You know that saying, “I woke up one morning and decided to…” Think it doesn’t really happen that way? Wrong. It happened to me.
I was once a full-time dreamer, living in Florida, freshly graduated with a Masters degree, but no job prospects besides a part time job at a local bead store. I spent my days in a monotonous cycle I couldn’t find my way out of. I had spent months searching for a full time position with no success, and not being able to drive because of bad eyesight only made my imprisonment worse.
A regular day for me was spent at HOME, in bed, with my laptop and my Chihuahua at my side, doing freelance writing work, and praying for life to take me on a grand adventure. I felt trapped and desperate for change.
Sometimes I felt like I would be stuck dreaming forever and that nothing I wanted would ever happen. They were only dreams and they only happened to lucky people. Those were my lowest points. I would pray every night for something to happen and even though there were moments of doubt, I never truly gave up hope. I never stopped believing, I never stopped dreaming.
One day, my Cuban mother and I were in the car, going out for dinner somewhere and out of nowhere she casually threw out the line that started it all. “You know, you should go visit your father in Lebanon.”
I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but it was like a light bulb exploded in my head. That same night, I began searching for flights, knowing that I had no money to pay for it, but determined to find a way to get there. I hadn’t seen my father in three years. Since he didn’t have enough money, he couldn’t send me a ticket but always promised I would be by his side again someday. What was I waiting for? I knew I had to do it myself if I wanted to see him. I had to stop daydreaming and make things happen. I kept telling myself, if you really want this, you’ll find a way to get it. And sure enough, I did.
It seemed like it was all meant to be, because a few weeks later, I had a round-trip ticket in my hand and things were finally looking up. I couldn’t believe I would be going back to Lebanon, the country of my dreams.
I am a U.S./Lebanese dual citizen, and the few times I had been there in the past had been some of the best times in my life. I remember one time I was leaving, and as the plane took off I watched from my window seat, the country getting smaller and smaller, until it disappeared and I vowed that one day I would come back to stay.
This time, however, I packed for three weeks.
On Sept 9, 2011, close to midnight, I was standing in front of my father at the airport, watching his face turn to complete shock as I surprised him. He thought he was coming to pick up his friend visiting from Florida, but when he saw me, his jaw all but dropped to the floor. He came around to meet me and as I ran into his arms, and felt them wrap around me I closed my eyes, and in that moment, I was filled with this wave of relief and total bliss.
Finally. Our reunion couldn’t have been any more perfect.
Two weeks later, I woke up crying, wondering why I was going back
HOME. Why was I leaving? What for?
To go back to the monotonous life I left behind? I found myself overwhelmed with this feeling like I had to stay.
I knew I had people back HOME who loved me, like my mom, my grandparents, my best friend and my
Chihuahua, and it would break my heart to upset them by not coming back, but I just knew in my heart that I wanted to stay and if I didn’t, I would regret it for the rest of my life. This was my chance, to live out the greatest adventure I would ever know. There was no doubt in my mind that this is where I was meant to be and this is what I was meant to do. I trust my gut most of the time, so call me crazy, but I followed my gut. I cancelled my return flight, lost $600, and gained much more in return.
Sure enough, a week after I made that decision, I met the man of my dreams, a Lebanese mathematician who I would eventually come to call my fiancé. Almost four years later and I’m still reaping the rewards of the most monumental decision I ever made.
I’m engaged, soon to be married, and ready to start a family of my own, in the country I am proud to call HOME.
It just goes to show that sometimes you have to give up something to gain everything.