Snowed in II

The snow day quickly became one and a half and finally 2 days. Thanks MSU for being reasonable and not exposing your people to dangerously cold conditions.

This winter confinement has brought an unexpected productivity with it. As I said in my previous post, not only Necessity is the mother of Invention, but Boredom may be the mother of Productivity as well. I’ve only left my apartment twice, both times to go to the fitness room (located less than 0.25 miles from my doorstep), and it’s so cold that I’m not tempted to go anywhere else.

As my mom said the other day, I’m living like a housewife from the 50s (without the husband). Yesterday I even ironed! For those of you who know me, that’s a little miracle in itself, but the highlight of my Monday was my resizing one of Nico’s old sweaters to fit me. Last time he did a clean up of his closet, I asked him to give me any sweaters he was trying to get rid of, and he complied :) I’ve used some of those to make scarves (using this tutorial), but there was this one that I quite liked and couldn’t find a good use for. Yesterday I decided I wanted to wear it, but it was pretty large and unflattering for me, so I googled how to resize a sweater and gave it a try. I loosely followed these instructions.

After two and a half days of cooking, crafting and enjoying the internet, I decided that I had to do something work-related today. We were supposed to only have half a snow day, so I wanted to start working in the morning. I actually worked for several hours, which was good.

But after working (okay, I started during my lunch break, but most of this was done after science) housewife-Dani came back. I like housewife-Dani, she never ceases to amaze me. I ate the last of the cream of wheat today, which limits my breakfast options for tomorrow morning (after that I can go grocery shopping). What did I do? Inspired on this recipe and this recipe, I created my very own breakfast quinoa recipe, using some of the food we got for Christmas (so, thanks to the Hildens for many of the ingredients). I did what I’ve learned not to do in the lab: I tried my “reaction” in a big scale. It turned out pretty decent, so I won’t complain. Here’s the recipe:

Dani’s slow cooker breakfast quinoa

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked quinoa

- 4.5 cups water

- 8 tsp vanilla extract

- 8 tsp maple syrup

- 1/2 dried cranberries

I just put everything in the crockpot and cooked at low for 4 hours. Based on what other people did, I divided this in 8 servings. They are not huge, which allows for some extra maple syrup :) And I’ll add water when reheating. Ta-da! So proud of this.

But, wait! housewife-Dani didn’t stop there. Let me give you some background: living in Michigan, boots have become my BFFs for the winter. And I can only wear boots with skinny jeans (I hate seeing the extra fabric creeping out of the boots), which means I need as many skinny jeans as I can get my hands on. Okay, not so many. But many. I found this tutorial and decided to give it a try. It took me an hour (which I think it’s nothing) and now I have a nice pair of dark skinny jeans, which is great because almost all my skinny jeans were light blue :)

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Aren’t you proud of me? This time I even have a picture.

What’s next, you ask? Well, it’s time for a 3 mile run, and after that, I’m making bagels!

I hope housewife-Dani stays around. Tomorrow I’ll go back to the lab, and will have to live up to these past days’ productivity. More on that later.

(have you noticed that the snow days even made me blog? wow)

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Snowed in

They say Necessity is the mother of Invention. I’d add that (sometimes) Boredom is the mother of Productivity.

I got back to East Lansing yesterday afternoon and was welcomed by my cats and a Snow Storm Warning. The former have spent all their time trying to sit on me; the latter has kept me home for about 30 hours (and counting). We even have a snow day tomorrow at MSU! It’s the second time in three years (the first was during my first year here), and the 6th in the history of MSU. Yes, the weather is that bad.

So, what’s the connection between paragraphs 1 and 2? I’ve been in my apartment since I got back in EL; my good friend Annie offered me a ride to the grocery store, but I was too tired for that yesterday, and we have all the essentials here (had we had no toilet paper, I would have run to Meijer; any other thing is not a staple). So here I was, with a pantry full of beans, rice, pasta and spices, an impending snow storm and a humongous pile of dirty clothes. I started with the laundry. I’m pretty sure the washing machine was going from 5 to 9 pm. I could not believe how much dirty crap I had piled up on! Those 5 days without power before our trip did take a toll on our laundry, and I couldn’t catch up before we left, so the pile was taller than me. Okay, no, not that tall. But impressive nonetheless. While the washing and drying machines were doing their magic, I turned my attention to the kitchen. I was hungry, and there was almost nothing to snack on, so I had to cook. Knowing that my next trip to Meijer will no happen for a couple of days, I decided to stock up on food. And that’s when the “necessity is the mother of invention” kicks in. I got fairly creative and used whatever was in our pantry and our freezer (that had been partially emptied during the power outage). I won’t be enjoying gourmet cuisine this week, but hey! the split pea soup I made is delicious. No complaints here.

