Creating New Friendships Was Hard.
I didn’t know what to expect when I first landed, everything I know about America came from watching too many Hollywood movies, but that’s the issue, movies don’t always represent or reflect the actual reality. so I had 2 options, one being lay low and stick with my “People”; Arabs I mean. Or do a “Format Disk” for my brain and forget everything I thought I knew about America and start fresh.
I decided to go with the former, logically people move in ” packs”, the members of those packs are ones who you share with certain values, traditions, and ideologies which translate into having more things in common which also translate into having a group of people who you know the most and share with them lots of things and have a great time with too.
My issue is that I have always lived within a closed-off environment, my “Pack” always consisted of my cousins/family and coworkers, I never thought that there is a new world out there waiting for me to explore and that I would actually explore it one day, so here I am in this new world but still with my narrow-minded mentality struggling to form new relationships with people from outside my “Pack”.
I’m not a lonely person by any means, in fact, in Jordan, I’m a very popular and outgoing guy, my issue is that I never had international friends so, therefore, I never knew how a relationship with an international person looks like and therefore I opted to play it safe and keep it tight; family and coworkers only.
Another thing was the fact that I’m a practicing Muslim, I was always worried about Americans and essentially Non-Arabs views of me, whether they would accept me or not, because I don’t drink or smoke weed or dance, but dancing has nothing to do with my religion it has to do more with the fact that Jordanians don’t dance period, that’s why my first couple of months I was trying to keep a safe distance and focused only on fellows and friends from the Arab region.
My fellow fellows from Arabic countries are amazing, and I think they have had the same issue as I did, but I think they chose the latter, they opted to do a “Format Disk” and start fresh and embrace the new culture.
I realize that they too have their own lives now, and they don’t need more drama in their lives especially from me, perhaps I thought if I wear my heart on my sleeve that would bring us closer, I don’t know man!! relationships are always very complicated.
Anyway, here I am now, alone, trailing behind my fellow Arabic fellows, who have been forming new relationships, meeting awesome new friends, going out to new places and engaging themselves along with newfound friends in amazing activities, what should I do?
It took me sometime alright, but I finally pulled through, I finally managed to form a new “Pack”, yes I did and I love my new friends, through both Atlascorps and my host organization and I love them because they showed me that I can be myself and be comfortable about who I am and that they would accept me the way I am no matter what.
I can’t give names but if you are reading this blog, please know that I love you all, you helped me change some of the ideas I had to the best of course and you opened my eyes to a whole new world out there.
So for all of you new and future fellows, please don’t do what I did, I’m not saying you need someone to remind you because you all are adults and professionals, but learn from my mistake, take the risk and go out, explore and meet new people.
Sorry for saying “Pack” too many times.