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MY LIFE BEFORE CIS
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Reem Sleiman is a 12th grade student at CIS. Originally from Syria, she lived in Spain before joining CIS as a boarding student.
It is already the start of November which means that this all is coming to an end. I understand that it would be a new beginning but, as for now, I struggle to see it this way.

For 19 long years, I remember all my shortcomings and experiences. I remember the times where I would go in the burning heat, with my head boiling from the sun wearing a black robe covering me from head to toe every day to school and back. I had nothing to do but read books.

I remember our summer trips to Damascus where we would meet with our relatives, who would avoid us in the same house, leaving my brother and I with no one to talk to. I did hardly anything but daydream. Things remained the same, with me deprived of something that I could not figure out, so I cloaked my search with reading. Then I stayed out by drawing.

I remember 2014 when the so-called "refugee swarm" hit the Gulf and my father's 17-year visa coincidentally "expired". We left for Europe, stayed in a town near Andorra with only one school: a Catholic school. I had to study the Bible and go to Church. I'm a Muslim.

Two years after discrimination, racial and cultural, being forced to learn two languages, Catalan and Spanish, only to understand that they have been insulting me and my identity, my brother and I took a bus to Barcelona. He liked it.
I accepted it.

My mother would visit us every couple of weeks, and my dad three. On the fourth, we lost everything. With a sick mother and an unemployed father, I remember how we spent our last 500 euros in the bank. We paid rent. I found CIS.

I cannot help but feel the anxiety of those last six months in CIS. I might go to university, go back home, take a gap year somewhere, but nothing could recreate the two years I spent here that shaped me and highlighted my life.

I am going to inevitably lose touch with my mentors, people I look up to and my good friends. I am optimistic about the next 6 months, but I am struggling to accept that it is only 6 months. I am ending it here, with hopes that this serves as a reminder to make ourselves aware of the good things we have today, before those 6 months come to an end.