“Never think about money, whatever you need just tell me &I’ll send you, we have enough to support you and should our circumstances change, I’ll sell my jewels and support you, please try to enjoy your life”.
These are the words my mother keeps saying whenever we have a chat. Her dream is to see her only son a good doctor and working in the U.K not anywhere else!
I’ve never done anything good to my mother, I was the one who informed her about her mother’s death, the thing which hurt her so much, and however, I’m always her favorite only son.
It has been more than ten months now since I’ve left them, by all the means it’s not a long time, yet, it’s not easy at all.
When I left Iraq, I had a plan and I was clear about the direction I was going. My immediate concern was that I knew that I had to do exams to enable registration in the medical council in the UK, so I started preparing myself as soon as I arrived.
I had to organize somewhere to live, arranging my life and doing things I was not used to doing and also adapt and learn other skills which I did not possess such as cooking, cleaning and other things. Doing the housework is not a great matter; I’m convinced that I cook a delicious food, as I’m the only one who eats what I cook.
Yet, there were things which I didn’t pay attention too and it now seems that they are vital. I could imagine living on my own, but being entirely alone and not having any friends is another thing, which I didn’t think about and it’s really hard. There are many people around me, they are doing their best to help and support me, yet, I feel they are putting themselves out for me, which makes me feel guilty. To have friends is another thing.
At the beginning, I thought it would be quite easy to find friends, but gradually I realized a fact that I’m living in a country where Iraqis in particular are grouped according to their religious attitude. Those who are strict are being grouped together going to mosques for praying and celebrating religious events, most of them don’t like singing, prefer sexual demarcation, and to an extent are sectarian, after one bad experience I decided to stay away.
The other Iraqis have their own groups and not ready to widen their closed circles. I had to stay alone, I am naturally a person who prefers being isolated or alone, rather than facing troubles or being rejected.
To avoid being depressed or suffering homesickness, I focused on my studies, I did my best to pass the first exam which is the language one, I was attending three classes a day from 9 a.m to 6 p.m, after three and a half months I got my results, I scored higher than what I needed, it was a great surprise, as many doctors I know had to repeat it many times while I passed it the first time and with a high score.
I phoned my mother immediately, she was so pleased and her tears interrupted her words “Wonderful, I really ……miss…you”. I was so pleased, but I turned right and left to find no one else is happy, all those who care were far away, I kept calling people to tell them, instead of them calling me to congratulate me on my achievement. Two days later, I took flowers, cards and chocolate to my school, pretending that I was saying goodbye, in fact; I wanted to see people being happy for my success, I tried to find happiness even if it was a mocked one, and maybe; I wanted to feel that I am someone who people care about.
Without any delay, I booked for the second exam, the time interval before the exam was only six weeks and I knew that the exam was really hard, yet, I accepted the challenge, I just wanted to please my mother by any means, studying hard during the six weeks didn’t help. I took the exam and found out several weeks later that I had failed the exam and for only two marks out of 200, my mother denied being sad and asked me not to be disheartened, yet, I was alone and no one was beside me.
After being through such events and after it had been seven months away from my family, I thought that it would never matter for me wherever I am, as I will be always alone.
I packed and left to a district town in North England to study and get training in the local hospital there. My life there was about going to the hospital and coming back to stay in my room till the next day, no Internet, no T.V, and the town is always silent after 5p.m., as people stay indoor or go to pubs and clubs.
The worst time was at the beginning of April, I got toothache, which I foolishly tried to resist, it was a “tooth abscess” which caused me horrible pain for two nights and unluckily this occurred during the weekend when no dentist was available. I couldn’t sleep; I kept banging my head into the pillow trying to stop that pain, as tablets didn’t help. At that moment, I could understand what being out of the zone means, at that moment I prayed to god, I begged him to end my life as I realized how horrible it’s going to be.
When everyone was celebrating the Easter, I was stuck to my books as I didn’t have anywhere to go, and I didn’t have anyone to celebrate with.
Since that time I have moved again, I did the exam again on the end of April; I did my best this time, now I’m living somewhere else which is much better than the horrible town.
Many things have been changed, my desire in living has sharply declined, sorrow and sadness have been close friends to me, I don’t feel that I’m the good one I used to be, I don’t know why I’m going on, I don’t cook well and I eat more canned food as I’m unable to enjoy the taste or even to differentiate it, I don’t eat a lot, I eat to survive.
I talk to myself most of the times, sometimes I hardly control a smile on my face which comes after seeing a flash from the past, I stop it because I don’t want people to think that I’m crazy.
People consider me keen as I go to hospital during the weekends and Bank holiday! In fact I don’t have anything else to do, holidays for me are not more than days when some shops and institutes are closed, and yet it doesn’t make any difference in my life.
I’ll get my results within few days; I’ll be lonely again as my flat mate is on holiday, I don’t care about myself as I’m already lost, yet I really would love to please my mother. Sometimes I talk to God asking him not to make me suffer the shame of failing again, I ask him to make me pass not for myself but for all those who care about me, they deserve to be pleased.
Walking to and from the hospital everyday, with a bowed neck, clenched shoulders and hands in my sides pockets, I think about everything, about Iraq, people are being killed massively everyday, people are suffering more and more, will I have the chance to see it again? How will it look like? I think about my family, my friends and everyone there.
I think about my results and what will happen, will I keep facing the crucial events lonely? Repeating that exam was really horrible, will I be able to sit it for a third time? Doesn’t that mean there is something wrong with me? Should I keep telling my mother the bad news? Should I be ashamed by disappointing everyone?
Thinking that glass is half full, I try to be optimistic, isn’t it the whole life like that? I used to say: “The miseries of today are the reminiscences of tomorrow” I’m sure I’ll cross over this problem; there are thousands of really catastrophic events in this world, it’s a type of arrogance to consider such silly things as problems, at least I’m living very well and I always have the chance to try again, moreover I always have someone who is ready to help me, I shouldn’t get worried anymore…………I’m scared!