Being from a small town, my classmates and I wished to get away. We joined our schools International Club to experience different countries. A junior in high school, I had never been far from home. I wanted to experience life, and France and Spain couldn’t have been a better place to start.
After a sleepless flight, we arrived in France. We spent our first day touring Paris through the windows of a bus. Finally that night, we reached our hotel. Opening the doors to our rooms, we found that they we no larger than most of our bathrooms back home. Instantly hopes of a comfortable nights sleep were diminished.
The next day we took Paris by foot. We found ourselves in awe, admiring the elegant grandeur of the buildings. We took the metro from site to site, seeing the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral to the enormity of the Palace of Versailles. That night, like a fire in the sky, the Eiffel Tower blazed before our American eyes. We received our tickets and stood in line for the elevator that would take us to the tower’s peak. Becoming separated from the group, I had to jump over a bar waist high to be rejoined. Unfortunately, I was wearing a dress and jumping over a bar would not be easy. In my attempt, I found myself hanging from my knees, exposing myself to all of France. I managed to stand upright, and scarlet faced, turned to my classmates. After assuring them I was not harmed, I managed to laugh the situation off.
The day we left France, we took an over night train into Spain. We started our tour the next day the same as we did France, through bus windows. That night, we traveled to a theater and experienced an entrancing display of flamenco dancing. Despite the loud stomping of the dancers’ shoes, I began to fall asleep. At the hotel, I feel asleep instantly. During the night, I found myself rushing towards the bathroom. Feverishly shaking, I became sick and I continually vomited up what seemed like everything I had eaten that week.
That morning, my roommates found me asleep on the bathroom floor. Alerting our chaperones of my sickly status, they asked me if I felt I could continue experiencing Barcelona with the rest of the group. Seeing as I could hardly stand, I was forced to stay behind. Upon coming back that night, my classmates found me in a poor state.
That night, we set off for the airport. I walked through the airport in a daze. Lifelessly, I handed my passport to the man behind the airline desk. Suddenly, my legs became weak, and the next thing I remember is being on the floor. Trying to wake me, my classmates began asking me questions and I slurred answers back. I was so dehydrated that my body had chosen to have a momentary shut down.
Once home, I found myself getting worse, and eventually I wound up in the hospital. The doctors found that I had contracted two strands of a bacteria virus while in Europe. I walked into school the next day with everyone knowing my story. I told the story time and time again, each time laughing and shaking my head. Despite my bad luck, I had an amazing time. Through the experience, I learned that although things may not always go as planned, sometimes you just have to laugh and enjoy what you’re given. Never was there a dull moment, and my first trip away from home, will never be forgotten.
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