August 9th, 2010: The day I left Nepal and made an exit to see the wonderful world.

Hours later, I finally landed in Dulles Airport, Virginia. It was a very long and tiring flight from Kathmandu to Doha and from Doha to finally Virginia. My first view of the Virginia plains from the window of the tiny plane that brought me to the airport was one of strangeness.  I was mentally prepared for skyscrapers, high rise buildings and a lot of street noise. The actual experience of cornfields and grain towers was therefore surprising. After the US Department of State processed my immigration documents, I was finally on my way to start my new ife.
 Although I had a premonition after seeing the cornfields that I might end up staying in the middle of it for the next four years, I was however, spellbound by the amazing natural beauty of Lynchburg, Virginia. The city was a mixture of forests, farm fields, industrialized buildings, amazing downtowns and just plain “awesomeness”.

Sure, I was, nervous and excited to see my college. Regaining a little bit of a courage, I started to look for the entrance gate where I would be welcomed. Fortunately, it didn’t take me long to find it. The next day kicked off with a week long orientation.

I was really fascinated to see how nothing was ever left to chance.The orientation was not by any means a mere social event. It was very well designed and I can’t imagine how things would have gone for me had it not been for the information I got during that week.
Coming to America was about adaptation and confidence. But, life slowly came to shape when the semester started- meeting new friends, getting to know professors, American culture, attending lectures, enjoying abstract topics of eccentric lecturers ; all gave me interesting new insights. I gained a better understanding of culture and tradition and earned a close experience with diversity since I was fortunate enough to have friends from China, Vietnam, Korea and Russia among others.

Although, the academic life has been very challenging so far, as the college has a lot to offer. The system of General Education encouraged me to stand out as a ‘human’ with knowledge in many fields. Surprising enough was the fact that I had to take classes like American History, Gender Studies, Geography, Physical Education and Literature- the classes which had never interested me in my life. But I took it as a challenge.

 

Although I was in Randolph to study Environment Science, taking other subjects such as Psychology and Economics helped me a lot. I challenged myself to take up seven classes in the first semester itself and I was brave enough to have a few of my A-level credits transferred to the college, which meant that I could graduate early.

 

The semester passed with preparing papers, research reports and sitting for exams which was then followed by good grades too. I was academically strong, was doing good in photography, taking loads of photographs of my friends (Did I mention that I have this ‘thing’ for photography?), eating like a hamster and working like a donkey.  The end of the first semester brought winter vacation which turned out to be the most exciting moment of my stay here.

I visited my grandparents and uncle in California where I got the opportunity to see San Francisco and a lot of other great places. The second semester started the same way, ended the same way as did the first semester, and I am now enjoying the cool spring breezes. One of my greatest progresses worth mentioning in the second semester is photography again, where I decided that I’d do a 365 days photo challenge which meant that I had to take one photo every day and upload it. I have been doing good so far , in fact just finished uploading my 47th photo.

 

 Talking about the social life, despite a few valiant attempts, I have never been able to follow the tradition of drinking in college. It constantly reminds me that I am an outcast because I am always in the corner of my room, using Facebook 24/7, uploading some random pictures, and enjoying the comments on them.

 

The best I can think of social life for now is the ‘Daisy Chain’ event that commences right before graduation for it involves no alcohol. The clean event is about sophomores singing goodbye lullaby to their seniors and expressing their love for them. I loved this event not just because the photos turned out great, but also because I felt that I had another bond with the college. So much for college socialism

After ten months, I still find myself heading over to the driver’s side (which is the passenger’s side in Nepal) when a friend picks me up. It might sound weird, but I still say “lift” rather than “elevator” or “footpath” than “sidewalk”. I’ve learnt many new
words (“I know right?”), but the nuances of “geez”, “nerd” continue to elude me. I still can’t digest the environment where students eat during class time, and I’m still getting used to living on my own. It’s summer time, and just thinking that I need to cook on my own gives me grudges and makes me miss home even more.

 

 To summarize, I gained a lot of experience. I’m learning how to live independently, I’m getting opportunities to meet new people from different cultures and I’m getting professional opportunities concerning my career. I cherish the circumstances that granted me this opportunity and I shall continue to make the best out of it.