“Thud, thud, thud”, there was a knock on my door. I remember Kwame saying he wanted to introduce me to some people in our dorm. I walked briskly to the front door and opened it. “Hello! my name is Alimah “, the lady standing in front of my door said. “Hi! please come in”, I said. She was a PhD student in the agricultural department. “Nice to meet you, Kwame told me about you and wanted me to meet you and show you around”, she said. “Yes, I would love that!”, I replied. We talked about school, activities, and what it was like back home. Alimah was from South-Sudan. After talking for a few hours she later invited me to have dinner with her. I escorted her out the door, “I’ll be with you in a few minutes”, I said. After a while, I quickly dressed up for dinner. I don’t really remember having a proper meal at the school canteen. Tonight the school canteen was open and fully running because school officially begins tomorrow. I grabbed my light-grey cotton Jacket to pair with my green T-shirt, dark blue jeans, and a black sandals. “Wallet and keys”, I thought to myself as I reached out for them. I walked out of my room shutting my door behind me.
It was 6:30 PM when I started heading down to the lobby. “Hey Sakeenah! Are you ready?”, Alimah called out to me with a big smile on her face. “Yes! I hope I didn’t take too long to get ready”, I asked. “No, you’re fine, come over here I want to introduce to my friend”, She said. A guy walked pass me towards Alimah, his back facing me. Alimah looked at me saying, “Sakeenah meet my friend Kaoutar, Kaoutar this is Sakeenah from America”. “Hiiiiiiiiiiyyyyyy”, he said. He’s back still facing me with his right hand raised up high, and his fingers wringgling about. He continued talking to Alimah. “Hi”, I said. “Such a diva”, I thought to myself. Alimah quickly went to grab her bicycle. I also went to grab my bicycle. We were all headed to the closest canteen to have dinner. Although the guy Alimah introduced me to didn’t have the best attitude, and had what looked to me like a permanent scowl on his face, I attempted to make small talk with him. “Sooooooooo, Kaoutar where are you from again?”, I asked. “Indonesia”, he replied looking forward. Then he suddenly looked at me and said, “Can I ask you a question?”. “Yes! sure”, I replied. “How is America like?”, he asked. I had no idea what to tell him. There was so much to tell about America. “Would you like to visit America sometime?”, I asked him. “God Noooo”, he said. “Why?”, I asked a little curious. “I mean….I don’t know…. It just seems a little dangerous and kind of racist….” he said. “I mean it’s not all like that, I know sometimes the media would show things like that……I’ll admit they have their moments but there are some really nice places and amazing people”, I tried to explain to him. “What about the time of 911, were people that brutal to Muslim people in New York?”, he asked me. I wasn’t sure exactly what to tell him. I wasn’t there when that unfortunate incident happened in New York ( I did hear some really sad things that the Muslims had to go through. “That was a very sensitive time in the history of America, and sadly some unfortunate things did occur but things have definitely gotten better right now”, I said to him. We talked about other things as we rode our bikes to the canteen. Alimah was way behind us because her bike was really old and crooked. It even had its own entrance sound when it moved. “I’m heeerrrreee!”, Alimah called out panting as she rode towards us. I giggled a little, you would think she ran a marathon through the mountains of Tibet and back. “Sakeenah, why are you smiling”, she asked laughing. “Let’s go, coome on”, I said laughing. We walked in, there were more students than usual. I walked right up to the drink section to pick up a cold bottle of iced tea and then went over to the food section with all the steaming hot choices to choose from. “Wǒ kěyǐ chī miàntiáo hé shūcài ma?”, I asked the cook to make me vegetable noodles. “你要蛋？“, the cook asked. “Duì”, I replied. After picking up my choice of meal, I walked over to where Kaoutar and Alimah were sitted. “Sooooo, what did I miss?”, I said as I sat down.
I was back in my room after dinner. I had two hours to myself before I head out again to Wuxi Studios with Alimah. Resting my stomach after dinner sounded like a good idea at the moment. So, I unpacked my bamboo weaved pillow case I bought from the Chinese supermarket the other day and lay it on my bed. “one hour and thirty minutes”, I said as I closed my eyes.
On our way to Wuxi studios Alimah introduced me to Hajar from Morocco, a friend and colleague of hers. “Hi, nice to meet you”, I said shaking her hand. “Are we ready girls!”, Alimah called out. It was time to finally visit the famous “Wuxi studio”, the most popular place students on campus enjoy hanging out.
To be continued………………………..