My Host Family And Campus Life At Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA (Part 1)

Lubbock, Texas

Location Of Lubbock

Lubbock is situated at the Northwestern part of Texas with a population of about two hundred and forty thousand, It is the 11th largest city in the Lone Star state.

Map of Texas

Texas is also know as the Lone Star state.
Texas is also know as the Lone Star state. | Source

Texas Tech University

The masked rider, being the most popular and oldest mascot,  still exists today.
The masked rider, being the most popular and oldest mascot, still exists today. | Source

Gordon Hall

The dorm where I stayed during the first semester.
The dorm where I stayed during the first semester.

The First Semester

As a freshman, I stayed in a male dorm called Gordon Hall; initially sharing the room with an American student called John.

The accommodation, which was pretty basic, included 2 single beds, a table, 2 chairs, a wall-mounted phone, window insect screen, window blinds, 2 built-in wardrobes, a wash basin with a wall-mounted mirror and heater. A huge shower room and restrooms outside shared by all the residents. I could make use of the many laundry machines, dryers, soda vending machines in the dorm as well.

There were visiting hours (from 6 am to 10 pm) for non-residents and the rules were strictly enforced.

There was something I was not used to initially. The shower area had no partitions let alone doors or what I call open-concept. As a matter of fact, I feel more at ease being naked in front of women rather than men.

The American roommate, who majored in music, moved out about a month later after he got an off-campus apartment to stay with his girlfriend. He liked to sleep in his birthday suit. I was fine with that but since I ain't a gay, I wasn't thrilled at looking at his naked body.

As part of the package I paid for my accommodation, I could take 3 meals a day on weekdays in the cafeteria inside the dorm.


My Host Family

From left to right: Robbie, Ava, Ingrid (from Taiwan), Beth, Tony (from Malaysia), and Bob. This pic was taken when I first met them during the beginning of my 1st sememter.
From left to right: Robbie, Ava, Ingrid (from Taiwan), Beth, Tony (from Malaysia), and Bob. This pic was taken when I first met them during the beginning of my 1st sememter.

My Host Family

They sent me this pic taken 6 years later after I graduated. From left: Beth, Ava, and Bob Berry.
They sent me this pic taken 6 years later after I graduated. From left: Beth, Ava, and Bob Berry.

Bob At work In His Office

6 years later upon my graduation.
6 years later upon my graduation.

One Of The Trips With My Host Family

Corpus Cristy, Texas
Corpus Cristy, Texas

My Host Family

I signed up a host family program for international students at the beginning of the semester which started off with an orientation program.

Soon after I had signed up the host family program, a woman by the name of Ava Berry called me and invited me to their home for dinner the following Sunday. I was thrilled and eager to meet them.

The couple, Ava and Bob, had 2 children, Robbie and Beth. Ava was a part-time student at T.T.U . while Bob was a Chartered Accountant. They lived in a upper-middle-class sub-urban area

They came to pick me up at my dorm. We took dinner at their home and had an enjoyable evening. Ava cooked some typical American food. Initially besides myself, there were 3 other international students in this host family namely Tony, Eustace from Malaysia and Ingrid from Taiwan and later one more student from Taiwan, Rosanna, joined us.



My Relationship With Them

On the average, we met once or twice a month in their home for dinner throughout my stay in Lubbock. In between, I called them quite frequently. There were a couple of times Ava tried her best to cook some exotic oriental food for us. Although they tasted differently from those I ate back in Malaysia, I appreciated her time and effort to please us.

Right from the beginning, I have been getting along well with my host family although our culture are very much different. Aside from our gathering, they went for vacations a couple of times with me in Texas.

I wasn't a Christian but on one or two occasions they invited me to go to a church. I didn't turn them down because in the first place, I didn't hate the religion, and secondly I wanted to experience myself to see how I felt to be in a holy environment. In fact I did go to another church once with my American girlfriend

Ava gave me a TV when I moved to an off-campus apartment at the end of the first semester. However the TV and my stereo system were stolen when a burglar broke into my apartment room.

I got my Texas driving license with the help of Ava who took her time out of her busy schedule to accompanied me to the Public Safety Departmentand and lent me her Datsun (it's called Nissan nowadays) to sit for the driving test. Unlike in Malaysia, the driving test was conducted by a cop.

To make a long story short, I appreciate whatever they had done for me and they remain my friends.

Bob helped me to ship all the books I wanted to take back to Malaysia a few days before I left the States. I took an early domestic flight to Seattle to catch a connecting international flight to Hong Kong and he was the one who gave me a ride to Lubbock Airport

Ana, My American Friend

Ana was playing with a snow ball. I liked her.
Ana was playing with a snowball. I liked her.

My Friends At Texas Tech University

I tried to make friends outside my circle of Malaysian students. Lots of time I took the initiative to get to know them. I had friends from Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Mainland China, Indonesia. I also befriended Vietnamese Americans, white Americans, Mexican Americans. I learned some words and phrases (including adult language) from my Hispanic American friends.

There were some 300 Malaysian students making them the second largest international student group trailing behind those from Taiwan. Out of the 300 Malaysian students, 50% were Malays and the other 50% Chinese. All the Malay students, except one Chinese, were sponsored by the Malaysian government (using tax payers' money). This to me was very unfair. In the U.S., the affirmative action policy was to help the minorities but in Malaysia, it was just the opposite.

Out of all the Malaysian friends I made at T.T.U., the only one who still remains as one of my best buddy is Tony who has been working in Singapore and opted for Singapore citizenship a couple of years ago.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Tony who had given me a helping hand in more than one occasion when I sent him a S.O.S.

My American Friends, Ana & Penny

Ana on the left and Penny on the right. They made a snow man outside their dorm.
Ana on the left and Penny on the right. They made a snow man outside their dorm.

Part 2 Coming Up Soon

I hope you enjoy reading my first part of the story and I will continue writing my second part of the story soon.

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