Looking Back 2010

Looking Back 2010Looking back into the past has always been something to my interest. I wrote a post on this blog last year looking back into the year 2009. This is the 2010 version of it; a quick/long summary of what has happened in my life and around me in 2010.

Twenty 10 started as normal as before, and I was still a Software Engineer at WaveNET working on some interesting and some not so interesting projects. I had already decided to quit at the end of one year at WaveNET and my last working day was March 31st. I had less than a month for me before grad school.

The responses to my grad school applications started coming in from February. Purdue said only admission, no scholarship, so I said no. MIT said they had better candidates than me, which is understandable. University of Wollongong did not offer a scholarship (or did a partial one, I forgot) and it was not an exciting place to be. University of New South Wales offered a scholarship from Semester 2, 2010, starting in August/September. National University of Singapore processed my application early on a special request and gave the full offer by mid February. Queensland University of Technology sent me the full offer letter for a February 15th start on the January 30th.

I decided to go with QUT, mainly for the interest in the project offered. This also meant I could go to Australia, which is seen as a “back-up plan” for many Sri Lankans. I differed my starting date at QUT to April 30th, which gave me some time to do other, including the travel arrangements. I applied for my student visa in March and got it in about a month or so. Also after March 31st I had a couple of weeks for me to do some shopping, traveling and to spend some time with friends and family. Those weeks were intense and interesting.

I was on the flight to Sydney, Australia on April 23rd. Leaving home was not so emotional as I thought, may be because I’m too old or it just me. I had a 12 hour transit in Singapore, which I spent with my friend Praitheesh, before reaching Sydney on April 24th. I spent another three days in Sydney before flying to Brisbane and starting a new life in the new city. (Read more about my first week in Brisbane and the first month (in தமிழ்).)

Life in a new city can be quite challenging, yet it can be a unique and exciting experience. Initially I was staying for a week with some family friends. Then I moved to a student accommodation close to the city and QUT. It was an interesting house with a Turkish guy, an Australian guy, a Sri Lankan guy (me), a Norwegian girl and two Chinese girls. I also met a friend, Mugunth, who I knew before through blogs and some open-source projects. With in two weeks life became normal and it started feeling like home.

I enrolled at QUT on April 28th and after two months I got a one week break to fly back to Sri Lanka. It was a short one week trip to attend my graduation. After returning from home, life continued as normal. A friend from Sri Lanka came in July and we moved to a new house in Clayfiled in August, and this is the first time I started paying my utility bills.

Life as a PhD student can be boring and at QUT it a little more, and for me it can be even worse. My Stage 2 Proposal, which is an extended proposal for my research, kept me busy for the next four months till I submitted it on October 30th. There were few things that kept me going, and photography was number one.

I spent quite a lot of time in photography, specially experimenting and learning. I even did few photo-shoots with models, but later though it’s not happening as I wanted. I also bought a lot of gear. Specially those small camera accessories such as remote releases, couple of flashes and two lenses. I also got to the habit of buying cheap stuff on eBay, mainly less than $5 items, at least two or three in a month (may be its time for me to write a bot). Recently I’m playing with a film SLR camera, again from eBay, and I am yet to see the outcomes of my experiments with this new toy.

Australia is a country that offers a lot for a traveler and I did a bit of traveling too. Visited the Gold Coast couple of times, drive to the Glass House Mountains once and few other places around Brisbane. Then I did a road trip with my friend Arunan in November (21st to 30th), which was a 3300km of drive from Brisbane to Sydney to Melbourne. It covered a lot on the east coast and certainly exciting, given that I was driving for the first time after getting a license five years ago.

This year was a mix of some dull days and some bright days; reading and writing till late night and sleeping all day; traveling around for a week and staying at home for another; and that’s how life unfolds and that’s how we step into the unknown.

4 thoughts on “Looking Back 2010”

  1. didn’t you think you could have got an RA / TA at Purdue, I am asking because its again in par with MIT in CS, and you got an offer.

    ahh between is how is the film camera coming up… are you developing yourself? I thought of trying the medium format, but i m bit concerned about the development costs.

  2. Yeah… That’s an option I could have considered.

    I was not so interested in US, and applied to MIT and Purdue just because they didn’t ask for GRE. In fact I didn’t really expect that I could get an offer. So when I got the offer from Purdue I was not prepared to analyze the offer as I did for other universities here.

    I have just finished my first roll. I’m going to develop this one at some shop here. But it that turns out to be much expensive I have to think of an alternative option.

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