The hardest thing I’ve had to do.

I’m only 20, so my life is not long enough to have experienced many things. Then again, for anyone, at any age, from any walk of life, leaving loved ones is pretty much the hardest thing to do.

On this day, 11 years ago, my parents, little brother and myself arrived at our new home in Melbourne, Australia. The night before was the hardest thing I have experienced. I remember standing at the departure gates, my vision blurred by tears I promised not to shed. As I made my way through the crowd of family and friends hugging each one tightly, it dawned on me that this was going to be scary. I looked up at Mum only to see the same tears in her eyes and I realised that no matter how scary this was for my brother and I, it was a million times more scary for my parents. After we had said our goodbyes, I grabbed Dad’s hand and walked bravely through security. I turned back slowly, surveying the faces of the people I loved the most, knowing that it would be months before I saw them again. Not trying to be dramatic or anything, but this literally was all in slow motion for me. It still is in my memory.

There were many, many scary things I did that year. The scariest of all was starting at a new school and having to make friends. I am naturally an anxious person and tend to stress about the tiniest of details. The thing I stressed about most was not having anyone to sit with at lunch. I was so afraid of being alone that the first question I asked the girl who was introduced to me was “Can I eat lunch with you?” I must have sounded so desperate. Still, she was my first friend in primary school and I am so thankful for her.

In fact, I’m thankful for the entire move to Melbourne. If we had not moved here, I wouldn’t have been given amazing opportunities and I wouldn’t have met my boyfriend and my closest friends. If we had not moved here, I would not have discovered my confidence. I would not have stood up in front of a congregation of 100+ and shared my testimony. I would not have jumped in piles and piles of autumn leaves in my front yard (while infuriating my Dad in the process). If we had not moved here, my brother would have struggled through school. He wouldn’t have received the appropriate nurturing and care that he did.

And this all happened because of my parents. They were prepared to sacrifice for the sake of their children. In order to give us a school environment that was better suited to our learning styles, they left their family, friends and a country they knew like the back of their hand. My parents are the gutsiest people I know. I admire them and I love them more than anything. I really disliked them when they decided to move. I thought they were just out to ruin my life. Yet it turned out to be the complete opposite.

And so, on this day, I thank my parents for being brave enough to embark on this adventure. I love you Mum and Dad. Even thought it was the hardest thing I’ve had to do, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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