As I used to be standing on the Heathrow Airport arrivals gate ready to be reunited with my husband and two kids after three years of separation, I used to be a wreck.
I saved wanting down as a result of I used to be anticipating my youngsters – who have been 9 and 11 after I final noticed them – to be simply as tall as after I left them.
After they ultimately got here across the nook, I initially didn’t recognise them.
It wasn’t till I noticed my husband that I believed ‘the place are my kids?’ they usually have been really in entrance of him however they’d modified a lot.
As quickly as I realised, I ran as much as all of them and gave them an enormous hug. After fleeing Syria after which being separated as a result of I got here to the UK alone to attempt to apply for asylum, it was a much-needed reunion.
Our new life was solely simply starting however it was years and plenty of fingers within the making.
Eight years in the past, I discovered by means of fellow displaced Syrian pals that my small flat within the outskirts of Damascus was destroyed throughout civil unrest in Syria and I misplaced all the pieces in it. I used to be completely devastated.
Fortunately, by that time, my household had already made the selection to depart our residence and transfer to Dubai in 2000.
It wasn’t a simple resolution to depart Syria although. I grew up in Damascus, studied laborious and have become an anaesthetist in a state kids’s hospital – the place I labored for 10 years. I labored throughout the paediatric surgical ward and neonatal ward, in addition to supervised postgraduates in anaesthesia.
However simply earlier than the flip of the century, political tensions have been rising so my husband and I made the choice to maneuver to Dubai as a result of he bought a job there after which I did too shortly after arriving.
As time went on, I had my son and daughter however we quickly realised that going again to Syria could be more and more unlikely as household and pals started fleeing our residence nation. It felt terrible slowly seeing a future within the nation I grew up in would now not be attainable.
When the civil warfare broke out in 2011, that’s after we knew we’d in all probability by no means really feel protected going again so we began to consider the place we might all go.
We couldn’t keep in Dubai as a result of we knew we wouldn’t give you the option get everlasting residency to safe a future for our kids.
So in 2014, we made the choice for me to depart my husband and two kids – as a result of I spoke English one of the best – and attempt to search asylum within the UK. I felt scared about leaving them and transferring to the UK as a result of I knew how a lot I used to be going to overlook them.
We thought that I had one of the best shot at being granted asylum after which we might apply for household reunification they usually might be a part of me.
I moved from home to accommodate each few months and was grateful for the locations to remain however I felt like I wanted one thing extra everlasting
Once I flew into London in April 2015, I felt a combination of unhappiness at leaving my household behind however hope that all the pieces could be sorted out shortly and I might be reunited with them pretty shortly.
I didn’t actually have a transparent plan and I felt actually unsure of all the pieces as a result of I didn’t know anybody. I initially stayed in a hostel however there was one level the place I used to be strolling across the avenue alone and late at night time and simply felt so misplaced.
Inside a month, I utilized for an asylum visa by means of a authorized aide and was informed to attend till a choice. Ready round on daily basis was laborious since you’re not allowed to work, so I simply tried to study English and converse to my kids as a lot as attainable by means of WhatsApp.
As for my dwelling scenario, I ended up staying within the hostel lodging that the House Workplace supplied for the primary couple of months and it was superb however it by no means actually felt like residence.
Sooner or later, I met a Syrian household within the native park and we turned pals instantly. It was so good to satisfy a household like mine, who knew what I used to be going by means of. Ultimately, they provided for me to stick with them quickly as an alternative of the hostel and I fortunately agreed.
I stayed with my new pals for about two months in whole and it was good to really feel like I used to be in a correct residence. Additionally they helped me search for different lodging by means of Fb teams.
For the subsequent yr or so, I moved from home to accommodate each few months and was grateful for the locations to remain however I felt like I wanted one thing extra everlasting.
That’s after I got here throughout Refugees at House on-line – a charity that connects refugees in want of lodging with hosts within the UK keen to place them up without cost – and reached out to see if they may assist.
I spent a few months with a household in London, however then I moved to lodging with a lady, who was actually beautiful. Though I felt so responsible about dwelling in her residence with out paying something – I saved apologising – she by no means made me really feel unwelcome.
Over time, we shaped a friendship and regardless that she was an educational and really busy with work, she often invited me out socially to satisfy her pals and fellow Refugees at House hosts or company. That is after I was capable of kind some friendships.
