The Conversation That Changed My Life
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“I am not coming home.” These are the hardest words I have ever said, and waiting for the response seemed to be the longest moment of my life. I came to USA from Russia as a visitor. I was supposed to stay only for three months on a short term work. I never expected to stay. USA is not my home. However, things rarely are as we expect them to be. While in the US, I met a very special guy who opened my eyes to the opportunity of having an education in the US and having a new life far different from the one I used to have. With his help and with the new experiences I have in the US, I felt that I wanted to stay, to study and to learn and experience more. However, deciding to stay is not easy, more so because it means leaving my family and my home. Most importantly, telling my family that I will not be going home is not easy. Whether to leave or to stay is not something that I can easily decide.
T.S Eliot once said, “Home is where we start from…. It is the womb out of which we were born.… It is where we belong even when we don’t think we do. But we don’t stay there. Home is only where we start from. We leave home in order to stand on our own. We leave home so that we can become a distinct and separate person with our own feelings and ideas. We leave home so that we can go home again. And we leave home so that we might make a home of our own” (See Anderson). Just like this, I needed to leave home, but not merely because I cannot be a separate person where my home is, but because I found that it is in another place, in US to be exact, where my new life is supposed to be.
Therefore, one chilly September morning, I made the big decision. I decided to stay. It was September 3. I had a ticket back to Russia for September 5, the day they were expecting me to come home. However, instead of packing my bags, I decided to call my mother and tell her my thoughts and my decision. Lifting the phone receiver and knowing that I will be telling my mother something that will shock her and possibly break her heart make my hands tremble and my heart beat so hard. I have never felt as nervous as I felt that day. I finally told her, “I am not coming home”. I had to explain why. I had to struggle with the words to make her understand that I have chosen a new life, a new way of life, a new place of living and a new romantic relationship. I have said all that I felt. The only remaining question is what will my mother say? How will she respond? She said yes. My parents, not only my mother, approved my decision. They gave me my freedom. And more than just giving me my freedom, they gave me their support. I am an only child, and it was definitely difficult for them to know that they will not be able to see me and talk to me as often as before. I imagine it was really difficult for them to say yes, but they love me. That undying love and their desire to make me happy helped them to say yes, no matter how difficult it was.
Now, I am living in Florida, far from my parents and my home in Russia. Of course, living far from home is not easy. I cannot communicate with my parents as much as I want to, allowing ourselves to be contented with conversations over the Internet and the telephone. However, being far away are not all sadness and difficulties. It also helped me grow as a person. The loneliness I feel is the price I have to pay for a higher level of education, an easier day to day life and my new personal relationship. The new experiences and challenges that I encounter helped me become stronger and more mature. Being far from home also helped me appreciate my parents and what they do for me more.
Looking back, I try to imagine what would have happened if that conversation on that chilly September morning did not happen or happened differently. What if I did not tell them what I want and just went back home to Russia? I would be with them now, probably thinking of what I could have had if I had stayed. What if they said no? I might obey them, go back to Russia, think of what I have missed and probably resent them for taking away the life I could have had. On the contrary, I might disobey them and stay anyway, thus creating a drift between us and making my life in the US more difficult and lonely. No matter where I look, the way our conversation went helped me achieved what I have at present. That conversation, one chilly September morning, is a conversation that changed my life.
Anderson, Herbert. The High Adventure of Leaving Home. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. 19 June 2007. <http://www.elca.org/campusministry/resources/aboutlcm/adventure.html>.