Hayley Danielle Oosthuysen

The journey of my life starts with my birth… who would have thought? This is why I chose my first charm to be the warm color of my birthstone (charm #4764). Being a November baby proved to have its challenges, as I was always the youngest in my grade and it required me to challenge myself (and my maturity level) to keep up with my fellow classmates. But thankfully it all paid off, I can’t imagine spending another year in high school!

I grew up in Zimbabwe, Africa (charm #5471) until the age of twelve. This is where my footprint charm (charm #2260) is also significant because as a child, my favorite pair of shoes was none at all! I couldn't have dreamt of a better childhood – and I would re-live every second of it in a heartbeat; the good, the better…and then the ugly. The ugly being when my family lost everything we owned due to the racial and political problems the country is currently undergoing… and we suddenly had to move to America. Although a “light at the end of Zimbabwe’s tunnel” is somewhat hard to see, there is always Hope: (charm #8434) which I think is something every human being can relate to, no matter the severity of the situation – it will and can get better.

Through all the confusion of trying to deal with such a traumatic experience, only one answer was clearly provided to my young ears; “God has a plan for your life” (charm #4901) At first weary of how God could have anything to do with such miserableness, the moment I finally started to believe in this handy-dandy piece of advice, everything seemed to fall beautifully into place. Maybe God’s plan is so much bigger than materialistic values, maybe a house is just four walls, and maybe it’s who’s on the inside that really matters. Maybe loosing everything taught me the real values in life, and maybe I’m more thankful each and everyday because I feel privileged to know what they are… and to have a family that knows what they are. This goes hand in hand with my next charm, (charm #0719) which represents “the key to my happiness.” I’ve learned along the way that this kind of happiness is achieved by constantly filling my heart with my faith and my family, the most important people in my life.

Adapting to an entirely different society sparked my interest in culture and all the wonderful people of this world, which is when my dream to “travel the world” began (charm #8281). So far I’d say that dream is well on its way,  as I have already had the amazing opportunities to explore three continents, bumping it up to four in less than a few weeks as we embark on an educational trip to Costa Rica. The owl (charm #0890) represents my love of learning and knowledge – I know I sound like a nerd, but who cares! Not to mention, after going to expensive private schools half my life, getting a free education just makes learning that much more enjoyable. My 2011 Graduation Cap (charm #6741) – is the part of my life where I graduate from high school – in less than three months!

And last but not least, ballerinas and pearls (charm #2927) - two of my favorite things! I started taking dance classes just for fun about four years ago, but in time the studio became a second home to me. Every time we danced, we all moved in the same direction; something in this country finally made sense, finally felt natural, finally felt like I belonged. Through dance, I made some of my closest friends and it’s where I learnt so much about myself and my body. I simply love to dance; in fact, it’s the only thing I would truly enjoy doing for the rest of my life. This is where my next journey starts – as a dance major in college. And where my story continues….

HAYLEY DANIELLE OOSTHUYSEN
FRANKLIN, NC

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