I set out for the GRE two days before I actually took it. We just moved into a new house, and at the beginning of this week, the stairs still hadn’t been polished, so we had to get out of the house on Tuesday when that was set to happen. That’s why Tri and I left to stay at Mama’s house on Monday night. The plan was that we would stay there, and I would go with Mama and Maijiu to their office on Tuesday. Then we would stay at Mama’s again on Tuesday night and Tri would take me to my test on Wednesday morning before he went to work. Then we would return home on Wednesday evening.
The plan was a little complicated from the start but it got even more so. On Monday night, after getting to Mama’s, we found out that a number of student unions had scheduled a bandha for Wednesday. Streets would be closed and no cars allowed to travel. At that point, I was freaking out a bit. How was I going to get to my GRE? But then Tri figured that we might be able to stay with someone close to the center where the GRE was being held. In the morning, we could just walk over to the center. We ran through our list of relatives and friends and realized that one of Tri’s close family friends lives 15 minutes from the testing center. So we called her up and asked to stay over there on Tuesday night. She said yes. I went to work with Mama and Maijiu on Tuesday and tried to get some last minute studying done, although I was kind of all-studied-out. In the evening, I returned with Mama and Maijiu to their house and Tri came over from work to pick me up. Then we left right away for J-Auntie and R-Uncle’s house.
When we got there, we ate buff momo (water buffalo dumplings), which are pretty much forbidden at our house because Buwa doesn’t eat water buffalo. Most of the Hindus I know avoid beef, but some of them also don’t like to eat water buffalo. I don’t normally eat buff either, but I didn’t actually realize it was buff when I ate it, and those momo were delicious, so no complaints from me. We went to bed on Tuesday and woke up to the alarm Wednesday morning. After a breakfast of cake and eggs, Tri walked me over to the testing center and waited until they let me in. Then he left for work, which is only a 10-15 minute walk from the center.
My mom asked me to tell her what it was like taking the GRE in Nepal. Honestly, I think it it’s probably very similar to taking it in the US. The whole thing was very regimented. The building in which the test took place was outfitted with cameras and a handheld metal detector, which was all a little bit intense. But the thing that made me uncomfortable was that the test proctor kept walking up and down the middle aisle in the testing room every half hour or so. I guess she was doing it to make sure we were actually taking the test so not a huge deal.
The thing that really tripped me up, though, happened before the test. In the form I had to fill out, there was a section with a statement that we had to copy. The statement affirmed that I was actually who I said I was and had something in it about agreeing to not cheat. That’s all fine, but it required that I write it in cursive! I ended my cursive days long ago in elementary school when I put that arcane script to rest in the third grade. I get all the way through middle school, high school, and college without having anything to do with it and then, unexpectadbly, cursive rears its ugly head. The other two people taking the test with me nonchalantly started copying in perfect little loops, but not me. When I finally started writing out the statement, I first tried to be neat and orderly but ended up with some kind of pseudo-cursive that turned into chicken scratch and slowly morphed into print. When I handed the proctor my paperwork, he scanned it and stopped near the bottom. I thought he had seen my sorry attempts and was going to make me rewrite it, but it turned out I had just forgotten to check a box about my country of citizenship. Phew! I was off the hook.
Despite that little snafu, everything else was pretty smooth sailing and it looks I won’t need to retake it. Thank gods! 🙂