Laila grew up in Holland, where her Afghan parents were living as refugees. She returned to Afghanistan when she was ten years old. The first year back was very difficult. She then spent a year in Australia, where her three aunts and cousins live. She then moved back to Afghanistan.
I peeped through the curtains to sneak a look. The little girls bobbed on stage in their tiny tutus, some staring blankly at the audience, others keeping up with the music.
Out the classroom window, clouds stretched lazily across the sky. I was trying to tune into what my Afghan teacher was saying, but it proved too difficult. Trying to educate myself at an Afghan school seemed to be fatal to my poor brain, and to my self-esteem. I felt like a foreigner in my own country. I struggled to speak my mother language, Dari. On the streets, people seemed jammed together into one huge creature. Dust flew around and shopkeepers shouted. The feeling of not belonging toppled over me like an avalanche. Every part of me longed desperately to go home, back to the only place that made sense to me: The Netherlands.