Monday, 3 September 2012

Baltimore Update

Hullo there! Now that I'm back in Baltimore, visa in hand, I just wanted to write an update about what's going on with me, and how I managed to come back so quickly, just in case you don't already know (and just in case you're actually interested...)

Everything I brought with me

So, back in June, thirteen days before my flight back to the UK, around lunchtime, I was merrily applying for jobs, including a postdoctoral position at the University of Maryland. By (afternoon) tea time I had an email asking me to call regarding this position. And less than an hour later I was down there being interviewed for a job that I was genuinely interested in and excited by! I felt like it went pretty well, and was asked to come back the following week to give a presentation about my PhD work.

The presentation also went down well, and after a short chat I was offered the job! Five days before I was due to leave! FIVE DAYS!!! Amazing.

Home I came, and happily went about enjoying July, but all the while waiting for the all important form to arrive in the post. By the time we got back from The Netherlands I was able to book an appointment to get my visa at the US Embassy in London.

I was lucky that my grandparents live only a 20 minute walk from the embassy, so I stayed with them for one very warm night. I arrived in good time for my interview and after a short wait went through security with no problems. There are lots of restrictions about what you can take in with you, so I went with the bare minimum: my documents, purse, a book and a cardigan. Turns out I didn't need the cardigan, it was extremely warm and stuffy in the massive waiting room ,which was packed with people!

After getting my number I only had to wait 30-45 minutes before handing over my documents, a process which took a few minutes at most, after which I settled down with a cup of tea and a Muller rice from the shop and waited. And waited. And waited some more. And just when I thought I couldn't wait any longer, I waited some more! I don't think I have ever had to wait so long for anything in my life. And I was too agitated to really enjoy my book. Finally, after waiting for 3.5 hours I had my interview. Which also lasted only a few minutes, consisting of a few simple questions.

It was such a surreal experience that after paying for my documents to be couriered back to me, I almost felt like I needed permission to leave! I even joked with the security officer outside that I was beginning to wonder if I would ever again breathe fresh air! It was definitely worth the experience though, as three days later my passport and visa were in my hands, and I was able to book a flight back to Baltimore for only a week later, and now here I am!

Homemade flatbreads to go with curry on Saturday night

After a stressful morning leaving my family and coping with a delayed train (25 mins! Thankfully I'm insane and left loooaaddsss of time!), everything else went smoothly. The flight felt very long, but I did watch three films (The Five-Year Engagement - very good; a BBC drama with Matt Smith about rowing in the 1948 Olympics, which I can't remember the name of but also very much enjoyed; and The Lucky One, which I also really enjoyed!). And I managed to enter the country without being quizzed at the border like last time! Yay for visas!

Baltimore Grand Prix was on this weekend, spot the car!

Thankfully today is Labor Day, a public holiday here in the US, so I have had a lovely four day weekend to recover and readjust. Walking around (getting used to the heat again!), baking, and trying to sleep.

Fresh, homemade soda bread for breakfast on Sunday morning

Tomorrow I start work. I am going to be doing research in cancer, specifically into a protein called NM23, which is well known in the field as a suppressor of metastasis. If anyone's interested I might write a post explaining more about my work sometime! I'm really excited about the work, but it is very much a change in field for me, so it'll be interesting to learn more about the subject. I'm mostly excited to get back into the lab and do something useful! I'll let you know how it goes :)

N bought me Harry Potter Lego today because he is awesome! :D


  1. I would like to see a blog post about your work!! I'm excited to be able to say to people 'yes, my friend is in USA trying to find a cure for cancer'! I never really understood your PhD so I would really like to understand your work now! Take care xxx PS. Love the lego!

    1. OK then, I will definitely do that when I know exactly what I'm doing, even if it's only you that reads it :D I might be a few steps removed from finding a cure, but it's nice to know that my research might help towards that one day! xxx

  2. oooh that flatbread looks so good!

    1. Thanks, it was! And super-easy! Thanks for stopping by :)