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Friday, 25 December 2015

Sweet Little Thing by Renee Carlino

My Review: 2/5

There are hard times, don't get me wrong, but I haven't forgotten what I learned so brutally a few years back he and I met. I learned that you can't predict your future, there's no crystal ball or formula for happiness. You can't control the weather just like you can't control the way others behave, but what you can control is how much love you give. Surrendering to this crazy thing called life is hard, but we don't have to be the soulless sheets of paper tarrying along in the wind. We can find our people, love, respect them, and then hang on for dear life because it's not where you go on this journey but who you're with that matters the most. 

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Sidney Sheldon's After the Darkness by Tilly Bagshawe

My Review: 4/5


In another life, a different dream, She could have loved him. But that chance had passed, blown away like a feather in the wind. She knew she would never go back. 
    Would she really go abroad? Probably, Or perhaps she would simply fade away here, as she had before, disappear into the comforting anonymity of the city. 
    Turning the corner, she walked toward the subway. The crowds on the sidewalk opened up to let her in, then closed around her like a womb.
    She was gone. 

When I decided to read this book, I had no idea it would turn out to be this interesting. I had read her 'Mistress of the Game' and I told myself, 'Sister, I am never reading your book again!'. Now, its Christmas time, end of the year and I had to complete my goodreads challenge, and I didn't have any other book with me. I thought 'Oh well, everyone gets a second chance, isn't it?'.

Synopsis:
The striking story about love, betrayal, power and vengeance of the King of Wall Street, Lenny Brookstein and his beautiful wife, Grace Brookstein, who is actually young enough to be his daughter. Well, as someone said, when you fall in love, you just fall in love in any circumstance. So this couple is madly in love with each other. However, things don't go on as a fairy tale. Lenny is an ambitious man. He loves being in power and in control of money. On the other hand, Grace is very vulnerable and innocent. She trusts Lenny blindly but Lenny trusts no one but his business partner John Merrivale, together with who he started an investment company, Quorum. 

It was during the financial crisis time, Lenny Brookstein suddenly disappears in the coast with his boat and on the other side, about 70 billion dollar is missing from the Quorum account. Things get worse when all the fingers are pointed to Grace. That is when she becomes the 'lady character' we always know from Sidney Sheldon's book. Grace believing that someone has framed her and Lenny, and stole the money, she is determined to find that culprit. 

To the author:
So, Frau. Bagshawe, I must say, I really liked this book. It had Sidney Sheldon written all over it. The plot is great, characters are lovable and multiple twists and turn that you kind of find your mind racing here and there. And I was loving it. I am definitely going to read your other books. 

By the way, why do you have to put Sidney Sheldon's name on your cover? It actually doesn't make sense to me. I get it that you are inspired by him and want to write like him but you can put his name down somewhere in acknowledgement. I am sure you are getting lots of publicity with this but to us, when his name is there, we are judging your book. In some cases, it's actually not good and this is exactly what happened with your first book I read. I think it's the time you make your own identity and you are good enough for that. 

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino


My Review: 3/5


"You know when someone just seems so put-together and kind, even their speaking voice has a nice sound to it and you want to hate them or find a flaw but you can't, so you have to like them, as painful as it is?"

This is exactly how I felt about this book. It's definitely sweet but extremely sweet that you kind of want to hate it. Let me start with Mia Kelly, our main character. She is beautiful (ok every main character is beautiful, as far as I know nobody has started his/her book saying oh, she was one of the worse looking girls and then she met this Prince). Anyway, after Mia's father dies, her life is changed completely. She moves to New York and takes over his cafe but she is still trying to figure out her life. That is where she meets 'everyone's dream guy' (probably mine too if he didn't have Tatoos), Will Ryan. If there was one thing I have to consider sweet in this book, then it would be this guy. Man, seriously, where can I find these kinds of guys? (and I have said the same line before). 

"You have to teach your heart and mind how to sing together...then you'll hear the sound of your soul."

