For the first seven years of my life I lived in Ethiopia, a country located at the east coast of Africa. Ethiopian is known for being a culturally oriented nation that values respect, honesty and integrity. Being raised with these values I have been able to carry them with me through my life. They have taught me to be mentally mature at an age that most people would not be expected to. At the time I was living with both of my parents who provided a loving and nurturing environment for me as a child. They were both hard working individuals and avid members of the church, my father being a pastor, who urged the importance of hard work and fostering a good connection with God. In addition they also taught me that knowledge is power, neither of them came from wealthy families or had an inheritance to cushion them if something went wrong, so they relied on education and found that it was the path to self-sufficiency.
This later on became the reason we came to the United States, the land of opportunity and to be more specific Houston, Texas. In my eyes the move to the US was filled excitement and wonder to a new place with new people and I was ready to embark on this next chapter of my life. As for my parents this was a time of turmoil, behind the move was a plethora of disagreements which after some time lead to a divorce. This was not a regular divorce; both my parents did their best to do it in a civilized way. During the whole time I did not see or hear a single fight between them and I was completely oblivious to their problems. Now that I look back I am grateful for how they handled it because they knew that I would not be able to understand the reasons behind it and did not want me to feel like I am losing a parent. After the divorce I continued to live with my mother in Houston while my father moved to San Francisco. Despite the distance to my father I still had a strong connection with him; my mother believed that it was imperative that a young boy needed the relationship between him and his father. From phone calls to summer long visits my mother in conjunction with my father made sure that our connection did not diminish and to this day it has remained resolute.
As for my new life in Houston it was greater than I could have imagined, I was able to assimilate well in to the culture and made several new friends. Unlike most children I viewed school as a place to socialize and have fun while also focusing on academics. I appreciated the fact that here in the US I am able to indulge on free education that in other countries was a very expensive endeavor. Behind this appreciation were those early lessons in had on how Knowledge is power. I looked back on to the times my parents were telling me how education was important and I saw it clearly, how schooling was not a place where parents drop off their kids for seven hours but a gift that was bestowed on any child to further themselves in the future.
For four years we lived in a two bedroom apartment, my mother at the time was doing very well at her job, so she saw it fit that we should move more out of the city to a house in the suburbs where I would be able to continue my education in a safe environment. The move came at a good time; I was going to be entering middle school and meeting some of the people I would be interacting with for the next six years. Middle school was a breeze I had made good friends at school and had great support system at home in my mother. Even after a long day at work my mother would still find the time to help me with homework and make dinner and seeing how hardworking she was would inspire me into working more on myself.
This carried on through my high school career as I aimed to improve myself in preparation to attend college after a short four years. Life as a high school student was different to my middle school experiences. At this age more and more people started to change some for and some not. Peers I knew for a long time started to have their own different values and personalities; this gave me my first unsheltered glimpse of how the world is filled with different people with different ideas than of my own. I however through this time remained steadfast, throughout my time in school I was able to retain the values that I was taught as a child regardless of how everyone else around me changed.