Do Not Be Afraid.
Here, in Chicago, it just started snowing. And, on November 19th, I took the International Club downtown for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, at the end of which there was a big fireworks above the Chicago River and all the lights throughout the city were illuminated at once. Needless to say this was a magical experience. Chicago may have cold winters, but there is a warm holiday atmosphere here and, for me, experiencing the magic of winter holidays under the snow is priceless.
Last weekend, we also went ice-skating downtown, before going to the Christkindlmarket (a traditional German American Holiday market) where we ate warm pretzels and sipped hot chocolate. For some students, such as my Indonesian and Chinese friends, it was their first time ice-skating and, although they were a little scared, they were determined to face their fear. They put on their ice-skates, went on the ice rink, and here they were, ice-skating for the first time. Although they were holding on the side of the ice rink when we arrived, after an hour they made a tremendous amount of progress and were able to skate on their own. I won’t lie to you. They fell a few times as they learned how to skate on the ice, however, each time, they rose up and were back on track. “Fall down seven times, rise up eight,” a Japanese proverb says. And after we left the ice rink, they were talking about going back there together to practice and improve their ice-skating skills! It was beautiful.
- Picture courtesy of Ouda Teda Ena
This experience shows us that nothing is impossible and that, when we face our fear, we can accomplish almost anything. So don’t be afraid to leave your home and go study abroad, don’t be afraid you won’t be able to speak English, don’t be afraid you will fail your classes… DO NOT BE AFRAID. Yes, there will be ups and downs, but the road to success is not straight. Have faith in yourself. As long as you do everything you do with love and determination, one step at a time, you will ultimately succeed.
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