This I Believe

Jessica - Furlong, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 16, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, work
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This I Believe

I believe that my parents are the strongest people on this earth. I always thought I knew the true meaning of struggle. My life, like many others, has not always been easy, but it has been nothing compared to the struggles my parents have endured. I never knew how much my parents struggled when they first arrived to the United States, and I thank them everyday for the sacrifices they made to make it thus far.

My father first came to the United States to go to college and continue his studies in mechanical aviation. He arrived in 1980 at the age of 19. The struggles started first with my father. He arrived in the US and stayed with his uncle, who already had an apartment and had a job ready for my dad to fill. After only a couple of months, my dad started noticing that his uncle was taking money from him. The only person he knew, and his own family was stealing and taking advantage of him, and my dad decided that he had to leave.

My mother came to the United States first, in 1979 at the age of 21. Her original plan was to come visit family for a month or so, and then go back to Colombia and marry her fiancé of four years. My mother was luckier when it came to family. She came to stay with an aunt and cousins, so she had more of a home base then my father. By that time my dad had already met my mom through mutual friends, so my dad asked if he could stay where my mother was staying. My mothers’ aunt let him stay with them, and he had to sleep on the floor, behind a couch, but for him, it was better than having to stay out in the street.

After a nine month courtship, and even though both my mother and father had left significant others in Colombia, they decided to get married, and the date was set for February 16th, 1981. But the excitement of the wedding was shortly lived. My mother received a phone call from her mother, my grandmother, about three weeks before the wedding. She was informed that her father, my grandfather, had a heart condition that was only getting worse, and basically letting her know that her father was on his death bed. My mother had to make the toughest decision she ever had to make in her life, and she had to pick between the two men she loved in her life. She could either stay in the US, get married and start her new life, or go back to Colombia, see her father for the last time, and never come back to the US because she had no visa to come back. After days of thinking, she finally decided to stay in the US, like her father advised her to do. After the wedding, my mother got another call from Colombia letting her know that her fathers’ condition had gotten better.

Many other situations and trials have crossed my parents’ path. Every hurdle they cross has been passed, whether it takes an hour, a day or a year, my parents have never let anything or anyone defeat them. I believe that my parents are the strongest people on this earth, and their strength is what drives me to always do my best. I know how hard they have worked to get where they are today. They started with almost nothing, and have succeeded and have accomplished most of their ambitious dreams. I only want to do the same, to show them their struggles have not gone unappreciated. I push myself to achieve and obtain the best to show them that I can do the same and show them how appreciative I am of all the work and struggles they pushed themselves through. It is their drive, hard work and dedication to succeeding in their lives that keeps my drive strong, because I only want to make them proud. It is their struggles and their endurance to face them that makes them the strongest people on this earth.