Cue I sit now quietly In front of a grand piano In my cousin’s living room. My cousin, Lana, is speaking to me- she had me over for lunch to discuss the family- yet I am distracted by the large instrument that takes up almost half the room. I can only assume the baby grand was once a shiny black, though because its keys have been played numerous times, its color is noticeably faded. My mother floats through my mind. “Anastasia! ” my cousin stops her rambling and finally notices that I have not been paying attention to a single word.

I am suddenly attentive, my eyes refocused on Lana. “Have you even spoken to your parents, lately? ” , Lana asks. It has been a while since I had spoken to them. My parents are still in Moldavia, running the family fish business. A year and a half ago they had sent me to America to study, while they stayed behind and tended to business. As a young girl of only 19, such a change was overwhelming at times. I came with nothing more than a suitcase, a dream and my education; and as I would find out soon, it was my education that would serve me best.

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Growing up, my parents had always emphasized the importance of two things in life- education and discipline. My father was an accomplished business man- managing many other people’s businesses In his lifetime, until finally starting the fishing company that my parents still run today. He had studied numerous subjects. Including economics and finance, and always taught me that theory is nothing without application. The success of his businesses are certainly due to a combination of both. My mother, while also part of the family business, held the main roles of care- Akers and educator.

My mother never went to university, because it was uncustomary for women in the sass to study in Moldavia. She did, however, study and play the piano throughout her entire life. As such, I was always surrounded by music as a child. And still today nothing gives me a greater thrill than to listen to the great Plano sonatas of composers past- Beethoven, Bach, Mozart. 1 OFF started long before I entered kindergarten. My mother, taught me everything that she knew about playing the piano and simultaneously, she taught me everything that he knew about life.

I can think of no greater influence on my life and its course than my mother–my piano teacher for 14 years. Back in Lanai’s living room- in America- we discuss family finances and the payment of university tuition fees. We discuss the difficulties of moving to a new country with very little. We discuss the nights we wished we were back home, but mostly the days that had made it all worth leaving. Lana goes to the kitchen for some more tea, and I am drawn to the piano. I sit longingly with the white and black keys lust under my fingertips.

One two three, one two three, one two three” I speak the metronome in my mind as I play a most familiar melody- Moonlight Sonata by Ethiopia. I am suddenly brought back to our small den in Moldavia. Every night my mother would play this song to me in hopes that it would stick in my ear. She once said, “all things are connected- you need the same skills to succeed in life as you do in music. ” Now that I am older I understand what she meant, and there have been few words that have had more impact. And few people that have influenced me more than my piano teacher, my mother.

After a year and a half of living in America, I interpret what she has taught me and how it affects all aspects of my life. Practice and Discipline. Hard work, structure, sacrifice- All of these are required to learn a piece, acquire the notes necessary to play a piece, and similarly, to succeed in life in America. These are the building blocks of any skill. Next comes rhythm. Nothing can be rushed. Like the pulse of a metronome, all must be in good time. And finally, emotion. As my piano teacher emphasized, nothing is more important than playing with emotion, and with passion.

For even if you know how to play all the right notes, no one will be listening if you do not play from the heart. It is armed with this knowledge, this education, that I came to the United States to pursue an education, and hopefully one day, my own business. I hold strong to the lessons that my mother taught me those many nights by the piano, for these have served me well until now and will certainly continue to do so. I play the last few notes of moonlight sonata, and lift my fingers from the keys. ‘More tea?