This I Believe

Tri - Lynchburg, Virginia
Entered on December 10, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I was sixteen when I left my country of Vietnam. The new world came to me uneasily: my new life contained cultural difficulties of the unfamiliar language, homesickness, and tons of things I had never dealt with before. There were times I almost cried out whenever I was alone and thought about my family. Those moments were engraved in my mind as the early unforgettable memories. As life goes on with many new challenges, I have changed to put myself closer to the new world. I believe in challenges, those that I have struggled with the most build me up higher. I learned from my mistakes, I am stepping up, and I am thinking optimistic.

My life is a witness of two entirely different cultures: the oriental culture in which I was raised and grew up with my family, and the western culture in which I am learning its culture and academic for my future. To me, the images of my family are about love and care. Meanwhile, the reality is all about ambitions, challenges and self-effort. Back to the days at home, I was a fifteen-year-old boy without any actual responsibility. I would see my parents as a great wall for me to lean on. I remember my mom often yelled at me because of the very silly mistakes of my deeds: dirty laundry on the floor, bed unmade, homework undone, and so on. I thought of my playtime selfishly, and left my daily duties behind without care. I lived an easy life in selfishness; it was life of the one whose took care of my life, and that wasn’t me.

A year later, my parents decided to give me a chance to study in America as an exchange student for one year. Back then, I understood their trust of me because of my excellent academic performance especially in English. However, in the same time, I could feel their worries also became greater. The last day at the airport, my mom cried. She said to me in tears, “Son! Mom and Dad are no longer with you as you are on the other side of the gate. My happiness is to see your maturity and responsibility of your life when you are by yourself.” Those words were so powerful and alive from that very moment. They first came to me as loving care from a mother, a warning of my irresponsibility, and later a new challenge for me.

Since I lived in America, I have thought more for myself as my own life. The realization of life without self-discipline will lead me to incomplete works. I learn to manage my time with discipline and self responsibility. I cannot give up or abandon everything just because I don’t try making it right. My mom’s words are always in my mind, reminding me, and challenging me to do better.

I believe in challenges, those I have struggled with the most build me up higher.