But the soup, the quinoa, the beans are not surprising. The amazing thing that happened today was bread. I made my own bread (Peeta would be so proud!), and it was delicious. And so easy! Surprisingly enough, all the ingredients were in our pantry, even the yeast. Yes, it said “best before March 2013″, but I just used a bit more than what the recipe called for and it worked like a charm. Take that, expiration dates!

I used this recipe. Thank you whatever your name is, I couldn’t easily find it on your blog for this great recipe! You’re my best friend now. For reals. 

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Yummy yummy goodness. Oh, how I love carbs!

But, wait! It doesn’t end there. I’ve also been very active with my sewing machine today. I made a new headband and 3 pairs of leg warmers, all from old sweaters. Oops! I haven’t taken pictures of those yet. I’ll do that when I wear them. I didn’t follow a specific tutorial for those, but Pinterest is full of them if you’re curious.

Recapping, in the last 30 hours I’ve done a ton of laundry, made two yummy dishes that will feed me this week, two loaves of bread (you know, go big or go home), three pairs of leg warmers and a head band. I feel so accomplished! My mom says I sound like a housewife from the 50s. Oh well, at least I’m ready for the cold week and I haven’t been bored for a minute since I got back. Now you see the meaning of my first sentence.

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2014. Ready or not, here we go.

Well, 2013 certainly was a crazy crazy year. Yes, that’s part of the reason why I haven’t blogged since March. I should be better about this, but part of the thing is, if only a handful of my friends read my blog, wouldn’t it be easier to just email them? which is something I’m not that good at, either. And my blog posts serve a different purpose. Okay, I’ll try to be better at this. Maybe I should make it a New Year Resolution. It’s better than “I’ll work out more” or “I’ll floss every day”, which are things I have covered.

So yes, one of my New Year Resolutions (NYR from now on) is to blog more often. There are so many crazy things I think about, I should write about them. That might help my sanity. Or not. Oh well.

I have two more NYRs. One is to be better with money and actually save some. These past months have seen me spend much money. There were good reasons, and then there was crap. This has to change. I’ll probably blog about this at some point, but for now let’s leave it at that.

The other NYR is to educate myself. This, coming from a person who’s been in school since 1992 (holy f**k! that’s 22 years) might sound a bit weird. But there are so many things to learn, so much to listen to, to read, to watch… I am a fairly good reader (my goal for this year is to read 24 books; yes, of course I have a goodreads profile!), but I am a lousy movie watcher. I have this idea that I won’t enjoy/understand “smart movies”, those movies that “cultured people” watch and enjoy, so I don’t watch them, and miss out. Yes, I do realize how stupid this is, but I have a hard time overcoming it, hence my NYR. Maybe I could blog about the movies I watch. It doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

But this is not what I want to blog about today (you see? my thoughts are always in the way of my intentions). I’d like to talk about the past and then get into 2014 and my plans and all that. It should be a nice way to wrap up my 2013 and get ready for this year. I’m in New York City at the moment, flying back to EL tomorrow morning; the semester begins on Monday, so I’m in a sort of temporal limbo that’s perfect for this kind of balance that I was thinking of.

This is the 6th New Year that Nico and I go through since we met (in August 2008):

*When 2009 began, we both were in Buenos Aires. I spent it NYE with my good friends Iani, Dofi and Pau. It was a lot of fun (4 crazy girls dancing in one apartment; it sounds silly but it was a blast). Nico and I were official but not so serious back then, so spending the holidays together didn’t cross our minds.

*We were together in Chicago when 2010 began. That was a ridiculously cold winter that got me acquainted with real cold and snow and slippery side walks. I sucked it up and enjoyed the awesome city.

*We kicked off 2011 in Washington, DC with our friends Tere and Andy (they were dating back then and now they’re married. Wow.)

