Fatima is a Visiting International student from Pakistan. She spent the Fall 2013 semester at the U of A. She shares her experiences in a series of blog posts.
For me, holidays at home have always been stressful. Not particularly having ever been a people person, I do not like to be inundated by guests and rambunctious relatives for too long, so I assumed that Eid away from home would be a calm, relaxing experience.
It was not.
When Eid came around, I found myself feeling lonely. Hence, I jumped out of bed early in the morning to go pray the Eid Prayer at the local mosque, something that would always induce groans out of me back home. I could not dress up as I did back home because I had to run back home and change for classes. But it did help to alleviate my loneliness somewhat.
The Muslim community in Fayetteville is highly diverse and integrated. You have people from all over the world – Pakistanis, Bengalis, Syrians, Egyptians, Saudis, Nigerians, Cameroons, etc. Eid Prayer at the mosque was an interesting experience – I had never been surrounded by so many nationalities at a mosque. There were also a couple of American Christian girls who wanted to find out more about the Eid Experience, and I really hit it off with them. We ended up talking about music and turned out to have the same taste. They were responsible for introducing me to the band Local Natives, who are now on my favorites playlist.
All in all, Eid away from home did not really feel much like away from home – only a little different, and if there is anything I have learned in the past two months, it is that difference can be good.