I made terrible choices the first couple of years of university. I was unhappy on the course, distracted by the unprecedented freedom, and dreams of practicing medicine seemed like a distant memory. The pattern of failure continued, and by this time I had zero confidence in anything I could achieve.
In early 2007, I began hearing about this black US senator from Chicago who was running for president – “Barack Obama”. That summer, I read his two books, “Dreams from My Father”, and “The Audacity of Hope.” I instantly became hooked, and made sure everyone around me knew it. Everything he said and stood for fascinated me. I printed out and highlighted his speeches, sticking them on my wall, as if memorizing them would bring me closer to the campaign trail. My life was forever changed.
That summer I pleaded with the Politics department to take me on as a student, and they took a chance. Now at 21, I hadn’t written a real essay since I was 15, let alone to the standard of a university student. I was so focused on sciences that I had abandoned all English language skills. My confidence was at an all-time low because I hadn’t really succeeded at anything over the last three years. My school friends were graduating and thinking about the world of work, and here I was, learning how to write again.
Everything was new, but I was captivated. I had incredible professors that challenged and broadened my perspective of the wider world. At that time, I’d also immersed myself in student radio, and became serious about my faith. Spoken word was considered trendy at the time, so with young enthusiasm I would regularly write poems about Jesus.
There was a young lady in some of my classes that I barely knew, but she had seen me perform those poems at University events. She was also a Christian, and we quickly became good friends. I told her about my fascination with America. A few months later she shared that she wanted to introduce me to her flat mate, a guy from Washington D.C., and insisted on throwing a dinner party so we could meet (I’ll share the full story another time, but this guy ended up being my husband six years later.)
This is why I believe dreams chase you. If I hadn’t failed my exams, I wouldn’t have gone to this obscure university. If Obama didn’t run, I wouldn’t have been curious about doing an International Politics degree. If I didn’t change degrees, I would never have met the woman who would introduce me to my American husband. That season was stressful, filled with heartache, failure and regret.
But dreams chase you...regardless.
Back to 2008. November 4th, I cried for the Obamas as if they were my own family. I will never forget being at the University of Surrey watch party, when I watched Barack Obama become the President-elect.
I was ridiculed by many. They couldn’t see what I was seeing.
“You don’t even live there” they said, “why are you so happy?”
I promised myself that I would visit Obama’s America, and maybe even someday move there temporarily. At the time I hadn’t visited since before 9/11, so I didn’t really know what I was committing to.
Some of my friends believed it would happen, others thought it was a phase. My best friend continued to cheer me on in that dream though. She was speaking life into my children, her American godchildren, before I even met my husband. It’s important to have one friend that will cheer everything you do and every dream you have (she is priceless).
Story continued: HERE