*We hosted a NYE dinner/potluck in East Lansing when 2012 began. We had several friends over, ate too much and ran around the block with an empty suitcase after midnight. This is supposed to grant you many trips during the new year. It worked for me.

*Then 2013 found us in Argentina again; Nico was in the south with his family and friends, I was in Buenos Aires with mine. We had spent Christmas together with my dad, so we were on our own for NYE.

*And now we’ve started 2014 in New York. I love this city! The weather has been rather unkind to us; it rained a lot a couple of days ago and now there’s a Winter Storm Watch; it’s been snowing since yesterday evening. It hasn’t really thwarted our plans, but it’s made our days not as pleasant as they could have been. Oh well. Being cold in NYC is better than being cold in East Lansing any day.

So, what’s next? The answer is: WHO KNOWS. And no, I’m not being philosophical or anything like that. Nico will start his residency this summer, but we won’t find out where until Match Day (March 21). The result of his match will determine many things and that’s stressing. I try not to think about it much, we just have to wait until March. It drives me nuts.

All in all, 2013 was a good year. Crazy, but good. Two babies were born (Linus, Annie’s son, and Iria, our sweet niece), which is huge.

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Iria, our sweet cute lovely niece.

I went to my first conference as a graduate student. I bought a sewing machine and became sort of a craftaholic (this might sound like nothing, but it was big to me, and it’s been great to fight depression). My dad visited us. And I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff.

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My dad came to Michigan! Yay!

What’s on tap for 2014? First of all, a crap ton of work. I’m teaching a new class this semester, which will bring its own demanding workload. I also need to make progress in my research, because ideally I want to graduate by December 2015… right now that sounds impossible. Many hours will be spent in the lab this year (and here I could also start talking about how I should work smarter, not harder, but the truth is I need to do both and talking about that stresses me out. We are not doing this today).

Since Nico will be moving to a different town (I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Chicago), the cats and I will have to move to a smaller apartment. I am so not looking forward to apartment searching and moving!

I’m giving half-marathons another try: I’m running the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 24. This is both exciting and scary. I’ll start training for it in March. I don’t care how slow I run it, I want to run the whole thing. Just that. The race is in Traverse City, MI, so we’re making it a girls’ weekend up there. No matter how hard the race is, it’ll be a fun weekend.

My dad is turning 75 this year, so I’d love to go home for that. That’s in July, so hopefully I’ll be able to take some time off then.

And, going back to the beginning of my post, I’ll blog more, learn how to manage my money and educate myself.

It will be an intense year, and I don’t think there will be much time to be bored. Bring. It. On.

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Habemus Papa

Do you know what the most profitable business is? Buy an Argentinean for what they’re worth, and then sell it for what they say they’re worth.

No, I am not suggesting you involve in illegal activities. This is a pretty popular joke in Latin America. We, Argentineans, are well-known for our huge egos and lack of humility. Having an Argentinean Pope seems likely to make things worse.

Now let’s get serious here. Argentina is the best country in the world. Have you heard about Gardel? (seriously? don’t you know what tango is? then check this out). What about Maradona? Messi? Are you a basketball fan? Then Manu Ginóbili may be familiar to you. Let’s talk about science then: do you know what monoclonal antibodies are? They were discovered by an Argentinean (and some other people from not-as-important countries). Who was the first Latin American Nobel laureate in sciences? Bernardo Houssay. And the first Spanish-speaking Nobel laureate in chemistry? Luis F. Leloir. I hope you don’t have to have coronary artery bypass surgery, but if you do, then thank René Favaloro, who happened to be Argentinean.

Do you know how they take your fingerprints every time you go through a security checkpoint at an airport? And how you use a ballpoint pen to doodle when bored? What about blood banks? Those are certainly useful, right?

Where is the widest avenue in the world? The widest river? The highest peak of the Western and Southern Hemispheres?

And don’t even get me started on dulce de leche (no, no link to Wikipedia here; if you don’t know what dulce de leche is, you’re not worth my time).

You might have not heard about this, but one of Maradona’s nicknames is “God” (yes, we’re convinced that God is Argentinean… and some people have taken that to an extreme). And then, Messi is of course the messiah. Having an Argentinean Pope was just a matter of time.

Oh, have I mentioned that this is the first non-European Pope ever?