Once they meet each other, Will is madly in love with Mia but Mia is very confused because she wants good career in her man but Will is a struggling artist. Now the thing that got into my nerve: At some point they both are in love with each other. They realise how common they are. They play music together, sing together and in fact, they both live in the same apartment as housemates but still they don't confess their love but date other people, hurt each other and become jealous at the same time. God! that hurt me too. I remember myself screaming- 'for God's sake, you belong together', but who would listen to me? So, until 50% of the book, nothing was happening. Will was forever there waiting for Mia to come to him. As much as I was loving him, I was hating her. 

Well wait, I haven't finished yet. Finally, they confess each other's love (My God! that was a long wait, even I was annoyed). Then Mia does something that breaks his heart. Hence, Will completely disappears from her life. 

“He looked so pathetic standing there, rejected. He corrected himself a couple of times when his body made involuntary movements to reach out and touch me. He was fighting the urge just to simply take my hand or kiss my cheek. I didn’t know why I was being so harsh… The charade and the constant touching created so much confusion. I couldn’t tell anymore what we were to each other.”

Now, Mia realises her mistake and tries to win him back. At the end, there is this beautiful song written by Mia. This kind of summaries the whole story. 

Been looking for a way to get home,
it seems there's no directions left for me.
I'll follow the trail on my own,
and hope that something sets me free.
The darkness falls fast without warning,
just left with my soul to captain me.
But there is someone waiting for me in the morning,
pulling me into the light so I can see.
He knows my face in the darkness,
he knows my hopes, my reverie. 
But he's waiting for me to find him,
so that I can set him free.
So I let go and let him in.
Everything dissipates into feeling,
we allow our souls to meet.
We're the static in the chaos,


the one thing..... the something so sweet.

And here is my final summary, I don't want to like this book but I liked it just because everyone liked it and that is because I don't want to be the odd one out. Yes sister, if everyone jumped off a clip, I would too. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

My Review: 4/5

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2015

MORNING

It's 8 o'clock in the morning. I am running to the train station. There are two trains I can catch, at 8:07 am or at 8:10 am. If I leave my home exactly at 8, I can catch 8:07 train but if I am 2 minutes late, I can get 8:10 one. Anyway, that 3 minutes doesn't really matter that much. I will reach 3 minutes late at work but today, I can't wait to catch 8:07 train because I can't wait to get to the train station and sit in there, and start my new book. Yes, I am starting my new book today called 'The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins'. Its a murder mystery. I saw there are mixed reviews about it on goodreads but sometimes I don't like to listen to those reviews. I just want to read even though they say it's bad. Shouldn't we see ourselves why they say its bad? and the only way to see it is, by reading it. Anyway, I have a good feeling about it. Its not always I read mystery books. I open the book and read it. The train is quite packed. Germans like working early. It's really really packed. There is no seat for me. I am standing but I am reading. Few pages into the book, its time to get off. 

EVENING

Its nearly 8 pm. I sat on the train and opened the book. Hmm... this is about a girl Rachel who is drunk all the time. She lost her husband to someone 2 years ago but still hasn't gotten over it. Recently, she lost her job too. In order to avoid telling her flatmate about the job, she pretends to go to work. Everyday she takes the same train into London. From the train she sees her old house which is shared by her ex-husband and his new wife now. She also sees their new neighbours who she doesn't know but have now become familiar figures since she sees them almost everyday from the train. She names them Jason and Jesse. 
      I am now home and can't wait to finish my dinner and go back to the book. At around 10 pm, I start reading again. So the neighbours of her ex-husband are Scott and Megan (although she named them Jason and Jesse). One day, from the train, Rachel discovers Megan kissing someone who is not Scott. Soon after that, Megan disappears completely. Her disappearance becomes a big talk of the town. Rachel, thinking that it might be something to do with a guy she was kissing, goes to Scott to tell him what she saw. 
    I am completely engrossed in the book. Next time, I check the clock, its 2 o'clock in the morning. I should sleep now. 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2015

MORNING

This is my 4th day in this book. The story is getting interesting. I am back to the book. I confess it's bit boring in the beginning but after 50% its getting interesting again. They have found the body of Megan now but who could have murdered her? and why? and why I do I feel like every character in this book is messed up and has sort of psychological problem? but something is making me read it though. There is something interesting which I can't describe, probably an urge to know who exactly is the culprit and why? Anyway, I have got shopping and laundry to do now. I will catch up with this book later. 

