Friday, July 7, 2017

I am in Heaven right now

Ok, guys I am in Foz do Iguacu right now and a docile black cat is snuggling me on my lap as I type this. I couldn't be any happier. I dont have pets at home and haven't sat on a couch with a companion animal in so long. I am so at peace!!!

Now that you know how I am doing, how are you???

That's great!!! What's that I hear, you want to learn about PCR?

Let me tell you, its a very useful and cool lab procedure where a small piece of DNA can be amplified using primers and DNA polymerase. This technique is being employed in my lab to research genetic variability among shrimp. There are many species of shrimp, however for commercial use (i.e. for eating), one species predominates being cultivated. Meet Litopenaeus vannamei, a quirky little guy I have yet to see as when the animals were collected for sample preparation I was not yet established in the lab. The reason this is of interest is that genetic variation located in the microsatellites might produce a different biochemical response. This has a commercial value as shrimp farmers will be able to use this data to see if a certain genotype is better for cultivating. There's more to the story of shrimp DNA, stay tuned, insta, or email me. 

The first day in Brazil was mindblowing for me. Our professors took us to the mall and we went into a store, BIG, owned by WALMART. But the similarity ended there. There were some similar products, but packaging was super different. I was thinking of having oatmeal as breakfast everyday as a healthy and economical choice, however in Brasil, there are other options. The packages of oatmeal are super small compared to our large canisters at home in the US. 
Another thing that is different in my life here is relying on Uber or the bus. In America I have a car, with this contraption, life is possible on my own schedule. Now Uber exists and started in the US, but for someone with a car who drinks very little to none, I had no need to learn how to use it. Here, thanks to Winter Beaton, I have become a pro. haha
In addition, I have learned many, many and many more things while here. The one thing I would like to teach you tonight is attention to people is very important. The first weekend I was here, I found the South American Ironman (an ironman is a type of triathlon, a multi-sport consisting of swimming, biking and running, in that order) Championships and I was able to attend. This was a grand time. A very exhilarating day for me. My first weekend in a land unknown. So I'll get on with this recount. I found a place in the front row for viewing the swimming. After about 30 minutes, everyone had gotten into the ocean and started the swim. Now I wanted to know where the bikes would be so I could see the people begin their bikes. Not knowing, I saw a very confrontational girl telling people to stay behind the set boundaries for the swim on the beach. She had her arms out and her face expression was like: "Guys why are you doing that, get out". Being tired and not seeing another person close to me, I approached her and asked if she spoke english. She said a little and this was the beginning of the epic day with my new friend Renata!
With her, I have seen and experienced so many wondrous Brazilian things (coisas) that I wouldnt have otherwise. I have been to festa julhina parties, rode around the island on a moto and have seen such wondrous sights because of this marvelous human. 

Now why is the reason I share this story with you? Its to show that when two people, regardless of shared language (especially now with Google Translate, another story for the next blog), are interested in each other, a relationship is formed. In this case, this girl speaks and understands more english than I can understand portugues but we were able to not use our phones except for google translate, haha) for a whole fantastic day and experience what it is to be actually human!!!!! 

Thanks MHIRT!!!!

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