Renu's Week

Friday, April 13, 2007

Report of 7 & 13 April 2007

Hello from the land of high technology -

So I can get my blog site to work, which is great.

The week before I left for the U.S. on 9 April was busy. Navin wound up finals, Naren had an interview for grade 11 in a new school and a farewell from the old school, and we threw a giant party for some dear friends of ours who are leaving Chennai for Kerala. I also managed to get to the B and take some pictures for my talks in the U.S., and did not see patients as we had 150 things to do prior to my departure, and there were other doctors at the B for this purpose.

Naren's farewell was organised by the 9th-graders at Abacus and they did an excellent job! The entertainment was good, there was a slide show of the 10th graders over the years which was hilarious - lots of pigtails and weird expressions of young childhood. All of us had to make speeches - the parents, students, alumni. Naren mentioned that he had been to 6 different schools on 2 continents and that Abacus was by far the best. All the kids went out for a very expensive dinner that night, and Naren got home at 1.30 am - sober. His interview for 11th grade also went ok, we'll know in about 2 weeks as to whether he got in or not. It is a fairly suspenseful time for many students and their parents.

Both boys left on the 8th for their grandparents' place in Madurai, Scott left on the 9th for Chandigarh, and I left early 9th for the U.S. Got to Chicago and was delighted to have my friends from St. Luke's United Methodist Church (Indianapolis), Carolyn, Will and Scott, pick me up. We had dinner w/ Carolyn's parents to celebrate her b'day, I saw "Borat" there which was very funny in parts and disgustingly vulgar in other parts, and then we drove down to Indy. On Tuesday the 10th, I got lucky enough to see Colleen Taber who took me to the airport; it's always grand fun to hang out w/ the wonderfully intelligent Colleen.

I went to Pittsburgh on the 10th and spoke to some students there on the work in Chennai. Emily Moriarty, a 3rd year medical student, was kind enough to put me up and I enjoyed meeting her; through a mutual friend, she had been on my email list, but we'd never met. I found Emily bright and personable and kind, a lovely combination. I also met several friends of hers - Divya, Carly, Enyinne - and that was a treat.

On Wed the 11th, I flew to Philly and stayed w/ Ann and Phil Bagley. That was wonderful; we drove around Philly, walked in the lovely Art Museum surroundings and saw the blossoming cherry trees. I got to eat Philadelphia cheesesteak for dinner, and got roundly spoiled by the Bagleys, w/ beaucoup trailmix, fruit, cookies and chocolate - much of which got packed w/ me. My flight out of Philly was 2 hours late, I missed my connection and some kind fellow travellers let me use their cell phones to call Richard Luduena and let him know I was going to be late.

Richard picked me up and I spoke at Pediatrics Grand Rounds this morning, which was fine. I enjoyed all the questions. It is absolutely therapeutic to hang out at school and see former professors and mentors; there are many plans for meals w/ them. I love non-Indian food, and am in gustatory heaven.

What strikes me this time about the United States - the staggering kindness and openness of folks here. We chat easily, airline employees try to be helpful, former neighbors and professors offer their homes and hearts, friends send me goodies to take back w/ me, strangers let me use their cell phones. I once asked Scott if he would tire of India and ask to move back to the U.S., and he said, "No, will you?" It was funny!! I am happy to be back in the U.S. and revel in the people here, though of course I am also very glad to be in India, working for the weakened.

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