EVENING

What???? It was him? Oh my beautiful God! I couldn't have imagined it in any way. Its been 4 hours that I am reading this book continuously. For some reason I could't keep it down. 

Now, its finished, time to read its reviews on goodreads!

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2015

MORNING

Why is everyone talking bad about this book? It was ok for me. May be I don't understand the real taste of the mystery since I don't read them that much but it was not that bad. Atleast this book has taught me that people's lives are not as same as they show you. Long time ago my friend and I had a big argument over someone's post on Facebook. I told him why he can't be like that 'someone'? His argument was 'Not everything is same as people show you on Facebook'. I felt exaclty like that after reading this book. Everyday I take trains and although it was somewhere behind my brain, I never properly imagined everyone sitting there has some stories. This is the book that shows you the prospective of lives from other's view. Oh well, I got to be honest. I kind of enjoyed it so, I will give it 4 stars. Scheiße! Tomorrow is Monday :( 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Nowhere but Here by Renee Carlino

My Review: 5/5

''To exist in each other's souls so strongly that you are bound without a physical tie is the greatest mark of love...''

Beautiful story about love, choice, family and life. More precisely, an extremely heat touching love story of an ordinary girl with a man every girl dreams of. 

Kate Corbin is going through hell. Her mother figure died recently, her boyfriend is an asshole and she is not being productive in her work place. Then her kind boss gives her an opportunity of a life time that changes her life completely. As a journalist, she gets to interview a born computer genius R.J. Lawson, who disappeared about a decade ago and then again reappeared in completely different form, as a wine maker. Then the moment comes when he comes into her life and she into his, they meet just as it was always meant to be.

''Remember playing hide-and-seek as a kid? You would run full speed away from the one who was ''it''. Every time you played, you thought you'd found the best hiding place. You would sit, shaking with anticipation because even though the object of the game was opposite, all you really wanted was to be found. You wanted to be found by the one who was ''it''. For months, I had been hiding. I had run so far and hidden so well, I thought no one would find me, but then he did.''

But......

 ''It's hard to know how green the grass is if you have never been on the other side of the fence. There is no light without darkness- there's no joy without pain-but we promised each other, through it all, that we would always choose to be here, living in the moment, right by each other's sides. And I believe that's truly what love it.''

Their love story goes through strange ups and down. The unique moments that make both of them appreciate each other the way they deserve. 

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Really, I am so happy to have this book found. It has a great plot, great story, great writing and great characters that will remain forever in the heart. Now, I am going through a problem most book readers go through- 'The book hangover- Unable to start a new book because you are still too immersed in the last book to move on'

Here is the lesson of the book:
This is what I would really say, "Leave your life. Leave everyone you love, every care, every stress, every commitment. Live alone. Understand what it feels like to know that if you go into cardiac arrest, choke on a piece of hot dog, or get electrocuted, no one will find you. You'll rot. No one will mourn you. Imagine this feeling haunting your thoughts for the rest of your life. You'll wither and vanish, and some stranger will take care of your things and your burial, and you may not even get a placard. Imagine that, live it, and let yourself believe that you should be alone, and then go back to the people who love you."

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

My Review: 3/5

"If we'd never met, I think I would have known that my life wasn't complete. And I would have wandered the world in search of you, even if I didn't know who I was looking for."

Two stories at two different eras! Ira Levinson lived a romantic life after Second World War with a only girl he ever loved, Ruth Levinson. Now, aged 91, he is struggling to live alone since his beloved wife died nine years ago. He seems to remember every single detail of Ruth, even the clothes she was wearing in her twenties, thirties, forties, at every possible age (ok, that was bit too much). On the other side of the town, a new and young couple Luke Collins and Sophia Danko are living their normal lives. Newly in love, Luke and Sophia are struggling to keep up with their love life. The only thing that is common between these four people is what seems to be the climax of the story. One thing that kept me reading is I really wanted to know how these two stories are connected. I must say although I was bored reading 'too much' of their romances, I loved the ending. It was perfect in a way. 

