27 and a PhD

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My love

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there, awesome reader. My name is Dr. 27. I'm older than that now, but I'm staying faithful to the origins of the blog.

This blog started 2 months before completing my PhD in a pretty southern university back in 2009. It was a way to practice my writing and take a break from all things thesis. My PhD is in a branch of structural biology where I studied some rather impressive stuff.

After completing the degree, I packed my life of 6 years in 3 days and moved to Canada to do a postdoc in a completely different field. Two years later, and after attending a lot of seminars, workshops and doing some much-needed soul-searching, I ended up getting out and looking for an alternative path to academia and industry.

The blog chronicles my mishaps, ideas, musings and tips on entering, staying and finishing grad school. It also talks about some (or a lot) of personal stuff. For a while, the blog became a place to talk about the frustrations of not knowing what to do after PhD. I wanted to explore alternatives to the traditional paths of research (academia, industry and goverment) whilst going back to my field of training (if at all possible). Eventually a job materialized. Follow my quest as I navigate the waters of being a staff scientist at a core facility.


June 2011
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Today I left you at the shuttle depot that is taking you to an awesome pre-defense vacation. Enjoy every minute of it. Please do. You don’t know how incredibly happy that would make me.

I know I’ve apologized a ton for the family drama that’s been developing these days. I know it’s not my fault, and it’s something that mom, dad and person-from-hell need to figure out. Thank you for your support, understanding, advice and hugs, which you know it mean the world to me. Thank you also for the meditations before bed time … yesterday’s one was perfect. It had me sleeping like a baby. You’re awesome.

I’m wondering if all the heartbreak and let downs and unpleasant surprises during the last few days are just a way to toughen up my shell in preparation for the challenges coming my way. The situation with family-member-from-hell has made me realize how important it is to have a good relationship with those close to me, especially the immediate family. And you are a very important part of that family, so thank you my love, thank you.

What breaks my heart at this moment is that I won’t have you near me in the next few days/weeks. But I know I must get out of my shell and do once again what I did 8 years ago when I started grad school. As you pointed out it seems that, for things like moving and starting a life somewhere else, the older we get, the more of a wuss we become. You know how drastic change affects me, and how resistant I am to it. And now that I’m faced with so much change, happening in such a short amount of time, all I want to do is not go anywhere, and stay here for when you come.

Sadly, I’m not a trust-fund baby and I can’t be sugar mamma for the two of us (bummer, I know). But I am thankful for coming here, for finally joining you in Ontario. We’ve done so many things, visited so many places, documented that through beautiful photographs. I’m really glad I moved here and I will miss school … even if it’s hard to believe.

I’m so very sad I hated my job. I remember one night, when I was very frustrated, and you had tears in your eyes, and said that you had hopes that even if I hated my job, by virtue of finally having you close I’d be happier than I was in grad school city. I am so very sorry for the stress I added through work. Hindsight is 20-20 … and now I can see that I didn’t take much action to help me either like work, or take even more advantage of the resources I had at my disposal. I’m a bit afraid that I won’t have those resources at the new place, or at least easy access to them. But I am thankful I woke up (somewhat) to some of the events and resources available at school to help me polish skills other than those used in the lab.Your encouragement has been key in all this.

Through my experience at school I learned more about my limits, and effective communication, and that I need to stop being a spoiled brat and learn to get the stuff done, even when things are hard. I know now that I have to make my expectations clear, and bug the boss as needed to make sure they are met, and not just shut-up and swallow, to then vent at home. I know I need to grow a backbone, and stop letting gossipy, toxic people talk me down, at work and in life. These are some of the lessons I’m sure I need to learn now, not tomorrow, not in 5 years, they were meant to be learned here. I thank you for your insight and for showing me how some of these things looked under a different light.

This is yet another time in which we have to live apart, and count on holidays and travel deals to see each other. While I’m so very sad I won’t be waking up to your loving smile every morning until later in the summer, I’m happy that God and life allowed us to come together, after being in separate countries for 2 years! We’ve done this before … this is just another chapter in our story. We tell people about all the places we’ve lived in and how good communication and a HUGE amount of luck have us sharing tons of time together, even when we’re apart, and for that I am thankful. I think that our communication skills are a huge factor in it, and I wouldn’t have developed them without you and your insight. Do you realize how amazing you are? You’re a fantastic teacher (and hopefully soon, a professor!) and that trickles into our life as a couple. I am so very proud of you, of knowing you and of having shared almost 6 years with you. I hope we get to experience many more.

New job city is cool. I know. I see people’s’ eyes pop up. I’ve loved it as a tourist. It’s a great chance, I know. I’m just sad you won’t be there at the beginning. I will miss our wonderful apartment, the view, the places we have close by. I will miss the food, the good friends, the cheap Tuesday movies, the characters at church, at work and in our building. Please keep me updated on them. I’m looking forward to new and refined internal jokes, to new places to visit, to new types of food, and different takes on the ones we love (I’m looking at you delicious shawarma!). I will miss our life here, our afternoons together, looking at kitty as if she was the most amazing non-human creature ever (she is, you know it!). I will miss the place with the bunnies, and that hand gesture you do. I’ll miss not knowing where to eat and the constant challenge this presents (I’m sure that’s part of the reason I’m moving to new job city).I will miss you greatly my love.

I must go off now to finish packing and leave this place in decent shape. I want you to come home, to our home, and look around and not find the mess I’ve slowly and carefully created during the packing and selling phase. I still feel the kiss you gave me this morning, and now I’m munching on the donut :-). I miss you already, I miss you so much … but I’m looking forward to your visits and me coming back here for your defense (at the very least).

Thank you for your love, and understanding, and your humour, and support … and for being totes awesome. I love you my love, my pretty, little love. Te amo



  1. Lady, all I can say is that I hope everything works out for you. I’m thinking about you and sending you some (non-HIV) positive energy.

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