I bit my lip and stared straight past my dad, as I tried to block his voice out of my head. That loving, kind voice that I knew so well, telling me something that I didn’t want to hear, speaking of my greatest fear. Change. I loved the way my life was, and loved every aspect bound to it. This change that he spoke of frightened me. In an unbreakable daze, memories of happiness in the past came flashing back. Bitterly and resentfully, I took the news.
My dad explained how he got a job offer in Hong Kong. He said it paid nearly double the amount he made now, and that there was an international boarding school that I could attend. He said that he was definitely leaning toward excepting the offer. He had gone on and on about the benefits of accepting the offer, when I had slowly began to wilt inside. There I was, barely listening to his news, already thinking of the changes that would be made.
I am that kind of person who likes everything to be clearly planned out. I like things to go my way. When I am asked to give a speech, I will memorize it word for word rather than do it on the spot. I absolutely hate being put on the spot. Up to this point I had my near future planned out. I would live in sunny California for the next five years of my life, attend my local high school, be on their swim team, and get good grades. My plan certainly did not include moving to Hong Kong with my dad, away from my mom and brother, to attend an international boarding school. Hearing the news that could crush all of my future plans was unbearable.
I spent hours thinking about all the detriments of moving. Leaving my all of my friends would be devastating, especially those I have known for my whole life. Starting anew would be a difficult challenge that I did not want to pursue. Overall, I concluded that moving to Hong Kong would be a terrible idea. So then, I did the only thing I could; I turned to my computer and started pounding away on the keyboard.
And I wrote. I wrote non-stop for a total of four hours, and ended up with a five-page letter about how badly I wanted to stay. I hoped to persuade my dad not to accept the job offer. Everything flowed into ink, every emotion, thought, and feeling that I had bottled up for the past couple days. When I wrote, I discovered uncovered feelings that I did not know about. I found out that I hated change. I learned that I loved my life in the U.S., and realized how blissful it had been. After the essay was complete, I waited. I waited for the perfect moment to drop my bomb, my last attack on influencing his decision.
My dad did not have to respond to the job offer until November that year. At this point, he was pretty much set to accept the job offer. This letter was my last chance to get him to change his mind.
It was a Wednesday of which I emailed my letter to him. He was at work, and I was still on summer break from school. I took a deep breath, hit send, and waited for a response. A couple hours later, he forwarded me an email he had sent addressed to the professors at Hong Kong. He was declining the job offer! I read his email of decline over and over again.
“In the process of searching for a solution, it has become apparent to me that my family’s happiness is my first priority. I did not fully comprehend the magnitude of the potential impact until it was about to become reality.”
I was flabbergasted by his quick response to my letter. It was this moment that I realized how powerful writing actually was. I found that I could change a life decision just by writing a letter. Who knew that I could cause such a ripple in my own and others’ lives? I discovered that writing was my only gateway for thoughts. That it was a form of communication that is more effective than speaking. That it could change someone’s outlook on a topic. Through this life-changing situation, I discovered the significance of being able to effectively write.