Who Am I?

"You'll make a fine woman one day,"

Those are my dad's words, uttered many, many summers ago over coffee, ice-cream, a game of chess and dad's favourite past-time - smoking cigars.

Back then I was too young to understand what my dad meant with those words and didn't gave them much thought. Later on I thought it was obligatory for dads to tell their daughters such things, I mean come on, that's what fathers are for. That's why I'm daddy's girl. I kid, my dad isn't the type of man who will mince his words. I've been subjected to the cold, hard truth more times than I care to remember. But credit where credit is due, even my dad stands by that.

Thinking back on what my dad saw in me many years ago, I think I succeeded. I am a fine woman and I won't let anyone tell me any different. I'm a bit rough around the edges, and sometimes I'm a bit of a loose canon with an unpredictable temper, but I am a fine woman. I have a big heart. Sometimes I even think it's too big. I'm full of love and I forgive too easily. Sometimes I think I'm too naive for this world, too caring, too good. I want to see the good in someone even when what I should be doing is letting go. Over the years I've learnt a few lessons but I can't change the person I am. I love to laugh and love, I'm bubbly and I need my friends and family around to thrive. I hate being upset, I hate being angry even though I'm exceptionally good at it. It's not who I am.

The question is just...who am I?

My dad once said to me: Never give up, never believe when people tell you, you can't do something or can't have something.

Why I asked.

Because the people telling you to give up, to leave it me, to stop trying, those are the people who know exactly that you're capable of getting what you want. They see you as opponent, a force to be reckoned with. They don't want you to succeed so they tell you not to try. -- That was the answer my dad gave me.

Sometime later, at the start of seventh grade, when it came to choosing my third language (French or Latin) I asked my dad which one I should chose. "I'd go for Latin, but honestly, I don't think you have it in you to do it." My dad replied.

Following that conversation, I could have chosen French as my third language and looking back it probably wouldn't have been a bad decision, but I stubbornly ticked the box for Latin and made my dad sign the form. Six months later, when I brought my report card home for dad to sign, I'd archived an A in Latin class. I didn't point it out and dad didn't either, he just signed the report card to acknowledge its existence and that was that. I didn't remind my dad of the conversation we'd had months ago and I never told him to eat his words. Nevertheless, thanks dad.

Never give up, never believe when people tell you, you can't do something or can't have something.

That lesson stuck and I still remember it now. I don't give up or in easily. I stand my point and argue my ground. If you have the better arguments, fair enough, you win for now, but believe me I will do my homework and I will prove my point even if our opinions still differ by the end of that debate.

There have been many occasions in life where I felt like giving up, especially when things didn't go my way. That feeling of only being able to see a black wall, no matter where you turn? Yeah, I've been there, more times than I care to remember. I have given up on some things to make room for others but one thing I will never give up on, thanks to my dad's wise words, is my dreams. Something that I truly believe in, something I want more than anything, I'll never give up on that.

I wouldn't even know how to try giving up on what I really want. If I have my heart set on something, I will find a way to make it work. I have a kind "and if it's the last thing I'll ever do" kind of mindset to it. Eight years ago I wanted to move to Ireland and I wanted to find work over here so I did it. It wasn't easy but in the end I made it work, somehow. Going back to Germany, empty-handed, just wasn't an option. If I was to give up on something I truly want, I'd feel like a failure for the rest of my life. I couldn't live with that feeling so I try to avoid it like the plague. Somehow my dad's words well and truly made a lasting impression on that young teenage girl I was back then.

The question still exists, though, who am I?

I'm not sure I have an answer to that yet, ask me again in 50 years when I've had the chance to accomplish everything I want to accomplish. Then we can talk, we'll sit down over a good cup of coffee and you can meet my grandchildren and then you can ask me who I think I am.

For now, all I know is that I'm determined to follow my dreams, to get what I truly want and along the way I want to be happy with someone who loves me at my side. I told you I'm too naive for this world. I'm that gal who wants simple happiness above all because I firmly believe it'll make me the richest person in the world. Let's hope I can find that kind of happiness in China.

What is that kind of simple happiness I'm so crazy about?
Well surprisingly that's pretty easy to explain. Watching someone I care about laugh, a real laugh, the kind of laugh where your eyes sparkle and your belly hurts. Being able to take a walk somewhere nice an enjoy the scenery, having someone by my side who won't mind grumpy me because they know once my mood improves I'm fun to be around. Someone I can trust inexplicitly and someone who will in return show me the same courtesy. Good food, friends, family...more laughter. That's the kind of happiness I love! Told you, I'm too naive, I belong in a fairy tale.  

With only a week to go until I'm off to China, I've realised that I'm truly looking forward to my China challenge, as I've come to refer to it. I'm looking forward to being an English teacher and I hope I can teach my students what my dad taught me so many years ago because his words apply to just about any situation in life. Daunting as learning a new language may be, if I can help it at all my students will succeed. I can relate perfectly to how they feel. Once upon a time there was a day when I uttered my very first English sentence and felt on top of the world because of it. Then there was that day, not so long ago, when I uttered my first few Chinese words. So if anything I understand, I really do understand.

But I'm going off topic again, as usual. At this stage I know you won't mind, I've been doing it for nearly two years so you're well used to it by now and if you're a new reader you'll just have to get used to it. I know you will. Going off topic is just part of who I am, it makes me the quirky Selly that I am -- you wouldn't want me any other way.

For my first post in August 2013, I raise my virtual glass to the determined young woman I am (because you've got to be determined to drop everything you've ever known for a completely new life somewhere on the other side of the globe), all thanks to my dad, and to the upcoming changes on the horizon. The crazy months that lie ahead, the maddening experiences I'm about to make, the new life I'm going to lead. It's about time that I go as far out of my comfort zone as I can without setting up camp in either the Sahara or the Antarctic and trust me those two things will never happen. Then again they do say that always and never are two words you should always remember to never use so let's see about that. Who knows...maybe I will find myself somewhere in the middle of the Sahara one day. I highly doubt it but life is known to be mysterious and sometimes truly without rhyme or reason.