Tears rolled down my cheeks like little kids tumbling down a grassy hill on a warm summer day. The plane reversed slowly, but to me, it felt more like an out of control toy plane driven by a young child. I was terrified to experience my first plane ride; however, I knew it was the most efficient way to travel from my home in California to the East coast.
Once the plane took off, I felt safe and even enjoyed the ride! I loved looking out the window at the colorful Southwest logo on the plane’s wing, and seeing things from a bird’s eye view. After a long journey of what seemed like days, (but was merely 6 hours), we landed in Baltimore. It was then a couple more hours of driving until we finally reached our destination- my cousins’ home in Falls Church Virginia (a quick Metro ride from our nation’s capital). I was so excited to visit new places with my family, and I knew I would learn a lot along the way.
Over the course of a week, we visited national monuments, the White House, the Capitol Building, the Smithsonian museums, and Mount Vernon. We saw famous buildings countless other wondrous images that I have longed to visit in person. I was overwhelmed with a sense of national pride as I stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial with a view of the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building in the background. I learned so much seeing artifacts from hundreds of years ago, such as one of George Washington’s uniforms. In addition, it was captivating to sit in the Senate meeting room, a place I often see on television. It was truly beautiful, and visiting the places I had only seen in textbooks brought history to life for me and I am so grateful for that opportunity.
In addition to the learning I did in the historical sense, I did a lot of learning about my family dynamics. I am the oldest of four children, and, although we normally tend to get along fairly well, the close quarters we lived under that week put us in grumpy moods. We fought more than normal because we were hot, exhausted, and tired of each other!
My parents realized this one day when we were at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. It was a hot, crowded place, and we had grown weary from all the walking. My brother, Nick, pushed my youngest brother, Andrew, and gave him a bloody nose. Andrew began to cry, and my parents knew it was time to intervene.
They took us all outside and explained to us how lucky we were to be on this trip. They told us that it was supposed to be fun, and if it was not, we might as well just go home. Obviously, we all shaped up, and realized how truly lucky we were to be on a trip spending time together and visiting a new place.
The trip really changed my outlook on life. I now realize the importance of maintaining a positive attitude. I always aim to be happy. I recognize how blessed I am in life, and not let other people affect my outlook. I learned that sometimes spending too much time with a person could make them jaded, but that that should never prevent me from enjoying myself. Now I appreciate each opportunity I have consummately, and celebrate each new day. After all, this is my history in the making, and its worth commemorating.
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