This is the story of my first day.*

Chennai, India

Houston, Texas



Los Angeles, California

I came here for my Masters at University of Texas at Dallas accompanied by other students from Chennai also going to the same University. We found ourselves on FB. We said all our goodbyes to the families, and the flight was cancelled, and we went back home and did the whole drama a second time. On the flight, my future room mate who I met first at the airport sat next to me biting her nails full of nervousness and missing her parents. She was wondering why I was so poker faced. I was just tired and ready to see what was going to unravel. We landed and our seniors were at the airport waiting to take us to the University. The drive from DFW airport to the University was overwhelming my senses. I saw all these huge roads and flyovers I've never seen. There were three flyovers one over the other and the speed of the cards on the freeway was something else. It's my first day on a foreign land. I had to be excited and so told the seniors that I was and that I felt like I was in the middle of a real-life NFS. Inside the size of everything actually made me feel very small. Our seniors made us some dinner, took us to Walmart so we could buy comforters and I was pretty nervous looking at the price tags. $15 * 56 = 840 rupees. Is that affordable? The only lease we had available was two weeks later, so we had to figure out a place to stay for a week. Somehow we assumed we'd find a place in the University. Feeling awkward staying at senior's place we invited ourselves to apartments of fellow newcomers who had already secured a lease. I had spent all my earnings on tickets and GRE exams, and clothes so I had stingily settled for an old school suitcase with no extendable handle and now I regretted. There were no elevators in most of the student apartments and moving suitcases was a pain. It was an empty uncertain confused feeling. Where do I buy food? How much can I spend on it? It's been a long way since then. I've found experiences, applied and found jobs, paid loans, found love, diversity of people, there's a lot to explore and yet in some ways, after 6 years here, there are still many uncertainties. We learn to have fun while we wait.

* The contributor of this story has asked that their name be withheld.