2 years ago
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Lubbock, a city where dreams come true
Every year thousands of Nepali students travel to the United States of America in pursuit of higher education. In the summer of 2011, I too boarded a flight to Lubbock, a beautiful city in Texas from the Tribhuvan International Airport. I was so overwhelmed that day, as it was my first time travelling abroad and I was going to be living on my own, away from family.
Nervousness, excitement and anxiousness were my travel companions in this odyssey, along with two bags of personal belongings. But I set aside my emotional turmoil and got ready for the next chapter in my life, however challenging it might be. After bidding an emotional farewell to my family and friends, I sat in the plane and suddenly realized I was starving. Due to the hustle of the day and excitement, I had hardly eaten anything.
Not even a day had passed and I was already missing my mother’s home cooked meal. In the flight, I gobbled down the food served in no time but a sweet pastry which I had savored to the last bit, had left a sickening taste in my palette. Thanks to that pastry, I made it through rest of the trip without a bite or a wink of sleep. In two days’ time, I had made it through transits in Bangkok, Los Angeles, Memphis and Dallas, and had finally headed towards my destination, Lubbock.
My first impression of seeing Lubbock from air was of panic. I had seen huge circular marks made on bare lands and could hardly see any civilization. At that moment, I had remembered reading horrific stories of Nepali students who ended up in unregistered colleges and had tough time coping with the lifestyle.
I knew Lubbock was a small college town, but I was not mentally prepared to live in a remote town. Suddenly my reveries were interrupted by a view of modern buildings and roads through my seat window. Breathing a long sigh of relief, I thanked the almighty for proving my initial fears wrong.
At the airport, I was welcomed by a typical hot May weather. Wikipedia had warned me of the extreme weather in the city which was to be my home for the next five years. Having lived my whole life in a nice weather of twenties, I was not prepared for the sauna like weather of Lubbock. The exhaustion and sleep deprivation in the plane over the last two days was not helping it either.
Besides the blazing heat, I found Lubbock to be simply wonderful. After eight years of living in a polluted and noisy city of Kathmandu, the quiet city of Lubbock, without a single beep of horn was a welcome change. Electricity throughout day and night and continuous supply of water were the luxuries I took pleasure in the most. Although, I was loving the available comforts, I was not swiftly taken by the grandeurs of the Western world. After careful comparison, I realized, no place on earth can match the beautiful Himalayas and crystal clear springs of Nepal. God knows, I have travelled to several places intuitively, probably in search of a place which is close to home but alas, Nepal and its beauty is unparalleled.
Lubbock is home to Texas Tech University (TTU), the only campus in Texas to have an undergraduate studies, law school and medical school. I could not believe my luck, the university I had chosen to study was so beautiful with its Spanish Renaissance architecture.
The vibrant Nepali community in Lubbock greatly helped me settle in a foreign land and at the same time stay connected with my roots. A tradition among Nepali students at TTU to welcome incoming students with open arms is exemplary. When a new student reaches out for assistance, arrangements are made for airport pick up and temporary accommodation. The closely-knit society shares a spirit of community which is admirable.
No exaggeration, the first year of graduate school in a foreign country was extremely challenging for me. Everything was different from home; education system, social structure, etiquette, culture and technological advancement, to name a few.There were times when I used to question my ability, even doubt my own decision to cross over oceans to pursue higher education in the US. It was a huge learning period for me and I feel blessed to have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. It was due to my unwavering perseverance and support from my selfless friends in Lubbock that I could overcome the hurdles and come out victorious.
Gradually, I was making sound progress in my doctoral research and my degree plan was heading in the right direction. One fine day in the Fall of 2012, a friend introduced me to a handsome man who was visiting Lubbock to attend a graduation ceremony. Although his beauty multiplied ten folds once I came to know more of him, what drew me toward him was his simplicity.
I found his down to earth, no care for the fuss and frills attitude immensely attractive. His sheer knowledge of everything under the sun which was reflected in our conversations together made a huge impression on me. We started out as friends but then in due course of time, social media and technology playing cupid, we soon found ourselves deeply in love with each other. After two years, on a lovely day, in the beautiful city of Boulder, Colorado we tied the knot in the presence of our close family and friends following Buddhist customs.
After a year of being happily married, I was expecting. We were over the moon with the news of becoming parents. I had a good pregnancy period and delivered a healthy boy at the University Medical Center hospital in Lubbock, ten days after my birthday.
It might sound cliché but having a baby is the best feeling in the whole world. Watching him grow everyday into such a wonderful person is the biggest joy of my life. After seven months of childbirth, I graduated with a doctoral degree. It was not easy for me to juggle a newborn and successfully defend my dissertation. There were nights when I had not retired for bed and the dawn was cracking. The unconditional support from my family played a huge part in overcoming this phase of my life. And I feel blessed to have managed to achieve the goals, I had set out to achieve.
Now when I sit back, sipping a cup of tea and recall those years that I lived in Lubbock, I feel so grateful for that lovely place. It is in that dreamy land that a young, ambitious girl had entered with great aspirations. She met her prince charming, had her baby, the love of her life, and successfully earned her doctor of philosophy. That city has given me everything under the stars that a girl can ask for. I am sure it has been equally generous to other people who have lived there.
I can’t wait to take my son back to that magical place where all my wishes are granted. For new incoming students who are in search for a good university in a great city, I completely endorse Texas Tech University in Lubbock. I promise, Lubbock is a wonderful land where dreams come true.