I love movies. I’ve been a film connoisseur since my earliest memories. Actually, though. I remember watching the Lion King and commenting on the director’s techniques in between spoonfuls of my corn flakes, let’s put it like that. And even though I never strayed too far from that Hakuna Matata lifestyle, there were still some things about movies that frustrated me, like: Why was there such a divide between reality and fantasy?
I wanted to fly to Never-Neverland like Peter-Pan, I wanted Eddie Murphy as my guardian dragon like Mulan, and I wanted to befriend an expert chef mouse like Linguini. Why did these things seem so far out my reach? After I got a bit older, I started to face the facts and realized that some things are only meant for the silver screen. As hopeful as I was, there was no point in getting frustrated in how, at the end of the day, fantasy is… well, fantasy: not possible in real life.
Interestingly enough, what I didn’t realize is that along with pixie dust, talking dragons, and ambitious mice, I was also classifying the settings of these movies as fantasy. I didn’t understand that although certain aspects of these stories were fictional, the worlds they took place in were very real. These fantasies have become my reality. I’ve seen aspects of Never-Neverland as my plane flew in to Brazil back in early June; I admired the Emperor’s throne in the Imperial City in Beijing in late August, and at last, I have stood at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France just this past weekend. These past few months came at a pace I am still trying to keep up with but the blessings that have lined the way have humbled me and made me more aware of what these milestones in my life mean.
Whenever I enter a new country, whenever I see a new monument, whenever I relish a local delicacy, it’s not just me- it’s my family and it’s my community doing these things. I’ve realized that I carry them wherever I go. I am not sharing my experiences in order to breed envy- I’m doing it because I want you to realize that these things are possible for you too. Too long have we accepted “fantasy” as separate from reality. We have to understand that these places, although pictured as far away lands in the depths of our dreams, are actually closer than we think. But how far, exactly? Well, only you can determine that. I can only offer encouragement. And trust me, the hard work is well worth it. There is no other feeling like that moment when you step back and say, “Whoa… I’m here.”
I experienced that feeling this weekend as I stood in front of the Eiffel Tower. I really hope you get to experience something similar as well. Not just for you but also for your family and for your community, remember that you carry them wherever you go. Check out the video below to take part in my experience- it won’t compare to when you feel it for yourself but I hope you enjoy it, nonetheless. Keep working hard.