“Remember that you are not alone.”My mom handed me the rosary ring as I entered the airport gate. This ring reflects more than my religion. It reflects my adolescence, my personal growth through experiencing a bigger world at a younger age. Studying abroad in a boarding school located deep in Reading, England, I struggled to adjust to the new environment not only because my parents were not there with me, but also because I inevitable felt the huge gap caused by cultural difference. In times of hardship, I remembered what my mom had told me on that day when she handed me the ring, and quietly and firmly spun the ring. As I made new friends from England, China, Egypt, India, Iran, and France, I realized what I had been granted: the opportunity to see and live in a bigger world that other students of my age would not have even imagined of. I was granted the opportunity to directly hear from people of different origins about their personal stories while other students learned from books and images on the internet. But most of all, I was granted the opportunity to truly appreciate my parents’ love and company. The ring reflects my time of loneliness from not having my family right next to me, but it also reflects my time of happiness from achieving things on my own. It reflects my time of maturing through interacting with people from across the globe and gaining new perspectives. Above all, it reflects my parents’ infinite love and support and my gratitude for them.
– Michelle Jung