by Sridhar Rangaswamy
I moved to Orlando, Florida on January 01, 1998 after I started working for Oracle Corporation.
I loved Florida for its sunshine weather, it has about 100 lakes, Universal, Disney, and other theme parks, and golf courses, shopping malls. It is lined with beautiful palm trees and lush greenery that exuberates an inviting feeling and feels like home. It is the land of Gators and the citrus! There are numerous music festivals, Arts & Foliage Festival, Biker’s week and so on and so forth.
After coming here on a work visa, I got my green card in the year 2001 and my US citizenship in the year 2006. It has been a long road till I became a naturalized citizen of the United States. I was interviewed by Orlando Sentinel in September 2006 for it. During the Apopka Art and Foliage Festival, an article was also published in the Apopka Chief – on April 22 2011 and on Page 13A by Jeff Lareau special to the chief called me -“Good Samaritan from India, who always helps at the festival”!!
During the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2011, I was interviewed by Channel 13 and asked about it in detail and also how I migrated to this country.
I was selected to be a Council member of Orange County District 2 and was also a Board Member for the HRDB Board, City of Ocoee. I have also been the Secretary for Asian American Chamber of Commerce in Orlando, Florida. I have also been an active member and a volunteer for the Inter Religious Faith of Orlando, Cinco de Mayo celebrations the Hindu Community of Orlando.
Florida has been a melting pot of different cultures, religions and languages and the positive vibes that the community here reverberates is astounding and amazing.
I started as a Communication Secretary for HI USA for Florida and then I became a President for Hosteling International USA during pre-pandemic…have representing presentations on Asian Indian sub-continent as well. I also started Non profit called Sai Sharan Inc- www.saisharan.info for the Hindu community.
I owe a lot to Orlando, Florida. It is here that I became a naturalized citizen and am living the American dream. It has been my home for years and will continue to be so in the coming several years. Life has changed here a lot since 1998, but the sense of love, respect, and sense of oneness is still all pervasive!!