On July 28th I woke up to a surprising phone call. Aunt Barb was calling from Phoenix to let my cousin Colin and I know that she would be flying us out for our cousin Justin’s upcoming 18th birthday. During our family vacation at Seaside Justin teased his grandmother that he wanted Colin and me as a present for his birthday, but we never thought it would really happen. An even bigger surprise came when I found out three days before the trip that I had mono. On August 2, 2009 Colin and I made our way into the BWI airport with big smiles on our face. This initial excitement quickly faded as we went through airport security. We set off the security alarm 5 times before successfully making it through. As we then went to board our plane we realized there was a delay and we were going to miss our connecting flight. After scrambling through the airport trying to find a flight attendant to help us, we got ourselves onto another flight that would take 8 hours and make 3 stops before landing in Phoenix. It was the first day and the trip was already turning out to be less than perfect.
As the days passed all of our fantastic plans seemed to continuously fall through. We got lost on our way to Slide Rock Park and were left wandering through Sedona, two hours from our house. When we finally found our way the parking lot was full, so we had to make a three mile walk down the river to the actual park. We spend the rest of the day jumping off the rocks into the clear blue water. It was nothing like the hot, dry, waterless Arizona I had pictured. Two days later we went tubing down the Salt River. We sat in a tube and floated down the river for three hours witnessing incredibly scenery. We were even lucky enough to see wild horses drinking from the side of the river. When we made it to the end of the river, a couple scratches and a lost pair of sunglasses seemed like the least of my worries. What I did not know at the time was that I had run into poison oak on the side of the river and it would spread across my face, chest and legs. As the week went on the poison oak mixed with my mono didn’t allow me to keep up with everyone very easily. On our last night Justin and Nicky decided to take us to the top of a mountain where we could view the entire city. When we reached the top I was climbing down to get onto the big rock with everyone. I lost my footing and proceeded to slide down the mountain scraping up my entire leg.
It was the perfect end to the perfect trip. I envisioned this trip as the highlight of me summer, an eye opening experience, and something that would change me forever. From the looks of things you would think it was the most miserable experience of my life, when it really was better than anything I could have imagined. No, it was not perfect but, it was memorable and it showed me that I am a lot stronger than I imagined. I experienced another part of the country and for that I am grateful. It taught me to appreciate my family and my life right here in Baltimore. I will forever remember my week in Phoenix, Arizona, itching and all.
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