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Valentine’s Day II

Disclaimer: Being Argentinean, I grew up barely aware of Valentine’s Day. As a teenager, Hollywood taught me about it, and before I turned 20 it had been added to the “special days” calendar in Argentina. I never though of 2/14 as an interesting day, and even now I don’t find what’s so special about it, but since I’m in the US now, it’s become part of my life, just like Thanksgiving (which I really enjoy) and Fat Tuesday (I don’t like Packzis, sorry).

What is the disclaimer for? I’m not sure. But I feel kind of weird posting about Valentine’s Day, even more so because this is my second post about it (and I haven’t done a great job in my first year as a blogger).

This was my third Valentine’s Day in the US (if we don’t count 2009). I’ve never really celebrated it; I don’t like going out the same day every one goes out. I don’t like having to be romantic. I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day, okay? Just live with it. However, all three times I’ve bought candy for my students on 2/14. Why? Well, I like being nice (yes, I probably am a people pleaser), and they always seem really happy when I give them chocolate. They just don’t expect it, and I enjoy seeing their happy faces.

But this year I was extra nice. Why? Maybe I’m trying to convince karma that I shouldn’t be on its black list, or maybe I’m tired of being negative. Anyhow, I decided to “embrace the cheese factor” (yes, I’m quoting JT from CW’s Beauty and The Beast… I watch that show on the elliptical/treadmill every Thursday night). Not only I bought candy for my students (one of them even hugged me! she’s sweet), I also made treats for my labmates! (these were like crack; you can find the instructions here: http://griffithsrated.blogspot.com/2012/02/valentine-prezel-buttons.html)

When Kelley saw them, she asked "are those from Pinterest?" Of course!

When Kelley saw them, she asked “are those from Pinterest?” Of course!

I even wanted to do something with Nico, but yesterday was quite a crappy day (and I also ate too much chocolate), so our mini Valentine’s Day dinner had to wait till tonight. What am I making? Brownies (Nico’s choice). But not just any brownies. I’m using my friend Mariano’s recipe.

Let me tell you a little about him. Mariano is kind of a rustic man, not the kind of guy that’ll take you out in a fancy dinner or say sweet things to you. But he’s the kind of guy that will be there when you need to have a beer, or share some mates (he makes some of the best mates ever. Seriously, you don’t know what mate is? Google it. Or click here). He also makes the most amazing brownies. You know how you’d expect a gay-ish guy to make good brownies? Not this guy. Seriously, he’s the opposite of the sweet gay guy you’d expect to make brownies. He’s the kind of guy that will have brownies with you while telling you about the hot girl he made out with last night, and not in a gentlemanlike way.  At the same time, he’s the kind of guy that won’t hold a grudge, even if you aren’t very nice to him one day. Yes, I miss having him around, even though some days I just wanted him to shut up and give me mate and brownies. Oh, and he has a huge flaw: he doesn’t like dulce de leche. That is something I will never understand. Seriously. Have I mentioned he also makes great pizzas? And he looks creepy in every picture, like the kind of guy you don’t want to meet on the street at night.

Neon hat guy is Nico. Ultra smiley guy is Mariano.

Neon hat guy is Nico. Ultra smiley guy is Mariano.

So, why am I talking about Mariano in a Valentine’s Day post? There’s more than one reason. First of all, I don’t know how to get in the Valentine’s Day spirit. It’s just not my thing. Second, I can’t just post a recipe without giving some background for it, and to me, Mariano’s brownies are the real thing. Third, I’m always a bit homesick so I like talking about my Argentinean friends. Fourth, this is my blog and I can write whatever I want, right?

Enough of Mariano. Let’s get to the brownies.

Mariano’s Brownies

-Ingredients

  • 200 g butter (15 tbsp)
  • 150 g  (1 cup) dark or semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup self-rising flour (or all purpose + 1.25 tsp baking powder + 1/4 tsp salt)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pecans, almonds or walnuts to taste

-Procedure

1) Preheat oven to ~350 F for 10 minutes

2) Melt chocolate and butter (don’t eat this mixture!)

3) Beat eggs and sugar until creamy. Add the flour in small portions, without beating. Fold the nuts in.

4) Finally, slowly add the chocolate-butter mixture (no beating!)

5) Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Ideally, you should wait till they cool down, but who can resist a warm brownie with vanilla ice cream?

Like a boss

Like a boss. OK, yes, they crumbled a bit.

