The Eiffel tower was a thing of beauty, but no one ever explains the rush of seeing it firsthand. My heart jumped as we came closer. I had never been to Europe before and I knew right off, that this would be a trip to remember. I was going to learn as much as I could about the European culture by taking every opportunity possible.
From June 14th to August 6th, (approx. 8 weeks) On this missions trip I would be engulfed in each of the six countries I would visit. Traveling by bus we would see Switzerland, Germany, France, and Italy to name a few. Holland was filled with small houses, plastered walls, and clay rooftops. Everything had an odd shape to it, as if it was defying gravity in every direction. It also seemed as if everything was a miniature size. The cars were small which led to small garages. The front doors were small to match the small houses, and surprisingly the majority of the population looked smaller. No wonder they call Americans, “fat and lazy”.
The fourth day in Holland we were sent out to do random community service. The team was split into groups of 5 as we searched the town for ways to help. It felt as if I was jumping off a cliff when we decided to go door to door. Here I am in a strange country, knocking on doors and asking to help out with chores, I thought to myself. My heart pounded in my chest as we approached the first house. The expression on each home-owners face was an image that will remain in my mind forever. They stared in amazement as we spoke an alien language that nobody seemed to comprehend. Each asking questions like, “Why are you guys here?” or “Why would you do that for me?” Most declined after feeling embarrassed that Americans (or anyone) would do such a thing. With no luck we decided to head back to the school we were staying at. Passing by a small house on the way we noticed an elderly lady cleaning her widows inside the house. Our group knew this was the opportunity we had waited for. After the introduction and explanation we were invited in with open arms. We soon discovered her name was Ida and before letting us help with her house cleaning, she provided hot tea and small Dutch chocolates. Through the next two hours we diligently helped without complaints and I knew we puzzled her to no end as of why we were there. She finally concluded our departure by saying, “You young ladies have truly blessed me with your kindness and I could never thank you enough.” Even through her thick Dutch accent we knew she meant it. We left feeling pleased and fulfilled.
After this incredible Summer of service I knew that my life would not feel complete until I was putting my passion for people into action. This trip forced me to realize how sheltered so many people have let themselves become. I am referring to those that go through the typical motions of life by going to college, getting married, having a family and growing up in the same place they grew up in. You can truly “settle down”, when you know what is out there and you know where you are supposed to fit. The changes that have taken place in my life through this trip will sharpen the changes and ideas of others.
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