Profile: Suha Gharrawi
She found her nickname, "Suhahahahaha," just days after arriving on the other side of her world, a place called Mississippi, a word just a year ago she thought of only as a river.
Despite being from a country struggling with war, the Iraqi native nevertheless continues to laugh and love her encounters in life, wherever she may go.
She spent a year teaching Arabic language to a New York Times foreign correspondent in the Middle East. A competitive chess player who began studying English at 15-years-old and then basic French, Suha Gharrawi chose the United States as her first place to visit outside of her home country of Iraq.
While she may sound like a bubbly, energetic and adventurous character from a novel that could appear in this week's New York Times Best Seller List, Gharrawi is a real person. The Fulbright scholar at Mississippi State University links everything in her life to literature, appropriate for a graduate student in the English department.
A self-described "country girl" after adopting Mississippi as one of her homes, one day she plans to learn how to ride a horse.
"I just want to prove I can do it," she said.
Smiling, as when she meets short-lived strangers, Gharrawi often downplays her amazing life, even as it leaves others in awe. Maybe she's too busy appreciating everything else she encounters around her. This literary scholar and student of life seems to revel in the humanity of her world, even if it doesn't always seem to make sense.
"There are contradictions everywhere," she said recently. "That's what makes life so beautiful."
After finishing her master's degree in the spring, what's the next chapter of her life? Whatever it is, she'll have passion, zeal and a desire to improve her home country and the rest of the world.
"I love traveling, learning and meeting people of all walks of life," she said. "I don't want to be a passive character."
Spoken like a true English major.
Next week … Calista Guthrie !