How I Found the New Me
Life was very simple for me back home. All I had to do was – eat, sleep, study, watch TV and have fun with friends. I was 21 when I decided to come to the US for college. After I came here life became really complicated, but I found a great treasure in my life. I discovered the new “Me.” Today I want to tell you about this discovery.
Around July 1998 I started to prepare for my trip to the US. My father and I went to a travel agent to buy the plane ticket. As I was going through my itinerary I asked the travel agent lady what would happen if I got lost. She studied my nervous face for a while. Then she smiled and asked me –”Can you read, can you write?” I said “yes.” And she said, “I think it would be very hard for you to get lost then.”
On the day of my departure I went to the airport with all my friends and family. While I was preparing for my trip, I felt like I was in La-La-land, not knowing the serious part of being apart from family and friends. I was gripped by a sense of adventure. The moment I got the boarding pass, I began to realize that I was going to a far away land all by myself with no friends, no family. I panicked, “OMG, how I am going to survive there.” Suddenly I was angry at my Mom and Dad. I was thinking how irresponsible they were, sending me to USA not knowing what might happen to me there. But it was too late. Everything was arranged and I had to leave.
My first transit stop was in New Delhi. I stepped out from the plane and went to the waiting area for my next flight. There was only one other person there waiting for the same flight. I felt butterflies in my stomach. My head started spinning at the thought of having to having to communicate only in English? I took a deep breath and told myself that I can not change what happened, so better to think positive and look forward. After about 28 hours I arrived at Kansas City airport, tired but glad that I did not get lost. Few Bangladeshi students came to receive me and my heart filled up with joy.
The next day I went to Wal-Mart. You do not know how a super-Wal-Mart can be a really amazing place for a person who is used to small mom-and-pop stores. While shopping I noticed that every time my eyes met with another person eyes, I get a smile back from him or her or hi or hello. This was new to me since we try to avoid eye contact in Asia and usually do not nod to strangers. I was thrilled to get these friendly looks from strangers. I felt like it might not be a bad place to live after all.
Soon I got busy with school. I fell in love with the natural beauty of my school, Central Missouri State University. The teachers and students were so friendly that I felt welcome. As the days passed by I noticed some changes in my personalities. The first thing that I noticed was that I hated it when I forgot to make the bed in the morning.
Did I mention how lazy I was back home? I was so lazy that my mom got a drawer bed for me. It is a bed under another bed that pulls out like a chest of drawers. I hated to do my bed; I used to think that it was a lot of work. So my mom told me “When it is bed time, just pull the drawer bed out and sleep. In the morning just kick it back inside.” But after coming here I started to fix my bed before I left for school. I realized that I had started to plan ahead my daily activities, studies, meals etc.
In Bangladesh I had seen my mom cook. It looked rather simple, not like rocket science. But when I tried to cook I found out that it is quite hard work if you don’t have any prior experience. Being an impatient person it took me years before I could call myself a good cook.
My first semester was almost over when I experienced my first snow. I remember the first day I saw snow from my apt. window, it looked beautiful, really amazing. This feeling lasted just until I had to go out. I had a morning class and I slipped three times in 10 minutes.
My first semester came to an end in December. I looked back and thought that only a few months ago I was a girl who did not have to think about anything. Now after a few months I had become a totally changed person. I had become someone who can take care of herself, someone who is not lazy anymore, someone who knows how to cook and who is ready for more challenges to come.