Monday, June 26, 2006

Culture shock - 1

Today, I'm going to list some cultural changes I encountered when I first came to the USA

a. I landed in Chicago and cleared immigration at around 9 pm. I've been hearing that Chicago O'Hare airport is the 2nd busiest in the world, or something like that. So, I expected a huge airport terminal, with thousands of people (at least comparable to Dubai's lavish airport).

Well, not so!! As I went into the terminal lounge, I found out that I was the ONLY person there. Not even a guard, janitor or cleaner! At 9 pm!! I was extremely hungry after my 30 hour flight, but found not a single restaurant or coffee shop open. The whole terminal looked like a ghost town.

I had to spend the night at the terminal as I didn't have transportation arrangements, so I slept or rather napped on a bench, while tightly grabbing my luggage.

Compared to O'Hare, other airports of similar size would be almost always full of people at almost all hours. I later figured out why this happened ... O'Hare has a small number of international flights, all leaving from terminal 5, and there were no flights after 9pm. So, the stores all closed, and everyone left. I guess the other terminals, mostly handling domestic traffic would be a bit busier.

b. On my very first day, I went to meet a professor in the department. It was the high point of a ferocious mid-west summer ... with temperatures reaching 32+ c (90+F). When I met the prof, I found him wearing a pair of shorts, and a t-shirt. In Bangladesh, where hot weather is a daily occurrance 80% time of the year, a professor of high stature would almost always wear Suits, rather than comfortable clothing. So, meeting a bigshot professor wearing shorts. I thought it made him more down to earth and approachable.

c. On the 2nd week, a member of the group proposed that we go to lunch to welcome the three new students (including myself). Now, when someone in Bangladesh asks someone else to go to a restaurant, this means the person who proposes is footing the bill. So, imagine my surprise when I figured out, right out there in the restaurant, that I am to pay for myself! Not that there is anything wrong with that, but obviously, I misunderstood "Let's have lunch!".

Of course, this is not necessarily true in all cases.

Anyway, that's all for today ... I'll write more later.

1 comment:

Atunu said...

khik khik... Nothing special about the spiked hair... I had just finished my shower and was crazy enough to take a headshot... I for one will never succumb to either spiked or chapstick hairdo, thats for sure.

yeah, I'd start contributing to as soon as my exams starts and finishes...all of which is quite uncertain till this point. Usual buet "Kech-kechani" about pl, exam delay, sick students, more exam delay exists till this very day... so don't worry another "wikipedian" will emerge from this meticulous family of ours ; )