Cascading from above, countless water droplets plummet into a pond creating a mosaic of circular rings. Hunched over, staring down at the reflection in the murky water, my lone face is distorted by the ripples of the weeping sky. As it begins to temporarily clear, a moment of peace creeps into my mind. Glancing down at my reflection for a second time, a mirror image now stares back clearly. Deformations in the water symbolizing indecision, loss and struggle had momentarily skewed my image of clarity. In these particular moments, I find myself wondering how significantly my foreign roots have impacted my personality and aspirations for the future.
Regardless of my current location, the affection I have for my small Eastern European country and its people has not expired due to time or distance. Even with countless memories lost, the hearts of my Bulgarian family and friends have not grown indifferent to the mention of my name. Instead of disappearing like a ghost in a wrinkle of time, my presence lingers like a dominant force inside my grandparent’s farmhouse. Photographs from our last twelve years spent apart are scattered in every room as daily reminders of my existence and tokens of my childhood. In return, my mind relentlessly conjures memories of homemade Dalmatian-shaped birthday cakes, walks to the Saturday market and life-long friendships made during kindergarten.
Tainting these happy memories are the haunting images of our final goodbye. Sitting in the back of my godfather’s car, I was turned around in my seat and staring out the rear window. As it revved to life, and tears left trails down my cheeks, my grandmother began to run after the car, refusing to let us go. In an attempt to forget this loss and instead grow accustomed to new surroundings and mastery of the English language, I coped by banishing Bulgaria from my mind. Like a cast sculpture, molding my personality to give the illusion of conformity, I remained internally hollow from denying myself family and heritage. During a summer vacation six years later, seeing their aged faces for the first time released a floodgate of forgotten emotions. Every protective barricade I’d built immediately collapsed and I remembered the importance of my individuality; the combination of both my Bulgarian birthright and the life I’ve created in the States. The epiphany liberated me from becoming concealed by a mist of obscurity.
My origin has made me unique in a room full of Western-world natives, as does my array of irreplaceable experiences and fluency in an uncommon language. Consciously and subconsciously intertwining my past and present personally grants me inner peace and an extensive culturally dynamic perspective of societal influences on humanity. Fueling my passion to study psychology, I find happiness and purpose in helping others who undergo struggles both similar and foreign to my own. The attainment of pride in ones own distinct culture, family, and aspirations awards vast opportunity for future accomplishments. Bending over and once again staring at my reflection in the pond, the faces of my parents, grandparents, cousins and friends undoubtedly reflect by my side. Despite the protest of the sky, I raise my head looking beyond the imperfection of ripples, and to the blazing orb escalating above the horizon line.