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Binay Dahal’s US Visit

The Arrival:
After a long sleepless flight, I arrived at Logan International Airport. The journey to the US was quite tough, but the moment I landed, I felt refreshed. The place was cold with winter fast approaching, but it was pretty good at the same time. The immigration process should have been short and easy, but unfortunately for us, 3 more airplanes landed at the same time. So, we had to wait for an hour and a half before we cleared that out. Then, we got into a cab and went to the Extended Stay, where we met Abanish Dai. He guided us with the basics of how things worked around in the US and gave us cell phones. As I was assigned to stay with Ashay Dai, I kept waiting on Suresh Dai to come to pick me up.

But when he arrived, we decided to take a short trip around Tony C for a beer. At first, I was not sure if I should have that, but once I took a sip, I realized that’s what I had needed after a long flight. We did some shopping, and I finally went to Ashay Dai’s home. I was quite nervous at first, but I felt right at home as soon as I met him. He is a very welcoming person. He showed me around his home, and after dinner, I hit the sack.

The Office

30. Office

The next morning, I went to the office. I was very excited and scared at the same time. My first feeling after stepping into the office was “Wow, it feels like the first day on a whole new office.” The office was quite different from here. The environment is really quiet, and one can easily focus on their work without getting distracted. The entire office consists of one big hall, which has been divided into fairly large cubicles, kind of like in the Data Hall back in Nepal. We had our daily stand up at 9:45 AM there, where everyone was present either physically or via a Zoom call. Everyone shared the status of their tasks. Those statuses were mainly related to client issues or deliverables. Apart from that, everybody is much focused on their own work, and everyone is dedicated to completing their deliverable by the end of the day. Of course, the working hours are quite short (by about 2 hrs) compared to Nepal, but the productivity is high. From what I have seen, almost everyone had at least one call with a client per day, which shows how dedicated everyone is in the US office.

While I was there, I was assigned about 4 tasks. Those are reviewing the release process manual, presentation on deployment dashboard, development of auto-scaling algorithm to support export service, and script for deploying DAS QC on autoscaling instances. I was directly reporting to Awanish Rajan Dai while I was there and consulting with Robert Wollam on a few other production deployment-related issues. Despite suffering from Jet lag, I managed to review the release process manual as well as completed a cloud formation script for launching auto-scaling based DAS QC instances in the first week. In the second week, I completed an auto-scaling algorithm and implemented that change in the QC environment. In the third week, I completely implemented the auto-scaling logic to both environments, and along with that, I fixed a few bugs on the deployment dashboard. And finally, in the fourth week, I gave a demo of the deployment dashboard to the US development managers.

I loved the peaceful environment inside and outside the office but never thought I’d say this, I really missed our regular punch-in trend over there. I always felt like I was forgetting something important to do after I entered the office. And another thing is, I also missed wearing the access card around my neck. Believe me or not, I actually mentioned this to Rudra Dai too, and he said, “That’s why I got one lanyard back from Nepal so that I could wear the access card around my neck all the time in the office.”

The Conference:
Apart from office and work, we had got a golden opportunity to be part of Deerwalk’s first conference called “Deerwalk Ascend.” The conference was about 3 days long, which started on Oct 9 and ended on Oct 11, 2019. The first evening of the conference was mostly a welcome party for the clients. We met with a few of the client’s representatives and exchanged a few words with them, while other Deerwalk US employees were focused on meeting and welcoming their assigned clients.

The next morning, the conference started at 7 AM in the morning which started with breakfast. Then after that, the main event started with an opening intro by Master of Ceremonies, Bob Garner. He is a very entertaining and talented person. He showed us a few of his tricks and made everyone laugh. I wished I could see more of his performances but sadly, we had bigger things to do at that conference. Next was a welcoming remark and Deerwalk state of the union/”Our Story” from Jeff Gasser and Rudra Dai. This marked the start of the conference. There were many more other guest speakers who talked about healthcare and issues that were prevailing and so on. For me, I didn’t quite understand everything that was being discussed on that conference apart from the technical stuff presented by Edward Hausman and Marc Biondi but hearing from other people such as Ashay Dai and Kishor Dai, I realized that a lot of important information and discussion happened on that day.

