Meerim Nurlanbekova (Kyrgyzstan), ETSU Spring 2017
These photos encompass so much love. Love that does not know any barriers: neither religion, nor age, nor sex.
My experience abroad has been enriched by my roommate. She made my American life colorful and most importantly meaningful. One day I just told her that I love cookies. And guess what she did? She left a container of cookies with a sweet note on my bed the next day! I was so touched! We shared lots of sweet moments. However, initially, I would never have imagined sharing one room with her…
When I first figured out that my roommate is a lesbian, I was literally shocked. I was so scared, but I didn’t know why. The first thing that my inner voice said was, “Meerim, move out. Move in to a different dorm!” I was so lost, because I had never met people with different sexual orientations. Coming from a very conservative, culturally-oriented country, and being Muslim, I found it so challenging to grasp that phenomenal moment of my life. My entire first week on campus I was thinking about her, and about her unfamiliar sexual orientation.
Having reasoned over that moment, I decided to not move out. I decided to test myself. I decided to challenge myself (sometimes my brain works!).
Each day I discovered more about her. Her behavior was the same as mine (even much better). She was nice and sweet. We got a little bit closer, but she remained very private.
After a few days I decided to talk to her, and became even more shocked! She is not just a lesbian, she is bisexual, which made me even more confused, but I was not scared this time, because I knew she was nice no matter what. That conversation united us, and I met her girlfriend in our room afterwards, who was as nice as my roommate.
So each time when Julia comes to our room I feel like a third wheel, but I enjoy seeing them together.
Jessica, you were the sweetest culture shock for me! You changed me! Thank you.
Note: This article was written and posted with the permission of both Jessica and Julia.