Saturday, August 23, 2014

USA Diaries

Aug 17, 2014
Dear Diary,

Whoa again!

There’s so much to tell you, there is so much to write, I can’t believe I haven’t started writing it all down already. It’s August 17, 2014, Sunday, as I’m writing it. Exactly 10 days since this journey has begun.  A crazy journey! Wait, should I call it crazy? I’m not sure. But I’ve been overwhelmed with stuff and I’m so glad to be finally able to write it all down. The sound of keyboard is music to my ears at the moment. It’s giving me so much satisfaction to finally record my thoughts before they get rusty.

August 7, 2014. The day I left my home to enter into a new world of things I had never experienced, to meet people I would never have thought of meeting with, to go to places that I would have never gone to, otherwise. What a day it was! The day before that, I was carrying a bundle of mixed emotions with me. I didn’t know how I was feeling. I was happy and sad both at the same time. I think I still am. But I don’t really know what to say about it. I remember that day I was filled up with emotions. I was going through things that people wouldn’t understand. Of course, they would not. Because I never gave them the chance to understand that. I was filled with emotions and I was feeling emotionless both at the same time. And as I’m writing it today, I feel like I still feel the same way. I don’t know. A couple hours before I had to leave for the airport, I was lying down with my mother in the room with lights turned out. It helped me to cry without getting caught but who was I kidding? Of course they caught me crying. I have never been this far away from home. I have never lived in a dorm with a stranger. I have never stayed away from home for this long. Maybe the thought of what I was about to experience was scaring me. And there were other things too that made me cry. I tried to control myself but it was hard, trust me it was. So an hour later when I finally got up from my bed, everybody could see my puffy, red eyes. What else I could do? I have always been that little kid in the house that gets too much attention and it was hard for me to say goodbye to my family; my mother and father, and my sisters. I remember when the day for my departure was coming nearer, one of my siblings started giving me kisses on my cheek, out of nowhere. Sometimes I would get a hug from another sibling whenever it would hit her that I was about to leave in a few days. They were all so happy and proud of me. They still are. But the fact that I wasn’t going to live with them was something difficult for them and for me to accept.

On my way to the airport, at about 3 AM, on isolated, well lit, beautiful golden roads, sitting in the car, I cried again. I realized something that day. I knew I wouldn’t really cry this much once I’d get to my destination. I understood that what makes us cry is saying goodbye. It’s so hard to say goodbye. It is just so brutally hard to do that, it demands your eyes to show how much painful it is to do so. But it was an episode of the journey that I had embarked on. I’m the kind of person who gets very excited over small things. It’s another story that the excitement doesn’t really show on my face because I’m not very showy over such things. So when I say that I had experienced my first airplane ride that day, I’m pretty excited about telling that. I was pretty excited experiencing the pre-sitting-on-a-plane experience and the post-sitting-on-a-plane experience. What happened to be a stab to my excitement was getting a middle seat instead of the window seat. I wanted to see outside and enjoy the view but the luck wasn’t on my side. I reached at the Dubai airport in a couple of hours. Dubai airport is huge, all fancy and glamorous. I had to spend 13 hours there and I was tired and not sure what to do. So I took a tour of the airport and then mostly I spent my time in the ladies’ prayer room. I saw a lot of ladies coming from different countries in that room, praying and then going away. There’s one worth mentioning thing that happened to me at Dubai. I was in the prayer room, making dua after my prayer when a girl entered there, picked out the Qur’an from her bag and started reciting. She had a very good voice. After I was done making the dua, I crouched on my knees and started folding my prayer mat, when I heard her saying, “No, no, no, no.. please sit back down again and make dua for me.” I was startled at first and looked at her with a question marked face. Then she said again, “I was seeing you make dua and I felt like you make dua right from your heart. I want you to make dua for me as well.” I smiled and asked what does she want me to ask from Allah for her and she replied, “Everything good in dunya (this world) and everything good in akhirat (the hereafter).” And I did so. After I was done doing that, she hugged me. We started talking about Islam and Allah and the conversation with her was so soothing. I really liked meeting a person like her.

