I believe in miracles that turn one’s life in a completely new direction.
For about year and a half I was extremely reluctant to talk to strangers in public places. The reason for my shyness was not a lack of self-confidence, but rather a desire to avoid questions. “Where are you from?” says a friendly clerk from Borders, or a waiter at Ruby Tuesday. I smile humbly and look away. Yes, I have a funny accent. No, I am not from Switzerland. I wish. But I bet you have never even heard the name of my country.
In a many-time rehearsed way I would explain; “I am from Moldova. It is a country between Romania and Ukraine.” Often I was tempted to say “I am from Russia” – thanks to vodka, Mr. Putin, and the Cold War, everybody knows what Russia is! Nevertheless, because of some peculiar stubbornness, I resisted saying a small lie.
Just three years ago, I had no idea I would ever face this challenge of defining my background to someone. I was 15 years old, going to a public high school in Beltsy, Moldova; and again, I stubbornly resisted smoking, drinking, or being as promiscuous as my classmates. With all of my family savings gone when the Soviet Union fell apart, the future did not look particularly bright for me. The little extra my parents earned went to pay for my English classes and art school, which became my passion. With no money or connections, only a miracle could help me to achieve a decent living outside the poor suffocating ex-Soviet country without being a part the proliferating Moldovan human traffic.
A miracle did happen. One day two complete strangers from Greensboro, North Carolina, decided they would make a difference for someone. They decided to help a Jewish teenager from Moldova receive a high school education in America. I was chosen to be that one person. Suddenly, my grades, hard-working attitude, responsibility and knowledge of English played a major role in my being selected for this incredible opportunity. Without knowing about the two magnanimous strangers’ existence on the other side of the world, in a far-far away America, I was always working towards my goal.
Right now I am a busy-bee Junior. I have to study for SAT’s, AP US History and AP English tests, write college essays, plan and execute a charitable art auction, and in the meantime have a life. Although most of the colleges I have looked at so far have “extremely competitive scholarships” for international students, I am not discouraged. My parents might make only a silly $5000 a year, but they made me who I am – an adult with a goal in life at age of seventeen. And I have a dream of becoming a successful college professor who can pay back to people who helped me. I believe that if you truly dedicate yourself to a goal, the world will turn around, the planet will spin the other way, to allow for a miracle to intervene in your life.
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