“Someone once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become” ~ Anonymous.
Since arriving abroad, I’ve encountered situations and people that have changed the way I understand myself and my problems. I think sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own mind that I forget the bigger picture. I’m not dismissing my feelings, but I am trying to recognizing what will matter down the road. I think of that saying, “if it won’t matter five years from now don’t spend five minutes on it now.” On top of that, being abroad has made me realize that as much as thought I tried to be understanding, I have a long way to go in understanding differences.
At dinner the other week, my friend Sonia was telling me about how when she was growing up she lived in constant fear because America was bombing Serbia to help liberate Kosovo. She knew her dad sometimes went hungry to feed their family and sometimes it wasn’t safe for her to go to school. All that being said, she still invited me – an American – to her birthday dinner. I can’t imagine inviting someone from the country that bombed my entire childhood out to dinner for my 22nd birthday. This made me realize that my materialistic upbringing in America led me into a mindset that is so self-focused. I’m so focused on me that even the smallest thing turns my world upside down.
Another night, I was at dinner with a Serbian and someone from Kosovo. We sat at dinner talking about religion, which between the three of was included an atheist -my Serbian friend, A Catholic – me, and a Muslim – my friend from Kosovo. The way my two friends were so tolerant of each other and open to discuss such a normally controversial topic gave me so much respect for both of them.
I don’t want to die and meet someone who thinks she’s politically correct but really was always afraid to see the whole picture. While the reality may sting sometimes, I want to be more aware of the burdens of others and the opportunities I have in comparison to others.
P.S. here are pictures of me from my most recent vacation to Budapest!