Nine years ago, I left my parents’ house for the first time (yay I guess?) and moved into a shared room and bathroom in my university’s dorms in Sharjah (small city near Dubai). I have arrived a day ahead of my roommate that the housing has randomly assigned. I was so excited to meet her to have all the crazy fun that the media bragged how roommates usually bond together. Bearing in mind that the university did not use any criteria to assign roommates other than similar nationalities; hence, they have assigned me an Egyptian girl who was 17 (one year older than me; yup, I was the youngest in my batch.)
When she arrived, it took me seconds to realize that we wouldn’t mingle together at all and we have quite different religious views. Sparing you the details on these views, I could easily identify from her choice of clothes that she can be positioned towards the religious and conservative end of a scale; whereas, I could be positioned somewhere towards the opposite end. My first impression was actually right! Also, you can guess what kind of thoughts I was having and how both of us might have silently judged each other. Clearly, my visions of having the wild fun of a student life with my roomie were diminished. All sorts of questions came to my mind and whether I should change the room immediately or wait for the end of my first semester.
Despite of this quite early clash, I’ve decided to stay, at least for now, and I thought maybe it would be better if I do not get along well with my roommate, at least I could focus more on studies in the room and have all the fun I want outside. As time passed by, I’ve made a lot of friends with similar interests and I got my fair share of partying, exploring almost each and every club that Dubai has to offer! (And I called that “fair share”). Although I had the option now to move out with other friends whom I have developed a stronger bond/connection with, I preferred to stay with my original roommate who over time has turned out to be the best roommate that I could ask for. We were both very considerate of each other’s feelings, respected each other’s space, and aligned with each other before any minor or major changes in the room.
Luckily, we stayed together the whole four years of college, we were perfect roommates; but, not strong friends. The point from this story that has crossed my mind only few weeks back when I was having a drink with my friend in Florida is (yea, I know), if two people with extreme different views were able to share a room for four consecutive years, I fail to understand why can’t people with different social/political/sexual views share a country or share the world! Why can’t we not only just accept each other’s differences; but also, love them and be considerate of our different views.
Again, I find it hard to understand the strong urge of every religious group or political party to convince the other with their views assuming they are better if not the best. A diverse population sharing a country and resources is definitely more complicated than two college students sharing a room. However, if it worked out perfectly well with two strangers in a room, at least I would like to believe that with enough understanding and acceptance, it would be equally perfect for strangers to share the world too!