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Statue of Liberty in NYC

3 Nov. It’s been a week since I returned to Bengaluru. The four weeks in the US have been very fruitful. May not be the best for a relaxing time, due to hectic schedule and incessant travels.

SOL- dutch angle

When in New York, I spent about three days at Fordham University in Bronx.

SOL- hand torch

The area is relatively poor for New York halo. But what does the popular halo matter to a common person?

SOL- Migrants{A sculpture of The Immigrants, in the land built by immigrants}

After a few of my meetings, I made use of whatever time I could get and whatever the rain could permit me, to go round.

SOL- NYC

{The lovely building-scape of NYC}

SOL- queen of hearts

{As I was cruising towards the Statue of Liberty Island, on a cruise, with over a hundred others}

SOL- RR watching

{Tried to get a perspective; but didn’t really succeed; but this is definitely, what many could have hoped for!}

SOL- RR

{Below: the Statue of Liberty looking on to the land from the distant sea}

SOL- statue

The city I didn’t see – Washington

23 Oct. That is the last destination – and some think that is the centre of the world. Both those out and those in. Washington DC. And its power house.

{Disclaimer: These are cell phone pictures taken on a dull, cloudy day, which soon ended my day with heavy, non-stop rains! Apologies for these bad pictures}

FAll Colurful Washington

{Fall is a lovely time – at least the beginning of the Fall -l’autumne- trees and plants get ready to shed their ornaments, their dress AFTER wearing it beautiful and colourful. It is that time of the year}

Commercial building Georgetown

{It is a commercial building- a restaurant- in Georgetown, along the River Potomac}

It was only two days. Just a little meeting; that was to be on yesterday (Monday) afternoon; but my bad! I couldn’t meet him. In this huge space, I couldn’t locate him. Probably, he couldn’t either. After all, technology not really a big blessing; we know it when we have digital reminders in lieu of our memories, and they fail; we have cell phones to go with us wherever we go, and when you need it the most, their voice mail-boxes/ answering machines ask you to leave a message. And you actually don’t communicate.Potomac River Georgetown

{The Potomac River, along which is built Georgetown, and the Georgetown University}

And I lost my appointment with him yesterday.  With that the most important part of my visit to Washington DC was gone. With that the secondary – the enjoy the beauty of the city, and upload a few good pictures.

But he was kind; he was keen on meeting me today. And we met. But we met close to noon – that meant I couldn’t meet another of my friends. After all the efforts to meet. So sorry!

protest Washington

{Like in  most places, protests against policies, actions and behaviors of the government unacceptable go on, here too; a difference: in the US, people and the media can and DO speak against it.}

Another less important consequence: to miss the city and the “center”. Power Centre of the world, if you prefer it.

With that it was lunch. And the skies were threatening me anyway. It was dark!

Restarant - colourful Georgetwon

{A restaurant along the river Potomac in Georgetown}

During lunch, the Jesuits suggested two things – first a conference on America – China relations. Such an interesting topic. I decided to attend it – the afternoon session. Afterall, not all sessions are free for visitors to attend – entry is strictly by ID cards. This one was an exception.

Another asked me if I had ventured into the public part of the city. Nope! Oh, no! And they provided irresistible clues.

State in front of White House

{A statue in front of the White House}

One said, it’s about 40 minutes walking, if you CAN walk. Oh, you dare challenge me! Sure, why not! He said, The Mall – all the beautiful museums, galleries and places of attractions – all for free! Imagine, you get to visit all these places of interest for free. But in Washington DC, you do.Washington Memoria

{The Washington Memorial}

Since Dan had shown me all these places while driving to Georgetown University on Sunday late evening (though in the rain), when he came to Union Station Bus Terminal to pick me up, I thought I would take a plunge – walk. Soon after lunch I started walking.

My knees were hurting. But I walked along the Potomac River.  Such a lovely view. I used to view this last two days – morning, noon, and night. Such a beautiful view. My GPS was guiding me. And, then it started raining. Not many buildings in the US or in Washington to hide under, unlike in India. These are straight buildings with no offer of shade or shelter. Oh, what a technology! Useless when you need the most!