On the last day of the conference, it was basically the product demo and technology that we are using on our products. I attended the sessions conducted by Jo Ann Hunt, Edward Hausman, Gerardo Aguilar, Jennifer Thompson, and Ashley Taylor. I learned new things about CM, HP, and got the concept of AI as well. Overall, it was a very new and special experience for me during my visit.
Some highlights are as follows:

2. Crazy About Conference

3. Fenway Park Tour After Conference

The Weekends:
For our first weekend, Sudan Khadgi was invited to his friend’s place as it was Dashain week. I tagged along with Achyut K Bhattrai. It was a very fun experience. We met a whole bunch of people there at that party. We drank lots of beer and enjoyed the cooking from Sudan’s friend. While we were there, we got a chance to meet with Sajjan Raj Vaidya, a Nepali singer. Luckily for me, I managed to get a couple of clicks with him, thanks to Achyut as he was the one who reminded me to do that.

4. With Sajan Raj Vaidya

Apart from that, we played a game called “Mafia.” It is a guessing game, which is quite fun if we are playing with more than 6 people. We never realized when time flew away while we were there. We got back from there at around one o’clock in the morning.

The following day, we were invited to Rudra Dai’s home. It was also yet another Dashain party. We got to his place at around 5:45 PM. We enjoyed the cooking there as well, and not to mention the beers. Apart from that, I got a chance to meet with Manish Luitel Dai and Sushant Pokharel dai as well. We all shared a nice conversation. It was a really nice get-together party overall.

5. At Rudra Dai's Home

For the second weekend, both Sudan and Achyut had their own plans. So, I decided to meet up with Manish Dai after the Deerwalk Ascend Conference. I took a walk from Hotel CommonWealth all the way up to Faneuil Hall Marketplace. I asked Bipul Dai before leaving the hotel, and he suggested that I should visit the park street along the way. It was quite a walk, but I enjoyed it a lot: apart from the rain, of course. The most amazing part was how tour guides talked about places in Boston. The people dressed up as actual soldiers from the 17th century and walked around the historic places. On top of that, they narrated the stories as a first-person, which was quite fun and interesting to listen to. As it was raining, I had to take shelter for a couple of minutes, and I was able to hear quite a lot about Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Boston Tea Party. Finally, after cold rainfall and getting soaked for 3 hrs, I finally caught up with Manish Dai. Luckily, after meeting up with him, the rain stopped. We took a walk around Boston harbor, which was about 200 meters away from the marketplace. We took a few pictures and returned to his place.

6. Reuniting With Familiar Face

The following day, we were invited by Namita Didi to her house. It was yet another Dashain party, even though Dashain was mostly over by that point. Anyway, we again got reunited with other current and former members of Deerwalk. And to my surprise, it was my first time seeing Awanish Dai playing cards, and he was really good at it too.

7. To My Surprise

Other than that, we played bingo too, but unfortunately for me, I was one number away from scoring a full house, but sadly lost it. And the funny thing is, the winners are Awanish Dai and Abanish Dai’s family members. The rest of us didn’t win a penny. Everybody was teasing the winner families by saying “the game wasn’t fair” as all members of both families won in all categories. We had a lot of fun there. After the party was over, I headed back to Ashay Dai’s house.

For the third weekend, I didn’t have any plans as usual, but I did get the chance to go out on a short trip to Norwood. This time, thanks to Suresh Dai (and his car), he had plans to go to Norwood to service his car. So, I tagged along with Manish Dai and Nitish Dai. We went to a place where there were a lot of cars. The entire avenue was filled with various buildings with different brands of car manufacturers. Since Suresh Dai has a Toyota, we went to the Toyota showroom for servicing. There, we walked around the showroom and saw a lot of new and old cars. It was a unique and exciting feeling for me as I saw so many stylish cars all at a single place. Then after we were done, we went to a nearby Indian restaurant, where we treated ourselves with some delicious biryani. After having a nice big meal, we took a couple of pictures before heading back.

