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In a land far away…

Five years ago when I got the offer letter to join one of the software companies never once did I think I would get a chance to go overseas. Yes that happened a few months back. I had the opportunity to travel to the United States, Fort Worth in Texas to be precise for my work.

I┬áflew by British Airways via London. Starting from Mumbai crossing time zones I reached Heathrow Airport on a fine morning. I was enthralled to see such a big airport. Eight hours of travel in flight had actually tired me. Neither the tiredness nor the heavy backpack I carried could deter me from walking up and down just to watch the airport. Needless to say, I had to catch a train to go the terminal to catch the connecting flight to Dallas. I thought it would be boring to travel all alone, but the inquisitive and na├»ve ÔÇ£meÔÇØ enjoyed the world around. Another 8hrs and I arrived at the DFW station. Little did I know about experiences were in┬ástore, in a life┬áfar away from my family.

Life there is easy for quite a few reasons. The facilities at home and the recovery mechanisms out there will make you forget the fury of a bad weather. High speed internet at home which will make you sit glued to your tablets or iPhones all time. Even if your office is 20miles away from home you will reach in no time. The wide roads and big highways will give you a flight like experience even in a car. The most satisfying thing for us Indians especially girls is that we can put our choice of dress no one will stare.

My experiences interacting with Americans, below I will remember forever.

As soon as I entered my office building I did not know in which floor was my team. I thought I would ask the lady in the reception. I went and just gave my managerÔÇÖs name and asked her whether she knew which floor she was. Receptionist replied ÔÇ£I have no idea where she isÔÇØ. While she said this she put stress on the words, her eyes went round, mouth wide open.┬á I simply thought she is overreacting. But I was wrong that is the way they are. Americans are very expressive.

I went to the Bank of America for opening my account. We accidentally went and sat in a place thinking there is nobody and that we could sit there. One guy came and asked us to move. He just said ÔÇ£Mam if you could move there, I would appreciate thatÔÇØ. Since we are not much used to these courtesies back home, I felt a little happy with the way the matter was conveyed.

While you take the lift to office, I always see the person standing near the buttons sealing that whole area. That is his space. He would ask which floor everyone wants to go. Only he presses the button. This says how much importance they give to personal space.

It is perfectly fine to carry your lunch or snacks for a meeting. Lunch hour can be clubbed with a meeting and it is known as ÔÇ£Lunch meetingÔÇØ. My client manager loves yogurt and hence if it is a morning meeting no prizes for guessing that she would be there with a yogurt. I enjoy the smell and give secret occasional glances, since I would most probably be on an empty stomach without breakfast.

Americans are so courteous that they will never miss an opportunity to say a ÔÇ£Thank youÔÇØor ÔÇ£WelcomeÔÇØ. Since I picked up the habit, and┬áafter landing back┬áhome, I said the same after the immigration officer checked my passport. There was nothing in return. As days passed and┬áI was┬áback to the old crowd I stopped exchanging such courtesies frequently.

So now I know there is country far away, where life is easy. The height of luxuries and easiness will lure you. But deep down I am happy to be back. To be with friends and family and the place which is my own.

About Lakshmi Murali