Thursday, 20 September 2012


I've been home for over a week now. My thoughts have definitely gone back to the 'aargh thesis' dark side. My trip feels like it was so long ago that I can't remember it that well anymore. I will say though that the people I met at the course were nice (I guess it pays not to be antisocial sometimes), and I was able to cross another 30 before 30 item off my list - visit another castle. Oh, and we went to a Ceilidh, which was a big dinner in a hall with folk dancing afterwards. It was awkward dancing with a bunch of people I'd just met, but quite amusing. Except for the giant bruise that appeared on my ankle from one overly exuberant dancer accidentally kicking me twice.

As for the course, I'm very glad I went. All the brain dissection parts were very interesting, but in a slightly surreal and abstract way. By that I mean, it was sometimes difficult to reconcile that what I was holding used to contain the thoughts of someone. We also had case conferences, where patients with brain disorders actually came in so we could talk to them. These were great for bringing all the concepts back to reality, but it also made me very sad about how these people's lives have been permanently changed. It also made me want to wear a helmet permanently to avoid injury, along with aiming to get brain scans often - as you can see this course did not help my mild hypochondriasis. At the same time though it's amazing how much the brain does try to adjust and recover with injuries, and the way the patients dealt with their problems and got on with life was truly inspiring. One girl had to teach herself to walk and talk again after a car accident, and she ended up running with the Paralympic torch for part of its' journey to the London games. 

Anyway, before I head back to marking assignments (hey at least they make my thesis look like an attractive work option again) I will post a couple of pictures of my trip below.

Bodnant Garden, Conwy, Wales
Conwy Castle
The town of Conwy is still walled and you can get up on the walls and look around. The view is pretty impressive.

P.S. Brain research is super important so that progress can be made in preventing and treating injuries and diseases. It might be a bit morbid to think about, but please consider donating your brain to science. I plan to. 

**UPDATE: There is an awesome TV show called Battle Castle, and one of the episodes is about Conwy. Hooray!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


Part of Bangor University (via the uni website)
So I've been here in Wales for over a day now. Bangor and the surrounding areas are quite beautiful. There is a lot of greenery, a massive mountain and the seaside as well. Not to mention some really lovely old buildings. The train trip here from London was largely uneventful; I was worried about my luggage, but luckily standing by my giant bag with a perplexed look and making sighing noises worked at getting stronger people to help me lift it onto and off the train. I got here at 4pm yesterday and from what I could tell, being Sunday the shops were closed already so I just ate crackers for dinner sadly (I found out later a bunch of people found a pub to eat at, I wish I'd done that). At around 10.30pm I was drifting off to sleep when suddenly a beeping noise woke me up. At first I was very confused and thought my computer was playing up, but then realised no, it was the fire alarm and I had to evacuate. Everyone had to stand out in the parking lot in the cold (some people in pyjamas) until firefighters came to investigate. So overall not the best possible start!

Unfortunately this morning wasn't much better. I got extremely lost on the way to the first part of my course - so much so that I missed registration and the first talk. Thankfully a man specifically came up to me and asked if I was going to the course and if I was lost. It turned out he was the lecturer for the next part, so I was able to just follow him. He said my face was very successful at portraying the 'lost' concept which is why he approached me - so combining that with my 'my bags are heavy' look being quite successful too I will take this to mean I have a very expressive face. Perhaps poker is not for me however. Anyway apparently the first talk was just a general 'welcome' type thing so I didn't miss any important content. 

As for the content, it is very dense. Super interesting of course though, but quite an information overload. They also gave us all two books to keep, which is very nice. There are some very friendly people here too. I was a bit concerned as I'm not a fan of interacting with strangers, however I decided to put in an effort as I don't want to be a loner for the whole week. Especially as later this week we have a couple of outings. So shortly some of us are meeting up to go out to dinner - at least I don't have to just eat crackers again.
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