I received today the best possible Christmas gift. It was a Facebook message saying: "I'm in Italy :)"
Budy left home, in the Bab al Nasser neighborhood of Aleppo, in January 2012. On that time, the city was relatively calm, as the fight there started the coming July. Budy went to Libya to work as a chef, but could not go back home ever since as he had planned.
I met Budy by chance in the elevator of a hotel in Tripoli. It was December 6th, my last night in Libya. We asked each other about our nationalities, as it happens in casual meetings. As he said he was from Aleppo, I told him I'd been in his devastated town. That was all. He went to the restaurant and I went to the lobby, the only place in the hotel with internet connection.
After a while, Budy came and sat down next to me. He looked nervous. He told me he was tired of Libya and the Libyans, who were not welcoming to Syrians like him. He said he would jump into a boat to Italy in the coming days. He was fed up and rather preferred to die than staying. He just needed to unburden himself as he had already payed the thousand dollar ticket to Lampedusa.
I asked him not to take the boat in December, as the sea is so dangerous because of winter storms. We checked the weather forecast and looked like there was some good weather for a few days. I felt bad, anxious, but wished him good luck and asked him to send me a message as soon as he could once in Italy.
That message came today. Merry Christmas.