Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another Walk Down Memory Lane

Yesterday I took a college freshman to Mizzou - and she wasn't even mine! Ji is a student from South Korea who spent last year at Webster Groves High School. She came back to the United States last week to go to college here, and has been staying with us. As I filled up my car with her stuff and three teenagers, I thought back to 34 years ago when I loaded up my Green Mean Machine (translation - green piece of junk) with my stuff, along with my friend Kim's stuff, to head up to Iowa State. No parents helped us pack the car, or set things up when we arrived at our respective dorms. What a different experience yesterday. Parents and siblings hustled up and down the steps and dorm corridors, rearranging room furniture and hanging memories of home on the walls. It seemed a lot less scary than 34 years ago. But as I looked at Ji, who was not 200 miles from home but instead thousands of miles from everything she knows, I was in awe of a 17 year old who would willingly make the choice to experience a way of life so different from the one she grew up in. I was happy that we were there with her to stand in as her family, and I wish I had the opportunity to talk to her mom to let her know how great Ji did. She has a lot to be proud of in her oldest daughter. I learned a lot from Ji yesterday, and I think my daughter and her friend did as well. If nothing else, it gave me a dose of reality for what I will be facing again this time next year...when my baby heads off to college.

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