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Archive for December, 2009

After waking in the morning and having a Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast at the nearby mall, we checked out of the Sonesta Hotel and made our way to South Station where the Bolt Bus Terminal was. Lab partner bought his ticket long long ago so he got the ticket for US$1. The bus ride was long but there was wifi internet access on the bus. Along the way, we were supposed to stop over at a rest stop but there was a police car holding up the vehicles on the overpass. So the bus driver decided to make a U-turn. He did a 20 point turn. He policeman was so angry that he stopped the bus driver and shouted at him, and let him go. But along the highway, another policeman stopped the bus and took down the driver’s particulars. We stopped for a long while and in the end we reached New York about 1 hour behind schedule.

The subway in New York is dirty and old. There are no lifts in alot of stations. We took the train to brooklyn where our inn was. I was so tired after that. One good thing about this inn, called SleepInn, was that there was free wifi and also there was breakfast.

We walked to a nearby mexican restaurant for dinner. Dinner was nice but i did not bring out my camera, because it was night and we were in a more secluded region. Anyway, I think my cashmere scarf and beanie fell out of my jacket somewhere along the way. wonder how that happened. Sigh.

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Very nice for a inn.
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We can see the statue of liberty from here.

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Day 1: Boston

It was around 8pm when i landed at the airport. After collecting my bags, i did a quick repack, converting 4 bags into 3 for easier management when travelling. Now I have to meet my lab partner. I bought a 7 day charlie pass, which allowed me to take all trains and buses in Boston. From there, I had to lug approximately 50 kg of luggage onto an articulated bus called the silver line, transit onto a train on the red line at south station, transfer to the green line, and finally exit at lechmere station, where the Sonesta Hotel was. I could not find the lift on the transfer station. But fortunately my manpack training in AFS came in handy so i survived.

I was so pleased to see lab partner at the station. Actually, I could find my way to the hotel myself, as I had google mapped the directions on my iphone while in Singapore and saved a screenshot of the route. I did it in case lab partner didnt show up. But it was really really a welcome sight to see a familiar face again after more than 20 hours.

Upon reaching the hotel, I was beat. 50 plus kg of luggage was no joke! My packing strategy did help though. But anyway, we had to get dinner and guess what, lab partner had an extra BK cheeseburger so i happily wolfed it down. Then we went to the cheesecake factory to have supper.

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This is lab partner’s room
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Lab partner had Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake, I had Stefanie’s Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake.
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My cheesecake
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Lab Partner’s cheesecake
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Lab partner models in front of the shop

The cheesecake was so big i could not finish it. Haha. After that, we went back and i had a good sleep after a really long trip.

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Good bye Singapore

I will miss Singapore. I will miss family. And i will miss my hall mates from [A3]wesome. I will also miss Shushu and gang, my tall friend, union camp SP, my new sexaymamas band and fan club, and probably a few other people.

I checked into Terminal 3 at 5am. As such, I did not want to trouble anyone to come down so early (there would probably have been a few) and did not tell anyone. I flew off at 5am. It was a lonely flight and the United Airlines in-flight entertainment was so lousy. But fortunately for me, I was sleepy… really sleepy and so i slept for most of my flight.

It was just as well that a few days earlier, there was a shoe bomb incident on a US plane and the terminal security at US was stepped up so much that some people were almost delayed, still in the security queue 20 minutes to their flight. Fortunately, my transit time was sufficient to accomodate the extra security check time.

Anyhow, I arrived in Boston at night and it was frigid. boo. I will continue later.

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I had quite an experience booking my air ticket. Reason being, I was waiting for inputs from other people on their pre-sep and post-sep travel plans. So anyway, I delayed till after the exams before I decided to book my ticket.
Because I didn’t know better, I tried booking from zuji. Zuji is very slow, especially on a Sunday. I was waiting for the server so long that my day was fully booked by the time the page loaded. According to zuji, united airlines were giving te best rates so I went directly to the united airlines website and tried booking from there. I was successful, but by a hairs breadth. The price of tickets on the day I wanted to fly off skyrocketed by $3000! So I selected the next best day. I was actually contemplating between booking via an agent the next day, or settling it there and then, because I was thinking that if the flight was full on Sunday, I would not stand a chance on Monday. Hazards of trying to plan things with others.
Anyway, I recommend sta travel instead. They do have student promotions, usually has the best rates, and you are able to book an open return ticket. This is very helpful in saving the rebooking fee. For me, I guess time and space did not really permit. Put simply, I was very unfortunate.
But sta travel is my recommended choice.

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A condolence

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Dr Roland Su was my Faculty SEP coordinator. Although he only interviewed me and told me a standard set of advice revolving around being an ambassador to NUS while on exchange, personal testimonies from my friends reveal that he is more than just a respected professor. He really cares for students and our exchange programs. I believe that Dr Su’s passing on the 17th of November is a loss, but nevertheless being a believer of Jesus Christ, I am sure he is now in heaven awaiting his loved ones, in the comfort of God.

Dr Su’s legacy lives in each of us who has gone or are going on exchange, whom he interviewed and helped embark on the exchange journey. I am fortunate to know him, and I hope his family will be well, and be comforted to know he is in a better place.

Goodbye Dr Su.

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The University of Alberta, located in Edmonton, Canada, is my Exchange University. Canada is a beautiful place and I had always wanted to study there ever since I went to Toronto when I was in JC 1. However, I did not study there because studying overseas is expensive and I am not smart enough for a good overseas scholarship. Nevertheless, the student exchange program has allowed me to experience 4 months of Canadian education, and I hope to reap a positive experience from a western, yet cosmopolitan culture.

My journey began with the SEP applications in year 2 semester 2, and I was choosing between several universities in Canada. UBC and UoT were also on my list, but the problem of being a life sciences major wanting to specialise in biomedical sciences is that in most universities, life sciences fall under biology and focus heavily on biological sciences. As such, in mapping my modules, I found that the University of Alberta allowed me to fulfill my core module mappings, and so I went to the interview with it as my first choice.

Presumably because it was not such a “hot” or sought after university, I was given the approval by Dr Roland Su, the Faculty of Science SEP coordinator, almost immediately.

After the processing and documentation process, during the mid year term break, my application and approval was complete. I even got the modules that I wanted to do before i knew my modules in NUS year 3 semester 1. It was a seamless process.

Now, I await as i count down the days to flying off on the 29th of december. Canada awaits.

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Bienvenue au CANADA

Welcome to my Canada Student Exchange Blog.

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