Being Who We Are is the Biggest Achievement

Only if we could toss them this answer at the interview.

I rarely talk about myself when I’m playing the role of an online English teacher. Even when it comes to the discussion part of the exercise, I simply acquire students’ opinions and move on to the next question.

Today, however, a mother who works in the human resource department threw the question back at me…

Me: Yes, so I left my job in Canada and moved home to spend more time with my family. *smiling*

She: Oh, that’s unfortunate. The company is very well-known, and it would be such a great career if you hadn’t left. *frowned slightly*

Me: Umm, I guess that depends on what you want in life? I’m enjoying the flexibility of being an online teacher. Being able to manage my work hours and time with my family has been an amazing experience. *still smiling*

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash


I was competitive and career-driven.

But what I realized is that I would never be satisfied. There’s always more, higher and better.

At the end of the day, the pleasure I felt was merely those few seconds when I saw the admiration on their faces after learning where I worked.

The conversation in class, however, reminded me of a Norwegian I spoke to a few years back.


Photo by Mikita Karasiou on Unsplash

Norway may not be on everyone’s list of travel destinations.

My parents, though, were determined to see what the world’s happiest country looks like.


On the last day of our journey, we decided to spend the rest of kroner (Norwegian currency) in a small department store in Oslo. Walking up to the tax-refund counter, I greeted the blond-hair blue-eye man in English…

He: Hi, hello! Do you speak Mandarin Chinese? (in Mandarin) *cheerful*

Me: Oh, wow. Yes, I do. (in Mandarin) *surprised*

He: Where are you from? (in Mandarin)

Me: Taiwan. Do you know where that is? (in Mandarin)

He: Yes! I had biked the entire island in 2 weeks when I visited. I was on a missionary trip to both China and Taiwan. (in Mandarin) *tone excited*

Me: Oh, and you picked up Mandarin while you were travelling? (in Mandarin)

He: Yes and no. I took some classes in Oslo before I departed, but I definitely learned a lot more during my travels. The scenery and the food were amazing in Taiwan! (A mix of English and Mandarin) *his hair bobbing animatedly*

Me: Wait, you speak 3 languages and you are working at this tax-refund booth? (in English) *jokingly*

He: Yes! I love meeting and talking to different people! (in English) *flashed a big smile*

Photo by Marcus Chis on Unsplash


Recounting the memory, I cringed at my rude humour.

Society may sway us left and right, but perhaps, our greatest achievement in life is to be who we are.

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