My unforgettable first day in the U.S.
I left my hometown in Spain, as well as, everything else behind to start a new life at the mere age of 18. In all honesty, I didn’t really know where I was going; my fluency in English was sparse; and I had zero friends in the country. In fact, the only person I had talked to was my tennis coach—and that was through email. Once I landed in the Atlanta airport, it dawned on me how alone I felt and that everything from that moment on would depend on me. I’m glad I had come to that realization, because my arrival in the states was anything but relaxed.
I landed in the states after several hours of delays and my luggage was still in transit. This small incident forced me to live without my stuff for my first three days in the US. All in all, these “shortcomings” made my first U.S. experience very unique to say the least.
At the time, I wasn’t aware of the cultural shock I was going to experience. It also didn’t help that my idea and expectations of America accounted for everything—except the Deep South. So, here’s a girl who’s lived her entire life in a European city, barely spoke English, and independently moved to a small Southern town isolated from everything. Despite the rough start to my trip, I decided not to panic, and instead, used my situation as a chance to quickly learn English. That’s no easy task, because I was still attempting to acclimate into a culture that was far different than mine.
The way of socializing, the food, the schedules, the customs, and even the transportation system contrasted what I had previously known as normal. In Spain, I was very independent, because their public transportation allowed me to travel, commute, and do things without having to depend on anybody else. Here, I realized I would need to depend on other people for everything, because having a car was a must.
Amidst all of my internal chaos, I still managed to stay calm and use this difficult situation as an opportunity to integrate.