Write about a significant person, event, or period in your life: European Road to Discovery

Essay by ariana90High School, 12th grade July 2007

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Going to Europe has always been a dream of mine and when the opportunity presented itself to go with my Spanish teacher, I was the first to sign up. I admit, I had an unforgettable time, but it wasn’t always fun and games. Leaving the United States was more than a European cross country trip with my buddies. It was the thought of experiencing a completely different culture from my own, making new friends, and leaving the comfort of my parents’ protection. I never thought it would all lead to self-discovery.

I left for the airport that afternoon with a building anticipation in my heart. My mother was looking more than a bit gloomy and dad was simply quiet the entire car ride, while my sister and I chattered away about what we would do when we got there. When we arrived and checked in our bags it all began to settle in, both for my sister and me as well as for my parents.

To keep their minds off the upcoming event, small talk was thrown around amongst all the parents that were letting their children go on this trip; phone numbers were exchanged in addition to their growing fears. When it came for us to leave for the awaiting terminal, mom began to openly bawl, which led to my youngest sister to do the same. I quietly cried to myself as we said our good-byes, then the group of students slowly made the walk deeper into the airport.

Our sadness quickly dissipated when it finally hit us that we were taking the trip of our lifetime. We began to imagine what it would be like, what we would eat, see and where we would be spending our evenings. When our flight number was called to begin boarding, I...