Our international neighborhood


It’s been almost three year since I came to States. Before coming here, I had lots of different and confusing thoughts about this country. From one side, everyone was saying how this is dream country, all the dreams you have, you can easily realize it here. Whatever you want to have, you can easily get here. And there was other, totally opposite side, saying that it’s the worst country for Muslims to live in. You can’t go outside, but if they see you with hijab they’re going to attack you, say bad words to you. You have to be always careful and watch your back. I was even warned not to go outside alone, without my husband. Because someone might do something bad to me. So, I came here with fear, thinking about all the stuff people told me. I was scared to even look at people faces thinking they might say something bad. But then I started realizing my neighbors are always first saying: “Good morning!”; “Have a good day!”; “How are you today?” Little by little I was getting used to their greetings. But then I realized it’s not just my neighbors. Its everyone, on the street, in market, in park. Everyone and everywhere. It’s just a way of being polite. And people here are like that. After a few months, I got used to this people, this country. I met few of Americans and they changed me. I wasn’t afraid anymore. I started feeling totally free and comfortable, just like in my own country. I started going to park, grocery shop alone. And I truly love it here. And now even more after all this events about banning issue. People were getting curious about Muslims. I was so happy when a girl in Starbucks said: “I like your scarf. It’s called hijab, right?” Or the other one on the street: “I love how you make that hijab.” These situations are happening often lately. Now people know what hijab is. And before they didn’t. I see how people here are fighting for us, being with us when we need them the most. At least it’s like this in Texas. I’ve been in other states too, having incredible moments everywhere, meeting great people in each place, but Texas will always be my number one.

But on the other hand, I can’t say also its dream country, like someone else once told me. You can’t do everything easily. You have to work hard to get something. But yes, truth is that here work pays off. But if you think you can come here, do nothing and have everything, forget about it. There is no such place in this world. Except Jannah(Heaven).

But the thing I like the most about USA, is variety of cultures. It’s whole earth in one country. You can find people from each corner of this beautiful Earth. I was lucky enough to live in neighborhood where we have families from different countries. Few months ago, we decided to have Play groups. We are gathering every Friday in someone else’s house. Our children are playing with each other. And we are sitting and talking. Those talks are always interesting, because we are all curious to learn something about our different cultures, food, countries.

And our children maybe don’t know how to talk to each other, but they are playing and communicating in their own way. Just by looking at them, I am wishing we are all children. There wouldn’t be as much hate and fights as there is everywhere in the world. Each child loves other child, their main goal is to play with each other. If they got into fight, they’re getting over it easily, and continue to play. Like nothing ever happened. Because, that’s important. To be happy and have a friend is important. Not your pride, ego and wish for success.

With our children we, adults are learning true values, learning that we can be friends with everyone, that small things can make us happy. That there is no space for hate or pride in friendship.
So the main goal of this play group is not just for children to learn and play something new but also for us to discover new friendships and learn new things about our neighbors and our selves too.

Until next time, Amila