The Long Jour­ney From Aleppo

The Hamilton Spectator - - OUR PULSE - NATALY KEHYAYAN, GRADE 11

To­day my life is not what I ex­pected it to be.

Four years ago, I had the life of an or­di­nary teenager. I was in

my last year of el­e­men­tary school, and as any stu­dent would be, I was very ex­cited about start­ing high school. But that dream did not come true, at least not for a year.

The sum­mer be­fore my first year of high school, the city I lived in, Aleppo, was not se­cure enough for me to go to school any­more. I had to stay home be­cause my par­ents thought my safety came be­fore the ed­u­ca­tion I had to re­ceive. I could not un­der­stand them then, but I do now.

Within seven months we moved to Turkey in hopes of hav­ing a bet­ter life as a fam­ily. It takes time to adapt to new sur­round­ings, new friends, and a new school. Not be­ing part of the ma­jor­ity can be chal­leng­ing some­times, but things get eas­ier with time.

Just when I was able to ac­cept the fact that this new place was home to me, my par­ents de­cided that mov­ing to Canada would guar­an­tee a bet­ter fu­ture for us. Ev­ery­thing was even harder for me this time be­cause I knew what it was like to be in an un­fa­mil­iar place, and I was not ready to face all the dif­fi­cul­ties that came with it once again. It seems log­i­cal to think that the sec­ond time would be more ef­fort­less com­pared to the first time, but it is not. It is just as ex­haust­ing.

Still, I be­lieve that Canada has many new op­por­tu­ni­ties to of­fer, and I con­sider my­self lucky that I am here, safe and sound with my fam­ily, and de­ter­mined to make the most of this jour­ney.

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