Written Tuesday, October 18, 2004

Well, it’s official...I’m now a boring, middle class American. Yep, that’s right, I sold out to corporate America. I got a job at a pharmaceutical company here in Boston called Genpath. I started last week and I like it a LOT so far. It’s right up my alley...I’m doing tons of molecular biology...working with mice and building new mouse models for breast cancer. Very good stuff and I’m happy that I found something in my field. I guess it makes me feel good about myself that I was able to find something like that relatively quickly...it makes you realize it wasn’t all for nothing. I have to say, it GREAT to be in a lab again.

The company is in Cambridge near Central Square, so the only problem is that it takes me a while to get there...which I don’t really mind at this point, but when it gets cold that is going to be more than frustrating because I’ll have to wait for the bus outside in the snow. Not cool. Hopefully I can hook up a carpool by then. I actually already found a guy who lives pretty close to me...he works in my group and is cool. His name is Geoff (for the record, I hate it when somebody spells “Jeff” like that...I mean, get real.) The only problem with riding in with him is that he shows up pretty late, which I don’t have a problem with most of the time. Back at BCM I was pretty much always the last to show in the lab, but I was also always the last to leave. That is the beauty of working in a lab, you can set your own schedule. It seems that at Genpath, nobody really cares when I come or go, but since it’s the beginning I want to try to get in early and get as much done as I can. There is a LOT to learn right off the bat...I mean, I’m comfortable with all the techniques and stuff but I have to get up to speed with the ins and outs of the projects. Hopefully that doesn’t hurt my performance. It’ll probably take me another two or three weeks to even get to the point where I am familiar enough with everything that I can really learn the rhyme and reason to all I’m doing. It already seems like I have a ton of responsibility. There are only two other people in my group, one of which is my boss, Min. She is so awesome and unbelievably intelligent. The job is only a temp for the moment (I’ve taken over for a girl on maternity leave) but it looks more than likely that I’ll be able to stay permanently...but at this point I’m not even sure if I’ll stay in the US or not. I mean, if things are going well and I still enjoy the job (which seems likely), I might stay here for a year or so, which would give me the chance to save up a fair amount and really get on my feet again...but I really still want to do some more traveling. Anyway, that’s a discussion for another time.

So living in Boston has been pretty cool so far...probably because it hasn’t started to get really cold yet. I’ve hung out with Doug, my roommate from college, a couple times, and his sister also lives here. His wife is really cool...exactly the type of girl I figured Doug would marry. That guy hasn’t changed in the slightest...looks the same, acts the same...it was almost scary when we hung out...I felt like I was back in 428 Grace Hall or something.

Living in Newton is okay...but it’s a little too far out of the mix for me. The real problem is that there is no convenient T stop. It takes me a solid 45 minutes to get into the city...and I like to be closer to the action. Without a car or direct access to the “T” I feel too limited in ability to get around. If I decide to stick around for awhile, I’ll definitely get an apartment somewhere closer. Living with Dave and Carla has been pretty good though overall. The house is pretty nice...it’s not huge or anything like you would think most of the places in Newton are. It’s probably the size of a decent sized town house. There are a lot of things in the house that need to be fixed up, but that’s how it goes with an old house. I have to say, it is impressive the amount of work they have put into this place...and it looks great...but there is still a lot left. It’s been frustrating for them because they lived in a brand new house down in Houston...nothing to fix up, everything nice and clean and new. This house is a far cry from that and they seem to be letting that get to them. For me, the house isn’t too shabby...it just happens to be an old house (Dave’s Grandfather built it)...but with the amount that has to be done, it’s a little tough to see the bright side. As far as I’m concerned though, they have so MUCH and don’t even see it. I guess that’s the US for you though. I sort of touched on that back in my June update from BA...I think people here spend way too much time bitching about what they don’t have instead of appreciating what they DO have. I’ve noticed A LOT of that since I’ve been back but I don’t want to get anymore into that one for now. I can say that overall, I haven’t been going through too much “culture shock” since I got back. There have been some isolated incidents though. I guess being in Buenos Aires for so long was a good transition for coming here because the people there are sort of similar. I dearly miss the energy and friendliness of the Brazilian culture. I still keep in contact with my friends in Brazil, and now that I’m in the US, I can call them for pretty cheap, so I still talk to a few people and it kills me to hear how much fun their having. I think probably the biggest wake up call of the past 2 months has been getting e-mails from other people that are still traveling. DAMMIT!!! That used to be me sending those!!! Arrrrrgh!!

Anyway, things are looking good for me at the moment. I guess the next big thing is to decide what I’ll do in January.

AC

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