Hello to a New Adventure
"Good bye, Do Hwan. We will miss you!" As I tried to hold back my tears, my friends attempted to cheer me up. I was moving to another school yet again.
As the son of a diplomat, I spent more than half of my life in foreign lands over thousands of miles away from my homeland, South Korea. I remember the magnificent Hofburg palace in Austria, the thin, exotic Chapati my friend, Asif, often cooked for me in Pakistan, and the glittering night skies in New York City, which appeared to overpower all the other lights in the world. Yet, in the midst of all of these luxuries, something was missing.
To most people, the thought of moving from place to place may be appealing; however, in reality, it is not as great as it seems. Moving around involves a lot of goodbyes and limited relationships. Because I was constantly thrown into different countries and environments, I grew tired of developing new relationships, which I figured would soon be long forgotten. Always adjusting to new communities, especially as a foreigner and minority, was draining and did not make me feel genuinely content. As I transferred from school to school, I slowly began to forget how to enjoy my life and lost sight of my sense of self. I saw myself gradually losing my colors and merely blending into new environments.
However, throughout my travels, there were always new situations and heart-pounding adventures that brought me back to
my true self. Certain adventures reminded me that I am a curious person. For example, I once tried the red Habanero pepper, one of the hottest peppers in the world, to relieve my curiosity, and ended up in the ambulance on its way to the hospital. Other adventures reminded me that I am a person who does not give up. In high school, I joined my school's football team through which I learned how to persevere in the midst of dehydration and double vision. Finally, some adventures reminded me that I am a compassionate person who finds joy in living my life for others. For instance, I got acquainted with and served those who are less fortunate during my missions trip to Lowell, Massachusetts. Just as I enjoyed these sorts of adventures, I knew that I was someone who used to find joy in facing new situations. Rather than fearing the outcomes of the adventures, I was always thrilled to learn something new. Each of these adventures, humbling at times and silly at others, brought me back and reminded me of who I am.
Although being itinerant throughout my childhood was not always pleasant, it definitely taught me an essential lesson that most people often overlook. It taught me to listen to my inner desires and to pursue what my heart truly yearns, instead of following the status quo and trying to fit in. My yearning for an adventure will continue fueling my life with momentous experiences and valuable lessons until my last seconds. In college and even later in life, the adventures I take may not always have a good ending. There may be times I lose things that I hold dear, such as my trust in others. However, because I know from past experiences that such adventures are what define who I am, I will never lose the courage to stand back up and to go on another adventure. As I have learned to appreciate what is around me, to let go of the things that have passed and move on, I will always say hello to a new adventure.