Friday, August 25, 2006

Studying in the US

A few days back, I was talking to a friend of mine who recently got to the US to do his MS. He was telling me how difficult it is to be studying in the US. At first, I thought he was joking. I always had the impression that studying in the US was fun. I thought, if I am having fun here, he should be having a ball with 4 other guys of his age in that little apartment of his.

Later, I actually thought about this. I realized life must be so different for him here in the US. I am staying in a nice 3-star hotel where I get a nice buffet continental breakfast in the morning followed by a drop to my workplace. In the evening, I get the vehicle again to drop me back to the hotel where food is ready for me to hog on. I am paid 45$ a day to have the 2 meals of the day which does not cost me more than 12$. Also, while I am away at work, my room is cleaned, the bed is made, and the room is heated. I enjoy all the luxuries.

Now let me put myself in my friend’s shoes and see how life looks.
Scene 1: (in India)
I am running around to get my visa, transcripts, recommendation letter etc in place. Then run after the travel agent to get my tickets. I need to find the lowest rates. There is no company to sponsor my tickets. L I finally manage to get tickets on the cheapest airlines. Next, my luggage. I am not going on a short vacation, am going for a good long 2 years. 2 bags of 23 kgs each are the permissible limits. I spend days deciding what to carry and what not to. Packing is finally done. 24 hrs for me to fly and some @#$@$@ decides to plant bombs in flights to the US. Am screwed. Security tightens. Lots of restrictions on the things I can carry. 24 hrs to go and I unpack all my luggage and pack again. There is chaos everywhere. Security beefed up at the airport, customs, immigrations.. oh man.. I am drained..
Cutting a long story short, I am dog tired by the time I board the flight. :(

Scene 2:
Due to the security checks, flights are delayed and I miss my connecting flight to the US. The airline officials are good enough to give me tickets of the next flight which is about 6 hours from now. Wow.. stranded in London airport for 6 hrs.. Sounds good?? Of course not.. not with the bombs being found in London. We cannot roam about. I sit bored in the transit lounge for 6 hrs before I board the flight. Finally, I make it to the US.

Scene 3:
I get to the room I am supposed to stay with 4 guys I have met just once before flying from India. They seemed good fun then but I see them as different people here. 5 guys, 2 bedrooms. I manage to grab a room with another guy. I am too tired to unpack so I hit the bed immediately.

Scene 4:
I get up quite late as usual and guess what I see? The cupboards look neat and full of clothes. But, unfortunately, they are not mine. My roomie decides to unpack and has all his clothes nicely stacked in the cupboard. On enquiring, I learn that the cupboard is not full and my roomie has left 2 tiny racks untouched and empty for me. Wow! Thanks roomie. :)

Scene 5:
My other 4 roomie decide to cook food. I am happy. I am famished and could do with some food. But to my surprise, every roomie gets out their individual utensils and packets of Maggi to cook. Everyone, including me ofcourse, has a sumptuous meal. But its been 7 long days here and my roomies still decide to prepare their individual meals. :(

Scene 6:
I get a job! I am working in a tiny restaurant where I am being paid 6$ for each hour of my effort. Its not as easy as I thought it would be. I am tired by the end of the day and in no position to go home and cook my meal. (Buy food?? I am a student here remember.. and this 6$ an hr will help me pay my fees and rent. Students in the US are supposed to cook)

That was it. I can imagine how bad his life can be. I just cannot imagine myself going to bed without a meal. :(

I agree, buddy. Studying in the US is not easy. Hats off to the people who manage to finish their 2 yrs of education with flying colors here in the US.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Cousin at the SAF games

The past few days have been very memorable for my young cousin sister, Lekha. Why would it not be? Imagine a 15-year old girl enjoying international success.

She has been in Colombo for the past weeks preparing hard for the ongoing SAF games. She has been doing great in all national events but this is the first time she was on the international scene. All her hard work to date has paid off now. She won 6 gold medals at the SAF games. She also posted a new games record in the 100m butterfly event. Her 1:04.51s effort bettered the existing mark of 1:05.82 set in Islamabad two years ago.

Way to go, Lekha… We are all so proud of you.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

First week in the US

Its been a week now since I got to the US.. Well, almost.. Its been pretty hectic.. Got here Monday night and got to work early Tuesday morning beating the so called jet-lag.. Nah, jet-lag does not affect me, I could have slept through Tuesday anyways.. :)

Work, work, and only work kept me busy the entire week… I did not go out anywhere the entire week.. ate the packets of Curry noodles I brought from back home.. Watched a couple of movies though.. “The Ron Clark story” staring Matt Perry is a wonderful movie. Atleast I like it. It’s the true life story of a famous story of an American teacher named Ron Clark. It’s a must watch if you like soft drama..

Mini arrived here last night.. Some company at last. :)

Planning to go out this week onwards, see the place, enjoy my second leg of the US.