Friday, October 20, 2006

Starting New..

Well, hi! It's been way so long a time since I last wrote something "real" here! Sorry, folks, but I never imagined that I would this busy.

It's been so crazy and hectic since the very first day I left home, probably before that too. Saying good-bye to my family was the hardest part, way harder than I ever imagined it could be. Well, let me just start from the beginning cuz you probably wonder how I got back to the scholarship program after being announced as "unsuccessful".

I, myself, don't know how that happened actually. The more I think about it, the more I see how weird it is. Back is July when I got that email from the Fulbright telling me that I no longer could go to the U.S. for my studies as a result of having been rejected in several universities for reasons that were, and still, unknown, I decided to go to Jordan with my mother and sister to clear my mind and think of what to do next.

On that morning when I was at the airport back in Baghdad waiting for the flight to Jordan, I got a phone call from someone who works in the embassy and told me that he got news from the Fulbright regarding my university placement. I couldn't absorb what he was talking about cuz I was assured several times that that was it! But the man kept telling me that he got a new answer from them saying that they got me a placement in a new university, and that they would send me an email with full details about it all. Then I knew that I had only one month, if not less, to finalize all my papers, get the visa and head to the U.S., and that's why I had to cut short my trip to Jordan and go back home to do the rest of the paper work and get done with packing.

I was interviewed for the visa and got it on the same day, but I was already a few days late for the beginning of the semester in the university, and then we had a long curfew and some situation-related issues in Baghdad that prevented me from going to pick up my passport and visa, and so I ended up being two weeks late! Anyways, I got my itinerary and started my journey on Saturday, September 2nd. I spent more than 18 hours in the sky, transferred in four airplanes starting from Baghdad – Jordan – London – Washington D.C. – then another city before my final destination. My first port of entry in the U.S. was Washington D.C... I arrived there at night on September 3rd, and had to catch another flight on the same night to another city, but that flight was rescheduled till the next morning, so I was checked into a hotel room near the airport. I was too tired, though so happy for arriving to the States at last without having one single problem or an obstacle. It even took me less that five minutes to have my papers checked and my passport and visa stamped, and that was cool as I heard about the so many stories of having put to some sort of investigations and questioning at the airports. Luckily, none of that happened to me.

The moment I heard the crew-man in the airplane saying that we were landing in D.C. and I started to see the land, trees and buildings, I couldn't help not crying and wanting just to jump from the plane and walking out! I was beyond happy and so overwhelmed and kept reminding myself that that was a truth now and not just a dream anymore. I worked hard during the previous two years in order to make this dream come true, and now it's a truth and I'm living it, though still sometimes when I sit with myself and think back I feel that I'm in a dream and can't believe that I'm here and a student, again!

The first two weeks were the hardest, and since I missed the orientation and the first week of classes, I had to learn everything on my own. The first problem I had was with the electrical cords as I had to change them all, and it took me a week to get the internet connection in my laptop. I was getting crazy just wanting to talk with my family, I felt so alone and abandoned especially in the first week, I missed my family immensly and I was crying every time I talked with them, and even cried over silly things like one time when I thought I lost a phone card to call my family!!! I kept crying and searching for the card for a long time, and then I cried even more when I found it in one of the drawers!!! I laugh so much when I remember this now :P luckily, my roommate wasn't in the room to see me in that crazy state!

It's been a month and a half since I came here, and I don’t know how time is passing so quickly! Sometimes I just don’t remember if I did a certain thing today or yesterday for how fast the time is passing… and this is also making a conflict for me with studying as there is hardly a time to do anything else beside reading three huge novels, several articles and writing responses every week!! I haven't been out of campus except for Wal-Mart for a couple of times! I have a fall break for a week which started just today, and when I thought that I would have some time to rest and maybe go somewhere and see places and stuff, I was faced with deadlines to work on the final papers and do some presentations and readings ahead of time!! So, there is literally NO break for me this time!!

There is just so much that has been going on since I came here, I went to a football game on my second week. It was in the campus, and though I didn't know the rules of the game and how they were playing, I had fun watching it. Then the university was holding a homecoming celebration last weekend and I went there too. I haven't seen a parade before, and this one was so cool.

There is a problem with uploading the photos with the post; Blogger doesn't take it!!!


Anonymous said...

Wal-Mart! Well, what else is there? :)

What do you think of American style football? I think at highschool and college level, football is the most fun sport, for players and spectators both.

Really glad you had time to write a post and update everyone, Morbido!

Highlander said...

Congrats again Morbido , it's good to see you settled and happy, the tone of your 'voice'sounds different. I don't know what Wal-Mart is ( probably some supermarket) but I know it can happen to get stuck on campus and not go out much. Do your assignements and take it easy sweetie.

Gosh you reminded me so much of myself, except I had not missed orientation week but my luggage was lost and so I had no clothes to change for more than 2 weeks LOL and did not have enough money to buy new sets . Also I cried the first week because houses and streets seemed so different than Libya... :)

Marshmallow26 said...