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Temporada de agradecimientos

[English version: click here]

A pocos días de “Acción de Gracias” (Thanksgiving de acá en más), veo algunas personas haciendo su “lista de agradecimientos” (un item por día) en facebook y etcs por el estilo. Para mis queridos argentinos, Thanksgiving no es sólo un día para comer pavo hasta el hartazgo. Hay además un montón de guarniciones y postres. Era un chiste. Thanksgiving es (o debería ser) una fecha para ser agradecidos y valorar quienes somos y lo que tenemos. Me gusta esa idea; es un buen “ejercicio” enfocarse en lo bueno que nos rodea y estar agradecidos por eso (a quién le agradecemos es otra cuestión, y no me voy a meter eso ahora). Así que acá está mi lista de agradecimientos; estas son las cosas por las que yo estoy agradecida (el orden no denota importancia).

Estoy inmensamente agradecida por mi educación. En mi vida tuve acceso a muy buena educación en todos los niveles, y es difícil explicar lo muy importante que fue (y es) para mí. Y no sólo eso: fui a un secundario público y también a la universidad pública, así que estoy agradecida por no haber tenido que pagar por una educación de calidad. Siento que le debo algo al país (y no “alguito”; mucho) y espero algún día poder retribuirlo. Esta educación me abrió muchas puertas, entre ellas estar ahora en East Lansing continuando con mi aprendizaje. También estoy agradecida por la educación que estoy recibiendo en EE.UU., y por todo lo que estoy aprendiendo “informalmente” mientras estoy acá.

Y esa educación por la que tan agradecida estoy no hubiese sido posible sin el apoyo de mis viejos. Ellos siempre creen en mí, incluso en esos momentos en los que yo me siento un fracaso. Me dieron todas las oportunidades y siempre me alentaron, pase lo que pase. El estar en East Lansing es un gran ejemplo de esto: ninguno de los dos me dijo nunca que no lo hiciese o que me quedase “en casa” con ellos; esto era lo que yo quería, así que también se convirtió en su objetivo. Mis viejos son lo más, y no tengo palabras para agradecerles por tanto.

La rompen. Mis viejos la rompen.

También estoy agradecida por los amigos que tengo y por los que tuve. Pero sobre todo por los que tengo; estoy muy agradecida por tener amigos de fierro que están conmigo a pesar de la distancia y la diferencia horaria. También estoy agradecida por los amigos que hice acá, porque hacen que mi vida sea más llevadera, hasta “disfrutable”.

Ale (izq.) y Quique (der.)

Pau (izq.) y Ian (der.)

Dofi y yo en un muy aburrido laboratorio de química industrial.

Nico es otra razón para estar agradecida. Tuve la suerte de encontrar a alguien dispuesto a intentar una relación a distancia y pelearla para que funcione, para transformarla en una convivencia que vale la espera. Sí, claro, a veces me gustaría que fuese más romántico, o más ordenado. Sería feliz si lavase los platos que ensucia al desayunar o si no dejase su ropa tirada por toda la pieza. Recibir flores más seguido estaría bueno. Pero saben qué? Estoy hablando del tipo que caminaba hasta la biblioteca en el invierno de Chicago para chatear conmigo cuando todavía no tenía internet en su departamento. El mismo tipo que me va a buscar al laboratorio a medianoche cuando mis experimentos duran más de lo planeado. Sí, ese que me abraza dormido a la noche y me sorprende (esto me parece lo más tierno del mundo, pero no le digan que les conté, sí?). En serio quieren más? Vino conmigo cuando corrí mi primer 5K (en Thanksgiving del año pasado), y se puso contento por mí pese a que tuvo que esperarme en la calle cuando hacía mucho frío. Además me hace reir, Mucho. Y cocina como los dioses. Y me quiere y yo lo quiero a él. Y estoy agradecida por eso.

En el campus de Northwestern – Marzo 2009.

Y estoy agradecida por nuestras gatas, claro! Nos cambiaron la vida. Me hacen sentir como en casa, y me hacen compañía cuando trabajo (y cuando hago fiaca). Me encanta ver lo contento que Nico está con ellas, y aunque me queje, me encanta que duerman con nosotros (bueno, conmigo; en mi almohada la mayor parte del tiempo).

