I never lived where I was born, I never felt home where I spent most of my years and I always thought I knew where I belong, until I came back and realized that it’s not it. I had to learn early how to adjust to different surroundings and it has been an important factor, all my life. It doesn’t matter if you move to another country, attend a new school or get a new job, it is always a new start. It was not always easy but now as an adult, I know that it has taught me a lot about myself and about life in general. Life is a journey and no matter how much you try to plan it, it just happens.
I had a great childhood and I often think about the good old days when life was just easy and fun. I was never a wild child, but I did know how to tease. I remember sneaking up from behind and opening the bow in a girl’s hair, when I was in kindergarten. I’m pretty sure I did that more than once. But that was probably the worst I did. I was a normal child, living with my parents, my brother, a dog, a rabbit and a guinea pig in a nice neighborhood. I had friends, my own room and every toy I wanted. It was hard to leave all of that behind, when we had to move to another country, far away. Gladly, I was able to bring all of my toys, which made it a lot better. Suddenly, I lived in a place that looked so different from what I knew. It was warm and sunny all the time and the people spoke in a funny language that I couldn’t understand. But I fell in love quickly. How could I not? We suddenly had a huge pool in the backyard, after all. There I was, a six-year-old girl, in a world I didn’t know but one that would change my life forever.
I was put into a day care that was so different from the one back home. The worst part was that I couldn’t speak or understand the language, so it was really tough. My brother and me were in different groups and for him it was even worse. Every time my parents left, he sat at the window, hysterically crying and watched them leave. It was heartbreaking even for me, who never really liked him when we were young. Fortunately for him, he was better watched than I was. I will never forget the day it was all too much. I was sitting at a table and some kids were standing around trying to talk to me. I was shy, I was helpless and so I ran away. I managed to mumble something about my mom being there and just walked out of the classroom. I did the same at the front desk and actually left the day care center. Until today, I cannot understand how they could let me walk out of the building just like that, but they did. I was determined to walk home, which was not right next door, but that didn’t matter. Luckily my parents turned around the corner, just then. After that, my brother and me didn’t have to go back for a couple of weeks, until we got used to our new home.
A few months later, I was gladly put into a German school, although you do end up learning the language pretty quickly, when you are living in the country. It was exciting. New life, new friends, new challenges. For me, the biggest one was to concentrate in class. My first report stated that my greatest problem was my chattiness. I constantly tried to talk to my friends in class and I have to say, this never changed throughout all of my school years. I was never the best but I did fine and I had a handful of good friends that I had a lot of fun with. I find it interesting how even at age six, you have personality traits or interests that will never change, no matter how old you get. For example my bad taste in men was already crystal clear as a young girl. He was cute. He was mean. I liked him. My first crush and no matter how rude he was, I didn’t care. One Christmas, I got him a present and hid it under his desk. After lunch break, he found it and instead of being nice and thankful, he sorted out what he liked and didn’t like and said I could keep some of it, since he was not interested. Sixteen years later, the two of us ended up in the same college class, back in our home country. He was still cute and still mean. He didn’t even say hello and just ignored me. I assume, he was afraid I would sneak up from behind to kiss him, like I did as a little girl. I don’t sneak up on guys anymore, but I sure stuck to my bad taste.
After almost four years, we had to move back and I was devastated. The best time of my childhood was in a foreign country and even after all these years, I never got over moving to my home country, again. Coming back was more of a cultural shock than leaving. I was older and I understood more. What I was most aware of was the fact that I didn’t fit in. I was never the most popular, but I never felt like being in the wrong place, before. I wanted to be somewhere else and I didn’t feel home, at all. Unfortunately, ever since I came back, other people never gave me the feeling of being home, as well. I became an outsider. I grew up so much different from everybody else and that made adjusting difficult. I did, I survived, but I was never fully happy. They say that home is where your heart is and mine was somewhere far away. It was never easy for me to deal with it, but it made me grow stronger. I did find friends, even though I always had much more enemies. I became more self-confident, even though everyone tried to bring me down. If there is one thing I learned in my life, it is that you should never listen to what others say. Always be who you are, even if it means you are alone. I’d always rather look into the mirror and know that I am being who I want to be instead of playing a role just to fit in. It made my teenage years pretty difficult but I did have some people who always had my back and that is all that matters. As a child I was shy and as a teenager I was a rebel. I didn’t do horrible things, but I always managed to stand out. I never gave anyone the benefit of publicly breaking down. I cried in secret and grew stronger from it. Those years were not pretty but they made me into who I am now and I wouldn’t want to be any other person.
