Stranger in a strange land | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 10, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 10, 2020

Stranger in a strange land

On starting, it's exciting. Tough too. A bittersweet feeling to be precise. You have always lived in the shadows of your parents, in the presence of your siblings, and in the company of your relatives and friends. It is not easy to leave the fond memories behind, especially when the calling is so sudden. Faith has its way of doing things and it happens in the most unprecedented of manners.

Never could you have imagined living apart from your family and that too, 13,219 kilometres away. Remember how you would not let go of your mother's hands on your first day of school? Or how the teacher permitted your mother to sit in class at the sight of your misery? Now, you are separated from her by oceans. Funny how life changes, eh?

Nonetheless, the anxiety seeps away and newness engulfs you. The glowing neon lights of the billboards, the towering glass structures, the diverse crowds; you wonder how drastically different your cultures are, how different life can be even though we belong to the same planet and to the same species.

When you open your eyes in the morning in a new room, for a moment the unfamiliarity of your surroundings envelops you. You push yourself out of bed realising you do not have anyone to prepare breakfast for you, no one to wash your dishes, to help you clean the room and make your bed.

You sit at your makeshift dining/study table with a cup of coffee to go through your emails, eagerly waiting for a reply from the job you applied to a few weeks ago. You count again the number of prayers you have muttered under your breath in the last minute; your blood rushing with adrenaline, your pupils widening, your fingers trembling, you click on the new email's notification as you begin to read —

"Thank you for your interest, we sincerely appreciate your application. We have reviewed your resume and have carefully considered your qualifications. We regret to inform that you have not been selected for the position at this time."

You knew that a few rejections would come your way. You were prepared to not let rejections have the better of you and keep on going, keep on applying. There are 37 more openings that you have yet to apply to. One of them will definitely call back, right? If school has taught you anything, it's probability, the math of hope; one of them has to call back. Right?

You find yourself subconsciously going to your once redundant Gmail app and refreshing the page every few minutes. Nothing! The same routine follows until another notification flashes. Rejected. That's alright, there are 17 more places yet to get back. But it's been 20 days already. Your application is probably archived in their database. Nine companies left now. But that should not let you down. This is the land of opportunities; your magic moment will arrive. It must.

But then uncertainty spears right through your brain. You begin to question your worth, your degree, the reputable career you built and were so proud of in your country. You knew you would have to start over in the new land, but deep inside, you knew; you knew that you can make it.

You can hear people's commentary in your head already, talking about your failure, mocking your decision to leave a safe and secure life and moving to a foreign land. You wonder if you are being compared to the alleged success stories of their children, of their relatives, of their fathers. Your insecurities start seeping into your goals and your dreams until all that is left of you is an endless dejection.

But. But what can you do when you only have barely enough finances with you to survive? When you have to shoulder your family back home? You are their only hope.

You shrug off the negativity, muster up your mental strength and strike the keys for the umpteenth time — "Dear Hiring Manager."

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