Kaitlin - Muncie, Indiana
Entered on December 10, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

It is human nature to associate with those whom we have the most in common with. We befriend those who have similar beliefs, social status, education and interests that we ourselves hold dear. This kind of unity it what often divides us the most. We stick to what we know and by doing so we cut ourselves off from anyone, anywhere or anything that does not conform to our specific wants or needs.

For the majority of my life I lived in rural Indiana. I went to the same school with the same people and was rarely exposed to anyone outside my own race. The small town mentality was all I had known for seventeen years. When the opportunity to live China emerged my family and I were eager to go. All of a sudden I was thrown into a large city in a new country. I was surrounded by people who did not speak my language. I quickly realized that I was the minority in this environment.

At first it was hard to deal with the constant stares and not being able to communicate. For the first three months all I could focus on is what made me different from all of these people who were now part of my everyday life. I had become somewhat bitter to the life I had lead prior to moving. It had not prepared me for the rest of the world. Everything I had ever known was twisted and did not fit into my new life. The things that used to be so familiar to me were no longer a part of my life. I was starting to shut myself off from anything that was not customary to me. After the initial culture shock I had come to love this country. It took a while but I soon realized that I was far more comfortable in China than I had ever been in America. I felt like I really fit in and it began to shape who I am today.

All of a sudden I realized that there was not much that separated me from these people. We all had people we loved, we all celebrated and mourned and most of all, we all loved our city. This epiphany allowed me to see how we’re all connected. No matter where we come from, what language we speak, what faith we practice or how much money we make, in the end we are all the same. We’re all one species. If everyone of us were able to look past the minute differences the world could be more harmonious.

I believe in unity. Often times we are so blinded by our differences that we cannot see the multitude of similarities that connect us. Unity is something that takes a long time to acquire but it is not an unobtainable goal for the future. It does not have to be a world wide movement. By starting out small and taking steps out into the uncertain we can make great strides of progress.