"Let Your Life Speak"


There is a Quaker saying: “Let your life speak.” Describe the environment in which you were raised—your family, home, neighborhood or community—and how it influenced the person you are today. (Required length is 200-250 words)

To the occasional passersby, we were merely outlandish Americans. Six pale-skinned, freckled tourists with electric blonde hair trying to appear authentic adorned in full on Greek garb. In reality, this disgruntled group was my family experiencing day four with none of our luggage, courtesy of Delta airlines. For the next few days, I would be forced to wear a shower cap as a bathing suit.

My parents have always emphasized the important role of travel in shaping character. They believe that experiencing different cultures is critical to expanding one’s horizons, and understanding how the world really works. That being said, our annual trips abroad seem to go hand-in-hand with baggage malfunctions; I cannot recall one family vacation where I have seen my vibrant red “OHB” suitcase tumble from the mouth of the baggage carousel upon arriving at a destination thousands of miles from home. There is an undeniable frustration accompanying such an occurrence, an aggrieved feeling of “why me?!”

Growing up in such a wonderfully rambunctious household has taught me how to laugh and roll with the punches; how to take a step back and choose to make the best of any situation. Our lost luggage, despite how unfair it might seem in the moment, only added to our sense of adventure and family bonding. The best lesson I have learned is that the quality of my life is determined by the attitude with which I manage adversity. And I have found it most helpful, and most desirable, to laugh.