The two sides of the coin

by piscianemperor

Hello people :)

Sorry, I haven’t posted for some time. When I got here, I had like 10 days before I got started with classes, and could have easily posted, but I was just trying to soak up the new experience. Not to forget get done with basic stuff like getting the phone, the laptop, the internet, opening the bank account etc. etc.
And then since classes have started, I have had hardly any time to look up from assignments. Last week was crazy and nearly ran me down, so I decided to take some time off and just relax a bit today.

So, USA…
Its a nice country. You don’t really feel anything different from India- maybe because Raleigh is like that. Most of the time. But the moment you start getting too comfortable about it, you somehow get reminded that you are in a foreign land. Lets start off from the beginning.

While leaving from home, I wasn’t really scared, excited, nervous. I had even chosen to fly all alone. No friends with me this time.
It was very gradual you know- Like a small kid who sits in the giant wheel at the fair, and slowly the wheel takes him up and away from the ground, where his people are, looking back up at him.

I got on the plane, flew directly from Mumbai- Newark, NJ. Hah, that’s when all the fun began. I got off the plane to find myself at a huge-ass airport that didn’t have all the helpful signs to show where to go next. Plus I had a 33kg bag, a 23kg bag, an 18kg bag and a small back-pack (don’t ask me what I was carrying in all that). And I was lugging it around in the wrong direction. They got multiple levels at the airport there, and everyone was crisscrossing, and somehow question I was asking officials weren’t being answered properly. Finally after about half an hour of lugging that stuff around, I got into the right queue. And then bless you Continental Airlines. You know what these people do? For security, which is a valid enough reason, they make you take off your shoes, belts, wallets AND all electronic items from your bag- that’s all fine and dandy, but right at that moment, I had already flown 18 hours, and I wasn’t really game for all that (having done it already at the Mumbai airport). Anyway, I just wanted to be done. Finally I got through all that, breathed a sigh of relief. Found the nearest information desk, figured out which gate my flight to Raleigh was leaving from (they don’t have that printed on your ticket if you are in transit).

I sat down somewhere, took out my cell phone- Cingular had taken over from my Indian Idea connection- put through two messages- reached Newark, waiting for the next flight. Somehow, Newark airport was weird. I didn’t like it at all. Finally I got talking to one Israeli guy, who happened to be a student at NC State too. Sometime later I got on my WWII Bombardier aircraft :P. I really really liked that ride. Flying just above the clouds, with a roaring sound of the engines. Occasionally just dipping down enough to catch a glimpse of the green countryside and the lakes.

Raleigh- the city of oaks. I’ve been here for some time now, and its a nice city. There are huge houses, loads of trees, nice broad roads. But there are no people. Or very few people. There are like 5 skyscrapers, even downtown. And it is the capital of North Carolina. There’s so much horizontal space, that they don’t make them vertical here. There are lots of squirrels (which are pretty big, but don’t have stripes like ones in India do), but few birds. How can there be lots of trees and few birds? I really don’t understand. But its a nice place. People are nice and polite ( I guess that’s the case everywhere in USA). Well most of the times. Got sworn at by a crazy eyed woman in a bus once, but it is okay. You brush such things aside. Everything here is far off from each other. You either take the bus, or take a long walk. The university? Well, its awesome. I’ve never seen anything like this before- all the super high tech stuff and super posh buildings, its all all right here. Its a nearly two months here now and I am used to the Walmarts, the Foodlions, and ordering stuff online. You order everything online here. It ships to your home, and they give refunds if you don’t want it – I’ve tried it. I am also used to getting hungry at 3 pm, realizing there is no lunch cooked- then realizing the utensils are unwashed- doing all that and then having lunch at 430. Well, one thing worth mentioning is- I LOVE COOKING. I really really enjoy it. I nearly look forward to it most of the days.

Fortunately, I have good roomies. That’s a really important thing you know- you don’t want to get back home after a long day to have a trip-wire atmosphere at home. So far, so good. The assignments are really kicking some butt right now, and they just keep them coming. At anytime, I’m always sitting on two deadlines at the minimum. Anyway, that’s part of grad life.

I am not home sick as such, and I am happy most of the time, but sometimes I really feel the distance, and don’t like it at all. One thing is for certain, I will put up with it, and bear it for as long as I need to, but I will never get used to it. No, I will never get used to staying away from people I love. What they say is wrong, you don’t get used to such things. “Savay hoil thodya divsanni?”  “Sorry, nahi honar.” But it is okay for the time being.

Leaving you with some pics, will try to write more regularly :). Adios !

The Memorial Bell Tower

A random building in North Campus

Trailwood Drive, just across my house

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