8. After Satisfying Lunch

The next morning, like always, no plans led me to go out on a solo trip, thanks to Manish Dai. He told me about an observatory in Boston called the “Prudential Tower.” So, I packed my bag for the trip and headed there. I took a bus up to the Alewife station. After that, I decided to take a walk up to the Prudential Tower. Surely, it would have been easier if I had taken a cab to the place, but I wanted to see Boston on a sunny day and explore it. Along the way, I knew there was a Micro Center so I took a short walk there as well. I always wanted to visit the Micro Center, so it was like a dream come true for me. There, one can find quite a variety of computer parts at the lowest price. I bought an inexpensive part for my computer as I didn’t want to come empty-handed. After a short trip to the Micro Center, I went to a nearby Starbucks, which was on the other side of the Micro Center. I grabbed a coffee and took a short break. Then, I headed to the Prudential Tower. It was quite a walk from Starbucks to the tower, but I enjoyed it very much. Along the way, I saw lots of different things: people, street performers, and so on. I didn’t click a picture of everything I saw rather enjoyed the moment. The following picture is of the Prudential Tower from about 3 blocks away.

9. Prudential Tower

Anyway, I finally reached the tower, but unfortunately for me, the observatory was closed that day. I checked the website before heading out, and it said nothing about being closed that day.

10. Closed Due To Private Event

It was actually closed for a private event. I was a little disappointed, so I went to a nearby Dunkin’s donut, grabbed a hot chocolate, and rested for a while. Finally, I headed to the subway station at park street on foot, grabbed a train to Alewife station, and took a cab to Ashay Dai’s home.

On the fourth weekend, all three of us decided to go to New York. We took (probably) the very first bus at 3 AM in the morning. The trip was about 5-6 hrs before we finally arrived in New York City at around 8:45 AM. We had a full day pass for most places in New York, so we were in quite a hurry. So the moment we reached New York, we started exploring. The first place we visited was the Empire State Building. The view of New York was breathtaking on a sunny day with a fairly clear sky on the 86th floor.

11. At Empire State Building

12. At 86th Floor

We spent about 30 mins at the top of that building and headed down, where we decided to take the “Hop On Hop Off” bus. The bus took us to various parts of the city. I don’t quite remember the names of all the places, but I managed to grab quite a few clicks. After the ride, we “hopped off” the bus on the vessel in the Hudson Yards. We didn’t have the pass to go there, so we just hung around there for a while, took some pictures, and headed to the south ferry in order to reach the Statue of Liberty. But unfortunately for us, the queue was quite long. So, we decided to convert our pass to the ticket, which was valid for another 3 days. So, we collected the tickets and headed to the “Madame Tussauds.”

13. Picture Speaks For Itself
14. Having Fun

We had tons of fun there. The time just flew away. I recommend that place to everyone who is visiting New York City. After that, we headed to our hotel in New Jersey.

The next day, the weather was dismal. It was raining from the beginning of the day. But we decided to go back to New York again as we had to reach the Statue of Liberty. We took a bus to the City, and after that, we grabbed a train to reach the South Ferry. Sadly, by the time we reached that place, the weather had become very harsh. It was as if the huge hurricane was about to hit the island. We were quite sad and disappointed and thought that there was no ferry heading to Staten Island but upon calling they told us that they don’t care about such small rain. So, we said “now or never” and ran all the way to the port and entered a ferry. As soon as we were about to reach the Island, the luck was on our favor: at least the rain stopped. It was pretty windy, but we were not soaked as we expected. We took a walk around the island and took a bunch of pictures.

15. Finally Made It
16. Posing For Selfie

Next stop was Ellis Island. But we didn’t stay on that island for a long time as it was already 3 PM, and also we had plans to reach Charging Bull and Times Square by the end of the day. So, we took a ferry back to New York and took a couple of pictures by the charging bull.

17. The Charging Bull

After that, we went to Times Square, where we took a lot of pictures. Personally, the most fun part was of this trip was the night view of Times Square: the entire block was lit up like it’s the middle of the day.

18. At Times Square

I was actually missing the Tihar festival, while I was in the US, but upon seeing the night view of that place, I was no longer missing it. We walked around that place for a while. After that, we decided to go to the Hard Rock cafe to chill out as we had a very long day. We had a couple of beers before we headed to our hotel in New Jersey.

