Switzerland Strikes at Sixteen - My Family Travels
Benish at work.

The captain announced the landing of my delayed flight from New York. It was bumpy, but that did not stop me from walking through the Swiss corridors with a smile on my face. I embraced my older brother the minute we met. I could not believe that he would be my guardian for the next six months, while I was in Geneva. At sixteen and in my junior year of high school, I felt blessed to be there. Once we left the airport and stepped foot into the city, the beauty of the tiny European streets and alpine mountain peaks left me short-winded.

Quarter Finalist 2009 FTF Teen Travel Writing Scholarship

A Month later, my first week of laundry gorged my scanty closet; I began to think of my mom. I began to weep, “I missed her, my family, everything, my room, my house, and my friends.” I was not sure how to cope with all of the things I left behind in Texas, or memories, as you would call them now. To clear my head, I decided to take a walk in the park.

The cool breeze at the park let off a vibe that a European winter was soon approaching. Watching the kids enjoy the slide; and water drops sprout the 90 foot journey to the sky and back down into the lake. “It seemed a bit surreal…the water spitting from the fountain into the lake, the kids rough housing, the park on the hill, the families…why could not we have this back in Texas?” The distinctive atmosphere left me a bit befuddled. However, the sky was darkening and I knew the next day was going to be a big one for me.

The snowy morning left ice on my gloves which gave me a funny tingle while I wiped my runny nose. I could not imagine walking in with a pink coat that had two flowers on the collar. I felt like I had to be more professional. I pictured myself walking in with an elegant pin strip that I did not own. My brother guided me to his boss, and told me I was on my own from there. His boss, soon to be mine, led me to a room that had a huge table and chairs around it. I took a seat on the chair he pulled out for me. He asked me all sorts of questions some easy some hard. Once he was done, I was relieved but worried about how it went.

Exactly a week passed since I secured my position, office desk, and laptop at the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development. I was not sure what it was, but I would learn quickly. Little did I know, the non-profit organization was one the exclusives in Geneva that associated with the United Nations, World Trade Organization, and delegates that helped better our world.

Months passed, I was piled with events to attend. I did not fuss about the long hours or all the smiling and greeting I had to do. I attended the Public Forum held at the World Trade Organization, various events at the United Nations, and events at the World Meteorological Organization.

I was enthused at the experience I gained from my journey. I obtained hidden knowledge from the foreigners and was enraptured by the idealistic values they shared with me. I never knew of such open mindedness. The culture, language, and land left a positive impact on my life. As I walked through the plane door to head home, I felt stronger as a person and believed in my views a lot more than before.

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