Adnan Alali

Produced by: Sharq.Org
Part of the Curated Collection: Stories of Belonging,
Original Interview Length:
Interview Location: Germany
Production Team:
Available Collateral:

Adnan Alali is 36 years and lives in Germany. This is a translation of the transcript of his recorded story:

My name is Adnan Al Ali, Syrian, residing in Germany. Graduated as a teacher, and worked in the education profession between 2004 and 2015. I left Syria around 25 November 2015 and arrived in Germany on 15 December of the same year.

            After I arrived in Germany, the first impression was that there is a big difference between cultures, customs and traditions between Syria and Germany. As I heard from some friends or acquaintances, you should leave everything behind, your habits and traditions. You must integrate and become part of this society. So you should let go of everything that some consider to be old traditions and follow the progress and civilization, as you are in Europe.

            I did not have a chance to know the nature and validity of this and the conversations that were going on in my imagination, or to endorse the feelings and impressions of one or two people but there was no chance. When the municipal employee came to me, it was a great opportunity for me to talk about all of the feelings I had. Her first question was: What do you need?

I told her: I do not need anything. I just need someone to talk to about the country so I can learn the language from, for example. As we all know that language is the key to everything, the key to the country.

After a day or two, the municipal employee came with a 60 year old woman with her, they came to our room and had coffee together. The employee left us to get to know each other. This woman would become someone that I can talk to like a friend.

The story started if we were meeting together every day or two, this woman would help me in filling in papers, visiting the work department or doing some translation because she knows how to speak English and I was not speaking German at the time but I was was able to speak English so we would communicate with it. It was a good opportunity for me to have someone who to connect with or who is the window through which I see the community. Especially the small community around me or the rural environment around me, where this woman worked as a nurse in a children’s nursery, which helped me communicate with others. What has had a positive impact for me is learning a lot of concepts, customs and traditions and how people work with each other. It is well known that our community treats people differently as  friends, owners, or social status. She used to always tell me: You can reach your goals, you are not late and you can start from scratch and just let go so you can move forward.

I've always felt hurt as a person, because all the dreams you had in your country went after you thought you could achieve something or at least get closer to doing what you want. I had no choice but to go through a new beginning after I was convinced that there is not even one percent room for a good future in your country for you, your children and your family.

Gabi, the name of a kindergarten-nurse woman, who was an actual example of a woman who was perfect in dealing with people and had inspired love. Her words gave me a great positive energy, her saying that I could study and start from scratch and do what I wanted with having the will and determination to do so.

Bit by bit, things have developed with me. I learned some words, and I was able to let go of English gradually until I was able to communicate in German. It is true that language was too hard at the beginning, you can say that it was very weak, but I started to feel the progress step by step from within. Gabi was very pleased, as if she was teaching a child in the first grade, teaching him letters and so on. Then eventually see that child  able to read and write, such as in the Arabic classical language.

She had a son, who was able to see him only once a year, and we met a lot. She started to make me feel like her son, she was really my family when I lost mine. Her ornate words always motivated me a lot, after I collapsed and then I started to learn the language. I entered the language course and reached good levels in the language, I then amended my certificate at the certificate editing center in Stuttgart, and there my certificate was equivalent to one year and three months after I worked in a vocational training kindergarten. On May 1, 2020, it was the first month of working on a kindergarten job as a nurse. I was very proud of what I did in more than four years. I needed two years to be able to speak proper German between the course and the camp from here and there. I am very grateful to Gabi and today we communicate and are still in contact. She was very pleased when I moved from English to German. When she saw my writings, asked me if I was writing directly in German or translated from Arabic. She was very pleased that I was writing directly instead of using a translation mean and I felt her smiling, it was indescribable.

I started my work and I was glad to deal with children. I love being with children a lot in kindergarten and day by day when people feel that their language is improving, how they are working with others, and everything changes. People only need some will and determination so they can achieve the impossible.

I am Adnan from Germany and this was my story."