Part of our French exam is Dettati, or Dictées in French, or Dictations in English, where the teacher reads a paragraph or two from a book and we write down what she says. This is actually harder than it seems, and our exam is coming up so fingers crossed for that!
This means luggage handling, and I had such a classic Naples experience on my flight to and from Madrid I had to write about it (luckily no more emergency landings thank goodness!).
On the way there, someone's luggage fell off the little car thing they brought it over the road on, and people noticed but they just left it there... some poor tourist must have arrived with no baggage!
On the way back, the pilot landed and said that they were just sorting out the staircase on the door of the plane, opened the door and the staff at Naples airport had put the staircase about 5 feet away from the door of the plane. The woman next to me rolled her eyes and said "Napoli..." and I have never felt more spiritually close to a stranger in my life. Haha...
I have just got back from what’s been a great 10 days at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra. A key part of being an intern or placement student is to have a proactive approach to all elements of working life. Seek out extra learning and networking opportunities, express interest in projects, and who knows what you could end up getting involved in!
This is exactly what I did at the Australian Institute of Sport when I first visited and I consequently ended up going back to help out as a lab assistant in a top sports nutrition study led by world class researchers and dieticians testing some of Australia’s elite triathletes.
The study was looking at the effect of carbohydrate periodisation on performance and iron and bone health in elite triathletes, some of which represented Australia at the Rio Olympics last year. The study was being used by Triathlon Australia, the Sports nutrition team at the AIS and made up two PhD projects. The premise of the study was manipulating athletes’ diets to elicit positive performance changes and improvements in their iron and bone health. It consisted of two 6 day training blocks whereby half of the athletes in each block would sleep on a low carbohydrate intake, and train after a high carbohydrate meal – the notion of “train high, sleep low”.
My role in the study was to help whenever and with whoever. When I first arrived I observed a performance trial, which was a simulated cycling race performed on stationary bikes in the lab. I then soon got really involved in the testing by assisting with taking blood from the athletes’ fingertips and earlobes before, during and after exercise to analyse blood glucose, ketones and lactate and helping to run blood samples in the lab centrifuge and pipette droplets of serum into small tubes before they are sent off for further analysis to look for certain markers in the blood for example to indicate iron metabolism. I also assisted with the collection of gas from athletes to look at the volumes and components of inspired and expired air to help us determine what substrate they were metabolising, strictly carbohydrate or fat. After the testing I helped to collect ratings of perceived exertion, power output and heart rate to help quantify the session intensity.
Outside of the lab I assisted the sports nutrition team too by helping to prepare and weigh snacks for the athletes as they were on a strictly monitored diet. I also got to observe training sessions, ran by world famous coach Jamie Turner, which gave me an excellent insight to the life of a triathlete and the high demands of the sport.
The study definitely opened my eyes to research and really inspired me to become immersed in Sports Nutrition, potentially at a Masters or PhD level. I have started by choosing Nutrition and Metabolism for my final year unit, and I will be work shadowing the Dietician at SASI at her private practise next week. This will give me insight into the life of a Sports Nutritionist and see if it is something that I may see myself doing.
This has been an additional component of my placement, and completely outside the work that I have done at SASI. I would really recommend doing this when possible for any placement students out there, as it is great to widen your experiences, work with new people and in a new environment.
I have been away a few times this year to visit my boyfriend in Madrid, but haven't written about it because it hasn't been a place that I've lived in specifically for my year abroad this year. I left for Madrid today to surprise my boyfriend for his birthday, which went really well! But I adore the city, it was my first time going this year and I have loved every second of being there. I want to learn better Spanish so I have an excuse to go back!I would recommend it to anyone, it is clean, safe, beautiful and there is a lot to do. We have been to tapas restaurants, rooftop bars, friends houses, restaurants with his colleagues, spas, parks, lakes... all sorts! See you next week!
Today, along with the university, men, knife etc problems we have had here, there have been articles plastered over the news about the supervolcano at the next metro stop from me becoming active again, and some are expecting an eruption (eruzione) at any point. I assumed people here are used to these panic news articles, but they are all scared too. To be honest, I am now desensitized to the stress here and it seems like another day! The volcano certainly is beautiful, but I really hope it doesn’t erupt…
FINALLY everyone is wearing less layers and breaking out of the scarf and leather jacket look. And finally I feel slightly less like a freak wearing jeans and a vest top. We have had a real ondata di caldo (heatwave) recently, with temperatures up to around 29 degrees. It doesn’t seem to be going either!
When people are nice here, I have learned to really appreciate it. I will return to England a changed woman I am sure. My friend today realized I hadn’t made many notes (appunti) in French and offered to give me his. There are a few angels that walk these streets!
Zona = area
I feel I should mention again that anyone looking to stay in Naples should try to avoid the city center, especially the centro storico where most of the muggings I have heard about have happened. Chiaia is lovely, a little safer and covered in a slightly thinner layer of dirt than the rest of the city. My landlord asked me to recommend his house to other students, but after how he was with me, I will instead recommend the area. There is a park, a beach, festivals and funfares (picture of a bizarre demonic looking rocking horse/cow/thing below) and restaurants.
This means “get a move on” and was shouted at me today when I nearly caused a car accident by trying to cross a road near my house. I have been a bit jumpy since the other days incident, and hesitated slightly when a car didn’t seem to slow down. Here, in the roads, you just need to make a run for it.
= to pull a knife on someone
What I will write about actually happened yesterday, but I had such a lovely time in Sorrento I wanted to keep the posts separate, and I have spent most of the day trying to get my head round what actually happened.
On the train back from Sorrento it was a lot quieter and we found seats. An man sat next to me and started moaning to me about a woman on the train and I made some “mmm” noises and changed the subject. He seemed nice enough, asking about England and saying he liked it there, asking about Naples and reassuring us it wasn’t as dangerous as it sounds. Then, the train stopped at a station for about an hour. It turned out another train had broken down and we were waiting so they could load the passengers onto our one. I said to my friend “at least we are on this train, so we have seats this time!”. At this, the man became furious. He stood up and shouted at me in front of the whole train, and whilst he was shouting, pulled a large, sharp knife out of his bag and pointed it at me. Another man calmed him down. I was too scared to understand what he was saying properly, but the carriages are separate on those trains, so I remained near him for the next hour and a half until he got off. The man who calmed him down then reassured me and I asked what it was the man had been shouting. He told me I didn’t want to know most of it but he wanted kill everyone on the train starting with me. I got my metro back home alone in a very confused state. So much for him saying Naples is safe, with a knife in his bag the whole time.