I wandered around the airport before boarding for my flight to Washington. That was one long flight. I wanted to sleep and get all cozy but it’s not easy to get cozy when you’re on an airplane, sitting in the middle, yawning every now and then and not getting a chance to enjoy a wink of sleep. But the time passed and I finally set my feet in Washington. The days in Washington were sprinting around. My schedule was tight. I was not getting proper sleep and there was so much to learn before heading off to my destination, Missouri. The place where I was staying had a dining hall. I had to get down to the dining hall at 7 AM because that was the time when the breakfast was served. Breakfast, by the way, was the best meal of the day. The rest of the meals were a dilemma between halal and haram so I’d almost always end up eating an apple or some fries. While I was in Washington I went to see the Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian. And I also went to see The White House and The Capitol Building. There’s this street in D.C, where there are a lot of embassies of countries around the world. I liked that. The buildings there were beautiful and there was just so much to see, I wanted to soak in everything but they say, you probably need more than a year if you want to see all of the amazing buildings and attractions they have there. While touring the D.C., it almost made me feel like I was living Dan Brown's book, ‘The Lost Symbol’. I had already read about those buildings in ‘The Lost Symbol’ and now actually getting to see them was quite an amazing experience for a reader like me. Oh, also that day when I was given a little tour of D.C., I finally ate some good food in an Afghani Restaurant after such a long time. I could finally fill up my plate without getting suspicious about the meat being halal or haram. That was the day when I saw ‘naan’ after so many days and had ‘qahwa’ after my meal. I came back to the place where I was staying at around 11 PM. I had 4 hours to get some rest before going to the Dulles Airport to catch my plane for Kansas City. Like I said before, I was overwhelmed! I managed to get some sleep and then came back down again at 3 AM where the shuttles were standing to take me and the rest of the participants to the airport. I spent 6 hours at the Dulles Airport. Yes, it was tiring. Then I finally got on my plane, and was flown to Kansas City. At the Kansas City Airport, representatives from my university were standing holding a placard in their hands. They took us to their cars, and from there we were driven all the way to Warrensburg, which is going to be my town for some time now. I’m getting to know my university now. It’s quite big, the campus. It has several places that one would enjoy going to. The town itself has a country touch to it. While the car was driving on the roads to Warrensburg, I could almost listen to John Denver’s songs ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ and ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ playing in my head.

But now I want to think how I feel about all of it. It had never been this way; there was so much dumped on my mind to think about that I never got the time to think about the things I actually like to think about. It made me sad when I realized that I’m not even getting the time to think but now that when I’m finally getting a chance to write it all down, it’s making me feel somewhat better. I needed time with myself only. I know I won’t be getting it that much but I need to work a way out for myself one way or another.
Dear Diary! I’ve found the people of Warrensburg very nice and helpful. I’ve always liked people and now after meeting the people here, it has added up to the faith that I never lose in humanity.

I like the view from my dorm window, especially at night, when the golden lights get turned on and make the road look like it’s made of gold. Sometimes I want to stand by the window and watch the cars go by. It gets so quite at night, and you can finally find some serenity from the hustle and bustle of the whole day. One night, I was sleeping with my back against the window. I turned to the other side, now facing the window, and my eyes opened up from the sleep. I could’ve shut them back right that very next moment but they caught sight of the outside view. There was a calm breeze blowing outside, and the leaves on the trees were dancing to the rhythm of the breeze. The golden light was turned on like always, and I could see the black sky in the stark contrast to golden-green leaves. I didn’t want to lose that sight so I kept staring outside, lying in my bed, and then the sight itself became a lullaby for me and I don’t know when did I go back to sleep that night. Sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, I almost think that I’m in my own home, and not in a dorm, but when the realization hits me, it brings a tinge of sadness to me. I don’t know, dear Diary! I really don’t. There’s just so much I’m going through that I’m inundated in my emotions.

Thank you for listening to me. 

With love,


  1. Wow I hope you have a great time at university/college. What are you studying there?

  2. Enjoy rest of the journey! It won't last forever.