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My Life Outside Syria: Diary Entry 62

Marah, a teenage girl from one of Syria’s besieged cities, has been sharing her stories of life in the war. With her mother and siblings, she left Syria, stopping off in Turkey before making the precarious crossing to Greece by boat. Now in Switzerland, she describes her life in a new country.

Written by Marah Published on Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Life keeps swinging. Sometimes it is on one side and sometimes it’s on the other. This week, life has been on my side, and it opened all the doors of happiness for me.

March 21, the first day of spring, is also the date when Mother’s Day is celebrated in Syria. I decided to visit my mother and surprise her with a cake and a little present. But it was me who was surprised. My birthday was a week before, but I did not celebrate it, because I was with my husband at his family’s place. When we arrived at my mother’s to celebrate Mother’s Day with her, she surprised me by having prepared a cake with my name written on it with icing. The Mother’s Day celebration that I was planning to have turned into a birthday party for me. I was extremely thankful for what she did for me. I kissed her with tears in my eyes, because neither the harsh circumstances in which she lives nor the fact that she is in a refugee camp stopped her from finding a way to bring happiness to my heart. She is just wonderful, and she deserves love, respect and obedience.

In our society, mothers hold a very high status, and when mothers age, it is the children’s duty to take care of them, and even after they die, we are required to pray frequently for them and ask God to have mercy on them. Things are different in the West. Kids here separate from their parents when they turn 18, and they move out to live by themselves. When the kids get married, they almost forget about their parents, and they let them spend the rest of their lives in a retirement home. This is not acceptable in our society, and I do not think I will let go of the traditions I grew up with, no matter how long I spend here.

My birthday party was not the only good thing that happened to me this week. I also received the key to my new apartment. My husband and I have been shopping for furniture. The apartment is pretty small, with only one bedroom, but I see it as a big castle filled with dreams, peace and stability. You cannot imagine how happy and excited I am. The happiness I have experienced this week has motivated me and given me a sense of enthusiasm for life. I feel energetic and am working hard on my German language studies. I am learning very fast, and the best and funniest part is that I am becoming better than my husband with German grammar. When I first arrived, and because I did not know the language, I felt that I was not able to do anything without my husband, so learning and being better than him has actually made me feel very good about myself. His conversational skills are much better than mine, and he is really happy and proud that I am learning fast. He always encourages me to practice, so, for example, he wants me to go to school and to go shopping by myself. I have also been visiting my mother by myself. Although she lives far away from my city, I learned how to take the train to the camp.

I feel strong and confident. I feel that I am a real grown up, and that I am not a little girl anymore. I do not know why, when I first arrived, I preferred to depend on my husband for many things. Perhaps it was because I had just arrived in a new place, or perhaps it was because I was too tired and needed someone to take care of me for a while. In any case, I now feel liberated, and I am building my own network of people, and I have already made some friends at school.

There is one little thing that worries me: my family has been rejected for asylum here. I really hope that they do not have to go back to Germany. I do not know how I can continue with my life without my mother next to me. She is a source of strength for me.

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