Maira was a really unique girl who I first met in the first international dinner In the University, where we (me and the Lebanese) made Tabbouleh, Maira was just silently taking pictures, she was very talented in photography and drawing, and she drew me one of the best gifts I’ve ever got in my life, she explained in the picture all our great memories we spent together:
- Our room
- The great time we spent in Paris laying under the Eiffel Tour watching it sparkle so impressively
- The biking days on the Marseilles beach
- Disney Land (where I was acting like a kid and she was watching me playing happily)
- McMaira Sandwiches (a sandwich Maira used to do me, which looks and tastes so similar to McDonald’s but even BETTER)
- Our stupid poor sweet dog Daisy, who used to be afraid of the cats
- The mean cat: Domino, she used to eat Daisy’s food by scaring her
- The first time Maira tries Falafel, and the following hours’ conversations about our culture and how different it is
- The PERFECT expensive Italian ice-cream
- And finally, my passion: NUTELLA CREPES! Oh how much I miss these!
Not everyone understood and saw what’s inside of Maira, that’s why she moved from the students dorms to live with my family, and although at first she seemed to refuse my friendship, but in the end, she turned out to be one of the most special people I’ve ever met, she really left a colorful mark in my memories. I will always love and miss Maira, a unique sister of mine!
The last thing I expected that I would ever have a German best friend, and luckily I had 2!
I always had the stereotyped idea that Germans are mean and can’t be friendly at all, and I was TOTALLY mistaken. I had some of the best days ever with these 2 girls, they appreciated friendship, they were so organized, they had time for EVERY SINGLE THING!
We studied together, we ate, we watched movies, we jogged, we traveled, we cried and we laughed together.
And they are still close friends of mine until now, and I wish I can spend one day with them now 🙂
I REALLY didn’t expect the HUGE difference in cultures the world can have. No matter how I read books, articles, watched movies and so, differences were amazingly new for me!
I met colleagues from all around the world, mainly South America (Argentine, Chile, Brazil, Mexico…), Germany, Australia, Morocco, Egypt, USA, France –of course- and many other beautiful places.
At start, I faced some problems in getting different people to understand some of my ‘weird’ habits that I brought from Palestinian lifestyle, especially that almost all of them were the first time to meet Palestinians, and we are really different from most of the countries in many habits!!! I have seen many shocked faces whenever I told them anything about my culture, I even felt that I was odd sometimes. But at the end I could show them how we Palestinians are special, how we teach life, we are eager to learn, and we are honest and loyal to every person we meet.
On the other hand, every single person had something new to teach us:
- FRENCH taught me seriousness
- GERMANS accuracy and order
- LATIN AMERICANS taught me how to NEVER be sad
- MOROCCANS taught me how to love my country more
- EGYPTIANS taught me how to think in everything as if it is a joke
- MEXICANS simplicity and humble
- I learnt MANY many new aspects of life
One of the best achievements I did, unwillingly, was that at the end of the semester, when anyone was just happy and in a good mood (without having any alcohol or energy drinks) they called him: HE’S BEING PALESTINIAN. And I really felt GOOOOOD! 🙂 🙂
My first day in this unique experience was seriously one of the worst days of my life! I was stuck in the airport for 20 more hours because of the snow, and arrived at dawn, really tired and freezing that I couldn’t feel my hands. The temperature was around -10 C, and I HATE cold. My host mom was weird and the house wasn’t as neat and clean as expected, there was a big dog (I had phobia from dogs) and 2 disgusting cats, and since I’ve never lived with pets, that night was EXTREMELY awful!!
I was so afraid, so confused, so upset, and so shocked of the hard beginning, and i barely slept that night!
And the next morning I woke up by the dog licking my blanket, I was about to cry,, but the most difficult part was that I was the one who chose to live this experience, so I just forced myself to keep quiet and just survive.
We are dancing in my cousin’s engagement party, all of the big family is here, laughing happily, then remembering that I’m leaving tonight, so we start crying and crying, then back to dance again. Then it comes the time where I have to say goodbye to the whole family,, my mom was crying as if she was not going to glance me again, and it took us about half an hour to convince my grandma that she will be able to see me on skype or contact me by facebook for the coming 5 months.
I never thought it was going to be such a mix of many feelings! I was so SAD to leave my family for a long time. I was also EXCITED to explore new things in this big world. I was very HAPPY that I will travel and see a dream city (Paris). I was also SCARED of the unknown!
It all started when I needed to know something new! I needed to learn anything else than the academic books.
I was in my 3rd year studying my BA in Business Economics, and just found an announcement about this exchange program to France! Wow, that’s what I’m searching for, I’m going to see France the Eiffel tower, Les Champs Elyse, meet different people, smell some new fresh air and come back, perfect! That’s only how I thought it’s going to be.
My parents didn’t like the idea very much, but couldn’t say anything else than good luck, and weren’t so happy to hear about my acceptance, they thought this exchange program would be a waste of time back then!