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.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pehla Nasha

One of my all-time favourite songs from the movie Jo Jita Wohi Sikandar!! I found the video to this song on youtube when I was looking for something else. It was the first full Indian movie song to be shot in slow-motion. To me this song never gets old or boring. One of those songs you can have on repeat play and listen to all day long. In fact, back in the day, I recorded a 90 minute cassette back to back with just this song, so that I did not have to rewind to listen to the song. I also found the meaning of the word Khumaar (Pehla Nasha, Pehla Khumaar). It means intoxication, and its so apt in this song. Takes me back to high school when the movie was released and the song became an instant hit. I think I even learned to play the intro piano piece at one point. Enjoy the video here!!

For my American friends, its a song about first infatuation!!

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Appalachian Trail Fever

Yesterday, I went to Shenandoah National Park. Its about 55 miles from here and has over 500 miles of hiking trails for every level of hiker. Yesterday was supposed to be a scouting mission, to just get a feel for the place and the trails, and I had planned to start chipping away at the close-to-home stretch of the Appalachian Trail beginning next weekend. However, I ended up starting on the AT and hiking about 6 miles of it going south. This is how it happened: I stopped at the Visitor centre to get trail maps and suggestions. The Ranger asked me what I was comfortable with. I told him that I would like a trail between easy and moderate and that I could do 9-10 miles. He suggested that I start at Jenkins Gap, take the AT South for about 5.6 miles, switch to Bluff trail 4.1 miles, then to Mt.Marshall, 3.5 miles, which would bring me back in a circuit to my car. He said it was a good 13 miles, with some elevation. He showed me the contour maps, and I set off with this information in my head. The AT is simply wonderful. It is a well maintained trail, and I had some wonderful views from the top (sorry no pictures). I went up about 1100 feet on the AT. I started at an elevation of 2355 ft, went up to 3368 ft on Mt.Marshall, went down to about 1000 ft, and back up to 2355 ft. Bluff Trail was my least favourite, it was all rocky and I kept stubbing my toe going downhill. There were very few flat stretches and it was constant downhill. It was too rocky for me. Mt.Marshall took me back up the hill towards Jenkins. That was a pleasant trail. I crossed several streams and it was beautiful going up hill with the sun behind me. On the whole, I did 0.28% of the AT, and plan to go back again next weekend to do a little bit more of the AT and the Shenandoah. I am certainly suffering from the AT fever. I do want to complete the whole 2000+ miles in sections. Maybe by the end of summer I will be fit enough to do the Devil's Stairs.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

A milestone!!

Today, I ran my first mile in almost 15 years. Did take two weeks of training (walking and hiking) to get to this point. Did the first two reps as an interval, walk 2 minutes, run 2 minutes. I had planned just to do different reps for the whole course of 5 miles, but when I started the third interval, I just kept on going after the 2 minutes were up and did not feel like stopping to walk. Luckily it was pretty much flat and down hill, so I could do it without my lungs bursting. Between running the mile and walking the rest of the trail I did it in just about an hour. Not that great, but it is a significant achievement for me!! Plan to follow up with more mile runs this week.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Almost done..

Last saturday I went back to Prince William Forest park and completed the South Valley Trail, High Meadows Trail, and Oak Ridge Trail. South Valley was spectacular. I loved every moment of it. This time around, I barely met anyone until almost the end of the trail which was close to some camp sites. I saw a coupla guys fishing and a coupla families out for a small hike. But other than that it was the trail, the creek, and the wind in the leaves for company. It was an incredible day. Unlike last week, this week I was prepared for a four hour hike, so I had plenty of water, peanuts with me and a nice pasta lunch waiting for me in the car. Now I only have to complete the North Valley and some of the smaller trails and I would have completed all the trails at the Park. My brother thought it was funny that I drove 30 miles one way to hike about 10. But I think it is totally worth it. 
The next hike would be the Shennendoah which is also not too far. I might probably even go camping there. Hopefully by the end of summer I would have had a chance to explore some of the Appalachian trails. I am enjoying summer here. Hopefully, between all this fun I am having I will also get some work done. 


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Saturday, June 06, 2009

UP!! Delightful Comedy: Spoiler Alert

I saw UP today and it was incredible. As is usual with PIXAR it was incredibly well animated. The story line was just wonderful. In the first 20 minutes or so of the movie, I was beginning to feel funny that a Disney movie had so much sadness in it. I kept waiting for the sequence of scenes to be a nightmare from which our hero wakes up. But, he did not, cause it was real. Just as I was beginning to feel a little let-down, the action started and what a glorious flight of fancy it was!! I was up there with Carl and Ellie, flying over the clouds. PIXAR retains its element of surprise and novelty with movies. The characters were delightful to watch on screen and the animation is surpassed only by Monsters Inc. I plan to go again and watch it in 3D. 3D seems to be the sudden craze this Summer. Two thumbs UP!! Go ride the balloons on a fascinating journey through the clouds, and let your kids run amok as well!!

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Brian and Ali spontaneously planned to go see the movie and I went with them. It was good to hang out with them after a long time. I can't even remember the last movie the three of us saw together, or the last time we hung out together. It was a hilarious experience, complete with Ali mistaking a Psychedelic Jawbreaker for a gumball. Anyway, the movie was a riot. Compared to the first movie the museum characters had less of a role in this movie. It was more about the romance between Larry Daley and Amelia Earhart. There were some dull moments I agree, but there was enough comedy to keep us laughing through most of the movie. I heard others tell me that they did not like the movie. I disagree with them, however, that being said, I do not think I would pay $11 again to see it in the theatre. Although you may be able to convince me to go see it at the IMax. Hank Azaria was great as Kahmunrah, especially with the lisp. Al Capone was a good touch to the story. I thought the Einsteins would be funnier than they turned out to be. On the whole, take your kids and have a blast. You can watch it again when it comes out on DVD. 

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