Challenges And Roadblocks Lead To New Beginnings


Lia Ghirardi

The beautiful Norah Allawi.

Lia Ghirardi, Editor

“I don’t feel in danger here…life is simpler.” Norah Allawi, Sahuaro junior, moved here from the middle east. “I was born in Iraq, but moved to Syria and grew up there.” Norah moved to Tucson from Syria in 2011 with her mom, dad, and brother. “We had to move out of Iraq because our family was in danger…my dad was in the military and that caused us to be unsafe.” To get out of harm’s way, Norah and her family moved to Syria when she was 2-years-old to try and live a better life. The family got out of danger, but still had bad living conditions in Syria. “The conditions were poor and we were poor. Lots of things were bad there.” Norah lived in Syria for 5 years before moving to what she now calls home. “We came here with only 700 dollars in our pocket, but we had an apartment to stay in.”

The Allawi family came with nothing, but they made a new life for themselves here in America. Moving to a foreign country can come with multiple challenges. A big one for Norah was not knowing English. She came here only being able to speak different dialects of Arabic and knew not one word of English. “Kids would make fun of me because I couldn’t understand…It was hard to learn and speak English when I was younger.” Writing English was also a big challenge for Norah because Arabic is from right to left and looks completely different than the English language. “I didn’t have any confidence in speaking English until 4th grade.” It took her a while to be able to speak English because a lot of words would confuse her. Homophones such as their, there, and they’re would get her confused and she would mix up words.

After living in America for now half of her life, she has gotten the opportunity to experience “American culture” and make comparisons to her home country and Syria. “Life here is way better, I feel more safe.” Although America is her new home, she still misses some things from back in the middle east. “The main thing I miss is being able to experience our culture.” Norah keeps some of “home” alive by speaking Arabic and not English at home.

Moving to a completely new place can lead to many challenges and roadblocks, but Norah and her family adapted to their new home and learned how to live in a new environment. “I like it here and I have made lots of friends, this really is home.”