TEN years between the two sets of photos! 18 years old versus 28 years young! But oh how much I love that girl on the left! She taught me how to laugh out loud in the midst of storms, how to love myself & to love life, about faith & never giving up on God, about real beauty; that confidence is the new sexy, about relationships & the value of simple things. You see, she taught me that success, prosperity, a job, a house, relationships, marriage, family, promotion and travelling are all life opportunities; if they haven't happened yet, they can still happen tomorrow! BUT your life is not a mere opportunity! It is a gift that you must care for with everything because if you have life, you have hope; hope that all other good things can come to you tomorrow. That girl on the left taught me the most important lesson ever: how to LIVE life!

At the age of 19, being able to have a long shower and wash my hair and then curl up on a sofa with a hot chocolate or ice-cream and watch a nice movie with a friend or even just alone was a dream. I could not straighten my neck, I could not taste the difference between salt and sugar (it all tasted like sand-I liked foods based on their texture and so if you invite me for dinner and I mention texture, that's not because I am being fussy ? ) and I was too lethargic to sit through a whole movie....

At 19, it felt stupid to imagine that my best days were yet ahead: my family was scattered in 4 continents; I was asked to drop my university studies; I was alone in a country where I barely knew anyone and I could not walk far without getting breathless! BUT, at 28...I look younger than I did then; I have an incredibly strong and wonderful family and the world marvels at our togetherness; I am thriving in my job as a doctor; my life is full and so much fun with great friends whom I can do life with and I have also traveled a lot of the world over the years; exploring and adventuring at every opportunity I get! - I did not see it then, but now I have evidence and so it is no longer stupid to believe that my best days are yet to come!

Undergraduate & International Student of The Year Awards