When I was 8 years old I experienced my first major move. Although our new home was only 30 minutes from my childhood home, it was still difficult. It changed my entire life. I was pulled away from the house that had so many of my memories: my first step, my first word, my first birthday, my first bike ride, and my first friend. I had grown up in that house and my life was in every corner of that small town. It was all I had known of home. This move changed the way we lived and the way we thought. I no longer could walk next door to borrow a cup of sugar from my grandmother. No longer could we walk down the street and know every face that passed. We weren’t the small town family anymore. And from that day on, I was a different person, from thus move came my first philosophy; I hated the unfamiliar.
But the unfamiliar didn’t stop there. We continued to move to times after that. We went from warm and comforting Missouri to cold and surprisingly soothing Illinois. From neighborly love to neighborly distance. From a home to a temporary living area. I felt that my personality was still planted in the backyard of my childhood home and without it I could not continue. I loved to have roots and familiarity in the places I live. I hated not knowing anything in the new places we lived.
This past year I made my fourth move to Bucharest, Romania. This was definitely the unfamiliar. As I explored my new home I couldn’t help but wonder how I was going to deal with the new culture and ways of living. I have always loved to know everything around me and its history I knew nothing here. My knowledge went missing along with a few packed valuables. It wasn’t until a few months into the new move that my father gave me a little insight. He said “Erica , sometimes in order to grow, we have to be replanted.” I knew from that day on I had to either decide to stay in my comfort zone or explore the unknown in order to grow.
As I made a very frightening transitioning into my new self – someone who accepts the hardest and most challenging changes, I realized something; I misjudged the unfamiliar. It was thrilling. As I walked down this unfamiliar path in Bucharest, the random turns and twists began to seem somewhat familiar. The once confusing and stressful metro station had become like a second nature ad I absentmindedly maneuvered my way through the underground transportation. The unfamiliar had become strangely familiar to me. I started to expect random changes in my path of life. And as I became better at predicting them, I became better at accepting them.
I had always viewed the unknown as scary and out of all my experience, moving to a different country was completely terrifying. And every change had been challenging but has forced me to grow. Change isn’t always easy for me but it is rewarding. Even thought the unfamiliar has brought me tears and struggles, it has also made me grow and helped me form my belief that the unfamiliar is worth exploring.
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