Zahra Marwan

Nov 01, 2017

Always leaving.

1). I left Kuwait when I was a child with my family. I was born without nationality, and my parents wanted to make sure me and my brothers had a chance to live fulfilling lives. I was so young, but I could feel the pain of leaving. When we came to New Mexico, my identity card had written on it :
“Place of birth: Kuwait. Nationality: Undefined.”

Here I am, the smaller of the two, before immigrating.

2.) The first time I saw Jesus bleeding on cross at my friends house in New Mexico, I was afraid I was at the home of violent people, and thought I should leave. I learned to understand that we speak Arabic at home, and English in public. I didn’t understand why my friend was speaking English at home.

My first American friend.

3.) Kuwait had issued us papers to leave and not return. We used those papers to return. My mom is a Kuwaiti Citizen, but me and my dad weren’t. We had our papers retracted at the airport, and my mom tried to defend us. She was so strong, yelling at the officials at the airport. I stayed in Kuwait for a year in Middle School.

Here I am in Middle School, petting this herder’s baby goat during a winter sandstorm.

4.) At 15, I became a citizen. Finally, recognition from a sovereign nation. When people talk about sending immigrants back to where they came from, I think “Joke’s on you! I have nowhere to go back to.”

5.) When I landed in Kuwait this last May, border control asked if I’d ever resided in Kuwait. I should’ve asked him the same thing.

6.) I love the sea in Kuwait. It reminds me of my dad. It reminds me of when my family was together. I remember stories. I think of my uncle’s passion for the sea before being killed in the war, my ancestors, my cousins, the colors, the history, and my mortality. Every time I leave Kuwait, my heart breaks into a million pieces.


Whenever I return to New Mexico, people say, “hey, you’re back home.” I found a lot of beautiful places to grow. From the Flamenco community, the University, and the people from here.