Saturday, February 18, 2012

Enjoying it while I can

So I've just finished week four of my internship at Pasta Place (not it's real name, duh. Though that would be a good name if you ask me.) I have to say I got really lucky finding this internship and the lab tech who runs the lab all by herself is a real gem. It's much in thanks to her that things are going well, but I'd also like to hope that I'm becoming a bit more confident in my abilities, too. Let's hope! Anyway, the lab tech is just two years older than me, very chatty and no nonsense and quite willing to answer my questions. She's let me do pretty much all aspects of the job. Though they are some things that you need to do rather quickly, and as she does have more experience, in the interest of time on our busier days, she does those parts. She's also got a little girl two years older than Juliette so we have lots to chat about in that department.

The first day I was really floored to find out that my hours were basically 8 to 3. That's because the 25-minute lunch break counts as your official work day breaks and so isn't deducted. And it's a 35-hour work week in France so that's 7 hours a day, people. I was like, what?! I get to go home and piddle about then pick up Juliette from school when it lets out?! But before I get my hopes up, I know not all microbiology jobs would necessarily be like this, plus I have to admit that this lady has been doing it for ten years and is highly efficient at it.

Another plus: free lasagnas! At lunch we can taste the products but, mind you, it is officially to make sure they are of good quality and not going bad, because we generally test them just at their "best before" date. I particularly like the cannelonis. And I can buy them really cheap if I want because sometimes they have extras that don't quite fit on the pallet.

But what do I actually do during this internship, you might ask? Well, we take all the finished products and also the ingredients and we test them to make sure they meet the microbiology requirements. Some microbes are to be expected in things like cheese and meat, but of course you don't want lots of E. coli or Salmonella showing up, so those are rather sensitive ones to look out for. So we take samples and grind them up and put them in Petri dishes and put them in the incubator to see what pops up. In a nutshell, that is.

I've got three more weeks, during one of which my little sister will be visiting! Yeah! I'm glad I'll have a little less on my mind during her visit. I've been jotting down some notes cause I will have a report to write on my internship. And I've been half-heartedly reviewing from time to time because I know when I get back to school (dreading it!) it will be intense, with lots of exams coming up. That's why I say I'm enjoying it while it lasts. Unfortunately, like my pal Crystal once wrote (way back when?), I'm just too aware of what's around the corner sometimes to really revel in the moment. But I'm trying. This internship period has truly been like a vacation for me. Less studying, more time with Juliette and even relaxing in front of the telly with Remi. The last four months of my studies will be mega-intense, unfortunately...

But until then, let me concentrate on the fun to come with my sis, a breath of fresh air from my homeland! And here's a little picture I like to call "Bib head."


Crystal said...

Your stage sounds really interesting! It's quite the change from teaching at you-know-where isn't it?? I'm hoping the return to the school part won't be too difficult. Lord knows I don't miss exams!

So happy to hear your sister is coming to visit. I know how important it is for you to see your family regularly and for Juliette to get to know her American fam.

She's looking as beautiful as ever in her bib hat :)

Lindle said...

Free lasagna everyday---mmmmm.
I'm so glad you are enjoying a change of pace (and getting spoiled by less stressful hours). Hang in there. Little "bib-headed girl" will be proud of you for trying to make all of your lives better.