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svgfahmesvgJuly 30, 2023svgUncategorized

PFP Blog 2-The Police

[During the fateful Spring of 2023, I was nominated as one of the Professional Fellows by the US Department of State. I got invited to participate in an entrepreneur exchange program in the USA. It is called Professional Fellows Program (PFP) and my partner organization was the University of Oklahoma, which matched me with a similar entrepreneur in Oklahoma to expose the professional side to me, and the beautiful people from the partner organization OU took us everywhere for cultural exchange. Eventually, it became an adventure of a lifetime. Here goes the detail of it in phases.]

Surprisingly enough, I didn’t have to deal with a lot of jet lag. At least, for the sleep cycle part. I had a great sleep and woke up early enough. It was a beautiful Sunday morning — my first one in the States. A few of us who got up decided the obvious- to take a walk around this beautiful campus! Only me, MSI, Ifran, and my roommate Gajanan decided to take a stroll. We took a good look at our home-Sooner Duplexes from the outdoors under the rising sun. It looked and felt so serene.

We started roaming around. The theme and philosophy of the architecture on the campus were beautiful. There were these ‘Hogwarts-like Dormitories’ (Elanie referred them to be super posh!) that looked the part, really. There were electric bicycles here and there, tickling the interest of MSI as a potential favorite mode of transportation. The surroundings were fairly empty since it was super early on a Sunday morning. There were more squirrels roaming around than humans, to be honest. We stumbled upon a church-lookalike building (It turned out to be a church eventually) when I noticed a couple of familiar police cars. They were known to me because I have encountered them countless times in my long career of playing video games. I was telling the other fellow, “Look! The fine police cars you usually see on TV/games.” He shrugged, “Yeah. Maybe they are coming for us.” I laughed out loud. “Why would they come for us?” As soon as I finished my sentence, a couple of cars came to a halt before us, with another car following those 2. One cop came out of each car and approached us. A couple of them came to us while the other went to Gajanan who was just on the other side of the road. They politely asked if we were from around here. We gave our introduction and I went ahead and showed him an invitation mail. According to them, somebody reported “suspicious activity” as they were not used to seeing 4 guys hovering around the campus so early on a Sunday morning. Well, maybe also because we looked like foreigners, but that part was left to our imagination. Eventually, they said goodbye, after inviting us to their office, and sharing their contacts in case we face any problems that they can help us with. Later on the day, Elanie was absolutely furious hearing about this encounter. She insisted on actually taking the police on their offer of hosting us to ask them difficult questions! To be honest, we didn’t mind that much in this whole encounter, partly because it felt like a small adventure.

The Church!

As we moved on with our activities for the day, the mood got lifted a bit since we were about to visit Velvet Tacos! It was a rather short drive to the place. The entire place looked so colorful! It took a long time for our group of 20+ people to decide on the order, as expected. As for me, I sought out the easier way. I asked Elanie for suggestions, and then asked myself if the items suggested made sense to me, and ordered! It was an even longer wait for the food, but it was totally worth it! I love Mexican food, and those three Tacos I ordered were perfect, especially the Chimichurri steak, and the Mediterranean mushroom.


Also, this is where we also got introduced to the concept of unlimited fountain soft drinks. Most of us got mesmerized watching how much ice Americans love to have in their drinks, but in all honesty, I was happy to find an entire country that has the same belief as me (I love to have a good quantity of ice in my drinks!). As we got the current food situation resolved, it was time to move on to get the future food situation resolved. So, they took us to Walmart Supercenter for the week’s grocery run! For most of us, it was the first time inside a Walmart, so the drivers hung back to help us decide. Giving some context here, in all the official activities, OU would arrange pick up and drop for all of us, every day! Since we had 20+ people, OU needed more than one car and driver to run proceedings smoothly. This time they appointed David, Trina, and Brandy. Little did we know how close they would become. This part will be expanded more later, and I promise to do justice to this. I and my roommate Gajanan probably shopped the least, partly because he assured me that he brought a month’s worth of food for more than 2 people. Apparently, Gujarati people do this as a habit, whenever they travel. After Walmart, the day ended with a Chinese buffet adventure- the first of many eventful dinners we would get on this trip. We ended the dinner with fortune cookies! Surprisingly enough, my sleep cycle was absolutely okay. It didn’t get any sizable impact due to the sudden timezone change. I had a different problem though. Let’s just say my tummy was not in a super happy condition about the change. My tastebuds were loving it though. We got our first group picture after dinner. Well, first of many crazy pictures to come!

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