''The night air was turning crisper, giving the stars a crystalline cast. He looked up at them, then over to her, and when her thumb gently began to trace the contours of his hand, he responded to kind. In that instant, he knew with certainty that he was already falling for her and that there was nothing on earth he could do to stop it.''

Most of Nicholas Sparks' books are so romantic that they sometimes become intolerable. Most pages of this book are filled with the description of stars, moon, nights, beauty of other half, sunlight; kind of literature I used to write in my teenage. Now, I feel like I have outgrown it and really need to change the genre. 

Now since I have finished all the books by Nicholas Sparks, I must say the only one that made me cry and will remain forever in my heart is 'Dear John'. 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Summer Love by Subin Bhattarai



My Review: 3/5

Every time I have someone coming from Nepal, I ask for some Nepali books. When my sister-in-law came to Germany, she brought me 'Saaya' (Part 2 of Summer Love'). So, I read part 2 before part 1. 

After reading Saaya, I needed to read part 1. I really wanted to know what happened in part one that made the story turn out like this in part 2. So, next time, I ordered 'Summer Love' with my grand parents. 

I must say the writer did great job in putting two books together. Once you read both books, you can really see all the pieces falling into place but there were some things that didn't really make sense to me somehow. 

Synopsis: 
After being accepted into a Masters degree in the Tribhuvan University, Atit Sharma falls in love with Saaya Shakya through her name. He sees her name in the list of entrance topper and immediately gets smitten by it. It was kind of cute and reminded me of the love story of a popular Nepali singer Sugam Pokharel and his wife. They have a similar story. His wife found his name so unique that she called him to talk on phone. That's how their story started. 

So, going back to 'Summer Love', Atit is already in love with Saaya even before he saw her. Once they meet each other, the first introduction turns into friendship and friendship turns into love. Then comes the role of their family who have to come in between them. The problem of Atit and Saaya is mainly due to their caste difference but I bet even if they were from the same caste, there would be some other problems. Sigh! seems like most Nepalese family have a problem with their children's choice. 

My View:
Although the story is ordinary and addresses every problem a Nepalese couple go through, you are kind of confused thinking why it happened the way it happened. In the middle of the story, Saaya is completely changed and you have no idea why and just to find that out, you have to read part 2. It's kind of annoying sometimes when you have to do that. On the other hand, the character, Sushmita seems so lame and nonexistent. I don't think there ever existed a woman like her and neither will be there in future. And Saaya's father, Dayaram or Dayabir whatever his name is, he doesn't seem to be 'Dayalu' even though there is Daya in his name. He calls Atit all the way from Dhangadi to Kathmandu just to humiliate him. And the author ends the book in such a way that you saw part two coming miles away but in his defence, he had to write part 2 otherwise, it would be one of those times where you convict a prisoner without hearing a defender. So if you want to know the full story,
Read Summer Love (part 1)- Atit's part of the story
Read Saaya (part 2)- Saya's part of the story
Then sit back, relax and punish the convict!

Last but not least, the biggest question I kept asking myself throughout the book- 'Why is it called Summer Love?'

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Education in Europe vs Asia

I saw someone asking somewhere, how education systems differ in Asia and Europe? I intend to share my experience here.  

Germany:
Few months ago, I had an oral exam; one of the exams I must pass in order to get my PhD degree. In Germany, if you are an international PhD student, there is a different rule. They look at your previous qualifications and depending upon which department you have enrolled, if there are modules in their list you haven't done before, you have to pass that in order to be fully enrolled. 

Oral exam is more popular than written here. Obviously, there is written exam and in some cases, presentation exam too but most of the examiners prefer oral exam because they believe that it is the only way to know if the students have actually understood the materials. So, if you want to get a decent result, you cannot skip a single chapter or part. You have to master everything. 

First of all, oral exam, the name itself was stressful for me. I had never done it before and I was as scared as hell thinking what it will be like. It won't be like a written exam where you can have some time to think about the questions. Plus in written exam, if you don't know one question, you can choose to come back to it later. I didn't think it would be possible in oral exam while two examiners are staring and waiting for you to answer. I was really really nervous. I am not even joking. 

