A series of events – part 2

It was a frantic two days’. My husband ran to the airlines office and tried to get us a booking for July 3. In the meanwhile, I contacted the university to finalize stuff . And also contacted my house owner who was supposed to rent his apartment to me for July and ask him if it was still available. He said yes, he hadn’t rented it out to anyone else!! Seems like he was waiting for me.:)

A small hitch- he had already left town on his vacation and the keys were with his friend. I needed to trace the friend down. Managed to get through to the friend- the friend was leaving town on a two month vacation on July 4, so if I needed to get the keys I would have to be in town on the 4th of July and the 4th of July is a very important day in the US. Per our revised schedule, we would reach Boston on July 3 but there was no way we could reach our destination the same day- a 14 day trans-Atlantic flight would not allow our tired bodies to do that. And so we had to coordinate with the friend to leave the keys someplace else, so we could pick them up from there on July 5 early in the morning.

This gave us a day in Boston to enjoy ourselves there on July 4th. As we have done before, we rented a room at Boston’s Copley square which is one of the scenic localities of Downtown Boston to our eyes’. We know a few places there and could manage there even if shops were closed for the July 4th holiday. The Boston green and the park nearby gave us plenty of time to relax and catch up on lost sleep. The day was hot- hotter than we ever remembered America and a lot of people were out on the green and in the parks. Squirrels were a plenty. We watched a man feed squirrels in the park – particularly a white squirrel, who was very tame.

The next day saw us on a two hour bus ride to the University which was to be our final destination. We reached at 9:45 am, our first appointment was with the housing manager of the apartment to get the keys. A quick trip to the apartment to put our luggage down and then a rush to the office of International Affairs to declare ourselves “in” the country. And then before we knew it- it was done- it was a Friday and the 4th of July weekend to boot. Everyone was in the holiday mood.

My first classes were for the Monday- July 8th.

So here I was at the Ivy League college which had been my dream for so many years- even decades. It just proves a point- if someone wants something very bad, the whole universe gets together to give it to that person- I think Paulo Coelho mentioned this in the Alchemist.

Thank you all my blogging friends and family who travelled with me on this journey, who cried with me through my disappointments and who rejoiced with me when I made baby steps- I could not have done without you.

A series of events- part 1

I scrambled around trying to make things happen before I left to my university for the graduate program. Resignation given for end of June- clearances done, so my end of service could be processed, goodbyes said- arranging a cook during my absence from home, health insurance details completed. What I could not commit on or do much about was the payment of the summer term fee. It was a huge amount and until I was sure I was going, I didn’t want to be paying.

Came June 30, I was still scrambling. June 30 this year was a Sunday. Did an office run to hand over some additional papers and said a final goodbye to Cyn- my friend and supervisor for five years. Thank you, Cyn!!

When you have been married for as long as I have ( 27 years come September), it becomes difficult to part from your partner for even a day. The same happened with me. As the time for parting came near, my husband and I could not bear to thing of our time apart. Till that time, we had been thinking and managing things objectively; all of a sudden an emotional component cropped up. How would we say goodbye to one another ?

For me it was a shift to another country- a country across at least two oceans and far away from kith and kin.

All things taken into account, I decided to not go – and let the university know I wasn’t coming.

In a strange set of coincidences, my email to the university went on June 27, which was a Thursday. The director of the program and the director of Finances, both of whom I had let know of my decision were both on leave until after the 4th of July weekend. I got their “out of office” responses. In my mind, I was breaking within and wondering why it happened to me again and again- this was the third time I had been disappointed. In 2012 it was an admission to the same graduate degree program in Johns Hopkins University which I had to give up. In 2018, a visa issue kept me from going.

And now in 2019, history was all set to repeat itself. I realised as people have before me , that life is not so simple especially when one has a family to consider- sometimes our decisions cannot add up like two and two make four- sometimes two and two add up to five or six.

Flight tickets booked two months in advance for June 28 were cancelled.

Came June 30 and I was reconciled to having no job and no college- a life of retirement. Ironic that just 10 days back I had turned 50 and to retire at 50 did not feel all that good. There did not seem any direction my life was going.

July 1 was a monday- my batch mates would all be attending orientation today. I was not there. Perhaps God willed it otherwise. I was repeatedly led to the chapters in Genesis and in Job about stalwarts, heroes – having given up their most precious possessions because of demands from the God they worshipped. When I was upset, I read those chapters again and again and I told God- you gave it to me Lord and you are asking it of me- I give my admission to you. I will not direct your decisions anymore- I will listen to your will for me”. This prayer gave me immense peace and kept my sanity those days.

On July 1, ET in the US and evening in my part of the world, my husband and I were discussing events. My husband asked me to apply once more to the same graduate degree program this time to an online format so it would be more doable.

