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Is it your first time in the USA?

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

With fellow students(now friends) in Atlanta, Georgia in the year 2016

Though this is not the first time I’m in the United States of America, I remember the memorable moments(which now seem hilarious) when I visited here for the first time. Just a couple of days ago I met someone who shared similar experiences and I was like ‘hey! this is exactly what I did’. I’ll list down 8things that first-timers think and do in America. When I was here for the first time in 2016 I was extremely thrilled to experience what came my way. As a first timer you’ll also come across moments of amazement and confusion….occasions where you’ll compare India with America, or its people with ours, their way of living etc. but what I bring forth here is a feed, the taste of which is sure to stay in your mouth forever. And if you’ve had the experience before, don’t you worry ! This is absolutely normal- don’t think you’re the only one who’s weird thinking all this. I’m with you…lol 1. Comparison with your own country- The immaculateness of the streets makes you wonder “I wish my city was just like this” but then your thoughts fill with revulsion when flashes of expectoration by men in our country spatter your imagination. “Eww…what am I thinking!” and you immediately bring yourself back into the moment of euphoria.

2. Size of serving- “Is that for one person??” pops up a question in your head. You’re elated to hear the answer -yes. Why so? Come know it! because you’re sure to keep some part of it safe for your next meal too (well! unless you are too gluttonous to finish the humungous serve in one go). You’ve saved money, honey$$$$

3. Crossing the road- You are dubiously assuming the ways you should cross the road. When I was on the busy Dunwoody street in Atlanta I came across the same problem. I’m thankful to a stranger who unknowing guided me, and I smartly copied her. So, here’s the thing. If you want to avoid embarrassment and you’re unsure how to move your №11 vehicle (your legs!) from one end to the other take note of a Push Button on a pole which is better known as Pedestrian Push-to-walk Button. Across the Crosswalk(the striped lines in white) you’d see either a ‘red hand’ signal which means you shouldn’t cross the road or a ‘walking man’ signal which means that you can. So, if you don’t have the latter one up there, press the Pedestrian Push-to-walk Button in order to get the ‘walking man’ signal. Hope that helps!

4. Calculations all the time- That’s why teachers emphasized not to use calculators…. You wouldn’t take so much time calculating Dollar to Rupees. More calculations if you’re looking for discounts, by the way.

Right from purchasing a bottle of water to getting an eyebrow shaped you take your phone out to calculate and compare the prices. That’s tedious, man! The worst part is when you realize that the cost is more than double of what you’d expected.

5. Expensive Salon visit- Now that I’ve mentioned about going to a parlor and getting yourself pampered, allow me to disclose the price I paid for a not-so-extraordinary haircut.

The desire to have a different experience burned a hole in my pocket when I’d to spend $100 for it. This was close to Rs.6700 at that time. Soon I realised I could’ve booked haircut appointmnets for a complete year in India(with possibly some complimentary services)….sob sob.

A tiny suggestion- think twice before stepping inside a parlor for hairstyling, you might wish of being bald after making the payment…it’s that pricey.

6. Feeling good if you wanted to lose weight- I always strive to be in shape but still, there’s some teasing, wicked fat here and there which makes me feel there’s a long way to go. If it’s the same with you, you will ‘feel good’ about yourself. You won’t be disappointed with your figure when you’ll notice plenty of obese people around. It will make you feel that you aren’t that fat. No offense to obese people please…but it kind of elevates the proud illusionary feeling of possessing a not-so-bad figure. Trust me!

7. Understanding the accent when it’s really fast- You have thwo options — either say ‘sorry, I didn’t get you’ or ‘ok’. If you say the latter you are likely to face another question which may again go over your head. If you utter the former you’ll still hear the same sentence with the same accent. If you’re lucky s/he might rephrase else wait until an Indian angel helps you.

8. Looking for Hindi speakers- You probably thought before coming to the US that you will only speak in English and you’ll befriend natives who’ll transform you into half-American in a week’s time. Alas! you soon realize how much you miss your mother and mother tongue. Even Latinos seem like your own people. I was about to speak in Hindi with one of my latino fellow students in class…lol

Besides the above situations, you might also feel uncomfortable in the toilet without water, or being served cold water no matter how cold the weather is. Can you think of some other such moments like these? If you want to share it with me and others please enter your comments below. I’d love to know :)

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