Thursday, September 13, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Here's another post that I write without thinking. I think this idea works for me now!

Last year on this day, I arrived to the U.S. and I still remember every moment of this year in details as if I'm still living it now. I arrived on September 2nd, at 7:20 PM to Washington DC and I remember that I started to cry the moment I saw the trees and buildings from the plane's window not believing that I was finally here. I was supposed to catch a second flight on the same night but it was rescheduled, so I stayed in a hotel at the airport, and the moment I got there I looked for internet to send emails to my family and friends informing them of my safe arrival. The second morning I went to the airport and got the flight to Pittsburgh, and then I was supposed to get a bus to another town but it was Labor Day and the only transportation I could find was an expensive Taxi, so I took it and got to the town where the campus is but I still couldn't get there because of the holiday which was also a good thing for me since I needed to sleep so badly and I couldn't concentrate on anything anymore. It was the 3rd of September by then.

I got a room in a little motel that the university recommended for me before I arrived, and I remember that I slept till the next morning! I woke up for a while in the evening and I was hungry but I didn't go out to get some food because I was raining and I didn't know if there were restaurants near there because all I could see was a big Staples Store sign and huge parking lot. Well, later I knew that there was Walmart and a whole bunch of stores in that place :D

So, I got to campus the next morning and finished the paperwork and took the keys for my dorm apartment, and wrote that post from my roommate's laptop that was written in some funny forms other that English! The first two weeks were the hardest, but I remember that everything was getting easier for me (except classes!) and I was learning to do things easier and faster by then. The only thing I regret neglecting is the social life! I was scared of socializing with people that much and couldn't make friends quick which made it even harder for me during the first semester. I had big plans of traveling to some places during the winter break, but because of my lack of friends I had to stay in my apartment during the whole break all by myself, and it was very cold and snowy by then that it was so hard to go anywhere. And then came the New Year's Eve which I spent all by myself feeling lonely and not knowing what to do. And it was on that day that I swore not to stay alone on next New Year's Eve.

The first semester was over and the second one began with plans to move to a single room, make some friends, and participate in the university's activities. I achieved some of that during the second semester, went to Miami and Washington DC, and passed my classes well. But the friends I made went back to their countries after the semester was over as they were all exchange students for one semester. So I was back to point zero once again! I don't know what happened, but it was always easy for me to make friends when I was still in Baghdad, and whenever I think of it I can't find any explanation. I sit in class and see that students are talking with each other all the time about their lives and families and makes me think that they must know each other very well, but how do I do that. I do talk with my classmates but I still feel that it's just a formal conversation between people who are taking the same class. Is it because I am relatively younger than the other students that they think I'm just too young to talk to, or is it that I'm from Iraq and they don't know how I think of them and of their country that they are cautious of making friends with me, or is it just that I have to work harder to improve my social skills which seem to be deteriorating in order to make some friends? And above all that, the town I'm in is really boring and there is nothing to do at all! I thought of getting a job this semester just for the sake of socializing, but then I thought of all the reading and writing that I have to do for my courses. I mean the load of coursework is just so much that sometimes I can't even find enough time to finish it, and I'm starting with my thesis now which means that it will be even harder this semester.

I can't believe how many things can happen in one year, how many faces and names can one meet, how many new places to see and experiences to have. It's just amazing! Last year I wasn't sure if I was able to get to this stage, and now I look back at it and realize that I've learned a lot from this experience, from living by myself in a foreign country, and by depending completely on myself with everything I do. The simplest decision that I make takes a whole research and thinking from me because I am the only one who decides for me and it's my responsibility to keep my mind alert at all times, which, by the way, is not an easy task at all! Sometimes I get tired of this and wish if I have the chance to be lazy for one day and depend on someone to do everything for me, but I know I can't do that as long as I'm alone and away from home. Sorry, my brain, but I think that I need to keep you fully awake for another day! I came here with nothing but hopes, fears, expectations and a dream to make come true... oh, and two huge suitcases! :P And so far, nothing failed me at all.

Let's see where I will be writing the post next year on this time! What's after graduation is still a mystery for me.