So, in oral exam, I already mentioned, there are two professors. One to ask questions and another to write down whatever you answer. The professor in charge of writing can also ask questions in the middle.  

After spending 2 years in Germany, I know for sure that education here is all about understanding. Students are very knowledgeable. They certainly know what they are doing because they value education more than grades. Here, I have to confess that I struggled in Germany during my first few months as much as I did when I came to UK from Nepal. 

Nepal:
My memories from Nepal is, we were memorising all the time. We even used to memorise 2 pages of essays and by the end of it, we knew where all the full stops and commas were. The students are highly competitive there. Getting high scores in the exam is more important. Whether you understand or not, but if you score high, you are smart enough. Oh, there is also a good thing. The students are more disciplined. And my God, they are studying all the time (I mean the serious ones).

UK:
In the UK, for my subject, it was all about understanding the application without memorising. You don't have to understand the theory as long as you know where and how to use it. As an Engineering student, I learnt a lot about working in a group and communicating well because at the end of the day that matters a lot wherever you go.

UK vs Germany:
In the UK, its extremely competitive to get into University. The ranking of the University is very important. Higher the rank of the University is, more difficult it is to get in. On the other hand, from what I hear, its not that competitive in Germany to get into University unless you are studying medicine. But the story doesn't end there. They make exam really tough that only smart ones can survive.  

Oh, here is another thing, every German University is fee-free but the UK has increased its tuition fee from 3000 to 9000 grand (only for home students). 

Germany is also the place where internships are favoured, encouraged and the must, whereas the UK is more rushed to its degree. For eg. Engineering Bachelor and Master's degree (MEng) can be completed in four years in the UK but in Germany, students finish in their own time. Some students finish bachelor in 3 years, some in 4 years. It totally depends on when they are ready and because everyone finishes in different time, there is no graduation ceremony here :O. And here is another thing to note: British students do their part time job in restaurants, pub or retail stores but Germans students work in the institutes or the Company- impressive indeed!
 
Europe vs Asia
So, in Europe, education is not only about reading books. It's also about thinking and questioning everything you see, solving the problems you are interested in. Students are encouraged to contribute in community projects to make them open minded and confident. They do lots of volunteering work plus paid work from early age. They travel and learn to become independent from the beginning.

Asian students start learning very complicated math skills since they are in grade 7 but now when I think about it, the sole purpose of all those hard work was only to pass the exams. We had different mindset. We studied to get high scores in exams rather than considering how we could use what we learned to solve interesting problems. Voluntary works and paid works were not common (Not sure about it now). We were occupied with all kinds of lessons and homework, and we hardly explored. Most of us were used to wait other people to tell us what to do. By the way, that was called being disciplined.

There are vast differences between the education systems in these countries. There are good sides and bad sides everywhere. It's certainly difficult to say which system is better for who. It all depends on where you grow up and which system you are used too. If someone is constantly shifting from one system to another like me, it's a real adventure but does make you adaptable. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Nepal Constitution 2015

First of all, congratulation to all 'pro constitution' Nepalese for the new constitution. It's such a shame that even though we waited for this moment for such a long time, our people are still not happy. Ok, I get it, the constitution is not perfect but at least we have it. Actually, I am not happy about the constitution myself but adopting violence demonstration and killing people will only make the things worse. 

