November 23, 2009
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Life is beautiful. No matter how polluted the world may be, at the end of the day, it only takes one glance at the brilliant stars in the night sky to realize how incredibly blessed I am. I feel goose bumps on my body as the wind chill passes me by and I shiver with delight. There is every single reason to smile: For one, I am privileged with vision to perceive the dazzle of the cosmos, and secondly, the hot and uncomfortable summer ambiance has gone, having been replaced by the cool October darkness.

Everybody's life story is different. The struggles that I endure on a day-to-day basis, the exhilaration and exuberance that pulsates through my veins, the salty tears that falls from the corners of my eyes...it is all too familiar. It only took eighteen years to fully understand and appreciate the fragility of life.

Ten years ago, liver cancer robbed me of somebody so dear to my heart. My parents were too busy fighting and blaming one another for their mistakes to pay any attention to me. Luckily, the Heavens blessed me with an angel to fill my gaps of solitude with an unconditional love and patience. She was my grandmother. I never knew about her sickness until after her death. I could not fathom how the beautiful and radiating glow vanished from her eyes and why she was no longer there on the other side of the bed to protect me in my slumber. My grandmother taught me one of life's most important and overlooked lessons: never take anything for granted. With this life lesson and my love and regard for her, I am determined to never relinquish my dreams and hopes for the future.

After her demise, my family and I left South Korea to begin a new life in America. We settled in a humble apartment and gradually became close friends with our neighbors. I made several new friends of my own and the summer days consisted of countless sleepovers and swimming in an enormous pool. I was a free spirit.

Alas, September rolled around, thus, I began the first grade. I was a complete outsider. My English was broken and nobody wanted to be around somebody that could not speak their language. I knew somehow that I was unlike my classmates, so I excluded myself and made it known that I did not want to be anyone's friend. I already resented school and my classmates for not making much of an effort to acknowledge me. It was especially around this time that I missed my Grandmother deeply. Once my parents realized how miserable I was, they transferred me to another nearby school. Everything changed for the better: my English was rapidly improving and I soon became a social butterfly.

It was in the fifth grade when I realized my dream of becoming a writer. Public presentations were never my expertise but when I was given a blank sheet of paper and a pencil, it seemed as if I could never stop writing. I was heavily influenced by the pages of my storybooks: princesses trapped in castles, handsome and heroic benefactors, and evil witches with crooked noses and devious intentions.

When I gaze into the embroidered night, there is always one star that outshines the rest. The radiance of this one star makes it impossible to confuse for an airplane or any other distant object. It inspires me, it motivates me, it encourages me. Someday, my dreams will give me wings...and I will find my place among the stars. Yes, life truly is magnificent.

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