Wow! I have less than 2 weeks left on what has been the greatest adventure of my life.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself succeeding at one of the toughest challenges of my life.
Norway. You have been amazing and beautiful, but you have also been tough and challenging.
When I take a step back and go through the course of events that unfolded to lead to this… It blows my mind.
I am just a girl from humble beginnings who had a goal. a vision. a target.
I sat across the table from my parents four years ago, telling them to start saving up because I want to be the exchange student and represent my college and country in my final year. They had every ounce of faith in me. They believed in me. They fueled my fire.
My parents trusted that I would work towards my dream and had my back the entire time.
I have put countless hours of hard work, sleepless nights, determination and motivation to push me ahead of the rest, to be able to achieve my goal. I don’t think I have ever wanted something so badly, in my life.
…And hard work pays off. I got what I worked hard for. I was afforded the opportunity of a lifetime.
I know that from here, there can only be bigger and better things for me to conquer in my life.
This trip to Norway has been intense. It was 3 months away from anything familiar to me, completely drenched in a new culture, new people and new expectations.
This trip has shown me my true strength, which I sometimes doubt I actually have.
It has shown my perseverance and drive. My determination and ambition. I dug deep within myself and found a fighter. I fought through the cold, the language barriers, the high expectations from college. I fought through the moments of weakness when I missed my family and loved ones, the moments of sadness when I felt low and fought through not knowing how to cook and clean, to become self-sufficient.
I think I did well! I made it to the last few days and I’m still here, still surviving. Still doing my thing.
I often put myself in pressurizing situations, and I am very hard on myself, but that’s only because I know that if I don’t push myself…I will never know how great I can truly be.
I will be returning to South Africa having acquired new skill sets, being more sure of myself and having made my parents proud.
All I’ve ever wanted was to make my parents proud. They both started off from nothing and became such amazing, accomplished people. They have given me everything and so much more. All I want is to show them, they have raised me in their image. I’ve learnt so much from both my mom and my dad, and all that I am is a tribute to them.
It’s really quite overwhelming when you have achieved a goal that you have been chasing for 3 long years. The amount of inner strength I found in myself has been phenomenal. The journey on which I have embarked would be scary, even to an adultier adult than I am. But I looked it straight in the face and tackled it head on.
I am proud of myself. I overcome a lot of challenges, took a lot of risks. I made many friends, explored, went on adventures, acquired knowledge, submerged myself in another culture. I did all the things I wanted to do and even conquered a few things I wasn’t even expecting.
The world better start getting ready for me… Once I get my degree, I am going to be a force to be reckoned with.
What I have learnt is; to respect myself more, trust my instinct more, be more forgiving of myself and to have more confidence in my capabilities. I think I did pretty well considering the odds.
I owe myself this much. A chance. A chance to be great.
I find that I stand stronger than ever before and I am so eager to end this trip on a high note, then go back home and knock the ball out of the park with my final year of college.
I have never believed in myself more than I do right now. If you want something bad enough, you will do everything in your power to have it. I think I can look forward to more growth and stability in the years to come…but this opportunity has certainly set the pace for the rest of my life.
Thank you Mom and Dad. I love you guys so much and I hope I have made you proud. I am coming home to you a little wiser, a little stronger and a little smarter.
If you have read all the way to this point. I want to say this to you: Don’t settle for any less than you deserve. You can do anything you put your mind to. Just go for it with passion and drive. You owe yourself everything you have been dreaming off, make it happen!
I leave you with a visual representation of me as a baby to my most current picture. Its been a looooong, hard 26 year journey. But I’m all the better for it.