Watergate East Washington

{The notoroius Watergate Scandal that shook America between July 1972 and August 1974. The time has changed; but the name remains}

I could see the Washington Memorial from a very short distance – but the gloomy skies made it un-see-able. When rains abated, I walked a little more. There they were – the secret service police who guard the powers-to-be. Thousands of people –some with umbrellas, others with caps, some with raincoats, some like me – wet. Suddenly, I realised, I was right in front of the White House. But not allowed to go in.

Last night I went to the website. But found that to visit the White House (there was a way) – I had to write to the local senator three months in advance, and on the day s/he offers (if at all offered), I need to go. But I am here, and didn’t know my schedule even a month ago!

Watergate Shops Washington

But what do you lose in trying? A few minutes. But there is so much to gain – if lucky, an entry; otherwise, so much of knowledge, experience, learning for the future, and confidence.

I researched the politics here – the Senator of Washington DC – Eleanor. Followed her on Twitter. And then also wrote to her asking.

Sure enough – no reply. I was asking for moons in the yonder sky.

Till I reached the White House today, there was no response. And till I write this, there is no response. And till I reach India and have forgotten, there won’t be any response! But I have learnt a bit, I know a little more. Thank you.

White House full Washington

{The white White House – the side walks are under repair – we care for you!}

Whenever I felt the rain had abated a bit, I ventured out from under the trees and clicked a picture of the White House, the Washington Memorial, and a few things. For sure, there was no way I could visit any of the museums, art galleries, centres, or offices. Rain wouldn’t allow me to walk from one place to another. And my paining ankle and knees allow me to run, either. So, be it.

Checked my Google Maps – the Metro was close by. It was 3.00pm already. Metro Centre (close to the White House) was close by. Better go back. Will be home for Mass and dinner to say goodbye to Wolfington Community.

White House repair Washington

{The fence replacement project at The White House; else, I could have walked about 30-40 feet closer to the Temple of Power}

Managed to enter the Metro Center – thanks to a couple of Americans who also helped me with information (to reassert the Google Maps). Thanks to Dan for his SmarTrips card to avail Metro. Just two stops. There I was at DuPont Station. From there I was to get a Georgetown University bus to the University. Didn’t know, where exactly. P St, 28. Someone suspected it could ‘somewhere that side!’ Thanks to her (:-

Believe it or not, GU bus was waiting. And I reached by 4pm; again, in the rain. I was drenched!

Washington DC – the city I did not visit. I did not see. Did not enjoy.

NYC – visit to The Times Square

Before I leave for the political hub of United States, may I share a few memories of my visit to New York – the dream city for many?

Times Square - Fr Duffy board

Well, what else New York be known to tourists than The Times Square? Or, may be Statue of Liberty, the 1886 statue gifted by the French to America on the occasion of  centenary of American independence (1776) and on the backdrop of abolition of slavery (1863). The latter can wait for a while; the former first.

I always thought The Times Square, Manhattan, New York City, was The Times Square. It’s only after seeing the statue and also the plaque did I realise it was Father Duffy Square! In memory of Father Francis P. Duffy, the American Military Chaplain (The Canadian priest how served the American military during the Spanish-American war, then later, served in the Bronx, and finally died in 1932).

Times Square - Fr Duffy statue

See below the craze of people on a very ordinary evening; it was no big celebration like New Year eve or some other memorial. Yet the ‘square’ is completely occupied.

Times Square - people

The crowds at The Times Square go crazy to be there, sitting, singing, dancing, clicking pictures, etc.

Times Square - RR backtround

Times Square

It was so much of fun. I spent about two hours at The Times Square (well, Father Duffy Square!), besides spending a lot of time in the various places of Manhattan like Central Garden, the fountain, St Thomas Church (Anglican), St Patrick Cathedral (Catholic), Rockefeller Center/ Ice (hockey) rink, Broadway and the magic of it, and finally, The Times Square, before winding up with a solid dinner.

[Well, can’t write too much, for now.  Leaving for DC in about five minutes!]

{I have added a few things/ modified some, after reaching Washington DC}

From Fordham University, New York

18 Oct. I am in one of the most dreamy cities of the world. Or, at least, that is what they say. For me personally, the connection is with Hollywood filmmakers like Martin Scorsese.

