“Fortune favors the bold”, my Father said, quoting the Roman Poet, Virgil, as we walked towards my gate at Port Columbus.
Sera's Father, Dr. Koulabdara, and Sera, 2007
Here I was embarking on a journey to a vast new land and great thrilling adventure, with $67 to my name, a suitcase, and one of my favorite books, The Alchemist in hand. The past couple of months has been a whirlwind of emotions, a mixture of excitement, anxiety and most of all, wonder. I landed a prestigious role as an International Consultant and would be flying to Belgium for training, then off to my assignment in an emerging market to research the economic profile of the specific country.
I graduated in December of 2007 and a month later, here I was at the airport with my Father and my Mother.
What scared me the most was not leaving the comfort of home or that I’ll be in a scary new world. It was the other unknown...can I actually be successful and make my parents proud? Will I be able to earn enough to be self sufficient and send some money back home? Will I do a good job in my role?
My parents have sacrificed so much leaving their beloved Laos to find opportunities for my siblings and I. Failing them was not an option.
Left to Right: Sera & her sister Kay, Sera & her brother Bay, The Koulabdara Siblings, Sera and her brother Mickey
As we inched closer to the gate, I asked my Father what he meant by the quote and he placed his arm around my shoulders and we walked side by side while he explained. “Did you know that I almost left Laos before you and your siblings were born? The country was in chaos and we were unsure of our family’s future. Your aunts and uncles all fled to either France, Canada or the U.S.” “My gut feeling told me to stay. It told me I can do more good in Laos.” My Father told me that day how brave I was for taking my new role and how proud he was of me. He also taught me to always trust in my decisions and “fortune” will always favor me. This is my fourth Father’s Day without him. The weight of his death is still a heavy load but I know his legacy lives on in his four precious children. In Bay, his visage and strength. In Kay, his enduring compassion and sacrifice. And Baby Mickey, his kindness, love of life and laughter.
What of his third child? I like to believe that I inherited his boldness and fierce desire to stand for justice. I think my Father would agree and encourage “Fortune” to continue to favor his daring girl.
Sera at our nation's Capitol, Washington, D.C, 2020