This is another repost from Facebook. I had first written about Sarah in September 2015:
Today evening we celebrated a very special girl – a celebration long overdue.
We first met Sarah when she was about 7 years old, a very shy and quiet little girl. I was looking for help with cleaning our home since I was working long hours and exhausted. Marinella, a lovely young lady originally from Rumania, started coming every two weeks to help and sometimes she brought her daughter along since she didn’t have a baby sitter. This little girl was Sarah and she would sit quietly on the sofa playing with her toys while her mom whirled around her cleaning and dusting.
We got to know the family closely over the years. Marinella and her husband Stefan came to Germany with their little daughter Sarah because they wanted to offer her a “better” life than back home. Both of them are wonderful and very hard working, never complaining in spite of all the hardships they have had to face. Marinella has inspired me in so many ways – but that is a topic for another post.
When I returned to Munich after my years in Stockholm and Shanghai, Marinella immediately agreed to help me every week even though we live a bit out of the way now. The past years have brought us closer since I have often been at home when Marinella comes. So we have had time to chat about a number of issues and she has become more of a friend than someone who just helps me every week. And we have watched Sarah grow from the shy little girl sitting on our sofa to the lovely young girl she is today. We are so proud to have been able to share in some of the highlights of her life – entering into high school, her many academic achievements, completing her first 10k city run very successfully at 16 years of age with just about 3 months of preparation (she had never run before!). And I have also felt and wept with Marinella when Sarah has been alienated and mobbed for being “different”.
In spite of being an only child, Sarah is not a spoilt child. Her parents work very hard to give her the opportunities they never had but they never put pressure on her like so many parents I know. And while other girls of her age are busy with friends, partying, having their first boyfriends and generally being selfish teens; Sarah accompanies her mother to work after school to help her finish quicker, concentrates on her studies and sports, enjoys accompanying them to church and helps willingly at home.
This year has been a challenging year for her – graduating from high school and getting her drivers license all within a span of 4 months. We fevered with her when she was preparing for the driving test – she completed her practice lessons in a record time of about one and a half months, was very aware that the driving school was expensive (although her parents never put pressure on her because of it!) and she practiced very hard. She was extremely nervous on the day of the test, had a tough examiner and hadn’t slept well. Which made us weep with joy when she successfully passed it at the first try (a rare phenomenon in Germany).
Just after this, she had her final exams at school. She had been worried about them, convinced she hadn’t done well although her parents constantly assured her that it didn’t matter. However Sarah not only topped her class in the finals but she was also the second best in the entire school. Just writing this makes me so teary eyed – when I got the Whatsapp from Marinella telling me about her grades I could have screamed aloud for joy! I think I was as incapable of chatting with her on the phone as she was since we both were so emotional!
Unfortunately we couldn’t make it to the awards ceremony since we were travelling but we felt so honoured to be asked by her if we could (only very close family members are allowed to be there for the event!). She looked stunning that day in the graduation dress that she had especially brought for the occasion! On an interesting side note, most of the other girls in her class weren’t very “happy” with her great achievement or how she looked and haven’t even bothered to be in touch with her since then.
Jaden of course adores her and waits for both Marinella and her every week. When Sarah cant make it, he is always very disappointed and proceeds to trail Marinella all over and tries to run away with her things!!!
So today we finally managed to celebrate her fantastic school leaving grades together (with us travelling and her being on vacation it was a bit tough to find a suitable date)
Sarah – we are so proud of the wonderful, loving and lovely girl you are today. We are so blessed to know someone as amazing as you and to be part of your life. You are an inspiration and you are very precious to us!