It takes a lot of guts to leave your home for a different country where people speak a different language and you know nobody else who lives there. I imagine it's even more difficult if you come from a patriarchal country that expects young women to get their education to be "marriage material" but then not use that education once they are married, because they cannot work outside the home. Talk about a double standard.
My friend, Young, did just that back in the '90s. She moved to the United States from Seoul and graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. From Korea to the Midwestern United States, wow. This woman has some hutzpah.
The first time I met Young was in an undergraduate class we shared, although I don't remember which one. What I do recall is seeing her in the library some time later when she approached me with such a warm smile. She opened a dialogue about class with someone a bit familiar but still a stranger (me), no doubt honing her English skills by total immersion. Being so far away from home and speaking a second language while trying to meet her educational goals is amazing. She also had the courage to reach out to others, like me, who probably wouldn't have struck up a conversation themselves.
My first stint of working in television came at Young's urging to apply at the station where she was working running camera for the local news. We worked together for a short time, not long enough. Much to my dismay, Young moved back to Seoul after her graduation. She has since married and has two beautiful daughters. I am sure she is a loving, wonderful mother and hope her girls grow up just as wise and strong with her influence. Young is definitely a go-getter -- someone who won't have to ask herself "what if" when looking back on her life. Her determination is admirable, and I'm lucky to have had her friendship as a part of my life.
Meeting her family is on my bucket list, and I hope to visit them all one day. I miss my friend but am glad she approached me that day long ago. Her actions initiated a lasting friendship I may not have otherwise had the chance to have, and for that I say, "thank you, my friend."
Recognize a friend of your own. We could all use a pat on the back from time to time.