Reham met with me in Boise, ID where she lives and works as a mosaic artist. We talked about where she grew up and how she found herself in Idaho.
"My mom was raised in Hailey, ID and my dad was Arabic and was in America for college at Berkeley. He was a huge road tripper and had an old Mustang from the 60s. He would drive all over the US. He was driving to New York during a school holiday to go see friends. He stopped in Idaho and grabbed a burger and ended up sitting next to the dean of admissions at what is now BSU. The guy was saying it was a great place you should go to school here... blah blah blah. My dad was like 'yeah, I'm going to school in Berkeley in the 60s… are you in insane?' So he was walking through the park and saw this smoking hottie in a white bikini... my mom.... They ended up getting married. My mom went back to Kuwait, back when it was a dirt runway... airplanes landing in the dirt. I mean back when it was nothing. I mean Kuwait had only been a country for 50 some odd years... So she ended up over there and had me!
When the war started, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, we ended up being sent here because technically I am a dual citizen. They were threatening to kill American citizens... so we had to leave. That's how we ended up in Boise. I had no intention of staying in Boise, it was a temporary thing… But then I started going to college… and got married and had kids and now I'm like… 'Oh wow, I'm still in Boise!' It's been 26 years."
"I was 17 years old when we left Kuwait. I was practically an adult but acting like a complete moron. Of course me and all my friends were in the resistance... we were all doing stupid stuff because of the war, including my dad. My poor mother… now as a mom, I just wanna apologize to her all the time for scaring her at the time.
I remember getting shot at and all that stuff, and now, I think back on that and think 'what the hell were you thinking!?' I don't think I was aware of my mortality back then. I never had an awakening where I was like 'Oh yeah, life is short, I have to live my life.' I have always been free, much to the sadness of my family... I have always run off and done things without ever thinking things through. So even going through the war didn't make me think about the length of my life. It was only when I finally had kids. Oh my god, I could die. I never had that fear of anything until 'Oh dear GOD! Who will raise my children if I die??' So it was my first child that made something in me change and even that doesn't slow me down much… just now, no fast motorcycles or bungee jumping!"
“I am not married. But I find epic true love. Like the love you only read in books. Then it usually bombs just as epically... so awesome to have known it. Because I know many people that have no idea what I am talking about when I talk about that… I think love can be permanent. But I think I have been able to stay close with everyone I have ever been with because when you look at it without the whole ego thing… or thinking ‘why don't they want to be with Me’ you can look at it in this way, ‘OK so something didn’t work out the way I expected it… Move on’. What was the lesson, where do you move from there? I mean not saying there aren’t moments where you wanna smack someone with a folding chair. But you can get to that point… If you really believe that the Universe is benevolent and that everything is working in your favor… but sometimes, you mess it up. Part of my problem is I am a bull dozer. When I want something I will do whatever takes to get that something. Even when you are in it and there are all these obstacles. But you see them as things that you work through, that prove you want it bad enough. But in hindsight, you can look at it and be like ‘Maybe that was a warning!’ Take the warning!
It’s all perspective. In my less cranky moments when I have eaten, I can look at it as an experience. I can listen to a love song and be like, 'yeah I get that'. I joke about being cursed, but I don't think I am cursed. I just had a whole lot of lessons I had to get out of the way. So now that I think I have gotten all those lessons, I'm like ‘OK, when I'm ready, bring it on.’ I have faith. I am a total eternal love optimist." - Reham A.