It’s been a very long (but very good) week. Now that I finally got the concentration of NaOH sorted out, I have been able to run titrations on my actual samples. I’m pleased to be getting concrete data and see some chemical properties of our modified samples, but I have to say- the process of getting the data is repetitive and QUITE draining. The events of one trial run go something like this:
- Add a little NaOH
- Wait 45 seconds
- Write down measurements from pH meter and conductivity meter
- Wait 15 seconds
- Repeat steps 1-4 about 40 more times.
So this process can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes for just one trial run. And I need to do three trial runs per sample. And I have eight different samples… I have my work cut out for me!!!
It’s not the most exciting part of the job for sure, but it’s an important piece of the puzzle for our group’s project. It’s neat to think that the data I’m collecting can potentially be used to help create sustainable biocomposite materials in the future. It makes the tedious bits worth it. And fortunately for me, I avoided a burnout from the mundane work as my week outside the lab has been very eventful and exciting! I have a whole bunch of pictures to share with you this entry ;)
On Monday, my professor at Chalmers took some of us to the local theme park, Liseberg. I had a great time playing carnival games with my lab mates. We also attended an event called Lotta på Liseberg. According to my professor, it’s a very Swedish event where people come together to watch a concert and join in on some sing-a-longs. It was definitely a memorable activity!
I did some other fun things this week as well! I visited a nearby lake, Härlanda Tjärn, to do some swimming. As soon as I got there though, the wind started to pick up! It didn’t stop me from jumping in the water, but it sure made it cold getting out!!!
But I think the neatest thing I did this week was attend a medieval battle reenactment practice at Bohus Fortress in Kungälv. The whole thing was insanely cool. People in full period costume following precise battle formations and shooting booming muskets made a spectacle I’ll never forget. They also had a trained horse battalion to join in!
And I made some fun of my own as well while exploring the fort…
And to end this excursion, I learned how to play a classic Swedish game called Klubb. The goal is to throw sticks and knock down your opponent’s wall of blocks. I wasn’t very good at it, but I had a blast anyway!
And now for a bit of reflection-
I’ve done quite a few fun and exciting things during my month in Sweden, and I’ve noticed a commonality in that the things I enjoy the most seem to be the typical events and activities enjoyed by the locals. I love this because it makes me feel less like a tourist and more like a resident- temporary as it may be. Now that I’ve reached my halfway point here, it feels like I have barely anytime left at all. I’m beginning to feel brief flickers of sadness knowing I’ll soon have to leave behind new friends and cool places. It’s a bittersweet feeling to be sure. But as a comfort, I know that I am continuing to make memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.