It’s been a long time since I last wrote, partly because I’ve not been doing too much of new things – the project develops, and software glitches occur daily that I patiently overcome. Meetings about the functional imaging aspect concluded that the pace would be slow for two weeks while they figured out a good paradigm. I would continue on the technical side until then, preparing software for that part. My computer was being partitioned into Linux for more disk space. It took the majority of Tuesday so I used it for Visa preparations. I’m going to attend a conference FENS 2010 in July in Amsterdam so I’ve been planning tickets, visa documents, money etc. for that.
Our six month lease also gets over in March and the landlord wants to hike up the rent so we’re looking for a better, cheaper place to live closer to the city centre. Now we know the ropes so we can choose better.
I am communicating with a band that will audition me soon and hopefully I’ll gig with them. I’m also teaching Hindustani music on Skype to a boy in Durham and getting paid for it. I signed up for volunteering at a children’s charity shop (where people donate goods that can be sold – the money goes to children’s welfare). But I didn’t turn up on the first week because I got off at the wrong stop so they took me off the volunteer list and other people took my place. So long as they have people. Anyway my schedule can’t spare Friday evenings now because of fMRI project meetings at 4pm. All’s well that ends well that doesn’t even start!
My bicycle that I walked so far to collect was stolen around 3 or 4 weeks ago. I didn’t mind too much because it was fixed on 4th gear, and it had no lights (legally necessary in night). To ride a bike here legally you need accessories that cost almost as much as a bike would. Overall, it is not as simple as in India. Traffic is also dangerously fast so I prefer the shuttle bus or walking. I reported it missing so that the police know anyway. You’re supposed to.
Four of my flatmates classmates had birthdays in the same week as the Chinese New Year. Last Saturday we celebrated. I’ve been hanging out with the linguists, a cool bunch, a lot since then. My own interests in language and what I know about their subject makes me an entertaining companion to them and I’ve heard often that I should’ve taken it up. Oh, I should’ve taken so many things up according to so many people!
I was invited to dinner with four people who all had to apply for visas for Amsterdam. My Taiwanese classmate prepared an elaborate dinner for us. Quite good! Very nice of him. Today I went to my local host’s house north of Princes Street for a British lunch. I met her other guest- a Syrian girl studying social anthropology. The food was great. Vegetarian and a really nice dessert followed by coffee. We took a walk along Leith river. It was so forest-like that it felt like home except the cold. Most other trees here are bare and leafless – lifeless… The river water didn’t look too appealing but the trees and snowdrops looked very nice. We passed some historically important places. We returned for tea (light and just right on sugar and milk) and she played some Scottish tunes for us on the fiddle! Her partner, as she likes to call him, had a remarkable white beard and very sparkly blue eyes. They were such a nice and friendly old couple. Our conversations covered our subjects, cultures, food, religion and various other things. It was notably the most pleasant afternoon I’ve had in a long time. I’m still not hungry. That’s how well they fed me! And I feel like the world is all on my side! Maybe it was just that I hadn’t made that food. What a cherishable feeling.
I also like the colour of the sky during sunset. Twilight takes long in this part of the world and the sky is lit up as if it were a screen behind which there is some light. Even as the stars come out, the deep blue still has that tinge of hopeful light. Like the sun is reluctant to leave.
When I see the moon in this kind of sky I feel like the Earth is a wonderful place! And the whole universe is on my side. Benevolence.
Experience and live fully. Love life and be healthy and happy!