Ed FU campus

{The old-looking Fordham Uni building, but don’t be fooled by its archaic looks!}

Bronx is probably the poorest of the six New York boroughs. The borough has a lot of Afro-American population (like the Asian/ Indian in Queens borough of the same city!). But don’t forget the yankees! They love their game.

Ed FU old building{The same looks} .

That is where this Jesuit university was born in 1841 – on the East Fordham Road.  Today Fordham University is one of the top American Jesuit Universities, with over 15,000 students and four campuses.

Ed FU Rugby{sports is a religion in the United States; so you expect every good educational institution to have some good infrastructure for sports and games. And here, you go!}

Ed FU student centre{This is the Student Center. It is lovely to see such a massive building full of student activities. Some students were busy selling things for some charity} .

I had the good fortune of visiting this university. I was welcomed to a nasty shower on Wednesday; heavy wind, non-stop shower. By the time I got into my room, I was drenched. I feared the next two days would be as wet.

Ed FU EA Poe{Whoever thought Edgar Alan Poe was only a thriller! Well, writer of thrillers and detectives. He was very much a part of Jesuits} .

Ed FU flag{The walk way – one of the scores of them in the campus} .

But no, the next day brightened up slightly. So that I could venture out, and out till late in the evening.

And on the third day, ventured out all alone – for a whole day (more about it later)

Ed FU opp Tx{Please don’t be fooled by this building. It has nothing to do with the Jesuit university; the building just another commercial buildings on the way to Fordham University, just about a stone’s throw away. I like the architecture of this building, and thought of sharing it with you.}

For now, it is only Fordham University.  I met some good Jesuits like Pat Ryan and Ryan Birjoo and a few others. Then met a few academicians and university people also; had some wonderful meetings with them.

At Boston’s rich heritage and ambience; & Harvard

It is true – both literally and metaphorically. The prestigious Boston College of Boston, Massachusetts, USA, is very special. Ed - BC building 2

Can I say the ‘front portion of Boston College (BC)’? But of which building? There are so many buildings, you can’t pin down one, and say ‘this building’s front’!

Ed - BC building

The Rugby players are busy playing in the field, early in the morning. It doesn’t seem like a professional match; but the electronic scoring board is on!

Ed - BC Rugby

And then, another sports field : here two different teams are at loggerheads with each other. And, of course, you must look at the natural beauty of the surroundings and the College building and a seminary beside.

Ed - BC Rugby2

The College was founded in 1856 for the education of Irish migrants. But it has come a long way from Irish to the deserving Americans and citizens of the world from over 80 countries, and 15,600 students (of course, nearly $2.6 billion in Endowments!).

Ed- BC buildings

I witnessed a rare scenario – the lush green campus of Boston College. Even though America is just inching towards the Fall, and Spring season is over two seasons away, the campus has worn a rich natural saree.

Ed- BC campus

This clock {below} on a firm stand, donated in 2005, by the 1938 batch of students, is a wonderful thing – the clock functions even now.

Ed- BC clock

What you see below it the Boston Eagle, BC’s crest and logo. It is very majestic. Perched on a tall tower (probably, 20-30 feet?), the golden eagle looks very royal, in front of the oldest building of the College – Gasson Hall, in memory of its 9th President Fr Gasson.

Ed- BC Eagle CU

Ed- BC Eagle

This is where the beauty of nature comes alive – flowers in the picture below.

Ed- BC flowers

I went around the campus a bit just to familiarise myself. Thanks to Anil and Romio for sparing their precious time and energy for me.

Ed- BC Front big

Ed- BC Frontal

And then, there are grape-like juicy fruits in full blossom.

Ed- BC fruits

Ed- BC full

The BC campus has six libraries; this one is 24-hour library, and I don’t know how many lakh books. But the library is stunning.

Ed- BC Library

I had a good day at Boston College and Harvard University. Harvard University, of course, is a township by itself. There is no one campus, so to say.

Ed- Boston College

The picture below is on the way to the Harvard University campus.

