It was my first week in graduate school. I woke up super early the first day to take the bus that would drive me to the Cornell campus. I found an empty seat and sat down. Then, I smiled and looked around. Very soon I felt extremely awkward since nobody was looking and smiling back at me. Most people on the bus were reading a book or magazine, others had their eyes closed (I guess napping). It really felt very weird to me. I didn’t know what to do with myself during the ten minute ride. Back in Puerto Rico people on the bus would just chat with one another. If you are familiar with Latin culture you also know that even strangers lightly touch each other's arms during casual conversations. “I miss hugs! I haven’t received a hug in more than a month!” I told my mom during a phone call.
Another aspect that stood out to me was the enormous silence and quiet atmosphere that permeated everywhere. Back in the island all things and places were loud, very loud. The coquí frogs, the rain, the people, the music, the cars in the street, the churches. There is noise, and singing, and loud voices everywhere you go.