For some strange reason, today, I am thinking about when I first landed in this country for studies. Landing with excitement, anxiety, fright and yes tonnes of books and two big bags to LAX. Yes, I had visited LA before, but as a tourist, and had only seen the 90210 side of the city. As my uncle drove me in his mini-van (where I had to sit on the right side and not drive!), through the shady neighborhoods, and low buildings to my apt. in campus... man.. was I shocked!
The next few weeks and months, were a blur while I adjusted, met old friends, made new friends.. And studied and gave exams with professor recommended "cheat sheets" and open books! Wow, it was so different.
Here are a few funny incidents that happened around me when my friends and I moved to this melting pot..
A very dear friend wanted to cross the road, and like a responsible person waited. (We were told in orientation not to 'Jay walk' ever!). So the crossing light sadly never turned green (for over 3-4 minutes) for her, she kept waiting. Then in her words: "A firang came, pressed this button on the lamp post, and the signal turned green, he crossed the road! I stood there once again missing to cross the road.. cuz I was laughing so hard at my own stupidity!"
Now, this friend has learned to cross the road but I still have preserved the email from her confessing her ignorance! (Hehe!)
Another friend of mine, would always wonder what was this (writing in exact pronunciation!) "pedzing" on the roads. She wondered, one late at night she came to the library where we were burning the midnight oil and asked: "Guys, What’s with this 'PedZing on the road! I don’t get it". We wondered what she was talking about, went out, checked the roads.. there it was written "Ped Xing" in bold letters on the road. It meant"Ped Xing = Ped Crossing = Pedestrians Crossing".. and yes once again, all of us laughed till we fell on the floor. I am sure, more than half the people who laughed that night, didn’t know the meaning of it until then!
And here is another one... (Not that funny though!) A friend of mine; staunch vegetarian, and a very bad cook. Would every evening go to McDonalds and ordered a Cheese Burger. He ate is, liked it and thought it was a nice patty. He did this for a couple of weeks very ignorantly, never once questioning what the patty was… come on, he had enough McD’s in India to know. One night (again one of those midnighters) we all went to the campus food court. We got the Sub's and he his "Cheese Burger" Needless to say, our jaws dropped and we were all bewildered. He honestly didn’t know, that the patty which tasted yumm... was actually uh.. not veggie or soy based. He felt bad.. very very bad. We could tell...But then after some soul searching he said "Ab kya, ab to kha liya naah, chuck it" [Translation "What now, have already eaten it."] As per him, he still is a staunch vegetarian but loves the McD cheese burgers (Yes my eyes roll every time!)
I can go on and on; with stories of grad school, initial work culture, my adjustments in this country.... some funny, some very funny and some extremely hilarious(!). I am sure you have some too.. so please do share!
It’s always fun to sit and reminisce about these stories. These past years, have been an experience...I have learned a about the culture and traditions of this land and that of my home land. And created some traditions of my own
And if you are wondering, why I haven’t shared my own stories about the adjusting times.. hehe... as the author(!) today I choose to not make a fool of my self... but am sure the "charrrriiiismatique.." story is sure fresh in every ones mind.... and as SD says: "Let everyone figure out your personality themselves.. why publicize it!" ;-)