“If you’re from Africa, why are you white?” – A Biography Post

karen

Ahh the famous Mean Girls quote. If I had a quarter for every time someone used it on me!

20150928_195834Picture an innocent little 6 year old who wore pink-everything, a mischievous smile, and pig tails on her head every day. That was me when my family moved from Iraq to spend 2 years in Africa. My dad was working in the United Nations there and so where papa bear goes, the pack follows. I then moved to Canada when I was in grade 2. Hence… the use of the Mean Girls quote on me every time I share my life story. But, I really want to talk about the reason behind all of this moving around in my life.

You’ve probably heard about the refugee crisis unfolding in the Middle East right now. But, this “refugee crisis” didn’t just begin earlier this month. It’s been going on since long before I was born. My parents witnessed some of the dangers you only see in movies. They probably doubted their hope in humanity 1000 times.

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But in 2005, they were blessed enough to have been accepted as Skilled Immigrants in Canada, before the situation became extremely dangerous.

My family has had their fair share of persecution in Iraq and so the big dream was safety and security for my brother and I. We moved to Canada because my parents didn’t want us to experience life the way they did. Along with their experiences came depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress and there was no way my parents would let any of that be instilled into us.

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If they couldn’t stop the war, they weren’t going to let us live with it.

Among all the chaos and big hopes for a better future, my parents did once have a dream. (THEY HAD A DREAM, THAT ONE DAY… just kidding). Martin Luther King is bae though. Anyway, we have a history of educators in my family. My dad was a teacher back home, my mother was my art teacher at one point in Africa, and her parents were both English teachers. And me, well I want to become a teacher. So, you can see where my future is headed. But, my parents once thought it’d be cool to have their own educational institution. They shared that in common.

And you know how when you were little you would say, “I’m gonna buy my parents a big house when I get older to pay them back for everything.” Well, seeing how involuntarily they had to give up more than a house, but also something that was a part of them, I think the best way to pay them back is to ignite the spark that once started in their hearts for education before it blew out.

I know I’ll feel discouraged along the way and I definitely realize some people won’t understand why I’d go through lengths and distances to reach my goal. fetch

But in Canada, in a place of opportunity and hope, it WILL happen. I’ll make sure my mom and dad get that education institution they’ve always wanted. And for you reading this, if you’ve got a vision, don’t be afraid to follow through with it and don’t stop because people are trying to pull a Regina George on you. You got it!

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So this is a promise. To my parents. To my family. To everybody that’s had to give up a dream or a part of themselves for the benefit of someone else. This is for you. I will bring to a finish what you started in my brother and I. One day, you will see that educational institution you pictured rise from a foundation built on blood, sweat, and tears; whatever it takes to make your dream a reality. Thank you for safety. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for a better life. But, this is our time (Ohhhh York U motto reference) and we hope to make you proud.

Stay tuned for next week’s post to learn why I chose to study at Glendon hoping it would help me reach my ultimate goal!

Xo

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