Meet the Neighbors

Meet Sara Bunduk, the Stay at Home Mom

Name: Sara Bunduk

Occupation: Stay at Home Mom 

Education: BA Psychology, MPH  

Country of Origin: American born to Syrian immigrants 

Neighborhood: Herndon 

City/State: Herndon, VA  

Number of years in the U.S: Born here 

I’m a second generation Syrian American. Although,  throughout my school years my peers were of different backgrounds, there was no one quite like me. Everyone had someone else who looked like them or talked like them, but there was never anyone I could relate to.  I was also the only Muslim in my school.  I was always seen as the “ethnic” one.  I felt different and sometimes I was treated differently, especially after people saw my mom. My mom wears a headscarf as part of our Islamic tradition. She was one of the few women in our entire city who wore it. I was never embarrassed by it but I knew it raised some eyebrows and caused those second glances.

The turning point in my life came one day in the middle of my freshman year in high school.  That rainy evening I decided to follow suit and wear the headscarf in public as well. It was a very difficult and intimidating decision for me (a completely 100% compulsion-free personal decision). Putting religious obligation aside, I felt the need to wear the hijab, as we call it, because I knew it was part of who I am and where my family comes from. I didn’t want to hide behind my hair anymore. I wanted people to see the real me the moment they laid eyes on me. I also wanted to pay tribute to the strong legacy of women in my family. I felt so far away both physically and emotionally from anything they had achieved and by strutting the hijab I felt a profound connection to them.

The whole experience was very empowering and it did wonders for my confidence.  The response from people around me was very positive as well. It was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself and I never looked back.

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