Traveling all over the world and moving to different places is just about my history. There were times when I unwillingly moved to places I was unfamiliar with. However, it widened my experiences and perspective in life, giving me lessons and an open mind. This would also be my way of prioritizing my life, and doing the necessary changes. I remember my teenage years, that my family considered to be filled with chaos and stress. I was too young to understand everything that I witnessed, and I felt that fear was not necessary. Regardless of these, I also had experiences that taught me numerous realizations in life.

I realized that sometimes, it is necessary for people to fear, and this is nothing that they should be ashamed of. In addition to this, life’s greatest lessons are learned not inside the classroom, but outside where most heartaches occur. Unlike lessons from class, these lessons are not easily taught; one has to experience for themselves in order to learn. I consider the lessons in life to be a pivotal part in the development of one’s character. This is one factor that people have to experience for themselves, in order for people to grasp it. An example of such is love.

Love is considered to be abstract, for it cannot be physically seen by people, but may only be experienced. As I remember my own experiences in life, I recall the happy memories that have happened to me in the past. My personal history is not as crazy as those of the others, but may be compared to a movie where there is action, melodrama, family experiences, and of course, love. I remember one time when I was almost put in danger, as I came face to face with gangsters. I considered gangsters to be somewhat different from regular people, for they preferred to have society be threatened by their mere presence.

The event happened when I was in middle school. I remember being stereotyped for my appearance. I was physically shorter than the normal girls who were aged 12. This came as a disadvantage from my end, for the big boys in class would intimidate and bully me. I had to keep myself up and be strong for the events that occurred, in order to survive school days. Regardless of my height, I would make sure that I fought equally with the big boys. I know that there were times when I was afraid of what would happen to me, but this fear did not allow me to move over.

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Although my imperfections hindered me from winning the brawls, the bullies never attacked me again. The experience also made me a stronger individual – ready to face the challenges that life had to offer. In the many years of my existence, I was never involved in theft, nor did I beat up anyone. Apparently, this good act did not stop me from fighting for my safety or that of my friends’. I remember one time, my friends and I stayed back to seek revenge for our friends who were beaten by guys from another city. We were fortunate enough to meet them; and that was where revenge took place. As the fight was getting bigger, patrol cars came.

Like hound dogs, we moved away from the place and ran as fast as we could keeping away from the lights of the patrol cars. As the cops left an hour later, the brawl continued being more difficult to stop as before. Suddenly, I noticed that an old yellow van arrived at the scene, making me more nervous. Out came two guys, who looked like in their 20’s, who talked with the others. Their appearance was evidently intimidating, and we could not do anything but follow them when they asked us to get inside the van. Out fear became more evident as we saw that there were weapons present in the side of the van.

My instinct was instructing me to get out of the van no matter what, but I was stopped by the fearful expressions that my friends were showing. We arrived in the park half an hour later, where they asked us about the brawl that we were involved in earlier. I was surprised to see how much they enjoyed our story, with their laughter echoing in the night. Eventually they shifted into a more serious mode, where they tried to intimidate us by sharing stories about gangsters. We were informed that they had the power to badly injure or even kill us at whatever time they wanted.

Of course we were all scared to death but were left to just stand there and listen to their stories. I noticed that one of the gangsters was positioned higher than the other guy. At first I did not mind their actions, but was later informed that their position was symbolic to their levels in the gang. He shared with us the story of as guy who joined a gang a few years ago. His dream was to join the gang and eventually become one of the coolest bosses the gang has ever had. A few years after, he decided to leave the gang and the said “brotherhood”.

This act made the guy an escapee, where he was hunted and chased down by the other members of the gang. His fear made him more determined than ever to finish what he started with the gang, for he would not be safe until everything was over. I felt a groan from my stomach as I was hearing the story, with the narrator being uncomfortable with this story. He told us that fighting was not everything in the world- that there was more to life than just beating people to death for fun. Everyone stood perfectly still in the cold, dark night, as we realized that it was his story we were talking about.

All of us were surprised with this realization, and I noticed that the guy was shunning away from us. The story left everyone in shock, and people started to stare at him. It turned out that he was not as bad as he seemed, all he wanted was for us to listen to his story. I guess that my friends and I were not aware that such an instance would occur in our lives –that we would be put in danger, and eventually walk home with so much realizations. I remember coming home in the wee hours of the morning, feeling relieved and weird with the new perceptions I had about the dark side of the world.

The experience also allowed me to learn that fighting would not do people any good. Instead, people would just be hurt physically and emotionally and nothing good may result from this. After all of those fights I stood by my friends, I considered myself to be coward rather than brave, for I did not know the real meaning of fighting. I guess sometimes, we should become more aware of our priorities in life, other than taking the time to avenge the heartaches caused by others. A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to have my eyes opened to a perception that was different from what I was accustomed to.

After coming back from Australia, was enrolled at the Korean Kent Foreign School. Like others, my perception was widened as I learned more about the culture of other countries. I was fortunate enough to receive good grades, with the addition of impressing my peers and teachers. Everything changed when my principal requested my parents for a “donation” in order to be accepted in a prestigious institution in Korea. I was surprised at the same time disappointed for my family believed in academic integrity, where everything had to be earned the right way. I did the right thing by leaving the school and moving to Canada to continue my education.

A few days later, my old school was featured in the news, with the same principal allegedly being the mastermind in the blackmailing of students in order to be accepted at a prestigious university. It was just heartbreaking to know that many of the students may lose their chance of being accepted at the prestigious university to acquire proper knowledge. From what happened, I felt that leaving the school and sticking to my integrity was one of the best decisions I had in my life. Yes, I know that I am only human – I commit mistakes and make decisions that could break people’s hearts, but from here, I learn.

I become more of a person who is willing to get hurt and rise up from what has been done. Although I am not financially rich, I have a handful of experiences that would make me richer in terms of my personal life. These experiences I had in life were the very reasons to my positive outlook in life. I am who I am because of the many factors that helped comprised my being. Life is indeed filled with numerous challenges, and for this, I am worthy that a lifetime of experiences were enough to hone me into the person that I am now.


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