Estoy agradecida por mis sobrinos. Llegaron a mi vida cuando ya había perdido la esperanza de que hubiese bebés en la familia. Todavía me acuerdo de la primera vez que tuve a Joaquín en brazos, cuando tenía menos de un día. Ellos me hicieron descubrir algo en mí que no sabía que existía. Es increíble lo mucho que podés querer a alguien desde el momento en que lo ves por primera vez. Es increíble cuánto amor pueden dar. Simplemente, los amo.

Joaquín, mi sobrino mayor. Tenía 3 años en la foto. Ahora tiene 7.

Estoy agradecida por mi familia, que no es numerosa, y también por mi familia “extendida”. La familia de Nico ha sido una gran incorporación a mi familia; es muy lindo tener un poco de familia acá, y poder pasar Thanksgiving con ellos. La perspectiva de nuestra cena argentino-estadounidense me llena de alegría :)

Volviendo al aspecto educativo/laboral, estoy muy agradecida por mi director de tesis. Jim cree en mí y me alienta; ve un potencial en mí que yo soy incapaz de ver. Desde que empecé a trabajar en el grupo aprendí un montón, y sé que voy a seguir aprendiendo, y estoy agradecida por tener a Jim guiando el proceso. No, no soy chupamedias. Realmente agradezco el trabajar para él. También estoy agradecida por mis compañeros de labo. Al principio no era tan así, pero ahora puedo ver lo copadas que son las personas con las que trabajo. Me han ayudado un montón, y sé que me voy a seguir aprovechando de su buena onda por un algunos años más. Es lindo llegar al labo y que te saluden con una sonrisa; está bueno trabajar en un buen clima.

También agradezo por mis modelos a seguir. Son muchas las personas que han inspirado (y me inspiran) a ser mejor [esto es una obra es construcción]. Claramente estoy incluyendo a gente como Marie Curie en esta lista (sí, ella es mi heroína número 1), pero estoy aún más agradecida por la gente que conocí, con la que pude interactuar. Gente como profesores, compañeros de laboratorio, amigos. Algunos de ellos son modelos a seguir en muchos aspectos, y otros quizás sólo lo son por una cosa, pero todos ellos me inspiran. Está muy bueno tener gente a la que admirar y respetar.

También agradezco por mis alumnos, los argentinos y los gringos. Enseñando de aprende muchísimo! Ha habido buenos y malos momentos, pero en general disfruté y disfruto de la docencia, y sé que enseñar me ayuda a superarme y convertirme en una mejor docente.

Estoy agradecida porque soy más fuerte y valiente de lo que creo. Prueba de eso es que estoy acá. Pero hay también otras muchas cosas menores, y estoy orgullosa de ellas (aunque la mayoría del tiempo no lo recuerde). Fui valiente y me animé a correr, incluso a intentar una media maratón (y ya van a ver que no será la última). Fue valiente y me hice un tatuaje. Todos los días crezco un poquito, y sé que eso es en parte porque soy valiente. Incluso aunque me olvide y me crea cobarde, hay cierta fuerza adentro mío que me hace seguir adelante. Estoy realmente agradecida por eso.

Seguro que me olvido de algo. Seguro que en los próximos días se me ocurren varias cosas para agregar, pero por hoy basta.

Finalmente, si llegaste hasta acá leyendo, te agradezco por eso.

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Gratitude Season

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I’ve seen some people posting their “gratitude list” on facebook and what not. For my Argentinean crew, Thanksgiving isn’t just about eating as much turkey as you possibly can. There are lots of sides, too. Just kidding. Thanksgiving is (or should be) about being thankful and appreciating what we are and what we have. I like the idea, it’s a good “exercise” to focus on the good stuff and be thankful for that. So, here’s my list; these are the things I’m thankful for (in no particular order).
I am immensely thankful for my education. I’ve had access to very high-quality education at all levels, and I can hardly describe how important that is to me. Even better, I mostly went to public schools, so I am also thankful for not having had to pay for that awesome education. I am in debt with my country and I hope I’ll be able to repay it. My education has given me several opportunities, like being here in East Lansing learning even more. I am also thankful for my American education. And for all the informal learning that has happened thanks to it.
I would have not been able to pursue my education without my parents unconditional support. They’ve always believed in me, even when I was ready to call myself a failure. They’ve given me every opportunity they could afford (and I’m not only talking about money), and they’ve always encouraged me to go after my goals/dreams, no matter what. My being in EL is a great example of that: not even once they told me to back out or stay home with them; if this was what I wanted, then it would become their dream as well. Words are not enough to tell how thankful I am for my kick-ass parents.

kick-ass parents, heck yes

I am also thankful for my friends. For all of them, those whom I completely lost touch with and those still around. Specially the latter I am very very thankful for having such awesome friends that are there for me despite the distance and the time zones (I’ve blogged about them before, so I won’t repeat myself now). And I am also thankful for the friends I’ve made here, because they make life far from home more enjoyable.

