Summer School... during Winter
Last week I attended a "Summer" School at RIo de Janeiro, so I had a lot of work and stress on the previous weeks because of that.
It was the 7th IEEE Magnetics Society Summer School!
IEEE is the acronym for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, claimed to be the largest professional organization in the world. Being that, of course the even was international (and my first really international event!).
However, my results for the master's project have been so... underwhelming. I had a talk with my advisor mid July about it, we planned what we would do for the short/mid-term, and I would only make my poster for the Summer School 1 week before, due to the queue for the equipment...
As if it wasn't stressing enough, the strike of the university staff has gotten more critical... Well, I'll leave the details for another post, the only important thing is that, besides the subsidized restaurant not opening in 3 months, their protests started to close the campus gates once a week, starting on my critical pre-travel week.
Anyway, the Summer School week was so awesome, it's all paid off.
Sunday (the 10th) morning I arrived in RJ with my friend Gary (also master's student with the same advisor, going to the Summer School). We spent the day walking around the hotel neighborhood, the park by the beach, then they took us to the school for the opening lecture and dinner.
Monday and Tuesday were pretty straightforward: breakfast at the hotel with all the people from the event until 8:30, then 2 lectures at the morning, lunch provided by the school, 2 more lectures, poster section with students from Asia & Europe, then North America being judged; dinner also provided by the school and back to the hotel at 21:30.
Most of the lecturers were very didactic, some even dynamic, but 4 lectures are really tiring.
Wednesday morning we went to a group walk to the Sugar Loaf (it's very close to the school).
Regular tourist feelings, but me and Gary decided to hike down the Urca mountain instead of taking the cable car again. There is a trail, but in some areas it was so tenuous that we got a little lost twice. Of course we noticed that when suddenly the path ended in a solid rock slope. We eventually got the right trail (which wasn't much easier to walk on) and finished that adventure well. We even spotted a marmoset there!
Wednesday afternoon was the usual: lunch, lectures... then a thunderstorm caused a blackout. The second lecture still went on, with questions at the end, etc. Then we had the Magnetics Society president with her speech for the 50th anniversary, followed by a celebration with cake and champagne!
Thursday was like Monday and Tuesday, with the Latin American students being judged. I sucked when I explained my poster for the first time, but then got a bit better. Yes, I gagged a lot while speaking English, but I do so for Portuguese, so I guess my English level is acceptable. (Thanks internet, specially XC hangouts!)
One of the lecturers dismissed the main hypothesis I had for an anomaly in my samples, but couldn't suggest anything. Afterwards, a student from southern Brazil recognized the anomaly and suggested something she saw on her lab. This is interesting, I'll test as soon as I get to use the disputed equipment again (in 1~2 weeks).
People were going out on the other nights, and I decided to follow them Thursday night. We (~25 people) went to a samba nightclub, with live music. It was fun, but by 1:30 AM I was bored and wanted to go back to the hotel, which we managed at 3:00...
Friday morning wasn't that bad, we had a regular day with a final group talk with most of the lecturers, then the awards for best posters.
Since the event ended Friday night, we could stay at the hotel until Saturday, which most of us did.
But of course, most of us also went out Friday night.
Many people went to a samba school (like those ones for the Carnival).
Since months ago (when my participation was confirmed), I was planning to meet Fred, an e-friend who lives in RJ.
It went so wrong (not sure if I'll be posting here later, I might tell the whole story via FB chat or Gtalk), so I went drink with Gary and some Argentineans.
Saturday morning, little to no hangover.
Last breakfast in hotel, I met one of the few people I got to talk a bit during the week (a nice Taiwan-born American guy). They were planning to go to the Corcovado mountain soon. Since it was cloudy for beach and Gary wanted to wait with the other Brazilians for a Brazilian girl who still hadn't came back from the samba school, I went with them.
We were 9 people, only me being Brazilian. Haha, that responsibility... but the Taiwan guy was way more prepared than me (I only helped when knowing Portuguese was necessary). It was good to got closer to at least other 4 foreign people that day. =]
We spent the whole morning in order to reach Christ the Redeemer, then had lunch at downtown (we all had açaí too), then half of us went back to the hotel.
Our transport to the airport was scheduled for 16:00, we got back 10 minutes before that. Gary arrived just in time (the Brazilian people spent the day at Copacabana).
Saturday night I was back home, feeling as good as I can't even remember when. Although tiring and with me not talking as much as I would like (before Saturday), it was an amazing experience, and I can't wait for the next international event!
Looking how the other works were so much better than mine actually made me more motivated!
For this week, sad news.
My mom had finally done the magnetic resonance exam. Yesterday she got the result: an edema in her pituitary. (Lotus, my doppelganger, you still there?)
Well, we knew it should be something wrong with some gland because other exams showed anomalies on hormonal levels, now we know what it is.
She still hasn't presented that to any medic (she didn't like her endocrinologist).
I just hope everything go well, she keeps going through the correct proceedings, and all ends well.