Ed- Harvard St

At the Castle Island, there is two Korean war memorials in memory of those who laid down their lives for the people of America (call it foolishness of their leaders, just like today’s politicians; but these men, trusted these political goondas, and fought for their arrogance. The one below you see is in memory of Fr James H. Lane: the epitaph is simply moving.

Ed- Martyr Fr Lane

In memory of soldiers:-

Ed- Martyr Korean

Here are the guys, who made my day, at Boston College –

Ed-Anil-Romio-RR

And then, I went to Castle Island (the last two photos speak for this), close to Logan airport, Boston. Another wonderful experience. The child in my woke up to see the marvel of aeroplanes landing – zooming past the Atlantic ocean, to the airport. And then, a short walk along the Atlantic divider!

Ed-Blue yellow

Every few seconds, a flight descends, and another takes off in the opposite direction. Such a miracle of human mind!

Ed-Boston Downtown

Ed-flight landing water buildng

What a day!

Loyola University, Chicago, Lakeshore

I believe, after the gloom there’s going to be sunshine. And, there is some sunshine. Well, plenty of it! How will you enjoy Chicago only with sun? And heavy wind with it!

Ed- Loyola Env Exp 2

The first thing that strikes is the vastness of the campus. The University has four campuses: three in Downtown Chicago and the main one Lakeshore. Oh, what a lovely sight!

Ed- Loyola Env Exp

They are massive, multi-storey building. And about four thousand students live on the campus in numerous, spacious student residences.

Ed-Loyola pathway

Today’s speciality was the lovely, warm sun, making the skyline absolutely beautiful. That’s what I was looking for.

Ed-Loyola two towers

Spent sometime walking in the campus along Michigan Lake  – these four lakes we had studied about during our primary and high school days: Michigan, Eerie, Lawrence, and Ontario. And, voila!  here I am! They say, about the world’s 1/5 of the water is in this Michigan river. And it is beautiful too! I love it.

In Chicago’s rainy, gloomy day

Not everybody gets to visit Chicago. More specially to visit some of the world’s largest lakes they studied in their primary school days.

But I did.  And what a way to visit – a gloomy and dark day!

Chicago Eye

[The London Eye-type Chicago Eye; though it is not as good as the original in the UK, not a bad thing to watch along the Michigan River, near the piers]

Well, beggars have no choices. I enjoy whatever I get; after all, I  haven’t been the most fortunate or the blue-eyed boy.

Chicago Sky Scrapers

[Chicago is one of the City of Skyscrapers – towers with hundreds of storeys.]

Thanks to the work I do for my college, and for the utter generosity of our international partners like Creighton University, Omaha (Nebraska) and Seattle University, Washington, I received this opportunity.

Michigan Lake 2

[Probably, the biggest sweet-water lake – Lake Michigan]

Amid the brain-melting type of work this involves/ involved, I still made/ am making up something memorable, and very useful for my college.

Michigan Lake

{Another view of probably, the biggest sweet-water lake – Lake Michigan}

Please remember these pictures are taken from a moving car, and in my mobile camera, and on a really dark, gloomy, rainy day.  And I am not at proud of them. But beggars have no choice.

Sears Tower Chicago

[Till Dubai’s Burj Khalifa was built, Sears Tower was the tallest building of the World; not anymore]

Trump Tower[And, here it is – the Trump Tower, in Chicago]

I hope to get slightly better pictures on yet another rainy, gloomy, wet, windy day, today.

Seattle University all the way

It was another absolutely packed and busy day at Seattle University (SU), Washington.

My day began at 8.15am with Breakfast meeting with Kauser (our scheduled intern from SU to SJC, but denied visa).  She was joined by Jina Lopardo and host Joe Orlando.

Jimmy students

That was a personal, spontaneous chat for  a variety of reasons.

Then we met with Lindsay, who will be leading a delegation of 12-15 students and two more biology faculty in December to St Joseph’s. We discussed modalities (which we have been working since 2018 winter); the program is really shaping up well.

 

Jimmy wth ppt

From there, I proceeded to meet Prof. Jeff Philpot, director SU Core, who has been working on some great ideas – called COIL – Collaborative Online International Learning. I really liked the idea of how teachers and students can learn collaboratively across continents. Long, useful chat.

