When we arrived on campus, I whispered in my mind that this is the campus conceiving my future- It’s what I had been longing for all summer. I have to let myself get comfortable and let it define my destiny. LVC is the campus that is going to watch me grow from a naive and innocent young man from the countryside of Zimbabwe into a complete citizen equipped to at least contribute to some of the problems labeled permanently by the society in the 21st century!
I arrived late afternoon the sun was spreading its light across the wide and expansive campus. Beautiful buildings sprawled over the green expanses of perfectly sheared lawns and rows of trees in neat pavements, everything I have seen since I arrived is beautiful. America as I have discovered, is beautiful, we have cities in Zimbabwe, but they are still incomparable.
When we arrived on campus, we went right to the LVC Book Store to get some t-shirts. I guess he was trying to create a more forthcoming atmosphere for us that homesickness will at least stay away, in fact, it worked. We headed to Caitlin’s office right away, located below the bookstore. Caitlin is awesome and invaluable to me, and I bet the whole International Students group would agree with me. I had known her for four months before this day through pre-departure emails, and I even knew her face because we had a couple of Skype calls while I was still in Zimbabwe. I had a great time working with her to prepare myself ahead of time for the life on campus. She cares!! She had instilled in me so much confidence that I was joining a supportive community -indeed it is, I love LVC. When we finally met, she was relieved because I guess she understood how hard it perhaps would get for me to negotiate my way through those airports and connect my planes but it just went smoothly.
My first dinner in America was that same evening; it took me by surprise as I failed to identify at least one single type of food. I told myself that everything is going to be confusing and I have to unlearn and relearn again like learning to talk again. With food, I am still struggling, and I am more inclined to eat the things I know such as eggs, sausage being my favorite, pizza, rice, and some I have no idea of what it is. I try a single American food daily and so far, have fallen in love with Kansas rice, my dessert is still simple cake and ice cream. It has been predicted back home that when I taste the delicious American food, I will be tempted to overeat.
Sleeping for the first couple of days was weird. I would, for the most part, feel sleepy around 3 pm because back home I usually slept around 9 pm and since PA, is six hours behind it will still be day. I am told this is what they call jet-lag. Jet-lag affected me through the first week, but after that, I normalized. The hardest thing is the complications of friendships with my peers. I sometimes feel overlooked. It is not as easy as it is back home to build a circle of friendships but at least I am seeing improvements with expectations that after at least a semester the friendships would have grown.
The second day of our orientations as International Students was jam-packed. We were introduced to lots of things on campus all these in Caitlin’s company and other international student assistants including Sierra, Michael, and Patrick. We went to Walmart; we have supermarkets in Zimbabwe, but this was a super big store for me. The most exciting but scariest experience that happened during our two-days of International Students Orientation was going to Hershey Park for some rides. I enjoyed them all but honestly; I dreaded Sky Rush, I imagined losing my life with its speed. After all, I had lots of fun in the Park! I signed for a bunch of trips, besides my academics, I am interested in seeing places in America It’s the superpower of the world I cannot still imagine that is where I am.