Monday, May 26, 2008

America, The First Impressions of

It's been about ten days I've been here and I think I am now eligible to write about my first impressions of the place and of course the people *grin*. They're friendly and as you enter any store they heartily ask, "How you doin' today?" to which they even expect a reply. and just to clarify, I'm NOT being sarcastic.

I received a very warm greeting as I landed in Chicago from my dad's friend Tuli Kaku, very loving Kakima and Bittu-dada. I spent my first two days in America in a posh suburb close to Chicago. Naperville was the most manicured place I've ever seen: all the lawns of all the houses looked exactly the same, all the streets were identical, even the trees were barred from growing beyond a height. The pinnacle of this artificial beauty (I have to admit the place was pretty) was the Dupage Riverwalk: a cemented walkway through the "wilderness", with the river flowing by, geese hobbling around, and even a cut down trunk designedly placed in the frothing waters of the river, to give it the wild look.

Chicago was a much more real place. The cluster of parked sailboats in Lake Michigan was a spectacle. At the centre of the city was the Millenium Park, and what amazed me most was "The Bean": a large metallic bean shaped thing which mirrors the Chicago skyline. The city was alive with people and it being a weekend, with families and kids.

Then I came to Purdue, the home of the Boilermakers, as their football team is lovingly called. As I was approaching the place I realized the consul-officer who interviewed me for my US visa wasn't joking; the place IS in the middle of cornfields. Acres and acres of cornfields. The country amazes me with it's proportions. Nothing is small here: their Macdonald's burgers, their CocaCola glasses, vast croplands, the people, all are big.

Honestly I hated my first day at Purdue, the place grew on me slowly. There were no people around, I had no friends on campus, the weather was cold and the culture-shock: Everyone sticks to themselves and tends to themselves. To give an example, I made sandwiches and I asked one of my housemates if he wanted some. He politely refused. We in India would take a bite even if we're not hungry just for the heck of it. But here this formality when it comes to stuff like food, is something I did not understand, something I took a little while to get used to.

Bright sunny days light up spirits and soon things started looking up. I started experiments and they were working, I made friends with my labmates, and one of them drove me to Indianapolis over the weekend. I met some other Indians on campus, among them a Bengali and relished a language-treat, most fulfilling. It's amazing how a little connection with home made me real happy.

I have been missing Bombay, but I am enjoying Purdue as well. Soon I will get myself a bike and my Purdue ID card with which I can go to the Recreation Centre!!!


My name? Angika. said...

OhMyGod. The Rec Centre again. I liked two things the most in this post. One, how you equate reality with chaos. And two, how you made the same observation about vastness and size that I did. Prefer Germany? I think so :) And yes, lonely days? Get a calling card and call me :D Take care. Stay punny :D

sridhar said...

ur in america.
1. put up some hot chicks photo and
preferably bhisho style
2. mention the female flatmates uve got
3. Ur sujaan das. girls flock to you. gimme some gossip.( in spite of ur x's reading this blog). i m sure they 've got over you by now :D

sridhar said...

great read otherwise but i want stories from you sujaan!

little boxes said...

nice read...i loved the chaos part :)
have fun

Ranga said...

nice to know that you are enjoying Purdue and America. And talking about Mark... I guess u got it all wrong. he just knew u mate! Dint wanna take a risk with those sandwiches!!

Koffee beanzz said...

Suzie dear! Why should u feel homesick when ur darling 'Gael' is there! But dun worry sweetie..I felt the same way too at Baltimore (the place was horrible too)..I saw my apartment mate only once a week when she would come to the kitchen to make weird things out of squid and octopus..I was never as sweet as you to offer the poha or rice that I made! And yes everything is HUGE in this country...The Hi's and howdy's are just for formality...doesnt really come from the heart..U can always give ur cutie smile in response to that! And ..dont miss out on all the fun thats possible hopping..dancing..babes and travelling (once u get ur bike)..Take care dear!

proma said...

great expressions! i like the blend of humour and stark facts. :)

reema said...

corn or no corn..i hope dey hav mosquitos :D....

(p.s nice far nd wide...ur stories wud b gud enuf fo many round of drinks...)