view. I would never imagine all the research that goes in food development.
Finishing the scrolling upwards, I reach this week, and I can see only one thing…. experiments. The everyday life of a new scientist. Demanding, but at the same time satisfying to plan my own experiments and see them work (if I’m lucky enough).
That’s it for now. One week’s left until February is gone. Time flies, experiences are lived and memories are born.
Till next time though,
Peace and Love!