|Large Tiger From Seattle Trip and Live Butterfly Exhibit|
So, around Mid-October, the time when interviewing activity was at its peak and all I did was give interviews and telephonic interviews had pretty much become an integral part of daily ritual... Everything is set and I'm about to board the plane to Seattle. As I step inside the plane, air hostess greeted me and my cell went off. Call from my travel agent from Microsoft... her opening statement was 'Dear Atul, your interview has been postponed'. W@F! Before I could react or actually swear, she added, 'As in, instead of 9am it will start at 12 pm'. ~~phew~~ I was so relieved, plus I would get extra 3hrs to rummage through those algos! I landed safely in Seattle, checked-in my hotel, took a nice refreshing shower, read some more algos, and crashed into the soft spongy bed covered in cleanest possible white sheets. I can't sleep well in soft bedding but I love them nonetheless. Everything was going smoothly, kinda too smoothly. Something is not right, my intuition nagged me!
Well past midnight, suddenly my body started itching... relieved that my intuition wasn't entirely amiss but with mounting irritation I got up and took a sponge bath with ice-cold water to placate the growing itch. Before crashing again I checked the sheets, never heard of ants in US but just to be sure... Lo and Behold! I was shocked! I was almost speechless. I saw a few bed-bugs out there! I was stunned. Quiet frankly, I had never seen those blood-sucking-bugs before! The fact that these have been sucking my blood for few hours and were bloody red by now, sent creeps through me!
I called the manager and he rushed in incessantly showering apologies. Instead of getting furious at him, I politely asked him to move me to better room. Having felt that something crept over my legs, I kept waking up with a jolt every few minutes for the next two hours. I know this sounds funny, but it actually happened! Damn! What a way to start interview day! I was a little apprehensive and my mood was pretty dull the morning I woke up. Seattle's eternal gloomy weather didn't help my mood. And the itch (which by the way lasted for well over a month!) only fueled my restlessness.
At Microsoft, I met my on-site coordinator and she told me where my first interviewer will be. He's from Filesystem-and-Storage team, she said. That did cheer me up a little but I was still apprehensive about the remaining 5-6 interviewers who would follow. But as the day unfolded, I was getting happier, because every other interviewer was from the same team! And I should say every one of them was impressive. By end of the day, I had already cooked up dreams and fantasies about being part of this group!
I so throughly enjoyed the interviews and was so excited by end of the day, that when I met Buffy I was going on and on and on about how the interviews were, what each one of them asked, how impressive all the people I met were, and why I want to be part of this group and blah blah.
The next day, I met my old-time colleague and junior, Mahesh, aka VAM. He too had to hear some of the ramblings and so did Anna (aka Arun) on my way back to Pitt later that day. I told VAM that I had seen Live Butterfly Exhibit from a distance the last time I was in the town. This time I want to see it from inside. He confessed that he haven't a clue where such a thing is. But I was insistent that I indeed saw it for sure, so after some Google'ing we found it! Thanks to VAM! And while I took 300+ photos in just 2 hours, he was very patient even while his stomach was growling with hunger! He later dropped me to airport and my wonderful 3-days trip to Seattle came to an abrupt end!
Back home at Pitt, though, I was a little happier and energetic being than I was when I left for interviews.
As I just got over with my last exam today, I wanted to unwind. So I spent good part of 6+hrs on the harrowing task of swifting through 300+ photos, re-touching the odd 50 that I shortlisted and tagging each of the butterflies with correct name. I then spent well over an hour cooking this post. If only I had more time and a tripod on that trip, I could have had better and many more photos.
Now, you deserve to see the beauties I clicked...