The trip from Damascus, Syria all the way to JFK airport in New York City is a little over 5,648 miles and over 16 hours of hanging above the clouds. Add to that a few hours of driving to get to Johnstown, PA, my first home in the United States of America. In 2003, I moved to the states with my husband. I remember the excitement and the overwhelming mix of feelings. A degree in computer science from Damascus University and more than 10 years of experience as an Assistant Professor did not translate into a recognized degree in the states.Those experiences did however, help me transfer some credits and skip some courses. Couple years after I received a degree in Information Technology, a Microsoft engineering certificate, tons of new vocabularies and a huge explosion to the American culture. Almost 15 years now, I have a wonderful life, devoted husband, three amazing daughters and wonderful friends who I can call family. I have learned so much about my new country: I appreciate its greatness and understand its limits, but Syria will always be in my heart. I have visited so many countries; still, Damascus, my hometown, has and will always be the closest to my heart. The photo of the coffee cup set was a gift from Terez , my favorite neighbor. She taught me to be strong and appreciate education and follow dreams near and far.
– Fadia Rostom