So, I came to the US to get training in medicine, I had gone to med school in Pakistan. I had graduated med school in Pakistan, and passed my exams, you know, the Board exams for a foreign medical student to come and start their training over here. So I came here in November of 1983, and really my story’s a little different than others. My uncle was there at the airport to come pick me up, and his wife, their neighbors had driven them over.
My initial impression of the US, a couple of things that were different were, you know just on the ride home from the airport, things were different. Things weren’t as new as I expected. Maybe its just the way JFK is located, and we drove through the Brooklyn area, roads were kind of broken down. The cars, they were big, but not very clean looking… they all had dust on them. I thought that was kind of different. In Pakistan, there are smaller cars, but the owners keep them clean, on the outside at least. So that was kind of different from what I imagined. The roads, the Belt Parkway, they were broken down. And I didn’t come through Manhattan, I came through Brooklyn, and the building and the large public housing that I saw, all of that kind of looked… it didn’t look very inviting.
So then I stayed with my uncle and my aunt for quite some time, and I lived in their living room, looking for work. I found work as a security guard, in fact. And I worked as a security guard for quite some time until I found a Residency position. In between, I also worked in an ice cream store, and that was very different. I didn’t know what a sundae was. When initially they told me about a sundae, I just couldn’t figure it out, like, this was you know not just one kind of ice cream, it was how you make that ice cream. So I learned a lot of newer things; new in the sense that American culture was new to me.