I came to the US in April 1985 as a tourist to visit my sister, Krishna, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I took a flight from Calcutta, India and landed in JFK airport in New York. I spent about 5 hours in the airport and then took a flight to Detroit. It was my first time leaving the country on my own, so I was both excited and scared. I was 24 years old.
I was picked up at the airport by Jim, Krishna, and (their daughter) Tisamarie. For a student from India to come here without knowing someone would be completely different. Knowing I had my sister here was a great comfort. I arrived at 11:00 at night. The next day we dropped Tisamarie off at her babysitter, and I went to Krishna’s office at the school of public health at the University of Michigan. My reason to come to the US was because Krishna was having a baby and I could watch Tisamarie and her. I was here from April through October. I was completing my chartered accountancy in India and I was in between exams.
In the evening on the first day, we all went to Jim’s mom’s house in Redford, Michigan. The whole family came over to meet me. Everybody was very friendly, warm, and welcoming. People are more communicative in the states- even a stranger will say, “Hi, how are you?” even as strangers. That doesn’t happen in India. Everything was different in the US-food, fast food, first time I ate Burger King. I missed my parents, but I was very independent. I enjoyed my trip here, and I was very sad to leave in October. I missed Tisamarie and Nisha. Dad and I dated towards the end, August/Sept and I left in middle October. It was hard to have a long distance relationship. When I went back to India, I applied to colleges in the US. I came back in 1986 and went to the University of Rhode Island. Rhode Island was very different, I was very sad to leave home then, because I knew this was my permanent decision to live in the US.