Prepping for Spring

After a long (and cold) wait, I can finally feel the spring breeze again. The season has officially arrived in Boston, which is marked by my oversensitive snotty nose because the pollen is everywhere!

Well, it is partly my fault for not taking my spring allergy medicine regularly. I am just trying to save as many pills as possible for future springs, because I got only a few pill strips left. I don’t buy my allergy medicine in the USA actually, because it’s much cheaper to buy the ‘generic version’ (versi obat generik) in a pharmacy in Indonesia.

For me, surviving this:

Beautiful tree!

Requires this:

Allergy medicine. It says “HET RP 4.794,-/ STRIP” which means, it costs about 40 cents USD per strip (10 pills), or 4 cents per pill!

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A Sick Day

2 days ago, my runny and stuffy nose got so bad, that all the handkerchiefs I brought got wet in less than 10 minutes. A good of friend of mine told me, “Oh, you should go to Medical and have a full bed rest.” But I replied, “Oh, no, my postdoc is coming back from Stanford tomorrow and I have to run an XRD* data analysis with him in the morning; we made an appointment with the Center of Material Science Engineering expert.”

*X-Ray Diffraction. Debye rings. Bragg’s condition. Fun stuff, you should Google them if you have time! It’s one of many methods for characterization, and it’s like material’s fingerprints. So if you have an unknown material and do XRD on them, you can tell the composition of the material based on how the material reflects the X-Ray. Fun fun!

So, yesterday, I woke up early as usual. Went to campus, met my postdoc in the morning before heading to our appointment. He looked at me and said, “Wow, you look really really sick. Are you OK?” I replied shortly, “Yeah, I’m fine, probably will have a quick run to the Medical.”

He was okay with that, until 10 minutes later, pitying over me sneezing. At the end of our appointment, he told me, “Go to Medical. And get a lot of rest (yeah, he sounded like he was underlining those words). I am planning to do XPS at Center for Nanoscale Systems this afternoon, but don’t force yourself. Take a day off tomorrow. I need to work on my paper anyway.”

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Tax Return Drama

I am not an American by passport (as of now), nor a permanent resident (green card holder).

However, it struck me when I was filling out my tax return this year. The tax software was telling me, basically, “Hey, you’re no longer a non-resident alien*. You’re officially a resident alien* (hooray!). Fill the same tax return form as the Americans instead, girl.”

*A side note: alien means non-American and non-American green card holder. I am an alien in the US, basically.

That means, I have lived in the USA for long enough, that now I am a resident of the USA for tax purpose. Although I was away from the States between June 2014-August 2015, all the number of days have accumulated for the past 4 years. That may also mean, the tax treaty benefit between Indonesia-USA which states, an Indonesian student living in the USA funded by a scholarship/ fellowship for the first 5 years may be tax exempted, is no longer available for me.

Uh-oh, what should I do?

tax-docs
What should I do with all of these?

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Musim (Badai) Salju

Setelah IAP yang luar biasa, spring semester akhirnya resmi dimulai. Saat post ini di-publish, resmi sudah satu minggu sejak semester keduaku sebagai seorang mahasiswa S2 dimulai.

Musim dingin tahun lalu benar-benar mild, bahkan the Institvte (a.k.a. MIT) tidak menggunakan jatah snow day-nya sama sekali. Tetapi tahun ini berbeda. Apalagi setelah musim dingin tahun 2014-2015 aku kabur ke Inggris, tepatnya University of Cambridge, untuk pertukaran mahasiswa. Sudah sekian lama aku tidak merasakan badai salju sebenar-benarnya badai.

Hingga tiba hari Kamis minggu kemarin.

Pelajaran pertama: kalau kampus ditutup karena badai salju, jangan sekali-kali nekat berangkat ke kampus.
Pelajaran pertama: kalau kampus ditutup karena badai salju, jangan sekali-kali nekat berangkat ke kampus.

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Why Gothenburg, Sweden and Chalmers?

I spent a week in Gothenburg, Sweden, because me, along with 6 other people, won Chalmers Global Challenge this year (as I have told you before, here). You might wonder, how different is the education system in Sweden (specifically, Chalmers), in comparison to American education system?

I was wondering about the same thing, too…

Hint: there is a (great) balance between work and life. Chalmers, also has a great number of international students!

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Musim Semi Washington DC: Sakura! (+Kuis Berhadiah Kartu Pos)

Beberapa hari yang lalu, aku sempat bolos kuliah (jangan ditiru, ya) untuk mengurusi beberapa hal soal visa di Washington DC. Tiba-tiba aku ingat, “Oh ya, Tom Lamberth (kepala program wilderness di UWC) dulu pernah memberikan kartu pos dengan National Mall berlatarkan pohon sakura.”

Kurang lebih seperti ini. National Mallnya jadi kelihatan kecil, bukan?

Lalu, aku berpikir, kalau aku booking tiket pesawatnya berangkat lebih pagi dan pulang lebih malam, mungkin aku sempat jalan-jalan ke tempat yang banyak sakuranya!

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