"As average as you are living, in the sea of ordinaries, don't you ever forget who you are."
Blessed and grateful, I grew up privileged. The kind of privilege that comes with worship, praise and power. Because of the privileges, life comes with a price. The price of always having to remind yourself who you are, what you are meant to do and how important your life means. From everything I was taught and have to learn, leadership isn't easy.
The job, looking in from the outside, seems so carefree, and it comes with just a wave of a hand, but from the inside looking out, it's hard to explain the responsibilities, the restrictions, the loneliness. Happiness comes harder from the inside because all you have from that side, are stacks on stacks of books, cups after cups of caffeine, straining eyes from the computer screen, buzzed ears from the never ending muffles of the economics teacher then the linguistic teacher, then the foreign relations professor, worst of all, the marketing patterns doctor.
Summers after summers, the lessons grow longer and the heart grows weaker when all you want is to be outside, actually doing the field work, you know, the greeting people, shaking muddy hands of the hard-working farmers, the crinkles on the eyes from the genuine smiles of missing teeth from the older women, the sweet sounds of laughters from shirtless little boys running down the fields with kites in their hands, the unforgettable tugging on your shirt of the little girls whom are nearly tall up to your thighs, the rolling of your pants trying to walk down the rice fields, the sounds of the tired oxes from working all day long. It makes all the long nights worth it, hearing all the thank you's and seeing the tears from the "less fortunates" because they see hope in you and when you speak, their eyes light up because they see a brighter future for their next generations. And you know you're doing the right thing when they tear up, hug you and tell you, "You are the hope of the future."
When things get hard, I pull out my treasure, the thing I always take with me. The meaningless 5,000Đ bill from back home, the old wrinkly piece of paper that was given to me by a little girl with the cutest messed-up piggy tails, telling me to use that money to go to school and come back to feed hopes to her and her friends. I will always remember the lesson my trip has taught me, hope. The future isn't going to change and mold itself into what you want unless you have the key of knowledge.
Growing up privileged, I was always told to dream, dream bigger, dream higher and become more. I can't imagine how it must be like for my people back home, being told to not dream so high because their backgrounds are restricting them from a proper education. When little kids are so excited to see you, they come running to your arms, excitedly begging you to teach them how to read this, read that, count this, count that. And when being asked, their dreams come running out of their little mouths like magical spells from a spell book, completely filling your heart and soul with hope and courage. Doctors, leaders, businessmen, farm owners, vets, mansion owners, world changers, these little ones are the future of my country, my people. My constant vision, my country being recognized for our heroic and courageous history, full of brave women willing to die for their country and protect their people. Constantly, I remind myself of the feeling when I stand in front of world leaders, ready to hear my future vision, being critical about how I would get there, but that doesn't discourage me. My people believe in me, to give them the hope of better.
The small S-shaped country being overlooked by the world, means the absolute world to me. The biggest reason of what I want, who I am and what I want to accomplish. I was blessed with the power of a voice even at a young age, and the head full of children's dreams, adults' cries and the old's wise life lessons. When times are rough, I think back to my trips, and I see a girl who is believed in by my people. Who is sent to acquire the knowledge to give back and change. Who is carrying the dreams and hopes of many who weren't born as fortunate as she was.
The world might not see the beauty in my country, but I never forget, not even for a second. My beautiful city full of kindhearted people. My less fortunates whose hearts are still filled with goodness even when life has given them the exact opposite. My country's history, which has taught me the true meaning of bravery and courage. The country full of mountains, full of rice fields, tall green, yellow crops rising every where, the hardworking men and women who don't rely on the government to support them, the culture that exists in every corner of the country. No matter what the world sees, I see a country full of hopes for the future despite the hardships, a country full of culture that will never fades, the country full of independence and pride of being Vietnamese.
I know exactly what I want to study, I know exactly where I want to direct myself toward, my home. What am I doing right now? Walking on the wrong path, studying to be the doctor I wasn't meant to be. I should be studying and acquiring the knowledge I'm thirsty for; the source of all issues, the humanity side of politics, the rights of people, and the key to stop the faucet of despair, political systems. The beauty of different cultures, the wisdom in many different aspects of the world, global studies. The one thing that has always kept me sane, that has given me the power to express my lessons and share it with the world, writing.
I finally realized why I have been so unhappy, because I'm traveling on the wrong path. Looking at the wrinkly monetary note from my home, I realized that the fears I have are just an excuse. I owe my family of millions back home my knowledge, my fortunate life, my drive, I owe it all to them. It's time to give back. I'm heading straight home.