January spanned 5 weeks and it feels like it’s been a long long time since it was Christmas! I tried not to do so much outside of work as one of my new year goals was to save up but now having written it all up, I think I managed a fair bit!
Happy new year! Times two! One for the Gregorian calendar and one for the Chinese lunar calendar, which started on the 28th January. Kung Hei Fat Choi! Wishing you all the success and happiness for the year of the rooster/chicken!
On the 1st January driving back to Manchester from the northeast we had a clear night sky and a bright moon crescent and a really bright ‘star’ above it. A quick google search confirmed my guess that it was Venus and it also pointed out a less bright orangey glow higher up in the sky – Mars. It was an awe-inspiring backdrop to have whilst (I wasn’t) driving.
Amateur bike commuter update
My other new year goals included to cycle more. I arrived back into Copenhagen airport this year to a sign saying people of Copenhagen (Copenhageners?) cycle the equivalent of 31 times around Earth! I’ve decided to log my bike rides and see how much I contribute to that figure. My total distance cycled this month was 190.3 km – sounded impressive to me but I work with people who cycle much farther than I do so I know it’s not so much.
I was pleased to find that my bike was still chained to the outdoor shelter in our apartment yard and that the yard was fitted with an automatic light! Shame they fitted the light in a bad position which meant that it shone directly into the apartments opposite it and they don’t have blinds. So the next day it was covered up and later it was removed completely. Back to unlocking and unlocking in the dark (until the days get longer again)! I was not so pleased that my chain had slightly rusted and on two very cold mornings, my bike lock was also frozen! My colleagues recommended that I greased up both with some silicone. I bought a spray for the chain and I used some of the high vacuum silicone grease I use to seal my cell culture plates for the lock – both worked a treat!
Perfect weather for hyggelige evenings!
The cold winds, snow and frozen lakes made for perfect weather for some hyggelige evenings! I hosted a visiting student from University of South Africa’s Division of Exercise Science & Sports Medicine as I know how isolating it can be to be the new person, especially arriving to a new place in the dark winter months. We introduced her to dining, wining and candlelights!
Friends from my Danish class and I have also hosted a few evenings at one another’s homes. As they’re an international bunch it been great to try out their cooking! We’ve had a Trinidadian cooking lasagna, a German cooking ramen and of course I made apple crumble! On another cold evening my housemate was on a crepe mission (she’s very good at making all types of pancakes) and I got her to make a matcha crepe cake – it was easy, we followed this recipe.
Here’s the recipe for pork in herb and wine sauce I had cooked for my main on one of those evenings. It was pretty simple to make!
Cheap eats for January
Obviously, like many other people, I tried to save some money in January. This limited my eating out options unless they were cheap or there was a really good offer on, so I’ve cooked at home more. At the weekends, I’ve been making my own version of Grød’s breakfast oatmeal porridge. And I’ve been ill with flu these last few days (hence why the blog is late ), so I’ve been making Chinese rice porridge called congee, which is savoury not sweet.
In Copenhagen, my housemate and I made our monthly, (now) traditional trip to our favourite restaurant Halifax for their burgers. I didn’t deter from my usual København burger with sweet potato chips and I was not disappointed. I met up with another Copenhagen Yelper (who I’ve been meaning to meet up with since before Christmas) and she introduced me to Noodle House, a much hyped about Cantonese restaurant that occupies a teeny space in hipster Vesterbro. It was busy, it looked unassuming, it was cheap and it was really good. I can’t wait to go back for their stir fry beef ho fun (no. 18 on their menu for 95 DKK)!
I decided to loosen the purse strings go for one of life’s luxuries, brunch, because we wanted to take the visiting student out and about. (Eating breakfast or brunch outside your home and paying for it is a sort of luxury.) My work BFF found somewhere in Copenhagen that serves some bargains! If you’re interested, the Paludan Bogcafé opens at 10am on a Sunday so you don’t have to get there super early and they have a signature brunch for 99 DKK that was really pretty and full of all the good things! Shame I was despicably hungover and poor company – I blame those hyggelige dinner parties that turn into night outs.
Manchester’s booming food scene
Sooooo many new openings in Manchester since I’ve left that I’ve yet to try! Before I returned to Copenhagen I got to try out Grafene (see review on Yelp), Leaf for brunch with lovely PhD friends for a short catch up and I settled my craving for fish and chips at a nearby Harry Ramsden’s, it was quite nice! Also, I finally got to try out the new fusion product of a collaboration between a fancy chef called Brice Moore and popular Vietnamese street food eatery Viet Shack, called The Fusion Lab (read my review here).
Okay, okay, it’s not all eating! I did do a teeny bit of walking up some small muddy hills in the wrong shoes (some pink Adidas)! So there!
So, a quick update on the work front so it doesn’t just look like all fun and games: I’ve been enjoying running journal club with the students. We’ve recruited a new postdoc to join us at the ISMC – looking forward to introducing them in the late spring! I isolated new batches of cells and I started my CRISPR experiments! The reagents took a while to arrive from the states and I’m still adapting to the different ways of working here but I started my test experiment last Thursday! That’s all I can say for now.
Also, I got my decision on my application for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship that I struggled with last September as it was the first fellowship application I’d ever written. I didn’t get it but I did get a respectable score so I’m not feeling as crushed or demotivated as I thought I might be. I just have one more application to hear back from now so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that, and just concentrating on getting some results ready to present at a conference at the end of May – the FEBS Advanced Lecture Course – Matrix Pathobiology, Signaling and Molecular Targets. Join me! Application deadline is at the end of February.
Thinking of going to another matrix biology-related conference this year? Why not renew your membership or become a member of the International Society for Matrix Biology for only €20? They offer great travel grants for junior scientists (PhD students and postdocs for up to 5 years)! It’s easy to apply and I have some tips for what to put in your application!