A travel freak takes the journey to bschool

Saturday, June 11, 2005

My Visa Experience

My appointment at the Chennai consulate was at 1-30 pm. Along with the Mrs, I landed there 15 minutes in advance. I had heard horror stories of candidates waiting outside in queues for hours and I was mentally all prepared to be roasted in the hot summer sun for a couple of hours at the least. To my pleasant surprise, there was no line! We were allowed in immediately.

After some security checks (they don't allow sealed covers inside, so remember not to carry any), We were led straight to the counter where I had to pay the fee. Again, no line. After paying the fee, we stood at one of the many counters to submit our visa application. There was just one guy in front of us in the line. Within minutes, our applications were scanned and we were led into a room with a zillion counters manned by visa officials.

By now, we were a tad greedy and hoping that there would be no line here too. Well there were scores of lines and scores of people waiting to get into line too. They have a token system which ensures a first-in first-out fairness. So after a wait of about 30 minutes, our token was called and we got in line behind 4 people at one of the counters.

5 minutes later we were at the counter. The visa official was very courteous, and asked us to have our fingerprints scanned. He then started asking us questions.

VO: What is your educational background?
Me: I have a ***** degree in ***** field.

VO: May I see your certificate?
Me: Sure.

VO: You work for **** ?
Me: Yes

VO: Why do you want to quit your job?
Me : {My "why mba" answer}.

VO to the Mrs: Ma'm, you plan to quit your job and intend to be in the United States for the whole period?
She: Yes.

VO: You will receive your visas by mail in a couple of days. Enjoy your stay in the United States.
Me: Thank You.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sachem, Here I come

Yep, I lucked out. Turns out the housing dept was able to find me a place after all. Though I would have preferred a 2 bedroom apartment, I wasted no time in accepting the offered 1-bedroom unit. The advantages of staying at Sachem are enormous. I am going to be living in a community of Tuckies. I hear that the Tuck wireless coverage extends all the way to Sachem. And the place is close enough to cycle over to class when I want to. So I am delighted!

Among the other housing opportunities I explored, Stone Farm stands out. It has a great number of Tuck students living in the apartment complex, both first and second years, and is great value for money. At 5 miles, it's a bit far from Tuck, but I have heard that students go farther than that. I had almost leased an apartment here when my Sachem village offer came through. But in the end, all's well, and that ends well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Housing Blues

Waiting in my inbox today was a mail from the dartmouth housing folks saying that because of renovation work at sachem, they have just 30 units for allocation this year. Preference is given to applicants with kids, and they have plenty of couples with kids waiting for the 30 units. So they regret not being able to offer me accomodation.

I was looking forward to living in Sachem. Now I have to start looking out for housing from here, which needless to say, is not easy. Going by some of the ads availble online, renting a house in Hanover is not exactly cheap. This does throw a spanner in the works (not to mention the pocket). I probably will need to advance my flight dates to account for time to search out a house. Basically plan things all over again. Darn and double darn!

Hot Sulphur Spring Posted by Hello

Road to nowhere? Posted by Hello

The Himalayas-2 Posted by Hello

The Himalayas Posted by Hello

Talk about timing

I headed home early last evening with the intention of calling up hanover to figure out the latest on my I-20. There was a UPS package waiting for me when I got there. No prizes for guessing what it had.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Welcome to the class of 2007

Got my welcome box from tuck yesterday. Reams of stuff to be read before the start of proceedings in August. And here i was, planning to take it easy till then.
A worrying factor is the non-arrival of my I-20. I am planning to call up Hanover today to check why it is AWOL.

Ping vold

Vold is alive.
Just buried under mountains of work. Also writing up a trip travelogue. No, I will not be inflicting it upon you, it is meant for private consumption only. However, I will be posting some pics on here, so stay tuned.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Off to the mountains

No, I am not renouncing the world. Yet. Just my cubicle. And only for 2 weeks at that.

Less than 8 hours away from the start of my vacation and I am totally swamped at work. Sigh! Am I looking forward to the mountains? You bet! But along with that, I am looking forward to the journey as well. I just love trains. Swaying to the motions of the train with a good book in hand would be my ultimate de-stress therapy.

I am hoping that the trusty old konika that I am carrying will do the job of capturing my vacation on film. (I have not entered the digital camera age yet). So, I will be off soon (hopefully). See you folks in 2 weeks.

PS: What on earth is wrong with blogger?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Onward ho!

This was what was waiting in my inbox today.

Dear Vold:
All your documents are in order. You will receive your I-20 by the end of the month.

So it's time I started working on getting all the documents for the visa in order. The date I booked does look a bit far now, but I am not complaining about the extra time.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

A speed bump

You know, just when you think things are rolling along just fine, there is that gnawing feeling at the back of your mind that says things are rolling along a bit too smoothly. I normally ignore such warnings to my own peril. And so I did last week when I sent in my form for the I-20. Turns out I should have paid more attention to that gnawing feeling.

I had sent in my passport to be updated with the name of my spouse, since this facilitates dependent visa processing. What happened instead, was that the passport authorities cancelled my passport and issued me a fresh one with my wife's name on it. That is not a big deal by itself. But my I-20 form had already gone out with a photocopy of my older passport to Tuck. A phone call to Hanover did sort matters out. But these are the sort of things that you want to avoid.