Year 1: Semester 1 Week 5

Hello all,
Here's my weekly Saturday night report from the middle of the Middle East! Not going to lie, this was a long week. The first chemistry exam in Foundations of Science, plus a pretty heavy workload of assignments and activities, made this week pretty stressful. I am really really thankful for certain people this week who helped me out when I needed it most, whether it was a hug in the hallway, late-night studying help, giving me rides to and from church activities, or even just going out of the way to say hi. You guys are angels.

Quick gratitude shoutout to a certain Australian friend from Foundations of Science who deserves public praise for her insanely good cooking skills, organization, and overall awesomeness.  I say "tomAYto" and she says "tomAHto" (for real!), I use a PC and she uses a Mac, I use TI calculators and she uses Casio calculators, but we make a good physics studying team :)

Also a gratitude shoutout to my roommate who is super sweet, helpful, hardworking, encouraging, and great at giving hugs.

In Faith in Science Reason in Revelation class, we've moved on to discussing the Catholic church and Aristotelianism in Medieval Europe and the role of natural philosophy/astronomy in the Islamic world in the 11th and 12th centuries.

In Programming for Engineers, we've covered basics of C++, including variables, loops, selection structures (if/then, while, for, etc.), and file streams. It's fun to play around with.

I'm learning C++... #girlswhocode
In vocal ensemble, we've nearly finished learning the two songs from last week. At the Monday night Chinese workshop, we learned vocabulary to describe our hobbies, months and days of the week, and how to write a few easy characters. I think my favorite fitness class at the gym is spin cycling. I get really motivated by music, and I love that the biking speed goes along with the tempo of the instructor's playlist. I got to give my first campus tour during my work shift at the admissions office.

A bunch of people woke up at 5 a.m. to watch the U.S. presidential debate live on TV-- even though most people here aren't American citizens-- but I had a test that morning, so I slept in and watched the debate at night on YouTube instead. If you ever want to completely lose faith in humanity, just read the comments section of the debate video on YouTube. It's scary. I'm registered to vote from here by online ballot/mail, so that's exciting. 

Church this week was really good. It's great how church lessons often seem to be things that are relevant specifically for that week. Particularly in my Institute (college-age scripture study) class after church, we had a really inspiring message about using faith to overcome self-doubt. I've heard this scripture so many times that it has almost become a cliche, but it helped to hear it again:
Proverbs 3: 5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." I've definitely seen this happen in my life, and I'll try to make it a motto for the college experience.

In other news, I finally got my passport back from the school with my processed residence visa inside, so that's a relief.  I guess it makes moving to Abu Dhabi feel more official. I feel so fortunate to have an American passport-- that was something I completely took for granted before coming here, until I saw how other students from some countries have a much harder time getting travel visas. I also got a replacement SIM card for my new phone, so it's nice to have call/text capabilities back. 

Some highlights of the week:
More random chemistry demonstrations: 
We got to play around with liquid nitrogen during our chemistry lecture. Our assistant instructor and student volunteers froze balloons, a banana, rubber tubing, etc. and then made the "fog" of condensation spread throughout the room. We also got to observe this fun little "chemical garden" experiment.

Filling the room with condensation
"Chemical garden"
HealthTech Talk:
The StartAD entrepreneurship program hosted a seminar on health technology on Tuesday night, and I was really glad I got to go. The first speaker was a surgeon from the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi hospital, and he was the first surgeon to perform a cardiac bypass surgery using a robot. He showed us videos of heart surgeries using his surgical interface with HD cameras and highly precise robotic arms, and discussed how laparoscopic surgery performed by robots can minimize patient trauma, and the ability to train surgeons using simulations on the input screen. The next speaker was one of NYUAD's neuroscience professors, who does really interesting work using optogenetics in mice to investigate the neural pathways that contribute to depression. Then, we got to listen to a presentation about entrepreneurship from a health tech startup company based in Dubai. It was nice to see the perspectives on health teach from three different career paths- corporate work, academia, and entrepreneurship.

Church YSA Dinner/ Devotional
After church, I got to go have dinner and listen to a message at the house of one of the church members, along with the rest of the Young Single Adult (YSA) group from the surrounding area. People came from Dubai and Sharjah as well, so I got to meet new people and participate in a Q&A session with the Stake President (regional church leader). The Filipino members brought some especially delicious food like lugaw (rice porridge), adobo, and caldereta. (I really hope I got all the names right; I'm relying what my church friends told me these things are called, haha). I really love the community of the church and the fact that I can get outside the university campus bubble.

Corniche Beach
I went back to Corniche Beach this morning with some friends, which was super nice. It's not nearly as hot outside now, which actually makes the water feel more refreshing instead of lukewarm. Also, we found a starfish! We went to Al Wahda Mall afterward and got my SIM card + some really good Indian food.

Anyway, I can't believe it's already October and I'm excited for everything planned for this month. Hope you all stay happy and healthy.

Goodnight from NYU Abu Dhabi,