It was a twenty-three or twenty-five-hour flight in total. My group first went to Korea, then Dallas, TX before finally reaching Des Moines, IA. When we got to Des Moines we were so tired, we were probably like zombies. The person who came to pick us up was excited and she told us that she felt bad because she was excited and we were tired.
Upon arriving, I had to get used to apartment living. I didn’t really want to live in the dorms because it’s expensive and I didn’t want the meal plans. Since I wasn’t required to live in the dorms because I had enough credits, I decided to rent an apartment, but I didn’t know that you have to sign paperwork, arrange for your own things, and getting internet and electricity. You need to have a social security number for the paperwork but we didn’t have that. It was a lot of learning. Thankfully I have a host family so they helped me. When I needed to get stuff from Wal-Mart they drove me and helped carry stuff into the apartment.
Also, I had to get used to how the roads work, it’s really different. Another thing I had to get used to was strangers talking to me. It was a shock having people talk to me when I’m waiting for the bus or just walking by. Getting used to being surrounded by Americans was something to get used on it own, let a lone getting used to saying hi to strangers. In Malaysia, we would not start talking to strangers, so it was different especially since sometimes you talk maybe two hours with someone and then you go your own way and you realize you didn’t ask each other’s names.
“Talk maybe two hours with someone”
On one occasion I was walking past Walgreens and this lady, who was waiting at the bus stop, asked me about my religion and stuff, I didn’t mind, I just answered her questions. It was really interesting. Another time when I was waiting at the bus stop with a housemate, a lady started talking to us about her family and son. I just went along with, I just listened. I’m more of a listener than a talker anyways, so it didn’t bother me just thought it was strange because it’s not something you usually do.
“I’m a listener”
Something I’m realizing about America that’s different in Malaysia is that there’s a lot of individuality, so when there’s a group and you want to do something everyone would have to say something about the plan but in Malaysia if a couple people decided on doing something they would check to see if everyone’s ok with it but if perhaps one or two people weren’t really ok it wouldn’t change the plans.
During the summer of 2014, I went to Florida with a friend. We received 4 day tickets for both universal studios and Island of adventures, so we did two days at each. It was a lot of fun, I really enjoy rollercoaster’s so I rode the rocket one about three times and I think I did the Hulk three times as well.
One year I also went to California; we went to LA and San Francisco. In LA we went to the wax museum, saw the Hollywood sign, went to the observatory and walk of fame. We walked around Little Tokyo and Chinatown. They are interesting, I think I like Little Tokyo the best. Little Tokyo had Japanese like infrastructure; they had the gate thing at the entrance, there was nice music playing, and the shops were interesting. After LA we went to Seal Beach, we weren’t supposed to go there, instead, we were supposed to go down the cruise port cause we were supposed to go on a cruise down to Mexico but we would need a document like our I-20 to re-enter the country and we forgot to bing that. It wasn’t until we got there that we realized we were leaving the country to go to Mexico. Our luggage had already made it on to the cruise, luckily I had some clothes and toiletries in my backpack so I wasn’t at a complete loss without my luggage for 5 days, but I did have to buy some pants to sleep in and I think I bought a t-shirt as well. For the 4 nights, we stayed with one of our friends family.
“We made new friends and got some new adventures.”
Then we went to San Francisco, there we did the pier 39. It had a bunch of things. It had seals, so many seals; they’re so cute. There was a zombie game that is like a movie theater screen and you each get a gun that you use to shoot at the screen.
We walked a little of Chinatown which by the pier 39. We also got to see the Golden Gate Bridge.