This I Believe

Sydney - Fairbanks, Alaska
Entered on April 9, 2007

Different Walks of Life

Do you ever see someone or hear about someone doing things differently in a different country and think it seems weird? Well sometimes they might look at what you do and think it is strange also. I believe this is not helpful and I feel it is vital to try to understand other people and wonderful friendships might be right around the corner.

A couple years ago I went to Peru for a week and worked in a little village. Before my group left from Alaska we had regular meetings, partly because we didn’t know what to expect and we wanted to avoid culture shock. When I got there I ended up surprised about how great the people were and I never expected to have such strong connections with them. In that week I learned how important it was to try to understand other people no matter where they come from.

Even though I couldn’t speak any Spanish I managed to make some really good relationships. I didn’t expect to build such important connections with the people there but when we stepped off the bus to a dozen little kids giving cheek kisses I knew that by the end of the week it would be hard to leave and that I would never forget them. I met so many amazing people there; the one relationship I remember the best was the short friendship I had with a girl named Vanessa. Even when the only thing we could really do to talk was to teach each other the words for the colors in English and Spanish, we somehow managed to communicate with each other by smiling and just sitting together.

They lived lives that were so much different than ours but we all connected easily and on the last day we were all in tears as we stepped on the bus to leave. It was extremely sad for me to leave but overall that experience has changed the way I live. As a result of that experience I have been learning Spanish and German and I hope to learn other languages in the future, so that one day when I meet other remarkable people like Vanessa who speak another language I will be able to talk to them. I believe that it is important for me to try to understand people from all walks of life, even if they don’t speak my language, they come from a different country or they seem so unlike me at school because I believe friendships can develop between people, with major differences, everyone in the world.