I started applying to various universities. By a strange set of coincidences, all of the colleges had a deadline for July 1 – I had to scramble again. I applied to Johns Hopkins University again and even managed to submit. Each time I applied to a US university I needed to get my documents credentialed. Credentialing does not come cheap. I paid again to get credentialed. I needed all my old universities to send my documents to the credentialing agency-where I come from this is not easy. That was done too. There were talks of war and of unease in our world too. All together our lives seemed to be in a state of confusion- what was the right thing to do?

My husband had taken leave for that week- to come with me to the US as per our original plan and he did not cancel his leave- we decided to enjoy a vacation- at home.

On July 2, my husband told me, to write to my university and ask them if I could join late- after the 4th of July weekend. I was taken aback- I didn’t expect him to say this. I wrote to the director of admissions and the finance director – again and asked them if I could be allowed to join late.

The director of admissions was still on leave( you might remember that last year when my visa was rejected and I had asked for extra time to sort my visa issues and join late, the director of admissions was not willing to give me more than a day to sort my visa issues- that was not going to happen and so my course had been deferred to this year.

But the Director of Finance was back in office!! And she said yes!

She said, let me check with the International students office and see if they have not cancelled your visa. And they hadn’t -yet. Wow!!

And she said, come and see me on July 5 ( Friday).

( Part 2 to follow)

A happy ending

Every day Friend Kat walks her three dogs. She noticed a dog in an old abandoned field, that seemed alone and as if no one cared for him. She has no place at home for another dog- she has three of her own- Pepper, Elsie and Max. But every day the face of that dog haunted her when she went home.

The dog

Few days later, her housemate, seeing how upset she was on her return from her doggy walks, brought the fellow home- they had no space for another fellow but they decided to keep him in their yard and give him water and food till they found a home for him. See the apprehensive look on his face.

She sent messages to all her friends and others she knew and finally when no appropriate response came, she posted on groups, that they would have to return the dog to the field where they found him.

Thjs is where they found him and where he would have to go back

One woman wrote back” stop him”- just that- two words-“stop him”. She said “I can keep him for exactly three days while you find a home for him”.

Kat and her housemate drove Flash( as they named him) to the woman’s house- she already had two rescue dogs at home and was willing to open her home to a third dog temporarily. Kat searched high and low for another family that would take this dog.

Meanwhile he made friends with his new doggie mates.

It has now been six weeks since he has been with this new family. The woman didn’t give him up after three days. She got him checked by the vet. He enjoyed being inside than out in the heat.

The vet gave him a clear certificate- all good.

I am good and I can stay!!

Now he is on his way to the US with the woman to his forever home.

Isn’t that a happy ending?

Recognizing God’s Goodness

This morning I was led to read Daniel 4. Over the past few days, I have been reading of King Nebuchad-Nazer and the various instances where God worked in the kingdom through Daniel. In Chapter 4, King N.Nazer decided to praise himself for the glory that was Babylon. He had been blessed because he had recognized the “mightiness of God’s wonders” and that God’s kingdom endures from generation to generation. Somewhere along the way, he came to think everything was because of his own greatness. And as the old proverb says- pride comes before a fall.

I have had instances like this in my life. Everyday driving to work is an ordeal for me- it is a good 45 minutes drive on a working day to my university. Sometimes I become so complacent and proud and think I drive to work because I am skillful at driving- that I can handle the gears and the car well- I forget that the engine can overheat anywhere on the highway and I can be stranded by the road in the extreme heat. I forget that I often don’t have my mobile phone with me and might have to depend on the kindness of strangers to call for help to get me out of there. Recently I started thinking how my driving had improved and I had become quite proficient in handling the reckless desert traffic, where everyone is in a rush to get out of the heat and into the comfort of an office building. I thank God that I was led to this passage, to remember and thank God that he keeps me safe and that he shows me how to drive and keeps the car cooled when it could easily have stalled and when the road I usually take to my university was closed for huge repairs and with no access road to access my university, he took me to another road, which was even better than my set path which I had been driving on for at least three years now.

Not by my cleverness or intelligence Lord, but by your grace and mercy.

I just cleaned my Mac

Having time with nothing to do is a luxury I get quite often and enjoy too. Especially if I can share that time with just my animals and plants.

Today I cleaned my Mac and I feel relieved that a lot of junk has gone away. Perhaps my computer will work better for the clean.

I have been debating whether to pursue my dreams or not. All the naysayers tell me it is too late- I am 50( just a week more to go to reach my half century mark) and what is the point of doing this degree. On the resources side, everything seems to be in place but as the years go by, I am losing my confidence in my ability to do this. Not actually do it but the fact that I may invest all this money, only to have to abandon the course half or some way through. Is it worth it ? Should I even invest in this?

