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Have you ever put a cricket in a glass bottle and close the lid before? After a while, when you open the lid, the little cricket wouldn’t know how to get out the bottle anymore. Even if he jumps, he won’t jump higher than the edge of the bottle. He was “bottled”, therefore, he needs to regain the ability to be free.

How many of us used to be “bottled” in life? How many of us, have actually tasted something called freedom?

Growing up in a country where the ideology of society was strongly “bottled” due to its modern history, freedom has become priceless to me. Or perhaps the longing for freedom lies in every human’s heart and awaits to be recognized, then awakened. I know I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled many places outside of my country, to allow my heart and mind to renew and deeply awakened; yet I also believe, freedom needs to be fought for.

I used to struggle a lot when I first moved to this village where I’m living now, in Switzerland. Coming from a city with 30 billion people, I moved to a village with 300 people, among whom I only saw a few on daily basis. What drove me nuts was the transportation. There’s only one bus per hour on weekdays to take you to the stores and train station. You have to take a train to go to a city. No bus on weekends. Plus, people here speak French, which I knew none when I first arrived. I was absolutely terrified. Because of the fear of unfamiliarity, I was “bottled” in the big building I lived, until my heart couldn’t bear it any longer and started to cry out for more freedom to get out the village…

I knew I need to fight for my freedom. How? Well, first, I need to learn French like I’m deeply obsessed with it. Second, I need to plan to save money for a one-year half price traffic card, which totally encourages me to get out more while looking at the very expensive traffic price (10 times more than my city). Last but not the least, is to get to know the culture and the people. Reaching out to them and making new friends. I’m a foreigner I know, but I don’t want always to be an outsider. I had to make big effort to get involved, which includes going to the social occasions when I’m luckily invited (in this culture, it takes a while for people to invite you for their thing), even though I don’t always feel like going because most of the time I don’t understand anything (French) there.

Now, after living here for over a year, I’ve gained much more of my precious freedom.  I can understand and speak basic French, got my long-desired half price traffic card and have made some good local friends who I can count on.

I relied on what I call “the Grace”, and also made some decision for change. To gain freedom usually requires us to step out, to face the discomfort and challenge, of which so many people are dread. I think it all boils down to this— What do you value? What’s more important to you? Remember the cricket? Some never made it and eventually died in the bottle. Some, figured out, finally, there’s no lid on the bottle anymore, and jumped a little bit higher…

Life is resourceful and graceful.  I’ve set my heart on this path of adventure and discovery. Only hope you can be inspired on…

1 Comment on “Freedom

  1. A big mistake about the population of my city Chongqing, China. It should be 30 million, not billion… sorry about that.

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