BSFS

I had an awesome night! It is such an amazing feeling when you meet with people who are actually part of the science fiction convention, the organizing team.

Baltimore Science Fiction Society building is how I imagine my house to be, if I ever get a chance to settle down. Full of books… oh that smell that takes you to different worlds. Gives you wings to fly, gives you legs to run… Behind there is a bigger room where you watch the movies.

The members are so friendly. Had a nice little chat at the end. I think  that society will make me like this city after all (and all the other amazing people I have met so far). Too bad, I will miss the Balticon :/ I am happy that I will see my friend from Bachelor and finally get to meet her cute little son. It would be awesome if one could have it all…

…cramps

My muscle cramps probably not entirely due to TAM. A recent event demonstrated clearly what happens before I get these long lasting cramps.

Say you go out for dinner and have coffee afterwards. Everything is what you have been eating before. Stress level is of course slightly higher than usual. Everything is fine, you come back home. Coffee has no effect on your sleep, you see the pillow and you are out! You even don’t wake around 3am. So it is close to be a good night.

Then you wake up… you wish you didn’t. Every inch of your bowels hurts. You feel like you need to poop. But nope not gonna work. You wonder if you will get diarrhea. Nope, not the case. Something has irritated your digestion system. You stay home, eat yoghurt, water, bread… You make a salad for lunch.  Then you eat nuts, yoghurt, bread… Nothing calms this down. It’s evening now, you want a better food. So you boil cauliflower-broccoli with lemon and olive oil. You make cummin tea. You drink more water. Nothing works. Exhausted you go to bed.

You wake up the next morning. Starving… You think it is the usual morning hunger. You have breakfast, bread-egg-cheese-olives-rose jam. An hour passses… Two hour passess… You are still starving and it is getting worse. You need food but you shouldn’t eat too much so you eat yoghurt to survive till lunch. You take out a lunchbox frozen for emergency situations. Then you make salad as a second lunch. At this point you understand hobbits asking for second breakfast. You keep eating in small amounts. It’s evening, you get a headache.  Again exhausted you go to bed.

You wake up the next morning. Everything is fine. You say thanks to your brain who fixes up problems while you are at sleep. Then you make an attempt to move. Ouch! Muscle cramps… ‘What a nice surprise, my dear. I have missed you so much!’ I must have really screwed up to have these cramps right after all that problems with the digestive track. You swallow a voltaren pill, 20mg. Nothing bad. Half a day passess, you realize nothing will help and it will last a few days. You can stock on bananas, spinach, paprika, etc. all you want, it has been messed up once it will take time to heal.

A neat sequence of events… Mess up your bowels, then your blood sugar levels (probably pancreas) and end up with long lasting muscle cramps. Isn’t it nice?  And the best part is I don’t know what has irritated my bowels this much. I ate calamari, california rolls, dumplings and salad. And I have eaten all that before. It’s not food poisoning. I would have been waaay worse otherwise. It might have been coffee, but there wasn’t any cream or milk in it. Last time coffee destroyed me it was with cream, lost of cream. Maybe it’s the fried food.

I wish not to repeat this episode ever again…

Baltimore

Yeap, this entire city is on my things to avoid list. From what I heard, I should add the entire country to things to avoid list. Have you people heard about maintenance in this land?

There was a freaking cockroach in the office. There are labs in this building, how can you host pests?

Don’t get me started on the building I am living in. I have lived in a relatively old building in Sweden, but I have never seen something like this. Old doesn’t do justice here. It’s like abandoned. No proper hot water in the shower (this is the whole reason why I’m so pissed off), a very dirty noisy horrible heating/ac system, ridiculous blinds whose piece falls of once a month, no cold water in the kitchen, walking closet shelves painted with wall paint that will certainly stain my clothes if not for the towels I have laid, the kitchen wall paint is water based while it should be oil based because you know it is the fraking kitchen, there is a huge space between the walking closet door and the floor so if there is a flood in the bathroom that is the first place to get fraked up, oh oh oh the bathroom was disgusting, kitchen cabinets are a joke that I want to meet the person who designed them in person (just because they are old doesn’t mean the design should be stupid)….

Where am I living? I shouldn’t tell, probably I am breaking some shitty rule written somewhere in my contract which I should have read in detail.

Aaaand don’t! don’t tell me there are people out there dying. I know that. I didn’t come here easy, I just want the fraking things I have been buying with the money that I earn with my brain, blood and sweat.  Ok mostly brain, so what?!

Shopaholic

I am discovering a new side of me after this move. I am a shopaholic. I create excuses to buy items. I am pretty good at finding those reasons. The most recent one I came up with was I want to dance to ‘I am the Best’ from 2NE1 in the Dance Central 3 game. No other song, no other game. I want that song, that game. But it’s not available on Xbox One and it won’t the in the new releases; so I must own an Xbox 360. I cannot find a song or game to replace that. It must be that one for me to be happy.

I am unhappy without it. Why am I unhappy? Well that’s because I have a roof over my head and money to buy food. In fact I had so much that I could pay for this domain name and the server. I may not be able to participate in olympics but I can take care of myself, I am physically independent (sort of; setting up the IKEA furniture is a big no no still).

