So eventually, we made it to the waiting area and found a suitable spot near the big glass windows (through which you could see the flights) and settled in the for the final 1 hour before departure. Since we had not eaten much through the entire night all of us were famished. After checking out all the American shops and mapping the ones present in India too, I and a couple of my friends decided to have a cup of coffee. Seeing the long queues at almost all the food joints and converting the price of each item from dollars to rupees (trust me everyone does this for a short period in a different country), we found a nice coffee shop located not too far from where we were sitting.
I guess that’s life. When you have something you don’t value it too much until you no longer have it.
Since it was about 6 in the morning there was surprisingly nobody at this shop, even though the airport was crowded. After lots of whispering and calculations, I and my friend decided to take a medium sized mocha, while the third friend changed his mind and took a packet of chips (more on that later). So, we individually paid for our coffees and waited for the lady behind the counter to serve us our hot mocha. Instead, she just placed 2 larger than medium sized cups on the counter and got busy doing her earlier job. Now, being in a different country and never having seen or read about such a way of customer service, I and my friend were obviously puzzled and looked at each other. After 3-4 minutes of contemplation, we took the cups and waited there like idiots unsure of what to do next. The lady sensing our naiveness told us to go to the side of the shop. We went there and saw a large coffee machine with different labels of coffee. There were types of milk ranging from skimmed to whole milk, sachets of sugar and cinnamon, creamer and everything else which you could want for a cup of coffee and some more. After a lot of trial and error, we were able to correctly estimate out how much sugar and milk we needed for our coffee and headed back to the seating area having a chuckle at our second interaction with the American culture (the first being the elevator). When we reached there, we were surprised to see everyone laughing loudly. We later to came to know that the third friend who bought a packet of chips had accidently tried to open the packet with so much force that the entire content of the packet fell out. Hearing this we joined in on the banter and mocked him (and continued that during the entire flight from Boston to Rochester and for some part of the next day).
At long last, we boarded our comparatively small flight. The flight was so small that I could see the cockpit from where I was sitting 6th row from the start. Unfortunately, I did not get the window seat again. The young lady beside me got the window and she was least interested in it. I guess that’s life. When you have something you don’t value it too much until you no longer have it. The flight was a short one taking just over 2 hours in total. On the flight, the air hostess served us a snack and a glass of juice. I got Pretzels. Pretzel is a savory snack from Europe but it is quite popular here in the States. My first American snack. Yayyyyy!!!!
The Rochester airport soon came into the horizon and all of us excitedly pointed at random buildings trying to guess our university. Yes, everyone but not me. Shortly after landed, we were wiser this time around and asked for help when we did not know where to go. Soon enough (since the Rochester International Airport is quite smaller compared to the Boston airport) we were heading out of the arrival gate and to the baggage claim. Again a couple of my friends lost their baggage and had to contact the lost and found office. Finally, after all that, we waited for the pickup car which was provided to all international students like us by our university. The car arrived quickly and seeing that all of us could not fit in, we decided to go 3 first and the remaining 4 later. I hopped in along with a couple of my friends and tried to fit in as much luggage as was sensibly possible.
We have to adjust to the situations around us and make do the best you can with what you have.
The apartments in which we were staying were going to be allocated to us the following day. So, we had decided to stay the night at a nearby hotel. Watching the city flow by reminded me of a small quiet town secluded but in touch with the modern technology. Shortly, we reached our hotel and unloaded all our pieces of luggage onto the front porch. And to my utter dismay when I checked in at the reception, I was told that our rooms were closed for cleaning and will take about 2 hours more. Now, you can imagine after 32 hours of traveling having to wait 2 hours more to lie down would have been such a morale-sapping thing to hear. But we had no option and settled on the couches in the lobby. By the time we clicked some pics to keep us entertained, our other roommates arrived and heard about the wait. An I-know-that-feeling smile was all we could offer them. Belatedly, and after what seemed an eternity, we got the keys to our rooms. We rushed to our rooms and in our haste took us a while to figure out how to unlock the door! Finally, it flew open.
The room was fairly small but had 2 beds, a coffee machine, a microwave and a TV on a stand. After piling all the bags on top of each other (there were about 6 bags per person so our room contained about 24 bags), we finally got into the comfy beds. It felt magical. As I lay down, I recapitulated the entire journey. It had not at all gone according to how smoothly I had planned. But then I realized nothing in life goes how we plan it. We have to adjust to the situations around us and make do the best you can with what you have. Here I was in the United States, after all those long hours of studying and sleepless nights before the exams. Could a few hours of traveling and pain compare to what had gone before it? I guess not. My dream finally culminated. Now onto the next dream, we go.