From Saudi Arabia to Iowa

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Lana Ahmed ‘23 tells the story of all the places she’s been to in her lifetime.

‘I feel like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stuck to me because the theme song is so catchy, it’s so hard to forget.’ Lana Ahmed ‘23 said about what she remembers about her brief childhood in Saudi Arabia. 

Lana was born in Saudi Arabia, but both of her parents are Sudanize. Her mother went to Saudi Arabia for college while her father stayed in Sudan for his studies. They had many of the same friends and connections which is eventually what led to them meeting. They married in Saudi Arabia where Lana was later born. 

Lana doesn’t remember much about Saudi Arabia. The only thing she could remember vividly enough to talk about was how she used to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while her grandparents were babysitting her. 

She moved to Sudan when she was three, but only lived there “for a hot second”. She moved to California a year later because her parents wanted her to get a good education and have a better quality of life.

‘I don’t have much memory of California. Just that I would walk to kindergarten everyday with my mom and watch Barney with my brother and my neighbors and friends during our free time.’ 

A couple years later at around 6 years old, Lana moved to Iowa City because she has family here and her parents were able to find work. 

‘I don’t have much memory of the other places I’ve lived, only pictures. But I do like it here because of all the friends I’ve made.’

Lana is fascinated by linguistics and foreign languages. She has an undeniably ambitious language learning goal. She’s already fluent in both English and Arabic, and wants to learn Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, Italian, and to a lesser extent Spanish and French. “It’s good for college credit and it’s fun,” Lana said. 

In her free time, she enjoys drawing, reading, writing, listening to music, watching movies and shows on Netflix, and learning new languages. Lana is also involved in a volunteer organization at West High called 1440 Interact Club. Lana has some expectations for herself at West. She strives to have at least a 3.6 GPA throughout high school and she hopes to make a lot of new connections at West. 

‘I plan on getting good grades just to help out with my future. I’m not completely sure what I want to be and at the same time I want to be a neurologist or an activist. And even if I’m not sure about what I want to be, hopefully my grades in the past will help me get into good colleges and universities.’

 

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