Part II…The disorientation
My first day at school was around 2 weeks after I arrived. I’d love to talk in details about those 2 weeks..but I just can’t. I got in the bus, and remembered everything my friend told me to do. Say hello, then insert 55 cents into the machine by the driver and say “can I have a transfer please” I did exactly that..and walked to the back of the bus, as I used to do in my high school days. I tried not to stare at people’s eyes. Maybe that’s why I sat so far in the back. This was the first time I go through cleveland’s ohio streets. The past 2 weeks were just driving close to home with friends. But now,….. I’m on my own.
I got off the buss in downtown, and I was amazed to see tall buildings and so many people, in one area. As I was waiting for my next buss, I saw few pigeons gathering around me. I laughed internally and imagined how I would chase such birds if I was in al-ain. We used to do that a lot when I was growing up, with my friends, chasing birds and cats. But now,…I’m on my own
The college, which to my surprise is also called “school” here in this part of the world, looked different. I was expecting to see few buildings, all isolated within a wall, just like high school. But it wasn’t. It was many buildings in part of downtown, and looked like a small town. But it’s ok…now I have to concentrate on registering for classes. I remember how first day at school looked like when I was growing up. Well..it was like any normal day, you walk to your class, and your given books, and that’s it. Now I have to ask questions, and look for lines, and would need to have the courage to ask. I have to be honest, I was a little shy to approach people. From line to line, walking with few hundred dollar bills, scared that someone will steal them from me, just trying to find my way to the right line. It’s so harsh I tell you…for now, I’m on my own.
Then some girl felt pity for me. She asked me “do you know your way around here?” My answer was No. She said “neither I, lets help each others and go through this day” with some witness in her eyes as if she was about to burst. So we got together, and we were able to go through the day. Except when I was about to pay my tuition, and when the cashier said “$1800” (some where around there), and I started to count hundred dollar bills. Then we both walked toward the cafeteria, as I was about to express the Arabic honor of no woman shall pay for lunch in the presence of a man. We ordered some sandwiches, and I held her hand when she was about to pay for her’s and I said “no no I pay”. I could tell the surprise looks in her eyes, and maybe they were the looks of “where did this idiot come from? What land?” So we sat down, and we were eating. It’s so good now, because few hours ago, I was terrified for the fact that I was..on my own.
We started talking about school, majors, and then where I came from. Then the religion part came about. Anyway, I managed to tell her that I don’t eat “pig meat”. She said “you are eating a ham sandwich”. I replied “yes I know, it’s really good, we call it mortadella back home”. I found out later that ham is pork and is also pig’s meat. I learned so many things in the first few weeks. I did manage to be a friend with this girl, she was really kind, Although my friends did suspect that I had something going on between me and her, but nothing ever happened. I did try, but she was a very strict catholic, and no I know what that means. God it’s so wonderful being on my own.
Or is it not? True I was having fun every day and almost every night, but when I tuck myself in bed, and get ready to sleep, I start remembering my life. Suddenly, I’m away from home, mom, my little sisters, brothers. Now this is becoming realty. I am sleeping in a house without my mom around me. Sure I was almost 18 years old, but hey, it was a major change that happened so fast. Now who’s going to wake up in the morning back home and prepare the tea, and the breakfast for my sisters and brothers before they go to school? I used to do that. Who’s going to take my youngest brother to the arcade on almadina street in alain? I used to do that. I started remembering my life that is now suddenly changing. I left the girl I loved for 3 years. I left my friends. My football games in the small playfield that we, boys, built it’s goal posts and cleaned it from rocks. I just realized that now I’m on my own.
Sleep now my friend, for tomorrow is another day. I tried to convince myself that shedding a couple of tears wouldn’t make me les of a man. Funny that it didn’t take me long to acknowledge that, still, I covered my head under the sheet, and cried like a baby, and although I was alone in the room, still, I was worried that someone may see me crying. I just wanted to get it over with so I can concentrate on my classes tomorrow. I’m going to start writing in English now, and those who went through the first day of school in the west, know that it is not easy fitting in class on day one. God it is scary being on my own.
Crazy & random thoughts
8 years ago