On this day in 1979 I arrived in the U.S.
I don’t have any tickets, receipts, pictures or other documents left from that day. But I still have my little, now yellowed, notebook.
My primary concern for the first few months seems to have been not to overspend my meager TA stipend. So I was keeping track of my daily spendings to make sure my daily average was at or below what I could afford in a month. It's amazing how little food cost back then. On 10 September, I had 2 hotdogs and a coke for lunch for $1.30. Dessert was an additional $0.25. I didn't specify what it was. A cupcake? A chocolate bar?
The school wasn't open yet and I spent most days exploring Philadelphia, the closest large city. On 2 September, I made my 1st major discovery in the U.S.: a bookstore in Philly. It was the Encore Books (are they still around?) and bought a cheap book. There is a sketch of the location of the bookstore in my notebook with the landmarks written in Turkish or English.
If you are familiar with downtown Philly, you can probably recognize the streets around Chestnut St. fışkıran su: fountain spraying water; trene inen merdiven: stairs to the train; köşede restaurant: restaurant in the corner; pazar da açık: open also on Sundays.
I was so impressed by the abundance and the variety of books that I resolved then and there that I was staying in this country.
Here I am 30 years later.