Guest Post by LemonSoda
Change for me came early on, when I was only eight years old. It was the good kind of change, although at the time to me it seemed more like a tragedy.
Because of my parent’s job, I was to move halfway across the world from my native Spain to America. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure where I was going, just that it was a big place and that I would have to learn a new language. But more than that, it meant leaving my friends behind, my favorite Sunday morning cartoons and the neighborhood I played in every afternoon before dinner time.
I was shattered.
The first thing I thought when I arrived at Miami International Airport was “I can’t breathe,” and the second, “Is that Spanish I hear?”. So luckily I was in a place where I could probably survive while I tried to learn English.
On my first day of school, my teacher instructed all my classmates not to speak to me in Spanish. I had my first fire drill, although at the time I had no idea what it was so I just followed everyone as the alarms went off. I discovered Cartoon Network and found a new passion in reading.
And the rest is history.
It may not seem like such a harsh change from adult eyes, but it was a huge leap for my eight year-old self. Luckily I was able to immerse myself in this new culture, where most things were not even remotely similar to my life back home. I grew to love this place and all the experiences I’d had, only to be hit in the face with yet another change — this time, I was to move to Hong Kong.
I wasn’t eight anymore and so a mere “Cool pencil” would not be an acceptable ice breaker in middle school. This time I was leaving behind a different kind of friendship, the kind that is so important when you are a pre-teen ready to embark on the brutal world of teenage insecurity.
Saying goodbye to the people and place that had once signified terrifying change was heartbreaking.
And yet when I arrived in Hong Kong, life went on. It was yet another drastic change in culture, language that would grow to be a part of me for the next eight years after that. Hong Kong saw my first love and heartbreak, and the people I still to this day can call true friends. I consider this city of neon lights, crowded streets, dim sum and western/asian contrasts my home.
These two major changes in my life have set the foundation for my love of travelling. I was able to adapt to these changes, and instead of closing in on myself and holding on to the past I opened up to new people and experiences, which have and continue to shape me.
It is thanks to those changes that I am not afraid to MAKE change happen myself.
It has taught me that although at the time it may seem negative, or even like a misfortune, it can only add to one’s repertoire of experiences.
There is always something to take away from change, and in my eyes even the negative turns into a positive when you learn from it.
After graduating from High School in Hong Kong I decided to take two gap years to learn Mandarin in Beijing. Yet another change, a new city, new people to meet and experiences to learn from. Those two years showed me who I am and who I am not, and I am closer to being at peace with myself. Coming full-circle back to Spain, I am now finishing up my degree in Psychology while working full time, and I am taking as much in as I can from this stage in my life. I am young and in my twenties and I am a citizen of the world.
Change is constantly happening within and around me, and all I can do is welcome it.
If I could say anything to my eight year-old self, it would be to look to the future with happier eyes, as the world could one day be my oyster. But then again how could you say this to a little girl who’d only seen this in movies?