January 9, 1997, was one of the blessed days for my family. I, Priya Sharma, was born. Let me take you to a flash back and tell you why I was a blessing. Many years ago, my father and mother met at Khudunabari camp and fell in love with each other, but since they belonged to different castes both of their families were against their marriage and with no options left, my parents did what they had to do. They eloped to Dharan and got married and BOOM- I was born. I played a key role because 2-3 years after my birth, my parents finally decided to come back to the camp to get back to their families, and of course, after seeing my innocent face, both the families accepted us once again. A few days passed by and then we had to go back to Dharan, since both my parents made good money there.
Days passed by, then months, then years, and I got older. We were equally blessed with another baby, my brother. We were a happy family; everyone always complimented on how good our family was. I had a very special connection with my dad and my brother, more so than with my mom. Then came the resettlement program. I was a kid and after what I heard I couldn’t stop my excitement. Seven different countries decided to take us as refugees and make us a part of their country. I thought, what could be worse than the camp? My family started the process of resettling to a third country; the land of opportunities, the USA. After a while it was our turn to leave the camp.
Everyone was crying but I was sitting at the window seat and smiling all alone. I was extremely happy to finally leave the bad odor of the camp and move to a place where even the roads are shiny- at least that’s what I thought back then. It was February 12, 2009. After a long trip, we arrived to Columbus, Ohio; during the journey I did not eat or sleep properly, and my lips and hands were dry and cracked from the cold weather. I don’t know if I should say coming to America was the best thing or the worst thing to ever happen to us. The first few months were the worst. It was cold, we didn’t know how to speak English (only my father did), we had no transportation, and the food was just plain nasty. My brother and I were enrolled in school, but I hated it there since I was the only Nepali student and I had absolutely no idea what they were saying or teaching. Slowly everything started getting better; we were fully settled and knew exactly what we were doing. Everything was great, until two years ago when my parents started having problems. I never knew what the problem was but I knew it was here to ruin our family and that’s exactly what happened.
In April 2015, my parents separated after a threat from me to my mom saying I will not survive if they stayed together. The situation had gotten so bad, it had gotten to a point where my dad physically started abusing my mom and that’s when I lost my temper. The problem was going on for over two years, and it was only pushing my brother and I further towards depression. I was so weak physically, mentally and emotionally that I tried to commit suicide three times, but every time I couldn’t get up the nerve to drink the bleach or cut my wrists. Today I am proud of myself for not giving up. My mother and I moved out from my dad’s house and started living once again in an apartment, at the very bottom where once we all started. Today my mother and I are happy despite the fact that we got zero support from my dad’s family; yes, we have minor difficulties since she can’t drive or speak English properly but we aren’t living under a constant fear of being thrown out of the house or being abused. My brother lives with my father and he isn’t as close to me as he used to be. It upsets me sometimes but I guess everything does happen for a reason.
Despite all of the problems in my life, I recently graduated from high school and I plan on going to college this fall to major in Psychology and Business. I also created the first Bhutanese girls soccer team for Columbus, Ohio, which includes girls as young as twelve years old. My mission wasn’t just to keep them physically fit but was also to create a platform where they will socialize face to face and share their problems (which has been pretty successful to date). It has been a hard journey and I know it will continue to get harder but at the end of the day, it’s all worth it when they say “Didi (sister) you’re probably the strongest girl I have ever met (even though they don’t know much about my personal life) and I look up to you. Thank you.”