Dallas feel like home to me.
I first realised this feeling as I traveled out of Dallas for the first time to New York. When I was having my small adventure underneath the hustle bustle of New York subway system, I felt like I want to go home. Don’t get me wrong though, I love New York, that city felt so much like United State spirit for me. But Dallas has an exquisite feeling of ‘home’. I feel grateful to live in Dallas. Its a boring city, not many things happen in there, not many famous thing there, but it is comfortable to live in. I have my homies, friend-like-families, My uni (though its not ivy league, its still a good one), food is good, people are friendly, what else can I possibly ask for a nice life. I have things I need within reachable distance (a lot of Asian market and halal stores). Dallas is a developing city, high-technology, young, a bit conservative but its all fit my preference.
In Dallas, I feel like I am home. In a blink of an eye I already spent 3 semesters here, and funny enough I don’t feel like I am in United States of America. I feel like..home. I do know this is not my country but I feel so welcome. Its probably because I have so many dear friends that felt like family there ( Mbak Sali and Mayak, you know I meant y’all). Its so easy to adapt with the life in Dallas. There are so many things I love in Dallas. I am now out of Texas but Texas never out of me. I am Texan, at least in my heart.
I spent two years, well.. 22 months to be exact in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas for my master program. I honestly never heard of DFW before, I do not know what to expect before I came. All I know is Texas, cowboy, steak, and guns. I must admit that I was quite reluctant about living in Texas. But DFW is very different from the image of Texas that I have.
DFW stands for Dallas-Fort Worth which are basically two big cities located near each other so they are called metroplex. The atmosphere of Dallas, in my opinion, is like a young developing city. It has a modern and tech-savvy feels, by looking at the tech companies in there like Oculus, Microsoft, At&T, etc.
My university is an international university. There are so many Asian there, mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China. Many moslem too, which surprised and delighted me. I was afraid that me being a hijabi would be a very weird thing to do but not at all. A lot of moslemah wear hijab in my university. So I am not standing out like a sore thumb :p They have a lot of number of moslems in the university and the MSA is big too. The university also respect the people by making reflection room, which is a room to meditate, pray, do salat, and any kind of worship. I am very pleased and felt very respected there. It quickly defies what media tell about United States. I actually thought that all Americans hate moslem, but not, I am totally wrong. It totally changed my opinion about United States and thus I felt the freedom spirit that they have. I am free to do prayers. As long as I don’t bother anyone and it doesn’t bother my study I think its okay. I am very grateful for that. Okay I am being too moslem oriented here, that actually
People are very friendly there. My professor is super encouraging and I told him that I and this dream to work in a huge tech company and I actually laughed at myself and he still encouraged me. He didn’t think I was ridiculous and I felt like I could achieve anything I want. He also opened the way for me to user experience meet up and conference in Dallas. Not much, but it lead to my internship as user experience research intern which was awesome. The secretary of my department is the sweetest lady ever, she is really helpful and really quick in doing her job. Oh that is also one thing I like from Dallas, or US as whole, they are very effective and the procedure to do things are clear. Paper works are the worst thing in Indonesia, I mean I only have one secretary in my department (as far as I know) and she is taking care of hundreds of students. My bachelor university (not to bring any shame) is rather the opposite, they have at least 10 people and it takes forever to take care of papers, courses, transcripts and not only that I also sometime need to meet several people just to get an official document (not sure if they they don’t have clear procedure or they just like ping-pong-ing people around).
One of the thing I really like from Dallas or United States in general is the ease of life I could have. Super duper fast and reliable internet and secured online transaction ( which is so easy to buy stuff that I want, and amazon would send it within 2 days at the fastest). These are just examples.
Living in United States has taught me a lot, especially about freedom. That I am free to chose everything, that I even have a choice (I do not aware of this before I left my country). Come on, I mean in the US I was overwhelmed by the choices that I had to make, starting from the sandwich that I want, they type of bread that I like, the veggies that I could get, hahaha and of course if I need to choose even for that stuff I could choose everything in my life, in a sense I own my life (to some extent). The thing is, I now realise that I am free to do whatever I want to do or be. As long as it is not violating others’ freedom. This is kinda difficult to do in Indonesia where peer and social pressure is huge, the line between care and nosy are so thin, and why people just not taking care of their own life instead of taking care of other people’s life =w=
(sorry for the mixed tenses, I wrote the draft sometime when I was still in the US and finished the other on the other part of the world. Will fix it, promise).