Every day I could hear the noise from the bomber

Aiden is 20 years old and from Aleppo, Syria.

I had a good and for a boy-my-age normal life in my city. I lived in an apartment with my family and would go to school. I had two hobbies and one of them is chess and the other one is swimming; back in Syria I took a swimming certificate. I had many friends and would work on my computer, which is something that I like a lot and also would like to work with sometime in the future. Two careers I have in my mind and would like to explore are soft engineering and data science.  One day some men from the mosque came to my house and said that the government would bomb the area in Aleppo where I lived, and so I went out to the countryside to a small village, where my family originally is from near Turkey. I remember that I one day had climbed to the roof of the house together with my cousin, and I stood there and looked at a huge plane that made a lot of noise and suddenly dropped a bomb that left a cloud of smoke. I stood without any emotion, because I just associated the plane with the game “general zero hour”. At the beginning of the war it was usually the countryside the government bombed, but as the conflict progressed it would be the bigger cities they would target.

Every day I could hear the noise from the bomber and I could see it on the sky over our rooftop, but I was not afraid, because I always thought that if I died, I died and that was it. But my entire family was scared and thinking back now I do admit that I was scared of being wounded, so that I would have to have a limb or maybe several limbs amputated and as a result of the physical damage be forced to live with the pain and tangible disability and possible social exclusion from society.

After some weeks, my family and I decided to flee to Turkey, and we drove in car to the border, where we waited for 20 days on the pavement together with several hundreds of other refugees, and for each day there would be more and more. But it was calm and ok and after 20 days we crossed the border and entered Turkey and drove to Urfa where some of my mother´s family lives. We    lived in a tent on the street together with 30.000 other refugees from Syria and it was like a camp.    It was organised by the Red Cross and UNICEF, and I would go to school there and also work as a volunteer playing with younger kids. All the refugees were given a card so that they could buy food in the store in the camp, so they did not starve.

When I was 16 years old I went to Istanbul by myself, because my former neighbour from Aleppo was there and because I wanted to get a job and save up some money. I had already learned to speak Turkish in the camp, and so it was not a problem for me to communicate with people at all. I earned my money by ironing shirts and washing the part inside of buses such as seats and windows. The disadvantage was that I could not go to school during this period, the advantage, though, was that I got to save up money for my journey to Denmark.
After 8 months I decided to go to Denmark with my uncle and his two children because I had another uncle who lived there. We first went in a small boat to Mytilini on Lesbos from Ismir : We were perhaps 50 persons in the boat, and actually there was no space for me, and so I threw away my swim ring as it took up space. I remember the sun was rising as we got out on the sea, and most of the others were scared, because water was entering the boat and at one point we actually were sitting in water that reached the middle part of our shin: I tried to pour out water with a shoe, but the rising sun made me dizzy and I just had to sit still until we reached the island. It took 50 minutes to reach the island and we had to climb a steep slope, and I remember that my cousin and I who were the youngest ones just ran, also because I only carried one bag with me.

From the island we took the ferry to Athens, where we stayed for some days. The Greek people were nice to us and the yoghurt was really good, but it was impossible for us to get a hotel room. We then went through the Balkans in bus and in train, and in Croatia our trained stopped for several hours, as somebody pulled the emergency brake. In all the different countries that we passed through I would usually say that my uncle was my father and that my cousins were my siblings, and I did it because it just felt easier not to explain. But when we finally reached Berlin, I told the police that my uncle was my uncle, and I did it because I felt safer there than I had done in other places. I really liked Berlin as it seemed like a really nice city, even though I just stayed there for a couple of hours.

From Berlin we took the train to Copenhagen, where we ended up in Sandholmlejren for one week, and we were then moved to another camp, and later again to at third refugee camp. And from there     I moved to Langeland by myself to a centre for refugee children, where I stayed for 6 months. I then was reunited with my sister who had arrived to Denmark and together with her I moved to a temporary housing in Copenhagen, where I began to go to school and improve my language skills. After another 6 months I got an apartment with a friend in a nice neighbourhood.

Right now I am taking 10. klasse, and I will get my certificate next summer. And next year I hope to be in HTX and hopefully after that I will able to enter the University and get a degree. My parents have now arrived to Denmark after a family reunification that took more than a year to get formalized, and they have their own apartment in another part of Copenhagen.

I am very optimistic about my future. I am applying for a student job in one of the supermarkets, so that I can be financially independent and buy some things for myself. I am now a skilled swimmer and this summer, when we had record high temperatures, I would go and swim in the harbour every day, because I enjoy it so much. I still play chess, also as a chess-volunteer in the housing where I used to live, and now I also play the violin and practice every second week, soon to be every week. My violin teacher is very good and she has played for the queen many times, and I really hope to be skilled at playing myself, even though I know that I have to practice a lot. I like classical music.

Dublin Core: Language: en Subject: A million stories, denmark, syria, aleppo, copenhagen, refugee,