Monday, December 17, 2012

Getting Ready for Christmas!

I want to start off by saying my thoughts and prayers are with my fellow Americans back home.  I heard about the terrible events in Connecticut late Friday evening.  Being abroad, I sometimes feel a bit disconnected from important events like this at home and I've been glued to news stories about what happened all weekend.  I hope that as the holiday season is upon us, we are still able to keep in mind what makes us great as a nation, while working to understand and prevent horrible events like this from happening in the future.

It's been a busy few weeks as I try to keep up with all the work I've got to get wrapped up so I can enjoy a few days off for Christmas.
Thanksgiving was just another day around here, but I did try to celebrate with my lunch selection.  It just wasn't quite the same...
My lunch on Thanksgiving

I had arranged to stay late that night for an event for potential EngD sponsors (that was subsequently cancelled in the afternoon), so I couldn't really plan a meal at home for that day, but I was able to cook a meal at Sagar's parents' house in London on Sunday.  (Vegetarian style, of course!)

I've also finished #4 from my list on the previous post.  Thanks so much to Nick and Sagar for helping me write some of the sections.  The literature review is going to be used by the IMechE, IET and RAE to assess the current state of manufacturing in the UK.
 I've finished half of #5 as well, now getting ready to start the PMA for the Service Design and Delivery Module I took at the end of October.  I've already got a rough outline in mind....

As for the rest of my work list, IGGY has been going well.  I went on a school visit in Birmingham a couple of weeks ago, where I got to work with some very keen students in a lower-income area that were all quite focussed to study some aspect of science.  It was really fun!

Fuel cell stuff keeps moving forward as well, as I look on ways to tie what I am doing (participating in new collaborative networks initiated by government entities here) and my own personal research.  I've got a meeting with one of my contacts from PTC tomorrow morning, where I will discuss my direction and hopefully get some insight and ideas on ways to address their needs within my project.

At the beginning of December, Sagar and I took a mini trip to Chester (just south of Liverpool, on the border to Wales), where we did a bit of Christmas shopping, explored the ancient Roman city, and went to a couple of museums.  Here are some pictures!
The clock going into the town centre

There is a wall along the city that you can walk along.  Here is one of many beautiful views from it.

This is from the ruins of an old Roman bath area

Old Roman bath area

This was put in place for the Queen's golden jubilee, ten years ago.

Sagar, walking along the wall

This squirrel (and other creatures in a park we walked through) was not afraid of humans in the least. Right before I took this picture, he had LITERALLY jumped onto Sagar's leg, looking for food.

Walking along the wall.

The Watergate Inn
Also, at the beginning of this month, Sagar and I went and got a Christmas tree for the apartment.  It looks very nice in our living room.  This past weekend, I got a GIANT box of Christmas stuff from my mom, including an Advent calendar and a bunch of gifts.  I have created Christmas in our living room.
The tree and window sill.  Even Mona is festive!

Advent calendar and cards I've gotten so far!

 This week, I am hoping to get an outline done for the fuel cell scoping paper, and complete (mostly) the PMA for the Service Design and Delivery module so I can enjoy Christmas next week!  It's going to be a long week, but hopefully the hard work will pay off!

I finish up with some pictures of swans that I saw on my long run last week.  I rarely take my phone on a run, but this time I just happened to have it.  This is a normal sight on many of my runs around here.
I was running along some new bike trails between campus and Kenilworth

He's looking right at me!

 I hope to post again soon about celebrating Christmas in the UK!