ALL THE WAY TO USA <3
‘And here I am, standing at the airport, few hours left to ride on the plane which will lead to my destiny, my dream land.’ August 26th ’2013.
Have you ever experienced that one feel you have when there are only few hours left in chasing something that you have been dreaming about, for so long? If not, let me tell you how it feels. You feel like a creature having your head up, looking at the destination point. The feel of pain because of the whole bunch of goodbyes you said. The whole bunch of excitement, enthusiasm, curiosity and no patience. You dream yourself few hours ahead, making up your mind, thinking how you are going to feel while you get there and achieve one of your goals of life.
I arrived in USA on August 27th’ 2013. Our first destination was Washington DC, the country’s capital. As we reached the airport, there was bunch of immigration process until we finally got our luggage and as we came out of the arrival gate, we were surrounded by The YES alumni cheering out loud, boosting our hopes up and trust me, all the jet-legged feel ran away. We met students from Yemen, Mali and few more countries, over there. It was amazing. Coming to America, you are not going to make friends living in America but you get to meet people belonging to different parts of the world.
On our way to the Building that we were supposed to stay, I got to see the beauty that DC had. All the big trees, huge buildings and people belonging to different races. Indeed, America is one of the most diversified lands.
As soon as we reached there, the only frustrating part was to take care of our luggage. Trust me, packing was not that much tough as much carrying the luggage was.
Every room had almost four students. Two of my roommates were Bosnians (Ilma and Adna) and one was from Pakistan (Kisa). It was so fun, being in the room, sharing our experiences, acting as if we know each other for so long and above all having the best time together. I still remember how tough it was to say goodbye to each other. I hope to see them soon.
We had different teams based on different colors. I was in the blue team. Every team had almost students from all the different countries present in DC at that time for the orientation. It was the best way to learn about different cultures, know different ideas and above all have the craziest time with everyone.
Well, Three days stay in the beautiful city, we all were really enthusiastic and were looking forward for all the upcoming sessions and outings. The very first day we got an opportunity to visit a museum and also go to Martin Luther’s memorial on the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s, I HAVE A DREAM speech. We visited THE WHITE HOUSE too, when the president was inside the residence. The best part of visiting THE WHITE HOUSE was holding up the flag of Pakistan high. It was a moment to connect the east and the west, which is one of the reason why we are here
I still remember how talking in our native language used to confuse each other and at that point English was a tool to get connected. We still taught URDU to bunch of YES students belonging to different countries. It was so amazing. I learned Macedonian and Arabic too. It was more like an exchange between us. We all were completely different and new to each other, but the bonding of being a HUMAN brought up somewhat similarities between us. We were beyond race, color, and creed and accepted each others as a part of one big family.
I visited two museums in Washington DC and trust me, Americans know how to preserve their valuable things and how to present it well, this is what I perceived so far. It was amazing as I actually felt like I am there at that time, living those little tiny moments, all because of every single details.
Cultural night was one of the most amazing experiences I ever had. For once I was between performances of particular cultures. Hooting a loud, joining my voice in theirs, I had the time of my life. I dressed up as a Punjabi girl with heavy jewels, to show them the colors our culture has by my dress. The whole world was in one room, showing the love, the bonding, ignoring the differences and connecting the globe together. I still remember those smiles and the respect everyone gave to each other’s culture. It gives us a message of brotherhood and staying connected.
The American council’s workers and all the YES alumni made these three days THE BEST for us. We felt so honored to be with them and happy to be a part of the YES family. They helped us getting through all the queries and gave us an amazing platform to be friends with different students belonging to different parts. I still feel honored to meet Cindy, as she is one of those who helped me keeping my hopes high and look forward to all the tough moments with a big smile. Our blue team leaders and every other leader, I guess their hard work made everyone’s three days stay in Washington DC, the best.
We shared gifts with each other and one of our mates also applied henna on other countries' students hand. I was honored to received cultural gifts from my friends belonging to Mali and Yemen. It is very valuable to me, as it strengthen the bond of my culture with theirs.
On Friday, my tears couldn't get a hold. Hugging each other, giving good luck wishes, it was time to hold on to the amazing memories until we meet again.
I had connecting flights. From DC to Chicago and then to my final destination. My new house, my new land and my new life.
People say 'you don't live a year but you actually LIVE in that year.'
Keeping aside the emotions, I came out of the plane with Nabeel (another Exchange student going to my city) excited, confused, in hope to meet my family soon.
My excitement didn't fail, except it was worth it. I remember how seeing their faces made me happy, a relief in my heart that I am between my people, a smile on my face that everything is going to get beautiful now, I am going to live my life in this one year and that made me run, hug my host mom tight.
The exciting one year has begun. I have achieved my dream but it has brought in many other goals. It is going to be a fun, challenging and A YEAR TO BE MADE, not break.