Ok, how do I say this without sounding impolite? Everyone who has never been to US, ALWAYS dreams of coming here to either study or work. Now that wasn’t impolite, was it? Just a fact. It was my dream too, thanks to Bollywood and Kollywood movies. You know, it all seems exciting – the fun of staying away from home, independent life, beautiful US and all that…until you come here and wonder if all those movies you saw were taken on some parallel universe. So here I am, doing my part to break the myth of how life in USA really is.
Myth #1 : “US is beautiful everywhere! Look to your left, there’s lush green scenery! To your right, wow, beautiful lakes! Big beautiful houses everywhere! Los Angeles, California, New York, we just HAVE to move there!”
Reality : BEEP! You are wrong. There are places in LA, CA and NY that would make you wonder how people can even live there. Forget about all those places, even those under livable conditions are not so amazing. They are good. But will never warranty a “Oh wow, what a beauty!” from you. Many a times, you would get to seeing only dry lands, a LOT of mountains and trees. And all those wonderful lush green meadows that you have seen in movies could mostly be seen when driving in the car. Yes, there are few breathtaking places that make you open your mouth in awe. But you won’t be living near those places. For sure. Well, unless you are wallowing in $$$.
Myth #2 : “US is FUN! FUN is US! Wow, I can’t wait for people like Chandler,Joey to drop in on me all the time!”
Reality : Yeah, yeah every country has its own “fun”. But you have to understand F.R.I.E.N.D.S and Big Bang Theory are just TV shows. They are not real. In reality, if you come to US as a student, you will most likely stick to your course friends who will stay in the same apartment or with you in the same room. If you are lucky, you will find the most wonderful roommate in your friend, or if you are like me, you might find some weirdos that you can’t wait to get away from. But it will make for some interesting stories in the future. (Oooh, do I have stories for you!). And if you come here to work, you will only stick to your colleagues like glue. Dot.
Myth #3 : “Hell, yeah, I can stay out all night! Do anything I want. I can be as crazy as I want with no one to answer to!”
Reality : True in a way. You are free to do anything you want. But to be frank, you won’t be doing anything different from what you were already doing in India. The first few months of parties (birthdays, get-togethers etc) are the greatest, you get to celebrate them with your friends, pulling an all-nighter with cake/tea dust on your face and all that crap. But after the excitement washes off along with the cake, it’s life as usual, except that you have to clean up the party room yourself. Perhaps your friends will help…if they are good.
Myth #4: “I’m tired of eating the same idli,dosa,pongal in India. There are soooo many cuisines in US, Masterchef shows some amazing entrees, got to try them all in restaurants!”
Reality : Well….food costs money. If you come to US as a student, you will only eat home-cooked food that “you” cook, and save $$ for more important things. The closest you will get to eating out is at fast food joints, where food is cheap and still yummmmy. But a proper restaurant, you will never visit, at least not until you get a nice job. You have better chances of enjoying exotic, expensive food in India, than here. Case is different if you come here on work visa. You can afford the restaurants, but you still need a car to drive there or at least know a friend who can drive you there. Sooo, sambar sadham it is.
Myth #5 :”Vegas!Party!Party!NewYork!Niagara Falls!DisneyLand!”
Reality : Yes. All of these places are awesome. No myth at all here 🙂 But then again, when you are a student you got to save enough money to go there which might take a while. And if you have relatives in US, chances are you would prefer visiting them to going to these places. But when you do visit these places, it finally becomes clear to you on why everyone dreams about coming here. And people who come to US to work, will definitely visit all sightseeing places every holiday, you can bet on that!
Myth #6: “Weekdays are for work, weekends are for fun!
Reality : It does sound good. But its not completely true. Unspoken mantra here is “To have fun in US, you have to first get a license to drive”. And to get a driving license, you’ve got to take a written exam (for which you’ve got to “study”. yikes!), and then learn driving, either from friends or school, and then take the driving test – for which you got to rent a car. Not many friends would trust you with their cars you see. Then you’ve got to take the test and assuming you pass the first time, you are eligible to rent a car for the weekend. And then….you can have fun. Easy isn’t it? Not many students get the time to do this in the first few months. So “fun” in the weekends would most likely be going to grocery stores using the bus/train, or going to the mall that falls in the bus route. But yeah, if you have a friend with a car who has got a crush on you, then you can easily get to all places during the weekend 😉
Myth #7 : “Loooooovee happens with a stranger. Nam thana nam thana nam thana nam.”
Reality : Well, “looooove” can happen anywhere. But if you come here with dreams of falling for a girl/guy you’ve never met earlier, you might be a little disappointed. First, there would be so many lovely ladies and equal number of handsome dudes, so yeah there is competition baby! Second, it would take time for you to get to know yourself, living independently and all that crap, so your attention will be focused on that for sometime. But if looooove does magically happen to you, you will enjoy it here 🙂
Myth #8 : “Living alone is fun. I am the boss of me”.
Reality : True in a way. You get to live alone. With no one to look behind your shoulders shouting, “Get to bed now!” or “Eat healthy food, not junk food in the morning!” or “Don’t stay out late”. So you kinda enjoy this for sometime. Reality would strike soon enough and actually you will be more responsible here than in India living under the shelter of your parents. You’ve got to buy grocery, clean dishes, pay your bills, clean the house, earn a living – so all this falls on “you”. Students can’t wait to get to work after the first semester and they love to spend the money they first “earned”. And they spend it on useful stuff – mostly gifts for close ones and a little party perhaps. So yeah, living independently is responsibility central. But still is fun 😉
I can go on, but I got to stop at some point. And the point is here. Because you see, I’ve got to cook, then load the dishwasher, fold the laundry..and then have fun. Watching movies till lateee night 🙂 But don’t get me wrong, life in US isn’t bad, it is just not as “pretty” as it is portrayed in movies or shows. Everything has its pluses and minuses. See you in next post.