It is instinct that makes a bird leave the nest. From a little weak chick to a great powerful falcon, it would jump off from its nest and extend its scythe like wings, slicing through the air. Each wing stroke it takes is a heartbeat that declares its independence.
The falcon has its own freedom and pleasure of going anywhere alone. I had often envied the falcon because I always felt the restless wings behind my back. I had never been anywhere without my family nor had I been to a sleepover.
As years past, I ignored my longings and thirst for travel by hiding behind my books. One day I received a letter, and it gave me a chance to test out my wings. Like a decree from an emperor, I was chosen from many to participate in the Asian Pacific Leadership Youth Project.
‘Remember to keep your belongings with you at all times,’ said my mom as she drove me to the airport. From her tight tense talons, I flew from San Diego to Sacramento. As I marched out of the airplane with the other passengers in a single file line, I realized that I was alone in a strange place.
I looked around to be familiar with the surroundings of the airport but no one was there to guide me. A small bag hung around my neck, and it held my passport and emergency money. I held it close to my heart.
Then with my luggage in hand and my backpack behind me, I walked out of security area to be picked up. With other people who were invited, I was packed into a van and shipped off to the hotel. When I arrived, the program directors greeted me.
In a flash, pictures were taken; packages and hotel keys were handed out. The hotel was like a labyrinth and, no matter where I went, everywhere looked similar. I walked in circles, trying to find my room and somehow I did.
The room was huge and aesthetic with two queen size beds! Then, I realized that I had forgotten my backpack! Like the wind, I ran back to the room where I was greeted. ‘Why are you here Faith?’ someone asked. ‘I forgot my backpack — ‘ I replied meekly as I picked up my backpack from a chair. ‘Hmm — That’s bad — ‘ he commented.
Suddenly, my cheeks burned from the rushing overflow of blood. It was not even a day and I had already forgotten my mother’s rule. I could have lost my phone and it was my only lifeline to my family. It was my only direct link to them and if it was gone, I did not know what I was going to do. At night, I called them without mentioning the incident; but as they talked, I secretly vowed in silence to be more careful. The next day, I was still disturbed by yesterday’s incident and to calm myself, I read the itinerary for the day: Breakfast of Champions 8:30 — 9:30 am / Capitol RoomFeatured speaker Evan Low — Three years ago, at age 21, he entered the race for Campbell City Council as the youngest candidate…. He applied the lessons learned in his loss by 1 percent to a second winning second bid. Asked why enter the rough and tumble of politics Evan says, ‘If you knew you could make a difference, wouldn’t you?” Evan Low’s words echoed in my mind and a chilling sensation lingered in my heart. Unlike him, I was not a saint. In my 17 years of life, I had indulged in entertainment. I had let the world slip by me. My advisor in the conference pushed me into introducing myself to Evan Low. I wanted to meet him but I was ashamed. However, it was too late to turn back. Our eyes met and we shook hands. From that moment, we clicked immediately, talking as if we had known each other for a lifetime. Something had taken place within me. I do not know if it was talking to Evan or if it was the handshake, but now I was more relaxed, and everything that had seemed foreign to me now felt natural. The rest of the conference moved smoothly like a river. On the trip home, I realized that my wings were too short and too weak to leave the nest for now.
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