Saturday, September 13, 2014

USA Diaries - Experiences

Alright, I have to do this. I need to do this. I'll be sharing my experiences in America here. Some day I'll get back here and read what I've written. I don't know how I would feel at that time. I don't know that, but there'd be something I'd know I had written. Whatever I felt having those experiences, will be coming straight from my heart here. My USA Diary.

September 12, 2014

Dear Diary,
I told you a lot in my previous post and guess what, it wasn't even half of what I wanted to say. I wish I could record every moment and save it somewhere just so that I could show it to all the people with whom I want to share my life in America. This might sound a bit abrupt but, here goes..

The convention center, where I was staying at D.C, was beautiful. Well, it was my kind of place. I could spend a lot of time outside with the trees and the grass and the bushes. One thing I like about America is 'the benches,' that's right. You'd see many benches while roaming in America, in the parks, on campus, maybe along a street, just to sit on it and to admire the view. You'd see a small table for two out in the balconies so that friends, couples, mom and son, dad and daughter, could come out and sit on the balcony, in the evening with a cup of coffee and admire the view outside. Doesn't it sound nice? It looked nice too. I admire these people for making it look so beautiful. I really do.

I can spend a great deal of time mediating here, on this bench.

We were around 100 students in D.C, for the Welcome Workshop and when we got there, we were split into 4 teams. Each team had its own name. And each team was given a colour. They gave us shirts which said Global UGRAD Pakistan. Each team got a separate color. One team got purple shirts, the other two got green and blue. I was in Team Washington and we got yellow shirts so yellow was our colour. They arranged some games for us. We won one but lost the rest so basically our team lost. Before starting the game each team had to come up with a chant to support their respective teams, and, well, I happened to make ours. We had only 10 minutes to come up with a chant so it's going to sound a bit stupid but don't laugh, okay? At least I came up with something. Since we were Team Washington, our chant went like this:

We are one
You are done

Err, yeah. Well, oh and we had to do some moves with it too, but anyway, that was our chant.

Hey Diary, I must have told it to you before. D.C. is beautiful! The buildings and architecture, it all looks so wonderful. You would want to keep looking at it. You'd want to stay there. The roads are wider and cleaner. You'd see flowers on the sidewalks. Beautiful lampposts with flower-pots hanging on them. I saw a bicycle there, someone had parked it on the side walk, along the flower fence. Even that was looking beautiful. I don't know if it was beautiful for everyone or not, but to me, yes! it was.

I want to tell you all about what's happening with me and my university, too. I want to tell you things that have happened here. People I have met. I want to to tell you the difference I see here. I'm doing okay. Sometimes, even while just walking toward my dorm or classroom or anywhere, really, I stop and think about the days that sprinted behind me. Everything happened just so quickly that it seemed to me that I was picked up and thrown at this place. I don't even know what's happening sometimes. I talk to people but then I want to stay with my own self.

Well, back in Pakistan I used to see the moon, a lot. I would search the sky for the moon and look at it and admire its beauty. Since the day I came to America, I didn't get to see the moon until about a week ago, which is strange, I know. I was feeling sad and every night I searched the sky for a single sight of moon but I guess the windows of my room give the view of opposite side of sky that holds the moon. But I wanted to see it and the stars too so I asked one of my friends, Michelle, if she could take me somewhere where I could see the whole sky. Complete sky.  All of it, with the moon and the stars. Everything! Well of course there was such place. She's so nice, this girl, she took me to a lake at night. It was 9 PM and we were there all alone. I could occasionally hear a fish jumping out from the water. And a goose flying just above the water. But when I looked up at the sky, it contained the stars! So many of them. And the moon too, it was beautiful. The moon was full and it hid many stars. So the night was not very starry. But still, it had a lot of stars, I could see so many of them. I felt like I was home. The sky was my home. It was the same sky, it had the same moon and it contained the same stars. That was my sky just before my eyes. I laid down and watched the sky and it was so beautiful. I found the brightest star, too. Well, my cousin, Afzaal bhai, he lives in London. Once when he was in Pakistan and his day for departure back to London was coming near, I told him that I'd be going to miss him a lot. We were sitting under the sky and he pointed toward the brightest star. He said that's him so whenever I would miss him, I'd only have to look at the brightest star in the sky and that would be him looking at me. And after that I've told people the same. Well it's not like many people have told me that they'll miss me but when Michelle said that she'd miss me when I'll go back to Pakistan, I told her that she'd just have to look at the brightest star every time she'd miss me because that would be me and I'd probably be looking at the same brightest star from Pakistan. Well, and so it goes for you, dear diary! Will you find the brightest star whenever you'll miss me? That'd be me, looking for you as well.

