Day 3 In My New World

Let me start off by saying I am grateful for family.

Now that I have officially left home for the first time, successfully traveled internationally on my own for the first time – switched flights successfully and gone through a three-hour long immigration – and basically just experienced a bunch of other first times – I feel a bit weird.

As if there is a rope tied around my waist, but its connecting me to nothing anymore.

I’m definitely not experiencing the full effects of moving abroad yet because I had family a few hours from where my college is, and they were kind enough to take care of me for a few days before international student orientation.

breakfast view

I’ve never met these relatives before, but I feel so at home. Day 3 is going good so far and I didn’t have to deal with too much jet lag. There was definitely exhaustion after the 48 hours of no sleep while I was traveling, but I made up for some of that with 11 hours of sleep at night, all according to US timings. That was a win.

And while I am recording my first few days’ experience here, can I just say my favorite part is the TREES? I did not expect that.  I’m in a cute town in New Jersey, and all I stared at on the drive from JFK Airport to New Jersey was the greenery. Also let me put it out there that the spaced-out roads and open space reminded me of Islamabad and the greenery was somewhat like Lahore. The traffic was like a more civilized version of what I endured on roads in Karachi for the past couple of years.

Other noteworthy things include:

  • JFK airport staff is surprisingly unhelpful even if they see you are close to tears because you haven’t slept in 36 hours, just came out of a three hour immigration line where you were fighting to stay awake, and can’t find your luggage and are terrified you will have no clothes for college and collapse in exhaustion. They are quite unhelpful and tell you to wait for someone from your airline to attend to you. Even if you have to wait the whole damn night (I’m assuming.)
  • JFK TSA (if that’s who they were) folk are nice to you if you look half-asleep and like a weakling who can’t shove your baggage onto the security ramp.
  • It helps to have both origin times and destination times on you for at least a few hours after you land. I kept referring to my phone for US timings and to my watch for Pakistan timings and to be honest, that was all that kept me busy during immigration. Just thinking about how my parents were up at 3am back home, waiting to hear from me after immigration was done.
  • Jersey sweet corn is actually sweet.
  • All the houses and motels along the highway look like something out of a storybook or a movie, with small, raised front porches and triangular roofs from my kindergarten drawing pages.
  • I saw one of these houses and imagined a shirtless man with a paunch and rolls under his neck, staring angrily at traffic and THEN I SAW HIM TWO HOUSES DOWN. Movie depictions are real, so far. Amen.
  • The Point Pleasant beach and boardwalk is so picturesque. It would probably be wild if you were on a hallucinogenic drug or something and roamed among the arcade games and small kiosks set up.
  • Martell’s has great fried calamari finger food. I would go back there if only it served in a quieter environment where I could dig in, with a propped-up book and a view of the beach. I would probably still go back there despite the noise – God bless finger food.
  • Outdoor outlet malls are so pretty?! I don’t know the name or exact location of the one I visited but it was pretty and that’s all that’s important.
  • Sheep under your window can be quite loud if you live in a quiet neighborhood with little or no traffic.
  • THE DISCOUNTS ARE INSANE?? Remind me to grab all the discount and awards cards. Bargains are bloody thrilling. My winter boots went down from 55 bucks to $20 or something. (?!)

That should be about a good run-down of my first three days. Maybe I’ll keep updating here, just to document my transition into this new life with college and culture shocks and crazy-ass discounts.

Oh and if anyone decides to read this and lives in the US, hit me with any advice you might have for an international kid in the US!

The Little Engine Tag

I can’t remember the last time I did a tag post, or if I’ve ever done one at all. But I came across a cute little post and figured I might as well since I can’t think of anything else to write but I know I want to write something.

Also, it looked like a good way to try and engage with the WordPress community.

The Little Engine Tag 

Rules:

  1. Each answer you give to a question has to be more than two sentences long. Or at the very least, you have to make those two sentences meaningful.
  2. There will be two bonus questions at the end, that the blogger gets to change to whatever they want to ask when they nominate someone else. The first six questions, however, are set in stone.
  3. At the end you must nominate three to five other bloggers. Okay, so you don’t have to, but that would be nice if you could.

Leggo –

Continue reading “The Little Engine Tag”

GUYS! I’m going to college!

Senior year is coming to a close and I’m days away from my last ever school exams! (I still have my A-Levels to go through in May/June but-) School’s over!

Everyone is either suffering from major senioritis and not leaving their homes because no willpower or just frantically making up for lost time and getting as much hang-out time with friends as they can because we’re all heading off to college in a few months. Granted, there’s still more than four months left before we even start packing and very few of us have visas and all but still. The last thing anyone wants to do is buckle down and study but I’ve been trying.

