I came here because I got married, and he lived here. I switched continents for this guy, and I came to New Jersey.
There were two things: The first, in Pakistan, they show a lot of American shows, so there’s this impression of “America.” And America plays a huge deal in Pakistani politics, and you think of America as this amazing, huge country, you know like how you perceive it and you see in on TV, so that was one expectation I came in with. The second was, how would they treat us, considering it was after 9/11? So I was worried whether people would be friendly or not, I didn’t how the people would be. Since I had already lived in London, during the times of the London train bombings, I was sort of familiar with the experience.
The first thing I noticed was the people at the airport, the security, were really funny, and loud, and you know this one guy yelled, and joked, and he was really personable, and nice and I wasn’t expecting that. I expected there might be some issues because I was Pakistani, an Asian, and I was worried about the immigration issue, but nothing like that happened… I was pleasantly surprised. Everyone was very nice, and sweet, they were much friendlier than the people in London. Like, people in London were very reserved, and the people in America were very open, and much louder and expressive. So that was my experience.
It did kind of strike me when I saw the potholes, and some rundown places, you know how Newark is. That kind of took me by surprise, because I thought this was “Ameeerica” and there wouldn’t be potholes. There was stuff like that in London, but I wasn’t expecting that here, because America’s like a super-power.
But what I really liked here was there is a mix of populations, so you do see diversity, and people from different walks of life. People were very friendly, and curious. And I really liked that, and that’s that.
* The contributor of this story has asked that their name be withheld.