Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Oklakoma

Oklahoma City, (Diary, continue 21  January 9, 2009

 

I arrived in June 1975 at the Oklahoma City airport and it was my first trip alone and way outside my country Lebanon.  I was 25 of age, had a degree in physics, and had no relatives or acquaintances or any sort of connections in the USA. It was a long and exhausted trip of over 22 hours.

 

Half an hour before we landed, a young, blonde, and beautiful stewardess felt my disarray and offered me a drink and a blanket; it looked promising.  I landed in an empty airport after midnight.  My cheap carton “suitcase” was busted and barely holding together, and I sat haggard and totally disoriented. 

 

An elderly black employee directed me to the nearby Holiday Inn for the night.  It was humid and the weather felt different.  I slept in an air-conditioned room. The next morning was a very different weather for me; the sun was scorching and the atmosphere was humid and suffocating. 

 

I boarded a bus to the town of Norman, over 30 miles down south, and was hosted at the temporary student dormitory next to the main and humongous cafeteria; it is an all you can eat buffet type for a fixed inexpensive price of less than two dollars at the time. It turned out that there were several universities in Oklahoma.

I had applied for the field of industrial engineering at the Oklahoma State University at Stillwater, but my acceptance to the advanced English program for the summer was at the University of Oklahoma at Norman.

I didn’t realize the mistake until the end of summer when I visited Stillwater and learned that my application was denied. I then applied for industrial engineering at the university in Norman.

 

Norman

 The program coordinator for advanced English decided that I didn’t need any further English study, but since the dues were paid, I had to finish one month of English.  I learned how to navigate the library and hunt for the appropriate manuscript and enter the classroom bare feet as I have noticed American students doing. 

 

Wrong, foreigners had no such rights of freely entering classroom not wearing sandals and I was admonished by the ugly, skinny Jewish lady teacher never to show any further disrespect. One of the teacher was amazed that I used the term “petrified” in my essay; he had no idea that I mastered the French language and my vocabulary was very formal and Latin rooted: I would learn the slang and the American expressions in due time.

I rented a room with another Jordanian older student at a house, a few blocks away.  The Jordanian student was accepted in San Antonio for graduate studies in economics.  The house belonged to a tall and skinny widow and she lived at the house.  The next summer, I learned that she married a zealot Moslem Syrian graduate student in chemical engineering.  She was to wear long tunic and a scarf. The blue-eyed Syrian student was renting a room that summer and he was not that aloof, but not talkative: I had no idea that he was the extremist type until later; I was told that he used to spread his praying rag in class before exam.

To fill my time after the month was over, I enrolled for a two-week program to lean swimming.  I never learned to swim and was feeling left behind everytime I joined parties at beaches in Lebanon.  Consequently, I preferred to go alone to beaches, particularly in September and October when beaches were practically empty, except for a few German tourists.

That is how I got hooked into swimming three times a week for many years after my formal swimming lessons.  The first project everytime I relocated was to find a covered and heated swimming pool around my residence.

The next summer, I participated in aiding a missionary organization specializing in linguistic, with my Arabic language.  The organization rented a flat in a university building during summer vacation. I was paid two dollars per hour.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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