September 16, 2012

Blogging from the United States of America

Oregon State Capitol
I blog today from a place that is as far from my home as is humanly possible. Right now I am quite literally at the edge of the world. Of course by edge I mean the western edge of the USA which as you can quite clearly see is the farthest place on a 2D map. For those of you who still don't understand, open your atlas and see what's the leftest place on the world map. For the tech savvy, open Google maps.

I am so far away from home in fact that there is a 12 hour time difference between where I live and Pakistan. So right now at home its 9.15 am. In Oregon USA its 9.15 pm of the previous day. Yeah. Far away from home.

I imagined the USA to be a place of awesome structures and amazing places. I imagined to be so different from home, with a million opportunities waiting for me. I thought it would be the epicenter of the world's marvel. While that may all be true, it turns out a lot of my visions were quite clearly missing the point. Even though the USA is an amazing place (clean and organized and the people are awesome! - so far), it reminds me of Pakistan.

A lot of the stuff that happens here is reminiscent of Pakistan. The social security office for example, behaves like NADRA. A much more streamlined form of NADRA, but like NADRA nonetheless. The post service here has a tendency of losing mail like the post service in Pakistan. Although again I must confess that the service is much more streamlined, is automated and the people are just so nice! Like I hadn't been getting my mail ever since I got here and when I tracked the online status of my shipments they were labeled as "undeliverable as addressed". Pakistani likenesses much? So I rang up the post office at their closing time and the supervisor promised me he would look for my stuff and have it delivered to me the next day. And bang, right on time at 9.30 am the next day he called me up and said all my mail would be delivered today. I hadn't been expecting that and it was a nice surprise.

Getting back to the point though, yes it is a good place. There are opportunities, if you know where to look for them. The education system is awesome in that its teaching me to find those opportunities. In Pakistan its normally more of a trial and error approach to find a job. Here's its scientific. But as far as the standard of education goes? They're pretty much the same. The only difference is you get to use your knowledge on practical stuff here. Back home it was pretty much theoretical learning.

Cut to the chase? OK. Let's do that. Am I in love with the USA? No. I'm not. Do I miss home and want to go back? Yes I do. But I also realize that the experience I've managed to gain here in 3 weeks, I would never have gotten in my entire life if I'd stayed put in Pakistan. So yeah, I thank the Lord for bringing me to the land famous for its status as the melting pot of the world. But at the same time I wish I was at home eating my mom's super delicious chicken handi.