This I Believe

Katie - san diego, California
Entered on December 12, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: courage
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I Believe Kol Ha-olam Kulo

When you jump in a freezing pool, jump right in. Do not hold back, but fully commit yourself. This is a lesson I learned in the third grade and I apply this to my life. I live it.

In the third grade I packed my bags and flew to a two-week Jewish summer camp in Santa Rosa. I was scared and home sick when I arrived but I left Santa Rosa with tears running down my face, waving goodbye to my home away from home. My first day there we were taught a song and encouraged to make new friends with the strangers that surrounded us. The song was:

Kol ha-olam kulo

Gesher tzar mo’od

V’ha-ikar V’ha-ikar

Lo l’fachayd, lo l’fachayd klal

“The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and I say the most important part, is not to be afraid.” To me this means if you’re going to do something, do it with all your heart. I want to live life before I die without being afraid and with no regrets. Shoulda, woulda, and coulda are not in my dictionary.

Last summer I tried something new and different. I joined a month long program to study abroad in Granada, Spain. I knew no one, had very little understanding of Spanish, but I had a positive attitude. I once again found myself surrounded by strangers in a foreign place.

When I hear the word Spain I think of Mandy. She and I were inseparable. I remember the first thing she told me was, “I can’t do any drugs while I’m here, I have to take a pee test as soon as I get home.” First impressions are always deceiving because you probably think she’s a druggie, but I know her as the sweetest girl ever, one who I could always count on, anytime and anywhere.

I have no regrets for the time that I spent in Spain. I met people from all over the world that may have been different from me, making it challenging to relate to them, but that’s what made it so exciting. We all experienced new situations together and tried new things. What I remember the most was getting lost, sometimes alone, in the unknown city. However I took full advantage of it and usually made new friends trying to find my way home. I took risks and tried to communicate with people in the unfamiliar language instead of reading my silly map and isolating myself.

I believe in taking a risk and not holding back while you do it. Nervousness is just another form of excitement, and who wouldn’t want an exciting life? So next time you’re facing a situation that is out of your comfort zone jump right in the freezing pool and don’t hold back.