Change by 7,907 Miles

Cell Phones. Computers. Even airplanes. For most Americans, these are casual day to day things. But for me, experiencing those for the first time 13 years ago felt like entering a completely new world. 

Even as a four-year-old, my parents say I had the “most bewildering ideas and curiosity.” Our journey from Nepal to the United States began with me, standing in front of a large plane, ordering the airport security guard by saying, “How on earth is a metal rod going to float in the sky for 20 hours and not plummet us to our death?” Thinking back at it, I can understand why he stared at me, laughed, and said, “I would tell you, but I have a feeling your little mind will figure it out the moment you step foot on the plane.”

The moment we got on, I couldn’t figure out why these ladies were passing out bags of peanuts. It was almost as if they expected us to be full after eating such a little amount, which I WASN’T by the way. 

A grueling 10 hours later, we got to stretch our legs and stopped in Vienna, Austria. Wanting fresh air, I ran out into the rest station, realizing I had just encountered much more intriguing things besides airplane food. Nobody made face to face conversation. Instead, they typed away furiously on what I thought were portable computers. Not that I would know because my dad didn’t use his first one until he reached college. Even when we bought one, there wasn’t much time for me to watch things like Mickey Mouse or Clifford.

Finally in the U.S., we reached Kentucky. I didn’t think there was anything left for me to see. Who needs anything else after they’ve seen airplanes and computers? But man, was I wrong. As a generous couple, who helped us adapt to our new lives, took us to Wal-Mart, I found myself in shock as screens, bigger than I was, lined up against the wall waiting to be bought and played with.

Looking back at how astonished my four-year-old self was entering the U.S., I realize how that amazement never stopped.”

— Nistha Neupane

Going into my teenage years, I still encountered things that amazed me: iPhones, Desktops, and believe it or not, Sweet Tea (my friends in Texas introduced to me that one). 

I wouldn’t consider myself the average 16-year-old. Yes, I use computers, iPhones, and play video games like an American teenager, but the process that got me there was long, bewildering, and full of exploration. Coming from a place that didn’t have much makes me appreciate the amazing advances of lifestyles and technology a little bit more.