My friend and I had a long debate about this constitution months ago. When they were thinking about making 3 or 6 federal states, I thought 'Aren't they wasting time in doing that? We already have 5 development regions, why can't we convert those regions into states if making states is the must'. My friend's argument was that there is no power in those regions. Now the problem is, making new states provoked the boundary problems. It doesn't make sense to separate the states according to ethnic groups. That way we have to make Nepal more than 100 pieces. Its even more unrealistic to make it Hindu rastra. I don't even understand why it was in an agenda in the first place. On the other hand, Madhesi and Tharus want separate states and their argument is that they get dominated by pahadi people. My friend thinks that is understandable but I think getting separate state is not going to solve the problem they are having. We had lots of verbal argument and at some point I remembered the famous picture of our politicians picking up the chairs to throw in sambhidan bhawan, and I wanted to do the same on him. If you don't know what I am talking about, be my guest here. Then I suddenly realised why it must have happened in the first place. This is the friend who has so much in common with me. Just imagine if we can argue, we are talking about mindsets of more than 30 million Nepalese people. There is bound to be disagreement. Here my argument is, as much as Terai basi think their problem is major, every ethnic group will come up with something. For example, I come from an ethnic group whose identity was known to only few people until a decade ago. Why can't we raise this point and demand a separate state? This doesn't mean I intend to do it. I am just saying ethnic states is not practical and God only knows what happens to all those inter-caste marriages.

We shouldn't forgot that this instability will only show international vulnerability and destruct economic and innocent lives further. Everyday hearing news about disagreement and demonstration, I wondered what happened to all those 'coming together, working together slogan' during Earthquake? Should there be another Earthquake to settle this down? 

I worry about politicians too. If they don't do anything, we say they are not doing anything. If they do something, we demonstrate. What are those poor politicians supposed to do? They can't make everyone happy. This is the lesson I learnt when I organised Fundraising programme for Earthquake victims in Hannover. Then, some people accused me of doing this just for fame. WHAT THE HELL!!! You will not believe it when I say there was a long discussion and argument about this. There were people who supported and there were people who questioned but obviously there were more supporters than otherwise. Then I realised that even if you do good things, not everyone is happy. Still we managed to raise decent amount of money and the programme was successful.

So, people, at least we have our constitution now. We have been through a lot. Can we just celebrate what we have now?

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Summer University in Switzerland

Whenever I got chance to travel, I chose other countries but Switzerland because I always had this one on mind for my honeymoon destination. As they say, some things are meant to happen, this was one of those opportunities that I knew I would regret forever if I missed.  

Everyone knows by now that I love travelling. There is no doubt but you know if something is too much, its dangerous as well. By this time, I had travelled every weekend for more than a month and I was exhausted. When it was time to actually go to Switzerland, I wasn't as excited as I was when I received an offer letter. I was exhausted but still I knew I was not going to step back. 

Switzerland is not only popular for its beauty but the gloomy weather too, similar to Manchester. There is a joke that goes around when you are new in Manchester, 'Why did you choose Manchester?, for it's weather?'. It rains all the time there but still for 4 long and beautiful years, I never owned a single brolly. When I think about it now, I can't imagine how I survived. Anyway, those are the gone days. I can talk about Manchester for hours and bore you. So, let me go back to talking about Switzerland.  

The first day, I was in Zurich. I can't even describe how tired I was. I went to Zurich lake and fell asleep by the side. For people there, it looked normal because the weather was so beautiful that everyone was enjoying the sunshine by the lake. I heard Switzerland hardly has a weather like that. They said, 'when an angel travels, the weather becomes nice'. We were just too lucky.

Do you remember when I wrote about Denmark, I said I felt like I was eating money there? Everything was so expensive. Well, wait till you go to Switzerland. I had known it before that it is expensive there but I didn't have a slightest idea that it would be that expensive. Everything is triple of what we pay in Germany. For instance, I wondered how people survive there. Of course, they have higher salary and low tax but still, you got to be kidding me when you say a donner is 10 CHF, which we get the same amount in 3.5 Euro in Germany. Now, since 1 CHF is almost equal to 1 Euro, I felt like I was robbed in every possible way. Looked like the only affordable way to eat in Switzerland is by buying from supermarket if you are not cooking yourself. Still, 'I am in Switzerland' made up for everything. Out of all my travelling, this is one place I hardly saw Asian tourists. There were some like me, who were there because they were in Europe or they came there for work but not typical tourists you commonly see hanging out in group with cameras taking pictures of every possible strange things they see. 

