The Best Souvenir I’ve Ever Received

Life is a precious gift. Milestones pass in life so rapidly you can hardly see them. Taking your first steps, loosing your first tooth, attending your first day of elementary school, receiving your high school diploma and so on and so forth. Although these events are subtle, they may be overlooked and taken for granted. Often times people obsess over materialistic things rather than just appreciating the gift of living every day. This type of arrogance, where we want more and more rather than taking a step back and being thankful is very common in people. An experience that shed light upon my mindset and made me a more grateful person was when I met a woman named Lupita in the Caribbean.

Trying to find a place to eat lunch while on a school vacation in St. Maarten, my peers and I were happily greeted by an exuberant young women. She convinced us to partake in the “unique experience” eating at her place of employment would assure us. After our meal, we formally introduced ourselves and found out more about Lupita’s life. In her early 20s, she was already a mother desperately trying to support her child by hostessing. Although her aspirations were much larger, including to become a model and eventually move to America, her current level of income would not allow her. Although Lupita was not able to fulfill her dreams, what was most significant was her positive outlook. She may not have been the most financially stable, yet her uplifting attitude made it hard to tell. Meeting her made me realize how much I take my living situation for granted. I am fortunate enough to have an education, shelter, supportive and loving friends and family, in which Lupita was denied of. I instantly felt ungrateful for all the moments that I did not appreciate my belongings both materialistically and physically.

A glance at the “Slums” from above

Ultimately, having the opportunity to meet such an inspiring figure like Lupita changed my perspective on life. It does not matter how much one makes or how many items he or she possesses, what is really important is internal happiness and being able to wake up everyday and live life. Lupita showed me that despite her life adversity, a smile is still worn on her face. She is an individual who is able to accept and appreciate the small gifts live offers everyday, a quality that many lack. As I left St. Maarten, I knew I was leaving with a souvenir that I would forever hold sacred. The lesson learned from Lupita is one that I keep in the back of my mind on a daily basis and serves as the motivation behind my thoughts and actions.

The women who inspires us all