The Boy and The Fox and Me
I grew up pretty shy and not so outgoing. I spent a lot of time at home with my mom. Going to a university in a country across the world would have been a wild idea for someone like me. But shortly after I finished high school in my hometown of Novosibirsk, Russia, that is just what happened.
What was I thinking! How in the world did it seem to be a good idea to me or to my parents that I should go far far away, all by myself, and go to school in a country where they spoke a language I wasn’t even quite sure I could speak. As I mentioned before, I was so shy and scared to talk to people. If I should ever get lost in JFK airport, you might as well just forget about me, because there is no chance I would ask anyone how to get to the next gate! But my grades, my English, some paperwork, and a visa were enough to get me accepted to Brigham Young University. So, I went for it.
Looking back, I know that the Lord was in charge, and He knew what was best for me, because there is no way my parents or I would have made this decision on our own.
I was very excited to finally become a “grown up” and be independent from my parents. I was ready to conquer the world! However, when I got to BYU things didn’t go as I had expected. After more that ten years of studying English in Russia, I turned out to not be as fluent as I thought I was. I really struggled with classes, not to mention the difficulty of trying to be social. I was lost and I began to second guess my decision to go to BYU. I wanted to go back home. I was prepared to fail at any moment and to sadly call my parents and explain to them that I wasn’t good enough.
It wasn’t one event that changed everything, but rather lots of prayers and my determination gradually made things better–a lot better! And years later I couldn’t be happier anywhere in the world, than where I am now.
There was something else that kept me “staying.” You may be wondering what that quote was all about in the beginning of my story. Well, that quote is from one of my favorite books called, “The Little Prince.” In the story, a boy, who the author calls The Little Prince, meets a fox, who wishes to be tamed. The Little Prince does not know what it means to be tamed, so the Fox explains it to him: “For me you are only a little boy just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you have no need of me, either. For you I’m only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me we’ll need each other. You’ll be the only boy in the world for me and I’ll be the only fox in the world for you.”
I learned lots of different things while finding my way in a new country, but what has kept me going forward and not giving up on my dreams day after day and year after year has been the people the Lord has placed around me, people who became my “boy”, and I their “fox,” people who became my friends, and then my family. That first year I gained more family than I actually have back home in Russia. Now between two continents I have multiple brothers, sisters, cousins, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. To this day I keep gaining more family. These are the people with whom I spend the holidays. They sing the birthday song to me and make me birthday cakes. They are my wise mothers and fathers. They are my sisters who listen as I share my secrets. They are my overprotective brothers. They are my grandparents who show me love as grandparents do. They are my cute little nieces and nephews who give me the biggest hugs in the world. Those are the people who make me better. They’ve tamed me. They are my “boy,” and I am their “fox.”
Looking back at my first year at BYU and the years that followed, it turns out that I was never truly alone. I just did not have the eyes to see the people the Lord had placed in my path. Sure, I felt lonely, I missed my family back home, and I still miss them very much. I still get homesick. But I’m really never alone.
My trial was shyness, language, and loneliness, but no matter what we are going through, there are always people around us that care for us, even if we don’t realize it. They are our “boy.” They are our angels. My hope is that we will look closer and recognize who those people are who stand by us in our lives. If we do, maybe we will see that people who surround us, those who care enough to “tame” us, are the Lord’s great blessing to help us get through hard things.