Finding the flowers: Discovering good in every situation


Audri Chenoweth, Web Editor-in-Chief

Standing outside of the security gate in a crowded airport, I am procrastinating the inevitable goodbye of my best friend as we get a few more minutes to embrace.

My family hosted an exchange student from Germany this past year. Though my family was supposed to be the one teaching her about life in America, she taught me more about life in general.

As soon as we picked her up from the airport, we knew that this hosting experience would be much different than the first time we had done it a few years ago.
Sophia Papenbroock (Phia) was already so appreciative of us having her in our home and much more grateful than our last student.

When she struggled with adapting to the way of life here, she would persevere and find something good to smile about every day, even if it is something as simple as a sunset.
Phia would look at a person most people would not think to talk to and find their greatest, unexpected qualities to focus on.

Before Phia, I was always nice to people, at least what I had always thought of as being nice.

People would not always be compassionate and understanding towards her, but Phia would talk to them as if they had never been unkind to her or anyone at all. Due to me witnessing how she reacted to poor situations, I have learned to not let people’s negativity and  callousness allow me to treat them differently. No matter how others treat me, I now treat them all as she had with great compassion so they cannot bring me down to their level of unkindness.

Phia constantly made me push myself to be more understanding, especially towards people I do not know. Recently I have began to understand how a small act of kindness can go a long distance for people who have not experienced much in their lives.

Once Phia had seen someone less fortunate than herself on the street and instantly wanted to help them, assuming that they did not put themselves in that situation like society tends to believe. Seeing people similar to the one we had seen previously on the street, now I want to help them as she did.

I strive to find the good in every situation life throws at me, even when it gets difficult.

In her time here, Phia taught me how to see the world through a different set of eyes, and to find the good in all things. She had a heart of gold and I strive to be as giving and loving to others as she is. I am forever grateful for all that Phia has taught me, and I could never repay her.