Not only was 2007 the year I moved up to become a freshman in high school, but it was also the year I travelled to France, Italy, and Greece for twenty-one days during the summer. The program that I participated in was the People-to-People Student Ambassadors. If you are wondering whether I was scared for this trip or awaiting it up until the last second, the answer is yes to both.
This was the journey of a lifetime. I went to places most adults never get to see, as a teenager. The fact that I was capable of partaking in this trip made me proud to be a citizen of the United States of America. While in Greece, I walked through the original Olympic arena. Italy held the fascinating cities of Venice and Rome. In France, there was simple beauty and the Louvre. I saw so many historical places it would be insane to name them all! Here I was, barely a teenager, pushed by my country to see the sights of the world.
People from all over the northern region of Indiana combined into a travelling group. We then teamed up with a group from South Carolina in order to establish a basis of developing friends outside of our communities. The friends I made were unbelievably awesome and one boy even stole my heart. I do not know if we would have made a good couple but riding up the Eiffel Tower with him sure made me fall hard. During the trip, I did not believe that I would miss any of those people as much as I do now.
I recommend that when travelling in a relatively short period to three different countries, you keep up on your beauty rest. Late nights did not pair well with long walking hours.
Being a fussy eater did not help the cause either. I have learned my lesson that unfamiliar places will indefinitely have unfamiliar foods. I lived off breads and side salads because of this hindering tendency for the first week. Fortunately, I braved up and learned that trying new foods is not half as bad as it may look! They also did not have an endless supply of quick snacks. That may have also greatly influenced my decision to eat something substantial. I am glad though because, I had fantastic pastas and real gyros that I will probably never experience again back here in the U.S.
When I came back home I honored the spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s. I vowed never to take the standard American foods for granted. Here we have multiple grocery stores and endless supplies of food. There, they used what they had and you ate what you got. We have so many more choices here in America that it was a very eye-opening experience with the food ordeal alone. Because of the obvious greater circumstances we have, I realized the necessary need to practice the idea of reduce, reuse, and recycle. American’s really should not take all that is given to them daily, for granted. Not only in food aspects do we need to practice reducing and such, but in every other aspect of life too. The Greek, French, and Italian people make do with what they have when they have it, and get along just fine.
I am so happy to have had this opportunity to travel the world that words cannot express it. So many life lessons I learned during those twenty-one days. If I could do it over again I certainly would.
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