On June 12th 2015, after a five nights stay in Cleveland, I took a short flight southwards to Raleigh, North Carolina. I spent my first weekend in the United States in Raleigh, and I was glad I got to spend it with two of my co-workers who were there a month earlier.
Delta Airlines – the worst airline I’ve ever took. I have travelled around South East Asia a fair bit, and I flew by budget all those times. Delta is literally the worst I had experienced let me tell you. Plane delayed for more than two hours, some travellers almost missed their connecting flight. No I bet they missed it. Unprofessional flight attendants. They will be the ones who panic before the passengers in uncalled for situations. They were ill-mannered and in attentive. The planes were dirty and poorly maintained. This one time I hit on the button to get the attention of a flight attendant so I could inform her that the plane roof was heavily leaking all over me. She looked in my direction and simply could not be bothered. About five minutes later she walked down the aisle and I finally got her attention. To my major dismay, she brushed me off with an ok, then came back a while later with a stack of paper towels. I wish I never have to take Delta again. The tickets were not exactly ‘budget’ prices either.
Anyway, I should be writing these complains in review forums and feedbacks, not here.
It was so much warmer down south! Sunny day all day everyday! Temperature was at 105F during day times, but night times continued heating me up like an oven. The average temperature in Singapore in June was about 95F on sunny days. The humidity level near the equator is much higher though, creates sweaty people on the streets. I heard the temperature of North Carolina will only go higher till the end of July, so I was not there at summer’s peak.
I typically feel more hyper when the weather gets warm. I mean hyper-active. I can’t sit still in the car. I move around a lot, running, walking and jumping. I have influx of ideas on activities. All kinds of activities.
Therefore I suggested we spend the Sunday peacefully by exploring Duke University, after making my two co-workers drink with me right after I checked into the hotel on Friday night, and attending a pool party the whole of Saturday. Before I forget this ever happened, the first hotel room I checked in to was not cleaned, door was unlocked, and had an opened condom packaging on the side table. It was the Extended Stay America in Raleigh.
Thought it would be a relaxed Sunday but we guessed wrong. We did a lot of walking around the university, under the scorching sun.
Duke University is ranked 25th on QS World University rankings. A prestigious university founded more than 170 years ago. The overall campus has a Collegiate Gothic style. The area around the chapel and cathedral were under revocation works. Took me a long time to capture this picture from an angle absent of construction works sights.
Of course I could not resist getting a bucket hat from the university store for myself!
Also under the scorching sun, walking around, chasing ducks, in Sarah P. Duke Gardens.
A special space dedicated for my favorite flower: Sunflower.
I was literally chasing this duck around.
And this majestic creature who popped out from no where.
What are the chances of finding pandas in the United States?
This garden named after Sarah P. Duke has many beds of flowers. I wish I was more well versed in floriculture but my knowledge in field was limited to roses and sunflowers. Hence I conveniently name sunflower my favorite flower, not that I like flowers in particular. Nonetheless I still enjoyed my visit to Sarah P. Duke garden. I enjoyed walking, I enjoyed the sun. I enjoyed looking at vibrant colors the flowers and plants gave off. Also not to forget running after mortified squirrels and ducks.
We concluded our visit to Duke University when our energy levels were depleted from walking the entire afternoon and decided to go grocery shopping for our Sunday night steamboat dinner.
I honestly was not missing Asian food. In fact I enjoyed Mediterranean flavor. I just could not help it. Being an Asian in United States and not exploring their Asian Mart seemed like a sin. What’s more, look at this GRAND Asian Mart. Very literal.
The beginning of a brand new work week and fresh environment. I prepared myself for another culture shock because I was told there was ethnic diversity in the South. Indeed my co-workers based in North Carolina were more diverse in ethnicities. There were Asians and A, basically. I am having issues phrasing my words right now, because I sincerely have no intention to offend people of any races or nationality.
Personally, I think North Carolina is a better environment to live in. Previously I mentioned that Ohio is a beautiful place to reside in, with pretty houses and cool weather. My co-workers in Cleveland were kind, generous and amiable. This was truly what I experienced. However there were unpleasant occurrences too. Let’s not make assumptions that it was because I was the only Asian in the office with the capacity of 200 employees. I would like to stop here about Ohio.
Everyone that I met in North Carolina however, friendly would be an understatement. I think welcoming is a very appropriate description. Co-workers, or not, welcome one anothers’ friends to their humble homes for parties, games, or just a swim in the summer. The warmth in North Carolina was heartfelt. I also mentioned that there were more ethnic differences. Perhaps this was what made them less sensitive to harmless jokes.
Over here in Singapore, at least among my friends, we would make jokes at one another’s religion or skin color, and no one ever got mad. It might be because we did not grow up with strong faith in whichever divine being that we were supposed to believe in, it might be due to education, it might be due to all sorts of reasons that never mattered to us. I got so used to telling jokes and puns related to socially sensitive issues that I got really wary of the things I say when speaking to people in Ohio. I felt a lot more at ease with my language with people in North Carolina. They are generally more at ease with different cultures.
However ‘accepting’ does not truly imply understanding. I always believed these two coexist. There can never be full acceptance if one does not truly understands. At the same time understanding will not consecutively cause acceptance. For example, Ramadan, also commonly known as fasting month, commenced the week I was in North Carolina. One of my Muslim co-worker was having problems trying to explain not eating during lunch time. Of course no one was insensitive enough to bash her beliefs or make fun of her practice, but they could not understand the significance behind fasting.
I can’t say Singapore has more cosmopolitans because there are many ignorant people residing here, despite first world education. It is very disappointing to know such people exist in a first world country with so much cultural differences. I hate it that I have to be so vague in my words and examples because Singapore just experienced a sardonic court case related to freedom of speech. Joke. I shall try to make a journalist fashioned entry on that issue next time.
I attended our company’s event on Wednesday in Dave n Busters, and two of us hit the jackpot once each! The unicorn prize is simply majestic.
One of the reasons why I wanted to stay in Raleigh was because one of my co-workers goes to Dave n Busters every Wednesdays for the half price games and I want to go to Dave n Busters on Wednesdays too!
We went downtown to visit museums, monuments, and streets after office hours in the weekdays.
On my last working day in Raleigh, I went around taking farewell pictures with fellow co-workers. One of them bear a 90 percent similarity to Calvin Harris! That concludes my business trip. With mixed feelings, I left the office and headed for the airport to catch my flight to New York. I was excited to see my boyfriend after two weeks, at the same time I know I’m going to miss my work life in North Carolina and its people dearly. Wish I had more time then.
I am honestly trying to arrange my thoughts on Bali Nine and Amos Yee incidents to do a write up. So many words and unpopular opinions to convey.
Yes I flew by Delta again for the trip to New York, and nope it was not any better this time.