The Great "Pond Jump" 2008 - The Seed
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September 20th, 2007 – by: Kelly_Woo
"It has always been a dream of mine to visit London," my mother said to me once, her expression turning pensive, her eyes unfocusing a little as her thoughts turned inward. I watched her with intrigue and great respect for a woman who devoted her life to raising four children whose needs were always well met in a household that was fun, loving, and full of laughter.
I was the first born, the one greatly wanted one year into marriage. My mother was 22. She had made a decision in her youth that she wanted to be a mother. She wanted to bring children into this world and raise them to be good people, kind and loving and full of adventure. As such, she set aside any other goals she had for herself to see this particular dream through, including a dream to see the world.
Well now that her children have grown, some leaving the safety and comfort of the wonderful home she and my father created for our family to spread their wings and fly on their own, she is ready to allow herself to dream again, reaching inward to bring out these wonderful aspirations, as if finding a precious photo album stored away in the attic and blowing gently to remove the dust. She set her heart on seeing the world. She would start with London.
During the summer of 2005, she embarked on the journey and set sails for London, England with myself, my younger sister, and a female family friend. It would be a "girlfriend getaway" of sorts, one dream fulfilled for my mother, and the planting of a seed of inspiration in my own spirit.
Visiting that wonderful city, an energetic cosmopolitan that was a mixture of old-world charm, rich history, and state-of-the-art modernism, I was enthralled. We toured the city for a week, soaking up as much of London's charm as we could. I was awestruck wherever I went and yet slipped easily into the flow that was London, somehow connecting with that place as if I was always a part of it. I even visited an old elementary school friend who had moved there from our hometown of Montreal and in learning of the journey she underwent to end up living there, I decided that I would have to follow in her footsteps and the footsteps of countless others before her. I was hooked.
In two years, I have visited London 3 times on my own, with an upcoming trip making the 4th visit. Each trip was a new leg of the journey, opening my eyes and my heart to the wonders of that place. Each trip built upon the next, moving deeper into the layers that were London, experiencing new and exciting aspects of one of Europe's great cities. I stayed with Erin each time and every time we got together, we spoke about my plans to move over too. I was going to do it too. There was no question about it.
Last summer I finished school, graduating at the top of my class from a design program and ready to start my career at 23. I had struggled for 5 long years before then, enduring many hardships, traumatic incidents, and the breaking of my heart and spirit. This graduation was evidence that the blood, sweat, and tears shed trying to turn my life around were worth it all and that I could do anything I set myself to do. I was strong, talented, capable, and free to begin the rest of my life armed with a career path that could take me anywhere. I set my heart on London and started working right away to fund my journey.
I had planned to make the big "pond-jump" in May 2007, the year prior being a real test of strength and patience. In February 2007, all of the foundations I had built in preparation for the journey suddenly crumbled and I was devastated.
Have you ever put your hands out and spun and spun and spun around so fast, eyes gleaming in delight, heart pounding with excitement? Have you ever wanted something so bad that it actually hurt? Well that's what it felt like, focusing everything I had on seeing this goal through. But I fell down. I couldn't see what was happening around me. I couldn't see straight and lost my footing.
The course of my life changed during that time and I had to let go of the dream I clutched so tightly. I despaired but in the time spent picking myself up off the ground and dusting myself off, I have grown much stronger, more free and independent. I know now, in October 2007, that everything happened for a reason and that I was better off staying back all this time. I had things to learn. I wasn't ready to move and I can't even think about what life would have been like if everything went on as scheduled. There's no use thinking about that now. This is my life now and I am running with it.
June 2008. This time it's going to happen and I have begun preparations once more, now wiser and stronger in body, mind, and spirit. I'm going to make the great "pond jump" and when I settle in the UK, all doors to the world will be opened to me. I've got my Mother's sense of adventure within me and I cherish it. I have an open mind and an open heart. No matter what happens, positive or negative, this will be a great adventure and I am ready for it.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain
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