I feel like an immigrant sometimes. I have adapted to a new way of life, but the languages are confusing, the dress different, the food interesting, and everything is new. I haven't felt "American" for a long time, but these days, I feel like I am new to this country. The stares I get at the post office, the grocery store.....suburbia. People look at me like I am from another country and make me feel like I am an outsider. Yet in the new world I immigrated to, I also feel like an outsider. Often I sit alone unable to understand the words spoken around me and feel lonely. People say you can't separate Muslim and American...that they shouldn't be separated. I say "whatever." I don't feel American, I do feel Muslim, but I also feel like I am an outsider to both. It's the hard part. Sometimes I think more people would convert if it weren't so hard to adapt. That, and all the rules. I read last night that I am supposed to perform Wudu (spiritual cleansing) before even touching or reading the Quran. So many new rules I find out everyday....gets overwhelming at times. Maybe that's why so many others think we Muslims are uptight and strange. We live our lives completely by rules. It separates us and I think excludes people from joining us. It is hard and it seriously takes committment to do it. So many rules begin to bog me down - a person attracted to rules. I just wanted to get close to Allah and be a better person - I didn't expect to feel the constriction. The funny thing is the the beliefs don't restrict me - just the rules get overwhelming at times. I like most of them...fasting, prayer, cleanliness, study, etc....but some just make me feel bogged down.