This is the story of my first day.*

New Delhi, India

San Francisco, California



Lathrop, California

When did you leave for America?
I left 16th June 1997.

How did you feel?
I was sad and scared because I left my family back home for a place in the US where I didn’t know anyone.

What events were happening the day you left?
The whole family got together from my husbands side and my side to see me off to the airport. We were at my in-laws house. My brothers, sisters, and parents were all gathered that day.

How did everybody feel about you leaving?
My family felt sad because I was leaving and we didn’t know when I’ll be back and were worried about the life I’d have in the States.

How did your in-laws feel?
They were sad as well as happy for my new begining with their son.

Why were you leaving to US?
My husband wanted to shift his life to the states and I came along with.

How did you feel on your way?
It was a 7 hour drive to the airport and every hour felt really long and I was filled with anxiety. It was my first time going to the airport and sitting on the plane. And I was unaware of what to do and where to go. My parents and I met a lady who was from Yuba City, CA and was also traveling back to SF. My brother in law and Dad told her it's was my first time, and I never traveled by myself, told her to help guide me on my way. The airline I was on was Singapore Airlines

How was your flying experience?
The flight was good, even though I was a little scared. It was really long 24 hours flight to SF. I was extremely tired and to date is the longest flight of my life.

What happened when you arrived to SF?
I reached here at 2:30 pm and made my way to the immigration officer who had to interview me, but he went to lunch so I had to wait 2 hours for them to come see me. I wasn’t able to leave until after the interview process which was 5:30 pm.

Then what happened?
Then I was greeted by everybody, my husband, brother in law, sister in law, and her 2 kids. Who were all waiting for me outside and were worried about what took me so long and were worried if I even boarded the flight from India. They were worried because I couldn't contacts them and let them know i was here because we didn’t have phones then.

What happened next?
I met them and then we went home. On our way to their house I saw that the traffic situation compared to India was not so severe and everything in San Francisco seemed so calm and quite. I felt excited and worried because everything was so new to me and at the same time I was missing my family. I didn’t speak English much in India and I always thought would I be able to speak the language and talk to others, let alone find a job. I went to my home, my husbands friends came over to meet me, we all had dinner, I met so many new people, and everyone was happy to see me and me them.

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