A still from “Finding Nemo.”

A still from “Finding Nemo.”

Credit:

Walt Disney Video

Kiki Kienstra had a good job teaching kindergarten, a nice apartment and a community of friends. “I didn’t have a big need for change,” she remembers. “You know, everything was fine, so why rock the boat?”

One day, on a whim, she saw “Finding Nemo,” a Pixar movie about a clownfish named Marlin on a quest to find his missing son. At one point, Marlin and his traveling companion, Dory, find themselves inside a whale. They must decide whether to continue to cling to the whale’s tongue or let go and face an unknown future.

“I realized when I saw that scene that I needed to make a decision about my life,” Kienstra says. “Just staying in my life — just hanging onto the tongue — I wasn’t doing anything. I needed to let go of the tongue and see what happened.” When she let go, Kienstra packed up all her things and followed her dream to teach in a foreign country.

(Originally aired January 4, 2013)

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