My supervisor doesn’t believe I will leave. She doesn’t think that a midlife woman would quit a very lucrative job for a journey that can only be termed a ” leap of faith”. Like last year, she thinks I will come back to the job and start over and not pursue my education. Well, I don’t know about that but I know the dream is still inside me and is burning ferociously inside of me. Sometimes I think I will do it when I am 70, if that is the last thing I will do in my life.

My family thinks I need to concentrate on my children and their lives rather than pursue my dreams.

I think I need to give my life a new Clean just like my computer and maybe my life will move ahead better.

Have you ever felt your life is at a standstill and there is still something God expects you to do in life but you can’t do it because of all the materialistic things that pull you down ? I can truly understand now what the Bible meant when it says” The truth will set you free. Faith will set you free.” I think it means that when you truly believe, you can clean your life up and be free of all the attachments that draw you down or make you put down roots where you don’t want them to grow.

Sicknesses and healing

We came back from our last trip home with a daughter who was nursing a severe cold. She was achy and was tired- this time around, I had decided to make sure she would get only home remedies to get her out of this bout of illness. I did Magnesium oil and Axe oil rubs for all the aches, hot broths, herbal concoctions made of ginger, spice mixes sweetened with sugar. Four days of constant nursing and she recovered without having to put her through dose of antibiotics, which we are guilty of having put her through multiple times in the past as quick fixes. She was healthy throughout her entire summer vacation until she left for her college, first days of June.

Few days after she developed her infection, both hubby and I started off with sore throats, aches and pains and the depression that comes along when there is a virus going around. I nursed myself to health with vitamin C and cod liver oil and a lot of hot fluids. My husband who has a lot of other diseases, took it bad. His infection went from his throat, down his larynx and to his bronchi and to even his smallest lung lobules, possibly even his alveoli. He has been wheezing and panting and coughing for three weeks now. I had to buy a nebulizer so he could get a whiff of bronchodilator drugs when he felt he couldn’t breathe anymore.

Many of the drugs my husband is on- they produce more side effects than the actual effect the drug is supposed to bring about. For example, his blood pressure medications often have no effect on his blood pressure but a lot of effect on other body functions- his sugar is often high and he needs to be on blood sugar controlling medications too. Compound all of these illnesses with his current illness which left him literally gasping for air. The nebulised salbutamol caused him palpitations and even worse symptoms than before. It didn’t help at all that the weather is so hot that the Air conditioners need to run full time- the cold air contracts his bronchi even more and he is symptomatically worse in a room cooled with air conditioned air. Having a very furry, hairy cat at home doesn’t seem to help too.

Till yesterday morning,after another night of harsh wheezes and coughs, I had had enough. I prayed fervently for respite and help. There was nothing our Lord couldn’t do, right? So I prayed. It was 5 in the morning and bright daylight outside. I had reached the end of my tether. It struck me that maybe I need to get a humidifier and switch off the ACs in our house. My supervisor had a mold allergy and had bought a humidifier a couple of years ago. I asked my husband and he said, ok, lets go to a 24 hour pharmacy and see if we can buy a humidifier.

We drove to the nearby pharmacy and in the car, my husband said he felt a lot better. I was thinking of taking him out for a drive and away from the air at home. On the way, we stopped at the pharmacy and got a air cleaner cum humidifier. It was rather costly- more than 300 $. My husband vetoed the idea of the drive and we decided to go back home and try the humidified cum air washer. A few minutes after we filled it up with water and put it on, my husband went off to sleep- he slept like a baby- he hadn’t had a full night’s sleep since he started off this infection. Four hours later, he woke up refreshed, and his lungs feeling a lot better. Another nap in the afternoon, post lunch and he says he feels even more well.

Sometimes, we try to do the time tested things- antibiotics, cough syrups everything, and nothing works. Then we pray and pray hard and a brain wave hits us. And that is the miracle we have been praying for. I believe we got the idea of the humidifier and the air quality being poor at home because we decided we could not do anything more – we should have handed things over to the Great Physician sooner- but we humans have a habit of bungling along, thinking we know it all and liking to be hands on- a knock on the head is what we require often to make things fall into perspective.

My husband is so much better he has taken off on a trip to Singapore to attend a conference. I can’t believe this is the same man, who was gasping for breath, yesterday morning.

Change attitude

These days it seems as if there is no day without its share of troubles or tribulation. When I was younger, I feel there were more days when I used to smile and be happy. Now it looks like the burden of troubles grows by the day.

A thought for today:

” to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of our God’s vengeance, to comfort all who mourn,

” to provide for those who grieve in Zion- to give them a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise in place of a spirit of despair.”

Isaiah 61-2-3