I applied early to Smith College back in November and I got in! I’ve landed a great scholarship and committed to them, so I’ll be heading to Northampton in August.

The thought of this HUGE transition is mostly why I can’t concentrate on my Market Structures notes to save my life.

Snapchat-7455740435627419460

I’ve never visited the US before so it’ll just be a slew of first-times for me in August. Temporarily moving out, living alone, new country, new people, COLLEGE..

I’ve been spending most of my time either worrying about the future or searching NoHo and Smith College geotags on Instagram and obsessing over how cute everything is. Also, Amherst College is nearby and I’m hoping for some nice smart boy eye-candy, because I plan on taking a few classes there in my second year.

chapin

On a more serious note, a lot of my anxiety and fear also stems from this trainwreck of a presidential campaign in the US, because Donald Trump. I’m a Muslim and I’m from Pakistan and that should be enough to explain my concern. I’m sick and tired of explaining to people how generalizations are plain cruel at this stage, but what can one do.

On that worrying note, I’ll sign off and give studying another try.

Why I Don’t Drink

Just came across this article and I was just mentally screaming YES throughout – so I had to share.

No, I don’t drink. Yes, I know how to have fun.

The only part I’d add to this is that yes, my religion does forbid it and sometimes I am haunted by the question of whether I would be into drinking had I not been born a Muslim. Because I can’t say whether my aversion to alcohol has to do with who I am as a person and my personality or has to do solely with my religion. I would honestly like to think the former because going with the latter would suggest that I had to consciously suppress an urge to drink because I am religious. But for now let’s just say, I would not have been into drinking even if I were not a Muslim because drinking just always felt unnecessary to me.

 

A Conversation

It has taken me so long to write this because I have had more time than you had. I have had more chances to use, cherish and waste time; and more of it than I know how to manage well, anyway.
This is not a tribute. This isn’t even a piece to indulge in my very few, very vivid memories of you. It’s simply an echo of a conversation that I would have had with you if you were alive today.
Let’s imagine we’re sitting in class again; the cramped classroom, the one to the left of the stairs. We have seats right up in front and it is one of those lazy Urdu classes when Miss Rahat is in no mood to teach and everyone stays quiet so she wouldn’t have to take charge.
I think I need to tell you a few things.
You are not a hero, nor are you a victim.
You are just a girl who made bad choices.
And I’m not afraid to tell you this because you had the capacity to listen. I won’t lie to you or sugarcoat my words for you ever, not even in death.
I will tell you you were wrong, again and again because you see, you aren’t here anymore because of it.
I don’t say all of this because it will make a difference, but just because I felt it needed to be said. I say it because I don’t want you to become a symbol of young love, or a real-life incarnation of Juliet or a martyr. I don’t want your end to be an excuse for bad choices to ever be looked at as desirable or ‘romantic.’ I bring this up because there was a shocking amount of rhetoric that circulated, with the recurring theme of romanticizing your passing and your choice. Along with this came the bittersweet realization that it is only after one is gone that the world is alerted to the fact that we ever existed. I saw the most unlikely people, banking in on the opportunity to add to this rose-tinted affair of ‘star-crossed lovers’ or some similar bullshit. Your bad choice does not go away just because you did.
Do you see my problem?
Your choice became your end and the violence of your end, ended up defining you. I want to tell you it doesn’t define you, not for me, not for anyone who matters. I want to tell you that I remember your overflowing makeup table and your yellow wrist-watch, your dedication to sass and dance and your free-spiritedness. I remember the turquoise arm-chair in your room and your collection of necklaces. I’m smiling right now because I would have loved to see your reaction to the ear piercings I have now. I remember you helping me straighten my hair and the Jay Sean lyrics on your bathroom mirror. I remember how you stood up for people and how on fleek you always looked.
Was ‘on fleek’ a thing while you were around? I can’t remember. I guess it doesn’t really matter.
I want to tell you I am as brutally honest of a friend as I ever was and remember you in the most honest, most affectionate way. And maybe I’m being unrealistic by even hoping to put a dent on how you will be remembered but at least I have sorted all these thoughts in my head, thoughts that I was afraid of having because I thought they made me a bad friend or made me feel like I was disrespecting your memory. But now I know I would be doing no justice to the honesty in our friendship if I was not open about how sorry I am that you made that choice. You are entitled to your choice, we all are. I just wish it hadn’t cost us all so dearly.
I miss you.