The very first phase I went through after arriving in Wichita was the Honeymoon phase. Everything about this city that I would get used to seemed amazing at first.
I arrived late at night due to heavy snow, and I honestly enjoyed the delay.
I woke up late the next morning. Looking at my watch I realized that I had missed the orientation session. In school, and especially one as strict as the one I went to, missing the orientation would have meant that elaborate punishments were headed my way. I remember being “kicked out” of the dorms and being asked to live on the roof of the building for a fortnight for doing something quite similar.
However, I did not have to worry about that anymore. I was in college now. I was in a new city, a new country, and in fact a new continent. I had not a care in the world. College had not started yet, I had no homework that needed to be done and honestly, the change in scenery was all I needed. Life felt like a fresh canvas, and I could start painting again. I would not make any mistakes this time.
Leaving for the bank to set up an account and figure out how to pay my fees, I was overcome by an overwhelming sense of flatness, and even seemed to induce agoraphobic panic attacks. Starting to hyperventilate, I realized the freshness in the air. Being a smaller town, while most people seem to complain about the fact that Wichita is too laid back, I loved just that about it.
I loved the newfound freedom, the fact that all of a sudden, people seemed to understand what please, sorry and thank you meant, and the fact that overnight, most problems were only first world problems. There were no traffic jams or too many buses taking up the roads. I could be anywhere in the city within a matter of just 20 minutes.
But it was also a strange place. It was perpetually cold, the sun behaved weird and funny, and wasn’t it supposed to set in the opposite direction?
The campus was friendlier than I had imagined. I did not encounter any sort of discrimination. The horror stories about the issues international students I had heard were rendered as mere myths. All of a sudden, my world was a myriad of new faces, names, and cultures.
I had no clue what was to come my way. Luckily, I did not have to worry about it. At least not right then. I was a freshman enjoying his honeymoon. Sure, it was not Hawaii. But it was still a honeymoon.