I’m a block away from the Eiffel Tower, about ready to pee my pants, only two minutes before we have to board the bus, and I can’t figure out how to use the public bathroom. There’s a handful of buttons, all different colors, with leftover letters above them where you can tell the English instructions use to be. I frantically start asking bystanders if they speak English. Nothing. I’m regretting not learning French when I overhear a group of men speaking Spanish. As fast as I can without offending them I say, “¡Necesito usar el baÃ±o, ahora!” (I need to use the restroom, now!) Luckily they kept the instructions simple and instructed me on how to use it. I thanked them did my business and counted my lucky starts for having an exceptional Spanish teacher. That was one memory of many.
Yes, you can call me a band geek. I am, but through my participation in jazz, concert, and pep band I was nominated for the Nebraska Ambassadors of Music 2009 Summer European Tour. I remember when I received my invitation. That seemed like yesterday. Next thing I know I’m on a bus with 70 other kids on my way to the Omaha, Nebraska Eppely Airport. We left Omaha, had a layover in Minneapolis, and took an overnight flight to London. We started by exploring the area of Windsor before we ate supper and turned out the lights at the Thistle City Barbican Hotel. The next day we toured London starting at the Tower of London. Than we went off to see Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Cathedral, Parliament, Big Ben, and lastly we ended the evening by visiting the London Eye. The next day we visited Wesley’s Chapel and than to the a royal garden for our first concert. Later we went to a live production of The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre. London was more than amazing, it was spectacular.
If you gave me a 3,000 word limit I still wouldn’t be able to tell you everything. So instead of giving memories of all the countries, I’ll tell you about my second favorite place. My first evening in Switzerland my new friends and I took a walk around a local pond as the sun was setting over the mountains; I never had seen anything so beautiful. Years from now when I think about Switzerland I know I’ll recall the hospitable man at the Hotel Art de Vivre, the little shops in Crans- Montana, the breathtaking view of the Matterhorn, our visit to the Castle Chillon, but what I will remember as clear as day is our first evening there. I can’t even explain the way that first impression of the Swiss Alps made me feel, but it was something alright.
My two favorite places couldn’t be more different. Switzerland is the most gorgeous country and London is my new favorite city. I loved all the other countries we visited which included: Paris, France; Venice, Italy; Vaduz, Lichtenstein; Rothenberg, Germany; and Innsbruck, Austria, but London and Switzerland are the most memorable. Never did I think I’d get those opportunities. “Opportunities don’t just fall from the sky”, my bus leader said, and she was right. I have many opportunities in life if I just look for them. I have the opportunity to get a good education and become a special education teacher for elementary children, where I can hopefully help them find their opportunities in life. I learned about other cultures, customs, and cuisines, but also I learned a lot about myself.
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