An Auspicious Beginning

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

“We’re moving,” my father announced to me, a happy eleven-year-old boy being picked up from his first summer at sleepaway camp.

Excited that we might finally be moving out of our too-familiar house in Miami and into a house closer to all of my friends a few blocks away, I asked, “What street are we moving to?”

“No,” my father responded, laughing, “London! We’re moving to London!”

I couldn’t stop crying. When I got home, my room was filled with sealed boxes containing what the packers had perceived to be my favorite toys. Adding to that trauma, my doctor announced that he’d have to remove my tonsils in three days since they would swell in the cold London climate. I was hardly able to speak after the tonsillectomy, but I somehow had to say goodbye to my friends over the course of the next two weeks. At the time, that was the most horrid week of my life -- what an inauspicious beginning to my life as an expatriate.

The misery of those two weeks carried on for the next two years of my new life in London. My future was rigidly established for me, though I was presented with one decision to make for myself: upon transferring to the American School in London, I was asked by my band teacher, “What instrument would you like to play?”...

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