Home again home again!

After a long 14 hour journey am back home for a short break. It has been a homecoming for me- seeing the airplane of the country’s airline all lined up at Boston was the first sign that home is near. The bus ride to Boston supposedly two hours long, took until 5 pm. The Bolt Bus came half an hour late. The start of the bus was further delayed when a passenger had an argument with the bus driver about the lateness of the bus and took a picture of his ID to report him. In his turn the driver walked inside the bus terminal and got two Amtrack policemen to get the man out the bus. The driver determined not to drive the bus with that passenger on board. Net Result- bus even later than ever.

My flight was at 11 pm so reaching Boston at 5 pm was ok. I had no idea how to reach Logan International Airport but the various boards showed me I must take a Silverline to the airport, which I did after duly purchasing a $2.90 ticket.

A smooth busride, no passengers rude or jittery- everyone was in a holiday mood and an errant suitcase down the aisle arose no comment other than” oh, he is in a big hurry to go places”.

The check in and verifications were over in a matter of minutes, the machine bleeped over me with my hands help up and then it was time for a manual body patting- which test also I passed Seemed like a day for tests- the morning I had completed a 3 hour Biostatistics test which was on a grade of 10 on a test severity scale.

I went to the lounge where I relaxed with food and hot chocolate- my latest favorite drink. Checked in through the Gold Member line and managed the 14 hour journey home without event- no passport or boarding pass lost, no spectacles or purses or bags lost. Seemed like all my wits were about me.

At the airport as usual, my husband and I missed seeing each other- so there was a hour’s delay at airport till I found my husband and we rode home together-HOME- to a tempestuous welcome from Sunshine.

Weekend chores and a message

I moved places on the 30th of July- into a dorm. It is quite a nice room with a wonderful view of the city – I can even see the hills around and the golden spire of some distant church.

Friday evening seems to be the time everyone enjoys the most here- there are people on the streets until late. The police sirens rage loud and clear through the night. It feels safe to know the city is in good hands.

Finally figured out how to use the bank card to pay the washing machine and dryer charges- turned out to be quite simple. The card has a magnetic line and that needed to point to the left on the machine- who knew? So I got my laundry done.

Saturday – was a difficult day for me- as everything shuts down here on Saturday. I spent the morning doing my homework( yes, homework at 50) and part of the morning submitting my homework( the department can be opened at all hours, provided we have the appropriate security cards). Later, I realised I hadn’t eaten and there wasn’t an ounce of food at home- to eat animal crackers from Walgreen’s didn’t seem very appetizing. I wanted hot, and spicy food- preferably rice. And there wasn’t any place nearby I could find it. Finally went to a place where they sold ” artisan” food- and ate a breakfast sandwich for lunch. I think artisan means made from scratch. I went to the old library in the old campus and managed to get enough books to last the weekend for light reading. I have been reading ever since – so nothing much got done the rest of the weekend. The library is open only till 10 pm on weekends so that was another dampener. I called my husband a million times and there was no answer since 12 noon. Very worried by midnight ( dawn where he is)- finally he picks up the phone at 6 am his time and answers very sleepily- seems he had had a refreshing and deep sleep and didn’t see my calls. It was a worrying time. My husband doesn’t keep well and is always afraid that he will be taken sick in the middle of the night. When he didn’t answer the calls, I thought perhaps he was indeed in hospital. Distance doesn’t make it any easy when a loved one is in trouble.

Sunday morning- decided to go to the store and get some food. There was no point trying to save money when one is hungry. So spent around 75$ on food, hoping it will last for about two weeks, till I travel home.

The process of moving homes was rather difficult. It is amazing how much of stuff we collect even in a month- needed or unnecessary.

Really the text of today’s church message( yes, I attended a Methodist service today) was from Luke 12:16-21, where the man thinks he needs to build bigger and bigger buildings to store his surplus stuff, not knowing that that day was his last day on earth- a timely reminder for people like me who are habituated to buying stuff I don’t really need when someone around me might need it more.

A “joiner”

One of the subjects I study is Epidemiology. The professor is a man with a lot of research experience in public health particularly in Columbia.

All course material is uploaded on the site the week before. Students are expected to read up and come before class. There is one section with the slides and the others are all research papers related to the topic under discussion that day. IF we can critique those papers, then the lesson is successful.

To illustrate the point of something following something “intuitively”, the professor talked about the head mistress of his children’s elementary school, Mrs. Schuller( or at least that is what I heard). One day Mrs. Schuller decided to start a bookclub at her school- a very nice initiative indeed and something quite innovative- for – well, here’s the catch- the parents. According to the professor, Mrs. Schuller thought the parents reading skills or lack thereof was reflected in there reading abilities of the children. Since many parents helped( guided) children with their homework, it made sense to invite parents to participate in a bookclub.

Of course, the professor joined. And this is how he put it- ” of course, I joined- I join everything- I am a “joiner”. The class burst out laughing.

After joining the bookclub, the dad( professor) went home to tell his children of his latest “joiner” activity( seems like there were plenty of them over the years’) and his daughter was so embarrassed by the latest act of shame of her father- she said, ” Dad, DO NOT GO”. The professor countered with- but I already joined baby and there is no way out now. Mrs. Schuller will be watching out for me.”

The first bookclub day dawned and the professor turned up on time all read up and prepared for the bookclub. Along with him were five other parents- all mothers. Imagine the group- one dad and five mums with Mrs. Schuller. By this time, the class was bursting out with laughter.

The point of all this was that to him it seemed that Mrs. Schuller calling a bookclub for parents was as intuitive as the steps of logistic regression, which is one of the methods used in epidemiology.