In a lot of ways I feel like being here in
is still just a dream. It’s been almost 2 months into this whole experience and I still feel like it’s all a dream – or that it’s all just a joke; nothing’s serious here. There is nothing to commit myself to. I’m not home sick yet and that worries me a little. I do miss some things back at home, though. I miss: India
1) Convenience: I miss the convenience of everything back home. My internet connection dies every 10 minutes here. If I use the internet at school I have only 30 minutes. If I got to internet cafés that would cost me a lot of money. I really miss being able to use the internet whenever and however long I want. I also miss the convenience of living on campus. The travel time to get to and from college really drains me. I miss being able to sleep in until 15 minutes before class starts and running there. Here you have to plan one hour in advance, counting traffic time and all. I also miss the food at Gorecki. Honestly, we have it so good at CSB/SJU (and or every other college in the
.) I have to pay for everything I eat and drink here. US
2) Toilets/ Hygiene: I miss the toilets and the cleanliness back home. Here the toilets are trashy and tiny. Personal hygiene does not seem to be that big of a deal here. The washrooms at St. Xavier’s are so smushed together that I feel so constrained in them. Toilet paper is not widely used here. I always have to carry toilet paper with me everywhere I go. It bothers me that people just throw their trash on the ground when a trashcan is not that far away. It also bothers me that there are not enough trashcans around. I find it filthy.
3) Unpolluted air quality: I miss the clean air back at home. I hate all the smokers here. They can rot away from this planet for all I care. It’s unfair that I die faster second-hand-smoking than the first-hand-smoker. I detest the smoky mufflers that squirt smog into the atmosphere. My nose is always filled with black dirty boogers. Ugh, it’s so disgusting to look at the Kleenex after I blow my nose. It’s so unhealthy to breathe through this poor quality air. All of this makes me miss the fresh, healthy and rich air back at home.
4) The Quiet: I miss the tranquility of
(or any park in general). I miss the calm winter snowfall, the whispering spring shower, the sizzling summer night and the dancing autumn leaves. I miss the peace and quiet of the Indian Mounds Park arboretum. I miss the inner peace I used to get when I jog in the gym. Here in St. John’s it’s always a marathon. I can’t think too much about anything because if I do I just get upset. I miss being able to sit under a tree and reflect about my day, my life and my plans. I miss having silence in my life. India
5) Traffic rules in
America: I miss the law and order we have in the I miss the way everything is well organized; if someone violets any traffic rules they get punished for it. If anyone uses the wrong lane, goes the wrong way, runs a red light, merge without signaling, or any other traffic rule they will have to pay for the penalty. I miss the fact that three lanes are really three lanes. I miss speed limit signs. I miss stop signs, red lights, and just the smoothness of the roads. I miss the fact that everyone obeys the law. U.S.
6) Hmong: I miss being Hmong. I miss being able to just speak Hmong and be around people who do not question the existence of who I am. Overall I just miss that sense of culture and belonging. Being here in
has brought me closer to being Hmong than ever. I can see the macro picture of what it means to be Hmong for me. I feel so proud to talk and educate Indians/Bengalis about Hmong people and Hmong history. India