Friday, January 9, 2015

by:  JVK

     Young and determined, her character shines
     Left alone in a foreign land yet she never whines
     Armed with none but her mother's prayers
     Excellence she befriends, with talents in layers

     Her star radiates and continues guiding
     The roads are bumpy yet she's solidly gliding
     A heart gird with silent fortitude
     She sails the open ocean, boldly and with gratitude

     The virtues you hold, treasure it in your heart
     With your charm and smarts, it will set you apart
     Soon oh soon, My Princess, you will see it through
     The beauty of your dreams, the future belongs to you...

With my eyes closed, I have allowed my daughter to fly 9,000 miles away from home to search for her dreams.  Not easy for a mother like me considering that she is my youngest and she was barely 18 years old when she left.

Today is my daughter's 19th Birthday and I wish to honor her by featuring her essay on a very special page in my blog. 

May God continue to bless you with fortitude and serenity to see you through...


I love you very much!


(a Title given by her Mother)

Written by:  DDK

With blood-shot eyes, extremely greasy hair, restless legs, and an awfully sore behind, I declared that to officially be the longest flight in my seventeen years of existence. Yes, I had been to the United States before, but I had never flown alone… Much more, I had never acquired my own one-way ticket.

I did not realize, however, that the flight was just the beginning – my journey to success in land of opportunity was much more than just the jet lag, the unpacking, and the getting used to the weather. It included a lack of transportation, a lack of a home, and because I had no family on this side of the world, a life entirely built from scratch. It included an unforgiving exchange rate, a completely different cost of living, and not to mention, it included out-of-state tuition fees. I’ll be honest: I had only been here for only a month when I began to question my decision to come to this country. I used to think that despite my citizenship status, I felt so distant from success, that I was far cry from being considered an actual American.

Being 9,000 miles apart did not stop my family from trying to help me, and I must admit that support through Skype and Facebook took me much farther than I imagined – I really felt that I couldn't have made it this far without those messages or phone calls. But three months later, what use was e-support when life was staring me in the face, yelling, "knowledge may be free, but education is expensive"? So struggle built nothing but motivation. I was determined to find myself a job; thus, with what resources I already had, I applied to five jobs a week until I finally got the call. I built my resume, collected paychecks, and at my third try, I finally found myself a job that gave me more than eight hours a week. Now, at almost a year and three months of being here, I have saved enough to buy myself a car and afford an 18-year-old-driver’s car insurance. All the while, I have remained a full-time student, with involvements on campus that include student government and honors societies. I have made my way up from mere committees to actually being a senator on the board, to even assisting my current college with its preparation for accreditation. Ultimately, I have put school as my main priority as I have maintained my GPA and I have really strived to keep my distance from mediocrity.

Looking back, what comprises of my stay in the United States gives me enough sense of accomplishment to pat myself on the back. My ability to be so independent over here after having been spoon-fed back home continues to surprise me. But much more than just being able to cope with living by myself, when I recognize how much I've grown as a person, how I've developed so many good habits, and how I've learned to become someone that I can actually say I’m proud to be, I suddenly don’t mind the struggle. Financial problems are nothing to me when I realize that I no longer strive for material goods such as the new iPhone or brand new outfits, but rather, a future where I know I can do something big, make a change, and even help my family. Finally, if hardship was the only way I was going to learn to be grateful for what I have and what I've been given, then I sure am glad that I have had to endure all of this hardship. Because at the end of it all, I have come to realize that success is not limited to having a large bank account, or being able to afford the things that we want and need, but in fact, success is being willing and happy to work hard enough to deserve the good things in life. This is, without a doubt, how I feel as of now – happy and willing to work. Because of this, I feel almost at home. And after all this time, I have finally become an actual American.