I feel like a citizen of the world!! I have explored two new countries and presented at two different statistical conferences since my last blog post. I had a very busy and eventful summer this year and now it seems like I have so many deadlines to catch up with, a sure cure for jet-lag!
My trip to Istanbul included presenting at the international conference on probability and statistics that is held every four years. In my last blog entry I had mentioned my reservations and fears of processing my F1 visa in Istanbul, but thankfully by God’s grace I managed to get my F1 visa processed without any hassles, which to many of my friends seemed too magical to be true. At the conference I met up with students from many different countries and realized that the travails of being a graduate student differ across the continents. I enjoyed trying out a lot of the local food, loved the tour of the Bhosphorous, haggled in the Grand bazaar for jewels and stared in awe at the dome of the Hagai Sofia and the treasures in the Topkapi palace. The city of Istanbul spans two different continents and I experienced this unique blend of the East merging with the West, the ancient and the modern, reflective in its culture, customs, food, architecture and society.
On coming back to the U.S., I worked for a couple of weeks before leaving for San Diego, CA for presenting at the Joint Statistical Meetings conference. JSM is the annual gathering of statisticians in the field, it is like an excuse for peers and friends to meet up at least once a year and catch up on current research and celebrate personal milestones; and that is exactly what I did. I met up with friends graduated from our department, found a renewed sense of inspiration to work harder on my thesis, and attended talks by people working on topics in my area of research. I stayed back an extra two days to visit the zoo and the sea world, both of which are highly recommended. Watching and experiencing Nature is a sweet antidote to putting my problems in perspective.
The best part of the summer was when I travelled to squeeze in a trip to Norway to visit my fiancé’s family. I think the timing of the trip could not have been planned better; we had warm weather and clear skies for the duration of the visit. The views of huge mountains dotted with glaciers and spreading valleys with meandering rivers was simply spectacular. It was amazing to meet up with a U-M alum in Norway – a testament of the global network of the maize and blue.
Now that I am back I have a whole lot of deadlines to complete before my wedding in the Christmas break. Thankfully I have a clear set of goals to achieve, form my dissertation committee and complete my proposal and publish the two papers that I have been working on during the summer. I still hope to make time to attend the tango club on Wednesdays and volunteer in the church group at St Mary’s on campus.