I was born in Kananga a village in The Republic Democratic of Congo in 1982. I am part of the Baluba tribe from the Bantu people. My family and I later moved to Kinshasa the capital city of Congo, where my father was working for the government and my mama (which I found out in my thirties is not my birth mother, but this is another story) was working as a teacher in a Belgian school.

When I was about 8 years old a war started in Congo. Since my father was working for the government this put us in a great danger. We had to move, and we went to Belgium. Having to escape from your own country is hard, leaving everything behind. But in time I fell in love with Belgium. I could already speak French, I made good friends and later met other family members who were living in Belgium too. And for the first time I could touch the snow! Life could not get better for a child.

I was 12 years old and right when I thought that this is our home now, my father was advised that Belgium was not safe for us anymore, we had to move.
We then moved to Germany and I stopped dreaming. I couldn't speak German. I didn't have friends and we were living in a refugee camp in a little town name Buxtehude in northern Germany. Welcome to Germany Astrid, you are here in a refugee camp. It took a lot of time for me to adapt to Germany. The refugee camp was isolated from everyone, all we have had was us...even though we could not speak German at all, we found ways to communicate with others. If a child takes a ball we all knew we are going to play soccer. Slowly I got to learn German language and life got a bit easier.
I was very happy the day we moved out of the camp to our apartment and began to pursue a life like everyone else. Some of my friends from the refugee camp were deported back to their countries as the war was finished and they didn't receive any other visa to stay in Germany and that broke my heart.
It felt like every time I start to adapt to something or someone I get ripped of the environment or relationship. This pushed me today to always speak a word of encouragement to everyone I have relationships with and to go always after my dreams.
Even though many people were telling me that I should be a fashion model in Germany, I was very passionate about medicine and I decided to study for doctor's assistant in beauty and accident surgery. I loved it, I was good at it, I enjoyed my work place and the people around me finally, I found my place in society and life felt good again.

I then met my first husband. I entered this relationship with an open heart and I have embraced many ideas he suggested . One of his ideas was to move to Australia. And that’s exactly what we did. We moved to Australia, Perth in 2008. This was a big change and challenge again. No, I couldn't speak a word of English. And this time I was without my family. I had to start all over again! New language, new friends, new career, and on top of all I become a mother!

Changing countries, constantly having to adapt to new environment, new language, new people has bult a lot of strength in me. Working with people from multicultural backgrounds was a blessing. I got to learn 5 languages including 3 international languages: French, German and English. In 2021 I become an Australian citizen and I love and breathe this country now. 
Today I am happy and grateful for my journey to here and deep down I always knew God was preparing me for who I was going to become later! This big journey of mine was the preparation for what was coming. Preparation for new, even bigger life challenges, and preparation for finding my true self.

Part II - will be published next week

Astrid- The Journey