March 16, 2012

Far from home





Far from home, friends and folks, a very long tiring flight journey …for a first timer like me it took some time to believe I was in the US of A. It was the same country which I saw in the movies and appreciated for there, the sky was bluer and the grass greener.

For an immigrant, first time stepping out of India and landing in the USA, one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, was like a dream come true. More and more as a young Fulbrighter it is one of the biggest achievements in my life, a pinnacle of glory and hope.

While driving around in the US from the dry desert Arizona to a concrete jungle Atlanta, I always had a feeling, I have seen this place before and keep wondering where, only to find out that it was duet song location in an Indian movie, my desktop wall paper or in an internet postcard. I wasn’t able to believe that I was there.

Day to day routine after all this load of surprises…. the first month in the US, I felt like I was in an alien land. I saw polite, cool, amiable, healthy, fun loving, hard-working, respectful, intelligent, law-abiding people. I saw people who said “please”, “excuse me”, “thank you” and “sorry” every now and then. I had to move around with a lot of caution from crossing roads to fixing up an appointment with my mentor. I had to be careful, when I opened a door or closed it. Everything was systematic. Many things that I took for granted in India, were not the same there. I had to be careful while using words, my habits and mannerisms. I had to groom myself overnight, to fit in and adjust myself to the other side of the globe.

Cookies replaced Dosa’s and burgers replaced Idlis. Cheese replaced desi ghee and diet coke substituted water. Wall Mart and Fry’s were my grocery and vegetable store. Counting calories became a part of my everyday life. Salwar & kameez became an ethnic wear and faded jean and T-shirts a regular wear. Shorts and torn jeans that mom wouldn’t allow me to wear in Chennai were all useful in the US.

Weekend started on Friday afternoon with a group of friends. It was a get-together with a cup of beer or a sip of wine. Saturdays were always full of activity. Hiking on a nearby trail or it would be driving to explore the neighborhood cities. Sunday, I wouldn’t miss church. The church was just not about worship, it was about community programs, bringing about change, and making a better tomorrow.

I felt good with the fresh new sense of freedom. My senses opened up to this totally new world. This is the world on the other side of the rainbow, where I was able to experiment thoughts and ideas unknown and unheard! I started to love myself, the new ME, I discovered in the US


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17 comments:

Susan Deborah said...

Wow! that's definitely a dream come true. Congrats Sophie. Have a lovely and enriching time there.

Joy always,
Susan

ashok said...

Happy for u sofy...enjoy ur stay and keep blogging

Arti said...

Very beautiful. I could feel your emotions.. Wish you all the very best :)

Anonymous said...

Very happy for you Sophizz :) Nice of you to write this one... Congrats on Fulbrighter! Best wishes, Meera

Rajavel Manoharan said...

Wow. Fulbrighter ! thats cool ! Nice going Sophizz !

Clif said...

Very nice.
We had much the same experiences going from US to India:
- seeing places from movies or stories
- looking the other way crossing the street
- learning another English language
- eating & shopping in new ways

Punit Dubey said...

You a Fullbright scholar! Woot! :)

A very small but nicely written narration of your transformation from a desi to an American....

Sophie said...

@Susan..yeah it was really enriching. Until the day I boarded my flight I wasn't sure if I was going...There was so much of uncertainty!

@Ashok...I wish I stay inspired to blog...TY

@Arti...ty..happy that you could connect

@Raj...yeah, Fulbright, it was bigger than what I thought it was... TY

Sophie said...

@Clif...after reading Lane's notes. I couldn't help myself...I kept laughing imagining all those

@Punit...TY...
I can write pages and pages, but will probably post in bits n fragments
After becoming an American, I had become a Brazilian and then an Arab too :)

Sophie said...

@meera
how are you? long time....
ty dear :)

Shuuro said...

quite a contrast, right? :)
you should post more :)

Abhyudaya Shrivastava said...

Nice post! I always wonder what's on the other side of the fence! But I never wish that I was born there! Not in a patriotic or snobbish way, but just because I think I would feel luckier to be born here.

Rum-Punch Drunk said...

This post has beautiful descriptions of how you felt and what you saw when you visited American. I'm glad you enjoyed the experience, and was able to convey this to your readers. Nice post, enjoyable.

brian said...

mamerica thru sofi's eyes.

B/:

logic said...

"fresh new sense of freedom" !! -- nicely written.

Do drop by if you got some time for a 4 part series that i had tried newly

logic said...

read it once again..very nicely drafted.. every non-residents in US from india would have felt most part of what you had portrayed..

Bhavana said...

"I started to love myself, the new ME, I discovered in the US"--me too!!! I enjoyed the freedom there tremendously and frankly grew leaps and bounds in a short period. I am who I am because of my sojourn in US! Loved your post...and u a fulbrighter, wow!!!