I lived there for 2 years and I’ll always remember the hospitality of my extremely beneficiant host. I couldn’t ever thank her sufficient for all the pieces she – and the numerous others – have executed for me.
Simply being there helped me to study English as a result of I used to be having conversations with the host and slowly increase my vocabulary. I used to be additionally making an attempt to satisfy new individuals and even simply overhear individuals’s conversations on the prepare to study English.
On 22 December 2017, I lastly discovered that I used to be being granted indefinite go away to stay and I used to be so completely happy that I cried. I known as my household and informed them the excellent news – all of us simply sobbed. They couldn’t consider it was virtually over however we knew that this was solely half the journey.
By 29 December, I utilized for household reunification in order that my husband and two kids might come be with me within the UK. I couldn’t wait to be reunited with them after being separated for therefore lengthy.
After submitting paperwork – like my new Indefinite Go away to Stay paperwork and IDs – I used to be anxious to search out out whether or not my software could be accepted.
Being a physician means the world to me as a result of it’s my ardour to be round sufferers and relieve their ache
It took simply 40 days for the entire course of to be finalised and I used to be overjoyed on the concept of lastly being reunited. However by this level, we’d spent all the cash we’d saved from dwelling in Dubai so I had no concept how my household would be capable to afford their aircraft tickets to the UK.
That’s when one of many hosts from Refugees at House generously provided to pay for the flights. It wasn’t even a number who had let me stick with them – only a girl who I’d solely met as soon as and knew of my story.
I used to be so overwhelmed with happiness and it was all taking place so quick – particularly after having to attend so lengthy all through my asylum course of.
So in February 2018, the host I used to be dwelling with drove us to Heathrow Airport within the early hours of the morning so we might meet my household on the arrivals gate.
Phrases can’t specific my happiness at seeing them for the primary time – I simply felt so grateful for everybody who helped make it occur.
For the subsequent few weeks, we stayed with a sequence of recent hosts as a result of it was understandably so much to ask for individuals to now host 4 refugees somewhat than only one. Ultimately, we moved right into a home in Excessive Wycombe supplied by a refugee group, which helped us get on our toes.
For the subsequent yr or so, I needed to full my UK medical exams in order that I might proceed to follow medication on this nation. I completed them in January final yr so instantly signed as much as a job company and fortunately, I began working in an intensive care unit in London in March.
Being a physician means the world to me as a result of it’s my ardour to be round sufferers and relieve their ache. I like utilizing my abilities and data to assist individuals as a result of I really feel it’s necessary to provide again.
It was such a reduction to have a full-time job in any case that point however this was precisely the identical month the UK went into its first nationwide lockdown; it was actually robust beginning this job in a pandemic.
On the time, there was an enormous scarcity of healthcare professionals as a result of the NHS was already stretched so skinny so it was not straightforward. I used to be working with Covid-19 sufferers in important circumstances, whereas on the identical time making an attempt to get used to a hospital setting I wasn’t acquainted with.
It was a whole shock and really difficult, however I’m comforted by the truth that I’m serving to individuals.
Medical workers from all totally different fields got here collectively to work within the ICU and in these preliminary levels, nobody was sure about something. It was extremely exhausting however steadily, I turned an increasing number of acquainted with the system and we bought by means of the primary wave.
I’m nonetheless working within the intensive care unit and it’s troublesome however it’s extremely rewarding. Every day presents a brand new problem however I’m so glad I might help give again to a rustic that’s supplied a lot to me and my household.
After working in a hospital, I used to be in a position to economize for my household to maneuver into our personal place and we’ve been there ever since. We’ve tried to make it as homely as attainable and it lastly looks like we’re again to being ourselves once more after such a very long time of hardships and instability.
My kids at the moment are attending faculty and my husband works on-line in digital advertising and marketing so all the pieces feels settled. I can’t even think about the place I’d be if it wasn’t for the generosity and kindness of the hosts at Refugees at House.
I’m simply so grateful my household is all protected and completely happy – however most significantly, we’re collectively.
To seek out out extra about Refugees at House, go to their website here.
Immigration Nation is a sequence that goals to destigmatise the phrase ‘immigrant’ and discover the highly effective first-person tales of people that’ve arrived within the UK – and known as it residence. When you’ve got a narrative you’d wish to share, e mail [email protected]