It was mid-October 2013 when I was informed that I have to go to Reston, VA on a business trip for 15 days. The travel dates were very near. The first thing I needed was a visa. I was occupied on a small project that I had taken up on my own interest and I hardly found any time to prepare for the trip. Excitement to visit the US was in the back of my mind while working on the project at hand was my top priority. Lo and behold my visa appointment date coincided with my scheduled travel date. I missed the opportunity to see the splendour of the Fall in the US. My trip was rescheduled to December for a duration of 10 days which turned to my advantage. I got to experience my first snow.
Well, I know now. I know a little more how much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person. ~ Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
I had to go to Chennai for my visa appointment. It was a two day process. After the visa was approved, I roamed a tiny bit of Chennai and relaxed on the shores of Marina beach.
On 5 December 2013, my family dropped me at the airport and asked me to take care of myself and have fun. My first trip overseas was about to begin.
I boarded the plane to Dubai with Susam and Devi. Dubai is the first country outside India, that I set my foot on. I do not know who felt more lucky, Dubai or me 😊. We got to spend only a couple of hours in Dubai, to be precise Dubai airport, before our flight to the US. We decided to take a stroll and we found Starbucks. I was excited. Yes, I was! There was no Starbucks at Bangalore back then. We chose chocolate drinks over coffee considering the time of the day and the long flight ahead of us, and regretted it soon after. It was bad and the quantity they offer is hard to be done with. Although it was a bad start, my further visits to Starbucks have been nice; I love their coffee drinks. Caramel Latte is my all time favourite. The airport looked beautiful and we clicked some pictures.
I promised Dubai that I would visit it in the coming years, spend more time and not just use it for transit. With that we boarded the plane to the US.
It was a long journey to the US. I removed the armrest between my seat and the adjacent one, helped myself to the makeshift bed and slept most of the flight over the North Atlantic Ocean.