My definition of friendship changed when Marcos and I became roommates in the United States. We did not only become good international friends but best friends during the Community College Initiative Program (CCIP). Like I am saying this every time that making international friends in the United States is not difficult but maintaining friendship in with your international friends is really difficult and challenging. I believe you have to take so many responsibilities and understanding your background to make it perfect. I guess we were among the few of those roommates who didn’t have any major issues or fights with each other in the entire program. However, it wasn’t easy. It was a big long journey how we met and how we became roommates? Scroll down to read our interesting story.
How I Met Marcos? and How we became roommates?
Marcos Ferreira Nascimento Bisneto is his name and it sounds like an Address in Pakistan. He was selected for the same program (Community College Initiative Program) like me. He was representing Brazil and I was representing Pakistan. The exchange students or International students are very bold and outspoken but Marcos was a very shy person when I saw him in July 2016 for the first time. He was with his Brazilian CCI Program colleague Joselia Silva Sales at Tom Martinet’s house (Host family). It was a welcome to the U.S party from one of our host family. I asked him few questions and the Joselia responded to my questions. It was very weird why is she answering instead of him? Well, guess what somebody else joined the conversation and Joselia said that he can’t speak English. I was surprised at that moment and asked myself Why is he selected for the program when he can’t even speak English? I was selected through a very comprehensive process and tough competition. Anyways, we say goodbye to each other after the welcome party. During the orientation to the CCI program. Our program coordinator asked us to choose a roommate. Nobody wanted to share a room with Marcos. The obvious reason was that nobody knew how he is? Everyone happily selected their roommates. Nobody selected me because I said I don’t want cigarettes and alcohol in my room and Nobody chose Marcos because of his shyness. So, it was a luck that God chose us for each other.
I would like to mention here that one of our CCI friend which later became Marcos’ close friend. I asked him, “hey do want to be his roommate?” he just replied, “are you crazy? I don’t want to spoil my one year in the United States with him. I came to the America to improve my English.” That words made really worried. I wasn’t feeling well but I trust God that its gonna be alright. When we decided to live together in the apartment. I asked him a question “Marcos do you have any concerns living with me in the same room? He replied, O.K. I knew that he didn’t understand my question. So, I used the Google translate and asked him. He said that he is fine and happy. My Program Coordinator approached me to see if I am happy with the natural selection. I said, “I am O.K. I have watched a movie The King’s Speech and it relates to Marcos. I am very sure that at the end of this year he will be speaking English fluently.” That happened.
Moving In with Marcos and Sharing Room in Cortesian Apartments
We moved in the apartments from our host families in August 2016. Marcos didn’t talk to anyone. We were four students from India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Brazil. Every time someone wanted to talk to Marcos, he just said yeah yeah, Ok, Noooooooo and come, come come. However, There was one thing which I saw and nobody was aware of in our early days of CCI Program that he was super smart. English language was his biggest barrier but besides that he was a man of character. I found him very intelligent in so many areas. He was so kind and helping. Most of the exchange students, showed the best of their selves to our host families and Americans (especially) but he has a kind heart for everyone. He is neither a racist nor a hypocrite. He is true and smiling to everyone. He learned so many things from my language although I didn’t teach him.
The first time Marcos spoke up was in September 2016. He said, “I want to change the positions of our beds. I have not been sleeping well since we moved to apartment from our host families’ homes.” I was surprised that he took initiative in speaking. We changed the settings and started conversations about our lives. He told me how he lived his life and I told him how miserable and difficult was my life? We started going out together. We used to go to the gym together, swim together. He taught me and Jenova how to swim. He taught us so many computer tricks like how to make your windows fast, how to connect WhatsApp to laptop, iTunes and apple iPhone shortcuts etc.
Marcos is very solid guy. Honestly, I never worked very hard while I was in college. I completed my assignment like paying debts. He was reflecting on everything he was learning in the school. I saw him many nights working so hard until 3 in the morning. He used to say that “Qasim I don’t see you doing anything great except eating, sleeping and going to bathroom.” He is very punctual and studious. He and shared meals together many times. He liked my biryani and chicken. I like his (Whatever) because every time he invented a new dish which was awesome. He was so good in making American friends. Julian and Marcos made really good friends who were living here in Arizona. I was one of those who was struggling with how to make American friends? But for me my culture and religion were the biggest barriers in making American friends. The moment I started conversation with American students in the college, they start imaging Fox news in their heads. This stereotype made me very isolated in terms of friendship with Americans.
He had a few arguments together like every friendship. Actually, in the first semester only Marcos and I cleaned the apartment. From kitchen to closets, we cleaned together everything. I was very frustrated that the other guys are not taking interest in cleaning like we do. They are also living in the apartment. In the second semester, all of them were active in cleaning and I was not taking interest. I was telling Marcos that I did their jobs in the first half and now its their time to pay me back. This illogical argument made Marcos really angry and he stopped talking to me. However, after three weeks I realized my mistake and I invited him for lunch. I expressed my feelings and said sorry for my misbehavior.
The Moment of See You Later
The moment when were separating from each other was a terrible moment for both of us. We shared not only room together but we shared an year, happiness and grief together. I am so lucky to be his friend. If I ask Google to define friendship or what is friendship. I strongly believe that Google will return Marcos’ profile in my search. I have been asked so many times that how to make international friends while studying abroad? My answer is to simply follow Marcos. Like, I said earlier that he has so many qualities. He is a good lover, sportsman, student, son and a friend. He is one in the billions. He already achieved so many things in life. I am so proud of him. My heart prays for his more successes and good life. Ameen.