It is difficult to pretend you're still in India when the temperature is 15 degrees cooler, your bed feels like a cloud, and the only foreign language I hear during the day is Spanish.
I am in North Jersey.
A few weeks ago my friend, Anna, and I found out that we were both flying out of India on the same night on the same airline. She from Mumbai and I from Delhi. Our departures were different but our arrivals were both Newark International Airport. I told her I would leave her a note somewhere for her to find.
While I was waiting for my pack at the luggage carousel, I looked to the one to the left of mine and the screen read, "Bombay". It was at this moment I realized I forgot to tell Anna where I would leave my note. A few minutes later, the "Bombay" carousel began to move and their was an announcement, "Passengers from flight# from Bombay can find their luggage at carousel 14". My head shot up. I walked to the woman and asked, "How many flights from Bombay do you get a day?" She replied, "Oh, only 1." I smiled and thanked her.
I began to look around the carousel hoping that maybe my old friend would be there. When I was about to give up, a young girl with long brown hair caught my eye. I walked a bit closer and without even thinking about whether I knew her I yelled, "Anna!" Her body language was confused, probably wondering why anyone would be calling her name. She turned around and instantly you could see the relief and excitement in both of our faces.
My own airport and my own country felt so foreign to me until this point.
As I was going through customs, the officer with a heavy Jersey accent, something I haven't heard in a long time, was asking me questions about the address I put on my entrance card. After a minute or so of small talk he said, "Hey, well, welcome home!"
Hey, thanks, buddy!