Several days were skipped in the diary.
A new day has come on Baghdad; I spent half of the morning time sleeping and the other half thinking of what to write in a writing sample for my scholarship program. The weather is very cold in this time of the year. I used to spend the morning time of January at college with my friends attending lectures and enjoying our time. But this year is different; I am graduated and staying at home waiting to leave to America.
Today, I had my first call with an American person on the phone. I was asked to make a writing sample for the Fulbright as one of the universities in America which got my application file requires this writing sample. I had a short time to think of a topic and to write about it in about 250 words. I didn’t know what to write about and I was confused that I might write about something and they think that I might have got it from the internet. I thought that maybe it would be better to ask someone from America about the topics they are interested to read. I could have emailed any of the American friends I have online, but there was no electricity and I needed a response in a quick time.
So, I picked up the phone and called someone I know who has an American work-mate and asked him to ask his colleague about the topics the Americans could be interested in. I could have written about anything that came to my mind like the Iraqi civilization and history or anything of that type, but such topics contain information rather than discussions and analysis, and it would be easy to find that info on the net. So I wouldn’t be doing a good job by this. The university’s decision depends on this writing!
Few hours later, that person called me back and told me that his American colleague would talk to me! I was kinda shocked and refused to talk at first. I didn’t refuse because I didn’t want to talk to an American person. On the contrary, as I was waiting for such a chance to talk with American people and practice my English language for some time. I was afraid that I might not be able to understand what he would talk about. But, as soon as he came to the phone and said “Hi”, I felt comfortable and talked with him freely for some minutes.
I told him that I applied for a scholarship and that I got it and I’m about to leave the country, and that I needed some possible topics to write about that could impress the American readers. He gave me some topics which were easy and interested. I thanked him and ended the phone call.
That was the first time I talk with an American person on the phone. I was very excited for that. He told me that I speak English very well, and I said thank you! I have been studying English for a long time now, and I practiced it through writing only! I had very few experiences in speaking English. Most of the times were inside the class during a lecture when I wanted to answer a question or discuss something. The first time I spoke English out of the class was in an interview with the CNN at my college almost two years ago when I was in third grade. I was attending a lecture of translation when a professor in my department got into the class and told the lecturer that she needed three students to talk before the camera with a journalist from the CNN. The second time was in the Fulbright interview. The third time was today on the phone. And there is a fourth time which is coming soon as I’m going to speak online with a radio station in America!
I went out with my family in the afternoon to buy something for home and some stuff form Mom as she is leaving to UAE on a vacation for two week. I was supposed to go with her but I was denied the visa because I am an Iraqi student!
I spent the night time in bed listening to the radio because there was no electricity, and the home generator didn’t work because we haven’t used it for some time now, and also because of the freezing weather outside.