Saturday, August 23, 2008

Summarised Summary

There were BIG and HUGE plans of writing entries upon entries of my journeys these past 2 weeks. As many plans go by, they remained as beautiful plans :)

I never expected to be so busy - so far, the "being busy" has got nothing to do with school yet. Was in Seattle, Washington for a couple of days (and boy - do I love that vibrant musical city. I will definitely go there again :) and then was at Portland, Oregon (this city grows on you) for a week. The Fulbright scholars were all gathered at Portland State University for an induction to the American system etc - but most importantly, it was to enlarge our circle of networks with people from about 38 countries! And if you think that we are all nerdy guys, think again. That week was such a blast! 

I am now finally in Boulder, Colorado. Managed to secure a nice apartment here (my balcony overlooks a river!) and a mobile. Have this weekend to discover Boulder before reporting to school on Monday. It has been so exciting and busy here in Colorado - the Democratic Convention is going on here as I am making this entry...

So, as a summarised summary of my 2 weeks in the US, this is a list of observations or adjustments that I have experienced. There are many, but I think 10 would suffice for this entry:

1) whatever you may have heard about the US, its people, its culture or its immigration, leave it at the door. You have got to be here to experience how warm and helpful they are. It is a big place - and they do have all sorts. But, my experience have been nothing but awesome.

2) the food - they are all served in triple the size of what you get in Singapore. So, don't order too much food. I can't even finish a salad for lunch! And they pack their unfinished food to prevent waste.

3) the service you get at the stores/restaurants - you think the waitress is your best bud from school - they take care of you! But there is the element of tips which you decide how much she gets. But the level of service - seriously, Singapore cannot match up.

4) if a cab costs $28, you pay $35 (tips). For that matter, if you see a price tag of $10, you always pay more for tips.

5) cabs here are expensive! People walk or take a bus (I would have to adjust to this).

6) don't be afraid to ask - anything, from finding directions, bus no, etc

7) keep your receipts for whatever you buy. You can always return if it is faulty - or return if you suddenly realised that you actually have that thing at home already. No questions asked!

8) all their stores are Huge ... if you think a store is just one Unit within a mall in Singapore, then a store here is one Building! Shopping is therefore tiring ... you will loose weight. (I already did ... with the walking and walking and walking).

9) most people here (if not all that I have met) take pride in their jobs - and you reciprocate accordingly. It brings pleasure to interface with people.

10) you can always customize your needs here - just ask. For example, you are with a group of 20 people - but you want the bill for only 3 of you, they can do that. Or you want to separate the bills for food and another for drinks, they can do it. The keyword: just ask!

Btw, the pictures above were taken by me on a boat from Brementon to downtown Seattle, Washington. I was personally there at the Space Needle in Seattle. The second picture was taken from the observation deck. It was where "Sleepless In Seattle" was shot.

Another time for other stories :)


Nas Aura Mustika said...

Your descriptions are so amazing. I believe you will have wonderful years there. I'm really happy for u. Syukur pada Allah swt.

Nizar said...

one word: jeles...

mrsloke said...

Ditto on (1). They are cool ya! :)

11) Lots groceries items are sold in huge FAMILY packs (which supposed to help you save $) so do enjoy that!

Is tap water still FOC at the residential there? I miss that.

Little Miss Pinky said...

(2) I forgot to tell you about the food serving. They will always ask if you want to pack your left over. Its a standard practice. Hey look out for Joe Crab Shack (if they have it in Colorado).
(3) Another piece that i forgot to tell you. TIPS is part of the lifestyle. Almost expected in every service transaction. Once a limo driver was annoyed with me because I didn't tip him. Acceptable tip is about 10% of the total amount.
(5) Remember price of gas is very high there. Buy a mountain bike and keep the B*** tight.