This I Believe

Lauren - Washington, Washington
Entered on January 24, 2008

This I Believe

There is a saying that you can tell how well you will get along with someone within the first 30 seconds of meeting them. Well, I don’t necessarily think that’s true, but what I do believe is finding the courage to meet new people. I mean, for all you know that one person could change your life forever, but if you’re always too hesitant then you’ll never know.

I never really knew how important this was until I went for the first time without having any friends. Thanks to Boeing aka my dad’s job, my family moved to England when I was in the third grade. I just remember crying myself to sleep on the plane over because I thought I could never make any friends and I’ll never see my family again. I was leaving my beautiful big house with our large yard where we would play with our neighbors’ dog and just relax in the sun. I thought I was going to be the most lonely and depressed little girl in Europe. In reality, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Once we arrived in England we had to stay in a hotel for about 3 days until we could move into our house. Then on day 4, I saw the substitute for what is supposed to be considered home for an entire year. I seriously thought I could vomit. I stood there staring at a small, bland house with barely any yard. I even looked around at the neighbors’ houses and all the blinds were shut. There was no sign of welcome anywhere. As I helped my family unload the moving truck tears were running down my face. All that ran through my head was “This house will never be a home”. I absolutely hated it and everything around me.

Then, suddenly, there was a girl standing behind me. I literally jumped when she said in her British accent “Hi. My name is Heidi and I live across the cul de sac. You wanna play?” I was completely terrified of this girl coming out of the blue. I mean she wasn’t scary with her blonde hair, big green eyes and bubbly pink shirt, but her confidence and unfamiliarity was extremely intimidating. So, all I did was shake my head and she left.

For the next two days I sat at my new window thinking of who she is, and longing to redo our initial meeting. Well, four days later I finally worked up the courage to talk to her and we had our first play date.

After that we saw each other everyday. Since we went to different schools, I would come home with excited knots in my stomach ready to burst out what my day was like, whether or not that was a good thing. Then she would tell me how hers went on our long walks around the pond just down the street. We would watch and feed the ducks swim in that mucky pond until we were freezing cold from the constantly chilly weather. She shared secrets of the neighborhood and taught me British sports like cricket. In exchange I showed her true American holidays like Halloween and Easter. We really never had a dull moment together; instead we would laugh so hard that our stomachs would hurt and it looked like we have been crying for hours. She made that cold, bland neighborhood a home.

Heidi’s pure desire and ability to introduce herself to strangers showed me that that one initial moment can be life changing, not only for yourself but others too.