In Zurich, the lake is the most popular destination for everyone. Not only the tourists but also local people go there for a nice stroll and fresh air. The lake itself is so beautiful that I am not even hesitating to say I have never seen this clean and beautiful lake before. 
Popular Zurich Lake
There is a famous street in Zurich called Bahnhofstraße near main station. That place is for people who have too much money and don't know what to do with it. You can literally burn your money there. Most of the people were mainly there for window shopping including me. I was mainly there to see what kind of people do shopping there. Obviously, there was no way I could buy anything but when I come for honeymoon, my husband will have to empty his wallet there :P. 

Next day, I decided that I would like to do some hiking. So, I went to Üetliberg mountain. Its not a kind of snow mountain but more like a hill, but they call it mountain. Whereas coming from Nepal, I always have an impression that its only called a mountain if it has a snow. I remember when I went to China, we had an excursion where they took us to a mountain. I was so excited thinking that we were actually going to snow mountain but it turned out that it was a bamboo forest mountain
Panoroma view of Zurich city from Üetliberg mountain
  
Here is me with my regular pose overlooking Zurich city
While going up to the mountain, I took train but I hiked while coming down. It was deadly forest but there were more people than expected. It took me about 3 hours to reach city centre from the top. I was exhausted but it was worth it. 
 
Next day, it was time to go to Falera. Travelling from Zurich to Falera was one long and beautiful ride. The landscape was beautiful. It was like I had always imagined what Switzerland is like.

In Falera, 60 participants from 29 different countries gathered for 2 weeks summer university to study Energy Technology. The course mainly focused on renewable energy, such as solar energy, PV technologies, wind energy and thermal power. In the first lecture, the director of the programme showed us a chart that showed from which part of world people have come from. There was 1 participant from the UK, 1 from Nepal and 12 from Germany. I wondered which category they put me in. If they had put me either in UK or Germany, there should be someone from Nepal. Then I actively started searching for this one Nepali. It didn't take me long to find out that I was actually searching for myself. Yes indeed, I was that sole Nepalese participant. Ok, that was not surprising, but what was more surprising was that some people were surprised that Nepalese people are also interested in renewable energy. Some of them who came across me were like -'Oh, you are the one from Nepal?', 'You are from Nepal? I always wondered who it was'. People from asian countries made a decent guess that I was from Nepal. 'You are from Nepal, right? we have lots of Nepalese worker'- A nice woman from Qatar said. Some of them would talk about Earthquake and some would tell me how they went to Nepal for a honeymoon and in answer to my question 'Would you go there again?', 'I think my wife would prefer to go to developed country'. I was actually tired of people's reaction. Why is it so surprising that a Nepalese is learning a renewable energy? At some point I wanted to scream at everyone 'Yes, Nepalese people learn too'. There were also people who genuinely had nice things to say about Nepal, such as Mount Everest is there, country of Himalaya, Nepal is beautiful etc etc.

In bright side, some people knew Nepal and in dark side, some people knew nothing about Nepal. In the beginning I was bit lonely. I started hanging out with people from Mexico though there was nothing much to talk than Javier Hernandez. Everyone was allocated in a nice house with some other random participants. I was lucky because I didn't have to share house with too many people and the view from my house was magnificent :)
View from my house of two weeks
Ok, honestly, how many of you get a view like this from your home? For two complete weeks, I woke up every morning to see this view. The first week, the weather was very nice but it started getting gloomy in a second week. 

Switzerland has 4 official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Falera itself is really beautiful Romansh speaking small village at 1200 m from sea level. When I say 'village', trust me, it is a village. The nice thing about this place is everyone knows everyone there. It is a place where people don't lock their doors or cars because they trust each other that much.  In the morning when you are going to the class, people would smile at you and say 'Morgen' and that is if you see anyone. Most of the time you don't see anyone and I always wondered where they disappear to. Although there are about 600 inhabitant, it rises up to 5000 in Christmas time as it is a popular place for skiers. For me, this place is perfect if people need some time off from busy week.