Ale (left) and Quique (right)

Pau (left) and Iani (right)

Dofi and I (in a very boring chemical engineering lab)

Nico is another great reason to be thankful for. I’ve been lucky to find a guy willing to try a long-distance relationship and really make it work, to turn it into a domestic partnership that is worth the wait. Yes, of course I sometimes wish he was more romantic, or more organized. I’d be ecstatic if he were to do his dishes after breakfast or not to leave his clothes scattered around the bedroom floor. Getting flowers more often would be nice. But you know what? We are talking about the guy that would walk to the library in the Chicagoan winter to chat with me before he got internet at his new place. The same guy that will pick me up from the lab around midnight when my experiments take for ever. Yes, the one that will hug me when he’s asleep and surprise me in the middle of the night (I find this beyond cute, but don’t tell him I told you, okay?). You want more, you say? He came with me when I ran my first 5K, last Thanksgiving, and he was happy for me even though he had to wait for me when it was freezing cold. And he makes me laugh. A lot. And he makes really good food. And I love him and he loves me. I am thankful for that.

NU campus (Evanston, IL) – March 2009

And I’m thankful for our cats, of course! They have changed our lives in so many ways… they make me feel at home all the time, and they keep me company when I work (and when I watch movies too). I love seeing how happy Nico is with them, and even though I complain about it, I love that they sleep with us (mostly with me; mostly on my pillow).
I am thankful for my nephews. They came to my life when I had already given up my hopes of having babies in the family. I still remember the first time I held Joaquín in my arms, when he was less than 24 hours old. They have shown me a part of me I didn’t know was there. It is amazing how much you can love someone right the moment you meet them. It is amazing how much love they can give. I simply love them.

Joaquín, my oldest nephew. He was 3 then, he’s 7 now.

I am thankful for my family, which is small, and my extended family as well. Nico’s family has been a great addition to mine. It’s specially nice to have family here and be able to spend Thanksgiving with them. I am looking forward to our Argentinean-American dinner :)
Back to the education/work aspect, I am seriously thankful for my advisor. Jim encourages me and believes in me; he sees the potential I can’t see in me. I’ve learned a lot since I joined the group, and I know that I’ll continue to learn, and it is thanks to Jim’s guidance. No, I’m not being a brown-noser. I am truly thankful for working for him. And I am also thankful for my lab mates. I wasn’t so much at first, but now I can appreciate the great people I get to work with. They have helped me a lot so far, and I know I’ll abuse their kindness for some more years. It is nice to get to work and be greeted with a smile; it’s nice to work in a friendly environment.
I am thankful for my role models. Several people have inspired me to become a better version of myself [work still in progress]. Of course I’m including people like Marie Curie (oh, yes, she’s probably my #1 hero), but I am more thankful for those people I got to meet and interact with. People like some of my professors, my lab mates, my friends. Some of them are role models in many aspects, some of them maybe in only one thing, but all of them are an inspiration for me. It’s great to have people around you can look up to.
I am thankful for my students, the Argentinean and the American ones. You can learn so much by teaching! There have been ups and downs, but overall I’ve enjoyed teaching all of them, and I know they have helped me become a better teacher.
I am thankful because I’m braver and stronger than I think. Proof of that is that I’m here. But there are many other smaller things, and I am proud of them (although I tend to forget about them). I was brave enough to take up running, and even attempt a half marathon (it won’t be the last one, you’ll see). I was bold enough to get a tattoo. Every day I grow a bit more, and I know that it is in part because I am brave. Even when I forget and I think I’m weak, there’s some strength inside me that keeps me going. I am very thankful for that.
I’m probably forgetting something. I’m sure I’ll come up with more ideas in the next few days, but this will do for today.
Finally, If you’ve read all this, I am thankful for that.
What are you thankful for?
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