Forget about those above… I have access to clean water, electricity, birth control, tampons, and sanitary pads. These alone puts me in a more advantageous position in life than many other women out there. So instead of helping you all, I wasted money today on my own leisure. Forgive me. I will put a stop to this madness from this point on. Everytime I want to buy something for my leisure I make sure to set aside the same amount for donations. And if I can’t afford to both buy and donate, I shall not buy the item but still make the donation.

I caused the world a great deal with all that packaging 🙁 I feel terrible, even though it’s recycled it is still trash. A huge amount. I wonder if shipping would be a better option instead of buying all that new. I should have kept more items. Bummer!

Haha

I cannot find any other words to describe the current political situations. Haha! One good thing that came out of Trump’s election as president… We are not alone anymore! I can’t stop giggling at what he said; can you believe it? Sweden!  The situation is no different from you-know-who saying one thing and the crowd cheering for the total opposite. I hope those crazy beings will leave us a world worth saving.

Life in Baltimore is getting better. Making progress in using Charmm, though I am not learning as fast as I would like it to be. But dealing with three countries is just too much. Taking care of taxes in Sweden, changing my address in Turkey so I can vote, filling in papers in USA… still filling in papers…

Some things just don’t make sense in this country. I know I have prejudice against the “system” here. Instead of seeing things as different, I see them as wrong. Paper sizes, how the apartment doors opens or not opens (you have to hold them), how they can deduct almost everything from my salary yet they ask me to write a check for the healthcare… I just don’t understand…

Oh I should mention that Baltimore is as expensive as Stockholm I would say. Give it a few more years and I bet it will be more expensive. There are definitely cheaper ways to live here, which is something almost didn’t exist in Stockholm. But I found those ways scary. Maybe because I think I cannot protect myself or maybe it is again the prejudice and looking down on people. I am seeing a new side of me. I just have to understand the roots of it so I can change it for the better.

Ah it could also be due to an empty house. While I get more and more things, I should, no, I will become happier. Lack of stuff certainly increases creativity; like I know now how to open a beer with a tiny screwdriver (it just takes time since I don’t have strength) or how to open a can with a knife and hammer…

Time… I just need to give myself and this city more time…

The journey to J-1

I have decided to start from the beginning. Obtaining J-1.

I am not sure if it is generally like that, but obtaining a J-1 visa was pretty easy.  That said, getting residence permit in Sweden was much easier, on application level only. In Sweden, you fill in one form, you pay one application fee, then you wait… you wait… and you wait… Where as for getting a J-1, you fill in several forms, pay fees to several places and then you get it, that’s it.

The first step is waiting for documents from the university.  They have to get this DS-2019 form. To get that form from them, you need to fill in a form. Once you have the DS-2019 form, you can go ahead and pay the SEVIS fee which is also called I-901 form. Print the proof of SEVIS fee payment and keep it safe. Then, start your visa application by filling in the DS-160 form. Keep in mind: You need to have a digital copy of a biometric photo of yours. Some photographers do offer that. If you are in Stockholm, Fuji Foto Center at Ostermalm has an excellent service.

This form is tricky. You fill out many pages of information, type in your previous travel information to US, the names of two people in your home country (not quite sure about the reason behind this request), yada yada… You pass all those stages, and you think I’m all done. Well not yet, you have to upload that photo of yours. Here comes the annoying part. Not every browser works with this website. I have tried Chrome, Safari, Opera and Firefox. I’m not sure if it was Opera or Firefox that worked. But one of these surely does. If you get a problem with the photo, save the application and try in at another browser. When you complete the application, book an appointment with the embassy. Of course you have to pay a fee for this too. At the embassy, you will provide many many more documents than DS-2019, SEVIS Fee, DS-160 and your offer letter from your new boss but won’t care 🙂 They will take only these and then decide whether or not to give you the visa at that moment. It is still good to have those documents with you though. You’ll never know what they will ask.

The embassy will send the passport via mail. In my case, it was just placed inside the mailbox. I would have preferred a more secure way but hey I have got the visa within 2 months. The whole process, including the waiting times for DS-2019 etc. By the way, the fees adds up to 300-360$.

The whole process of getting J-1 actually is a sign of how your first week will be spent. But more on that next week.

Fortunetelling

So I am writing a script to generate semi-automated forcefield entries from STaGE topologies, because I want to set virtual sites on my ligands.
I spend a day typing, salvaging what I have created before, improving and cleaning. At the end of the day I think I have a working version. Or I think I have. But not sure I have.
*facepalm* It is one task that my fortunetelling should pay off and I am not using it. I should have thought of a way to compare the input with the output. Now the day feels pretty wasted. I don’t know if I have achieved something. *Blah*
Waiting for the visa process… I should start dissolving the house but I’m not quite ready yet to let go of my belongings. *sad*

New Beginnings

Next destination University of Maryland… Excited for the things I will learn, and the new group I get to work with. Well was excited! Until I started making a list of things to do in order to move away! So I have decided I will share all this fuss with you all. This way it gets smaller and smaller leaving me excited again. So here goes my current list:

Continue reading New Beginnings

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