Friday, September 11, 2009

America - My days so far and a few more stray observations.

And the days fly by. The honeymoon period of grad life is over and classes have begun. Luckily no assignments have been given. So I still have time to blog! First I will write about what I was up to in the past couple of weeks.

I moved into my apartment on September 1. It was unfurnished. So I scouted around for free furniture around the neighbourhood and cheap furniture at garage sales. Yeah, I actually picked up decent tables and chairs left behind by the original owners. I also got some great stuff for rock bottom prices at garage sales. Thus I managed to furnish my apartment without much expenditure. But then you can’t or won’t want to get things like food stuff, consumables, utensils, cosmetics etc. second handed. So we went on a mega shopping spree. We spent $132 at Cub foods for eatables, $312 and $115 at Target and Wal-Mart respectively for household items and $140 at the Indian food store. The above bills are shared between Rahul and me. Oh and one more thing, don’t try to convert it into Rupees but if you do want an estimate, then use $1=Rs12 as the conversion factor. I got that number from my general intuition and the PPP concept.

Then there were cooking classes through youtube. Rahul is a great cook and so there isn’t much need for him to learn recipes through youtube. Except when he wanted to know how to boil pasta. And we found an 8min video on that! You should definitely watch this video and see the amount of detail. I tried my hand at making sooji halwa from this video but it didn’t turn out quite well the first time. The second attempt was a success due to my modifications to the original recipe. Besides cooking I biked around the place a bit. I mainly biked along the River Mississippi and was treated to some stunning scenery.

I also attended a pre inauguration event at the new football stadium here. Not many people turned up as the match wasn’t played at the stadium but was screened live from New York. I went for it as all the tickets for the home games have been sold out and this would be my only chance to see the stadium. The initial enthu died out immediately as none of us followed the rules of the game. We cheered loudly whenever the American spectators got excited. I decided to try to get hold of tickets for college basketball games as that’s the only American sport I can follow. Oh and btw NBA tickets go for only $5 on some nights. I must definitely check that out!

We also went to lake cedar on a Sunday. Beautiful place. The walk through forested trails in a city was quite amazing. The lake is quite scenic and it has a small beach too! I, coming from Goa, didn’t think too highly of their beach. But the people there were making good use of it. Some were sunbathing, others splashing around in the water and some kids were making sand castles. I also visited the Mall of America, reportedly to be the biggest mall in the US. Lots of shops, restaurants and amusement rides.

Oh yeah, I started with my classes this week. My first class was a course in the Geology department. I sat on the 2nd bench and the 2nd last bench. So can you tell me how many benches were there in the class? :D The student behaviour was extremely causal by our standards. Guys were drinking coke or coffee during the class, some had caps on, some including me had come in shorts, one guy was sitting with his knees folded at his chin! And sometimes students just got up and walked out in the middle of the lecture! My other two classes went on similar lines. We had to hit the ground running as far as teaching was concerned. I already have reading to do. Thankfully no homework yet! So then, here’s to fun filled months of slogging ahead!! Cheers! :D

And to sum up, a few more stray observations of the Americans. Time is kept right down to a minute. Buses are supposed to arrive at times like 11:03 or 8:57. During our orientation, the profs were interrupted the minute they crossed their time limit. Coming late to appointments is considered to be an insult to the other party. Another point, buses and trucks have lady drivers here. Back in India, I thought Shaggy was adding spice to his ‘it wasn’t me’ video by having a lady drive a big truck. The buses here are quite disabled friendly. Passengers in wheelchairs are lifted into the bus through a mechanism and the wheelchairs are secured at designated spots in the bus. Pretty neat!

All in all I am having a good time so far. And the dream will continue....


  1. Cooking lessons on you thats calld the IT age :D

  2. jus had a discussion wit my aunt in the US yest.. abt the diff in lifestyles in the US n UK.. her first pt was the freedoms u get (esp as a student) in the states.. pt 2 was decidedly in UKs favour.. healthcare sucks in the US!!

  3. @ashu.. youtube \m/

    @chosen1.. tanx.. read my blogs fr more american posts!

    @punky.. obama gonna change all dat buddy!! change is coming!! i had gone fr his speech 2day.. will write bout dat sometime..

  4. u usin the PPP concept now..gr8..and "cosmetics"? WTH?? :P

  5. @ashwin.. yeah ppp concept is gr8 to remain satisfied wid d expenses! :D cosmetics is soap, deo etc!! wat u tot? make up n stuff eh?