She opened it to find me with a cake and a bottle of wine!
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She hugged me tight enough that it felt home miles away. SDSU was never off the table. I had to take a tiring 44 hour journey from Mumbai to San Diego to be there at the right time to pull off my crazy drama. I would not say I had the worst 44 hours of my life when I was travelling but it were not the best either, but all that kookiness was worth it. From the day I got my acceptance letter in April, I had to convince my parents daily, to let me go. Every day I had to come up with an argument to leave and they had their counter-argument.
Winners of 2017 Young People Essay Contest awarded by Japanese Minister of Education
And then I had to remind them that I would be going to sunny San Diego. There was so much on their mind that it took over a month before they started to repeat themselves and it took another two before they became tired of doing that. Warnings and terrifying stories ceased at the end of the third month and shopping began. At the end of shopping spree we ended up with three full trolley bags of every kind of cloth a man could possibly wear and a lot of Indian homemade grounded spices.
The shuttle which I had booked from India was waiting for me. The driver asked me to sit inside while he loaded the bags in the trunk.
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The driver sarcastically asked me if I wanted to drive. As the shuttle moved through the downtown, I was captivated by its beauty. The mammoth buildings scintillated as I could see their reflection in the Pacific. At the billing counter the cashier asked me for my passport. I always looked younger than other people of my age.
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Although I was 21, I looked like an 18 year old Indian or a 14 year old American. People were very polite and were greeting enthusiastically. They were genuinely kind and interested in helping me. I signed a lease to rent an apartment. It took me 3 hours to assemble it which helped me sleep like a baby. I was independent. The amount of freedom this country entrusts is immense. But it also meant that I was all by myself.
Whether I succeeded or failed, it would be entirely up to me.
It was my challenge, one that I accepted and vowed that I would thrive in. I was the one who was in control. I had to attend orientation program for international students. The sight of students of 96 nationalities in one hall was exuberant. We were given guidelines about everything from immigration, employment to health and safety. The International Student Center was an extended family for all the international students. I was overjoyed about the increased access to technology and infrastructure I was experiencing. And then the classes began.
The classes were very interactive unlike lectures in India. Exciting events from Aztec Nights to welcome students were amusing. Now that was the zenith for me. Watching thousands of fans cheering for the football and basketball games induced Aztec patriotism in me. Attending Indian festivals, which had a lot of variety in cuisine, along with other students from different Indian cultures and regions helped me know about the traditions they followed.
I would have never thought that I would be learning about India in the US. The assignments started trickling in. My first assignment was arduous, but I managed it. I got the second before the first was due. I had three assignments and two quizzes to do weekly. I had no idea how Americans managed to go home on the weekend, hang out and still did all the work they were supposed to.
Everyday was a new struggle for me.
At this point I was still not admitting to myself that I was experiencing any form of cultural shock. Then came the big final project. I felt like I was drowning. I gave up, I called my parents and told them I was coming back home.
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Although they were dismayed, they respected my decision. I booked my ticket home and went to say goodbye to my professor. The way he motivated me saying failure is not an option, not only helped me to come up with the best results for my project but also earned me the highest grade! I have been challenged a lot to reach out to people and become more open.
What are the essential qualities of a citizen in your community in 21st century America?
In India, walking up to someone and introducing yourself can be perceived as impolite in certain settings, though here it is not so much the case. Being around forward, opinionated, expressive people has helped me express my thoughts and opinions more, especially in public settings.
I learned how to make friends and not to hurt people. I learned how things work and how things need to be done. I learned not only how to program software but also how to program my life so that it is free of any debacles. I strongly feel that coming to SDSU was one of the best decisions of my life and taught me many lessons throughout every step.
Whatever I learned here will surely help me run faster than heartbeat and gallop ahead of dreams. Last week I made the classic Indian chicken curry. I rushed to call her and ask how? Was it genetics? I need a better one.
A spicy thank you!!! It made me drop the pen when I sat and drew with my classmates in elementary school. It rolled along the table for several seconds but I didn't react until I heard it hit the floor. It was the first time in my then nine year long life that I had heard someone say, the in Sweden forbidden sentence, a sentence that makes every Swedish person sweaty and anxious: This I did pretty damn good. There was a boy in my class who said it, his name was Chris, and all I knew about him was that he had an American dad. Chris was different form the rest of us, he talked a lot and was very confident, two characteristics that are not very common in my home country, but that I later in life would learn is common and appreciated here, in the United States of America.
Sweden is the country of modesty, everything is moderate there. We're moderately nice, moderately funny and moderately talented. I gave up, I called my parents and told them I was coming back home. Although they were dismayed, they respected my decision. I booked my ticket home and went to say goodbye to my professor.
The way he motivated me saying failure is not an option, not only helped me to come up with the best results for my project but also earned me the highest grade! I have been challenged a lot to reach out to people and become more open.