My first night in the Western Hemisphere, my first night in America, my first night in New York.
I woke up with the sun and felt absolutely fresh and rejuvenated. My first morning in the US! It’s really happening!
The city looked grand in the rays of the rising sun. I took a hot morning shower and got ready for my first breakfast there. We went down to eat. I couldn’t believe my eyes! They had such a huge cafeteria, so many options to choose from. I don’t know if we have something similar in bigger colleges but since mine was a little private one, Columbia definitely looked humongous in comparison to mine.
I got myself some cereal, fruit and juice. Everything tasted good. I know for some of my friends the food was tasteless for the about two weeks but thank God it wasn’t like that for me 🙂
After the breakfast we had an orientation. They told us about what to expect, do’s and don’t’s, etc. To be honest, I wasn’t listening them too much, and I don’t quite remember any details. I was just day-dreaming about my new summer, my trip, my life. What is it all going to be like? It is definitely a new chapter in my life and who knows what’s going to happen to a little Russian girl in the USA.
After the orientation we went out again. People were sitting at lawns, chatting, laughing. Everything looked exactly like from the movies I used to watch about college students, but here I remembered a question from a while back that I’d ask myself… “Why aren’t their pants green?”
I always wondered how come they sit on the grass but they never get the green smudges of it on their clothes? I decided to experiment and sat right on the grass. No marks on my jeans. Hm… That’s weird. I sat again, turned around, twisted from one side to another, rubbed my butt against it. No marks again?! The grass felt different too! It felt like it had some wax on it, it also felt kinda plastic-like. Maybe that’s the reason? But that’s super weird. I remember if you just walked barefoot on the grass back home your feet will get some green juice of the grass on them. Oh well.
We got ready, the was a little group of us going to the same camp. We went outside. I hailed a taxi. I hailed a taxi! A bright yellow cab, like in movies! I just stuck my arm out and the car stopped instantly. So quick, you don’t need to call a taxi company number, nothing. Just go outside, stick your arm out like you mean it and here it is. Super convenient! The driver put our bags in and took us to Port Authority. We drove through different streets, big and small. I saw so many people! Different races, looks, types. That’s crazy! I’ve never seen so many different races in the same place. Well I’ve never seen many people of races other then Caucasian, well and Asian as we have some Korean and Vietnamese back in my hometown but that’s about it. Seeing such a diversity of people is definitely something new to me.
I didn’t even notice how we approached Port Authority. A huge bus terminal was in the center of the city. Tall buildings, lots of people running somewhere, so much noise, it felt like the city was a crazy boss giving everyone orders.
We got inside. It definitely looked American. Big, beautiful, shiny, filled with people. Everyone was going somewhere, no one even noticed a little group of foreigners staring at everything and taking it in.
My next mission was to get tickets to Monticello, and I approached the window. I asked for the ticket and the lady quickly responded. She did it so quickly I just stared at her. I went, “Excuse me, could you repeat please?” She said it again as quickly as before. The was a frown on my face this time. I tried to put together the pieces she gave me. I only heard/understood out of everything she said. a couple of words “quarter past four, gate three”. Ooohhh, she meant my bus is leaving from gate 3 at 4:15pm. I went, “Soooo … You said… My bus leaves from the gate 3 in 2 hours ?” “Yes,” she responds. Geez my English is so good:)
“Thank you, ma’am. Have a fantastic day!”, I said with a widest smile. I was so proud of myself. She gave me a weird look and I left.
To Be Continued…