The plane took off from Mumbai International Airport, soaring into the skies cruising at an altitude where the city lights below faded into darkness. The A380 served a good meal and the best inflight entertainment. People dozed of to sleep and I was settling into the comfortable seats, the initial excitement was beginning to simmer. The cellphone was not going to catch the home signal again for a long time now. Skype and Facetime was going to be the friend to go to. The feeling hit me with a bang as to why tears are shed while saying goodbyes. Far away from home, 35 hours, 5 airports and a bus ride later I was in Ames, my city for the next two years.
Ames is different, it smells different, people are different, the whole system is different. Cars drive on the right side, traffic rules are followed, city buses are on time(took some to adjust to this), people eat bread and veggies and meat of a variety(spices are absent). People are always into their cellphones via headphones, not much interaction. Classes back in India were tough to handle for a teacher, here the moment the professor enters the class, the murmur dies down till the last-minute. People exercise anytime of the day,I have seen people jogging on the streets at 12 at night, 3 in the afternoon and other such weird times. Football is called soccer and “American Football” is the religion here, like cricket in India.
Jetlag had taken over the initial few days, luckily I have seniors for roommates who know how to cook and fed me good food. The first week went into adjusting to the -11:30 hour time difference. I had considered this effect and had landed 2 weeks before classes started, so the campus was empty as the summer break was still in session.
When the classes started, there were orientations and welcome sessions happening everywhere on classes. An event in the first week of college indicates free food. As new students on campus, we used to stay in contact with each other just to inform the locations of the free food. The campus started buzzing with activity and people started scrambling for courses. Some were dropped, some were added. My undergrad degree was completed with a fixed curriculum, but here I had plenty of options to choose from, which was again an issue. In the US there are options available for everything, for example, you go to Wal-Mart to buy milk, 20 different varieties of milk on the shelf, you go to buy bread, 50 different types of bread and so on. India was simpler in those ways.
On the other hand, America is a country with great facilities and opportunities. The place where I live, Ames, is a small, quiet town in the middle of the state of Iowa. People here are friendly if you ask them for any help. The Iowa State University is a public university with a mind-blowing beautiful campus. The university is public and has a great engineering school with distinguished professors and excellent resources. The lake ‘La Verne’ is a small lake on the campus with two mute swans floating elegantly through the day.
The ‘Ada Hayden’ lake is a scenic lake in the north of Ames with biking trails and canoeing accessibility. Cyride is a bus network in Ames, free for all the students. The Jack Trice stadium is the home of Cyclones (the home football team) with a seating capacity of 60,000 + people. The home games are a treat to watch, tailgating parties are lively. The Welch street is the most happening place in Ames on friday nights. The eat street dream comes true with a number of food trucks available on campus and around Ames. The campus hosts students from diverse cultures and countries. I therefore have friends from all over the world now. Overall it is a good experience so far.
A year of application, anticipation and preparation has gone by and here I am in the [US of A] waiting….. 2 months into my exciting 2 year journey that beholds.
Do I miss India?
One response to “My time in ‘The US of A’.”
Shubham…I am speechless..!!!
You have certainly expressed your adventurous beginning of new journey in a very positive way..keep it up dude..!!! It may seems scary for a bit ..but it’s worth of everything..!!! All the best for future endeavours..!!!