My Very First Flight From Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia To Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA
Collecting My First-Class Diploma In Mechanical Engineering
Back Where It All Began
To make a long story short, I applied for admissions to 3 institutions of higher learning within a span of 7 years after I graduated from an independent Chinese-medium secondary school and a private technical institute from which I obtained a first-class Diploma in Mechanical Engineering.
The 3 universities, namely the National University of Taiwan, located in Taipei, Republic of China; University of Strathclyde, a Scottish public research university situated in Glasgow, U,K,; and University of Sunderland in Sunderland, U,K, offered me a place to pursue a bachelor's degree in Engineering. For some reasons I didn't take up the offers.
Eventually, at the age of 26, I took the plunge when Texas Tech University gave me a favorable reply.
Texas Tech University
Subang International Airport
My Flight Path
I Am On My Way, Uncle Sam
That was my very first time I flew from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Lubbock, Texas, USA. Since there was no non-stop flight, I opted for with 2 stop-over flights in between, namely Tokyo, Japan and Los Angelas, California, USA. All in, the entire flight took me 22 hours.
The circuitous flights involved 3 airlines: Cathay Pacific Airlines (from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo); Northwest Airlines (from Tokyo to Los Angeles); and Continental Airlines (from Los Angeles to Lubbock).
I would like to thank all those relatives and high schoolmates who took their time out of their busy schedules to bid farewell to me at Subang International Airport. The 7 schoolmates of mine as shown in the photo remain friends till today.
At Narita International Airport
I stayed at a 3-star hotel near Narita International Airport, Tokyo for a night to catch a flight to Los Angeles the next morning. Communication with the front-desk staff of the hotel was kind of difficult as they couldn't speak English and my vocabulary in Japanese were limited to only a handful of words or names such as arigato, sayonara, sakura, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Toyota.
As a last resort, I took out my pen and wrote on a piece of paper in Chinese and they managed to understand since the Japanese language borrowed a lot of Chinese characters since ancient time.
I went to a pub in the hotel to quench my thirst and to listen to some music instead of watching TV in my room all night long.
I couldn't sleep right away after I returned to my room although I had quite a bit of alcohol. I went through a brochure placed on a side table next to the queen-size bed. The brochure was in both Japanese and English. I reached a decision to try out a full-body massage. I dialed the number and the lady who picked up the phone spoke reasonably good English. A few minutes later, a Japanese woman appeared at the door.
I felt a bit downhearted as she was a woman in her 40's, a plain Jane and dressed conservatively. I let her in since I didn't make it clear to the person I spoke to earlier regarding my specify requirements.that I preferred a young, voluptuous and seductive masseuse.
The masseuse was pretty skillful nevertheless. After she left, I slept like a baby in my birthday suit till next morning.
I took a cab from the hotel and told the cab driver to take me to the nearest post office. Again using the same method, I showed him where I wanted to go by writing the word post office (邮政局) in Chinese character. Much to my relief, he nodded his head.
I bought an aerogram and wrote a message to my dad telling him I was still in one piece and my experience (excluding the "close encounter" with the Japanese masseuse) and would catch the next flight to L.A., California.
Next I bought a Fuji compact camera at a duty-free shop at the airport. I regretted buying it after I discovered that it was cheaper to get it in the States.
I queued up patiently at the Northwest Airlines check-in counter to get my boarding pass and right in front of me in the queue was an attractive American white girl whose dad was a pastor in Tokyo. Since it was a very long flight to L.A., I decided to sit next to her on the airplane so that I could chat with her and to get to know her.
I overheard her requesting to sit at a non-smoking section of the airplane and I asked for a seat next to her and luckily I got it, You see, although I am a smoker, I would rather sacrificed my freedom of smoking throughout the entire flight than to miss the chance to speak to such an adorable girl.
The Trans-Pacific Flight
My judgement of the girl was surprisingly correct. She turned out to be a warm and intelligent person whom I had a great time with throughout the flight. We chatted as if we knew each other in our past life. I wished I could marry her in future but I didn't have the gut to tell her during our first encounter. Holy cow! It was love at first sight. I never had such a deep feeling towards a girl before.
Sadly we lost contact when we moved several times as we didn't have cell phones back then. She was the first American girl I fell in love with. Hopefully we could meet again in our next life.
At The Los Angeles Airport
At the immigration checkpoint, a not-so-friendly black immigration officer asked me where I was going to stay in Lubbock, Texas before the semester started. I told her I had not booked a hotel yet and I didn't know anyone there. She suggested I stay in Hilton Hotel. I almost burst out laughing since there wasn't a Hilton Hotel in Lubbock, Texas but I managed to put my emotion under control. I just smiled and told her that was a good suggestion indeed.
Lubbock, Texas, USA
Reached My Destination - Lubbock, Texas
It was during winter when I reached my final destination in the Lone Star state. As I stepped out of the Lubbock Airport, I was shivering as the ambient temperature was subfreezing due to the wind chill factor. The jacket and trousers that I was wearing just wasn't thick enough to keep my body warm. I quickly flagged down a cab at the airport and headed to a motel closest to Texas Tech University.
The cab driver, being a home-grown Texan, spoke with a very heavy Texan accent but we could chat without any problems.
I stayed at the motel for 3 days since the dormitory was still closed. Finally I got a room in Gordon Hall, one of the dormitories on the campus.
In my next article, I will tell you about my American host family and my campus life.
- My Host Family And Campus Life At Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA (Part 1)
I would like share with you my experience with an American host family and campus life when I pursued my BS. in Industrial Engineering at Texas Tech University located in Lubbock, Texas, USA.