Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Funny First Experience in the U.S.

By Sanghamitra Dutta
Student Ambassador,
Carnegie Mellon University

It was my first summer internship, my first trip to the U.S., and my first trip abroad!

As Indian students, we were all teeming with excitement as we landed in the United States’ most livable city: Pittsburgh, Pa. It was the end of April, and five of us were staying in an apartment sublet in Shadyside.

Thrilled to receive our first stipend immediately upon arrival, we decided to visit the nearby grocery storeWhole Foodstogether. Our first glance at a grocery in U.S. immediately gave us a feel how different this country was from our home country. I realized grocery stores here not only have items required for cooking but also all the essential items you might need. 

What amazed us more was the wide variety of frozen foods available that only required heating in the microwave! Immediately, each one of us set out with separate shopping carts and loaded them with goods. None of us had experienced such shopaholic instincts before. Since we were not aware that tap water in U.S. was drinkable, each of us also decided to take six large bottles of mineral water.

Once we paid the bills, we stood outside the grocery store, and each of us held about 15 kilos of goods. Suddenly, to our surprise and shock, snowflakes started falling from the sky. Unprepared for the weather, we all started walking with our jackets as our only shield, braving the snow. We saw other customers loading their goods into cars; however, given that our apartment was quite close by, we had not made any arrangements for a vehicle.

The cold wind seemed to wrap us in its clammy palms. Karan decided to stay back and wait for a bus while the rest of us marched on, each leaving our bottles for him to bring back. We stopped after every few seconds to rest our hands, putting our goods on the ground.

After much hardship, when we finally reached our apartment, it seemed like paradise. But Karan had not arrived yet. Then, having waited anxiously for about two hours, we began to get a little worried. We checked our phones to see if we could contact him in any way. And then we found a text message from him sent about an hour back saying: “Got no bus, can one of you come?” Aditya and I immediately ran out, without even taking our jackets. This time, the snow pierced through our bare hands and feet. We found him just outside the gate.

And guess what? He was standing there with three of the big water bottles hanging from three buttons of his jacket, two hanging from either side of his head and one around his back. We were stunned for a while, unable to fathom the rapture of it. Then, we burst out laughing, not knowing if we were more concerned with our own situation or more amused at each other’s plight. This incident will remain etched in my mind forever.

Sanghamitra Dutta, originally from India, is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

1 comment:

  1. Very funny experience. I tell you I can identify with it in a real way��������


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