My tireless efforts included months of training, refining my English skills so I could prove I was ready to leave Dzaleka behind and embark on my new life at a Canadian university. Each of us students completed a Canadian migration interview, and then we waited to find out at which university we each would be placed. Alongside my placement, I received a letter from Dr. Savino, a WUSC faculty advisor at Huron University in London, Ontario, who told me how excited he was that I would be attending his school. His kindness radiated off the page, and I felt so sure I was headed where I was meant to be – though I knew very little of my future school or what this very foreign country would hold for me.
I guess it’s hard to be afraid when your whole heart is bursting with excitement. Although I would be leaving behind everything and everyone I ever knew and cared for, I was so focused on what was coming next, I don’t think I ever really took the time to mourn what I was leaving behind. New beginnings have a way of overshadowing the ending of things; or, at least, that’s what your father has found in his case. But, I will caution you, when you leave significant things behind and start anew, be careful to really say goodbye – because even if you will return, the place you go back to will never be the same as you left it. And, even if certain things are painful or hold within them the suffering you experienced there, they still shaped who you are and they deserve acknowledgement for that – if nothing else.