Yeoww guys! It’s been a really long time since I posted something, so….here is something I cooked up for the Washington Essay. I hope you guys could help me out maybe? Please? I beg you? Suggestions on how to improve the essay and whether or not I sound like a human being and not a geek is very much appreciated. i really, really, sincerely, truly, absolutely, need your help. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
Describe an experience of cultural difference, positive or negative, you have had or observed. What did you learn from it?
Drinking water never felt more sinful.
In a class of eighteen fasting Muslims, it felt as if every small move I made – sipping water, pushing back a loose strand of hair – was blasphemy. What was I doing here? A lone Chinese amongst the three hundred Malay scholars – I did not belong.
Everything I said, everything I did, was different. I spoke fluent English instead of Perakian Malay. I left my frizzy hair loose while every other girl wore a hijab. I sang One Day More in the shower instead of Getaran Jiwa.
For the first few weeks at INTEC, I was unhappy. I had no close friends save for my roommate. I could see no similarities, no common ground on which to spark a decent conversation.
Hence my last ditch attempt at the pursuit of happiness – fasting.
My friends giggled as I flopped into my seat, exhausted. Fasting was hard. I woke up before Subuh and stuffed myself with energy bars – a huge mistake. I spent the rest of the day uncomfortably thirsty, a strange taste developing in my mouth as the hours passed by. I finally found out how excruciating it is to stare at your fried noodles, honeyed date at the ready, while waiting for the azan to sound at Maghrib.
Maybe it was the lack of food and water that knocked some sense into me, but it occurred to me that maybe being the odd one out wasn’t so bad after all. I had been educated to respect, not to appreciate; trained to be considerate, but not to care. This was merely an opportunity to finally learn to understand, appreciate, and to truly care about a culture so close to mine.
Most importantly, I now know better than to have energy bars for Sahur.