Non Resident Alien

This is a chronicle of my tragi-comic life as a foreigner in the United States. My official status when I started school in 2004, was that of a Non-Resident-Alien and that's where the title of the blog is from. My status has changed to Resident Alien since then. My personal experiences are a unique roller coaster mundane everyday experiences for locals, but unique from the eyes of a foreigner. I started this blog to share some of my experiences beginning my third year living in this country.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

And just like that...

.. they are gone. My dear friend Rami and his family are visiting the metro area this weekend. They have had a long roadtrip from Memphis to Chicago to Indianapolis and finally to DC now. They were in DC all day today and I got to spend some time with them. Its nice to meet people who are almost family and I am homesick now that they are gone. Its even more wonderful to meet old friends who have known you for donkey's years. The house suddenly seems very empty. Wish they had stayed longer.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Hilarous Tullock

Prof. Tullock managed to successfully disrupt the last 30 minutes of our class with Prof. Rizzo this morning. Its Prof. Tullock's 85th birthday and people had brought cake and ice cream to celebrate. He was so generous that he walked into our class (right in the middle of a serious discussion on ends and means and if ends justified the means) and brought in the cake and ice cream for us. We were all thrown off guard and we all couldn't stop laughing. He is the grand old man around here and we all simply adore him. I had a class with him last semester and got an A+ which I am extremely proud of. A couple of weeks ago Noah and I were talking to him and he mentioned that they (the DMV people) were making him retake his driver's license test and did not seem very pleased about it. I cannot imagine anyone not liking him. He is just too real for me. Happy Birthday Prof.Tullock.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Locked out

For the first time in the eight years that I have been living by myself I was locked out of my house. I was looking forward to meeting Brian, Carrie and Ali for dinner this evening, and was all bundled up and ready when Brian came in to pick me up. I locked my door, closed it and immediately realised that I had left my keys inside. Woorse, only this afternoon, I had put a charliebar inside the front window cause I realise anyone could get in easily through that window. So I tried opening it with my old credit card, and part of a clip. Had a fun time trying to make my Hispanic neighbour understand that I was looking for a knife or any sharp object. After about 30 minutes of drama in the below freezing outdoors, I called my roomie and fortunately her boyfriend's parents live near here and they had a spare key, and his brother drove over to give me the spare key and to cut a long story short, I am home after a hearty meal but much emabarrassed and I know Brian will never let me forget how I delayed the dinner for everyone and left everyone out in the cold. A dramatic end to an otherwise boring week. Actually the week also began dramatically enough with Sufjan. Except for the bookends of the week, the week itself was pretty boring. Now I am warming my feet at the air vent in my room and glad to be inside my home again. Thanx for helping out guys!!


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sidewalk art

I got out of class around 10pm and it was snowing outside. There was just a mild dusting of snow, and although I was tired, I enjoyed walking home from the bus stop. The child in me took over and I could not help but hop and skip back home. I also looked for a small stick, found one and took sidewalk art to a new level. I made small smileys on the sidewalk on the snow. I hope they remain for people to see when they walk the sidewalk in the morning. Dunno what came over me, but there is a string of lil girls and lil boys and lil clown faces smiling and greeting people all along the sidewalk of Stafford Drive. Makes me smile. I did not do it with an altruistic motive. I did it on an impulse and it made me feel extremely happy and five years old again. It was beautiful to watch the whole sidewalk glittering like diamonds as the snow flakes caught the street light or that from the lone car. Makes me glad to be walking and not driving at such times. I would have completely missed out on the joy of this moment if I had been driving. The first flakes of snow that dust the cityscape always make me feel joyous. Of course, I was bundled up in my Eskimo suit, and the wind chill was non existent, and that was surely a major contributor to my mood. I sleep tonight with a smile and joy in my heart.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Sufjan Stevens Surprise

I was at the Kennedy Centre this evening. Here's how it happened. Three weeks back, Noah asked me to keep the evening of 5 Feb 2007 free, so he could give me my combined Birthday and X-Mas gift. I had no clue what it was, except that I was excited. A week back, he borrowed my tent to go camping in downtown DC on a cold friday night, and I thought he was nuts. When he came back he said there were tons of people camping with him, and I was wondering what kind of people would want to camp in the middle of DC on a cold winter night!! Now I know what it was for. He camped out in the cold 26 hours to get free tickets to see Sufjan Stevens live, and the second ticket was reserved for me even before he got the tickets. Am I blessed with the best friend ever or what!!

This morning, he finally told me what the surprise was and you have to experience Sufjan live to believe what it was like. I have never been to a professional concert in this country, and this one was at the Kennedy Centre. As if that was not enough excitement, it was a Sufjan concert. For over a year, I have been enthralled by his music. When he walked on stage, I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear and be excited in my whole being. The music was just amazing. Imagine, a live concert, and you are 3 rows down from the stage, up close and personal with the musician, and the music just flows through your veins. I felt the rhythm in my heart not just in my ears, I felt the lyrics in my soul not just in my head. It was a beautiful evening, and it was Beautiful Noise. Sufjan is himself such a humble person and it was wonderful being there. I can load this post with a million adjectives and not come close to expressing what I experienced this evening.

This evening was indeed the best surprise of my life yet. No one has been this thoughtful about me in years. I do not know how I can top this Noah!! For now I am humbled and grateful!! Sufjan dwarfed the other surprise of the day, a pen and paper letter from my dearest Manju with some lovely Sufi music. I know she would have loved today's concert.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Newest baby in the family

My cousin Vidya's baby Adwitiya is the newwest addition to the family. She is such an adorable little thing. I missed my cousin's wedding, the baby's birth, everything. These are times when living so far away from home seems totally worthless. But as a good economist, I have made my choices based on my valuations of current Vs future streams of happiness. :) Enjoy these pictures Venky jeeju mailed me.


Friday, February 02, 2007

The Great Year

Here is an amazing google Video (original release by PBS) about Precession of the Equinox. Although the Hindu beliefs in the Yuga cycle is not popular in Western cultures, the Precession of the Equinoxes is an established astronomical fact. I strongly believe there is a huge grain of truth in this belief, but then again I am prejudiced by my own faith and religious beliefs. Enjoy the video! Its only 45 minutes.