In July 2015, I got the opportunity to go to the United States of America again on a leadership program. I was part of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), where I met inspiring and unforgettable people. Through the six-week-long program, I learned about leadership, project management, and American culture with other students from all over the MENA region. It was an enriching experience on many levels. family
I will not write about my experience in MEPI or Space Camp in this article. The knowledge that matters and the people we meet through the journey make it more valuable. I will write about two people I am proud to call my family away from home.
Deep Learning Experience
Through that journey, I compared my first experience in the US when I was only 16 in Space Camp Program. At the same time, my second was when I was 21. I was older and more mature. My English language developed as I was a university student during the program. My personality was different, and I was very focused. I made life-lasting friendships, but there was this family that genuinely became my family away from home.
I spent about a week with an American family in Wausau, Wisconsin, during the program. On our way to Wisconsin, the supervisor asked if it was okay to switch to another family. It was a last-minute change. A student was not keen on living with a dog family, but I didn’t mind. I didn’t have any expectations or specific requirements.
According to the program’s schedule, I knew I would live with an American family and have sessions scheduled for the stay in Wausau. We arrived in the evening. The state’s scenery was an infinite area of green landscape, and it just radiated peacefulness. It was quiet and calm, which I needed after spending some time in busy Chicago.
Family Away From Home
I lived with two amazing people named Darlene and Dave. They were very welcoming from the first day. Through the few days I spent with them, I got the chance to learn about them and Wausau. It was the perfect experience of living with a host family, given that I had never experienced it before. I felt connected to them.
After my classes, we would go out together to golf, walk, and spend the night watching TV and talking. They were very considerate, and within a few days, we made this special bond. I remember when they drove me to the bus on the last day of my stay, we both cried. They truly felt like family.
End of The Journey?
In August, I returned to Chicago, finished the program, and returned home to Libya. Our connection remained, and it got more robust through the following years. We exchanged messages for the past six years, and I would check on them, and they did too. I would share thoughts and news with Darlene whenever something happened.
When I got the co confirmation, I informed them that I would do my master’s in France. Through the last three years of my life here in Paris, I have been through ups and downs, and my new reality challenged me. Last year by far, was the most difficult. It pushed me to my limits, and I was not only exhausted but drained. A few people knew what I went through, and they were one of those people. Their support and encouragement helped me immensely, and I felt their love regardless of distance.
Distance Brings People Together
This time, I had a severe problem during my studies, and Darlene knew about the situation. I didn’t ask for help, and I was working on solving the problem, but suddenly she texted to inform me that she and Dave would love to help in any way possible. Overwhelmed by their kindness, I knew that they genuinely cared about me. This article may not be enough, but I want to thank them sincerely for everything through the past six years.
Darlene is a loving, caring, and kind woman, and her genuine feelings radiate from her to those around her. She loves deeply and never hesitates to help in any way possible. Her energy and strength never cease to amaze me. The beauty of her relationship with her husband is heart-warming and hopeful. I could sense her love for Dave whenever she talked about him.
It is a relationship that shows you strength and support in the most challenging times, but they push through. Dave’s warmth, love, and great sense of humor are what I cherish dearly. To me, Darlene and Dave are my families away from home. Distance made our connection more substantial, and I could be around them without feeling judged or questioned. Since I left the US in 2015, I knew I had people I care about back there, and we shall remain connected regardless of distance. May we get reunited sooner than later.