I’m here! And it’s freezing!
Yes, I am safe and sound, having arrived in Ithaca at 4:00 PM local time yesterday. It’s been a long, long journey here, about 19 hours of flight time alone, not including layover time.
Very thankful and touched to see the folks sending me off at the airport, despite the unearthly hours.
You know, after crossing the customs, you feel “this is it, the long wait is finally over and you are on your own now”. It hits you almost immediately and I felt this, knowing that I have to be extra careful now, with no one to look out for me anymore. So I really respect other students who are out on their own, students like me on exchange, but more so, students who have been doing it since they were in their teenage years.
The flight from Changi to Narita was good. The plane was only about a third full so there was some much needed quiet to catch up on sleep. Entertainment was good though. I caught three movies – The Queen, One Last Kiss and Bootmen, but all halfway till I fell asleep.
Upon reaching Narita, I bade farewell to Justin and Jane, they’re going towards Minneapolis then towards Maryland, and Rishi, who I will meet up with in Ithaca later. It was a mad rush to get to my connecting flight bound for Detroit. It was too tight for comfort. Gate 24, finally managed to find it.
The flight from Narita to Detroit wasn’t quite so fun though. The flight was full and the passengers were mostly Chinese nationals who had boarded in China before the plane came to Tokyo. It was noisy and there were many bawling kids around me, which added to my frustration. It was an 11-hour flight to Detroit that flew over the Pacific Ocean and Canada. It would probably have been more bearable had I had a personal entertainment screen. The common screen was too far away from my seat so there was no entertainment other than the in-flight jazz station that was on loop. So thankful when I finally reached Detroit.
It feels great to finally be in the US. My generation in Singapore grew up on American culture and so much of what we know about the USA is based on our exposure to media or the Internet. Well, for me, right now the experience has become real.
The plane from Detroit to Ithaca was really tiny and only sat about 20 passengers. As you can see from the picture above, the plane flew at a low altitude the whole time. Take-off and landing didn’t really take all that much time! It was snowing in Ithaca when we landed and it was beautiful to see everything bathed in white.
It’s been snowing non-stop since I arrived. Light snow though, nothing too unbearable. Settled into the apartment and my roommate is still not around. The room is really nice and well-equipped, very cosy and comfortable. But I need to get to the supermarket soon! Have lots of things to buy, some essentials, and others to make life more comfortable.
People have been so kind and willing to help and I feel that these people are God-sent. Diana from the international office has been a fantastic lady so far. She drove me from where I collected the keys to my apartment, helped me with getting in and also gave me a bag of tidbits, fruits and drinks to tide myself over before I get around. Kristia, a Jamaican international student who’s the residential representative from a neighboring block dropped by after D called her to help me install the internet. And this is such a blessing because I absolutely need the Internet!