Early on, I was more mature than what you expect from a teenager. Not that this is what I define as maturity, but I started smoking, drinking and partying when I was around thirteen. Since I never behaved like a young teen, I was friends with a lot of older people and that’s just what they did. I never crossed lines, so I was allowed to do a lot, in comparison to other people in my age. My mother always trusted me and even though I did some crazy things, it never got out of hand. I had personal boundaries that I never really crossed and I always knew that I didn’t want to ruin my life at this early age. I just had fun and I wouldn’t want to miss these days for anything in the world. Partying with older people was just so cool and I loved going to the club and pretending that I forgot my ID at home. When I finally turned sixteen, and was legally allowed to enter in company of an adult, I proudly presented it and the bouncer invited me to have a beer with him. I felt like a real grown-up. Maybe I wanted to be cool or maybe I just needed this to deal with all the negativity around me. I was twelve years old when I slowly became the one kid everyone talked about. Until today, there is nothing I haven’t heard about myself. And I don’t mean this in a good way.
At the age of sixteen, I attended my fourth school and I thought that things would change. I didn’t want to be the girl that everybody hated, although I never did anything to make people feel so strongly about me, in the first place. Nothing changed. It didn’t even take me a week to have people talking about me. I stood out. While everyone was into rock music and not washing their hair, I was a platinum blonde Barbie doll who just loved pink and everything girly. I didn’t even get a chance so I just lived up to it. I found my group of friends and didn’t care about the rest. I never changed for any of them and looking back, being sixteen or seventeen was the best age of my life. I had so much fun and I often catch myself wishing I could turn back time. The clock would either stop at being six, moving to a new country, or at age sixteen, the fun years. Life back then was just so much easier.
Throughout my life, I underwent several changes. Some on the outside and some on the inside. When I was faced with the real life, I grew up. I went to college, found something I love and just worked as hard as I could. I partied enough in my teenage years and I was over it. I became one of those boring students who never attend a college party because they were either studying, working or sleeping. I wanted to prove myself that I could do it. I wanted to be one of the best. I wanted to show all the people in my life, who never believed that I could do anything, what I am capable of. My own pressure was awful but it got me where I wanted to end up. A college graduate with a Master’s degree, an A-average and all of it faster than the rest. I’m not saying it was easy and maybe I should have tried to have more fun, but in the end, I achieved my goal and that means more to me than any party I could have attended. I didn’t care about my social life, I only cared about my future.
My future is now. It’s been seven months since I finished college and it felt awesome. More than half a year later, it feels frightening. It is not that I am on my couch doing nothing, but I don’t know where I want my life to go. For twenty years, I thought I had it all worked out. I wanted to go back to the country that made me so happy as a child and just find a way to stay. I always wanted to become a journalist, since writing has been my number one passion, all my life. My grandma always tells me how as a young girl, I was constantly sitting somewhere writing in one of my notebooks. I have to admit though that I am starting to be realistic and it’s a tough choice I made for myself. But even though it will not be easy to get there, it is important to have a dream – something to hold on to. Currently, I am living in exactly that country and when I came back, I realized that it doesn’t feel right anymore. I am working in a job that has nothing to do with what I actually want to do with my future and I don’t even have a clue what exactly that is, anymore. At the moment, I am enjoying my life, but I am also really scared. I want to go back to being six. Or sixteen. Now, I’m twenty-six and the strong girl suddenly has to realize that she might not be as strong as she thought she was. I have to start over and rewrite my dream. I have to find out where I belong and where I want to live. I have to find out how to earn money and how I can get what I want, once I know what exactly that is.
I know that everything in life happens for a reason, even though I don’t understand all of it. I can only tell myself that even if it wasn’t always easy, it was also not the most horrible life on earth. I have a great family, great friends and a world full of opportunities. I have to believe in myself and trust the person that I’ve become in all those years. The rest is still unwritten and I am curious to see what life has in store for me. I’m still the six-year-old girl who loves to talk and is into the wrong guys. I am still the sixteen-year-old teenager, who loves shopping, girly things and spending time with her friends. Now, I am a twenty-six-year-old woman who is still all her younger selves in a more grown-up way. I embrace my past because it made me become who I am, today.
(This was a homework assignment for a weekend class. This is the short version of my life, since we were not allowed to hand in a trilogy. We were also not allowed to give geographic information such as names of cities, countries etc.)