Train Tracks Ahead

Amal Al-Kheir

Written by Amal Al-Kheir (a story inspired by the life of my grandmother, Dana Svobodová)

When I was little I used to live in a tiny wood cottage with my parents and my sister. Every day, my morning started with sunlight and my mom kindly waking me up. Then with breakfast, which I always helped my mom with. Normally my mom heated milk on the warm stove and I went running to the store for fresh baked croissants and then put them on a table together with jam and butter. Then my father came out of the cellar, where he stoked the fire. He washed his hands and we sat down at the table and started eating. Once I was finished I always washed my plate in freezing water, from our deep well . Then my lazy sister usually came down the stairs and sat down to have breakfast. I was already heading off and on my way to school. It wasn't short, I needed to cross a tiny forest road down a hill and then go along the creek.

Amal Al-Kheir and David Vaughan | Photo: Radio Prague International

Once every second week, normally on Saturday after school, my grandfather came to visit for a coffee. After he drank the coffee and talked with my parents a little bit, he sat down on an armchair and started telling stories - stories about his life as a soldier in World War One and about his experiences during World War Two when he worked as the head of a small station.

Then the day came when I went on a train to medical high school. The road was long but calm and since it was boarding school, I had luggage with me. When I came to the school gatehouse a nice lady showed me my room. The roommate that I had was, thank God, really nice and kind, and we did understand each other. And I remember that the first day I had lunch from my mom and when I was eating, I almost started crying. I was missing my mom that much.

Photo: Radio Prague International

Later, I adapted to the new environment and the school. I met people who changed my life by just showing or telling me small things or sentences which I remember to this day. One of the inspiring sentences was “To never stop reading and to read everything that will get into our hands, even if we think that it would not be interesting.” I was told this by a professor at my medical school. He was the head of the radiology clinic and a very kind man with a wide perspective and was full of wisdom. He told us so, in order to always be open to all aspects of world knowledge. To see or to be aware of not only the things that are in our direct view, but also to things that might change our perspective, or to widen our knowledge. That is what is inspiring me these days and what I will to the future.

Author: Amal Al-Kheir
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  • A Stitch in Time

    I was approached by Leah Gaffen from Class Acts, an initiative that works with bilingual children in Czechia, with a particular focus on drama and writing.