My Father is a philosophy professor who wrote a book that changed our lives.
He was able to gain recognition, help us move our family from Der Az Zor, Syria to Lebanon, then he had applied for political asylum in the United States and chose Chicago as our new home.
Our plane had just landed in Chicago IL…
The waiting was long because the customs office were going through our luggage, asking us so many strange questions to make sure we weren’t a threat to them. After all the waiting hours, the time have finally come. My father was the only one standing there all the way at the airport hallway. It was so easy to recognize him after all the harsh years we’ve been away from him. I wanted to run all the way there but couldn’t, because of the tears running nonstop and my body was sore from the long distance flight and the hours of the checking. I was having all types of feelings. I couldn’t just express one of them at one time. I was happy, in shock, having tears of joy, and of sadness. It felt amazing honestly, after the warm meeting and happy moments, we had got picked up by an organization called World Relief. They help out political refuges who are new immigrants. They’ve helped my family out with finding a good shelter to live in, a good paying job for my parents and sisters, food stamps, and school registration for me and my two other younger siblings.World Relief had done so many good things for us such as every school year the hand us each school supplies, house furniture, Christmas gifts to make us feel home, and after school/ summer fun activities for me and my younger siblings with other immigrants our age.
We’ve moved from place to place, school to school for better opportunities and good affordable shelters. We had many struggles money wise. My fathers family side were still in Syria during the war. We had to send them money because it was very difficult for their living situation and also hard for us. Some of my family moved to the nearest safe country which was Turkey escaping when they had the chance, but the rest couldn’t and didn’t want to move and leave every memory behind.
Another year had passed by, one of my uncles wanted to go back from Turkey back to our home town Der Al Zor. Everyone in my family tried to convince them that it wasn’t the best option. They wanted with my other uncle in our grandparents house… Months had passed… It was June 2013 beginning of summer it was a month since isis took my cousin to jail. He’s been locked up there util today. Two weeks later, it was a calm Saturday. I was with my family. We received a phone call. It was my uncle the one who wanted to and moved back to our home town. All I was able to hear was crying- it was my 5 year old cousin. A bomb had hit my grandparents house. Everyone was just injured, but my little cousin couldn’t make it.
I didn’t know how to feel. I went to my room and all I did was cry my eyes out. It hurt me most because my cousin was the closest person to me more than his siblings. The bad wave had past. We couldn’t really do a funeral during the war because nothing functioned as it should- ceremony, no Mosque, nothing. His parents had buried him in front of the kindergarten my entire family had attended. I know it may sound weird, “why we buried our loved on in such a place?” It meant a lot to us because my entire family went to that school at his age, especially that well know his dead body is safe there and nothing will harm him more in any regular grave yard.
Its 2016 my entire fathers family side were able to transfer from Turkey/ Syria, to Germany. My aunt always lived there in Germany with her family. So it was easier for the rest of them to get help when they move to a strange European country. They all got good help from many organizations, free shelters, life insurance, etc. It’s been about three years now. My family is finally safe but I still worry a lot about my locked up cousin and my mother’s side of family thats still in Syria. But I know God’s got them.
I’ve had many ups and downs in my life, many traveling problems. My mother sacrificed a lot to make sure my father is safe and won’t get locked up. No one was really on our side when my father was gone but my mother made sure all her six kids were always alright. No words by other people had broken her. This what made me the strong girl I am now.
Thank you to my Mother for showing me how to be independent and strong through the very toughest times. And thank you to my father for showing me how important it is to follow your dreams and to always succeed no matter what the consequences are.
Ive traveled a lot because of my past but it did teach me a lot. And now I’m going to do my best to show my parents, my five sisters and my only brother that I am capable of anything. I will follow my goal and do best in life for them.
By Yara Samir Aldakhil