19. Chilling At Hard Rock Cafe

The next day, which was Monday, we headed back to Boston as it was the end of our trip. After 5-6 hours of long and boring travel to Boston, we finally arrived at the Extended Stay. I don’t remember the name of the places, but we decided to go there to mark an end to our New York trip. We had a couple of beers and some snacks before I headed back to Ashay Dai’s home.

20. Back To Boston

The Selfie Project:
While I was there, I only managed to get around 10 selfies. But due to some issue with my phone, I managed to save only 8 of them, which I have included below:

21. Selfie At 35000 Ft

The first picture is of Nkululeko Dominique Khumalo. He is an entrepreneur from South Africa. He is involved with MIT, and he works for an oracle gold partner company too. I met him on the flight from Doha, Qatar to Boston. We were both bored on that airplane due to a long flight. We stretched our legs, had a good conversation, and headed to our seats.

22. Cool Uber Driver

The second picture is of Asley. He is a part-time Uber driver, and he drives during the weekend only. He works at a printing press like an office, where they cut paper to some sizes for books.

23. Kind And Helpful Fellow

The third picture is of Moshin Mohamad. He is from the Middle East. He also drives Uber during the weekend. He is a student of Science of Leadership, and he’s pursuing his Master’s degree. I had a great conversation with him, and he suggested and sent names of some books I should study after finding out that I lead a small team.

24. The Client From Target Care

The fourth picture is of Michael Karp. I met him after the Deerwalk Ascend conference during the Fenway Park tour. He is one of our clients from Target Care. He deals with data analysis at Target Care.

25. Boston Travel Buddy

The fifth picture is of Dipu Rai. She is originally from India and came to visit Boston from Chicago. She has been living in Chicago for 5 years. She completed her Bachelor in Computer Science in India and came to the US for her Master’s degree in Marketing Research. I met her on Park Street, Boston. She was following the freedom trail to reach the Boston harbor, while I was trying to reach Faneuil Hall Marketplace to meet Manish Luitel (former Deerwalk employee). We shared a cup of coffee and had lunch together along the way.

26. The Researcher

The sixth picture is of John Flaherty. He is a researcher, who’s doing research on education. I met him on Park Street, Boston as well. Just like me, he was also headed to the Alewife station. He kind of showed me around the subway and guided me on how to board the subway train. He was also here due to his work and was visiting his daughter and mother.

27. The Engineer

The seventh picture is of Dave Mcbride. He is an electrical engineer. I met him through Uber. He was actually returning from this work, just like myself. I should mention that he had a really nice car, which triggered our conversation. Also, he mentioned that his car was only 3 days old.

28. Hardworking Mother

The eighth picture is of Melissa Clark. She is a full-time Uber driver, who drives Uber on weekdays only. During the conversation, I learned that she has 4 children: 3 sons and 1 daughter. She told me her eldest son is 24, the daughter is 22, and the other sons are 18 and 16. Also, she told me her daughter has everything planned out for her life, which was pretty interesting to listen to.
The Departure:
I was pretty excited to come back to Nepal, but staying in the US for a month sort of creating a bond with everyone. To be honest, I kind of felt sad. So, the following are the pictures that we took before departing from the US.

29. Good Bye Us

Overall Experience:
As I have already said before, I was missing the big festival in Nepal while I was there. So basically, I wasn’t enjoying the stay too much. But now I am back in Nepal, and if I recall the memories, I did so many things that I have never done before. Some of which include talking with strangers for selfies, walking alone around Boston City, drinking a lot of beers (even though I hated the taste), and so on. So to summarize all of that, I really had a good time while I was there. I learned so many things about the places I have visited. Most importantly, I saw how difficult it was to manage and communicate with the colleague in the Nepal office. I also realized that any task that we consider to be a small one here actually has really huge importance to the people there and missing some task at our end can make the day bad for someone over there. So basically, the visit was one of the very memorable experiences of my life.

Binaya Dahal, Senior DevOps Engineer at Deerwalk Services Pvt. Ltd. Nepal, visited Deerwalk Inc, USA, from October 1, 2019, to October 31, 2019]