Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer and Life Cycle

The Bahamian conch salad from the Da Fish Fry
Sri Lanka really does not have these periods. The first time "summer" made some sense or difference to me was 2009. I applied and got selected for my first Google Summer of Code as a student with AbiWord. It was so exciting, and unlike now, I was somewhat new to the open source. Not entirely new, since I had already done some localization work (I had localized Squirrelmail to Sri Lankan Tamil, along with a few of my friends). Also I was an intern at WSO2, a Sri Lankan open source company (which also mentors GSoC students these days at a large scale, as a mentoring organization). Following 2009, I was always involved in GSoC, either as a mentor or a student.

But it was 2012 when I really got to know how does a summer feel like, and was able to differentiate it with other seasons. That was when I came to Portugal for my Erasmus Mundus masters program EMDC. Coming from a hot and humid country, Lisboa's summer was mild to me and it felt comforting.

Europe always had its beauties with seasons. I did not like winter in Portugal particularly as it was too wet. Similarly, I was not a fan of Swedish' dark winters either. However, I miss the snow.

Though I did not experienced seasons beyond sunny days and rainy days, I did have the days - weekdays and weekends. During the school days, we still had tuition classes during the weekends. That effectively made us busy almost 7 days a week. So there was no real weekend till I joined the university. However, at the latter years of my bachelors, I had classes even on Saturdays, leaving us with only Sunday as a free day.  When I joined the industry, I really had the weekends off.

Crystal clear water of Nassau
Same was true with my masters too. However, with the increased autonomy I have with my PhD in Portugal, I am actually free to choose my own timing. I tend to work in weekends when I want to. On the other hand, if I decide to go for a movie, I can always go ahead any time instead of waiting for the weekend. When I had paper submission deadlines approaching, I tend to work 7 days a week, and love it!

Atlanta's summer is hot and humid. Just like Sri Lanka. When you come out of office, you will feel like entering a sauna. Also the rainy days! Coming from Portugal, it felt weird to have thunderstorms in summer. Summers are supposed to be dry. ;)

US has holidays arranged in a strategic way to have them on Mondays or Fridays to allow long weekends. During my short stay here, I have experienced 3 long weekends, if I counted it right. Weekends I often use for buying food or doing some minor fun activities - except for the long weekends - when I can go somewhere farther such as the Bahamas.

I am a proud gypsy student since 2012. It has its positives and negatives. Positives - I got to experience new places and new people, and always make me feel young. Negatives - time wasted in bureaucracies and installation costs (such as buying the basics for the new accommodation).

As I walk on the lanes from my lab in the late evening, I always think of random things. I recall many things - to be worth of blogging down - both technical and non-technical. I end up not writing majority of them. Writer's block, if I may say so. That's why I keep a list of future blog posts!

It is interesting to note that in the recent past my "thinking language" has been shifted to English from Tamil. It is because of my limited reading, writing, and communicating in Tamil in foreign lands. However, I still enjoy my Tamil songs and movies from South India! I like musics and music videos. They always bring back memories from the past - the first time I heard the song! I am sure now I have many good memories from Atlanta as well, with more music and more diverse technical experience.

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