*Coming to America

(Coming to America) and I am not even a movie buff!
August 26, 2006, he came to study in the USA. He studied (with respect to his privacy) at a small private college in the midwest part of America.
The day before he came, I had bought a calling card to call him. He was upset with me. I did not know why. I thought that he did not want me to call him. Maybe he thought that this was just too forward of me. Later, I found out that he did not want me to spend $5 or $10 on a calling card that gave a small amount of minutes. This was my first lesson in Pakistani purchasing.
He could, as he so aptly explained, have gotten a much better deal on a calling card while in Pakistan. And, it cost very little compared to the astranomical direct and collect charges in America.
We have had many discussions (and deja vu discussions) about products in America and products in Pakistan. There is no Government entity that regulates prices and bargaining is a must. In America, many times, he forgets that there is no bargaining: not when it comes to products or services. Here, “no,” usually means “no.” He always wants to haggle in america. He believes that if someone says, “no,” they really mean, “maybe, if you convince me.”
Sometimes this persistance is admirable: sometimes it is sweet and sometimes it is downright goat getting. (Can I use that?? Basically, that means frustrating with  an emphasis). He still thinks that it would be a worthwhile endeavor for me to go down to the utility office and complain until I get my gas bill lowered to a reasonable Amount.
“Saath bohat Chaahat  Maira hamsafir”

Anyway, it took him a very long time on PIA (Pakistan’s favorite airlines)  to get to America. I wished that I was there to greet him. I did not think that there were enough people to  welcome him to America. They seemed to be somber about it.
We have since spent many days talking about my expression and his reserved nature.

“There is never a need for one to raise their voice,” he says.
“If it moves you, then express it,” I say.
That conflict put aside:
When he got to his dorm room, he called me from a phone.
I had some money left on that calling card, so I put through a call to his parents for him.
It was a three-way call.
I felt honored to do it and was glad because I could only imagine their worry and his desire to be with them and tell them all that he had experienced so far.
(I imagined him being excited — hahaha and enchanted with his new environment and they being emotional and expressive). This is not (at least, from what he says) how the conversation went at all.
It takes much more than coming to America for University study  to get a “WOOHOO” out of him. (smile) But, I put down the receiver to give them privacy — stupid really because I couldn’t actually understand what they were saying anyway.
Because they did not want to waste my money, they spoke and hung up within about ten or fifteen minutes.
But, I did not know this.
I was still connected and the remaining 45minutes was used connected to a nonexistent line.

Then, Imran and I talked about money. He had been given coins and dollars and no one had bothered to tell him how much he had. Well, I could not help with the dollar bills. But, I could help him sort out his coins. I was amazed that no one had bothered to explain the differences in the coins. It was easy, actually. There would be many instances that people seemed to just leave them(his sister and him) out of the loop. Being an international student and blind certainly posed some unique challenges.
 It seemed that the International community would either forget or ignore his blindness and the blind community expected him to assemilate to American culture.


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3 Responses to “*Coming to America”

  1. Sara Says:

    Goat getting is at least familiar to me, but I’m from a small Midwestern town too, so I can’t speak for everyone.
    A scoffed at bargaining with the utility company, but then admitted that his grandfather (who lived with them in the US for a few years) once let the utility guy borrow the VCR in exchange for a better deal! Gotta hand it to those South Asians…

    • jamily5 Says:

      We raised goats and other animals in 4h. But, I have never seen one slaughtered. You know, my family (at least my father) is a big “deer hunter.” And, he kills the deer by slitting the throat. (ok, a bit too descriptive) but, I guess that he did make the deer “halal,” and didn’t even know it. Still, Imran only eats fish and chicken. And, I don’t think that I could be in the presence of slaughter. (ug)

    • jamily5 Says:

      Hi Sara, was just laughing at A’s grandfather! Imran would do that. He is always looking for the better deal! …. … save money. (smile)

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