Sara (not her actual name) is one of the most consummate optimists I’ve ever known, I deeply admire her gumption, and I am certain that you will too! This is her story:
We met for the first time after the Revolution, at the Caterpillar Café. I think it went well, Alhamdulillah (thank God), I wouldn’t change a thing, except I wish we’d seen each other more. From the very first time I felt that you were a special friend, and you still are! We had a good time, we talked, I felt very comfortable. [as did I, Sara is a very personable, joyful woman to be around!]
When I was young I wanted to be a hairdresser, and I did it. I loved it, and still do. Later I dreamt I’d become a make-up artist, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet. l never imagined that l would marry at 20 and have a baby at 21, that was unexpected, and it changed my life considerably, for the better, Alhamdulillah!
You never know what will happen in life. I never thought I’d marry a foreigner, let alone an Arab! And yet, here I am, a decade later, happily married to my Arab husband!
What surprised me most is how much I love my kids, they are the joy of my life! You can never imagine such joy until you have a child (or five!). My perspective on life has completely changed since I became a mother, everything is special now, because of them.
I was born and raised in a religious Muslim family, so prayer keeps me going, my faith relaxes me, and keeps me thinking clearly, alhamdulillah! Also, when you have a full house, you are always motivated, there is always something new happening in our home!
I don’t have many friends, but they are very special to me! Don’t take them for granted!
The best advice I’ve been given is threefold: 1) you can’t expect respect from people if you yourself have none; 2) cherish the present moment, right here, right now, with your family, your husband; and 3) stress less… enjoy life, because you have just one!
The defining moments in my life were when l got married; I felt that I had it made, my life is so good, alhamdulillah! But then l had my first baby girl, and my life went in another direction altogether. Being a mother is beyond special to me, I’m still a wife also, but I’m a mother to these little creatures whom I love beyond words! So nothing’s changed since then, it just got better with the years! Alhamdulillah I’m the luckiest woman in the world!
The spice for life… well, it depends. I’d say that other than spices, the main ingredients are honesty and respect, if you don’t have those, then what have you got?
My wish is just for my children to be honest and respectful individuals. And that is something that I would love to be remembered for. In the world that we live in, we need this on a daily basis!
I was 6 when the war broke out in Bosnia. It wasn’t easy, especially for kids. I didn’t know what was wrong, why they are killing and bombing us, why our father is not at home, why my mother cries all the time, what does it mean to go to a good school, why we don’t have normal bread (l don’t like corn bread), when will the electricity come back on (it was off for years),… ?
My mother had just had a baby boy, my brother, and on a calm day she went out to wash his cloth diapers, when suddenly she fell to the ground, there was blood everywhere, luckily our neighbor was there, helped her, and took her to what we then called our ER: our mosques. She had been hit by snipers!
Some things I forgot, maybe most of them, I must have locked them in my mind, and thrown away the key, because every time I start this subject I don’t feel good for three days! Especially now, with the situation the way it is here in Libya.
But there are things I will never forget, and people I can never forgive!
I moved to Libya as a young bride and just a few years later the Revolution started, on February 17, 2011. Only one week prior I found out I was pregnant. I had a choice to make: to leave or to stay. I decided to stay, alhamdulillah. It seemed that every day things got worse, my belly got bigger, my other kids couldn’t understand what was happening.
They called it “safe bombing.” Is there such a thing as a safe bomb? They said don’t worry, it costs millions of dollars, it’s safe. What an oxymoron! Around my second trimester I realized that I’m living it all over again: my mother’s life. Who would have known? I was very sad, I cried a lot, thinking how was I going to give birth in this situation? That was my main priority: keeping my children safe, keeping them happy. I was determined not to cry in front of them. Once again, we civilians were caught in the middle!
Then Ramadan came, like an honored guest. It was a special month in my life, as I gave birth, in the hospital, alhamdulillah. The baby was ok , and I was too… After she turned three I noticed that she is such an emotional little person, and still is… For my husband and me, our goal was to buy as much food as we could: I had starved in my first war as a child, at least in this one we had food, coffee, tea, electricity was sometimes off (but not for more than a day or two at a time), we had medicine, the hospitals worked, alhamdulillah…!
It left a mark, a big one. Our lives will never be the same, our countries will never be the same, whether you loved or hated the previous regime, it changed, and inshallah (God willing) we all hope for the best!