Although leaving behind your family and friends, moving to a new country, adapting to a new environment, new people and new culture can be tough sometimes, specially when you are only 15 years old; but I could manage to get out of my comfort zone. One learns about responsibility, independence and how to adjust to a new life far away from home. When you live in a world, where you are surrounded by people you love; you have everything you want; and suddenly the world changes for you. You don’t have family and friends by your side anymore. You are all alone in a foreign country and you can barely speak any English. This is what I had to go through when I left my home country Russia to become who I am today.
I clearly remember the day that turned my world upside down like it was yesterday. It was a hot summer day. I got back home from hockey practice. My dad was home early, so I heard him calling me into his office. When I entered, he said: “I have something serious to talk to you about, have a seat.” He started his speech with how important education is, and I was a little confused, because I had good grades at school. Then suddenly, I hear him saying: “You are going to be studying in US.” I was shocked by that news and could not say a word for straight 5 minutes. At some point, I stopped listening to my dad and was going over with that news in my mind. When I finally realized that I’m not sleeping and it’s really happening to me, I did not know how to feel about it.
As a kid I always watched American movies and dreamed of living an American dream. I did not expect my dream would come true so quickly. I was upset that I need to leave my family and friends, my home country, my room, and go to a new world by myself. Even though, I was in shock, I knew that everything happens for a reason. There was no limit for my excitement. I had few months before I left, so I decided to prepare myself for a new life. I started with improving my English and learning new words. And I’m happy that I did, because life became much easier. I had no idea what to expect from a new country and new people, but I was ready to fulfill my dream.
The day I was leaving arrived, and I had so much thoughts going through my childish mind. All the memories associated with my home suddenly were running over and over on my mind. For me, leaving home was not only leaving behind people I love, but also stepping out of my comfort zone, and entering the new world. On the way to the airport, my parents were giving me life advices, which were very useful at a time.
My plane finally lands in Los Angeles and I realize I’m on my own from now and on. My very first challenge was speaking to a immigration officer. He was speaking so fast and unclear, that I ended up agreeing to everything he said. I knew it won’t be simple, so I put all my time and effort into learning English. My first day of school was probably the worst day I’ve ever had. First two classes were nightmare for me, because I could barely understand what’s going on. My third class was English Language Development. I found new friends right away when I entered the class. This class was so much fun, that I even forgot about two previous classes. Despite on having the worst day, when I returned home, I cooked my first whole meal. I think that was my first achievement in a new country. I watched YouTube videos on how to prepare spaghetti with meatballs, wrote down all the ingredients I need, and bought them at the grocery store few blocks away. It was not a huge achievement, but personally I felt good, that I could take care of myself and be more independent.
As the months passed, my English was improving and I got used to a new life. After 6 months, I could speak and understand English very well, so I decided I need to become more responsible and independent. I started looking for ways to make my own money at age 16. After few months of research about stock market and forex, I decided to take a risk and invest pretty much all the money I had saved up into stocks. It was so stressful because I could lose all my savings. I remember the day I made my first $60. I started making money on a daily basis. I was so happy that I’m making my own money and don’t need to depend on my parents or anyone else. After a year of hard work and effort, I spoke to my parents like a young mature man. When my dad realized that I’m not the same 15 years old kid, he decided it’s time to send my younger sister to US.
I was happy that my sister is coming and my parents trusted me to take care not only of myself, but my younger sister. I knew when she comes, I’ll have more responsibilities. Despite on new challenges, I was ready to face new responsibilities. That year was a tough time for me overall, but it made me as a human being stronger in every way possible. From a young boy, I became a young mature man at the age of 16, who can take care not only of myself, but my younger sister.
My new life changed me from a young kid into a mature man and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I learned how to deal and adjust to new changes, new environment. Moving out of my parents’ house and my home country, was the best decision ever made. It built my personality, it made me a much stronger person, physically and mentally. I appreciate my parents, who pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me in becoming who I am today.
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