My name is Namita Singh.
INTERVIEWED BY Poorva Gopal x 5

"What were strangers became friends, and now I consider them my family. So these are the most important people in my life, and I’m so thankful to God for bringing us all together."

New Delhi, India

Jersey City, New Jersey





What do you remember from your first few days in the United States when you arrived? Can you share what it felt like and what your first impressions were?

So the first time we landed here in 2010, we came as a family because we were moving house from India to the US. And the first few days, my memories are, I had a small child, a toddler who got sick when we landed, so it was not the best or the most pleasant memories I’ve had. But what I found heartening was that how good the people were. So we had no friends. We came here and we were just staying in one of those Airbnb kind of a thing and we were looking for an apartment, and my husband had to start work from the day we landed, the very next day. So I was left with a small toddler who wasn’t well, literally screaming. I had no idea where to look for a doctor. And then, as you say, there are angels everywhere. So we found somebody, another Indian couple. We just ran into them and we told them that we landed and my child is sick and I’m trying to figure out – I don’t have insurance as of yet and we’re all going to set all this up. But they were so kind, they actually took us to a doctor in their own car to the urgent care and I was able to show my daughter and get medication for her.

So yes, I would say they were kind of bittersweet memories from the time we landed. I wasn’t anticipating this kind of, you know, you’re looking, you’re coming to a new country, you want to actually start going around the city and familiarizing ourselves – instead, I was making doctor visits. But then in a few days, things settled down and we were finally able to find ourselves an apartment and we settled into the routine life. So good memories. And that’s how we started our life in the US to begin with.

What was the first thing that you ate that was brand new to you?

So as such, I would say, because we had been traveling to the US prior to us really moving house, we were very familiar with the kind of food, especially all the chains like Taco Bell or Wendy’s. So we knew all about that. I think the first thing which I ate which was kind of new was going to Chili’s. I’d never been to Chili’s. I know it’s all American fare, but it was a different experience. So it was near to the place where we were staying initially, and I was surprised that they were serving American food along with Tex Mex, so they had everything together on the menu. So that, I would say, kind of just stuck out to me, that I don’t have to go into different joints, I could just come here and order different food and just enjoy them.

Who are some important people that you met when you first arrived?

So this was this couple, who were staying, and we ended up actually renting an apartment in the same building they were staying in. So they were really nice and kind to us, so I will always remember them because they really helped me, especially, since my husband was off to work, when I really needed some support. So they were really, really nice, and I still keep in touch with them. And then eventually, when we finally moved in, there was another family who joined us a week later, and they also had a toddler son the same as my daughter, and they became the best of friends and they are like family to us. And then down the road, finally, we met another beautiful family who is, again, just like a family to me. And as you say, luck would have it – all these people came and stayed in the same apartment block where we were. And to this day, we continue to be living next to each other. So yes, what were strangers became friends, and now I consider them my family. So these are the most important people in my life, and I’m so thankful to God for bringing us all together.