I still remember the day I landed in the US for the first time. It was January 5th night and there had been heavy snow in Pennsylvania. My international student advisor along with another student whom I had contacted through students association had come to pick me up. I was 22 years old and had never lived away from my parents for more than a month. I was confused, scared and was thousands of miles away from my family.
I did not know to cook, did not know how to manage finances and basically was unfit to stay alone at that time. To top it all, one of my luggage did not make it through on time. That suitcase was the one which had all the food and I was basically afraid of how I was going to manage. I still remember the night I landed and I did not even know how to call my parents to inform them of my safe arrival. The guy who came to pick me up wasn’t very helpful in telling me how to make a call. Mind you this was in 2003, calling to India was still not easy or cheap that it is today. So I just went to sleep without knowing how to inform my parents.
Thankfully my parents called the college and got to know that I had safely arrived. I was lucky that I had my cousins in the US already and they helped me out with the initial calling cards to India. Everyday from the morning after was a learning experience. From learning to cook to managing my own bank account I was Fast tracked to independent living. Even though it was difficult at the start it progressively got easier.
The college life was excellent, I met some wonderful people and I am still in touch with some of them. The 2 years I spent at the university taught me a lot and made me confident of taking care of myself. Once I graduated I did have few months of struggle but I did find a job which I held to the last day I was in the US.
The overall experience in the US was brilliant. The country gave me a lot and I loved every minute of it. I got married when I was in the US. My wife and I travelled a lot and saw lots of beautiful places. We had our first child while we were in the US. Lots of amazing friends and people, the memories would be etched in my mind forever.
It was really sad when I had to leave the country which I called home for 14 years. It was a really hard decision to take. I guess I had reached that tipping point when it did not make sense anymore to continue waiting. It was hard to make that call but I feel it was the right one. 14 years is a long time in a person’s life and I was not getting any younger. America gave me a lot, it was wonderful experience and I enjoyed every bit of it but unfortunately the law makers are stuck in the stone ages.
Things happened too fast and I along with my family moved out at a breakneck speed. It never sank in as I did not even have time to say goodbye to people I know properly. It was good in a way that it happened so fast. The only regret I had was when I moved out of my home where my wife and I stayed for 5 years. The home where my wife and I experienced lots of highs and quite a bit of lows. The home where my wife and I spent hours together talking, watching movies and cooking. It was an emotional moment when I left the keys at the counter and locked the door for one last time.
There is no regret and I would do it all over again in a heart beat. I had wonderful 14 years and I leave with no regrets. Thanks US for everything you gave me and this post was a long time coming. I have moved on to a new country and new life but I carry with me wonderful memories. Bye Bye US, thanks for everything.