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January 2020, Aarau, Switzerland

“Hamda, how are you really doing?”

»I feel a bit stressed as I will move to Toronto in 2 months and stay there for one year. I don’t know anybody over there except for my friend. I met him in summer 2018 and it will be the first time we live together in an apartment. I have to organize a bunch of stuff in advance and at the same time my sister and I need to get rid of all of our household stuff.«
We are sitting in a café in the old town of Aarau. Hamda, 21 years old, is telling me what he’s up to.
»I don’t know if this will work out. Isn’t it always like this that one mainly thinks of what could go wrong? Like on a first date? I shouldn’t worry so much. It drains too much of my energy. And it affects our relationship. A long-distance relationship is hard to do anyway.«
At this moment I get insecure. I feel bad asking this, but I have to. »So, you are homosexual?«
»Yes, I am.«
»What do you think about me asking you this?«
»Well, we’re having this conversation, so it’s okay. It’s not something which bothers me as much as it did in the past. When I was 15 years old, I had my experiences with both genders. People made comments about it, but so they did to others at the same age. Luckily, I have loving people around me. I had a rough time growing up. From 5 to 10 I was living with a foster family until I got back to my mother’s house. Anyhow, it didn’t go well and I decided to live with a foster family again after 4 years of ups and downs.«
»Together with your siblings?«
»No, my brother is nearly 10 years older than me and he was almost an adult when the problems with my parents started. We didn’t speak much to each other for a long time, but recently we cleared some things up for the better. One of my foster sisters is the daughter of a woman who treated me well when I was between 14 and 18. They are part of my family now and I also learn some Spanish to interact with the other side of their culture.«
»What about your biological mother?«
»We are in contact again. After I distanced myself, it got much better. But we needed time. In general, I needed time to figure things out and accept them as they are.«