Well…It was my birthday yesterday. Thank you everybody for the messages & wishes – it was all very much appreciated. Here is an extended set of replies to my friends across the globe asking about my life & wellbeing.
- Switzerland is indeed treating me well. It’s an exceedingly beautiful place: from the rugged Alps to the old cities to the bucolic lowland countryside. The chocolate is delicious and the national cheese dishes (raclette & fondue) are wondrous. It’s a country that takes a lot of getting used to – shops all closed on Sundays, conservative populace – but it’s worth persevering with.
- I am going great, thanks. I really like my job. I’m getting to run, travel and enjoy lots of culture. Over the past couple of weeks it’s felt like my comprehension of German has moved up a notch – I’m nowhere near fluency, but I can feel myself slowly moving in the correct direction. Despite mix-ups & misunderstandings, my confidence in successfully communicating in a foreign language is gradually rising. I feel like I’m really starting to fit into Basel life, meeting a brilliant mix of people.
- My future plans are still a bit uncertain. It is still my plan to do a PhD in organic chemistry – however my applications to grad schools in the USA were ultimately unsuccessful. It was a big disappointment learning this piece-by-piece in March, but I’m currently working on Plan B. Plan B = Europe. Hopefully I’ll have more (good) news on that before too long – it’s been a long drawn-out & stressful process that I aim to push through with. My internship with Novartis in Basel ends in early July.
- The Birthday itself was lovely. It was just another day in the office…but my mother came over for the weekend from Scotland! It’s her first visit to Basel, so I get to play at being a tour-guide and see my city through somebody else’s eyes. We went out that night for raclette and it defeated us utterly. Evidently we lack the cheese stamina of those Continental Europeans…
- I’ll be back in Edinburgh in June, and Philadelphia in August! I’m going to a chemistry conference in Edinburgh one week, and then will be supervising a hiking expedition in the NW of Scotland with my former DofE Award Group. Then there’ll be a holiday in Philly just in time for the peak of the humidity. I hope to catch up with as many friends as possible in those trips – I’m looking forward to them both.
Thank you once more: please keep in touch!