Editors Note: In this creative piece, Noelle reflects on three moments, each a decade apart.
The summer’s scent was fading as the leaves were taking autumn’s palette. The feeling of sand between my toes was as distant as the taste of my first ice cream cone. I had endured hours of splashing, diving, skipping and hopping. Forts were built, stories were read, monsters no longer hid under my bed. I rode my bicycle until the orange glow faded to black and I decorated our path with Picasso chalk creations. I giggled with my best friend as we pranced around the room to the sound of our teenage heartthrobs. I clopped around the house in my Mother’s high heels whimsically portraying a queen from a far away land. My troubles were comprised of petty household chores that needed to be completed before playing outside or being told I couldn’t watch T.V. because it was past my bedtime. Life was good. I was full of dreams and innocently in love with the world. I was months away from one of the most monumental moments in my life. I was ready. I had been waiting for this title for what seemed like my entire 8 years of existence. Finally, on November 14, 1995, it happened. I became a big sister!
Traffic was jammed for as far as the eye could see. Horns were orchestrating their own musical symphony. I grunted with frustration as I allowed my achy body to restlessly relax into the seat. I can confidently say that there wasn’t one happy human who was idly occupying the Blue Route. Time was my enemy. My faithful Ford Escort may have been running low on fuel that day, but I was not.
I took a gamble with my education for this opportunity. Friction brewed between my Father’s strong advice and the ambition that burned inside me.
My responsibilities were being dangerously juggled between my fingertips. Decisions weighed on the outcome. Life was dividing before me. Roads were being carved out of my choices. Questions created barricades that I struggled to knock down. What if I fail? Am I good enough? The persecution of another’s opinion is costly. Anticipating judgment where acceptance comes only to a select few. I dedicated the past 10 years to this dream. I exchanged the soccer ball for tutus. My innocence was replaced with realistic circumspection. My dreams still existed, but my world experienced storms. I sacrificed social engagements and school functions for rehearsals and competitions. I left public school for cyber school. I lost relationships because my heart belonged to my craft. I risked total humiliation. Clutching my professional history in my hands, I frantically entered the building and ran up the familiar staircase. All eyes on me as I approached the table. I stared down at my number; 122.
Unrestricted reflection, as I sit on my favourite view point looking out across the South China Sea. I am currently over 8,000 miles from my hometown, living on a peninsula that has quickly become the gambling mecca of the world. Macau is situated in some sort of geographically conundrum that not many people know about. To save everyone the trouble of pulling out their Atlases, it’s an hour ferry ride from Hong Kong. This was life’s most unexpected detour for me. Once married, now divorced. Once found, now lost. Once a child, now an adult. Everything was new, some would consider this a blank slate, but my slate was far from vacant. Language barriers and cultural differences resulted in a life altering adaptation. I learned to speak some Cantonese and embraced their idiosyncrasies. I found myself walking the streets of my unfamiliar and undiscovered home feeling completely safe and comfortable. My career was boosted by my decision to change global coordinates. My wanderlust was instantly ignited. As my dreams come true, new ones are formulating. My childhood innocence has been replaced with transgressions and sophisticated perspective. I’ve seen my priorities constantly shift to balance my inner peace and current responsibilities. Confrontational situations and workplace frustrations have given me the chance to acknowledge my growth and acquired wisdom.
Change is feared by some, but not by me. Change is life.
My tree is continuously growing with flowers still yet to bloom, but I will always know my roots. Let’s see where the next decade takes me…