My name is Madan Goyal.

"I ended up celebrating the New Year's Eve three times."

Punjab, India

Logan, Utah





The question is what do you remember from your first few days in the United States when you arrived?

It was very strange. And I arrived on January 1st in Punjab, or in India, would go to sleep on the 31st and say, “Oh my gosh, I slept a whole year.” In the morning, when you wake up, it's a new, another year. So, the joke was always around, oh, my gosh, what a night I slept a whole year. But here, I came through the Pacific, I ended up celebrating the New Year's Eve three times that year, first when we stopped in Honolulu, Hawaii to change the flight, it was already midnight there, so everybody was celebrating, and we had the New Year's Eve there. Then in the plane, they announced that, “Oh, we're crossing now we get the dateline and we have New Year's starting,” and you know, the countdown, and then we landed in San Francisco, and it was still pre-midnight and we went out in the streets, and everybody's celebrating New Year's Eve. So that was very strange. Not only doing it three times, but also even the festival or the celebration of New Year's Eve was very different than what I had ever heard of or imagined.

First, I knew so little. So I had, I didn't have any preconceived notions of feeling that what it is like, here. So what I learned, of course, was that mostly that it’s a Christian country. And in that sense, Utah, you may know, is predominantly Mormon country. So that was different because Mormons, like many other faiths, they don't drink or smoke. So that I found was a little strange, first I didn't think that was like America. I thought everybody smoked and drank, especially their girls. So and then pretty quickly, I learned about the Mormon faith, because all your classmates and everything, everybody is the Mormon faith, so we pick up pretty quickly what their belief system is, and how it is, that's not really reflective of the whole country.

We all get used to a system. So after living here, so long, it's very difficult for me to get to India and try to live there, but those who come here, if they can go through the first six months to a year, then they get acclimated to the system here. So no place is like a utopia, no place has got everything right, there will always that you have ups and downs. But once you come in here if you have made up your mind and you be here, then you have to go through the first six months or so, then you'll get used to the system and then lifestyle in the system and then you will be okay. But that still was that, you know, try to be initially, to see that you are getting used to the different way of thinking and living because you know, whether it's getting the groceries or getting a driver's license or getting an airline or a bus ticket or a train ticket, because once you've been here six months or a year or two years you go back, you find it very difficult to do those same things there. Because now, your mindset is not used to that system. Whereas people have lived it all the time. They find it. No problem, easy getting whether. But we know the big lines and how to approach it, take a count or take it as what not. But if you're there, then you're used to that way, style and way of thinking and way of doing things. Once you've been here a year or so then you get acclimated and start thinking. Well, you know, this is how it is. And then many people start criticizing that, oh, gee, why can't it be like this way? Well, every place has its own ways. It's not that one is right, or one is wrong. It’s different.