My home (country)
By Oula Mahfouz
I used to think that home was just one specific place and that I could never leave my home country (Syria). In 2012 we had to flee our home in Damascus because of the fighting. I had rented an apartment in the centre of Damascus with my big family. Soon my parents and siblings left Syria one by one. I was the last one to stay in Damascus. This time was very difficult for me, because I was in my home country, but felt estranged. Then already my idea of home had begun to change.
Home is not just a location for me now, but a place where I can live with my family and the people I love and who love me, and where I am accepted. Home is where I feel comfortable, recognized and valued. Home is where I can live without fear and where I have freedom of expression. Home is by no means bound to a president or a prince or a king.
Syria is still my home, because (despite everything) my heart and my thoughts are rooted there. I consider Germany (despite everything) as my second home, because I live here and want to build my new life here.