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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Inglourious Basterds (Spoiler Alert)

I ever there has been a charmer on screen it is Christoph Waltz, as SS Col. Hans Landa. How can one not be charmed by him? The smooth talking, fluent in French, German, Italian and English (who knows what other), cool-headed yet cunning Col. in Hitler's army. Now I do not know what part of Tarantino's new movie is based on true events, but the tale he spins is gory and funny at the same time (I do not mean to undermine the seriousness of the plot). In classic Tarantino style there are multiple plot lines that progress simultaneously and we are left tethering at the edge of our seats towards the end wondering how it is going to end. There are so many unexpected turns in the story that you quit predicting in your mind how the plot will progress next. To me Christoph Waltz was the show stealer. Brad Pitt aka Aldo the Apache, with his thick accent is hard to follow sometimes (for one unused to such accents like myself), but renders a good role. It was good to see non-American talent on a blockbuster such as this for a change. Melanie Laurent as Shosanna and Diane Kruger as Bridget von Hammersmark are stunning both to look at and in character. Daniel Bruhl as Zoller is eye-candy of sorts if you can peel your eyes away from the two ladies and Waltz. As usual Tarantino does not disappoint. Two thumbs up. I am going back to see it again. Leave the kids at home. If you have a weak stomach for blood on the screen (there's plenty of it) stay at home.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

New York!! New York!!

Last week I was at Irvington-on-Hudson, a NYC suburb, at the FEE campus, for a week long seminar on Advanced Austrian Economics. We had one afternoon off and decided to go into the city. NYC is one city I have been terrified of visiting, and it was comforting to go with a couple of others who were also visiting the city for the first time, one other who was raised in the city. We took the commuter train into Grand Central and walked up to the Empire State Building, waited in line for about an hour and a half to the top, went around gawking at the city swathed in a setting sun like other tourists around us. Then we walked up to Times Square, and by the time we reached TS we were all too tired to do anything more; so we just hung around TS for half an hour and then walked back to Grand Central to commute back to FEE. It was not bells and whistles but it was at least a non-terrifying trip and I am glad I had company.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Sham at Shenandoah!!

What a day!! First, I got up late, so could not leave as early as I'd like to go to Shenandoah, so by the time I reached the Ranger Station it was almost 10am, which meant I could not hit the trail for another hour at least. So instead of the usual 12-14 mile minimum hike, I ended up choosing a much simpler 9.5 mile circuit from Matthew's Arm through Traces Trail, Overall Run, and Beech Ridge back to my car. I was a little busy the last couple of weekends and could not go, so I was really looking forward to hiking today. The trail was beautiful, and I had packed a good supply of water and food, but I ended up taking 6 hours to do this short hike which was a huge disappointment. Besides, I took too many breaks, was tired very soon, and all this despite my beautiful new hiking shoes which felt really good on the trail today. I do not know if my lethargy was weather induced, cause it was a pretty humid day today. Well! Like Ranger Jay likes to remind me, no excuses! You either do the trail or you do not!! Hopefully next weekend will be a better hike than today.