This is the story of my first day.*
INTERVIEWED BY Sruti Ramamoorthy

Chennai, , India

Detroit, Michigan



Troy, Michigan

What did you see and how did that make you feel?

Stepping out of the airport, I first noticed how organized and clean everything was. I had never experienced anything like this back home. On my way to the new apartment for the first time with my husband, I noticed on the road how there were lanes denoted to the direction of traffic flow. I thought to myself, “I never knew this was possible.” That also happened to be the first time that I saw a limousine. I was astonished at how long a car was and laughed to myself thinking my grandpa, with the ambassador car he brags about, would love to see it. My first day here was me realizing that there was a world out there, different than anything I had ever known. The reality of it being my “home,” however, I don’t think has still settled in. I think that there is something about the noisy and unorganized roads that provoke something in me that I just don’t get here.

How was it adjusting to life here?

From that first day to now, it has been a battle to get myself accustomed to life here. Initially, I felt lonely because I grew up with all my family and extended family around me all the time back home. Coming here, the only person I knew and could talk to, as I did not know fluent English, was my husband. However, he was at work for a majority of the day. I think that the loneliness had a greater impact on me that I imagined it to. I really disliked it here. But I slowly started to make new friends who were also Tamil and were able to speak to, which was definitely the biggest motivating factor at the time. Then I had my first daughter and a lot of my time after that was spent taking care of her and I think that took out the misery of the loneliness. I was occupied most of the time. Slowly, I have grown to learn about this new environment and living here for so long now, I finally feel melancholy.

What was the hardest obstacle to overcome?

I think the biggest obstacle, hands down, was the language barrier that I had. I never felt like my English was up to par with anyone that I spoke to and I think this led to a majority of feeling loneliness. I wasn’t confident in myself enough to speak. The reason being, sometimes people would be mean when they heard my chopped English, it was embarrassing and discouraged me socially. However, with the time here, I have gone to English classes and learned a lot and I think it is safe to say that I have grown to become totally comfortable with my English. I know I have so much more to improve on but I am confident in myself.

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