Sara - Poncha Springs, Colorado
Entered on April 22, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Flashing lights and strange symbols penetrated my brain as myself and other fellow students wandered the streets of a busy Tokyo nightspot. We all had on our uniforms so we looked like a maroon and khaki band of missionaries. Two very made up alternative rocker Japanese college students approached us, hair insanely spiked and faced make-uped in black and white. As they asked us where we were from in broken English and we all posed for pictures together, I became aware of my true world.

Throughout our lives, we each live in our own separately made universe of our own family, friends, actions and feelings. I myself am guilty of thinking the world outside my bubble consists of “other people,” the “Preps,” the “Stoners,” the “Iraqis,” the other people always affected my disasters. But they are outside my personal universe.

Standing on a new continent, getting lost with people I now dearly cared about, but had met only four days ago, learning about the lives of two crazy young Japanese men, I saw how disconnected people are from everything else, choosing only to let in what we think is important. I realized how each person on this planet has a life story. They are not just extras in our life movie. How much would I have missed out on if I had not decided to wave at these young men? I felt so lucky to be able to learn something about a new person. All the people in all the other countries are just like me, they have parents, friends, heartbreak and happiness. How many people are there in this world? Billions. How many will I get to know? A minimal fraction. We picture others in the world as hollow shells, but they each have a life, problems, joy, a personality.

In this way, I believe as humans we are disconnected to our world by not being open to other people. So many being and souls exist on this planet Earth that we could care about. That’s billions of opportunities to expand out worlds and let in a new piece of knowledge. I believe in the power if interaction, and that a happy life rides on the amount a person can connect with what is around them. That person walking down the isle in Safeway could become your best friend, if you come up with the guts to say hi. But usually we keep walking, missing out on another life experience. I believe in bursting bubbles, and connecting.