The Brave Woman This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Lancaster, PA
My mother, In Sook P., is a brave woman who has led me in a positive direction. I would not have grown up the way that I did without her. Taking a great portion of my life, she has filled the void that my father has been unable to. Consequently, my mother has illuminated my life and given me strength to go through darkness.

When I was fourteen, my father, Yoon-Kyu Y., passed away. After his sudden death, I had to experience many struggles. Having pretended to be fine, I acted as I had always done. I could not find any solution to cover the pain of the loss of my father and the feeling of guilt that I had from feeling as if I had never made him happy.

A few weeks after his death, my mother, my older brother and I decided to take a trip somewhere to refresh ourselves. As a result, we headed to Greece and Turkey. Remembering now, I know we were not completely happy about seeing the beautiful scenery of the place without my father. Although I still had felt confused, as I sat on the street facing the ocean in Greece, I realized that only I could turn my life back to normalcy. To return to myself, I decided to go abroad, to the bigger world that I had never seen before, to face challenges that I had never experienced.

Concerning my plan, I was afraid I could not implement it because of our family’s circumstance. After having lost my father, who had supported my family, we had to seriously consider regulating our standard of living. Since we were not wealthy before his death, I was pessimistic towards asking her about my decision. In opposition to my worries, my mother accepted my plans and agreed that I should go abroad. She told me, “Get out of my small well and head toward the ocean.” This phrase meant that she was encouraging me to discover the rest of the world. Her decision shows me how she has believed in me as I’ve grown-up. Appreciating her confidence in me, I can hardly imagine how I would have functioned in Korea with my previously weakened spirit.
After the decision was made, I eventually came to LM High School without any knowledge about it. Obviously, I was confused with the many different situations that came to me. The first day of class in an American school, I was unable to even say hello to my classmates when they greeted me. Some people probably thought I had a tendency to ignore and not talk, however, regardless of my tendencies, not knowing how to express myself was my primary reason for these behaviors. First of all, since I felt that the people would laugh at my unskillful English, I did not really try hard to approach them, but I rather tried to avoid talking with them.
Furthermore, living with different people, who spoke different languages and had a different culture, frustrated me. Having enjoyed American food in Korea before, I thought I would enjoy every single meal. However, I realized that those foods that I had eaten were not what Americans eat when I had my first dinner in the dorm. Having wrongly predicted American life, I isolated myself. Everything was scary to me.
At the time, I had to find how to deal with the changes. Responding to my e-mail asking her what to do, my mother told me to face my challenges and to believe in myself and that God has gifted me. In addition, she reminded me that I was born to work hard, and that is my most prominent characteristic. After the reminder, I tried harder to permeate myself into the new world. I tried to get a chance to talk with many different people to know more about their culture, even though I knew that they hardly could understand what I had said. As a result of the effort, I could meet a few people who I treat as friends regardless of the different races and cultures. Conclusively, I would not have been motivated to change the situation if my mother were not close to me.
My mother has encouraged me many times to relax from many difficult situations. However, I sometimes wondered how many times she had to clear her struggles by herself. Honestly, I know that she has encouraged me whenever I needed support from her, but I cannot remember any specific occasions that I helped her. Even all I did at my father’s funeral was staring at no certain point, while my mother cried hard.
A few months ago, on the phone, my mother talked about her decision to go to a graduate school. I wondered what the problem about her getting into a graduate school was. However, contrary to my thoughts, she worried whether the decision would cause financial problems with my life here. After the conversation, I felt I had brought a big burden on my family, and I realized I had never truly appreciated about my mother’s consistent support for me. After a few days, having decided to go to the graduate school, she paid for the school. She told me that she was struggled to make the decision; she even changed her mind to not go to the school when she arrived there to pay for it. Having considered her hard decision, I realized that she considers how her decisions would affect me.
My mother is from Busan, the big port-city in the southern South Korea, where the people there are typically known as being brave and aggressive. According to the opinions of me and many other people who know my mother, she has the most typical characteristic of the people from Busan; she is often aggressive. My mother is never afraid of anything; she would rather take challenges to achieve a goal. Hitherto my entire life, I did not like her aggressiveness. However, I am inherent in her characteristic that I also do not giving up; I actually enjoy challenging myself. Whether I have the same personality as she does or not, it is obvious that my life has been affected by her. My mother is only person who has lightened me from darkness once. Consequently, my life would not have been built up this far without her. Not taking her sacrifices for granted, I work very hard every moment to pay her back.





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