It all started after a time spent in Switzerland doing a course at the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Apart from the town, the snow, the quality of life, the malls, and the places that make bread and cookies (whose smell drags you to jump in and eat); somehow, I found French language fascinating, I learnt few words like bonjour and comment ca va, but not much more.


When I returned to Bahrain I started French lessons.  Then someone told me that the French Embassy is offering a scholarship for a PHD programme in France.  I was ecstatic. And Guess what, I applied for it, and guess what number two!! I got it.


Then my dreams started, I would go to France, study during the day, roam Paris during the evening and weekends, travel to each city and learn more about their culture and literature, interact with the French people. Once I cover the whole of France, I would visit the other countries that speak French, like Belgium and Switzerland, see more and learn more.


My dream continued to include Europe as a whole, I will visit each country, see its parks, museums, eat their food, listen to their music, enjoy their art.  I will be a student who is doing a degree and also obtaining a life degree in travelling a continent.


The dream went further than that, what if I go to a travel shop and get brochures about each country and what they have on offer, check the hotels, check the prices. Which train takes us where? And what shall I wear? Would they hate my scarf?


I even thought that during the summer break I would not return home, I would be on a lake somewhere or walking in a forest or sitting in front of a Michelangelo statue or looking at an art peace by Picasso. I would continue to dream that I will be able to read French books in French and mingle with the French people and probably live in their homes as a student.


And then I woke up into a nightmare when dad said no.