Michelle is a photographer. I asked her to take a picture of the moon for me. Sadly, the lens was not powerful enough to capture the stars. But the moon looked so pretty.

I'm taking a course called Learning Strategies. Of all the courses I'm taking, I like it the most. Our instructor Mrs. Goetz, gives us assignments twice a week. So for my first week of this course, I had to turn in a paper writing about one thing that represented me. I got my graded assignment back the next week and while she was handing me my assignment, she smiled at me and then looked at the paper and then back at me again. She said she enjoyed reading my paper a lot and that it made her smile. She told me it was very special, whatever I had written in it. It made me so happy knowing that she thought whatever I had written was very special.

Oh, and I got to know about my result too. I've cleared my 3rd semester back in my home university. Wow, I'm growing up. Time is moving by fast. Well, time is strange; sometimes it seems to have stopped completely and sometimes it doesn't even give me time to think. Why does time do this? Do you feel the same?

I had a presentation on Wednesday for my Business Communication class. The instructor asked the students to pick a day for their presentations from three days. We could either present on Wednesday (that was just after one day), Monday or next Wednesday. When he asked us to list our names for 'the day when we want to present', everybody wanted to go for either Monday or next Wednesday. I wanted to do it on Monday mainly because I wanted to get an idea about how presentations differ in America from what we do in Pakistan. Well, almost everybody chose Monday and next Wednesday so I just picked the coming Wednesday. I had a rubric to follow. I knew what the professor was expecting from us so I signed up for Wednesday instead. Intrestingly, I was not nervous at all for my very first presentation in America and surprisingly, it turned out quite well. Everybody liked it. Each one of my classmates had to rate my presentation individually along with their comments. At the end of the class all of them handed out their rate sheet to me. The most interesting part was to see the different versions of my name on those sheets. They can't spell it, they can't pronounce it but they try. Which, I believe is quite nice of them.

Yashi, Yusia, Yusera,Yushira, Everything BUT Yusra.
Yesterday, I had to give a presentation on Pakistan. I went to a middle school and there was a class waiting for me to present my country in front of them. I had to go there right after my class so I woke up in the morning and dressed up in my traditional dress. Even though it was quite cold but I wore khussay when I could have worn boots because it was raining as well. Well, it wasn't raining very hard but it was misty. But anyway, since I was representing Pakistan so I had to look like a Pakistani from head to toe. Before I entered the class in which I had to present, the teacher in whose class I was presenting, came out and looked at me and exclaimed, "Oh my! Look at her. Look at that dress." Well, Americans here, they get quite fascinated by your dresses. She liked it a lot. I entered the classroom and the middle schoolers, they went all, "Whoaaa! That's a pretty dress there." Well, it was just a normal dress, really but they liked it quite a lot. I hung the flag and map of Pakistan on the hooks of one of the whiteboards and after that I started my presentation. Before presenting Pakistan to them, I asked the students what's the one word that comes to their mind when they hear the word Pakistan. One of them replied, "sand" and another one replied, "goats". It brought a smile to my face. I showed them on the map the parts of Pakistan that were "sandy" and that "goats" are not the only thing that one can see in Pakistan. I told them about the food, and the dresses and our cultures and traditions. With their chins, resting in the cup of their hands, they were listening to me. I felt like  a grandmother telling a story to her grandchildren infront of a cozy fire place. I told them some of the words in Urdu and they tried to speak those words. I had brought some Pakistani snacks for them and they ate them while listening to my presentation. I showed them how girls cover their heads when they go out, with my dupatta and the teacher of that class suddenly stood up from her seat and asked me if she could take my picture. She said she wanted to write about me and my presentation in a paper so she had to take my picture to put with her writing. I loved answering their questions about Pakistan and my culture. I loved doing that. While I was about to leave, one of the girls stopped me and asked me to wait for her because she wanted to bring her phone for taking a picture with me. They were all so fascinated by the culture and my dress and my language. It was an amazing experience. I liked doing that. Specially for the cute little middle schoolers who have a plethora of questions to ask and who are always curious about things.

I want to tell you all about Chicago as well. But I might do that in my next post. I really hope you liked sharing my experiences with you. I'll get back to you soon.

Thank you for listening.
With love,


  1. This was an amazing post, I really enjoyed reading it from top to bottom (:

  2. My cousin the future famous author <3