I was only six years old when my world was turned upside down. My mom told me that she and I would be leaving our home in South Africa to the United States, and my family would not be coming with us. For my mom, the U.S. was full of opportunities; to me, though, the U.S. was a foreign place far from my hometown, from my friends, and most importantly, from my dad. So, I left South Africa with great resentment towards my mom. Mostly, I dreaded being raised without a father constantly checking up on me, teaching me how to ride a bike, taking me to my first dance, and attending father-daughter events at school while my peers would have someone to go with. When I moved to California, I had a difficult time adjusting to the new environment. I constantly missed my friends back home, and I felt out-of-place in a new school. Leaving South Africa took a tremendous emotional toll on me, and as a result, my relationship with my mom grew more distant.
In the midst of these difficulties, I met someone who completely changed my life. In the third grade, my mom remarried, and the void of a father figure was filled with a stepfather who would bring so much joy and hope in my life. Growing up, I was always doodling, reading, and writing, and my stepfather saw my knack for creative expression.Which then lead me to designing which became a clear passion for my life. Art has allowed me to express myself is various ways. Whether it be designing a poster for the school or helping out with the annual report. Art and Designing has lead me to finding my escape and find my very own thing that I enjoy.
More than that, my stepfather helped reconcile my relationship with my mom. To me, she had been someone who uprooted me from my home in South Africa. Yet to him, she was someone who sacrificed her own comfort and life to give me a bright future. Unbeknownst to me, my mom had so much hurt in her past, yet she allowed me to feel anger towards her. Every day, my mom took my pain and made it her own, and every day, she graciously continued to love me unconditionally regardless of how I treated her.
In time, with the support of my stepfather, I was determined to change my relationship with my mom. Every time I came home from school, I would ask her how her day was and tell her about mine. I asked her to help teach me to bake so we could work together and make delicious treats that we would share with the neighbors . Little steps like these turned into bigger ones as we became more comfortable around each other. Now, some of my favorite moments are when my mom and I go get our nails done or even when we go to the gym together spending quality mother and daughter time.
My life changed when I was six years old, and it changed again when my stepfather came into my life--for the better. Now, I see my parents in a different light. My mother is a superwoman; she is my hero. She has made endless sacrifices for me and continues to do everything she can to provide for our family. My stepfather is my main supporter, someone who helped me to discover my passions while filling in the important role of a father figure. I know that whatever arises in my life I know that I am supported and loved. This love has given me confidence in myself.
Coming to RHP has allowed me to harness that confidence given to me by my parents and express myself in many new ways. This was through writing creative journals, designing a yearbook, and even spending a week of my summer working for Cameron in the office. Not only that but RHP has given me a family. I know that everyone tends to say that but really, RHP has provided me with a safe environment where I'm not afraid to be myself and make friends that I will keep for forever.