My name is Tarini Kanteshwara and I’m 14 years old. I was born in Atlanta Georgia, and when I was 12 years old I moved to India. I had lived in my home my entire life, and leaving it for the first time was incredibly overwhelming. I mean just imagine your whole life happening in one house, and you suddenly continue your life in a different place. It’s almost like the house was alive, watching over me, being with me, and seeing me grow up. The walls knew every little secret, and detail on how we lived, and then suddenly our house had to get used to a different family, just like I had to get used to a different house.
We moved to India in the most famous year of all, 2020. Covid-19 had its first outbreak, which just made it more complicated for us to move. It was definitely a headache for my parents, especially thinking about all the packing, booking tickets, and safety protocols. Each factor was running over and over in their mind. While on the other hand, my mind was in a completely different world. I was scared, worried, excited, mad, sad, happy, and curious all at the same time.
A substantial factor that was running up and across my mind was my friends. The friends I grew up with, where not one day passed by where I didn’t see them. Now all I could think about was the summers I would be free to see them. When I moved to my new neighborhood in India, I was not at all interested in making friends near my house, I sort of felt like they didn’t get me, or I didn’t get them, and they could relate to so many things that I couldn’t. It would just be odd. It took me around 7-8months to realize that they are the most fun and exciting people that I can rely on! Just like my old home, there is not one day where I don’t see my new friends.
I started online classes in my new school Legacy International, while I was in the USA. Just a few weeks after I had attended online school, the children and teachers were so kind, and pleasant, that I immediately loved my new school. In my old school, there weren’t House teams or student councils. Although I have to say, Houses and student councils are absolutely amazing! I love how houses compete, as I, myself, am really competitive. Legacy was an extremely welcoming atmosphere, which made my mind start opening before I even moved to India.
Last but not least there were many cultural changes when I moved to India. For example the holidays and festivals we celebrate. One of my favorite holidays we used to celebrate in the USA was Halloween, which is always fun. In India, a lot of people don’t celebrate Halloween, but we still enjoy some family time together. We celebrated Diwali and other festivals in the USA too, but just by ourselves. In India, there are so many cultural festivals to celebrate like Diwali, Holi, Dussehra and so much more. And we don’t celebrate by ourselves, but instead, everyone in the neighborhood does, which makes it more family-like and lots of fun! And Of course dance.
I have been learning classical Bharatanatyam since I was 6. I took classes from America. When I moved to India, I noticed it was so much more cultural, and I felt like it feels more right to learn classical dance, where it originated from.
I noticed in India, that people, neighbors, friends, ancestors are always there for you, it’s like everyone is a family. And of course, the culture is amazing.
There is some stuff that I can’t ever forget from my time in the USA, like some of my favorite places,the food, and most importantly the memories I had created with friends in my neighborhood with whom I spent every single day with.We were always together, for 12 years of my life. All the different adventures I had with them and my family, I can never forget.
At one point in my life, the answer to the question, “India or USA?” would always be the same, and never change. I knew that my whole life no matter what happened, I would always pick the USA.
Now I can’t decide.
And no, not because I don’t like either, but because I like them both so much, and I gained a new perspective. You never know, a few more months and I might just pick India.
About The Author!
My name is Tarini Sai Kanteshwara, I am 14 years old and am currently in the 8th grade, studying at Legacy School. I was born in Atlanta Georgia and moved to Bengaluru India when I was 12 years old. I have one brother, Dhanusai Kanteshwara who is currently in the 12th grade. School is really fun from my perspective and my favorite subjects are math, chemistry, physics, and English Literature. In my free time, I love reading books, art, watching tv, cycling outside, and researching about scientists! Writing has always been a passion of mine, and I would love to continue thriving on my amazing journey!