A Privileged Vacation - My Family Travels

This summer my family and I went to Europe. My family loves to travel, and as a result I have been to thirty-two states. Going to Europe though was a completely different experience.

We went to Germany and France, both beautiful countries. The reason for our trip was not only vacation; our family was selected to be delegates at an International Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is a very special privilege. What is a convention you may ask? Well, every year Jehovah’s Witnesses have yearly conventions throughout the world, usually on a smaller scale of about 6,000 to 7,000 people on average in attendance. About every three years Jehovah’s Witnesses have international conventions. These conventions are held at different locations throughout the world and delegates from congregations throughout the world are selected to attend. At these conventions discourses are given on bible topics, but mainly we attend to encourage one another, and strengthen our feeling of brotherhood.

Our trip was wonderful! When we landed in JFK Airport, in New York, we saw Witnesses everywhere. We could tell who everyone was because of the badge cards we wore that had the title of the convention, Keep on the Watch. Seeing all the brothers was so awe inspiring. When we landed in Germany we were greeted by local brother s and sisters, dressed in their traditional German costumes which they only wear on special occasions. Several times our tour guides made comments on this. One said, “You really are a brotherhood. People never wear these costumes except for special occasions and these are their finest. They truly care about you.”

The convention itself was amazing. Every day we sat with a different language group. There was Greek, German, Italian, and Turkish. We never understood a thing that was being discussed, but the love that was felt was almost overwhelming. Even though we couldn’t speak the languages, we made other overtures of friendship. For example, the day our family sat with the Italian section they offered us food and snacks about every five minutes. Every day we would walk around the stadium and people would just walk up to each other and have entire conversations where neither of you understood the other but walked away friends. While we walked around we would have exchanges of gifts like bracelets, recipes; and contact information, such as e-mail addresses.

After the convention we toured Munich and Paris. Two sites that impressed me in these cities were the Glockenspiel in Munich and the Palace of Versailles.  I found the story of the Glockenspiel very interesting. In the thirteenth century, a German prince married a French princess and the clock was built to provide entertainment at the wedding. The top of the clock is the wedding couple with people rejoicing and a surprise at the end!

Our last day of the trip we spent in Versailles! This was by far the highlight of our trip, because it was absolutely the most beautiful site I have ever seen. The palace was enormous! Every corner of each room seemed to be gilded in gold. The gardens stretched for miles! A fountain the size of half a football field surrounded by trees and ornate bushes greets you below the small garden behind the palace. Sculpted works of art and another fountain the size of a football field lie further down the hill. All this was diminished in size by a lake large with tourists boating on its pristine waters.

Overall the trip was defiantly the best experience I’ve had so far in my travels. Hopefully it won’t be the last.

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