Hello Morbido

It is so nice to hear from you again and from the States...
You worked very hard and now you are tasting the flavor of this achievement.

Is the study there harder than here in Iraq?

Are there people watching you 24/7 like security people, in case if you need some thing or lose some thing cuz you are a Fulbrighter?

Please write more and more, your posts give me a glimpse of hope about my unpredicted scholarship..

Take care

white rose said...

hi morbido :) and congrats on ur scholarship (although its a bit late!)
oh @ about u having no time, u better get used to it!! i hear students in graduate studies barely have time to scratch their hair :)
good luck with everything ;)

Lisa, New York said...

Wow, it seems like you really have your hands full, Morbido.

I hope things slow down soon so you can relax and enjoy yourself. I'm sure you're doing great in your classes. Just hang in there. Before you know it, this semester will be over. Time really does fly. I remember when I was in college, at the beginning of a semester it seemed like it would never end... and then all of a sudden it was over and I'd say "where did the time go??"

Try to enjoy every experience. This is a great time in your life. I'm so happy you got the scholarship and achieved your dream. :-)

Original_Jeff said...

It is great to hear from you Morbido!

I am glad things are going well for you in the U.S. and that you have had a chance to experience some American things like American football.

I am sure you will have a Thanksgiving break coming up in November that might give you some more time off.

I am always interested in the observations of first-time visitors to the USA. What is surprising to you? Do you notice cultural differences between Americans and Iraqis? How have you been treated by Americans? What about students from other countries? Do Americans think differently about family, education, their country, their religion, etc?

Jeffrey said...

Welcome, Morbido! It's great news to hear that the Fulbright finally went through and you're here in the States.

(And a hello to Lisa from New York from one of the old gang.)


Tom Villars said...

Congrats on making your way to the US.

David said...

Hi Morbido! :) I am amazed by the details of your journey here! So much to do and less than a month to get it all done. Then four airplanes to get you most of the way. What a whirlwind all that must have been! Well, I am really happy for you that things worked out so that you could come here and realize your dream!

I am curious, does your university have semesters or quarters for its academic calendar? When I was in college and grad school, I always had semesters which are longer. I think that a quarter system allows a fairly long winter break. Maybe you will have a chance to do some interesting things then, but I hope you will have some free time sooner than that!

Ah football! Definitely an American college tradition. Glad you had fun, but be careful, the game is addictive, but such an enjoyable addiction! :)

Please try again to post your pictures. I would love to see them! Good luck with all your deadlines!

Michomeme said...

nice post sis, i'm so happy for you, but promis me you won't cry ok!!

i miss u
i love you


Tommy said...

Great to hear from you! Im glad to see you experienced Wal-Mart. I practically live in that store. LOL!I can't give you much advice about college (im going next fall..ahh!)but just hang in there and focus and you'll be finished with all your work in no time.

Can't wait for another post!

Anonymous said...


Have a lovely Day!!

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Nice post. I see an improvement in your writing, btw.

Hmmm...Walmart. I'm a Target kind of girl, myself. :)

No doubt there will be Halloween activities coming up. Always an enjoyable holiday. Hopefully you will get a chance to get involved.

Football is pretty easy. If you like the game, you'll pick it up quick.

kars said...

a long and very interesting story! ;-)

CharlesWT said...

When the temperature drops and the snow starts to fly, Summer in Baghdad without electricity will seem like a (bad) dream. :)

Don't let the university intelligentsia find out that you shop at Wal-Mart. You'll be labeled a capitalist lackey and a traitor to the proletariat. :))

I hope you can get some spare time soon so you can catch up, settle in, get comfortable and not feel like you are on a run-away treadmill. The time dilations come with being in a new environment. The days last forever and the weeks pass in a flash.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm glad you finally wrote something Morbid! Yeah, I'm pretty busy too. That's why I haven't written anything till late last night on my blog. "It even took me less that five minutes to have my papers checked and my passport and visa stamped, and that was cool as I heard about the so many stories of having put to some sort of investigations and questioning at the airports. Luckily, none of that happened to me." Well, that's happened to me one of the seven times I've re-entered the country. That one time happened to be after 9/11. All the airlines had fired their baggage handlers so we had to wait two hours after landing to get our bags. Then, ICE decides to randomly select us for searching. Ah, the joys of our inefficient Customs, haha! Welcome to the myth of Fall Break. We had ours earlier this month; I went to go see my girlfriend during it and came back to a Mandarin test the next day. What do you think of football? Please, e-mail what university you're attending. Ours got smacked last weekend! Glad to see you're enjoying it here! Take care!

Treasure of Baghdad said...

Hey Morbido,
I laughed at the part of the fall "break"... I was assigned to cover three political events and file them during the "break"... so like u said, it's not a break! I don't know why many things here have to be put in quotation marks!!!

Take care!

Hajar said...

I'm so glad you made it and I wish you the best!