First Week in America

I arrived at the Chicago, O Harare Terminal on 20th October. Just like any other first time traveller to the United States, confused, excited, wondering, awe-struck, I entered at Terminal. My flight carrier was Lufthansa. It was a long day for me, I started from Chennai, India at 1:45 AM IST. I landed on Frankfurt airport at 8:29 AM German Local Time. Then the connecting flight landed me in Chicago at 12:26 PM CT. What a long day with 4 meals already done.

Immigration and Customs were a breeze. I brought 2 huge check-in luggages, one with all items to wear here, and one with all groceries, equipped to run a Indian Grocery Store. Well packed with goodies, and love of my lover, mom and sister. I had my domestic flight that took me to Richmond, VA only at 4:49 PM CT. I waited all that time in the domestic Terminal 2, flipping through “2 States” by Chetan Bhagat. It is a nice book. (More about it in a separate post)

There was Manoj here to pick me up. A nice colleague. He took me to a grocery store, restaurant and then to my apartment. He even took pain to see that I got myself comfortable in my apartment. Thanks Manoj, if you are reading this. Jaswinder Singh was there with him. He is my lead here. It was in his car, that I got to the Apartment.

Till now, everything was fine. Then, I wanted to open a bank account, get a phone connection and all these wanted a SSN. God! Everyone and every service wanted to know my SSN. I am brand new to America, and I can’t survive without an SSN. The SSN application can be done only after 10 days, after my immigration information and I-94 forms have moved to the office. I was stuck.

I work out of Virginia Retirement Systems office. It is located in the downtown area. Got used to the place now. I have started cooking. The second day, I cooked rice and ate it with “paruppu podi”. The next day morning, I did Top Ramen’s Noodles. Simple items though, this was my first try at cooking. Day before yesterday, I did “Pongal (Ven)”, it came out well. I was very happy! Today, I wanted to try more. So I cooked “Venkaya Sambhar” (Onion Sambhar). Though it came out with little salt, it turned out to taste good.

From a software engineer, America turned me into a cook. Those in Richmond, looking for room mates, who knows to cook, you can look out for me. More ramblings in future posts! Watch out!

And people out there, recommend me if I should take a separate apartment or go for a shared one with a room mate. Also, I hold a valid Indian License, will you advise me to buy a car and start driving now or 6 months later!


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