A week back I got enrolled in De Anza College, Cupertino for the spring quarter. There were special arrangements made for International students. There were a lot of International students. We had a separate Orientation Program. We had to take up a Counsel Class and we had to attend a few other events organized for the benefit of the International Students. A lot of them were here in U.S. for the purposes of education. It seemed like a very common thing and people around me simply accepted the fact as is. I’ve always observed people, identified peculiar reactions and tried to understand emotions which on any normal day I wouldn’t experience. I was looking at and listening to the students around me.
Russian, German, Spanish, Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, Mexican and many other students from different countries flocked the conference room on the Orientation day. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know any of the people nor did I know any common stereotypes among or of the people surrounding me in the room. I didn’t have anywhere to begin an individuals analysis and it posed as quite a challenge. The day went by and a day later we all gathered for our Counsel class which was going to be a good two-day ordeal. I started talking to people hovering around the room and asking questions pertaining the course of the study or the time we all were going to spend in De Anza College. F
Francisco, a guy from Mexico, seemed to me like a friendly fellow and we started talking. We talked about the Orientation, our origins, where we were headed, what major we were taking, etc. Francisco is almost the same age as me, maybe a year younger, and we hit it off as soon as we disclosed our high schools in UK. He went to High School in Bath, UK and I have completed my Secondary schooling in Staines, UK. This was quite pleasant. Whatever awkward tension lingered between us had gone and I was happy to talk to a person about the comparisons of my home country, UK and U.S. He seemed to be very eloquent too. He spoke about his home, his time in UK and his decision and motivation to study in U.S. It was all very fascinating. I was all ears to his narration of his life and he seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say about my experiences. I was hopeful.
Its not easy being new to a country and being able to hold your own when you have no practical knowledge of the country. But as far as comparisons go I would say the United States is a very promising place. I’m sure some of my friends wouldn’t blame me if I said I preferred California to England. I didn’t think I’d get another chance to talk to someone, at length, about their lives as I had with Francisco. We sat together through the Counsel Class and I was surprised to find out his major was the same as mine. We sat at a round table and at the back of the class. Francisco didn’t seem to mind my manic behavior, asking questions and voicing concerns in a class full of confused, overwhelmed and eager students. We sat at the back of the class so our table was not fully occupied until four girls came in, late and worried, and sat at our table.
As the class went on, the counselor got us to engage in various ‘Get to know each other’ activities. It was fun and my nerves were calmed so I seemed to have used humor as a way of making conversation. It so happened, that the girls who came in late were also International Students and from Indonesia. I was fascinated for two reasons: One, the girls were all gorgeous and utterly cute. Second, the one sitting right in front of me was called Pavita.
Pavita was very good looking, no doubt. So was her friend Natasha and Gabriella. The fourth girl, Andini, is short and small and looks fragile but she is a surprising individual. All of them spoke in their native language while talking to each other. During the group building activities they spoke in flawless English and in an American accent. In the short time that we did speak to one another, mostly during the group activities, I found out they also shared the same major as I did and they had intentions of going to a private college. Pavita, is a Sanskrit name. It means pure. As soon as she told me her name I was hooked and had a hundred questions I wanted to ask her. What her life was like, what is the kind of bond she shares with her family and friends and many such. I only hope that I do get to talk to her again and learn some more about her.
Its wonderful how minute details can give you an insight into a wealth of knowledge. Most of the time, in the period that we spend growing up and taking charge of our life, we get a little too focused doing our own thing and lose out on these little things which provide you with considerable amounts of knowledge. Sure, its not always related to what you do for a living. It may not come close to what your passion is. But it is knowledge none the less. I would love to find out more about Pavita and Francisco. Not for the sake of any personal gain through striking up a friendship but, for the sake of knowing what I can know.
In the last two weeks if I’ve learned anything at all it is that, this is indeed a small world we live in. A girl from Indonesia who’s name is a Sanskrit word. A young man from Mexico who is only 20 years of age and has the exposure of the world’s most advanced countries. Mumbai, London and now California; I too have been around a bit. Some people tell stories to impress others and others tell it to share experiences. I do both of those things but I also tell stories to just get it out there. The more we all know the better for all of us.