No Longer Seven Children, but Eight

By , Highland, UT
Kitwalan, Rasita, Bai Toey, or Rista Sorpheng: these are all names belonging to a seventeen year old young woman living in Chaing Mai Thailand. Rista (as I call her), joined my family a year and a half ago, the beginning of last school year. She lived with us for one year as a foreign exchange student and soon became part of the family.

August 9, 2010, my mother, father, brother and I drove home from the Salt Lake Airport with a petite, black haired, brown eyed stranger in our car. I reminded myself, it was only awkward, if I made it awkward. I had never met anyone from out of the country before and wasn't sure what to say. Lucky for us, she spoke English . . . well mostly English. To my relief, we soon learned she was outgoing, upbeat and hilarious! On the rest of the trip home, we learned she had been taking English courses since she was five, and that she hated spicy food even though her country is well known for it. We very quickly fell in love with her.

I am the youngest of seven children. I assume my mother's thoughts on applying for another grown child were along the lines of, “Since most of my children are married or in college, I might as well get another one”. I was tentative and nervous at first at the thought of having an extremely close new sibling, not only in age, but in the room next door to mine. I am an internal thinker. I'm not un social, I am just content to not talk sometimes. I didn't want things to be awkward, or feel as though I had to be chatty all the time. With my family I don't feel that way because we are all comfortable around each other and understand that maybe we don't have anything to say. I was afraid to be responsible for the happiness of a person I did not know. The fear of disappointing them, if they were expecting more. I was nervous to find out what I could learn about myself from this person. It turns out that the perfect person was sent to my home.

Rista is amazing, she is not only confident and beautiful but she is brilliant, friendly, optimistic and is kind to others. I loved Rista and was very happy to have her as a new friend, but for some reason I soon began comparing myself to her. I wasn't jealous of her in any way, but I felt she was a much better person than me. I could not let this go on, because it was effecting the way I acted towards her. I put aside these feelings and things started to get much better. We grew closer and I was able to enjoy her wonderful personality.

I do not know why I was always nervous to ask my friends if Rista could come with me to spend time with them. It was ridiculous on my part, and I will always feel terrible for not inviting her more. There was nothing at all wrong with Rista! In fact, she was the kind of person that everyone could be friends with and wanted to be friends with. She had this genuine, catchy personality and you couldn't help but feel happy around her. Also, there was nothing wrong with my friends. They are the kind of people who would have been very accepting of a new friend, and would have loved to get to know her better. When I did ask Rista to come with me, my friends loved her. Rista taught me to be more inclusive of others: to think of others happiness before my own.

There are many more things Rista taught me: to laugh more, love more, be more on task, work first play later, be more giving and be more grateful. In short, to be a better person. I can truly say that I gained another family member, through this experience, and I hope I never loose contact with her. When life moves as fast as it does, it's hard to keep in contact with someone living across the world. I am excited to see Rista in the future and to see the people we both become. For now though, Gratefully, I am stuck with an eighth, technically not adopted, sister.





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