Memories of Iowa City – a poem by Mansi

When Mansi Bhatia left The University of Iowa in 2004 after finishing a two-year Master of Arts in journalism, she took with her more than a degree and a black and gold t-shirt. Bhatia took with her the memories of a quiet place that broadened her horizons and gave her a new family of friends.

Originally from Lucknow, India, Bhatia now lives in California with her husband and works in communications. Recently, Bhatia posted this poem about her time in Iowa on her blog.

Reproduced from Bhatia’s blog, First Impressions.
By Mansi Bhatia

Of green meadows
With massive trees
That turned red, brown
Orange, golden yellow
All the colors of a sunset
In the middle of a park.

Of walking at midnight
Sometimes fast
To catch a bus
Sometimes leisurely
Taking in the beauty
Of everyday simplicity.

Of a 10 by 10 room
In the basement
With one window
The view blocked by a bush
A tiny closet
A sleeping bag and a laptop
That I called home.

Of people, mostly white
With speckles of
Brown, red, yellow and black
Intermingling, sharing
Learning, bonding
Becoming friends
Then family.

Of crossing the highway
To get to the biggest superstore
The hitched car rides
To do Indian groceries
Once every three months
Thirty miles away.

Of cooking disasters
Delicious sambhar
Taco Bell chalupas
Hot and sour soup
Muffins, croissants

Of flying every other month
The cab rides
The waiting
The lure of the Golden State
The internship
Spring and winter breaks
That were never cold.

Of graduation
A sense of accomplishment
The idea that I could
Conquer the world.

Of Iowa City
Names and faces
Etched in my mind
Places, aromas
Sights, experiences

Of a kaleidoscope
Of moments
Made six years ago
Still cherished
Still alive
A part
Of who I was
And who I’ve become.