Farewell Journal

La Azulita with Anna

Abstract: Meet Anna Marie Stamborski, a reach the world correspondent, Gilman scholar, my best friend and my inspiration to do what I love.

Anna Stamborski was probably the hardest person to say goodbye to when it came time to leave Venezuela. If she didn’t live just one state next to mine, in Wisconsin, I probably would have had an even harder time. What makes Anna so special? Well, Anna is a very simple person. She is very caring, has a lot of faith and very honest. I was in need of a bit of all of these when I met her.

When I first met Anna, we were in the Caracas airport. She came up to me and introduced herself and started talking to me about anything and everything. I was very overwhelmed and couldn’t see myself being really close friends with her. However, after that moment passed, I got to know her incredibly well. I came to know that she is very trustworthy and great to talk to. Not only did I get the chance to pour my heart into her hands, but I was able to joke around with her too. Do you have siblings? Do you fight with them? Well, Anna and I got so comfortable with each other that we started to fight and act like sisters. It was great!

Jaden, Anna, and Me

Anna helped me remember where I come from, which is a lower middle class family. I needed that reality check because I knew I didn’t have the money to live an extravagant life like all of the other American students, but I sometimes forget that. Anna helped me stay on task and think of great ways to save money. We played a lot of basketball, cards and we hiked a lot too! It was great. When was the last time you did something simple and free and had a great time? There are always opportunities to have fun, you don’t have to have money to live a happy life!

Anna is also one of the calmest and most positive people I know. She would calm me down when I had a bad day of classes and she would help me realize that it wasn’t all that bad after all. Have you ever gotten a bad grade? Have you ever been grounded? Sometimes, it stinks and you think your life couldn’t be worse. In reality, there are many things you are lucky to have in your life and one bad day shouldn’t be able to ruin your entire mood.

I have no idea what I want to be when I “grow up”, but I do know, that I want to be more like Anna. I want to work hard to be nice, to be calm, to be patient and to think things through. I want to help others without thinking of the consequences and I want to give to others when I have nothing myself. I have always been an easy going and naturally happy person, but Anna helped remind me how to stay that way. I have thought about being a teacher or an embassy worker. Through either of these careers, I hope to help others and make a difference for a country, a community, and the people I meet.

Our last picture together!

However, I also want to focus on making a daily difference in the people I meet on the street. I want to cheer up the cashier at the grocery store, even though I’m having a long day and don’t want to have to wait in line. I want to hold the door open for the man behind me, even though it means I have to give up a few moments of my day. I want to start by being a better person every day.  Hopefully this habit will make others’ days better so that they can continue to cheer up even more people.

Have you seen the movie Pay It Forward? In the movie, a young boy asks people to ‘pay it forward’ instead of ‘pay it back’. This means that when a person does a nice thing for you, instead of paying them back, you would do a nice thing for three different people. If I could ask one thing of the people I have helped or will help in this life, it would be to help other people. I don’t need to be paid back because the best payback would be for them to help others. If I become a teacher, I would hope that the children I help in elementary school would go on to do great things and help others. I hope that for all of you as well. Who can you help today? It could be as simple as opening the door for a stranger because her hands are full with her books or it could be as complex as planning a surprise for someone who doesn’t get acknowledged enough. If you make someone’s life better, don’t you think your life would be better too?

It was great getting to talk to you and getting to see your beautiful faces over Skype! I hope my writing has helped you think about countries that are different from yours and how people can be different from you too. I wish you all the best in the future and a great and safe summer! Thanks so much for your time and your attention!


Anna and Me in Azulita

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