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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Commencement 2010

Day 1, Thurs, June 3, 2010, Boston, Massachusetts
The cab driver was very enthusiastic to learn that I had flown from CA for my Graduation, and wished me luck with my life ahead. “You are young, you are smart. You might be a VP in 5 years.” ‘I hope so’ I said fondly. A professional degree is not the end; it is the beginning of a life-long commitment to learn. There will be things that I couldn’t have learned in a classroom. My teachers will not always be kind to me like my professors, but I hope I never stop. I long to stay hungry. Always.

It was around 5: 30 AM when I rang the bell of my former apartment, hoping my friends remembered my estimated time of arrival. A very sleepy DJ opened the doors for me and stood straight long enough for me to give him a bear hug. The apartment looked pretty much the same, a little messier, but I knew I had left it in good hands.

I hardly had any sleep on my red-eye flight, so I took out my snooze kit with eye mask and ear plugs, stuffed them on and went to bed in the warm, humid morning. Couple of hours later, I woke up and had some fruit salad for breakfast. One of my seniors was staying home to study for CFA Level 2 exam on Saturday. He offered to lend the apartment keys if I needed to go out.

I scrubbed the kitchen counter to kill time and put the soiled dishes in the washer. I needed to get my nails done and decided to fix an appointment with my former aesthetician at Quincy. A downside of moving to a new place is letting go of the professional services of someone who knows exactly what you want and how you want it.

I heard the familiar sound of vacuum roaring and rushed out to greet Clara. The joy on her face and tear rimmed eyes spoke more than her limited English. I told her I was happy in my new life. She asked for a glass of water, and I fetched a mug for her and she duly thanked me. It was like old days again - talking to her, while I shared a cup of coffee or fruits with her on her break.

She gave me her postal address and asked me to mail some pictures. SG had called, and I lend the phone to her. He asked: ¿cómo estás She responded with a barrage of questions in Spanish. I understood she asked something about the impending wedding, and told me excitedly: He is a good man. He speaks Spanish! I knew he could speak a little Italian, but his Spanish was limited to greetings like mine. I was amused by her criterion to determine ‘goodness’. But I assented that the little things mattered. It never is a single big thing, always a thousand small things.

I informed everyone I needed to of my safe arrival and had a quick shower before I set out for Quincy. It was reliving sensory memories every time. A careful French manicure, facial and bikini wax later, I was feeling like a woman again. I confided in May how dissatisfied I was with the services in CA. I had let my southern extremity have flourishing grasslands in fear of being mishandled. I was tired, but she kept asking me questions, curious about my new life. While I laid face down, enjoying the most refreshing back rub, I declared I wanted to take her to CA with me. She expressed her desire to visit some day and talked about her new job at her sister’s place, her working 7 days a week, and how hard it was for her to do acrylic nails owing to the pungent smell.

I went back to JFK/ UMass station, my Charlie card still had some value stored in it. Deliberating what the quickest dinner could be, I walked into the Shaw’s nearby. Their Rosemary Garlic rotisserie chicken was one of my favorite quick meals while residing in Boston. On my way, I met Ervin, his mother and his daughter. I greeted them with a smile. He remarked: What are the odds? It was serendipity; we took our Business and its Environment class together and had the habit of running into each other at Shaw’s, the grocery store chain beside the JFK T-station. It seemed someone upstairs wanted me to relive every possible detail. It was almost eerie.

I got home to see two of my university friends watching the Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers playoffs for 2010 NBA Finals. I had almost forgotten how exciting basketball could be. It was hard for me to decide whom to support, but I reasoned: One shouldn’t forget one’s roots and cheered for Boston. I was too tired to watch till the end and retired to bed, setting the alarm at 7 AM.

One of my friends had picked the wrong color of hood for me from the University bookstore, and I had to get it changed at the ice rink at 8 AM before the main ceremony commenced at 9:30 AM. An international caller with no respect for time zones, called me up at 2 AM. I tried to make the best of the worst and talked to SG in CA. It started pouring heavily, and the weather cooled off, fetching some sleep to my tired eyes.

(End of Day 1, continued to Day 2)

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