I am now arrived in Belgium and have started my secondment at water company Aquafin where I will spend the next year and a half. It is quite different from my past year in the research group of Lequia at the University of Girona in terms of… pretty much everything. Not only is it another country with different culture and customs, but the atmosphere of the university lab compared to a company office is also quite different.
Back in May this year, I was invited to give a brief seminar on a scientific subject (to be discussed), in a Portuguese school for students with special educational needs. The school was located in Sever do Vouga, a small town one hour away from Porto, and a great place for sightseeing (as you will have guessed by the background of the picture). First take-home message: it is important to do networking, so you get invented to do cool stuff like this.
I still remember the feelings I had when I arrived for the first time in Belgium. My wife Marina was already here because the Msc in Pharmaceutical Industry she was taking started one week before mine. I arrived by car from Castellón, my hometown in Spain, and I was meeting her in a quite big street, Avenue Voltaire, in Schaarbeek, in the north-east of Brussels. We didn’t have a flat yet so we were staying in a very small, cold and rather too expensive apartment that we could rent per days. It was the only thing we found at the beginning because no one wants to rent you something here without an employment contract. We had to leave soon that place in order not to spend all our limited savings during the first month. At the end, and with the support of our parents (putting them in the contract as our back up), we luckily found something nice and affordable.
Narbonne : a small and lovely city in the south of France. For the ones who do love travelling, enjoying the Mediterranean culture and therefore the good wines, this city should be added to the “wish list”.
It is a question a chemist gets to hear a lot. When I was still synthesizing pharmaceuticals and plastics it was asked with an accusing undertone, now that I prevent these entering the environment with a demanding one. And running danger of being branded something between evil scientist and too weak to fight the establishment I want to share one chemists brutally honest, yet in the end optimistic opinion on man-made pollution in the next three blog entries.