Personal Narrative, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 676

Essay

I am one of many and yet one of few.  I am an immigrant, a word that, in the United States, draws to mind Hispanic workers, or, in Miami, Cubans. But, I am an immigrant not from Cuba but from Saudi Arabia, a phrase that, in the United States, draws to mind the Twin Towers and 9/11.  I am also Muslim, a word that, in the United States, often equals terrorist. But, I am as far removed from terrorism as possible.  I am a Muslim from Saudi Arabia, and I wish that my identity could be taken neutrally. I have found, though, that current events in the world have made my identity the opposite of neutral.

My parents are Muslim, of the Sunni branch.  I was reared to fear God and to avoid sin, and I believe and follow the Five Pillars of Islam.  Compared to many Muslims, I am not strict about my religion, but it is important to me and guides my life.

My father is my example of a man.  I am the eldest of three sons.  When I was young, I attended public schools, because my father could afford nothing else.  He worked hard, dedicating himself to his career, and was able to obtain a job with a much higher salary.  With this increase in pay, he enrolled my brothers and me in private school.  In Saudi Arabia, private schools provide a much better educational environment and degree of rigor.  Eventually, he sent me to the United States to attend college and get an education.  I have no family here, but my younger brother has arrived to attend school as well and now lives with me.  We are expected to do well, and we will excel with the same dedication that my father has.

The experience of moving to the United States is what has come to define me as a person.  When I arrived in the United States, I knew little of the culture beyond what could be read in books.  I had heard of the extravagance and excess of American society and its permissiveness.  I have found very little of what I heard to be true.  However, I have found the prejudice against the immigrant to be true.

When I landed in Miami, I stepped off of a plane, collected my baggage, and just stood still.  I was in a foreign country, with no family or friends, and was expected to provide for myself.  I walked out of the massive airport and was hit by a humid environment that fortunately reminded me of my hometown, Jeddah.  I hailed a cab and found the closest hotel.  From there, I eventually found an apartment, enrolled in school, and am currently succeeding in my studies.

However, I cannot help but remember that feeling of aloneness when I first arrived.  The only person here that shared a similar worldview to mine was my brother.  In fact, South Beach is probably the exact opposite of most Muslims’ moral and ethical views. Eventually, I was able to create a social network through two avenues, soccer and language.  I love soccer with a passion.  As I became accustomed to America, I began to find people with whom to play the game.  Soccer is a universal sport, and despite my different cultural identity, the sport overcomes the barriers that separate me from others.  Secondly, I acquired friends through the University of Miami’s Intensive English Program.  It was the first place I was able to meet others from the Middle East and feel that taste of home that I was missing.

However, all is not flowery. I do feel prejudice bearing down on me at times.  Whenever I speak, I can feel the eyes upon me because of my accent.  The airport is the worst, as fear of Middle Eastern men is most prominent there.  The friends I have made have helped me deal with the prejudice I encounter. Each day I feel more at home here.  And, in the end, I guess that is what I want, to blend in more each day.

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