This I Believe

Amanda - Walnut Creek, California
Entered on February 15, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: change
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Challenging Myself

When I was eleven, I took a chance and traveled to the other side of the world.

I left school for two weeks, jumped on a plan to Chile, and left everything I knew and loved to visit a family I had never met.

My dad grew up in a small fishing village in Chile, in a working class family where money and resources were scarce.

So in the sixth grade, with no Spanish at hand, I decided to take a risk and fly halfway across the earth to learn Spanish, meet my family, and have a chance to unearth my rich heritage and family background.

You may ask, why would she do that? Why would she leave her family and friends behind while she flew eighteen hours to a new and unfamiliar country? Well, I have an answer. I did that because I believe in challenging myself to do the unfamiliar.

Although it might be comfortable playing it safe and not taking risks, in the long run, what will you learn from never trying anything new and never disrupting your comfort zone?

In those two weeks that I spent in Chile, I learned so much about the rest of the world. I learned to be grateful for everything that I have and not to take anything for granted. I learned about where I came from, a country full of history and memories. I believe in staying true to your roots.

I believe in living in a house where there is no kitchen. I believe in staying up until midnight playing cards with your ten brothers and sisters. I believe in making tamales and spending every day at the beach. I believe in small towns and big families. I believe in community.

Three years ago, I never would have imagined that I would travel across the world and have a life changing experience. I never could have imagined that I could learn so much about my background and myself by going on a two-week trip. I believe in change.