“My dad came to [the] USA on a business trip before the rest of my family, and we soon followed. I was indifferent about travel then. My parents took care of everything.”
When asked what he first saw after landing in America, Shiva said, “People. They were Indian people exiting the plane. When I exited the plane and noticed people of other ethnicities, I was just observing. I had been in New Zealand before and these people didn't look all that different.”
Previous immigration experience affected Shiva’s mindset the second time around.
“The experience wasn't as alien to me as it was the first time. I didn't expect anything. It was just unique in that it was a whole new experience. I've heard English in new accents. I've observed new mannerisms from new people.”
Shiva and his family settled in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey as soon as they arrived.
“In Atlantic Highlands, I lived in an apartment complex known as Thousand Oaks Village. In India… apartments as well.”
Shiva mentioned that he was not homesick for his native land.
“I guess I missed my grandmother but that was all I missed about India.”
When asked what he found most difficult about adjusting from the beginning, Shiva answered, “Communication. In schools and with the neighborhood kids. Their accent was so thick I had no idea it was English. I just had to try as best as I could to understand based on the circumstance and with the help of my parents.”
A few things struck Shiva upon arrival.
“[The] roads. The steering wheels in cars were on the opposite side from everywhere else I've seen. And the cars were driven in [a] different orientation. The homes were made of wood. [The] snacks. Those seemed like real creative items. [The] beach. It had facilities I wasn't familiar with. Such as showers, different parking lots, and barbecue grills. [The] new food experience. Fast food had never been a part of my diet.”
When talking about his first days, Shiva said, “They rid me of my timid nature as a response to undiscovered stimuli. I grew up. And I've equipped myself with the qualities to become a better human being.”