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Cross those bridges when you come to them

I stood for a long time, holding my head high as I watched the slender structure floating in the sky, popping a fuzzy white cloud with the point of its spire.

The Sky Tower, the symbol and pride of Auckland, New Zealand, was the first thing I saw on my arrival. Looking at it, I thought about places I had visited with remarkable landmarks: Gibbs Hill Lighthouse in Bermuda, the Empire State Building in New York, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

I believe that just like every country, each person should have a personal and unique landmark. It can be a reminder of their pride, the realisation of a dream, or the achievement of a goal. It is a symbol of what elevates us above ordinary life, something that motivates us and remains in our memory for ever. We all need a bright beacon that never stops shining and gives us hope and direction in the darkest, difficult days of our lives.

When we cannot see anything ahead and don't know where to go, when we question ourselves and are not sure that we have chosen the right path, it's good to have a personal symbol that recalls our victories. Something that reminds us that we were able to do it then, and we can do it now. Hold that image in your mind, take a deep breath and continue on your way with confidence. The more beacons, towers, bridges and mountains we hold as symbols of our accomplishments, the stronger and more unstoppable we become.

My personal landmark that I never forget is Peace Bridge that stretches over Lake Erie and connects Canada and America. It is a bold metal span well over a mile in length.

I was trying to get papers for my Canadian residency at their embassy in the American city of Buffalo, near Niagara Falls, on the very border with Canada. I flew with my daughter to this city for one day only. After receiving the long-awaited papers, I suddenly decided to go to Canada immediately to stamp my documents so we could start our new life there.

No sooner said than done! We came out of the embassy, jumped in a taxi and crossed Peace Bridge to the Canadian side. At a tiny border station, we quickly got all the necessary seals and stamps and officially became Canadian residents. I thought that it would be a long bureaucratic procedure and had let go of our taxi. At that moment I was so excited that I had not thought of how we would get back to America and all our baggage in Buffalo. There was no public transportation going from the Canadian side back to the US. I realised we had no other way of returning than simply crossing the bridge on foot. “Let's start walking,” I said decisively to my daughter. “We need to catch a plane.”

I will never forget the walk on that cold, yet sunny, winter day. My light coat was fluttering, my cheeks were burning from the icy wind, but I did not even feel the cold. We vigorously walked along the bridge, overwhelmed with joy as I clearly realised it was on this day that we would begin a new chapter, with fresh opportunities and possibilities.

I stopped in the middle of the bridge, looking first at the American side, then at the Canadian side. Six long years of waiting, all the documents and procedures, ended right then and there on that bridge.

I laughed and told Maria, “Remember this day, January 6. We have just crossed into a new life!”

When I start something new, I always remember myself happily laughing in the middle of that windy bridge between two countries, tightly holding my daughter's hand, and believing that life is still only beginning.

Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her here:

Life landmark: the Peace Bridge between Canada and America

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Published March 22, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated March 22, 2018 at 9:31 am)

Cross those bridges when you come to them

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