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My Life Outside Syria: Diary Entry 58

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. 5 minutes

A person can be born more than once in her lifetime. I believe that the day I was born is not that important compared to the day I met my husband; that was the day I was really born. I started a journey in a new life with him, a journey that requires a real partner. When I was little, I always thought that marriage would be an easy journey, but I now realize how hard it is, and this is exactly why we need the right partner. I am very lucky that my partner on this journey is someone I love. His company makes me stronger, and I hope I can provide him with strength, too.

Some people, who do not understand life, say that marriage puts dreams to death, but I believe that it is actually the opposite. I have to admit that this idea took over my thinking during the first week of my marriage. I kept asking myself: What did I do? Did I just kill my dreams? For whom? And why?

My dreams had been receding since the beginning of the war. Every time I tried to revive them, the suffering I went through would suffocate them, over and over again. This is why, for a moment, I was scared that marriage might ultimately kill my dreams.

At the beginning I was bored. My life in Syria was very busy. I had my studies, my work, and many other responsibilities, but when I got married, I faced a life that was devoid of responsibilities – and this made me feel uncomfortable, and stressed me out. My husband felt my stress, without my saying anything. He understood me without any need for words. He surprised me one day when he registered me in a German language school, and he has since been encouraging me to continue with my studies.

My time is full now. I go to school from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.; I come back home to do homework and housework for a little while; and then I go back to school from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. I am back to my normal, busy life. My classes are not very hard – although the pronunciation is different, so many words are similar to English. I am very excited. I want to learn, so that I can communicate with people around me. For the first time in my life, when someone talks to me, I cannot understand or answer. It is very hard and humiliating, and I am working hard to overcome this as soon as possible. I never liked to be marginalized, and if I do not learn the language I will actually vanish. I want to learn German as soon as possible, so that I can start a life in this new place.

I feel somewhat independent now. I always connected my life to my mother’s. I always asked for her advice. I do enjoy her presence, and I still ask for her advice sometimes. She was and still is the person I look up to, but now I feel that I have become an independent person who is sailing her own ship, with the help of her husband, the captain.

My relationship with my mother is very different to my relationship with my husband: one is built on obedience, maybe because I always trusted her wisdom and her decisions, but the other is built on a partnership. My mother has always been my friend, but my relationship with her is bound by respect, while with my husband there is a balanced, mutual respect. My new life has provided me with a higher status, although my mother never tried to push me down. She always helped me to be confident, and without her I would not have reached where I am now.

I am sure that my mother would not be upset if she were to read these words, because I am being very honest. I feel that I am stronger and more mature, and this is what I need to continue with my new life. I know that this new life will have its own challenges, but I also know that since I have been through a lot, I have the power to face all challenges. This is how I approach my new life here. I always tell myself that the future can never be as hard as the past.

I mentioned earlier that I was not sure whether I was qualified to have a child, especially psychologically. I was afraid that what I had been through might prevent me from giving my child the love and warmth he or she needs, but things are very different now. Every time I visit my husband’s family, I recall the warmth I used to have when I was little. Every time I visit them, I feel that I want to start my own family and have my own baby.

Some of you might think that it is too early for such a big responsibility, but I do not see having a child as a challenging responsibility, as much as I see it as an opportunity to share love. I want to give my child the love that my father gave me. I want to feel the happiness that my mother felt when she provided us with her kindness.

I am not afraid anymore that the war might have affected me and made me unable to raise a child. I know that I am capable of that. I have faced my fear of marriage and realized that I am a great wife, and I can do the same again.

I know that having a child will not stop me from realizing my dreams, the way having a husband did not. It will actually motivate me to improve myself, and build a great future for my new family.

Do not make fun of me, please! I am a different person now. Or, let’s say I am back to who I was before the war: a dreamy and ambitious girl who loves life. I was wrong when I thought that I would not heal, and that I would not be able to forget what I had been through. I realize that I never changed; I have been in prison, but now I am back to life. The prison was never Syria. Syria is home, but the prison was the war that stripped our dreams and our loved ones away from us.

Have you noticed that I don’t look back anymore, and that I am now focused on my present and my future? I am sure that tomorrow is going to be better. You might think that the happiness I feel now is providing me with hope, and that this might disappear overtime, or that it is because of my new life, but let me tell you that my new partner is the reason. I do not know which of us is helping the other, but I know that I am very happy with this man that fate has given me.

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