I was packing in my room, while my parents told me how proud they were of me. I was so nervous because I had not been on a plane since 9/11 and I was excited because it was 2 weeks away from my annoying little brothers! The next day at the airport, I met our leader, Brandon Swain, and our delegation of the People to People Student Ambassador Program. I walked through the security gate and said my last goodbyes to my family. My adventure was about to begin!! I had butterflies while boarding the plane at Dulles Airport in Virginia on our way to Los Angeles, California. It was a good thing I had my iPod: Michael Jackson all day!
In L.A., it was time to board the Spirit of Australia’s Qantas Airplane to New Zealand. I could not wait to be on the airplane for the next 13 hours! We arrived in Auckland, New Zealand the next day. I was freaked out by the cars. The steering wheels were on the right side and they drove on the “wrong” side of the road! We started with the luge ride down a mountain in Rotorua and later saw a sheep show, which may sound odd or boring, but it was very fascinating. We slept in the Haka Tribe’s “Big House”, that was sacred to them. But in order for us to be accepted into their “Big House”, we had to sing a nursery rhyme to them. Of all the goofy nursery rhymes we decided to sing “I’m A Little Teapot”. I was so embarrassed, but it was really funny. We went jet boating by the Huka Falls where we did 360° spins and got soaked!! We drove to Wellington city, which took 5 hours and saw Mt. Dune, where the Lord of the Rings movie was filmed.
We visited the Capital E Studio and created a TV newscast.I was the floor manager so I kept everything in check. We rode on the bus to Christchurch city and the bus driver nearly drove off the side of the road! While there we took a ferry ride. The next two days we stayed with our home stay families, which was fun too. My home stay family made being away from my own family easier because they reminded me of my family. Then we were on our way to Methven, New Zealand. I conquered my fear of heights and repelled off a 100 foot mountain! That was the best day!! Then we left for Sydney, Australia. We visited the Sydney Aquarium or what I called, the “SpongeBob Aquarium!” My favorite character was everywhere! We stayed at the Sebel Surry Hills Hotel and the next day we went sliding down 90 foot sand dunes. It was so windy that the sand was pounding me on my legs! Later, we had dinner on a cruise on the Sydney Harbor, where we saw the Sydney Opera House Complex, which we toured the next day. It was so beautiful.
That evening we stayed at the Shoal Bay Resort and Spa and went surfing. Early the next morning, we rode on the Sunlover Reef Cruises to observe dolphins, snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef, and visited a wildlife sanctuary, the Australia Walkabout Park, where we took a photo with a koala bear! Sadly, we were faced with July 20, our last day. This trip meant so much. I now understand how fortunate I am having been able to take this trip. I will never forget this experience and my new friends!
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