I officially arrived in California at 3 PM on Sunday, May 29, 2011. I still can smell how fresh the Redwood trees were, I still can feel how nasty wind blew my body and brought me chilly air over my skinny body. I still can feel how lame I was when for the first time, I stepped out my feet on the land of Uncle Sam, exactly in San Francisco Airport before boarding into a small plane that brought me to Arcata Airport.
I took some pictures while on the plane before landing to SFO Airport. That’s the first time I saw USA land from the top.
Its very beautiful!
I was so speechless and simply said Subhanallah in my heart. Finally I can make it after more than 15 hours in the air.
Arcata’s Airpot is small. But it was so beautiful with decorative wood covering the ceiling and the outside wall. With a huge effort avoiding the wind, I tried to get in and my eyes pointed directly to the Baggage Claim near the entry door.
What a nasty wind! I hate it!
I was focusing on my baggage while suddenly a beautiful lady came over me and asked, “Are you Nanak from Indonesia?”
I even cannot answer it. My eyes were too stupid to connect to my brain. She was so beautiful, so tall, not too slim but not fat, just right. She’s so perfect with a lovely smile sticky on her lips. Her name is Kasey Dugan, a lady from International Office who has assigned to pick me up. Then, what a good impression for the first time 🙂
She helped me bringing some stuff and asked me to follow her to her car. It was so comfortable talking to her. I really like her, but unfortunately, she moved to Australia in several months and got married there 😦
The second good impression was my apartment. It was precisely located on the top of a hill nestled at the edge of Redwood forest.
Its so surprising!
I cant believe if I have to climb this crazy hill all the time haha.. But the buildings were so artistic and beautiful. There are four buildings with different name in Creekview Apt complex. Laurel, Junifer, Fern, and Willow, but for Summer residents, all students must live in Fern Hall.
All the buildings were covered by wood and painted red. My room was on the second floor but I forgot the number. Ms Kasey taught me how to use my temporarily key to get into my room. It used my Birthday date as the code. Very high-tech hohoho 😀
But there’s a problem with my key. It didn’t work. However, a person inside opened the door and he was my roommate from El Salvador. I put my stuff and introduced myself to him. The other housemates weren’t there. There were 3 rooms with 2 double and 1 single, so it will be 5 people in one apt. There’s also a huge living room, dining table, a modern kitchen and a spacious bathroom. Its so comfortable after all.
Just in few minutes, the other Ugraders welcomed me very warmly. They were from Laos, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras and Dominican Republic. At night, I was invited to a party in another room.
What?? I just arrived. But then I decided to join and see the people. They had a crazy and wild party. Another surprising impression 😀
Oh USA !!
The Summer English Intensive classes were started a week ago, but since I arrived late a week, I still had two days for settlement. My days were busy with shopping and opening a bank account with Ms Kasey. Another good moment with her. Then I was tested to score my English level in order I get into an appropriate class.
I got Advanced level. Afterwards, my beautiful days were running so well. I was still so excited running my first days in USA where everything looked new and challenging. I met many people from different countries which was a very awesome moment.
We made a group on Facebook titled “Sweet Family.”
Its so awesome!
I even didn’t feel homesick and culture shock. I could run my days with a bunch of exciting activities. Seriously, Summer was the best moment ever in USA.
The first session of summer class was ended with a perfect grade and attendant. Then I had a week for free before having the second session. A bunch of good days has made the free week was like a day. The second session was very awesome because I had drama class.
Its so unforgettable when all summer students, approximately 40 people form different countries, gathered and did a lot of funny activities in a big room. This class was designed in order we can speak English clearly like a native speaker. You can yell, scream or even sing in the class.
What has made the class more perfect was the teachers especially Mr John Heckel. He’s so smart yet funny to make international students laugh out loud with his behavior. From this class too I met two brothers from Turkey and others brothers from Saudi Arabia, also some best friends from China, Taiwan, Japan and my friendship with other Ugraders was getting tight.
The class was closed with a theatrical performance telling about our journeys to USA spoken randomly at Gist Hall. It was so memorable and outstanding. Again, I received a prefect grade and attendant.
Several weeks to Ramadhan, my days were getting awesome. Shopping, buying food, cooking, were the things that occupied my days. Rafting at Trinidad Beach was also so hilarious and exhilarated. At those days, to smile is such an obligation. Then, a good thing must be ended with another good thing.
My awesome Summer was closed by traveling to San Francisco for several days, one of the most beautiful city in the USA, and I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO 🙂
-Laurel Hall, Jan 13, 2012-