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My brother leaves for New Zealand today to pursue his studies/dreams. In so many ways, his decision mirrors my own 4 years ago, and I am reminded of how emotionally conflicting it was, simultaneously enjoying the thrill of adventure and riding out the pain of physical distance from loved ones.

I can’t fully express how proud I am of the person he has turned out to be. I never tried to understand him when we were younger—we were polar opposites and disagreed on so much. I knew he had a good heart but most of the time he just seemed too playful, too hot-headed and too irresponsible… and instead of being a good big sister to him, I patronized and judged him often for the decisions he made.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, I think our shared experiences smoothed out the rough edges between us. I don’t even know how or when it happened but he is now the wise, advice-dispensing one among us siblings, someone we all confide in and rely on. I will always be grateful for him.

I know he will be missed by many and I pray that he finds what he is looking for and what is best for him, insha Allah.

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