This past October, I bought a house in Fort Wayne with the hope of hosting people through AirBNB. I had stayed at an AirBNB in town not long ago and the host clearly had plenty of business so my hopes were high. It wasn’t long before I got a couple of requests to stay just individual nights over upcoming weekends. A couple of Sundays ago, I was watching football when my phone alerted me to a new request for someone to stay THAT NIGHT until that Friday. Their profile showed they were from Fort Wayne. Why would someone need a place to stay that night? I was a bit thrown off and hesitant to accept their request. After thinking about it for awhile, I decided to accept their request to start hosting them that night. I received a message that said, “Thank you. On my way.” I figured it wouldn’t take long since this person was in the same town as me. It wasn’t for a couple of hours that I received another message, “I’m out.” Out? Was he canceling? “I’m outside your door. Let me in.” But strangely enough, there was no one at my door, and I let him know that he must be at the wrong house. A few minutes later, my doorbell rang, and two people were there. The gentleman named Mohammed who was going to be staying with me stood to the side while his friend explained that Mohammed didn’t speak English very well and that he was here to help him through the process. Mohammed had literally come to New York City on New Year’s Eve all the way from Saudi Arabia and just a couple of weeks later had come to Fort Wayne to learn English and be near his friend Abdullah.
In the short time that I’ve known Mohammed, I’d like to think he’s become a good friend. His English has improved exponentially and we often spend nights where I help him with his homework or to prepare for a quiz. He has a great sense of humor and is flexible with other people coming and going. There’s a possibility that he’ll be moving to L.A. in a couple of weeks to finish his English training out there. With the incoming storm and freezing weather we’re going to have, I can’t totally blame him. But I definitely hope that he stays. And his friend Abdullah received a job offer in Illinois, so hopefully he sticks around too.
After Mohammed and I get done with his homework, we often get into deeper conversations than sentences about the weather and what you’re supposed to say at a restaurant. I had to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about Saudi Arabia, its culture, and what he thinks about their controversial leader Mohammed Bin-Salman. Of course, I can’t shut up about American politics so I wanted to know what his thoughts were on Trump and let him know my position. He has a generally positive view of Trump and I explained that my position has been shaped by decisions such as the Muslim Ban and an attempt to build what I see as a worthless racist wall at our southern border. We laughed heartily as Trump served hamburgers to the Clemson football players. We’ve talked about capital punishment, the Quran, and the newfound ability of women to drive in Saudi Arabia.
I’m not sure if Mohammed will be staying only a couple more weeks or if he will decide to stay here and forgo Los Angeles. Either way, I look forward to learning more about his culture and perspective and more importantly becoming even better friends.