21 Nisan 2015 Salı

Graduation Speech of Andreea Apostol: Commitment!

Let me share with you the graduation speech of my dear friend Andreea Apostol. She inspired me a lot!! 


“You are the enemy. You will be treated accordingly!” For months, this was the only echo that Louie Zamperini kept on hearing. While fighting in World War II, in Southern Pacific, his plane crashed and he survived, floating on the ocean for 47 days , with two other soldiers, his mates, and from one point onwards, with only one of them alive. He was afterwards captured by the Japanese troops and daily tortured , humiliated in the Japanese camps in ways I could not even  imagine , even if somehow I “lived” his story through the book, though the movie . Thankfully, I never experienced war, not even communist regimes, I can only use my intuition and relatively, limited imagination in order to understand what he went through. He survived the Japanese camps, he survived the war, returned back to the U.S. to his family, future wife, future daughter , future disequilibrium, regrets, feelings of revenge and nightmares drawing past emotions of the Japanese environment. Before that, Louie Zamperini competed for the Olympics, as an Italian athlete representing the U.S.A., breaking old records and establishing new ones in 1936 and met Hitler, while apparently, trying to steal a German flat, just meters away from the German leader. More than that, Louie was a restless soul, smoker at 5, drinking heavily at the age of 8, always in trouble , stuck in the police station. But , he always run!  

I bought the book with my second ever earned salary. I considered it at the beginning a relative waste of time, a relative classical war story but it proved to be the contrary. It became a movie, produced by Angelina Jolie and it somehow seemed a little too commercial for my general preferences. More than that, I doubted the level of fiction and non-fiction of this project. Or better said, actually life story.
It surely had an impact on me . Letting aside all the details of the book, the movie, the writer, the producers, I empathized a lot with the character . Because of only one reason, which could be strictly reduced to one single word.


According to Oxford Dictionary , commitment represents the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. For me , Louie Zamperini’s commitment was to remain sane, more than anything else, to remember the taste of joy , the sense of reality, sometimes sense of humor, even in the darkest hours. His commitment was towards reaching the biggest dream he ever had. To run again for the Olympics. He did so. At age 80. In Japan.

Today, in paralel, I want to briefly mention to you some personal commitments. I say briefly because , letting aside this introduction I have only images in my mind, strict ones and I am not sure how much I could handle my emotions. Sorry about that.

I will invoke some of my own promises today and obviously, I will add the secret element, the already traditional „Thank you!” I will invoke those who, at this point of my life, mean the world to me.

As you may know, or guess, my parents are one of the primary sources of personal inspiration. Yes, I do ask questions and receive answers from daily experiences, books, soundtrack , leafs and metro stations but my parents are in many ways what I call home. That place where nothing bad can happen, that place where I feel the safest , happiest, in peace with my own thought and heartbeats.
Therefore, I want to say a simple, clean, thank you to my parents , who, no matter what may have happened , understood in time that there are kids in this world who really feel extremely good being restless, ageless as Peter Pan and occasionally as strong as Rocky Balboa. There are some as well, who prefer the easy way, the classical version of things, the borders of some others’ expectations. And then, there is me... I want to thank them for every single piece of sacrifice , for every single tear of relief, pain or happiness, for every single fear that we shared, for every single success that defines us. Thank you guys, for being there for me! I love you, always!

Secondly, I want to thank to the master kind who represents at this point the person who both personally and professionally guided me towards a better version of myself. Let me introduce you to the Albert Einstein version 2.0. highly updated . Let me introduce you to the bad cop – good cop version combined. Let me introduce you to a huge part of my soul. His name is prof. Soylemez the Magnificent. Oh wait, Soylemez Ozelit!

I want to thank him , even if he cannot be here, to see me „on air”, I want to thank him because the taught me to be self-critical , to have high standards if I really want to move forward , to see beyond pride and prejudice, to fight for my dreams but to never forget who I am , to remain humble and realistic, open-minded and focused, careful to the fact that a continuous demand for more and more , might not be the healthiest way of living life. I want to thank him no matter where he is! Thank you!

My heart is divided between Turkey and Romania, as well because of prof Aktan Uner, prof Ahmet Can and prof Demir Sakman. Adding to that a great friendship from Burcak, Helen, Ghedyy, Seren Korkmaz, Burak Yalim, Tolgay and Ibrahim .

Lastly but not least, thank you , Turkey!  

Lastly, but not least, I want to thank Louis Zamperini for adding a last contribution to the greatest belief that I now have stronger: Keep running! Without any shadow of selective blindness, 

I am convinced that I need to keep running towards Turkey, as home is where the heart is and home to me is Turkey and Romania.

Thank you!

Andreea Apostol
The only one picture that I took while we were having picnic in İstanbul with my dear friend Andreea Apostol
(From left to right: Fethullah, İbrahim, Zeynep Büşra, Merve, Seren, ANDREEA, Nadir, Halime) 

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