Saturday, July 29, 2017

28 July

July 2017 will be remembered as a busy and hectic month. 
1.5 weeks after seeing off the family, Chevening organised a Farewell in London. The evening before we traveled, the Edinburgh/Aberdeen gang Chevening came to Glasgow for a night, taking advantage of the promo Virgin train tix from Glasgow - London at 14 GBP per way.
We had Hari Raya dinner at my place. I have an extra room due to the repairs on the old apartment.

Needless to say how it was
And I hadn't laughed so hard since coming to the UK. 
I always feel that the transition age of 29-31 range is quite special. There is still the 20s in us, but as we reach the great end of 20s, especially when we are professionals in our field or career, we tend to be more subdue and matured. It is special when you meet like-minded and frequency people. We made so much noise in the room until Jim, the security could hear us. Luckily, he's a friend of mine, as I work as a Living Support Assistant at QMR.
Pretty sure I will miss these uncontrolled laughter and jokes.

The Farewell (5th July) wasn't as glamorous and exciting as the Orientation. Nevertheless, Chevening has been really generous in sponsoring the 1800 of us.

Forever grateful - Will definitely serve my obligations
Credits to the hardworking peeps that brought the traditional clothes
I had half a day's rest back in Glasgow, before departing for Dubai on the 7th of July. We had IET YPCC meeting and EMEA CVC. It is fantastic to see and work alongside bright and young professionals. Volunteerism isn't easy, and it's even harder to find committed and capable volunteers. It's normally either-or.   

The most international and diverse team in the Institution
Important to establish our role - Advisory or operational
At the end, everyone had fun
And a stay at a 5-Star Hotel - Marquis Marriott (Slightly too posh though)
View from 72nd Floor - Vault Bar
Burj Khalifa on the left
Extended my stay for 2 nights after the meeting. It's my first time in the Middle East. I grew up reading about Arabian nights, or basically Aladdin, and it was pretty magical, and hot (40 degrees during the day).
Join the crew last minute on their safari trip. 

Not bad for a first dessert experience, though I was also undone during the Dune Bashing 
Camel riding was more subtle
Belly dancing with dinner
Everyone left after the dinner, back to town, except the few of us, who had signed up to sleep in the dessert overnight. The temperature was about right, with cold wind and warm sand.

Needless to say, I didn't sleep well
Still a great experience sleeping under the dessert sky near camels...
Went back to town, and stayed at probably the best/most affordable hostel (At the Top, near Marina). I had booked 3 nights via Hostelworld.com, and thought I had burned the 2 previous nights, worth around 28 pounds. But it turned out otherwise, as they only collect cash when we check-in. Since I didn't show up on Sunday, my booking was automatically canceled. 
So I just had to 'walk-in' and hire a bed, with Sam.

At 66th floor, the hostel had a view of Dubai Marina
And it was really nice
Upon the 2pm check-in, spent most of Tuesday afternoon recuperating sleep till 4.30pm, before catching up with K, a friend I made during my flight from Singapore to Dubai last September. This Malaysian lass has been working here for 10 years, owns a Toyota sports car, and was cool to act as a local guide.
Had a private/local tour guide who knew where the best views are
Couldn't help wondering the strength of oil-money, and the recent drop in price
Had Taiwanese dinner, which was really good
If it wasn't for the car, I would have spent the day indoors

So I was back in Glasgow, attending a host of workshops at the Business School throughout 3 weeks - Selling Yourself, Managing Change, Emergency and Disaster Management... And struggled with my dissertation of designing solar PV and battery systems. 
Thank goodness my supervisor Dr. Z assigned me one of his PhDs - QH, who assisted me with the most important part of Matlab codes.
At least, I have some primary results now. 
22 August is the hard bound submission, and with 3 weeks to go, I do need to focus and kick-start the regime. 

It's the last leg of MSc.

Last weekend, J, a Malaysian Chevener from London, was in town, and had the spare-room for 3 nights. We were mostly busy with our stuffs, but I manage to tag along to Dumbarton Castle, a tourist site (unknown to me) some 30 minute train ride from the West End.

Used to be the fort on the Clyde 
Basically a rock from no where.
Dumbarton stadium, and the town at the far end
Worth a visit, if you have visitors
Today, after meeting QH, and while it was not raining, I climbed up the Tower at Kak R's room. I was an engineer again, climbing a 'rusty' monkey-ladder, most probably around 3 stories high.


It was weird standing on the roof, looking at the Main Gate
Was rather worried that I will get caught by security.

So, everything is going fine, and I have booked my return ticket - 3rd week of September. Reality will soon hit, and I will need to get a job back home.

Negotiating for a job will be interesting
Hoping for a smooth final 2 months in the UK.

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