Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Today was one of these days I really wish I had my camera with me :) It is Halloween here and students here at MIT celebrate it in a grand style.

I was waiting outside one of the classes to end (because my class was right after it), and I could not help but laugh seeing all the students who came out of the class dressed up in very weird costumes - the first guy was dressed up as a banana, and another girl was dressed up as a sumo wrestler (she was wearing a balloon like thing which took up the entire corridor width), there were few witches, and one guy was even wearing a bathrobe!

It is not only students who seemed to be enjoying Halloween. I even came across few professors who were in costumes - most of them seemed to have take up characters from Harry Potter.

It seemed really fun to be dressed up like that. I was wondering what would happen if we start a similar tradition in Sri Lanka ;)

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Prof. Saman Amarasinghe and his wife Praneeta Amarasinghe was very kind enough to take me to the New England Buddhisht Vihara and Meditation Center in Framingham, MA for the annual Kathina (Robe Offering) ceremony today. And it was a really good experience for me!

Kathina is a traditional buddhist ceremony which marks the ending of the three-month rainy season (Vassana) retreat that usually begins on the Esala full moon (Poya) day. This is supposed to be an important event in Theravada Buddhist tradition and is considered as a period of reflection, meditation and concentration on Buddhist teachings.

The ceremony started with "dana" (serving food to the monks). This was exactly like how we do in Sri Lanka! Here is a picture I took of the monks just before they were offered the ''dana".

Since coming to the US this was the first time I met so many Sri Lankans! There were almost 100 people participating in this, and I was so happy to meet so many Sri Lankans and speak in my mother tongue - Sinhala!

The best part is I got to meet one of my old teachers at University of Moratuwa - Dr. Thrishantha Nanayakkara, who is here on a sabbatical leave and is currently working as a research scientist at Harvard.

I also met Varuni, who is a new grad student at Boston University. Although I did not know her beforehand, she and I share many things: our alma mater, the fact that we both *just* finished our undergrad before coming here, and even our birthdays! We also have quite a large number of mutual friends. So whaddoyaknow... we almost instantly become very good friends - gee... I wish I knew she was here earlier.

Overall, it was a really good day for me! I am very much looking forward to participating in such other Sri Lankan events in the future.

Friday, October 19, 2007

gsl is great!

When the Fall semester started I signed up for gsl (Graduate Students Lunch). If you have no idea what gsl is - well, it is a social event for MIT CSAIL grad students where they have to sign up to cook lunch once for the year, and get free lunch which is cooked by other students once a week on every Fridays.

The most interesting thing about gsl is the diversity of food. Every week, there is some new food to try out. Today it was falafel and hummus, last week it was fajitas, salsa, and guacamole, the week before it was vegetable radiatore and potato gnocchi, etc and etc. When I see the email announcing the food, I always have no ideas how it will look like or what it will taste like. But so far it has been great! I mean the food is not the best culinary efforts I've seen (after all, these food are prepared by MIT students :), but still it is great to taste all these different kinds of food from all around the world!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I am not that camera-monkey anymore. BUT,

thought I should publish some pictures I have taken so far.

This photo was taken in front of the famous MIT dome. If you look closely, may be you'd be able to spot that either the dome is not straight or I am not standing straight. I am not sure which is the case.

Well, I can assure you that I am standing straight here :). It is the building that is not straight! This is the Stata Center, home to the CSAIL (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) - the place where I work, go for lectures etc.

Self Discovery

Here I am back in the blogosphere! What has been keeping me from blogging, you ask me? Well, many things... new university, new home, new country, basically my new life!

The past one-and-half months has been the most strenuous and challenging time I have ever spent in my life. Nevertheless, I guess it was (and still is) a journey of self-discovery. So, I am glad I was brave enough to take this path.