By the time, Prof. Rick Malleus, Chair of Communication Department was there to lead me to his office. This was a follow up meeting of what we had at St Joseph’s College with Prof Sonora Jha, and in a certain way of my earlier meeting with Jeff. Collaboration between my Department of Communication at SJC and SU Dept of Communication.

Jimmy beny

And Jenny was there to catch up with me for some thoughts on Biology Exchange Program, and its expansion for other science departments, over a lunch meeting.  And it was time for me to come to the Residence, since Jimmy would be there is a few more minutes.

Jimmy Anklesaria is our proudest alum of St Joseph’s Boys High  School and St Joseph’s College (Commerce).  Currently, he is a successful entrepreneur in California, having worked with almost every top company in the world. I hosted him, with my counterpart Joe. Rahul Dravid, S. Vishwanath, Binny, Carlton Saldanha, cricket, Wes Paes, and other alumni were the drivers! Wow! The way we got going! None could say that I am such a dumbo! Jimmy is an extremely good story-teller.

Jimmy MCU

With that it was time for Jimmy’s lecture for St Joseph’s Business Management (SJIM) students, who are visiting Seattle(, and visiting Microsoft!) Did I say, Jimmy is a great story-teller – this two-hour lecture everything to prove me right. Two hours! Non-stop! Anecdotes, case studies, jokes, fun, challenges, and what else it could be!

With that we had a reception for Jimmy with SJIM students, following which nine of us went to a restaurant Jimmy’s (nothing to do with our own Jimmy!). That was … real, real, real great. Jimmy takes so much of pride in being a Josephite! I haven’t seen as many!

 

 

Back to US – Howdy America!

Back home – in Seattle University. The city Bill Gates & Microsoft, and Geoff Bezos (Amazon) and  Boeing and all the other top industrialists.
Of course, the city of my dear Seattle University.
After a long flight from Bengaluru via (another familiar place) London to Chicago to finally Creighton in Omaha (Nebraska).
Creighton-museum--lady
The Durham Rail Union Museum is such a lovely, educative, insightful museum. I had read so much about those Tepees (especially while doing crosswords!). The figurines are soooo real, for a while I mistook them for real human beings. You go close to them, and you hear them speaking; they converse with each other. For example, you go to the ticket counter, and the lady (ticket-buyer) speaks to the man at the counter; the latter gives a detailed explanation on ticket bills and prices and destinations and timings, etc. So lovely!
Krista, my local host told me her son enjoys coming here, and playing, and how keeps
staring at and touching those trains!
Creighton-museum--Train
After spending two rainy days, I flew in to Seattle. I have been here twice before. So it feels very nice, homely.
Seattle-Uni-Board
And my work was bang on target! In spite of the severe jet-lag, I had my itinerary going! Packed one! So much so, I missed a public reception in the evening, and came back for “some rest”; that was at around 5.00pm, and when I woke, I saw the time – OMG! It was 6.45pm – I had missed my dinner with the Community! Jane do! I missed it, anyway; no point in going now; so I slept again. And the next time I saw mobile for time was at 1.05am!
Now it would not be easy to sleep again; and if I did not sleep, I would not be upto the heavy schedule of the day, including a meeting with one of the VIPs here (who is our alum, too). So took my tablet for jet-lag, and slept again.
That is jet lag for me.
Seattle-Uni-Board2IMG_20191004_005602_009
Earlier at Omaha, Tepee (image above) was another well-known word, thanks to my crosswords solving habit. Here at the Omaha Rail Union Museum, I saw Tepees, the American Indians’ housing of yore. Not too different from our own tribal dwellings. But a beautiful one, well-covered for protection from biting winters.
Then there was a Nebrask buffalo – terrible fellow! Huge and well-built.
Children would find it the most useful – and American (like British) museums make their museums and libraries extremely child-friendly by introducing a lot of games for kids around libraries, art galleries, and museums.  So children find visiting a gallery like this interesting and a learning experience.
Back to Seattle matters: Never mind – the packed days are good, in way.  I am back home!