This is my first lesson learned today. Why it is so important? I’ll tell you later.
Midwestern United States is interesting. The completely different culture, work ethics, accent and food habits, which initially, I must admit, overwhelmed me, are now fun to observe. Adding ‘lah’ jokingly at the end of a sentence earns me surprised stares from those around me. Half the people don’t believe me when I say I’ve come from Singapore. A lady, perplexed at the mention, even went to the extent of asking me if Singapore was in India! I can imagine the confusion though. Poor thing.
I often find wild rabbits or squirrels on the streets. I mostly see them hop around from one side of the road to another. I have only seen animals on road in India before. But these ones are different. They are big, and brown. My friend fed wafers to a squirrel once. She said it was fun to watch it nibble away at the wafer.
It’s also a new experience to see so much space. There are huge shops and houses which have rooms no one uses and corners that are unused. Space being a luxury in Singapore, I do not find offices or rooms or shops which don’t utilize what they have.
Food is expensive and we try to cook by ourselves sometimes. But for grocery shopping we have to walk 15 minutes to the bus stop, travel on the bus for half an hour just to reach there. We all don’t have cars and it’s really difficult trying to get from one place to another. Also, most offices close at 4 pm and I have never before in my life seen people reach back home by 5. I myself have never stopped working before 6 pm earlier.
The funniest part is trying to adjust with the local accent. Although people are very friendly, it’s difficult to understand them. So a few days back when I got into a bus and asked the driver if he had a coin in exchange for my note, I looked at his face blankly for about 5 minutes before I understood he was trying to say “Don’t worry about it”.
My work is fun, though. Everyone says it’s my kind of a thing. Probably that is why I enjoy myself so much when I meet my professor every morning and discuss my insights about a new paper with him. Being at this university is amazing because some of their staff is very famous. My professor is friends with almost all of the people here and I can’t wait to meet a famous mathematician or a famous computer scientist. Usually I take back a lot of things from what my Professor and I talk about. My lesson learned today was important because it’s the first lesson I learn as a 21 year old! =)
It’s interesting if your birthday falls on a day when you are in a strange new land with new people around you. When you are not the center of attraction because nobody knows it’s your birthday. It’s a day when you can reflect on all the past birthdays that you have had, treat yourself to a nice lunch and party at night with the few people who matter in your new world =)