(This is the one for the scholarship, the other essays were submitted by mistake use this one)
The Summer of 2006 I was chosen to take an amazing 10 day trip to San Juan de Los Lagos Mexico. The day I arrived the whole town was waiting and watching as I walked nervously into the welcome party. I was constantly wondering what everyone thought of me, especially with me being one of the few African American girls. I had my old welcome banner made.Luckily, most of the people knew English, including my host parents Yolis and Abeil who accommodated me. Their daughter Tania was my age. She happily greeted me. Tania’s younger brothers were very energetic, like most children in Mexico. After we met,I was asked to sing the National Anthem for everyone. Surprisingly they loved it.
Life in Mexico was very interesting. There was always music playing and several parties. Everyday I got up early for a trip out of town. I couldn’t understand why people were so happy. All the kids were laughing and singing no matter the hour while I could barely stay awake. However, astonsihment kept me alert as I saw several beautiful buildings, restaurants, churches, and malls. Nearly every night I went to a night club that had great music. One night as I waited with Tania outside to be picked up, a man came along and noticed I was shivering. He took off his jacket and said,“Keep it.” I was touched by how warm and generous everyone was, even those less fortunate. I saw many homeless people as I walked down the streets. I met people who had homes, but no running water. I also went to an orphanage to visit some children, who were still extremely happy.
Though all the daily activities were exciting, the most memorable part was being at home with my host family. Tania invited her friends over and introduced them to me. Friendship seemed so highly valued. Tania’s parents bought me a Selena CD. They also showed great interest in getting to know me. At church, I met Tania’s numerous relatives who were very sweet. Every morning Abeil wrote a message on the white board in the kitchen for me. I had a great time with them at the farewell party on my final day.
Everyone enjoyed the song I sang. In addition, I was presented with a certificate from the town mayor for remembrance of my trip. I was saddened the morning I left. Yolis and Abeil wrote me a letter in Spanish so I could learn it. Everyone hugged me goodbye. I turned around as they left and cried as I watched their car drive away, but this time without me.
That trip gave me an appreciation and understanding of other cultures. I learned not to take things for granted. I now appreciate my home and family more, after living in a country where it’s rare for a teenager to have a cell phone, or for some to have running water. I began taking Spanish my Freshman year. After getting more familiarized with the language, I read the letter my Tania’s parents wrote me. From what I understood, they were saying they loved having me,and expressed hope for me in the future. Fortunately, I still have contact with them. I’m glad I was chosen to take that trip, and assigned to a loving family.
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