Out of all, the most interesting lecture for me was solar thermal power. It's was Chemical Engineering everywhere and I was loving it. I didn't hide my excitement. The lecturer was a Chemical Engineer too from Stuttgart. The course itself was very intensive. We were studying all the time and there was hardly any free time. From morning to half 12, there was a lecture and from 2, a workshop with different experiments. Now when I think about it, I only remember being tired and hungry all the time. There was no internet at home. So the only possibility to use internet was in conference area and that also for limited time. On other hand, I was kind of glad there was no internet at home. Although there was hardly any free time, I used whatever was left up for some peace of mind.

So, towards the end of first week, I started becoming homesick. The weekend was left for us to decide what we wanted to do. By this time, I was alone most of the time because I was extremely homesick. Believe me when I say that is not so me. I don't know what happened to me but this time I really experienced a real home sickness. For some reasons, I couldn't wait to go back to Germany. Long back when my friends used to say they are homesick, I used to laugh at them. Now I understand how they felt. I really want to send nice apology handwritten letters with some compensation to all those friends I laughed at. I didn't once think I would face this one day.

So, on weekend, I dragged one professor and my friend Mousa to go on hiking. It was about 38 degree and we were hiking since 9 am to 6 pm. It was extremely long hiking and I was completely tanned but it was worth it. We were going around Ruinaulta Canyon, commonly known as 'Swiss Grand Canyon', which looked like a landslide but they say it's not. So we just have to stick with it.
 


 
Once you reach to the top of the Canyon, dare to look down! This is what you see:
Yes. we walked alongside that river all the way to this top
After Canyon, we went to see Caumasee, the lake that is popular for its beauty. Well, look at the picture and decide yourself.
Caumasee Lake
Next day, everyone decided to join everyone and we went to see the Cassons mountain.
Going up to the Cassons Mountain
It needs a hell lot of energy and determination to reach that mountain
Being registered as UNISCO heritage, this mountain has a strange hole (shown in picture below) in the middle which is 'must see' if you are in Falera. If you see in the picture below, there is a unique line that crosses in the middle, which is also popular among tourists. No one knows what that is and why it is like that but it is something.


Now we are going down
We have to reach that valley
The hiking on weekend was tiring but amazing. Still, in second week, I was more homesick than anyone could ever be in his/her life. The thing is I am not used to living in quiet area like this and besides I am a kind of person who gets bored all the time. In Hannover, even if you walk at 1 o'clock in the morning, you still see people walking in the street, and Manchester itself is a city of students. You see students everywhere. I remember Friday night when there used to be a long queue to get into the club, I was really missing that excitement, not that I am club person or I used to go there but even if you see other people enjoying, you kind of enjoy yourself. Actually sometimes in Manchester and Hannover, I have complained for being too noisy and here in Falera, I complained for being too quiet. I seriously don't know what I want sometimes. On the other hand, studying in Falera was not like studying in China where as you step outside, there are thousands of restaurant to eat at or thousands of places to go. Falera was extremely quiet and I hate to say not really student friendly. Will you believe me when I say a burger and french fries was 19 CHF there? There were lots of 'WTH' moment but obviously I have to remember that I went there to study, not for sight seeing.

Study was good though. We were learning every bits of Energy Technology there. I was loving there but as I said before, I couldn't wait to go back to Germany. When I told this to one of the professors, he told me that its interesting I think Germany as my home already :). I know, right? To other people, I was known as 'The girl from Nepal'. When people talked to me, Nepal Earthquake was the hot topic, then came how easy the hiking must be for me since we have to walk like this everyday in Nepal. Forgive me but I was kind of sick of those remarks. I was like an alien to some of them. Here is another 'WTH' moment.  

Final day, I was overexcited. I couldn't wait to reach Zurich, then I couldn't wait to get on the plane and let me tell you, I have a fear of flying. At that time, nothing else mattered. I just wanted to run away. I was missing home desperately, comfort of my home, my bed, sleeping without anyone snoring, using the clean bathroom that I am used too. Still, there are bright sides too. Its was a great experience, great course, and with so many international friends and great stuff to put in my CV, it was finally time to return home :). How I felt on last day and how I felt when our plane landed in Berlin, I cannot even describe those feelings. I was just thankful to God.

Summer University: ISU Energy
Acknowledgement: Thank you Hannover School for Nanotechnology (HSN) for sponsoring me.