This I Believe

Nicholas - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in new beginnings. Leaving South Africa was one of the hardest experiences of my young life. No more grandpa and grandma, no more cousin Tim, and most of all, no more elephants. All the things I had come to love were about to be left behind. Everything felt like a dream, as I flew away on that enormous Boeing 747 towards the land of opportunity.

At first, American society came as a shock to my young psyche. My thick South African dialect brought only awkward stares and frequent giggles. The low standards of South African education brought many problems. American schools were so far ahead that normal classes like math became foreign languages for me. Oftentimes, I would find myself so hopelessly confused, that I would resort to sketching elephants in my notebook. Communicating with classmates became too embarrassing, and so my recesses were spent alone, reminiscing about how simple life had been back in Africa. Complaining to Mom and Dad about my loneliness did not help ease my suffering, even though they showed both love and sympathy. Surviving my new beginning was not going to be easy.

I decided that losing my South African accent was not an option. However, I realized the benefits of learning the American dialect. Eventually, after many humiliating situations, I would come to master this foreign tongue, while still retaining my unique South African dialect. I was finally accepted by my new classmates, and now recess was spent on the monkey bars; alongside my friends. Using the same perseverance for my academic issues, I soon caught up with my fellow classmates. Math became manageable, and my ability to sketch the wild animals of Africa was gradually lost. I had accepted the fact that the United States was now my new home, and I would have to make the best of it. Embracing my new beginning in the U.S. allowed me to overcome my longing for South Africa and establish a firm foundation for the future.

The transition form one continent to another taught me a valuable lesson. New beginnings provide us with the opportunity to start over. The changes will be painful, as many of our original pleasures are stripped from us. But part of what makes a new beginning fantastic is the new life that develops, which provides us with new passions to replace the old. At first, emigrating seemed like a terrible nightmare, but now I realize it is the reason behind my joy. I believe in new beginnings.