I recently moved to Buffalo, New York for my Masters program in Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour at the State University of New York at Buffalo (Also called UB or SUNY Buffalo). I was so underprepared for a drastic change in my surrounding for my last two weeks in India that I never got a spare moment to feel overwhelmed. In Buffalo, everything is overwhelming.
At the New York City (NYC) airport where I did my immigration proceedings into USA, I was rather ‘stupidly’ wearing a jacket. I expected it to be cold. It wasn’t. The locals were wearing shorts and sleeveless and I couldn’t even keep my jacket inside my bag because there was just no space in it. The immigration officer even asked about my jacket light heartedly and it was all fun. I was just too jetlagged to feel overwhelmed. Yet.
It’s been a tremendous change coming from India to a diverse country like the USA. Though I prefered to stay indoors and talk to books in my college days in India, I wasn’t an anti-social person. My bunch of friends whom my thought frequencies would overlap very occasionally than others, very close friends who resonated with my thought frequencies and relatives whom I share genes with and had shared time with – I missed them all during my first week in Buffalo. I still do.
I had a sensory overload during my international orientation program. I met lots of people and forgot to remember lots of names – a trait which I would like to overcome one way or another. The rules and regulations in New York state are much different when compared to many states in India and it is an entirely different concept when it comes to following rules. Here, most of the rules are followed like people follow Modi in India.
One such peculiar rule is that whenever I cross a street or sidewalk, a two-tonne truck would actually wait for me to cross the road. The person riding the truck would actually stop the truck and let me pass. I bet that would never happen in India. If I had given the impression that I’m belittling India; well; I’m not. It’s just the USA is very very different.
I was given an ID card by my University which is literally like everything to me. I enrolled for courses in conservation biogeography, human evolutionary genetics and statistics – a combination as rare as a Cheetah-Deer friendship in India. Since I didn’t get gas connection at my home for the first week, I tried bacon and beef which are just maddeningly delicious and heart-attack inducing. I was a tiny dot in a big picture of ‘UB’ Logo which the University took to bring together the incoming students. I was mesmerised by the big lake inside the University. I took a picture of a surprised ‘Canada Goose’ on campus. I saw two predator birds fighting each other mid-air for their territory. I was mesmerised and overwhelmed – that’s how my first week in buffalo went.