On October 4th 2015, I left Kuwait for the United States. I had just completed my high school studies and aced my high school final examination. After many years of struggle, I was eager to pursue a career of my choice in one of the developed countries. However, I had never left my home country before. Furthermore, I had never been away from my family members before especially my mother who had been on my side all the time. Nonetheless, the right time to leave the family members had come and I had to leave. Although I was happy the opportunity had come my way miraculously, I was torn between taking the offer and leaving my family.
My parents insisted that I had to leave them to further my studies. Even though I felt like they did, my heart told me not to leave my mother. I felt that something bad was about to happen to her, but I could not tell her because I was not sure about it. I tried praying for her, but I could not because I was not used to praying. Other times, I tried sharing the issue with my mother, but I could not because I was afraid of frustrating her. After struggling with this issue for many days, I finally accepted that the right time for me to leave my family members and home country had come. They prepared everything for me like they used to in my early years of school. I felt like a king and I was ready to leave my mother. I kissed her and other family members goodbye at the airport and left, but I struggled to hide my worry.
When I set my foot in the U.S airport after fourteen hours of travel, I thought that life would be good for me in the USA. I had everything that I wanted to be happy and my fees had been paid in full. Little did I know that my stay in the USA would be bumpy, regrettable and in some cases almost discouraging.
The first few days, however, were good. I visited a number of places that I had planned to visit while I was in Kuwait. I also tried some of the most delicious U.S foods and enjoyed the U.S diversity. It never occurred to me that I would ever have a low moment. I did not even want to think about it. That was an abomination for me and I could not take it.
However, things got bad the moment I learned that I had to enroll for an English class to improve my communication skills. I never expected this because I did not come all the way from Kuwait to attend English classes in the USA. My focus was on pursuing a career in petroleum and gas engineering. This is a marketable field in Kuwait. With this career, you can have all the money that you want in your bank account. My parents understood this quite well thereby they could not let me go for anything less than pursuing this career in the USA. Initially, I thought that school life in the USA would be simple. I even thought I would sleep and wake up to see good grades on my transcript. Indeed, my successful years in high school had made me believe that I was a genius, but the reality dawned on me the moment I scored low grades. At first, I thought that U.S tutors were biased against foreigners. Consequently, I did not want to share this issue with my friends let alone my parents who called me frequently during my first days in the USA.
Things got worse when I learned that my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. This was heart-breaking. I feared that she might die even before I completed my studies. I lost hope and purpose for pursuing my most admired career. I blamed myself for leaving my mother when I was sure that something bad was about to happen to her. I kept asking myself whether my mother would forgive me for not telling her about the issue in good time. One time I contemplated about going back to my home country and never coming back to the USA. However, where would I go? What would I tell my parents happened to me? Would my parents, who had invested heavily in my education, understand me? I kept asking myself many questions that went unanswered. As I did this without finding a solution, my grades kept on worsening and I almost failed a simple course. Had it not been for the college counselor who came to my rescue when I needed help most, I would not be here today. Probably, I would be in my home country doing something else or I would be struggling with life in one of the streets in the neighborhoods.
In the midst of worrying about my mother and her condition, one day I decided to call her.
Me: hello mom
Mum: hello my love
Me: how are you doing?
Mum: I’m doing fine. What about you?
Me: Mum, I just called to find out how you are doing. Dad informed me about your medical condition, but I could not call you back.
Mom: don’t worry. I am fine.
(I wondered how I could stop worrying about her when she was not well)
Me: how can I stop worrying about you, mom? You have been on my side and it is my time to be on your side. How are you doing anyway?
Mum: I am fine like I told you. I am on chemotherapy waiting for the doctors to tell me the way forward.
Me: What do you mean by the way forward, mom?
Mum: You know . . . (she struggled to explain)
Me: Mum I do not know. (I replied politely as she tried to compose herself)
Mum: I will be okay. Don’t worry much about me.
The phone went dead before we concluded our conversation. I tried to call her back, but I could not reach.
After battling with the responses I got from mom over the telephone, I decided to pay her a visit one day. As I indicated earlier on, I had never traveled abroad before. So I did not know much about airports and travel issues. However, I knew that I needed an air ticket and a passport to travel back home. With these items, I thought everything else would work out by itself, but this would not be the case that day.
I arrived at the airport five o’clock in the evening so that I could travel during the night and land into my loving home country the next morning. This was about an hour before the scheduled time. I consoled myself that I had an hour to waste in the airport. This time was enough for me to familiarize myself with the airport’s protocols. So, I even relaxed knowing that I had time to waste. Ten minutes passed without deciding what I would do next. Fifteen more minutes passed. I saw the first group of passengers board a plane and leave. It never came into my mind that I was getting late. It did not even come into my mind that I was supposed to check in my luggage. At one time, I thought I would just grab my luggage and rush into the plane. All this time, I sat on one of the comfortable soothing seats at the airport thinking about my mother. Everything else had momentarily come to a standstill. I did not see people the fifty minutes that I spent on the seat. I saw figures move from one point to the other. I came back to my senses five minutes before flight’s departure. The attendant was making the final call for me.
I stood up quickly startling the people around me, but luckily, I did not attract unnecessary attention. However, I dreaded and I did not know what to do next. I rushed to a nearby counter to ask for help. I tried expressing myself, but I could not I was nervous and breathless. I gave her my travel documents. Luckily, she helped me. I did not understand how I found myself on the plane, but I did not miss my flight anyway.
The next day I was in my hometown. I was happy to see my mother and she was happy to see me too. Although she was weak, her condition was not as bad as I had feared it would be. She had undergone a surgery three weeks before. She had been assured that she was now in remission after a successful surgery and a round of chemotherapy. I was happy to hear that.
My story is one of the rare cancer cases in our country and around the globe. Very few people are cancer survivors. My mother is one of them and I am happy for her. She gives me hope when I look at her. She motivates me when I am downcast. After spending a week with her and the rest of family members, I came back to the USA to pursue my career. From the time I came back, my grades have improved significantly. I can confidently say that I am one of the best students in the engineering department. My story is an inspiration to the downcast students. They should not give up no matter the intensity of their battles. I fought my mother’s cancer battle and overcame it while I was in a foreign country. They too should fight their battles. They will definitely come out victoriously.